I need to be clear here – when this was first announced, I was entirely against it. I didn’t think we needed yet ANOTHER Optimus Prime, and thought this was a waste of time an effort for the MP line. I’m eating crow on that.
MP-44 Convoy Ver. 3 is, for all intents and purposes, the pinnacle of an Optimus Prime toy. He’s designed to be entirely cartoon screen accurate, to coincide with the direction Takara has been taking the MP line. He stands as the summit of MP technology, design, accessory inclusion and, unfortunately, price. (We’ll get into that later).
Optimus/Convoy comes JAM packed with stuff. His iconic trailer, naturally, along with Roller, and the command tower are all nothing new in terms of concept, but are all entirely redesigned.
Roller has an accessible hood/engine, rotating mount for the trailer (Which I neglected to take a picture of) and has seating for four mini-figures. Optimus comes with Sparkplug, Spike and Carly, all three of which now feature magnets in their feet to adhere to new magnetic paneling in the trailer sides. The command tower/repair claw, now can detach and has flip out wheels that allow it to be a mobile anti-air defense. The trailers bottom assembly also slides out to store most of Optimus’ specific accessories – there are also ports in the trailer for his Ion Blaster and the tubed, oil gun. The Diaclone influences are highly incorporated into the toy, which is excellent.
Optimus also includes his jet-pack, which can also attach to the trailer. The more episode-specific accessories are a mock-Starscream head and intakes to re-create the episode where the Decepticons created an Optimus Prime disguise to frame the Autobots.
Finally, no Optimus/Convoy MP toy would be complete without his signature energon axe, which is smaller but more screen accurate that the MP-10 version.
Additionally, he includes a damaged side panel, battle damaged face and Matrix for the ’86 movie fans. He also includes a more rounded headsculpt to replicate some of the animation inconsistencies from the show. (Not pictured below).
Dauntingly at first, Optimus has 75 steps to transform him from Cab to Robot mode.
While this intimidated me at first, and I was exceedingly hesitant to try and complete the transformation flying solo without the instructions, by the end of the weekend, I had it down. The main key here is take your time, go slow and follow the natural flow of the panels that flip, rotate and fold. Also, as of the writing of this post (9/9/19) I have yet to pick up the needed LR-44 batteries to activate his sound effects. I’ll try to get that done this week and maybe test out the new video set up for reviews.
In terms of size comparisons with MP-10 there’s a very noticeable difference, with MP-44’s semi mode being longer, and robot mode having cartoon accurate proportions.
As a toy, Optimus/Convoy features superb articulation, joint strength, balance and play-value, with blast effects for his rifle/backpack, opening cab doors, fully articulated fingers/hands, and the myriad of accessories and features with the Trailer. While MP-10 was all of these things as well, I find it hard to not appreciate this new version that coincides with the animation accuracy they’re going for. Okay, fine, I love it. I’ll admit it. He looks perfect with Megatron and the rest of the MP Autobots as well. The biggest deterrent here is the price tag. Convoy Ver. 3 is going to run you about $300 easy. Depending on the retailer and your country’s currency rate, that could be higher. That’s a tough pill to swallow considering how dense the Optimus Prime market is. I can only say that this is the very top of the line for the character. If Prime is your guy, I think you’ll find the money well spent. If not, MP-10 and his infinite color selections are still most excellent. For me, I’m happy to have picked this up, and while MP-10 will always have a place in my collection, THIS is my Optimus Prime.