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Series: Missing Link
Allegiance: Cybertron
Year: 2024


Prelude: It was an idea so simple that the most amazing thing about it is that no one came up with it earlier. Step 1, take G1 Optimus Prime, one of the most beloved toys of all time. Step 2, give it present-day articulation. Step 3, profit! So simple. So here we have the execution of this simple idea: Missing Link Convoy. Let’s say go!

Versions: The robot you are looking at here is Missing Link C-02 Convoy. The differences to the C-01 version, which came out at the same time, are the absence of a trailer and the different head. C-02 here has a head based on the animated character, C-01’s head is based on the original toy. That’s pretty much it in terms of differences. Personally I decided on C-02 because I have a box full of Optimus Prime trailers here at home, so I don’t really need another one. And it was a bit less expensive, too, naturally.

Robot Mode: For a toy that was originally released way back in 1982 as Diaclone Battle Convoy, the original G1 Optimus Prime figure was already pretty well-articulated. Much of that was due to the way it transformed, of course, but still: apart from being unable to bend his legs forward at the hip, there wasn’t much you could complain about here. The original Optimus Prime figure is a toy that, in my mind at least, still holds up to this very day.

Which doesn’t mean, of course, that there isn’t room for improvement. The new Missing Link Convoy has a completely redesigned hip section, meaning that he can now bend his legs forward at the hip, spread them (up to a full split), and even has limited hip rotation. The knees can bend just like before, but are on a far more solid joint. Finally, Convoy’s big toes can be rotated now as well. All of which gives him fabulous lower body movement and Convoy can even stand on his toes in a classic Michael Jackson pose. Hii-hii!

The upper body has gotten some new parts, too. If you ever owned one of the many versions of G1 Optimus Prime, you know that one of the first things that gets lost are the detachable fists. Well, no more detaching here, as the new hands are solidly connected to the forearm and can even open up. Also, Convoy FINALLY got a redesigned rifle that he can properly hold without it standing at an angle or scraping along the forearm. Nicely done. Convoy now features and ab crunch and the shoulders also got an additional piece of engineering, making it possible for Convoy to spread his arms sideways. This gives him the ability to pose aplenty with his new battle axe attachment, which slips over his fists. Very nice.

The formerly empty chest compartment, where you could see right through Convoy, is now filled with a black Matrix holder, complete with removable Matrix. And thanks to his new hands, G1 Optimus Prime can now adopt the classic light-our-darkest-hour pose, too. The new head is a dead ringer for Convoy’s animation design and can now turn, but not look up.

So bottom line: take everything you loved about this iconic robot design, add superb articulation, as well as some minor modifications (finally he can hold his rifle properly) and you have a near-perfect robot. No complaints at all.

Alternate Mode: Nothing really new here. Optimus Prime transforms into his classic semi-truck form and, judging purely by the truck mode, you don’t really see any difference to the original figure. Of course there is no more room for Diaclone driver figures, due to the Matrix and Matrix holder in the chest, but otherwise this might as well be the original toy. The transformation itself is mostly the same, the only differences being that the fists fold in instead of detaching and that the hip has an extra transformation step. That’s pretty much it. The tractor is fully compatible with the old G1 trailer, naturally. So bottom line here: basically the same truck we had back in the 80s.

Remarks: Across 40 years of Transformers, few characters have stayed so consistent in their look as Optimus Prime, whose modern incarnations still harken back to that original Diaclone Battle Convoy toy from the early 80s. And with most of the kids who played with it back then now entering an age where nostalgia for the good old days is rampant, it seems like the most natural thing in the world to reissue that old toy, just with updated articulation. Takara did it and it paid off.

Now as collectors, we are not exactly hurting for Optimus Prime toys. We are not even hurting for reissues of the original Optimus Prime toy, as he gets rereleased every few years, it seems. But to have that very to you played with as a kid with proper articulation? I am not sure I can really express how awesome that feels. So for me, it was never a question whether or not to get this figure. Sure, I reneged on the trailer, but I had to have the figure. So whether you are a nostalgic old school fan in his 40s like me, or simply a fan of any age who just loves Optimus Prime, this is a toy for you. The only reason I am not putting a + sign behind that rating is because the figure is quite expensive, but to me it’s definitely worth it.

Rating: A


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