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Series: Masterpiece
Allegiance: Maximal
Year: 2020

Prelude: After landing on the mysterious planet Gaia, Seibertron Supreme Commander Lio Convoy scanned as his beast mode a white lion called Kimba. At least that is my take on it, feel free to prove me wrong. Anyway, Lio Convoy was the leader of the Seibertrons (Maximals) in the Beast Wars II TV series and is among the originally Japan-exclusive Transformers who has managed to gain worldwide recognition. Does he make for a good Masterpiece figure, though? Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Okay, first off: this robot here definitely looks like Lio Convoy. He might well have jumped directly out of the TV, bearing a striking resemblance to the animated character from the Beast Wars 2 cartoon. He’s got the colors down pat, the lion head on his shoulder, the paw-like feet, everything. So in terms of resemblance, absolutely no complaints. Very nicely done. Size-wise he is roughly the same size as MP Optimus Primal, which fits with their depiction in the TV series.

Much like Optimus Primal in the original Beast Wars toyline, the original Lio Convoy figure was an Ultra-class figure containing a staggering number of gimmicks. I am happy to report that MP Lio Convoy has all of them. He’s got the missile launchers in the lion mane and on the forearms (no spring-powered launchers, though). He’s got the lion legs on his arms with the big unfolding claws. He’s got the panel on his left pectoral, which opens up to reveal his Matrix and his faction symbol. He’s even got the (rather lame, I must say) rotating mane gimmick, though once again, not spring-powered. So yes, Lio Convoy’s got it all and then some.

In the cartoon Lio Convoy also had jump jets in his legs, which MP Lio Convoy also features. He also comes with a kind of carry-drum for his additional missiles (he has six of them, but can mount a maximum of four at once), which can also double as a hand-held missile launcher. The blaster he carries looks different from that of the original figure (which was really just a missile launcher), but is a close match to the weapon he carried in the cartoon (at least I think so, I couldn’t find a screenshot to refresh my memory). One additional weapon Lio Convoy used in the cartoon was his lion tail, which could unfurl from his left shoulder and become a ridiculously long whip. The figure can somewhat simulate that, too, though it’s a rather short whip.

The robot’s articulation is great, no complaints. Naturally his design with the huge lion head on his shoulder and the lion legs attached to his arms somewhat limit him in certain poses, but apart from that, nothing to complain about.

There are some negatives to mention, too, though. One, the long claws that unfold from the lion legs on his arms look great, but the plastic is a bit brittle and one of the tips already broke off the first time I transformed this guy. So be very careful here. Another thing is the lion’s head on the shoulder. It’s not actually the head of the lion, but rather a robotic version of it that has its eyes closed as if sleeping. This is a nod to the cartoon, where Lio Convoy’s lion head looked fully organic in beast mode, but robotic in robot mode. The lion head basically turns inside out to give us this robotic lion face for the robot mode (and a more angular-looking mane, too), while the beast mode lion head is hidden inside. While this is a cool feature on paper, the contortions required to make it work really make the transformation more complicated than it needs to be and the frame where the two lion faces rotate around each other is made of very thin plastic. So be very, very careful here when transforming him.

So bottom line for the robot mode: I really like this guy, I love his design, and the execution is, for the most part, really good. Sturdier plastic for the claws and a less complicated transformation for the lion’s head would have made him perfect.

Alternate Mode: Lio Convoy, unsurprisingly transforms into a white lion and I maintain my opinion that he scanned Kimba the White Lion from the children’s cartoon of the same name. Now the original Lio Convoy’s lion mode looked good overall, but had two major disadvantages: one, the forelegs didn’t really exist above the knee joints, the absence of them only hidden by the mane. And two, the rear legs were undeniably robot legs. Lio Convoy fixes both of these problems, giving the lion four nicely-sized and fully-articulated legs and better body proportions, too. Also, a far more cartoon-accurate lion head as well.

There are quite a few gaps in the lion’s body and no attempt at making the white plastic look even remotely fur-like, but overall I like this mode. It retains the original figure’s ability to unfold all four missile launchers from the lion’s mane and you can also deploy the big claws here, though it does look a bit ridiculous. So bottom line, probably the best lion mode you can wring from this toy given the character’s design. Not perfect, but looking pretty nice.

Remarks: Lio Convoy led the Seibertrons against the forces of Galvatron (the Beast Wars II character, not the G1 guy) and Megastorm (who looks like G2 Megatron, but isn’t). In the end his team managed to prevent Galvatron from getting his hands on the life force of Unicron, the Angolmois, and then went on to guest star in the follow-up series Beast Wars Neo to aid Big Convoy in finally defeating Unicron for good. All of which somewhat (but not really) plays in the same continuity as Beast Wars and Beast Machines.

Anyway, Lio Convoy is an amazing design, very recognizable, and the Masterpiece figure manages to bring most of amazingness into toy form. MP Lio Convoy is a great figure with some minor flaws and a few needlessly complicated transformation steps. Overall, though, I am very happy that I finally got this figure for my collection. In fairness, though, I got him at a greatly reduced price. The original retail price of over 200€ would have been a bit much, in my opinion.

So bottom line: a great figure if you like Beast Wars, Japanese Beast Wars, and are able to get him at below retail price.

Rating: B+
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