Saturday, 16 May 2020

Lio Convoy C-16 (Beast Wars Second, 1998)



Profile (Translated from the Trading Card)
C-16 General Commander Lio Convoy
Honest, with a strong sense of right and wrong, though there are times when his seriousness appears humorous. Lio Convoy has a harsh, career-military side to him, but also has a humane gentleness. There are times when he behaves as if he knows something about the secrets of the planet where the battle is taking place.
PWR: 10; INT: 10; SPD: 10; END: 10; RNK: 10; CRG: 10; FPR: 9; TCH: 10






When Generation 2 ended Hasbro passed the Transformers brand to Kenner (see the original Star Wars action figures), their new acquisition, and Beast Wars was born. Beast Wars was a move in a different direction with the characters transforming into animals, insects and dinosaurs rather than vehicles. The series also followed Generation 2 with figure articulation and Beast Wars improved on it. What helped the Beast Wars series was the brilliant cartoon produced by Mainframe Entertainment, and although the CGI has not aged well visually, its story still shines. Counting its sequel Beast Machines, the Beast Wars series ran up to 2001 before Hasbro went back to the traditional vehicle Transformers.



Takara followed Hasbro releasing their version of Beast Wars in 1997, their toys were near identical to Hasbro's versions with a few colour changes here and there and Takara even released their own exclusive figure, Shadow Panther, which was a black repaint of Cheetor. Only the first season of Beast Wars was aired before Takara completely changing direction from Hasbro and released their Japanese only series "Beast Wars Second", a cell animated cartoon.


The entire Beast Wars Second toyline was full of repaints from Hasbros Beast Wars series as well as a few Generation 2 figures which had not been released in Japan and a repaint of the G1 Seacon combiner, Piranacon and Trypticon. However the two leaders of the series, Lio Convoy and Galvatron were brand new moulds, as well as small bunny character named Moon. Both Lio Convoy and Galvatron were designed by Hisashi Yuki who later designed Masterpiece MP-5 Megatron and MP-24 Star Saber.


Hasbro made both Lio Convoy and Galvatron available to their fans through their now closed Hasbrocollectors.com website in 2000, with both available for a reasonable $34.99 each.

Screenshot of Hasbrocollectors.com

Released May 1998, Lio Convoy is a white lion with a gold mane. The beast mode has a few gimmicks; there is a button on top of the lions head which when pressed will open the lions mouth. There is rather a prominent red switch on top of the lions mane, when 4 panels of the mane are folded out, you can push the switch down to spin the mane sections. There are two switches on the underside of the figure on the robot arms which flips out the two side mane sections which are missile launchers and another button on top of the mane flips out the top two missile launchers. Lastly the two front lion legs contain flip out blades. The lion mode is quite detailed and it works especially with a figure packed with gimmicks, I do prefer this look than the recent Masterpiece MP-48 Lio Convoy. The lions ears are also moulded in with the gold mane, a small detail I didn't initially notice.



The Transformation is not too complex however I have trouble with the robot arms locking in place, as they don't really stay in place when trying to pose them. The robot mode unmistakably resembles G1 Optimus Prime with the chest windows and silver abdomen design not to mention the head sculpt. The chest also has an opening door behind the Cybertron / Maximal emblem which when opened reveals the non-removable Energon Matrix as well as the head sensitive rub sign. The robot mode is quite difficult to pose mainly because you cant really move his arms with the lion head and tail section getting in the way. The two missile launchers on the top of the main can be removed and held as weapons and the lions front legs which are attached to the robot arms can rotate out and the blades can also flip out.



As with many Cybertron leaders in Japan Lio Convoy had many special repaints, the two mainline repaints were Flash Lio Convoy and Black Lio Convoy. Neither of these figures had an individual collectors card or box, they both came with the standard C-16 Lio Convoy box and collectors card and were only differentiated with a sticker placed on the window.



Flash Lio Convoy

Flash Lio Convoy was not an exclusive figure but was released to commemorate the opening of the Beast Wars Second film which came out in December 1998. Flash Lio Convoy was released alongside Burning Convoy (translucent red repaint of C-1 Convoy / Optimus Primal) in late November 1998. I bought my copy of Flash Lio Convoy opened, the box was a bit damaged and the figure inside has very loose joints, I'm not sure whether this is just my copy or whether it is just the type of plastic used. One negative about Flash Lio Convoy is that it turns yellow over time like many of the clear transparent figures, even when it is not in direct sunlight. When I bought it, it had a pearlesent sheen and now it has a slight yellow hue even though it has been carefully stored for many years.





Black Lio Convoy

Black Lio Convoy was a Toys R Us exclusive and is based off the appearance of "Copy Convoy" from Episode 18 of Beast Wars Second, "The Black Lio Convoy". The Toys R Us was limited to 6,000 pieces and is notable for being the first ever black repaint of Convoy / Optimus Prime to start off the now common black, grey and real colour scheme. A few versions of this figure came with gold claws instead of the standard teal, this may have been a running change or another exclusive. The sticker on the box says "Toys R Us Limited Edition Comic Bom Bom Original Black Lio Convoy".

"Copy Convoy" from the episode "The Black Lio Convoy"





Other Lio Convoy Releases


Black Lio Convoy

This Black Lio Convoy is a Comic Bom Bom lucky draw exclusive limited to 10 pieces which was released September 1998. The figure is identical to the Toys R Us Black Lio Convoy but to differentiate it, it has "BLXX " in white text on the robot modes backside (XX stand for 2 digits).




Lio Convoy Galvatron Colour Ver.

This figure was another Comic Bom Bom exclusive lucky draw limited to 50 pieces. Lio Convoy was coloured black and purple. Click here for more photographs on Alfes Blog.

Courtesy of Alfes Blog.

Gold Lio Convoy

Another Comic Bom Bom lucky draw item from their August 1998 issue, limited to 10 pieces. There appears to be two different types of this figure, either gold chrome or matt gold.


Source: Mandarake


Flash Lio Convoy Green Ver

This Lio Convoy is very rare and is thought t be a Takara staff award, It is unknown as to how many were produced.

Green Flash Lio Convoy. Courtesy of Transformers at the Moon



Characteristic Lio Convoy

This is an incredibly rare release and has not been seen outside of the TV Magazine it appeared in back in 1998 until the "Transformers Fight! Super Robot Sonic Festival 2019 which was held on August 2nd 2019 in Japan. Various figures were on display including the Characteristic Lio Convoy. Overall 17 figures were released for TV Magazine Beast Wars Club colouring competition, entrants had to draw their favourite character with an original colour scheme. The best entry would be made into a toy and had a possibility of appearing in the cartoon. Lio Convoy features a black, red & yellow redeco. 10 people were awarded an individual Characteristic Lio Convoy, 5 people were also awarded a Characteristic Lio Convoy VS Galvatron Set. Galvatron was also a "Characteristic" redeco and has yet to be seen in full colour. The top Prize was a set of Characteristic Cybertrons: Tazmania Kid, Scuba, Diver, Bighorn, Apache & Lio Convoy which were awarded to 2 people.

Characteristic Lio Convoy. Source: Chohenken.com

Characteristic Lio Convoy VS Characteristic Galvatron

A new, smaller version of Lio Convoy was released in Takara's Robot Masters series which featured many Cybertron leaders such as G1 Convoy, Beast Convoy and Star Saber. Although smaller these figures featured much better articulation.

RM-22 Lio Convoy (2005)




RM-23 Lio Convoy + DVD (2005)



This was a metallic repaint of RM-22 Lio Convoy which also came with a DVD.

RM-22 Lio Convoy Black Version (2006)



Dengeki Hobby released a black repaint of RM-22 Lio Convoy in 2006.


LC-03 Lio Convoy (Legend Commander Collection, 2014)




A rerelease of RM-22 Lio Convoy with new packaging. This version appears to have the same paint scheme.


MP-48 Lio Convoy (Beast Wars) (Masterpiece, 2020)



The latest version of Lio Convoy is from the Masterpiece series. Altough the lion mode is a little off, the robot mode is well made and a good representation of the animated model.





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