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Series: Transform & Rollout
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2023

Prelude: If you know me, then you know that Galaxy Convoy (also known as Cybertron Optimus Prime) is one of my all-time favorite Transformers figures. So when a third party version of this amazing figure was announced, I was all for it. Then a few years passed and when no one expected it anymore, the figure finally appeared. Was it worth the wait and the high price point? Let’s say go!

Many thanks to my buddy Fuchs Geronimo, who loaned me this figure for this review.

Robot Mode: Okay, even before I ever held this figure in hand, I already knew one thing about him: the hands are a mess. The fingers are fully articulated, which is nice, but so fragile that merely trying to straighten them out or ball them into a fist causes them to break. And no, it’s not just this specific figure, either. Fuchs got replacement fingers from the shop he bought it at and those fingers broke just as easily (see picture 41 for a bag full of broken fingers). It’s a general problem and it really, really sucks. Did no one in quality control notice that you can’t do anything with this figure’s hands? Was there a quality control to begin with?

Then I thought, okay, the hands are a mess, but the rest of the figure looks pretty cool. Maybe it’s just the hands? Maybe a set of replacement hands (from a different company) and all is good? Sadly, I was mistaken. Now, to be fair, Commander of Stars looks good in robot mode. He is roughly two heads taller than Galaxy Convoy’s normal robot mode, somewhat slimmer, and has some metal parts in the legs to give him a good, solid feeling. So far, so good. In terms of looks there is little to complain about here.

Once you start looking at the articulation, though, that’s when the problems start. Leaving aside the (theoretically) fully articulated hands, Commander of Stars improves the already quite good articulation of Galaxy Convoy in several ways. Again, in theory. CoS has twisting wrists, but they only twist a few degrees before the forearm plates stop them. CoS has ankle tilts, which work fine, but the figure still tends to go into splits if you move the feet too far apart. Double elbow joints and an ab crunch are fine, but then we get to the head. It can turn, but not very far. And, unlike Galaxy Convoy, CoS can look up, but instead of a balljoint there is a hinge at the back of the neck, meaning once he looks up a gaping hollow opens up where his throat should be (see picture 34).

To mention another positive thing: CoS manages both of Galaxy Convoy’s faces, with and without mouth plate, by twisting the head inside the helmet around. A nice variant and better than the lever-powered mouth plate on the original figure. Credit where credit is due. And then you try to open up his chest to get at the Matrix of Leadership inside it and you notice that you can’t. At least not without unplugging the shoulders (see picture 7). Really? Well, at least the Matrix looks nice and he can take it out and hold it in his hands (if he’s got enough fingers left). CoS also comes with the same rifle/gun that Galaxy Convoy carried and – good news – it can plug solidly into his palm even if there are no fingers left to hold it.

So what is my conclusion regarding the robot mode? Well, I would think that someone looked at the original figure, tried to make it bigger and more poseable, but didn’t really spend a lot of time thinking on how all the separate pieces were supposed to work together. Really, they might as well just have left out the twisting wrists and that you need to unplug the shoulders to get at the Matrix is just sad. So bottom line for the robot mode: it looks pretty good. Everything beyond that, though, is a mess.

Alternate Mode: Commander of Stars transforms into the same kind of futuristic fire truck that Galaxy Convoy did. In fact, the two vehicles look nearly identical. CoS is a bit longer in truck mode, naturally, and so are the two guns (which never really looked like a ladder and a water cannon). Now as weird as it sounds, I actually have to call this one CoS’ best mode. There are no issues with the fire truck. It holds together well, the cannons can be moved up and around, it all works. Okay, sure, you can basically see the robot mode legs if you look at it sideways, but the original toy had the same issue and at least CoS does a much better job of hiding the robot head than Galaxy Convoy did.

If you remove the trailer, though, you are left with a pretty weird tractor. Now, Galaxy Convoy looked weird in this mode, too, and the original toy wasn’t particularly good at pretending that its rear half wasn’t a pair of robot legs, but CoS is even worse in that regard. Plus there is an ugly gap on each side before the rear wheels which the original figure did not have. So best leave the tractor and trailer combined into a fire truck. Just like the original toy, there is also a flight mode here. Flip out the wings and cannons and you have a rather unaerodynamic flying truck. Weird, but no weirder than the original toy, so no complaints.

The trailer can also flip open into a kind of artillery base, more or less identical to how it looked on the original toy. Not really my thing, but it works. So bottom line for the truck mode: easily CoS’ best mode with no real problems as long as you leave truck and tractor combined.

Supermode: Now we come to the super mode, which is basically the normal robot mode with bigger boots and the trailer of the fire truck as a winged rucksack with two big guns. Again, if we go merely by looks, Commander of Stars looks fabulous like this. Very wide wings (nearly as wide as my standard background for the pictures), and I always loved this configuration with the big guns under his arms, ready to blast Decepticons into scrap metal. Just like in robot mode, CoS manages to look glorious here.

Upon closer inspection, though, the problems start. Of course the super mode has all the same problems as the robot mode and more besides. It starts with putting on the rucksack, because here, too, you have to unplug the shoulders in order for it to work. Then you have the two big guns, which are connected to the wings on the rucksack by QUADRUPLE joints. You read that right. In theory this is great, as it allows you to really move those guns around in whatever way you like it. In practice, though, those two guns are quite heavy and while the joints are all tight ratchet joints, it’s still very, very difficult to get the guns to point straight forward under the arms without everything sagging down. Best bet is to flip out the handles from the guns and plug them into the palms of the hands for added stability (see pictures 26, 29, and 30). Just make sure those extremely breakable fingers aren’t in the way.

Now you might remember that Galaxy Convoy had a Cyberkey (or Force Chip, rather), which activated the gimmicks in each gun. The left one opened up, the right one flipped out missile launchers (with actual missiles to be launched). Now Commander of Stars does come with a Cyberkey, but for one thing it’s not needed for opening up the gun or flipping out the (non-firing) missile launchers. And also, the instructions completely neglect telling you how to use it. Not a single mention. I assume it is somehow magnetic, as there is a solid metal piece inside it, and both guns have electronics inside of them. I know this because the tips of both guns very, very easily come off to reveal the wires inside them. Anyway, I could probably have looked up how those guns and the Cyberkey work in some video review or other, but at that point I really didn’t care anymore.

So bottom line for the super mode, same as the robot mode: looks great, but everything else is a mess.

Remarks: Way back in 2017 (plus or minus a year, not sure anymore) third party company Transform & Rollout announced their second-ever figure, Commander of Stars, a (more or less) Masterpiece-sized version of Cybertron Optimus Prime aka Galaxy Convoy. No price, no fixed release date, just a few prototype pics. Then nothing happened for about five years or so (I might be off by a year) and just when pretty much everyone had forgotten about this figure, it suddenly appeared. I originally planned to get this guy when he came out, but there was this tiny voice in the back of my head that said: no, don’t spend that money! You already got the original and it’s pretty near perfect. And I listened to that tiny voice and seldom have I ever been more glad that I did.

To put it as bluntly as possible, Commander of Stars is a mess. Which, given how great the original figure was, is quite the feat, actually. Even leaving aside the broken fingers, this figure has so many issues that it really stops being fun. I pondered what rating to give it for quite some time. From certain angles it looks good and if you manage to get him into super mode without breaking his hands, I guess he makes for a nice display piece that you can look at but should never, ever touch again. But again, the original figure was brilliant (and makes for a nice display piece AND playable toy), the price point is pretty high (179€ is one price I saw), and, remembering that this thing took more than five years from announcement to release, there really is no excuse at all for its many problems.

So bottom line: if you really, really want to throw out some money, I advise you to burn it instead of buying Commander of Stars. At least you get a nice, warm fire out of it instead of this badly designed mess of a figure.

Rating: F

Supplemental: I forgot to fold down the wheels on the side of CoS belly in robot mode, they are supposed to be hip plates. Makes the hip a bit more twist-able. Doesn't solve any of CoS' other problems, though.
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