"Generations" Selects Star Convoy Toy Review

in 2019, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Generations, Hasbro Pulse, Leader, Selects

Generations Selects

General Information:
Release Date: November 2019
Price Point: $79.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Hasbro Pulse Exclusive Import (also sold at other import shops including TF Source and Ages 3 & Up)
Accessories: Ion Blaster (splits into two weapons), Matrix, Trailer/Armor

Star Convoy

Official images and text below in italics are from Hasbro:
The Transformers Generations Selects TT-GS01 Star Convoy Optimus Prime figure was imported directly from Japan in its original packaging with Japanese-language instructions, featuring authentic Takara Tomy design and deco. Perfect for collectors seeking the ultimate Transformers experience, this figure showcases the Autobot Leader with premium deco and detail inspired by the Transformers: Return of Convoy storyline featured in the Transformers: Battlestars manga.

This Generations Selects TT-GS01 Star Convoy figure includes a trailer accessory that breaks apart to form the Star Convoy evolution armor, and a multi-part Ion Blaster that combines with the Matrix of Leadership to form the powerful Matrix Weapon, Big Bang Cannon. Converts from robot to truck mode in 14 steps. Convert trailer/evolution armor and Optimus Prime to Star Convoy in 34 steps.

  • INCLUDES: Optimus Prime figure, trailer/evolution armor, Ion blaster, matrix frame, and matrix core and instructions.
  • AUTHENTIC TAKARA TOMY PRODUCT: Takara Tomy Generations Selects TT-GS01 Star Convoy, as sold in Japan, with original packaging and Japanese-language instructions
  • PREMIUM COLLECTIBLE: This premium figure is fully jointed and highly articulated, with detailed deco and accessories inspired by the Transformers: Return of Convoy storyline featured in the Transformers: Battlestars manga
  • COMPLEX CONVERSION: Figure converts from robot to truck mode in 14 steps. Convert trailer and Optimus Prime to Star Convoy in 34 steps. Perfect for fans and collectors who prefer more challenging conversions
  • INCLUDES: Optimus Prime figure, trailer that becomes Star Convoy evolution armor, Ion blaster, matrix frame, and matrix core
  • Figure scale: 9 inches
  • Ages 15 and up

Star Convoy was an incarnation of Optimus Prime/Convoy introduced in 1991 as part of the "Return of Convoy" series of toys. This small line of Transformers figures capped off Generation One with several Cybertrons (aka Autobots) fighting against the forces of Dark Nova and Super Megatron. This unique version of Optimus Prime/Convoy transformed from a robot, to a futuristic truck to a Micromaster base. On a personal level, I have a deep affection for Star Convoy as he was given to me as a surprise combined birthday/Christmas present in 1991. I loved the play patterns in the Star Convoy figure and it remains a favorite of mine to this day.

Most of the Generations Selects figures have been shared "Fan Channel" exclusives between various stores such as BWTF sponsor BigBadToyStore and affiliate site Entertainment Earth. However, this release of Star Convoy is different. For the most part this figure was a Hasbro Pulse exclusive, but many other "Fan Channel" type online shops also carried it as an import including Ages 3 & Up and TF Source.

Star Convoy is a redeco and retool of the Power of the Primes Optimus Prime figure. You'll want to check out that review before this one. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
Star Convoy Optimus Prime is packaged in a similar style box as other Selects releases such as Lancer and Hot Shot with some additional layers, literally. The outer most layer is a thin box that says "TT-GS01" (standing for Takara Tomy Generations Selects 01) in large letters. Under that is the Transformers logo and under that is a Generations Selects logo. Towards the bottom it says "Authentic Takaratomy Product As Sold In Japan." to really drive home that this is an import.

Open that box up and inside is a black and white layer with the vertical Transformers logo, a line drawing of Star Convoy along with Generations Selects and Star Convoy logos. In the corner is Takara Tomy's Transformers 35th Anniversary logo. Take that laye roff and you reveal a cardboard box with a large Autobot symbol on the front and the Generations Selects logo on the side. Fold open the box top and you reveal Star Convoy sitting in a plastic tray in vehicle mode. The interior of the box features a grid pattern with the Generations Selects logo. The packaging really does set itself apart from other Selects releases and it looks great.

Accessories:
Star Convoy includes three accessories. The first two are the same two blasters that were included with Power of the Primes Optimus Prime. These two can be held as separate weapons or combined into Prime's rifle.

The third accessory is the "Silver Matrix". This is not some metaphor. This is literally a Matrix that has been vacuum metallized silver. Unlike the Power of the Primes Matrix accessories you cannot remove the middle section and replace it with a Prime Master. This is just one solid piece.

The Silver Matrix can be used in two ways. First you can fit it inside Optimus' chest. However, you can also combine it with the two halves of the rifle by plugging it into the middle between the two halves. This forms the "Big Bang Cannon". I do wish the parts of the Big Bang Cannon held together more tightly. They're fine for display, but rattle the weapon around a bit and a piece will fall off fairly easily. This may only be an issue with my copy but it is something to be conscious of.

Vehicle Mode:
A bit of context helps when looking at this vehicle mode. The catalog artwork for G1 Star Convoy showed a dramatic image of Convoy (aka Optimus Prime) powering up from his G1 toy form to his "Action Master" form (which you could tell by the weapon he was holding) and finally his Star Convoy form. This vehicle mode appears to represent Optimus Prime's G1 vehicle mode more so than his Star Convoy vehicle mode.

This winds up being a bit of a cheat because this means the designers were able to get away with only modifying a couple of bits on the cab section, and those were for its robot mode. From a sculpt perspective this is pretty much the same as Power of the Primes Optimus Prime. This is really disappointing because I think there were some opportunities here to make it more like G1 Star Convoy's vehicle mode. For instance, the dual cannons that wind up on his shoulders in robot mode could have been accessories with 5mm pegs that could have attached to the top of the trailer. Also, the front of the cab could have had a different piece in front to make it a longnose truck like G1 Star Convoy.

Where this figure does differ from its predecessor is the deco. The main colors are still red, silver, blue and black but the red is a tad deeper than the red used on Power of the Primes Optimus Prime and the blue looks a tiny bit darker. The windows on the front of the cab are clear with only a slight hint of color. You can easily see the Matrix Chamber (and Matrix if you have it inside).

The deco pattern on this figure is almost the same as Power of the Primes Optimus Prime's. There is plenty of silver on the cab section but on this figure they actually painted the sides of the wheels whereas these were left unpainted on Power of the Primes Optimus. Also, the blue paint used on the side windows of the cab is darker than the previous release.

In another interesting change involves the stickers on the sides of the trailer. Like Power of the Primes Optimus Prime, the stickers have a silver background with blue stripes and an Autobot symbol towards the front. However, the version of the stickers on this figure have thinner blue lines and the blue color is slightly darker than the previous release. Sadly there is a missed opportunity here. G1 Star Convoy had silver and blue stripe stickers running down the sides as well, but they were in a different pattern than these stickers. It would have been cool to use that pattern instead as a nod to G1 Star Convoy in this mode.

The top of the trailer has two 5mm ports, allowing you to attach weapons to them. The same area also has four Titan/Prime Master pegs, allowing you to have some passengers riding on top.

Transformation to Robot Mode (Cab):

  1. Separate the cab from the trailer.
  2. Swing the panels with the front wheel wells up.
  3. Swing the side panels out, then forward.
  4. Swing the sections with the two rear wheels down, then separate them from one another to begin forming the legs.
  5. Swivel each lower leg so the wheels face the back.
  6. Swing each foot out.
  7. Swing the robot arms back, then rotate the lower part of the arms around.
  8. Swing the fists out of the forearms.
  9. Swing the torso panel up and swing the head down.

Robot Mode (Cab):
With Power of the Primes Optimus Prime, the cab section transformed into Orion Pax before combining with the trailer and "evolving" into Optimus Prime. This time out, the robot mode of the trailer represents Optimus Prime but as an interesting blend of his original G1 toy and "Action Master" Optimus Prime. To achieve this, several parts were swapped. Here's a rundown:

  • The head sculpt is a new one based on the original G1 Optimus Prime. Perhaps the most distinctive design elements are a series of vertical lines on the sides of the mouthplate. Also, the crest and eyes are colored yellow, echoing the original Optimus' eye color.
  • The arms are all new pieces. They are basically thin and rectangular, calling back to the design of "Action Master" Optimus Prime's arms. There are also smokestacks on the back of each shoulder.
  • The entire torso panel has been replaced with a new one. This one features classic Optimus Prime designs such as windows on the chest and lights on top. Like "Action Master" Optimus Prime the raised lines that flank the grille are angled.
  • The lower legs (but not the feet) are new featuring layered panels in front that look like vents.

I really love the look of this figure. It merges design elements from two different Optimus Prime figures from the past into a sleek looking form.

Red, dark silver, blue and black plastic are the base plastic colors in this mode. Paint colors in this mode include silver, yellow and metallic blue. Each shoulder has an Autobot symbol on it to round out the deco. I love the deco on this figure. He has more paint than Orion Pax did and he looks fantastic!

Optimus Prime has seventeen points of articulation in this form. This includes four in each arm and leg. His fists have 5mm ports, allowing him to hold the two blaster weapons.

Transformation to Star Convoy Mode:

  1. Starting with the cab, swing the fists into the forearms.
  2. Swing the forearms up over the upper arms.
  3. Swing each foot into the base of each leg.
  4. Swing the chest panel down.
  5. Swing Star Convoy's head up.
  6. Swing the smaller head behind the chest panel, then swing the chest panel up.
  7. Rotate each leg around.
  8. Swing each leg up, connecting the blue tabs on the lower legs into the slots on the chest piece.
  9. Moving on to the trailer, start by lifting up the panels on the sides towards the middle/front.
  10. Swing the arms up and out to the sides.
  11. Swing the arms up.
  12. On each forearm, fold up the panels to collapse them against the forearm.
  13. On each shoulder, swing the panels with the dual cannons on them up and snap them in place.
  14. Split the rear halves of the trailer to begin forming the legs.
  15. Swing each foot down.
  16. Collapse the panels on the legs together, then swing them back into a "U" shape and then swing them back to form the sides and back of each lower leg.
  17. Straighten out each leg.
  18. Rotate each arm around and straighten them out.
  19. Swing the gold "star" piece in the chest out.
  20. Slide the cab/chest/head section into the open slot in the chest.
  21. Swing the star piece up and connect the tab on it to the open slot on the chest.
  22. Attach the weapon to either fist (or you can split the rifle into two weapons).

Some fans have had issues with the star piece connecting properly to the chest. I recommend making sure the chest piece is pushed all the way forward. Make sure the smokestacks on the shoulders of the cab section are tucked in so they are mostly out of sight. When I did this the star piece held in place without a problem.

Robot Mode (Star Convoy):
The cab is not the only part of Power of the Primes Optimus Prime with a bunch of retooled parts. This mode also features several new or modified sections. Here's the list:

  • The head is a brand new sculpt based on G1 Star Convoy's head. While it has elements of the classic Optimus Prime head design, it also features "horns" similar to those on G1 Prowl's head and angled sections on the sides connected to the antennae. It's a beautiful sculpt and I like it a lot.
  • The shoulders have been modified to accomodate two dual barreled cannons. These are based on the design of G1 Star Convoy's cannon. At the same time, the smokestacks have been removed.
  • The aforementioned "star" on the chest is based on a design feature on G1 Star Convoy's chest.
  • The mid-body/waist area features all new sculpting. The "headlights" in that section are based off the ones from G1 Star Convoy's vehicle mode while the waist area is based on the design of the waist panel from G1 Star Convoy.
  • The lower legs (but not the feet) are new pieces. Instead of the typical "panels/vent lines" seen on Optimus Prime leg designs, these legs have knee armor that sticks out in front and raised sections under them. On G1 Star Convoy these were panels that could swing out in the base mode but here they are more decorative and do not move.

The deco on this figure is similar to Power of the Primes Optimus Prime but it has several influences that come directly from G1 Star Convoy. Sure the top of the body is still mostly red while silver and blue make up the bottom but there's quite a bit going on with this deco. Here's a rundown:

  • The head sculpt has a blue "helmet" and silver mouthplate, but there is also vacuum metallized silver on the "horns" going above the eyes. To add an extra special touch, there is a tiny bit of gold color in the center.
  • The "star" on the torso is vacuum metallized gold. This piece was flat yellow on G1 Star Convoy but I love how extra special the vac metal makes this figure look.
  • Each shoulder has large Autobot symbols with yellow "V" shaped lines under them. This is a callback to the stickers on G1 Star Convoy's shoulders.
  • The faux headlights on the waist area are painted yellow with a silver background.
  • The silver in the middle of the crotch area is a callback to silver sticker designs in the same area on G1 Star Convoy.
  • The knee armor pieces are painted yellow.
  • The feet are painted gunmetal grey, a modern callback to the black feet on G1 Star Convoy.
  • The fists are silver, which would normally be "off model" for Optimus Prime, but here they work since G1 Star Convoy's fists were white.

Overall I love the deco in this mode. Star Convoy has more front facing paint applications than Power of the Primes Optimus and this mode does not rely on stickers to provide detailing. While I am an Old Skool fan, I much prefer paint and tampographs over stickers.

There are twenty one points of articulation on this figure. That includes four in each arm and six on each leg. Almost all of these are just as tight as those on my copy of Power of the Primes Optimus Prime. The exceptions are the feet, which is not ideal since the way the ankles are designed these joints really need to be firm for him to stand well. Each of the ankle joints are just a tad more loose on my copy of Star Convoy than Power of the Primes Optimus. This means he can stand and pose, but you need to spend an extra minute adjusting them just so in order for the figure to stand. I have not seen rampant reports of "loose ankles" on Star Convoy so it is possible this is specific to my copy.

Like Power of the Primes Optimus Prime you can connect weapons with 5mm pegs to the sides of the forearms and in his fists. The addition of the dual barreled cannons on top of his shoulders gives him some extra weaponry. Each cannon can turn and you can move the cannon barrels up and down. To reveal the Matrix in his chest, you have one extra step: moving the "star" down. I recommend being very careful with this piece. It feels like fairly thin plastic so to parrot old instruction booklets: Excessive Force is Not Necessary!

Final Thoughts:
I have a deep affection for the Star Convoy character ever since I received G1 Star Convoy as a combined birthday/Christmas gift many years ago. I love the idea of a super powered up Optimus Prime who can also become a base. This modern version is less elaborate in some ways than his G1 predecessor, but it is still a very cool idea for a retool/redeco that I did not see coming. That said, he is somewhat expensive now (averaging over $90 USD versus his original $80 USD price) so he will likely only appeal to real hardcore fans of this characters. Recommended, but for a very specific audience.

Pros:

  • Retooling including the new head and shoulder cannons look great.
  • New deco looks great, especially in "Star Convoy" mode.
  • Fun play value.
  • A fun callback to a relatively obscure character.

Cons:

  • Ankles are slightly more loose than those on my Power of the Primes Optimus Prime.
  • The "star" piece is made of relatively thin plastic and feels delicate.
  • I would have preferred the shoulder cannons have been detachable so they can be used in vehicle mode.