Cliffbee.com: Jafcon Convoy Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Convoy (Optimus Prime)
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Autobot Leader
Alternate Mode: Semi Trailer Truck

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Jafcon Convoy for this review.



TRUCK MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 31cm Width: 7cm

   A black repaint of Optimus Prime with a charcoal trailer, Convoy is a shortnose truck with three axles on the cabin and two on the trailer. There are the standard stickers here - the silver stripe stickers on the cabin and the blue and silver stickers on the trailer. There are red Autobot logos on the trailer stickers and on either side of the cabin, The headlights, smokestacks, wheels, grille and bumper are chrome, as on the regular version. While this repaint harks to the dead, colour-drained, Optimus Prime from Transformers: The Movie, there's no specific theme or justification for this variant. Having said that, it does a pretty good job of representing that image - aside from the red Autobot logos which stand out quite a bit on what's still an attractive repaint.

   The chrome is complimented by rubber tyres while the windows are a transparent orange. The section on the front with the windows is die-cast metal. The wheels all turn, and he has three axles, at the very front and very back of the vehicle, meaning he rolls pretty well - most Diaclone based Autobots don't have any axles. The joint between the cab and trailer turns freely, though if you lift him up it comes apart. The back of the trailer opens, although not with two side-hinged doors but one at the bottom. This is a bit unnatural since this rear panel has a centre join and side hinges moulded onto it. There's a seemingly mysterious hole on top of the trailer, which is actually there so the drone inside the trailer can stick out in this mode. It's not featured in the instructions, but was a deliberate feature of the original Diaclone toy.

   Despite a couple of little flaws, such as a random hole and a oddly opening door, the truck mode is nice, lots of detail, and it does pretty much all you can ask of from a toy truck this size, save for being motorised. While most fans will find the robot mode more appealing on this variant, I'm happy to report that the black truck does look quite good - and the choice of charcoal on the trailer adds a little more realism than a black one would have provided.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the truck from it's trailer, swing the rear down and the fold the feet down, Prime can now stand up. Grab the headlights and swing them out to form the forearms, them fold out the rear of the cabin out to form the shoulders. There's a panel at the top, flip it over to reveal the head. Attach the fists into the holes in the headlights. You can actually store the fists in his chest cavity, the Diaclone pilot's cabin can open and the two seats are just the right size for the fists.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 9.5cm

   A black robot mode with chrome on his thighs, waist and groin, Prime has a silver mouthplate and yellow eyes (as on the regular toy). The stickers are the same as the regular version, adding some colour on his feet, forearms and knees. The red Autobot logo stickers on his shoulders add in some more colour. There's too much colour here for this to be a deliberate "death scene" Optimus Prime, but there's so much black here that it works to that end, anyway. If you really want that look, you can always leave the stickers off anyway. Again, this is an aesthetically appealing colour scheme.

   He sports smokestacks on his shoulders which can double as quasi-guns, since they can swivel on their attachment posts. I'm not sure if this was intended when they designed him as a Diaclone. He comes with a handgun, and this version has the G1 fists with raised rims allowing him to hold the handgun.

   The chrome adds a good dash of colour to break up the black and provide some definition, ensuring that this black figure looks sharp and still manages to represent Convoy (Optimus Prime). In fact nothing really looks bad, even if the colours on the stickers can detract from the death scene thing - if you're after that look.

   One oddity in this mode is that the wheels on his legs have a guard above them - which basically means that in truck mode it's on the front of the wheels. Luckily, though, this is only really noticeable in this mode.

   Optimus Prime was probably the most poseable toy of 1984. There are two joints per shoulder, two joints per elbow and fists that can swivel - giving him pretty much full arm poseability. He has hips that can swivel back and knees that bend - and the knee joints have nothing to do with the transformation. He stacks up well against most of G1 in poseability terms - even Actionmasters - he's more poseable than Actionmaster Prime! By 2000 (the year this variant was sold), the technology here was very old, but he's so iconic that it still works.

   A good robot mode with a nice layout of truck elements, now done in black. The red and blue of the regular version are both replaced by black, which works well combined with the chrome - if anything it accentuates the chrome here. The poseability is enough to make this iconic figure interesting despite the years that have passed. The death scene thing works well here, aside from the yellow eyes (and optional stickers).

BASE MODE
   I won't cover the base in great detail - it's all in the review, and the robot mode is the focus here anyway. The blue sections - Roller and the tower - are painted black and all the elements which are black on the regular toy black here. The charcoal is close enough to the black that it looks black at a glance. Without the chrome of the robot component, the base does look very dull.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. This repaint was sold exclusively at JafCon, a Japanese Transformers convention in the year 2000.

OVERALL

   Sure the mould is dated and has been used many times, but it's a good mould - and an iconic one. The extensive chrome, die cast metal and rubber tyres all work in his favour. The trailer doesn't really work so well in all black, but the robot mode and truck cab are quiet striking, and this repaint works well as the dead Prime we saw in the film. JafCon Convoy is an expensive and tricky to find repaint, so I can't really recommend him - but this is an appealing repaint - 8/10

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