Transformers Review – Beast Wars Neo Big Convoy (Rewind)

Throughout the annals of Transformers history, we have seen numerous incarnations of the legendary Autobot leader Optimus Prime/ Convoy. Throughout the years, we’ve seen him transform into various type of trucks, pickups, fire trucks, gorillas (or modified forms of gorillas) & even a bat (no, I ain’t kidding)! Also, various sorts of names have been associated with the character, or should I say, characters that carry face sculpt of the original G1 Optimus Prime: Grand Convoy (Energon/ Superlink), Fire Convoy (RiD/ Car Robots), God Ginrai (Headmasters & Victory), Galaxy Convoy (Cybertron/ Galaxy Force), Optimus Primal (Beast Wars & Machines), Lio Convoy (Beast Wars Neo), Nemesis Prime (evil incarnations of various Convoys), Laser Prime (G2), Pepsi Prime (a promotional release with Pepsi), Optronix (War Within) & probably even more.
Along the long lines of Prime/ Convoys, one stands out. He is one of the few Primes that do not follow the rules of a normal Prime. He isn’t much of a team leader; in fact he is more of a loner. Though he is a very capable leader, he prefers to get into the midst of battle alone. He is very powerful, & armed with his Big Cannon, he is unstoppable. He is known all over the universe as the One Man (Bot) Army.
He is – Big Convoy…
Okay… okay… he has a hilarious name, so what?! I have no idea what those guys (or gals) at Takara was doing. I mean, they got the hype done perfectly; they did the characterization perfectly; the alternate mode that they have chosen can be justified; but the name?! I mean, come on people, Big Convoy?! For the sake of a better name!!! Beast Wars Neo never made it to the US (or even here in Malaysia), so I guess Hasbro didn’t get the chance to give ol’ Big Convoy a Hasbro-name. I think if I were Hasbro, I might have given him the name Maximus Prime. I think the name reflects the name Big Convoy well.
Anyway, the name aside, like I said earlier, I think Takara made the right choice to choose a woolly mammoth as an alternate mode. I mean, for such a loner & mighty character, it should have an outwardly imposing, insanely powerful & physically massive alternate mode, and what better animal to represent that than a woolly mammoth. Just imagine if you were in the Siberian wilderness some hundreds of thousands of years ago, during the last Ice Age, in the middle of a blizzard, and you see a silhouette of a monstrous mammoth appeared to be charging at you, you’d definitely pee in your pants, literally. So, because of that alone, I think those people at Takara could be forgiven for giving it such a, oh how should we put it, such an unimaginative name to an awesome character.
Honestly, I’ve never expected to ever buy a Big Convoy figure. Yes, I’ve seen him on various websites, and yes, he looked cool, but I just wasn’t that crazy about any Beast Wars/ Machines figures. Plus, prior to this, I have never come across any Big Convoy, or any retooled Big Convoy figures anywhere in this country. So in all, it never come across my mind that I’ll ever get the big guy, although I did tell myself that I might give the figure a shot if I ever come across it in this country.
So lo and behold, it was on a fateful Saturday afternoon, in one of my monthly TF hunts, I came across the big guy. He was a Korean-made figure, released by a company called Sonokong, with approval from Takara. The box was darn huge, and after having doubted that I’ll never see this guy again if I let this one chance go, it was just basic instinct telling me to go and grab him. The rest, as we say, is history…
So despite all the hype, the great characterization & interesting concept of the character, how does the figure fare? Read on…
Alternate Mode:
Like I said earlier, Big Convoy is a woolly mammoth, and a blocky one at that. Yes, the designs are intricate & the fur sculpting looked very realistic, but the figure is basically a brick that doesn’t move at all, save the tail, the ears & the trunk. All four other limbs are immobile due to the transformation method of the figure. One thing worth mentioning here is the trunk, where it is made with good quality rubber, and it can be moved by pressing on a dial at the back of the mammoth’s head. The tusks also move in a goring action whenever an ear is pushed back. Apart from those, then zilch, no more articulations.
Alternate Mode 2:
This is exactly what I hate about 2nd alternate modes. Normally, you just kinda get a feeling that some extra alternate modes are nothing more than just an afterthought. And Big Convoy 2nd alternate mode is a very good example of that notion. The battle mode is nothing more than a modified, half-transformed Big Convoy, with trunk & tail switching places, and thus revealing a big f**kin’ gun – also known as the Big Cannon.
Robot Mode:
Big Convoy is basically a shell-former at its best. If you detach all the beast shells and reattached them together, you can basically get a separate mammoth figure, apart from the robot form of Big Convoy himself. The Ultra-class figure itself looked regal, especially with the shoulder pads having tusks protruding outward. The colors are absolutely right with just the right amount of red, brown, blue & white to the figure. The head sculpt is done perfectly, especially with the horns & eyes. The eyes may look like it, but they are not made from light tubes, rather they are made from highly reflective material that made them appear so. The articulations in this mode is excellent: the head is on a ball joint; the shoulders move up, down & around; the elbows move up, down & around; wrists move up & down; waist; hips & knees. My only complaints concerns the mammoth’s head stick out at the back like a sore thumb. It just looks out of place. However, this issue can be overcome, as will be discussed later.
The back of the mammoth, or literally the parts from the trunk right up to the tail can be detached, and transformed into a gun called Big Cannon – I call the BFG, the Big F**kin’ Gun… The shell on the sides of the legs can shoot anchor-shaped projectiles. The best part however, is kept within the chest piece – the Matrix of Leadership. According to sources, before the Masterpiece Optimus Prime & the Hybrid Optimus Prime, Big Convoy is actually the first ever figure to actually come with an actually removable Matrix. Gold in color, the Matrix actually looked awesome & believable. Sure, it’s not as good at the both the Masterpiece or the Hybrid versions, but it still look fabulously good.
Just this once, I am glad to be proven wrong – not all Beast-related figures suck. Now that after having bought the figure & seen it in real life, I’m actually glad that I didn’t choose to overlook it. It is literally one of the best Beast-related figures ever made, if not he best – literally one of the few gems in a bunch of rubbish. It has just the right amount of transformation difficulties, unlike most other intelligence-insulting-transformation-sequence Beast-figures. Even though it’s not a Takara version, it is still just as bit as good & awesome, and kudos to Sonokong for releasing such great figure.
Also, a big shoutout & thanks to Robot Master for recommending Big Convoy to me. All in all, this is a highly-recommended figure, so go out and get it if you still can.
Final verdict, 9.5/ 10

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