It's been 20 years, and we've yet to get a good Lio Convoy toy. The original was awkward and cumbersome and transformed into a lion with the worst rear legs, and was also extremely popular in the North American fandom at the time because it looked more like Optimus Prime than that dumb Optimus Primal who turned into a dumb monkey instead of a way cooler lion the way an Optimus Prime should. And it was a tragedy, because for all Lio Convoy's faults, it was Beast Wars II Galvatron who was the true MVP of the two new toys Takara had created at the time. But Lio Convoy righted all the horrendous wrongs Optimus Primal had perpetrated on the newly-adult fandom, so that dude was all the rage.
The Robot Masters adaptation of the Lio Convoy toy into a smaller form was reportedly an improvement on the design, I've heard. And then there were roughly 30 billion redecoes of other lion toys like Leobreaker into Lio Convoy colors (which is the first time we got the "Leo Prime" moniker for the character), which were all of varying success. And then there was Masterpiece Lio Convoy, which... honestly, I'm not sure how, but it's the worst one. (Okay, I know how. In the BWII cartoon, Lio Convoy's beast mode fleshy cartoon anime lion head shifted into an angular robotic head in robot mode, and since Masterpiece tries to be Faithful At All Costs, MP Lio Convoy became this clusterfuck of trying to fit two whole lion heads into that poor dude's right shoulder.) It was so bad and we haven't gotten a new Beast Wars Masterpiece in the years since, that I've kind of assumed that it killed that portion of the line. We might have a Rhinox by now if that thing hadn't happened.
Anyway, Transformers: Legacy: Evolution Beast Wars Universe Maximal Leo Prime (phew) has brought us a new attempt at the character! And it's... good???? I mean, it's a low friggin' bar, but even judging it against Transformers toys in general, not just the Lio Convoys, it stacks up admirably. It's got a lion mode without garbage hind legs and with existing forelimb biceps, it's got an interesting transformation that cleverly reconfigures that lion shape into an anime-styled robot mode, and it has a few gimmicks tucked in as well.
The toy comes with four small little barrels which you can plug into various ports in his mane. The two top ones can remain plugged in there while those panels fold back in for lion mode (or be unplugged and be used as handguns), and the two side ones can stow inside his back. Additionally, as with the original toy, long X-Men Wolverine-esque claws can fold out of the lion forepaws and augment the robot mode's arms. And, hey, the left chest panel still opens to reveal an Energon Matrix. And it's painted!
Leo Prime is honestly painted pretty well. The detail-less lion face can give you a false impression, but you get pretty much everything else detailed perfectly. After taking photos of the guy stock, I added some black paint to the lion face and he's basically perfect. (The eyes themselves are nylon and so couldn't be painted by the factory anyway.)
I adore the more realistic lion face. The cartoony anime face never did it for me, and the more realistic portrayal helps Leo Prime fit in better with, say, Kingdom Tigatron or any of the other Beast Wars guys in Legacy. Admittedly the giant paws remain cartoonish.
While this is clearly the Best Lio Convoy Toy Ever, there are still some things that fall short. The lion mode is useless in anything other than a standing pose, really. It's not jointed well enough to do a believable attack pose. I do miss the original's "push the forehead button in and his jaw puppets" action. And, yeah, the lion face could have used the black lines, even if the eyes themselves couldn't have taken factory paint.
But it's a toy that's excellent enough that I'm actually excited about it, despite my lukewarm feelings for the character itself. It's just a nice lion toy! We've had lions before, but, like, they're rarely any good. And most of them are the worse toys of this guy. A solid recommendation from me.