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Series: Music Label
Allegiance: Cybertron
Year: 2008

Robot Mode: Convoy, the Japanese version of Optimus Prime, is included here in his original mold, nearly identical to the original G1 Optimus Prime figure except for a few little details. First, he doesn't come with any stickers. Second, he has blue-tinted windshields. Third, his rifle looks a bit different. Fourth, unlike the American re-issues of the figure this one has full-length smoke stacks on his shoulders. And finally, he's got a different head which is not only a much better likeness to the cartoon counterpart, it also sits on a balljoint, so he can turn his head and even look up a bit.

I still consider the original Optimus figure one of the best Transformers toys ever made and this version here takes that hard-to-beat original and adds some minor tweaks to make it even better. Okay, he's still got the easy-to-lose fists and the rifle still doesn't firmly fit onto his arm, but whatever. It's Optimus, people! And he can turn his head! It doesn't get much better than this.

Alternate Mode: Hardly a surprise, Optimus transforms into a red semi-truck. Do I really need to say a lot about this vehicle mode? If you haven't seen it before, then you really need to head over to the G1 section of this page and broaden your knowledge of old-school Transformers. The short version: Optimus is a red truck. Always will be (except when he's a monkey). And so he's here, too.

Extras / Add-Ons: While the robot is a classic with some minor but definite improvements, the true reason for getting this toy here isn't the robot, it's the trailer. At first glance it looks mostly like Optimus' old trailer, at least from one side. The other side features an open space. The trailer features two small silver stubs at the bottom so it will stand straight even without the Optimus' truck in front. Behind the stubs are two small pegs where you can plug in Optimus' robot mode fists, so they don't get lost when he's in vehicle mode. Again, a minor but greatly appreciated little detail.

Now for the actual show: Flip open the trailer sideways and you see what it's all about. Those are two speakers, framing a plug-in station for your iPod. The entire thing is adorned with pictures of Optimus Prime. Interestingly enough it actually says "Optimus Prime" on it, not the Japanese term Convoy. But anyway, seeing as I don't have an iPod, I can't show any pictures of actually plugging one in, but the speakers are not iPod-exclusive. There is a standard audio-in plug on the back, so you can plug in pretty much any modern sound player, including standard MP3 Players or, possibly, Music Label Soundwave. Soundwave isn't a solid fit in the plug-in slot, seeing as he doesn't have anything to plug in on the bottom, but he fits in there in his tapedeck mode and you can plug in the cord in the back.

As far as sound quality goes, the speakers are okay. Not great, certainly not the kind of sound system you want for your fully-equipped multimedia entertainment system or a big party, but good enough if you simply want to listen to some music. The speakers have a little trouble when there's a lot of bass involved, but otherwise perform nicely. And let's be honest, you're not getting them because you want high-quality speakers. You're getting them because it's a Transformer!

Remarks: Convoy completes my line-up of Music Label Transformers. He is a birthday gift from my wife, though sadly the delivery was delayed and I didn't actually get him until over a month after my birthday. It was worth the wait, though. I expected a standard Optimus figure with some speakers attached. What I got was a very nice, subtly improved Optimus figure and a very nice speaker set-up.

Music Label Convoy came in two editions, one all-white (reminding me more of Ultra Magnus than Optimus Prime) and this one in the traditional Optimus colours. I vastly prefer the latter. As far as recommendations go, I'd say this toy here is worth the cost almost for the improved Optimus figure alone. Don't buy it because you're looking for high-quality speakers, you can probably get better ones for the money Convoy costs. But if you're looking for a kick-ass multimedia Prime, and especially if you own an iPod or Music Label Soundwave, this one's for you.

Rating: A
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