Cliffbee.com: Deluxe Grand Convoy Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Grand Convoy
Series: Superlink (Energon)
Allegiance: Cybertron
Alternate Mode: Semi Trailer Cab



TRUCK MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 12.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A mixture of a white front facade, transparent blue windows, red roof, chromed bumper and grille and some blue bits all on a very dark grey base, yet this toy manages to look unified. There's a supporting cast of other colours, such as (non chrome) silver paint on his hubcaps and fuel tanks, chrome blue headlights, a silver Autobot logo on the roof and some yellow details. There is an awful lot happening, but not quite enough that I'd call it ugly.

   This cab is noticeably smaller than that of the larger Grand Convoy (Optimus Prime) toy, although it is still able to connect to the trailer - thanks to a fairly large hitch on the back. The trailer is _big_ compared to this toy, so I don't really recommend doing it - but it's nice they added the functionality. The extra vehicles don't attach properly, but then the point of this toy is to combine with Rodimus, so it would probably be asking too much of the engineering.

   For those not familiar with this particular version of Convoy, this cab looks like a cross between a tow truck and a semi cab, and is clearly not any real model of truck. The robot arms and large helmet are behind the cab, so it's more than just a box on the front of a set of wheels. The arms work well as struts although the helmet looks like a helmet that's just sitting there. There are some gaps on the roof, although the dark grey does a good job of hiding them.

   There are a total of three Cybertron (Autobot) symbols visible in this mode. The first is the small silver one on top, inside a silver gear, which indicates the type of combiner he is. The spark crystal is on the rear left of the cabin itself, while there's a big moulded one on the right side - it's unpainted red plastic while the background is painted white, and it looks great.

   There are some nice finer details in this mode, such as the blue headlights, silver windshield wipers, the fuel tanks and lights across the top of the windshield. There are hardpoints on the struts at the rear, and he has a total of eight places you can mount the gun: the hitch, a socket just to the right of the hitch, on the hardpoints, on either fuel tank, or lastly there are holes on the sides, between the Cybertron logos and the fuel tanks. I personally prefer either these last holes or the hitch - and am impressed that you have so many options!

   The gun represents most of the truck mode's play value, the other half is the rolling plastic tyres - there are six ridged tyres, two in front and four at the back. Of course, you can attach the trailer, but that's a combination of two toys.

   I really like the attention to detail in this mode, and while I'm not a huge fan of some of the design choices - such as the helmet on the back - this toy is a smaller version of something else, so it's stuck with the lesser features of that toy. In fact, the helmet is dealt with a lot better on this version. For a comparison of the two cabs (as well as a picture of this version with trailer and other stuff), visit this page (in Japanese).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing the legs down from underneath the cab, fold out the feet. Detach the struts from their sockets on the hitch's plate, swing them out to the sides to form the arms. Bring the arms down to his sides, flip the helmet back to reveal his robot head and rotate it around. Flip the robot head up into position, fold the hitch plate down onto his back and slide it up until it clicks. Give him his gun and you're done.

   It's possible to fold away the helmet out of view. While you're not really meant to do so, I think the toy looks better (although less like his big brother) without the helmet just floating behind it's head.

   Since he's able to combine with other deluxe sized Superlink toys, there are lot of joints that aren't involved in either his transformation to robot mode, nor part of it's articulation. His chest splits apart, but unlike the larger one it lacks fold out panels, instead it actually splits into shoulder pads or hip plates for his combined modes. When you combine him you see just how different the engineering is on Grand Convoy's two toys.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13.5cm Width: 10cm

   Again a mixture colours, and they work well together in robot mode. His head, shins and fists are solid blue while his arms are red, his feet blue and his thighs and hips dark grey. His torso is the front of the truck in its entirety, so it's mainly white on top and chrome silver at the bottom, and with the wheels on his waist, he's very wide. The windows on his chest are transparent blue, along with the gun. I really like this transparent blue colour - it's a nice change from the sometimes forced bright colours of other toys in this line.

   The wide waist and hips have earned this character the nickname "Fatimus Prime", and these proportions are something this toy has inherited from it's predecessor. The thighs are thicker than the shins - normal for a human but bizarre for a Transformer. While they look unusual, I don't mind the thighs visually - you can slide them down over his calves if you want, which will give his hips greater clearance but leave him with slender thighs (I prefer them up). The odd proportions do get in the way of his poseability a little, but not enough to bother me. As with some of the truck mode aspects, the look bothers me, but he was always going to inherit it.

   Easily the best feature of this toy is the robot mode poseability. His head turns, the shoulders have ratchets and can swing backward (this is identical to G1 Prime, actually), and his arms can swing up to the sides. His elbows are hinged and his wrists can wiggle from side to side, which is because his hands are meant to swing away and replace with four-barrelled silver guns for his upper-half mode. There's nothing stopping these deploying now, so if you want to, you can deploy them.

   His hips rotate and his legs can lift out to the sides. Below the hips are swivels allowing his legs to rotate, and his knees and ankles are hinged. His feet have big heelspurs, making him nice and stable despite the backpack formed by the hitch and rear wheels. The main impediment to his poseability is the fact his front wheels are on his hips, limiting his legs somewhat. With a little work, Grand Convoy can be posed in a wide array of positions. Most of the work is adjusting his feet to keep him upright, they're big enough it's not too tricky.

   The hardpoints are now on his wrists, as mentioned you can swing the hands away and reveal the silver guns, although you lose the hardpoints if you do this. It's possible to mount the gun on the sides of his thighs - on the fuel tanks - if you want to give him G1 cartoon style liquids-up-your-sleeve nozzles.

   Again this mode is quite detailed, and suffers slightly from having to continue some quirks of the character's appearance. But the poseability is great and the colours work really well. He now has a big red Cybertron logo on his right shoulder on the left, and both look good. The head is very reminiscent of G1 Prime's, which I like. The main flaws of this robot mode are the wheels on his waist and associated problems and the fact he's shorter than most Superlink deluxes.

POWERLINXING

   As a top half, Grand Convoy has an enlarged head, thanks to the helmet, which is a more natural size than a lot of powerlinx modes. But he doesn't have proper fists, they swing away to be replaced by the gatling guns. If you swing the hands out, they're upside-down - but you can do so if you want him to hold a weapon, and if the hand is covered by a weapon you don't notice. As a bottom half he has shortish legs and giant hip pads, since the entire chest splits and sits on his waist. The gatling guns can again deploy, but with all that bulk it only really works in certain combinations. I do like the gatling guns, and he looks great linked to Tow-Line, but the do get in the way in many combinations.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, this is a deluxe version of a larger toy, with all new engineering so he can combine with other deluxes. I _really_ like popping him on top of Rodimus - one of the main reasons I got him was to make this combination. He's not quite as good as a the bottom half, although a lot of engineering went into making that possible. While his various combinations are kind of beyond the scope of this review, they do add a lot to the coolness of this toy.

   Released by both Hasbro and Takara - I've not been able to do a direct comparison. No Hasbro variations that I know of, although Takara have done several. There is a limited (special prize) silver version, a limited fire version and a boxset including Kicker and a sword.

OVERALL

   The truck mode is well done, although it's limited by the fact it's a copy of a larger toy, and is pretty much stuck being something unusual. The robot mode is great, his colours work surprisingly well and the transparent blue plastic is a nice change from the silly pinks and greens of a lot of Superlink toys. The whole point of this toy is his ability to combine with other deluxes, and he does that well, so all told Grand Convoy is a good toy - 7.5/10

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