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Revoltech Convoy

Kaiyodo Revoltech Convoy

A Transformer that doesn’t transform might not seem like the best of ideas. There is, however, definitely a market for non-transforming Transformers since fans are interested in Transformers not just as cleverly-designed toys but as fascinating characters as well. Fans would jump at the chance to get media-accurate representations of their favourites.

It goes without saying that a transforming version would certainly be ideal but it isn’t always possible to do that at a reasonable price point. A non-transforming figure is a good compromise.

Hasbro and Takara realised this even in G1 days and created figures based on popular toon characters for the Action Masters line. We’ve also seen PVC figures and statues in recent years.

That brings us to Kaiyodo’s Revoltech 019 Convoy.


The odd thing about the line as a whole is it gets its name from a joint. So, what’s so special about this hyped-up joint anyway? Kaiyodo provided this illustration on the package:
Kaiyodo Revoltech Revolver joint
As you might be able to discern from the above image, a Revolver joint manages to provide articulation equivalent to a ratcheting hinge joint and two swivel joints by merely using two plastic pieces.

In theory, this means less joints can be used without compromising articulation in any way. Less joints and less obvious joints (theoretically) mean a better-looking sculpt.


Kaiyodo Revoltech Convoy

The packaging is brilliant. A window on the front shows the figure clearly and there are photos on the rear of the box that showcase the toy’s posability. The figure is easily removed from the package and just as easily repacked.

The thing that pleases me the most is the company credits the staff who worked on the figure and the packaging and also provided English translations and romanised names. I think those are really great moves and I hope more Japanese toycos follow suit.

(Incidentally, the credits include a special thanks to Nightow Yasuhiro, the creator of Trigun. Nightow is a toy fan himself and has ventured into toy design through his label, Toytribe, but I’m curious about the extent of his involvement with this figure.)

My only criticism about the packaging is there’s a lot of unused space. I wish the extra hands and Matrix were placed on the plastic inner tray like the rifle insted of being stored in a plastic bag taped to the back of the tray. The only reason I can come up with is Kaiyodo wanted to reuse the inner tray for the store-exclusive Ultra Magnus repaint and intended to include different accessories.

The design

For better or worse, Revoltech Convoy does stand out among other Convoy/Optimus Prime toy designs because it’s based on Optimus Prime ver. Pat Lee rather than the classic Sunbow animation model. I was not thrilled about this since Lee is an artist whose characters look pleasing in some extreme angles and pretty awful in others.

The figure is mainly targeted at Japanese toy fans and it’s possible they might consider Lee’s version appealing because of its exotic-cool amekomi origins.

Lee’s specific influences aside, it’s also clear some of the Revoltech figures (at least the robots) are afflicted with puffed-up limbs. It’s just so much more out of place on a Transformers design which ought to be boxy.

Is the look a deal-breaker? I suspect it is for many Transformers fans who have a certain look in mind as far as Optimus Prime is concerned.
Kaiyodo Revoltech Convoy

The sculpt

The figure stands 12cm tall. It weighs a little more than you might think it would thanks to the quality of the plastic used. Kaiyodo didn’t use cheap bubblegum PVC for this.

No matter your opinion of Lee’s design or the wisdom of using it as source material for the figure, you do have to admire the Revoltech interpretation for its faithfulness. The attention to detail is especially apparent on the head sculpt which has a lot of intricate detail despite being tiny.

The paint job is outstanding throughout the figure. I especially like the metallic look which is best appreciated in the blue and silver parts of the figure. To be hypercritical, the hip joints would be less conspicuous if they were painted the same colour as the thighs. To its credit, Kaiyodo is aware of this and has painted the hip joints on the upcoming Megatron figure.

In terms of accessories, the figure comes with a laser rifle, extra hands (aside from clenched fists, the figure includes a pointing right hand, a gun-grip right hand and a slightly open left hand) and a Matrix of Leadership. I was hoping for a figure stand as well but no such luck.
Kaiyodo Revoltech Convoy
The chubby-looking laser rifle is 5.5cm long. It doesn’t just look heavy; its weight causes the right arm to sag a little at the upper arm joint.

The Matrix is apparently a de rigueur accessory for Convoy these days but Revoltech Convoy can’t store it in his chest and the hands provided aren’t suitable for holding it. It’s a nice bonus to have but it does seem like an afterthought.

Strike a pose

There are Revolver joints located at the elbows, hips, knees, ankles and a double Revolver joint for the head and neck. In addition to that, there are conventional swivel joints for the removable hands and angled swivel joints for the shoulders and upper arms.

The chest features a joint with the Revolver logo — you can pull off the upper-half of the figure easily enough if you want to check it out — but it doesn’t seem able to bend and I’m afraid of applying excessive force to confirm whether it does.

Posability is quite good and it looks suitably dynamic in a lot of poses. It also looks ever so slightly awkward in some poses. This is because the shoulder pegs and the chest peg are positioned at an angle resulting in a slightly hunchbacked figure that looks as if it’s about to shrug.

When you name your line after a hyped-up joint, you might feel compelled to use it as much as possible even if it doesn’t make the best sense. There are a couple of questionable uses of the Revolver joint on this figure. The elbow features a Revolver joint that has its lower peg sticking out of Convoy’s forearm. So much for maintaining the fidelity of the sculpt. A Revolver joint also seems excessive when used at the knee since knees (even robot knees) needn’t bend in both directions. Besides, Convoy’s leg design means the range of motion is going to be limited anyway.


I once associated Kaiyodo with shoddy QC after its monoshaft figures were reported to have problems with parts breaking right out of (and sometimes in) the package.

The Revoltech figures seem to be sturdier and there haven’t been widely reported problems. There are a couple of areas where you should exercise care, though.

I would suggest being cautious when removing the hands. I managed to pull apart one hand as I was trying to swap it out and someone else managed to break the shoulder joint doing the same thing. Try gripping the forearm tightly when removing a hand.

I would also urge caution when manipulating the Revolver joints since the seams aren’t obvious. This might result in inattentive owners bending a joint the wrong way. It doesn’t help matters the ratcheting joints make the same distressing sound as plastic breaking when they are manipulated.
Kaiyodo Revoltech Convoy

I wish the sculptor chose a different source to base the toy on but I will commend him for absolutely nailing the look. It’s likely some Transformers fans will never get past the Lee look but action figure fans might consider checking it out. It’s a fine action figure based on clever joint technology and worth the 1900yen price tag.

I hope the company considers expanding its Revoltech Transformers offerings into a subline. Megatron’s coming in April and I’d be happy to see the rest of the More Than Meets The Eye gang get the Revoltech treatment.

Posted in Reviews, Toys, Transformers.

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