Like many Transformers fans, I’m still recovering from the recent reveal of Missing Link Convoy (or Optimus Prime, if you prefer)!
In case you haven’t seen it yet (although I’m sure you have!), it’s a brand new and upcoming overhaul of the classic 1984 Optimus Prime toy design, except now with plenty of new bells and whistles (a lot of which we’ve documented below). It’s the first confirmed tie-in for the 40th anniversary of the brand, and it appears as though TakaraTomy has well and truly hit the mark, giving collectors something that many of us have been clamouring for over the decades.
Even better, there will be two separate releases – C-01 Convoy is your classic toy-styled Optimus, looking very much in sync with the vintage figure, whereas C-02 has been given more of a cartoon-styled makeover, with paint and finish bringing closer to the animation. They’re spoiling us!
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the essential details of this new release and consider four questions we still have!
#10: It’s full of new articulation!
OK, this might sound obvious if you’ve seen the photos, but the new figure is a hyper-articulated makeover of the classic 1984 Optimus Prime toy design. Imagine the G1 toy, but now with ankle tilt. And hip movement. And hey, even an ab crunch! It’s basically what many collectors have been saying Hasbro and/or TakaraTomy should be doing for years now… except it’s not a pipe dream, this is actually happening! Admittedly, the vintage figure was already one of the more poseable ’80s Transformers designs, but now the head can turn, the arms are as freely-moving as you please and the legs perhaps even more so! Incredible.
#9: It appears to be 1:1 scale with the classic toy
Before the official reveal, one major question I had was exactly how big this thing would be. I mean, if it’s not 1:1 with the classic figure then that seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity, but still, there was never a guarantee! Fortunately, all signs point to TakaraTomy taking the logical path here and giving us a new product that can sit on a shelf next to your vintage toy and look fairly indistinguishable, at least in stature. It really does look like the ’84 design learned how to pose!
#8: It will have diecast and chrome
Another big question concerned some of the materials used, especially as the classic toy is famed for its notable presence of diecast metal, chrome and rubber for the tyres. Well, have no fear, as the shiny chrome thighs, grill and smokestacks should surely be evident, and TakaraTomy has confirmed in some of the promotional blurb that the figure will feature diecast (presumably on the chest in the same place as before), so that should keep fans happy. Oh, and those tyres certainly look like rubber to me!
#7: The classic stickers have been given a makeover
There are some details on the new release that are a bit of a makeover, however, and that includes the stickers from the classic toy. Instead of decals on areas such as the forearms and knees, Missing Link Convoy will boast moulded details, all of which are then painted on the C-01 release (but not on C-02 to keep it cartoon accurate). That’s a major extra step that is sure to have the updated design looking pretty swish!
#6: It has some new features
Alongside its new articulation, Missing Link Convoy has a few snazzy features to set it apart from its vintage predecessor. Most notably, there’s an energy axe as an already-familiar nod towards the iconic Sherman Dam battle from the pilot episode of the classic cartoon and a rather beautifully-finished Matrix of Leadership. That would be fun to see by itself, but it also appears that the toy’s chest has been overhauled to include a newly-designed but removable chamber for the Matrix to sit in.
So, plenty of lighting our darkest hour going on, then.
#5: And some new box art!
Famed Japanese illustrator did an incredible job on the Takara 1984 Optimus Prime box art (which is actually different to the Hasbro version, but I digress), so much so that it still stands up today. Whilst the toy manufacturer could simply have recycled this piece for the new release, they’ve certainly gone the extra mile in bringing him back to do an entirely new illustration instead, now depicting Missing Link Convoy’s upgraded articulation! It has a wonderful vintage quality to it, however, and coupled with the use of classic-style packaging, it is sure to make this 40th-anniversary release feel suitably nostalgic.
Now, onto the outstanding questions we still have…
#4: How closely is it modelled after the 1984 toy?
Firstly, this might sound like a silly question, but one can’t help but wonder just how close a match to the classic Optimus Prime figure the Missing Link update truly is. For example, were the original moulds used in the design process to make the updated sculpt as close as possible? It looks nearly identical from photos, apart from some embellished elements such as the sculpted sticker detail and reworked details such as the hands integrating into the chest to avoid partsforming, but how will this fare in hand? For my part, I’d love them to be practically indistinguishable up close, especially if this initial project might lead to other vintage G1 designs being given the same treatment and considering what it could mean for some of the lost toys from that era.
#3: What other characters might there be?
Following on directly from the previous point, if we see more characters besides Convoy as part of this line, it’s thrilling to consider what that might mean for the vast array of classic Transformers designs from the ’80s being brought back to life in modern form. I can’t be the only one who would be excited to see the ’84 and ’85 carbots brought back in similar fashion, especially non-reissued examples like Sunstreaker and Wheeljack. We’ve already done a whole write-up speculating what this new line could lead to, but still, it’s hard to keep the excitement in check.
#2: Will there be a Hasbro release?
Naturally, many collectors have already been wondering if Missing Link Convoy will be granted a domestic Hasbro release in the US and other Western territories. Although there’s no sign of that so far, it has been made available through official channels such as Hasbro Pulse, and various retailers are picking it up for pre-order too… hint hint! If anything, the bigger question is what happens if the line continues and TakaraTomy sees fit to do a Megatron, but perhaps that’s a concern for another day!
#1: What else might HasTak do for the 40th anniversary?
Although we’re still a few months off from 2024 arriving, seeing products like this become real only whets the appetite for the Transformers brand’s 40th anniversary that much more, especially as we now can’t help but wonder what else might be in store before the year is out! After all, Missing Link Convoy is slated for February, so no doubt there will be plenty more yet to come after that… bring it on, we say!
So that’s our list! Are you excited about the new figure?