Cliffbee.com: Bitstream Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Bitstream
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: F-15 Fighter



PLANE MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 13cm

   A metallic turquoise F-15 fighter in the spirit of the G1 Seekers, Bitstream is a retcon of a background character seen in the G1 cartoon (More Than Meets The Eye, Part 1). While that character was a royal blue & white affair; this toy is a little greener to differentiate from Thundercracker (the colour maps are virtually identical in jet mode). He sports silver air intakes along with red & white stripes on the tailfins and wings. He has a transparent yellow canopy, which sports turquoise ribs. There are backwards facing purple Decepticon logos stamped on either wing. This is a good colour scheme, although it's hard to get past the fact that he looks like a slightly discoloured Thundercracker in this mode.


   The guns underneath his wings are actually missile launchers, the missiles fire about half a metre, and aren't susceptible to popping out the moment you touch the triggers, which I appreciate. The launchers detach for his transformation, but I'm happy to report that the wings and tailfins do not - fuselage-only G1 Seekers are far too common, but this guy won't be ruined by a missing tailfin. There are four pseudo-tyres underneath - moulded lumps rather than wheels, and while Bitstream sits flat on the table, rolling would have been nice.

   It's a good mould with a good paintmask, but of the three seekers from BotCon 2013 Bitstream has the least distinct colours. The mould has been beaten to death, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a well put together vehicle mode. The mould improves on G1 in many ways - the fixed wings are a nice improvement and the vehicle holds together well. I've read about mould degradation problems, but at least on my Bitstream this isn't an issue.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the missile launchers, extend the rear to form the boots. Fold up the tailwings and rotate the tailfins forward to form heelspurs. Fold down the feet and stow away the front wheels. Stand him up, swivel the wings up. Fold out the chestplate, rotate the canopy and pivot down to form the centre of his chest, rotate the nose and fold back to reveal his head. Flip out the arms and fold the chestplate back into position. Flip out his fists, give Bitstream his weapons, either on the upper arms as traditional null rays or as handheld missile launchers.

   I really like this transformation. Without trying to get too fancy, it takes the original seeker layout and improves on it. He gains proper thighs and manages to keep the wings and tailfins permanently attached, integrates the fists and both configurations are true to the original.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   While the vehicle mode looks like Thundercracker, the robot mode is more distinct. Sure he's still a metallic turquoise that's close to Thundercracker's colour but there's a significant difference in the colour map. Thundercracker's chest is silver while Bitstream has a turquoise chest (they both have silver intakes on the shoulders). Thundercracker's thighs are blue while the thighs here are white. In fact there's quite a bit of white here which really helps to give Bitstream a character all his own. His forearms and feet are black along with the head, while his face is silver with red eyes. The yellow canopy is now on his chest. The wings sit behind his arms and the tailfins on the outsides of his ankles.

   Bitstream's moment in the cartoon was brief, but they've done a good job capturing that background guy here. This is very much a seeker; and while the turquoise chest doesn't pop out quite as much silver does, it works for him. Bitstream has quite a bit of articulation; the head turns, the shoulder swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. His wings have to swing back accommodate the moving arms. The hips are ball jointed and the knees have both hinges and swivels. The waist is fixed - but I don't mind. The feet are a little too static, the heelspurs are decent but not great, so we don't get too many stable leg poses. On the whole the poseability is good but not fantastic.

   As with most Classics figures, Bitstream lacks any true gimmicks - instead the toy focuses on being a good Transformer. The poseability, solid build, hand weapon option and thighs are enough for me. We do of course get firing missiles - and they are an improvement over the neutered ones back in G1, although I wouldn't really call that a gimmick as such.

   A solid robot mode without any significant flaws. The poseability is good even if the legs are a little limited. The colour mapping isn't quite as nice as the original trio; but then Bitstream is a generic background character so the toy designer had to work with a throwaway generic seeker.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Bitstream was only released at BotCon 2013, so was most likely produced in a single production run. I'm not going to mention all the toys that share the mould, but I will mention Hotlink & Sunstorm whom he comes packaged with.

OVERALL

   A solid BotCon toy and one that fleshes out an obscure G1 character. The mould is overused, which counts against Bitstream, but he's well executed - the use of turquoise really helps him too. I suspect Sunstorm will be the most anticipated amongst this group, although Bitstream offers something new which Sunstorm (in his various incarnations) doesn't. The mould itself is excellent although chances are if you're reading this review you already have several Classicsverse seekers anyway. The major downside here is that Bitstream is a very limited toy. If you have the means & inclination, I'd recommend picking this toy up - 8.5/10

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