Wednesday, 29 September 2010

From the Vault, THS02 Hybrid Style Convoy


I was digging around in my cupboard the other day and found this gem.  Another Convoy?  Pfaaah! I hear you say.  Well yeh, it is another Convoy, but it's a special one you know.


THS-02 is  a short lived series.  THS stands for 'Transformers Hybrid Style' and Convoy here is number 2 int he series of 2.    If my memory serves me correctly, this line was produced as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Microman line that is also made by Takara and was a clever combination of Microman articulation and Transformers.  The box has a little foil tag stating the designer who made this toy, Shoji Kawamori, so I guess it is something special.  At the time (circa 2006), I believe that celebrity designers were a bit of rage.  Masterpiece Starscream was designed by a famous Gundam designer in the same year.

But first a little history on the joys of Microman.  My first introduction was from Kicker of the Super Link (Energon for the English world) line of Japanese Transformers.  I got him as my first human representation in Transformers, although I guess Masterforce figures could count,  but at the time I only had Headmasters and they are Nebulans.  Microman figures are about 10cm tall and boat 30 or just over points of articulation.  Brilliant!  Microman is believed to have been the precursor to parts of the Transformers line.  Oddly enough though the Microman line came from the G.I Joes of the early years, except Takara wanted smaller figures.  Funny little circle of life that.

So the overall idea was to combine Convoy here with cool Microman goodness.   It worked for 50% of the figure.  It was a strange start to the Hybrids though, Convoy here is number 2.  Who did they start with?  Galvatron?  Megatron? Grimlock?  Someone really awesome?  Eeeeer, well kind of... Galaxy Convoy (or Cybertron series Optimus Prime).  Although at the time, Galaxy Force was in full swing and most of the toys in that series are pretty well designed.  Galaxy Convoy in particular was really good.  I will get to him later though.

On with G1 Convoy.  The box has a nice uplifting flap so you can look at the toy and it has nice foil bits here and there.  Very nice presentation indeed.  It actually states this as being "Original Supreme leader Convoy."  Pushing the "original" side  of things quite a bit.  Nice artwork on the front and sides.  The back promotes the gimmicks.


Once out of the box, you find him enclosed withing his plastic prison and a lot of accessories!    Once released and pulled front he case, you find that Convoy is tiny!  10cm tall, just like an average Micromna figure, but he is very, very weighty.  It turns out that he has a lot of die-caste metal in his little body.  Sadly much much more than your average deluxe of nowadays... The calves and some of his groin and chest is metal.  very nice, but then that is what one wold expect considering the price he was asking for.  5000 yen.  Approximately voyager price for a scout sized figure, but then most scouts don't come with what all good Convoy's need, a kick are trailer.



Yep, this Convoy is a complete Convoy, that is for sure.  Trailer, drone thing, and best of all Roller.  That can be looked at later.  Convoy himself looks great in robot mode, he has plenty of detail and articulation, maybe not 30 points, but it's pretty damn good.  He sports the usual G1 Prime colours, red chest and blue legs.  the feet have nice light details for the truck and the legs have the moulded vents in them.  His smokestacks and fuel tanks can be rotated as some kind of weapon systems, in fat the fuel tanks even go so far as to have little machine gun barrels on them for effect.   The smoke stacks just look kind of lame when pointed forward and in my opinion just look nicer as smoke stacks.  He has a nice insignia printed on his left shoulder despite the artwork on the box having one for each.  the head is nicely made and conveys the look of the cartoon character well.  the paint apps are all very good.  My only real complaint with the making of the figure is his 'kimono sleeve' fore arms, to transform you need to flip these bits over his hands and they aren't attached very strongly so without fail they will come off.  Luckily they attach really easy and you can go on your merry way, it is just a tad frustrating.

This figure is really well detailed, and quite a surprise.  often referred to as "mini masterpiece Prime" due to the detail and look of the figure.  He comes with some accessories aside from the trailer which also add to the reasoning for the title.  A rather mice looking energon axe, his faithful convoy gun, which can be changed so it can mount onto Roller and also be held in both hands and probably the one I liked the most, a Matrix and a matrix compartment in his chest for holding said matrix!  WHAAAAAaaaaAAAT?  Its quite cool, the windows open, a bit flips up and inside is a little matrix for him to er, well... give to Hot Rod?

Here we go

AACHOO!  I hate it when that happens!

Ooooh! Whats this thing?

Lets hope its not my robo heart!

Light our darkest Hour!  Where's that music coming from?

Clever fists for Matrix holding.

And from the front.

It also come with a jetpack which looks cool and fits nicely.  It actually has straps that link around the shoulders of Convoy, which is a cool addition as they could've just opted for a clip on thing into his back but they didn't, they went that little bit extra and it works nicely.  The backpack is held well.  He also comes with a nice shiny Autobot symbol and a stick.  The stick plugs in the top of the symbol and becomes a nifty stand for those hard to make flying poses( because it can't really fly...).

    



To infinity! AND BEYOND!

 He comes with a variety of optional hands as well.  Pointing, open, closed and matrix holding, which are quite clever really.  The trailer can be used as a repair bay thing and has places to store the axe, gun and hands.  It can also be made into a gun pod thing, which is a new addition, via some handles on the repair drone  Included is a type of auto transform for the trailer which is neat, when you crack it open the support legs underneath automatically fold out too.  Very nice.


The Drone for the trailer is kind of plain, it has the claw and the radar, but no missiles this time.  There is a little hole int he top of the trailer, so the done can still be made to pop out the top whilst in vehicle mode if you so desire, it rotates around and this is a nice option from the original Optimus' trailer that I really like to see back again. The trailer has more options than the old trailer, and the back doors can be be swung open and a small ramp for Roller can be popped out via a nifty button press under the side of the trailer.  Overall the trailer is really well executed and a very cool update and nice accessory.

 Roller is awesome!  He comes with a little light on the back half which can be folded down so a hole is there for either mounting the gun, or the good old petrol line thingamabob, which in this version comes with a piece of wire for the hose.  What I was really impressed with was that roller has wheels that turn, not only that, they are linked together, so if you turn the fronts ones, the back ones turn accordingly!!!  WOW!  Roller is cute and has lots of cool moulding detail, as does the rest of the trailer as well.

Now onto the vehicle mode.  Hmm, what to say, transformation is pretty complex for such a little toy.  At times parts can feel a bit flimsy, his abdominal area that holds the wheels of the truck are the definite worry areas.  There is one big flaw in the vehicle mode for this toy...

Look at that truck mode...
It's kind of ugly.
It suffers the same problem that the Robotmasters version of Convoy has, the front of the cab doesn't fit together nicely.  The front wheel are a little small and hidden under the rims too much as well.  From the back, it is quite noticeable that the robot legs are hanging out.  they can be slid up his thighs to reduce length, but they are still too long and make the truck look out of proportion.  On the plus side, the trailer fits nicely and is articulated as well nice.  The light details and overall paint on the truck is pretty darn fine and make the truck look acceptable, just a shame about the shape really. The trailer can have the jetpack plugged into the front to form a wind break, a little bit like a certain G2 Prime.

Overall, the robot mode is awesome, cool poses, lots of accessories and fun to be had all over the place.  It;'s interaction with the very cool trailer makes the robot mode a joy to behold, sadly though, in such a small size, the vehicle mode has been compromised greatly.  Still, a figure like this you don't really buy for the vehicle.  Keep him in robot mode and just think of it as nice novelty that it transforms.  The price is a bit of a put off, especially if you can find one now.  I am not sure of current prices, but it has probably gone up from it's voyager equivalent pricing.  Still its better value than some of the Disney label stuff I think.

The rest of my pics.

 Gun holding options and Kimono sleeve arms.













 Roller, so many shades of awesome.






Trailer, pretty cool trailer.  I think they used an upscaled version of this trailer for the MP04 'Complete Convoy' who isn't complete because he didn't come with Roller..
The cockpit of the drone opens up too!




New gunpod mode

Repair bay mode.  Optimus can be clicked into the base, as his feet are off the ground.


Ugly cab mode.



 Rear doors wing out and...
 ... A Little ramp can be released for Roller..



Even despite the poor cab mode,  the combined trailer and truck is still pretty awesome.







Jetpack attached to the trailer.






Toe details.

"Hey man, welcome.  We are all friends here, except for those darn Decepticons!"


This final pic shows advert/flyer thing that was included in the box.  So from left to right, we have flyer, instructions and bio card.  The flyer had some early design pictures of Mastepiece Starscream.  It is very g1 looking and comes with a coronation crown.  No mention of the cape, but definitely had the crown.  The concept was very nice and looked fantastic and was very cool.  Then we got the ugly Greenscream 'masterpiece' that was masterpiece Starscream.  Shame really because the concept pics were really really nice.

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