Price: I think it retailed for about US$50-60?
released in 1991, only in Japan and the asiatic region.
Luck shined upon me as I managed to pick up one of the hardest to find Convoys (That's what they call Good Ol' Optimus Prime in Japan) for a really low price. STAR CONVOY! He was the last new Optimus Prime toy to be released in the Japan-only series of Transformers toys. Basically, the Japanese series carried on after the American cartoon ended, adding a whole slew of Transformers while the American line degenerated into Action Masters and Micro Masters. The Japanese lines have always been out of my grasp due to the crazy values they have today. That being said, I think you can guess how cheap this one had to be for me to afford it! One of my "dang, I should have bought that!" misses is Star Convoy. Once long ago I saw him sitting mint in box at a local toystore. Never did save enough to buy him, and Transformers wasn't running on TV anymore so the incentive to get something so expensive wasn't quite there. It's true that it happened with a lot of other Transformers too (Megatron, Starscream etc) but those are easily available now on the after market. Star Convoy, with his status as Asia only, seemed like a lost cause til now.
I'm a huge fan of Optimus, as I'm sure most Transformer fans are, and I've always wanted to try and collect all the versions of Optimus. But money's always a problem, so what I've gotten is either though luck or slightly bashed and beaten. Well, same here. Star Convoy isn't in the best of shape, but most of him is there, and here's a short review.
One of the first things I noted about Star Convoy (Hey, I've never even touched one before I got him!!) is that he is VERY Japanese, or more precisely, very Sentai. What's sentai? Well it refers to all them old and "classic" giant Japanese Power ranger like robot toys. You know, big trucks and combiner robots which don't do very much apart from having arms that can move after you transform them? Yeah, Star's a bit like that. He actually reminds me a lot of an old Bandai robot I have called Daimos. It was a long trailer truck thing and the end bits of the trailer thing became big fat unmovable legs, which in truck mode could open and let out a little car thing. Yes, Star's exactly like that, right down to the little car-thing that fits inside his leg. In this case it's a small Micromaster truck which is supposed to launch the Micro Hotrod which came with Star Convoy (Yes, came. Past tense. I don't have it). Star's lower appendages are just a big fat chunk of plastic, a lot like Powermaster Prime's.
|The transformation is simple enough.
Flip flip flip, there you go. The lower half of the robot doesn't even do
anything! It's a lot like the simplistic robot toys from Power rangers. It
even looks equally plasticky. Honestly, its quite a badly designed
transformer, even by the standards of 1991. In base mode, it's ugly. The
original Prime and the follow-up Powermaster, G2 Laser and even the Car
Robots versions all had respectable bases. Star's looks like it was
designed for use with micromasters, but it's just really ugly. It looks
like Prime, semi-dismantled. In the Generations books it's even shown with
his big head sticking out.
The saving consolation is that it's still Optimus Prime, and the robot mode looks pretty alright. The arms appear a tad too short, but it's a nice mix of colours, and the added crown and altered chest design are a nice departure from the conventional truck-chested Primes, although it does end up looking a bit like a Gundam.
Another thing that I never realised is his amazing height. He's tall!! Just look at the pic of him next to Super Ginrai (Yaay rereleases!!) aka Powermaster Prime!
Overall, it's not a very fun Transformer. No fancy transformation, no super power-up armour bits, just a huge chuck of Prime that turns into something resembling a base, and a truck with a really tiny trailer. If not for the sentimental value and scarcity of the piece I wouldn't really like it all that much. It does have a nice Prime mode, and if I remember correctly one of the pieces I'm missing is actually a battery powered motorized caterpillar. Being able to have Star move along by himself might be fun, but I don't think it adds that much to the play value. If that's your bag, I'd recommend Omega Supreme. Now that was a fun toy! I'll be keeping Star Convoy, but mostly because he's just Prime.
I'm missing these parts!! If anyone has them, please e-mail me. I'm most in need of the caterpillar tank thing that fits below his trailer piece. I don't really care if it still works. Hotrod and his gun I'm not so desperate for, but anything's welcome! And no, that's not really the price I'm willing to pay! >:-p
I'm also looking for repro stickers for Star Convoy. If anyone knows where to get some, let me know too!