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Transformers Series

Takara Masterpiece MP-01 Convoy Cybertron Commander (12/2003)


Transformers Masterpiece

Transformers Binaltech


BT01 Smokescreen Subaru Impreza WRC 2003 (8/03)

#7 Solberg / Mills 

#8 Makinen / Lindstorm


BT02 Lambor (Sideswipe) Dodge Viper SRT-10 (12/03)



BT03 Streak as Subaru Impreza WRX (3/04) 


BT04 Hound as Jeep Wrangler (04/04)


BT05 Dead End as Dodge Viper  (07/04)


BT06 Track Chevy Corvette (08/04)


BT07 Meister Mazda RX6 (09/04)


Masterpiece Edition

MP01 Convoy (Optimus Prime) Semi-truck Cab (12/03)







Masterpiece Convoy came packaged in large black cardboard box. The box featured colorful photo of the toys and beautiful silver logo along the box spine (similar to the TF: Collection line).


Convoy Story

Convoy was actually a carry-over named from the Diaclone series robot Battle Convoy in which the Transformers character was based on. The toy that became Optimus Prime in the Transformers like most other G1 toys came from Takara Diaclone "Car Robot" and Microman "Micro Change" line which formed the core of Takara Sci-fi toys in the early to mid 1980's. When Takara re-imported concept of "The Transformers" back to Japan, several of the US character names were changed to suit the Japanese market. Optimus Prime retained his original Diaclone name and was known as "Convoy". The named Convoy was used in the subsequence Transformers series in Japan for the lead character much like Optimus Prime. 


Master Instruction Booklet

Masterpiece Convoy came with full color booklet that detailed the features of the history of Convoy from his early day as Diaclone toy to his modern day version as ape in Beast Wars and futuristic cab in Transformers Micron Legends.


Alternate Version

Hasbro released a slightly cheaper version of Masterpiece Convoy as 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime for the US market. The toy was nearly identical to the Takara counterpart but with some minor change such as battle damage paint scheme and shorter smoke stack due to US safety regulation.  However, unlike the Binaltech / Alternators, the Anniversary Optimus Prime retained the die-cast parts and light up features. The toy was packaged in window box that resembled the inside of Prime's trailer.  The cardboard trailer however was not included in the US version.

Takara released the much anticipated Masterpiece Convoy in December of 2003 as debut figure in their new collector line.  Rumored to be three years in the making, Masterpiece Convoy (known in the US as Optimus Prime) stood over 12" tall and boosted hefty amount of die-cast parts along with real rubber tires and a light up feature.  While the Binaltech updated the G1 characters with the new realistic modern day cars, the Masterpiece was more of the ultimate version of the old G1 character.  The vehicle mode, Convoy was of course a red semi-truck cab with prominent molded-on Cybertron (Autobot) symbol on the left side.  The cab while look very good was meant to capture the flavors of the animation version and the G1 toy instead of the realistic modern vehicle as was done for the Binaltech line.  There was no realistic interior seating (due mainly in part because of the housing for the "Matrix of Leadership" and its light up feature) or open-able doors.  The truck, however, had working suspension and plastic lens covered headlights and tail lamps.

In robot mode, Convoy made one impressive looking mecha. The transformation was not overly difficult and became straight forward after a few attempts. The figure stood over 12" in height and crammed with details both large and small. The figure also had hefty feel thanks to the die-cast cab body part (just like his old G1/Diaclone toys) along with die-cast lower legs. There were working arms and foot actuators complete with working chrome hydraulic pistons for the added realistic details.  Convoy body and head were clearly based on the animation version of the character. The head featured metallic blue eyes (just like in the TV show) and even movable mouthpiece. His chest can be open to reveal the hidden legendary "Matrix of Leadership". The Matrix had working light up feature that glow bright blue the button on his left shoulder is pushed.

Beside the moving and light up features, Convoy also had excellent painted and molded on details.  The Cybertron (Autobot) symbol was molded on to his left shoulder.  His forearms had panels that open up to reveal communication gears (one side feature Bumblebee and another had Starscream on the TV screen).  Unlike the original Convoy and even many of the recent Convoy toys, his back was completely covered up and he looked impressive even from the back short something that Convoy toys always lacking.  Masterpiece Convoy also came with several accessories such as the Energy Ax that can be snap on to his retracted hand and Megatron in P-38 pistol mode (with silencer, scope and stock attachments) that can be hold in his hand (which featured individually articulate fingers). The trailer part of Convoy was missing from this offering (probably due to cost) but Takara included a cardboard cut-out version. 

MP-01 Convoy was one of the most impressive Transformers toys to date and even out shine the already excellent Binaltech toys. The Masterpiece Convoy along with the Binaltech line definitely helped to established Takara as a player in the high-end collector's market long dominated with the like of Bandai Soul of Chogokin and Yamato Macross Valkyrie series. In some fan polls the toys even edge out Bandai as favorite toys of the year. So far Takara had yet to announce the follow up to this incredible figure. There was rumor of may be an Ultra Magnus using the same mold or a Starscream.  Masterpiece Megatron would made a nice addition and complete the line up with his arch-nemesis, but that would really required some engineering feats however looking at this Masterpiece Convoy Takara could just as well pull it off.