Friday, 10 June 2011

THS01 Galaxy Convoy.

This Galaxy Convoy is from the very short run of figures known as Transformers Hybrid Style.  The only others in this line was the THS02 Convoy and a recolour of Convoy in Black that was an E-hobby exclusive THS02-B.  The concept was a combination of Microman articulation with Transformers.  If my memory serves me correctly, this line started on the 20th anniversary of Microman.  At the time, Galaxy Force (The English version was the Cybertron line of Transformers) had just started and so the Convoy of that line was the first try.

I found the decision to go with Galaxy Convoy over G1 Convoy first a bit of a shock, especially with the new concept.  I guess it was a bit of a gamble in a way, after all they had the new TV show to support the figure, yet G1 Convoy always seems pretty popular.  The Galaxy Force (GF) line was aimed solely at children, there was little of interest in the cartoon to adults, although some of the toys were pretty good.  The Hybrid Style series wasn’t cheap, about the price of a voyager size Transformer and you will soon see that it is quite small, so THS here wasn’t aimed at children.

I am glad they did give this a go, as it is quite a nice figure and I thought that Galaxy Convoy was one of the better designed Convoys to come out (well his predecessors were Armada and Energon, which were both pretty poor) in recent times.

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You can see from the box alone that this is aimed as a premium figure.  It has a viewing flap to look at the toy and the foil in the cover make it quite cool to look at.  The Autobot and Decepticon insignias on the front cover aren’t all that noticeable until you view the box at the right angle.   The TV series combined old fashioned 2-d drawing style with 3-d rendered models for the Transformers.  The box uses the computer render from the cartoon for Galaxy Convoy on the front.

As you can see opening the flap reveals the figure and accessories and the top of the flap has some gimmick information on it.

He comes with a good load of accessories, most of which also come with the Leader sized Galaxy Convoy.  A couple of extras are included though.

Some interchangeable hands and heads are here and instead of one Force Chip that looks a little like the Matrix, he gets two!

The printing of the box and inserts are really quite nice.  All the drawn shots of Convoy on the cover and instructions use the animation model from the cartoon.  Which isn’t bad, as it was pretty close, it had been slimmed down to make him look a bit better and more in proportion, but was still close enough.
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The instructions use photos of proto(type)s with high lighted bits when required.
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He also has a bio card with stats and the like on it. The instructions have a very Masterpiece feel to them.  Mini-masterpiece Galaxy Convoy!?

Accessory wise, you can see the parts of his truck mode littered about the box.
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You can see the back pack, extra heads, Force chips, hands and shins for super mode.

On to the robot now.  He doesn’t stand very tall, about 6 or 7 centimetres tall, but he is pretty hefty.  The die cast metal in his bod sure helps in making him impressive.  One wouldn’t expect something this small to have so much metal in it.  It’s mostly concentrated in his waist and legs, which go a long way to aiding stability, something his larger brother suffers in super mode.

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For such a small toy, sculpting is pretty damn good.  Plus he has all the features of the larger version too!  Quite remarkable!  the head is well done, even to the point that the joints for these side bits that flip out have been sculpted there too!  I was especially impressed with the matrix that he comes with.  It fits in his chest and the compartment opens, exactly like the larger one, and the matrix is removable!!

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Please note, the Matrix is very small.  Big fingered fellows, please be aware.  I don’t really consider myself to have fat fingers by any means, yet I have trouble getting it in and out.  Plus I suspect it may be easily lost.  It does have good sculpted features and a little spot of paint in appropriate areas.
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Uh-oh, better watch out Scourge!

The transformation is pretty clever. and copies the larger one very very closely.  It even has a tiny bit more complexity,  such as the fold away lever in his back and springs on the wheels on his calves.  Actually the big one has this too.
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Other accessories are a set of 3 hands. His guns, which plug into the back pack and Force Chips.

The hands he gets are one set for holding the guns, and open hand, a pointing hand and some closed fists.  He doesn’t have a set of hands for opening the Matrix, as this Convoy doesn’t do that. The Matrix just floats in and out of his chest as required.
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They allow for some dynamic looks!  I like them.

His gun is nicely sculpted as well.
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The Force Chips that he comes with are tiny as well.  They look like the Matrix styled one that the Leader size Convoy comes with.  Leader version comes with 1 Matrix looking one and one normal Autobot one.  THS here has 2 Matrix ones, no Autobot ones.  The detail is pretty good on these.
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These are the last two pieces, the back-pack and the calf bits for super mode.  Again very nicely sculpted details on them, and they will get more attention in their respective sections, because they are fairly useless by themselves.

The back pack serves as a back pack (duh) for super mode, the back of the truck and as a small weapons base.  I guess one could call it an artillery cannon or something like that.  The large pieces clip inside to provide some bulk.
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I must say that I do like the silver plastic they used for the cannons.  It is actually pretty silvery indeedy!

Those bits combine with Galaxy Convoy to form,  Galaxy Convoy – Super Mode!!
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He now stands about deluxe size.

He has long legs and short arms.  He does look very cool though!  I really like this mode, mainly because the way the guns fold under and forwards, instead of being over the shoulder, which would still be cool, but less so as a lot of toys have over the shoulder cannon.  Not many have them mounted this way.  He also has a couple of grips that fold out of the guns, which is something the bigger version doesn’t have!

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His second head comes into play here.
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The face mask is up over his mouth and the side bits (that had sculpted hinges) are flipped out.

The calf bits add some cool knee height guns too! And he has nicely painted knees and details.  The feet fold down a little to provide a smoother fit with the big robot’s feet!  Again, the nice silver is used on the groin and thighs.
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Nice details all around and he doesn’t lose too much in the way of articulation either, but his balance can be a bit tricky.
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I love the level of detail and arse-kickiness his super mode has.  Even the shoulder straps look like they are mounted with missiles!!   You can still see his Matrix holder parts through the window as well.
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Rubber wheels for the win!!

Of course his weapons are cool too.  With the Force Chips inserted into the top of them, they open up for some extra BLAMMO poweeeeeeerrrrrr!
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In case you can’t quite tell what has changed, the first gun splits open and the second one has a couple of missile launchers pop up from the side.

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Here is good shot of how long his legs now look.  The torso is really heavy looking too.

No stand supplied like G1 Convoy sadly, but using my gundam one, here are some fliey fliey woo woo poses.
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Again, more awesome sculpting detail.

Vehicle mode.

Now apparently his vehicle mode is supposed to be that of a fire truck.  Many of my friends are shocked when I tell them this snippet of information.  I was too when I saw it, he doesn’t look much like a fire truck.  Anyway  you can have him with the back pack thing on or off, the length doesn’t change, but the bulk does.  It doesn’t look that good without the back pack, but if I remember correctly he does get about like this for a scene or so in the cartoon.
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Snap the calf bits for the super mode together and it looks quite a bit better.  Good detail on those blasters as well.  The legs looks like they have air intakes in them too.
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The guns can be folded onto the side.  Now he is a fire engine packing heat!  At least the plain truck mode looks better this way.

Sadly the robot head is always in plain view.  This is a flaw in the character design though, as the larger version has this as well.
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Fitting the back pack on makes it even better though.
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I really like that second picture

Blah blah sculpting again.  Me likey!
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You can see that the fists of the robot form part of the front bumper of the truck, this works better on the leader size as they are closer together and look like they are part of the grill.  Here you can see the gap.  I guess you could put in other hands for comedic effect.  Pointing fingers coming out the front could be hilarious!!

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Inserting the Force Chip.
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And then he has a flight mode.  the guns are supposed to point forwards for this, but for some reason, my one’s guns won’t stay clipped in.  They are spring mounted so they can flip around for the super mode.
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No rudder I see.

Oh yes, bring logic into a discussion about a living vehicle robot from outer space Tets…

Finally to finish this piece’s photos off a comparison section with the leader class Galaxy Convoy.
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The leader has the option of having the guns point upwards in Super mode, the Hybrid Style can’t do that.  A shame, as that is the way Super Mode Convoy stored them in the cartoon.

  The Force Chips of Leader and Hybrid.

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Vehicle mode.  I don’t have any shots of his complete vehicle mode for some reason.  Not sure why as it would seem a logical step wouldn’t one think?

So to summ this baby up it is a very nice figure.  Small and well designed, but pricey.  I think it’s a nice piece to have in one’s collection, but unless you are chasing odd pieces or really like Galaxy Convoy then it might not be worth hunting down.  I guess it has a bit of novelty factor being an anniversary piece of sorts as well, and the link to the Mircoman series kind of ramps it up a bit.  I am not sure how much these are on the secondary market now, but personally I wouldn’t want to pay the possibly high prices it could go for. 

Wow!  After a quick bit of googling, it would appear that this figure is pricey indeed.  It is a good figure, but considering how many of the prices I have seen for it just then were about $150 or so US, I think one might be disappointed with it considering its size.  Sadly though, I am not going to sell mine because I like it too much!

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