Knightdramon's review of: Grand Convoy PLA Kit Series 01
Before you read on, let it be noted than I am a huge fan of gundam model kits and have built quite a sum of model kits so far. Therefore, I am familiar with building of kits. Of course, I'm not going to compare Grand Convoy with a Master Grade, but I was expecting something from him. And I have to say I'm disappointed.
I acquired Grand Convoy along with some model kits and THS Convoy. He only cost me 5 euros [about 6 dollars], so I'm not complaining about the price.
Designed for starters in the field, and being the first TF kit from Takara, Convoy comes with only 7 small runners and one runner of polycaps [in other words, joints]. Since Takara is a beginner in the field of kits, they have not utilised the multi-colouring technique [allowing different colours of one runner].
Building the kit from scratch is a moderate challenge. The four drones are easy to build, but the main body is difficult. It doesn't require rocket science to build it, but the design is pretty bad. The shoulder joints have to be put in the inside of the truck, which you have to built before attaching the arms. I spent ten minutes trying to attach the right arm because the joint kept falling back from the pressure, and I had to re-position it with a knife. That's certainly dangerous for a kid younger than 11.
It should be noted that unlike airplane, copter, tanks etc kits, Grand Convoy is a snap fit kit. In other words, the parts snap together and it requires no glue at all. If you're not good with glue, this is the type of kit for you.
When assembled properly, Grand Convoy is the same truck we're so used to seeing in the series. Without painting, the main colours are dark blue, red [for the arms], white and chrome [the grille]. His wheels do NOT roll and they are all moulded in the same dark blue plastic. Stickers are included for window detail and the shoulders.
His four drones are an orange fire brigade vehicle, a white helicopter, a yellow drill and a dark blue submarine. The detail on them is good for their size, but without paint to bring it on, it's unoticeable. The fire truck's ladder swings at an 180 degree angle. The helicopter's tail moves in the same manner, but the blades do not. The drill and the submarine are immobile in this mode.
At least he transforms like the original. The legs swivel from the bottom [you have to attach the feet] and the hands rotate with the shoulders. What's different is that you have to attach the head, like THS Galaxy Convoy.
I've built kits his size that had superb articulation, but he simply disappoints. His arms are one static piece each, with no elbow or wrist articulation. They can only swing to the sides, or go up or down [like G1 toys]. Rotating them back is tricky because of the weak shoulder joints.
His legs have two points of articulation each, one at the connecting place with the main body and the other at the knee. However, the upper leg articulation is greatly hindered by the wheels on the sides. He can hold his gun in this mode, which is nothing exciting. By pushing the barrel back, an orange 'bomb' is launched from the gun. A chromed [unpainted] energon star can be attached on his shoulder as a power up, like in the show.
Grand Cross Mode:
This is the name used in the Super Link show. Faithful to the original, the four drones can combine with Grand Convoy in any way. For the sake of this review, I've used the standard formation, which is the fire truck and the helicopter as arms, and the drill with the submarine as the legs.
It should be noted that you have to take out the fake helmet and the normal mode head and place the power up head, similiar to THS Convoy. The front windows open to the sides, revealling his chrome armour, and the four drones combine to form a robot standing around 12 centimetres.
Articulation wise, there's no improvement. They could have easily worked in an elbow joint on at least two drones, but it was left out. In other words, he only has 11 points of articulation, counting the feet as well. The best articulated part is definitely the head, resting on a ball joint.
Please note that this kit HAS TO BE PAINTED to look exactly as it's depicted on the box and in the tv show.
Overall, this is a poor execution of a great character with lots of potential. Sure, it's probably Takara's first kit, but it came out in 2004. It could have been much, much better. This kit is simply the cheapest alternative to the 'leader' class figure, and you're getting exactly what you're paying for: unpainted pieces of plastic. If you HAVE to have a Grand Convoy, settling for the deluxe figure is preferable.
[1 being easiest, 10 being hardest] 7. Pretty simple but those shoulders will frustrate you to the very end. Not recommended for young children.
1. Simple and easy. No need to worry about paint chipping.
5. If it falls off a table, expect to be picking up parts. Fortunately, nothing can break besides the copter's blades, but losing the extra parts is the biggest threat.
6. I love building my kits and this left me uninterested. Has potential for play value, but not much due to restricted and limited articulation.
10. Can't deny this. Since I got this as part of a large haul, the shipping cost was already reduced. However, 5 euros [6 USD] for it is very cheap. Just don't pay twice that amount as BBTS wants you to.
4. I had no intention of wasting 50 euros for the big version, and the deluxe one is not available in europe. Plus it's a kit. That's three points, plus one for having minimal articulation and combining features. It's also available in a dark, 'Grand Scourge' version. Do yourself a favour and overlook this, unless you want to laugh at how bad Takara is at producing kits.