Sunday, 25 July 2010

Galaxy Force Megalo Convoy

Perhaps the strangest thing about Galaxy Force was the it introduced the concept that the character known as Convoy (named Optimus Prime in the West) might not be the only Convoy in the universe. In fact, Galaxy Force's Optimus Prime analogue was known more specifically as 'Galaxy Convoy', and pretty much every planet featured in the story had it's own Convoy, from Flame Convoy (Animatros), through Nitro Convoy (Speedia), Live Convoy (Earth!) and finally Megalo Convoy (Gigalonia). Each one (bar Live Convoy) was very clearly the leader of their world, each with their own methods and rules.

Vehicle Mode:
The inhabitants of Gigalonia are builders, it would seem, taking the forms of construction or demolition machines, and their leader takes what must be the largest form of all - and enormous 'bucket wheel excavator', rolling along on four sets of treads, with a pair of scoops mounted at one end (it's actually difficult to decide which is the front and which is the back, but I'd guess the scoops are at the front, if only because that's the way the cockpit faces).

It's never going to be considered the most convincing of alternate modes - Megalo Convoy doesn't so much transform as just sit down - it's easily the most simplistic transformation for a model this size. To be honest, the one and only reason this model looks anything like the kind of vehicle it's meant to represent is Megalo Convoy's weapon - the giant axe named Sparkdrinker - plugged into a rotating mount just behind his head/cockpit. At one end, it's a large wheel used for digging... and at the other, it's a claw for shifting earth and rocks.
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Robot Mode:
Technically, Megalo Convoy can be said to have two robot modes - one, the lanky default mode with it's disproportionately large feet and disproportionately small head, then the other, shorter, bulkier mode described variously as his 'work mode' or 'brute mode'. In and of themselves, neither are massively impressive other than in their level of articulation. It almost seems that the complexity of the transformation was sacrificed to offer probably the greatest poseability in a mainline TransFormer toy I've ever seen - the only thing that lets it down is the lack of ankle movement.

Strangely, in the West, Megalo Convoy was named Metroplex, referencing the massive Generation 1 Autobot City. Not the most appropriate choice of name, but most likely used to keep it as a Hasbro trademark - it's an iconic name, and it's highly unlikely there will ever be ever be another true Metroplex toy. Even more odd, his 'brute mode' bears more similarity to G1 Omega Supreme though, granted, his normal face, with its antennae, does exhibit subtle similarities to Metroplex.

Sparkdrinker makes for an excellent, imposing weapon but, being held by a handle rather than by its (bulky, articulated) shaft, it's actually very difficult to make it look as though it's being used as a weapon. Most of the time, it just looks like a bizarre guitar case.

Unlike the rest of the line, Megalo Convoy's key-activated gimmick is in his weapon - the key plugs into one side of Sparkdrinker, sliding into the wheel, locking it in place and splitting it into halves, revealing a large LED between what has become axe blades. Not very impressive, really...
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Even though Megalo Convoy is neither complicated in terms of transformation, nor convincing in his alternate mode, the level of poseability makes for a very compelling robot. He can adopt some particularly dramatic poses and, while he seems quite uniform in body depth from the side, his proportions, along with waist rotation and mid-torso tilt that are integral to his transformation, give him a more human appearance than just about any other TransFormer from Galaxy Force or any other line until the Revenge of the Fallen version of Optimus Prime.

Mini-Con Partner:
Drillbit is startlingly similar to Armada Megatron's partner, Leader-1, the only real difference being the way the legs fold away from the body rather than over it. The downside to this is that it makes his alternate mode - some kind of dual-drilling thing - completely implausible, as the view from the cockpit is entirely obscured.

Nevertheless, it's possible that Drillbit isn't even intended to function autonomously - he plugs into Mini-Con ports on Megalo Convoy's vehicle mode scoops, and into the claw on the end of Sparkdrinker.

His articulation is below average, even for a Mini-Con - his knees are independent, but his hips are joined, and the arms only really need to move to aid his simplistic transformation - if Megalo Convoy just sits down, Drillbit merely has to fall on his face.
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The Japanese version of this model also came with a Legends Class version of Galaxy Convoy with an excellent metallic paint job, to add extra value to an already large package.
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It's a very impressive model, for it's size. Certainly lacking the great range of articulation of the full-size version, but it's a more than adequate representation of the character, with a transformation very close to the Leader Class model, but lacking the extra part that, in robot mode, gives Galaxy Convoy his cannons and, in vehicle mode, forms the back and sides if his Sci-Fi firetruck.

Proportionally, this version seems longer than the full-size version, and the head doesn't stow quite so well, but it's very well done, overall.

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