As proven by “The many deaths of Optimus Prime” (the Wiki article devoted solely to the topic) you can’t keep a good Optimus down. He may get killed, but he invariably returns and this holds true regardless of the country.
However, Japan went a different direction with the resurrection of G1 Optimus Prime, or “Convoy”, as he is called there. Rather than simply bring him back to life as the American version did, The Battlestars story pages — the fiction that goes along with the Return of Convoy toyline — returned him to life while simultaneously upgrading him into a more powerful form, as Star Convoy.
The original Star Convoy toy can go for anywhere between $300 to $1,000 on ebay. Along with the fact that he’s just a splendid display piece, this ridiculous disparity of cost is one of the reasons why this guy is one of my favourites of my entire collection. I was able to get an actual, official Star Convoy into my collection and pay less than $100, because in 2005 Takara reissued him.
The reissue actually improves upon the original by replacing his white pieces with silver and changing the yellow star on his chest to a shiny gold. His entire articulation consists of shoulder and elbow joints and, thanks to his transformation, a waist swivel (not exactly the articulated robot of his box art). You may remember from part 1 of my 2 part Rodimus post, included is the Micromaster version of Hot Rod
Star Convoy retains Convoy’s “truck” alt mode, but no longer of any real-world model.
The reissue also retains the original’s gimmick. The rear treaded section is battery-powered and can drive either alt or robot mode forward or backwards. The treaded section, called the Microcarrier, can be removed.
Following on from the Zone toyline, the Return of Convoy toyline focused mainly on Micromasters. In both lines, the larger Transformers all had a third mode that functions as a base for the smaller Transformers and Star Convoy is no exception.
The treads on the Microcarrier are faced up and, when activated, function as a conveyor belt to launch the Micromasters down the ramp. This toyline also saw the inclusion of Micro Trailers, a small tractor trailer with a spring-loaded launching mechanism. Star Convoy’s alt mode can carry two Micro Trailers and comes with the only Micro Trailer that doesn’t have a number on the side.
Star Convoy catches a lot of fan-hate due to the fact that his toy is a “brick“, but for me, frankly, he’s for display, not for playing. Besides, I’m the one whose favourite G1 toy is Powermaster Optimus Prime, it doesn’t get more brick-tastic than that.