Encore Big Convoy Gallery and Review!
Blasting his way into the Allspark Studio today is the Maximal one man army, Big Convoy! Will he head into battle on your shelf alone, or will he stop all that nonsense and babysit the next wave of Maximal recruits? Tune in after the jump to find out!
As I have said many times, Beast Wars got me back into Transformers. It was the vehicle that guided me to a collecting passion I have enjoyed for more than 20 years. As Beast Wars was close to an end, I became aware of Japanese versions of Beast Wars molds being used as new characters, then finding out Japan got brand new figures we had never seen in the states. This was the onset of my eBay addiction during the early 2000’s. Suddenly, the universe was open and multiple many-colored versions of my favorite figures existed in a magical land on the other side of the globe. All I had to do was get on the Internet and research the characters and then start hunting them in online auctions. I have fond memories of getting my first Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo figures in the mail, and frantically opening the packages to get to the plastic jewels inside. Big Convoy was a quick favorite of mine because who does not like woolly mammoths? Making a woolly mammoth into a version of Optimus Prime is chocolate and peanut butter, am I right?
As impressive as he was in both modes, Big Convoy had a few issues that I was never able to get over. First off, his mammoth mode is basically a solid brick. Yes, his ears move, and so do his tusks and snout, but that’s not the kind of articulation I think most action figure collectors are asking for when they spend their cash. In addition to that, his beast mode was basically a puzzle AND a shell at the same time. It was as if someone from Takara took two of the fandom‘s greatest complaints about figures and forced them together in a brilliant middle finger that everyone would have to buy. I have also found that over time, the rubbery parts on the snout have developed some sort of sticky residue. I really hope I don’t get to my Beast Wars Neo shelf one day and find a disintegrated face on my original figure. All of this is to say that beast mode looked really nice but lacked a little in execution. Still, for what he was, he looked great on my shelves as a stoic mammoth back in 2000 or 2001 when I first purchased him. Almost 20 years later and he continues to get comments and attention from anyone that is new to my collection.
For the Encore release, Takara has put this mold out in much better colors. Gone is the gold plastic (which still frightens me to this day) and the two-toned look to the fur. The only remnant of this is on his mammoth feet. The dark brown fur is a deeper color than on the original release, giving the beast mode a much closer appearance to the way Big Convoy looked in the Beast Wars Neo cartoon. Having eyes with actual pupils is also a huge improvement. I can safely say that the Encore release has produced the definitive version of his beast mode, with improved colors and a bit more personality.
Big Convoy’s robot mode has always fared a little bit better than his beast mode. He has some superior articulation. Between the double ball-jointed feet, double-jointed knees, 360° ratcheted hips, waist, ball-jointed shoulders, elbow articulation, and a limited ball-jointed neck, this pachyderm is packed with a passel of potential possibility. Yes, I went there. 😛
Unfortunately, he suffers a little bit from top heaviness and balancing him in some dynamic poses for shelf display can be difficult at times. Fortunately, he looks very majestic in a general standing pose, holding the Big Canon in his hand. That is pretty much my go to pose for this mold in any color variation.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about this figure was that he was the first “Prime” to my knowledge that had an actual matrix as part of the original production of the figure. No third-party add on for this guy!
Overtime, other issues like the residue on the mammoth snout have begun to appear on the various uses of this mold. Sometimes the mammoth puzzle pieces don’t want to lock in the way they are intended. The back piece that connects the rear legs to the tail section seems to be one of the worst parts. Additionally, I have noticed that the mammoth parts that connect to the underside of the forearms have been very loose on some versions of this mold. That does not seem to be the case on the Encore release of Big Convoy. I was very happy to find that overall the quality of the mold seems to have been restored for this and the Blue Big Convoy release.
Along with improving his color scheme in beast mode, the robot mode is very clearly attempting to pull off the animation color scheme and I love it! The scary gold plastics have been swapped out for blinding yellows, and the off-white plastic is beautifully bone white. The metallic blues and silvers and the muted reds have also been replaced with a vibrance only seen on film. This is the closest thing to having Big Convoy jump out of your TV screen and join you in your living room.
This release has me floored with how well it turned out. Therefore, I give Encore Big Convoy 92 Angolmois capsules out of 100!
He is a thing of beauty that’s sports repairs to his molding and much improved color choices in this deco. If you were not in the fandom during his original release, or you are just now coming around to the glory of beast modes, you definitely need to add him to your collection! He is a little on the expensive side for some budgets, so you may not want to get him for your children, but if you do, you will be the most awesomest parent in the entire universe. Seriously, no one would be able to beat you. Give your children the power of the matrix.