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Series: Alternity
Allegiance: Cybertron
Year: 2010

Review by Laserwave13:

Prelude: Since the year 2000 at the latest (the year the G1 Reissues began) we know one thing: where there’s a Convoy, there is a black repaint, too. It’s become a standard by now and you can see it in almost every toy line. Sometimes it’s an exclusive, sometimes not. This one here isn’t, by the way, it’s a retail figure. Well, in Japan, at least, seeing as this series wasn’t available internationally. It’s more or less a successor to Binaltech, but at a smaller scale (1 to 32) and almost without diecast parts. The chassis and everything is plastic, only the inner ‘spine’ is made from metal, giving the figure a certain weight and structure. We still have rubber tires, though, as well as the price point and a much more intricate construction that your normal figures.

The packaging is still a box, though of somewhat simpler make. Plastic, a bit of cardboard inside, plus the clamshell holding the figure. Instructions are included, of course, and that’s pretty much it. No collectors card, no other accessories, no other weapons.

Alternate Mode: This is what you get straight out of the package (and you can see most of it inside the package, too). Once you overcome your post-Binaltech shock at seeing how small this 1:32 figure is (about Deluxe-sized), you get a pure-bred model car. The car mode, in this case a Nissan GT-R, leaves no room for complaints. Loads of details to be found, including the Nissan logo, the GT-R logo, rubber tires, painted brake lights, rims, and mirrors, and much, much more. If you look behind the rims you even see brake discs and golden calipers. Talk about detailing! The chassis is really shiny, most Binaltechs are put to shame. It’s all plastic, of course, but still feels very high-quality, I assume some kind of clear finish has been put on.

The doors, hood, and trunk can all be opened. The engine compartment is all black, though, including the engine. The red and silver versions of this figure had silver painting here, but here we remain black to fit the overall image, I guess. Looking into the open doors shows you a nicely detailed interior, especially considering the size. Steering wheel, stick, armatures, it’s all there. Given that this is a Japanese car, it’s all on the right side, of course. So bottom line: a supremely good car for this alternate mode.

Transformation: Everyone who thought the Binaltech or Movie transformations were hard are in for a rude awakening. This one here is certainly not easy for anyone whose hands are bigger than those of a 12 year old Japanese kid. A lot of very small parts need to be moved, lots of tiny little pegs must be pegged into openings you can’t see all that well. The instructions are in Japanese, of course. So please approach this slowly and carefully. The plastic is quite stiff here, too, so trying to bend stuff into place isn’t recommended. It either fits or it breaks, no in-between here.

That said, the transformation sequence itself isn’t really that difficult, but the small size and number of parts makes it so. All in all a very thought-through process, though, and something different for a change. The only downside here, to me, is the automorph gimmick. If you move the shoulders / doors outwards and to the front, the chest / fenders also move. That looks like a very delicate mechanism and I rather expect it to be this figure’s weakest point, liable to break in a few years. Wouldn’t have needed that.

Robot Mode: Once you’ve got everything transformed just right, the result looks very good. A bit like a cross between a Binaltech and a Movie figure. Or maybe G1 and Movie, if that’s more your fancy. Lots of modern elements, anyway. What it doesn’t really look like, though, is a Convoy. Except for the face, which does show some resemblance, the rest looks pretty new. Especially the door-wings. You can position them backwards instead of to the sides, too, but they’re still there, of course, just not visible from the front.

But Convoy or not, what you see is pretty great, both in terms of design and overall. The body looks very dynamic, almost Movie-like, but with the kind of kibble more at home in a G1 or Binaltech figure. The car parts are nicely spread out over the body, most of it on the back such as the hood and the roof. We already covered the doors and most of the rest vanishes into the legs, sort of folding in. Very nicely designed, though it does make the proportions look a tiny bit off. The aforementioned metal ‘spine’ makes the figure a bit back-heavy, but it still has a stable stance for all sorts of poses. It also has all the necessary joints, though a bit less than what you’d except from a current figure and sometimes parts are in the way of each other.

A very nice gimmick: the weapons are built into the car seats, which are now on the forearms. You can unfold the guns from there, which is the reason there are no extra guns coming with this figure. The paintjob is held-back and done with lots of attention to details, especially the face. Fits into the overall black paintjob. Even the few but highly visible blue details, that are pretty much par-the-course for a Black Convoy / Nemesis Prime.

Conclusion: Very nice to look at, but definitely not a toy for playing with. You can pose it, but it’s complicated due to the number of small parts and very tight joints. Still, a great a figure. The car is fabulous in just about every way. The robot mode is rather extraordinary for a Convoy and a welcome change. Okay, if you want your Convoy to be a truck and nothing but a truck (and only with a trailer, of course) or at least in red and blue, this one here is not for you. But everyone who likes realistic car modes and the feeling of “Robots in Disguise”, will be satisfied here. If you put this figure in car mode on a shelf somewhere, no one will guess that it’s actually a robot. And why are there so many black repaints? Because black looks cool, that’s why! A slight point deduction for the automorph gimmick, that’s superfluous, but otherwise a full recommendation. Be it in black or in red. The entire toyline might not be for everyone due to its lack of background story, comics, or TV series, and much like its predecessor Binaltech the number of figures will probably not be that large. But fans who want something different for a change or just dig Japanese figures, this one is definitely worth a look.

Rating: A-
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