"Legends" Black Convoy Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Car Robots, Destronger, Legends, Tokyo Toy Show, Voyager

Legends

Black Convoy General Information:
Release Date: June 3, 2017
Price Point: 5600 Yen (Convention Price), $89 (Average after market price via online retailers)
Retailer: International Tokyo Toy Show Exclusive
Accessories: Head Master figure, Blaster, Sword

Translation below by Doug Dlin:
Dark Commander
Firm in the belief that he will make the flowers of evil bloom, Black Convoy persists upon the true path of evil. The question is how many Destrons will be able to follow behind a being so absurdly earnest about that path of evil. In that situation, Black Convoy's road to the restoration of the elite cadre of the Destronger corps may yet be long.

Black Convoy was introduced in the 2000 series "Car Robots" series as an "evil clone" of Optimus Prime (it was a bit more complicated than that, but let's go with that for simplicity's sake). In toy form, Black Convoy was a redeco of the "Generation 2" Laser Optimus Prime figure. In the years that followed the character would pop up again here and there in the "Transformers" toy line. Here is a rundown of some of the figures inspired by Black Convoy over the years (not all of these are in the pics below due to being in storage):

There are many others including "Destructicon" Scourge and a Spychanger version of Scourge. While the character is not front and center in current fiction, he has not been forgotten.


Last year, Takara Tomy took the sculpt used for "Titans Return" Optimus Prime with Diac and Laser Prime to create a brand new version of Black Convoy as an International Tokyo Toy Show exclusive! Check out my two original reviews for this sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
The packaging for Black Convoy is very different than the standard "Legends" packaging. It is a solid box with no window and it is only in black and white. It does have the vertical Transformers logo and grid background, so the graphics are familiar but it only features official photos of the toy on the front, back and sides. For a mass release this would be odd, but for a convention exclusive it works just fine.

Head Master

For those wondering, Takara Tomy chose to write out the word "Headmaster" as two separate words on the "Legends" packaging so I am following that convention (as odd as it looks to me).

This figure is a straight up redeco of Diac with no tooling changes. Most of the figure is gunmetal grey while the head and back "face plate" are black. The face is painted silver. The face plate has quite a bit of paint on it. The front facing, vertical panels on the head are painted metallic teal. The crest is silver while the mouthplate is gunmetal grey. The eyes are painted pink (as opposed to red). These are all iconic "Scourge/Black Convoy" colors and they look great together.

The arms on my copy of this figure feel slightly more loose than those on my copy of Diac, but they still pose just fine.

Truck Mode:
There have been no tooling changes to this figure. The truck mode is the same as seen on the previous two releases of this tooling. This works out just fine since a tanker truck is exactly what the original Black Convoy transformed into. It is kind of fun to see how the lineage of the Generation 2 "Laser Optimus Prime" sculpt has come full circle with this figure.

This mode is mostly cast in black plastic, from the front to the back and the wheels. Smaller parts peeking out on the top and bottom are gunmetal grey. The "cockpit" cover on the top of the vehicle is translucent pink plastic. The black color is a good canvas for the other colors (he is Black Convoy after all!).

The paint colors used on this figure are silver, pink and metallic teal. The silver runs along the length of the tanker section and it shows just how much better suited this figure is for paint rather than stickers. Silver is also used on the grille and the sides of the wheels, which looks fantastic. The windows and headlights are pink and finally there are metallic teal lines running along the front end of the truck and on the roof. The deco is absolutely perfect for the character and it calls back to the deco of the original Black Convoy in all the ways that count.

The ports on the sides of allow you to attach his weapons in this form. The blaster adds a bit of play factor since it also becomes a gunnery station of sorts, allowing a Head or Titan Master to sit inside.

Transformation to Plane Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the middle panels on either side back.
  3. Split the rear of the vehicle in the middle, swinging the legs out to the sides.
  4. Swing out the halves of the cockpit section from each leg.
  5. Rotate the cockpit halves around, then out.
  6. Swing the wings up.
  7. Rotate the sections with the rear wheels around.
  8. Push the halves of the plane's front end together.
  9. Swing the middle panels from step two back into place.
  10. Split the front end of the truck and swing each half back.
  11. Rotate the wings around and down.
  12. Swing the rear stabilizer fins up and swing the horizontal ones out to the sides. Push this section forward so it is not extended all the way back.
  13. Swing the chest panel from the robot mode up.
  14. The weapons can be attached to the sides for storage.

Plane Mode:
The original Black Convoy did not have a plane mode so this is unique to this iteration of the character. Still, the designers did a great job of keeping the aesthetic of the character intact for this form. Black is still the base plastic color, but it shows off much more gunmetal grey via the wings and tail section. In some ways this deco mirrors the truck mode. The nosecone has pink windows and metallic teal lines painted along the sides. Of course, most of this mode is made up of the tanker section so silver is the most prominent color.

You can still lift up the cockpit cover in the back to allow the Head Master to sit inside. You can store the weapons on the sides and there are four Titan Master pegs on top for the little guys to ride on top.

Transformation to Robot Mode (from Plane Mode):

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the front ends of the truck mode up, then rotate them around. On each forearm swing out the fists.
  3. Swing up the top part of the cab section on each side, then rotate it around to form the shoulders.
  4. Swing the chest panel down.
  5. Fold the wings in, then collapse the rear fins down.
  6. Split the main body of the plane.
  7. Rotate the halves of the cockpit section around, then swing them up into the legs.
  8. Rotate the sections with the rear wheels on them out to the sides, swing out the feet, then swing the sections down all the way.
  9. Swing the middle panels from the back section of the vehicle mode down.
  10. Push the hip section forward.
  11. Transform the Head Master into the head and connect it to the main body.
  12. Press the grille section to have the "antennae" on the head section pop up.
  13. The weapons can be placed in either hand.

Robot Mode:
While Black Convoy looks great in both his vehicle modes, this is the mode that really sold me on the figure. As you would expect, black and gunmetal grey are the primary colors used on the figure. The colors alternate nicely, preventing the figure from looking monotonous.

The beauty of this figure is the use of silver, black and metallic teal paint. Taking a cue from the original Black Convoy figure, there are metallic teal details running all over the figure. From the shoulders to the knees there are bits of the teal everywhere. Perhaps the best choice was to use the teal to outline the shoulder and chest sections which give the figure a very unique appearance. Black and silver are used together on the shoulders and chest. One of my favorite touches is the "Destronger" symbol (really, an upside down Generation 2 Autobot symbol) painted on his chest. This was one of the most memorable and distinct elements of the "Car Robots" Destrongers and I am very happy it has been included on this figure.

All the joints on my copy of this figure are just as tight as the other versions I have. There were no tooling changes made for this release.

Final Thoughts:
Black Convoy is not exactly the most creative redeco out there given the source material, but he is a beautiful one. That said, on average he is going to cost you about 2-3 times what the original Voyager Class Optimus Prime cost at current market prices so that will turn off a lot of fans and I totally get that. This is mainly recommended for higher end collectors who are okay dropping almost an entire bill on a Voyager Class figure.

Pros:

  • Excellent homage.
  • Fantastic deco using paint instead of stickers.
  • Tooling is still holding up well.
  • Great play value.

Cons:

  • Exclusive nature means an expensive price point.