Name: Dark Nitro Convoy
Series: Galaxy Force (Cybertron)
Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Racing Car
Height: 4.5cm Length: 16cm Width: 8cm
A black dragster sort of thing with metallic purple and jade highlights, the purple concetrated on the engineblock at the back and the jade on the front fenders. Dark Nitro Convoy has a colourless transparent cockpit and transparent purple tyres. There are some metallic blue silver applications and some silver plastic pokes out, mainly on the inside of his cockpit. This is a great colour scheme, and while it copies a theme Takara has used several times, it _works_ and looks much better on this mould than the strawberries-n-cream colours of the regular version (Overrride in Cybertron).
Dark Nitro Convoy has large rounded front fenders with large transparent headlights (which were solid silver patches on the standard Nitro Convoy). There are small purple winglets on the back, composed of soft plastic, that can swing up with some effort, working as tailfins (although I prefer leaving them down). Behind the cockpit Dark Nitro Convoy's robot head sticks out, although being black surrounded by black, this isn't much of an issue - and far less of a problem than on the regular version. There's a gap underneath the canopy itself, which is also far less obvious since it's surrounded by fairly dark plastic - you'll only notice it if you're through the gap itself. There are two seats moulded inside the cockpit, along with a steering wheel on the left side.
The wheels roll okay, and there is of course a key gimmick. Plugging his colourless Planet Key into the back causes black cannons to deploy from underneath the winglets. They're small and fairly unimpressive as a result, but the gimmick works well enough. The Planet Key has gold highlights rather than the standard silver, and the colourless plastic matches the canopy (and the fact that it's colour neutral is a plus).
The colour scheme kicks tailgate and masks the mould problems very effectively. In black there are shades of the Batmobile, but the purple and jade paints make sure he's not a wannabe Batmobile. The planet key gimmick is a bit of a non-event, particularly with black cannons, but I don't really mind when the car looks this cool.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Detach the engineblock and set aside. Unclip the front fenders and rotate them out to the sides, then simply touch the centre of the car and a series of internal gears and springs will cause the canopy to snap back and into place as his chest, while the head will reveal and the backplate will slide into position. The arms also swing out, swapping out for the rear wheels, which stow underneath. Swing the groin halves into position, rotate the legs, fold out the feet and heelspurs. Give Dark Nitro Convoy the engineblock as a handgun.
Height: 16.5cm Width: 10cm
Again mainly black, although the jade paint is a lot more prevalent and the silver plastic comes into play now. The thighs and elbows are silver, and the thighs have jade paint applications. The feet are the headlights while the head is black with a silver face and red eyes. The colourless canopy sits in the middle of his chest, while the purple engineblock forms a handgun with black cannons. The colours are again great, and really give Dark Nitro Convoy an evil feel. The darker colours give this toy a better sense of majesty than the regular version - which is fitting considering Dark Nitro Convoy is meant to be usurping Nitro Convoy's control of Planet Speedia.
There's something of a G1 feel about this robot mode, with visible car parts, squarish upper body and window on the chest. It's not as strong as on the original, since this colour theme was first in introduced in Car Robots. While the modern jointing makes it obvious this isn't a G1 robot, the clever use of car parts gives this robot mode a classic feel.
The feet are long and curved and the heelspurs short, the backpack can cause stability issues in some poses, but Dark Nitro Convoy is still fairly poseable. The head turns (on mine at least, this joint is very tight), although there's not much point with the backpack behind it. The shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides while the elbows are hinged with rotates just below his shoulders, giving Dark Nitro Convoy good arm poseability. The hips are ball jointed while the knees are hinged with rotators just below the hips. The feet and heelspurs don't have much in the way of meaningful articulation, but allow for action posing.
The key gimmick is available here, although it's not as useful, since without the cannons the engineblock isn't much of a weapon. Still, you can deploy them as part of the transformation, or stow the engineblock on his back and deploy the cannons as you reveal the weapon. The gun works with the winglets up or down - if they're up you get better clearances, but I prefer them down on this toy to give the gun some bulk.
A great robot mode, the colours again work very well and really convey the evil of the character. There's enough limb articulation to give Dark Nitro Convoy some cool action poses and while the key gimmick has been made a little redundant, on a limited edition collector's toy this isn't a major issue. The heelspurs are a tad shorter than I'd have liked, but this is still a great display piece, better than the original (and much better than Override, not least because he's male).
A TV magazine exclusive mailaway as mentioned, Dark Nitro Convoy was only available in Japan. He represents a different Character to Nitro Convoy - trying to overthrow the Planet Speedia leader in fact. As a limited run toy, I doubt there are any variants.
The darker colour scheme makes the vehicle mode shortcomings non issues, and both modes are quite attractive. The colour scheme might be an old idea, but it's a good one. The robot mode poseability and colours make this a great display piece, which is what you want from an exclusive toy like this. While getting your hands on one might be tricky, if you can do so I'd recommend it (especially if you skipped Override like I did) - 8/10