Cliffbee.com: Black Battle Convoy Toy Review

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Name: Black Battle Convoy (AKA Scourge in RiD) - I will be calling this toy Scourge, which reads easier
Series: Car Robots (Robots in Disguise)
Allegiance: Destron
Alternate Mode: Tanker Truck

Thanks to Lord Zed for loaning me Black Battle Convoy for this review.



TRUCK MODE
Height: 12cm Length: 38.5cm Width: 8cm

   A black tanker truck, Scourge is a repaint of Laser Prime with some teal lines on the longnose can, transparent red windows and headlights, a lot of chrome silver on the tanker itself and chrome on the hubcaps. There are some other colours here and there - there's some dark grey visible near the hitch and the smokestacks are a silver plastic (but not chromed). The colours are quite simple, distinctly dark and sinister. There's not really much Optimus Prime here, other than the truck form - the colours do a good job of making this vehicle an evil character.

   The truck has ten plastic tyres, with three pairs on the cab and two at the back of the trailer. There are moulded lights on top of the cabin while the front grille and bumper are chromed. There are a lot of moulded details on this truck - the others are mostly minor, but add up to make this a good truck mode. I'm glad that this toy lacks the typically G2 stickers on the sides of the tank that of Laser Prime - simple works for Scourge and the stickers are a little tacky anyway.

   The hitch turns quite freely, allowing Scourge to turn corners, and his wheels roll quite well. The light gimmicks have been stripped from this figure - although there's a black sticker covering of the battery cover on the back of the cabin. Pink glowing headlights wouldn't have worked, but I am somewhat disappointed with the removal, if only from the point of view of value for money. There's a disc-launcher on top of the trailer which fires large dark brown plastic discs - and while it's intended for the battle station mode, it's easily accessible here. While the play value here isn't that impressive for a toy this big, there's a sackfull coming, so I'm quite happy to forgive this mode's largely static nature. Even the loss of the LED gimmick.

   The colours work well in an evil Optimus Prime clone way - which is great because that's what Scourge represents. The tanker truck is very well designed - the sculpt is good, making this one of the most realistic G2 vehicle modes, and one that is impressive over a decade later. The colours are a bit drab in a way, not as dynamic as Laser Prime's, but they work in the context of the character. My main concern here is the amount of exposed chrome - as great as it looks it is fairly easy to scratch chrome. Lord Zed's does not appear to have any scratches, mind you.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the trailer and set aside. Remove the transparent red sword stowed underneath, set aside for a moment. Extend the hitch section to form his boots, fold up the feet and split the boots. Split the nose, swing out to the sides (dragging the sides with the halves, forming his arms. Stand the robot up, open his waist compartment, swing out the head, rotate the head and close the waist again. Give Scourge his sword and you're done.



ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 14cm

   Again the evil Optimus Prime clone thing is present - and now Scourge just screams evil clone. He's mainly dark grey with some black his boots and forearms, with extensive teal highlights. The chest has false silver truck windows and the black waist panel simulates the grille of a shortnose truck, with simulated headlights on either side - hence the Optimus Prime clone being a prevalent theme here. There's not a lot of colour here, but the red eyes have an amazing lightpipe - he's glowing with a light source off to one side! This colour scheme is all that and a cube of Energon, and while the black and teal has been used by Hasbro & Takara many times since, none of the later uses quite meet the standard set in this robot mode - Scourge looks fantastic - sinister, evil, even demonic - as well as just plain aesthetically pleasing.

   The head is quite obviously Optimus Prime - well, it was. The distinctive mouthplate and crest are present - even if most of the head is now grey. There are silver stickers on his shoulder sporting the Destron logo from Car Robots - essentially an upside-down G1 Autobot logo - on either shoulder. The layout of this robot is great - the huge shoulder pads give Scourge a powerful look, the torso's similarity to the iconic Optimus Prime torso is very well handled and the proportions are good. You don't really notice that the front of the robot mode doesn't actually contain any truck elements (tyres aside) thanks to the truck motif on the torso.

   While modern poseability was only just beginning to appear in the Transformers line during G2, this mould - which was the flagship of the 1995 line - has great articulation. The head and waist turn, the shoulders swing up 90, the elbows bend and there are rotators above the elbows. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees bend and the feet can swing backwards. While the poseability isn't anything special by today's standards, it's still quite good and outdoes many modern Transformers.

   The sword can be held in either hand, and as in truck mode the LED gimmick here is gone. Scourge also comes with a chunky black gun that can plug into his hands, and this weapon also has a lightpipe - the handle and twin barrels are transparent red plastic. The LED in his hand was unable to illuminate the gun, so we don't lose anything here. The impact of the transparent sword is lost a little - and while Scourge isn't claiming to be a Laser Rod, it does work against the sword.

   A great robot mode, visually. Scourge's poseability is great, the layout of the body gives him a powerful look with distinct Optimus Prime overtones. The colours work really well and do a great job of making sure you know that this is an evil Optimus Prime clone. While we lose something in translation thanks to the stripping of electronics, this robot mode still works as well as it did in G2.

TRANSFORMATION TO BATTLE STATION MODE

   In theory you simply fold down the front "cap" of the trailer and in theory everything folds out. You might have to help some of it along - especially the pneumatic launcher. Anyway, the sides fold out and bottom fold out, with a central section becoming a tower, out of which a launcher folds, creating a large cross on the floor. The disc launcher, now on one side, needs to be flipped up, while a pneumatic pump needs to be pulled out and a missile launcher detach and place on top of one side (opposing the disc launcher). Lastly, the black gun attaches to the top of the tower.

BATTLE STATION MODE
Height: 40cm Depth: 45cm Width: 50cm

   The dimensions are approximate - my ruler isn't long enough.

   Primarily black with chrome silver "arms" of the cross, this battle station cannot be manned by Scourge as such but is a self contained offensive platform anyway. Most of various projectiles are dark brown, the main central missile is black with a red rubber tip and the pump is blue. Again there are no stickers on the chrome areas, making this mode a little underdone in terms of detail. The profusion of projectiles helps to draw your attention away from this fact, thankfully.

   There's no real front or back, but for the sake of definition I'm calling the front of the trailer the front. So, on the back end we have a pneumatic missile launcher - which can fire a long black missile. The pump is loose, attached only by a hose, so you can place it wherever is easiest for you to fire. The launcher can aim up and down. The left side has a storage slot for a spare large missile (Scourge comes with two), while the disc launcher sits above this slot, and can be aimed, both up and down and through 360. The discs can only be fired one at a time, but the launcher can store all five discs, which feature large sculpted G2 logos.

   The right side has a large black launcher which holds five smaller missiles. Below this is a storage bay for a further five missiles (Scourge comes with ten), and this launcher is on a ball joint, again giving a good range. The launcher has five distinct buttons on top - you can fire missiles individually or run your finger along, firing them in quick succession - the latter works really well. This launcher can actually be held in Scourge's hand - there's a post specifically for this purpose. Two hands, three weapons - what's an evil clone to do? The designer covered all the angles, something I _really_ like about this mould.

   Seven launchers, seventeen projectiles - this thing is armed to to the teeth. Granted, the loss of the stickers are gone along with much of the detailing, but since it's bristling with firepower, you don't really notice. You can get smaller Destrons to man it in a few locations (Ruination limbs would be appropriate) - The sheer scale of this emplacement is impressive, and with so many projectiles, it provides a great display and is fun to play with.

VARIATIONS

   Sold as both Battle Black Convoy in Japan and Scourge in the USA. Andrew Murchison informs me that RiD Scourge sports Decepticon logos on his shoulders and large ones on both cab doors.

OVERALL

   While the loss of electronics and stickers make Scourge a slightly scrimpy version of this mould, the extensive chrome is retained, so he's still a nice toy. The tanker truck mode is quite good, the robot mode fantastic and the expansive battle station a helluva lot of fun. With seventeen projectiles and a poseable robot, Scourge offers a lot of play value even without LEDs. The colour scheme is awesome - despite being overused since. Scourge is a wonderful example of the evil clone concept - he captures the Optimus Prime look whilst clearly representing an evil character. Recommended to fans of Car Robots/RiD - and recommended to anyone if you don't have the mould - 8.5/10

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