Cliffbee.com: Binaltech Ravage Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Ravage
Series: Binaltech
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Saboteur
Alternate Mode: Chevrolet Corvette Convertable

It's interesting to note that his name is _not_ Jaguar, which has historically been his Japanese name - possibly because of legal issues associated with the car company Jaguar, and that name being applied to another car model. There's a backstory in his tech specs justifying the name change.



CORVETTE MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 9.5cm

   A very realistic black 2004 Chevy Corvette with transparent windows, black rubberised tyres, chrome silver mag wheels and a black interior with red seats. Yes, it's a far cry from a cassette, but the heavy reliance on black is quite suitable for the Decepticon of the shadows. The black is a shiny enamel paint that hides some of the details on the toy, but this works for Ravage, since he's a character that _should_ be cloaked in black. The black droptop itself looks pretty good anyway, as you'd expect, and the chromed mag wheels work really well.

   Ravage is a repaint and retool of Tracks. The main changes to the car mode are the removal of the roof and new hubcaps which are a different shape and now chromed. There are no side windows and Tracks's back window has been replaced by a moulded droptop cover. The open cabin gives a better view inside than Tracks's closed cabin can.

   Inside is a steering wheel (left side), stickshift, handbrake, central console, rear vision mirror and air conditioning vents on the top of the dashboard. There are rear vision mirrors on the doors, which are chromed. The doors have moulded handles on the outside and handles and various control buttons on the black interior lining. The connecting tabs on Tracks's windshield that allowed the roof to sit in place are still present on Ravage, which is slightly disappointing. They almost work as sunvisors lifted back, but not quite. The black robot hips are visible under the dashboard - something that wasn't an issue for Tracks (the roof didn't let in enough light). It's not really an issue in black, just an observation.

   There's a fuel tank cap just behind the left door and various Corvette markings on the toy - most notably the word in white lettering on the front license plate and a very cool moulded lettering above the rear license plate - which is silver and sports a Decepticon logo and the letters "RVG". The taillights are transparent red plastic and there are orange indicators on the sides at the back. The front headlights are pop-up, so he merely has moulded panels, but the parking lights are silver while the attached indicators are orange - these colours are painted on inside of clear plastic. There are moulded black wipers on the windshield. The front grills are painted black, as well as the air intakes on the sides, and the two sets of twin exhausts on the back are chrome.

   The level of detail is what I've come to expect of this line. There aren't any real improvements in detail compared to Tracks, although the brakepads are chromed, which is a step above those of Tracks's. While both toys have red callipers Tracks has matte discs. The tabs on his windscreen are a regression, but on a toy so dominated by black they don't stand out that much - thankfully.

   By it's nature the Corvette is a simpler, sleeker design than some of the other Binaltech cars we've seen, so the level of detail here isn't the best we've seen but the detail within his cockpit and the fantastic wheels show that the designers are still as focused as ever.

   The robot mode arms that were visible through the back window on Tracks are now concealed underneath the droptop cover. There are silver cannons visible next to the seats inside the cockpit, but they look quite mechanical and if you didn't know any better you'd probably not pick them as robot mode kibble.

   The play value is consistent with previous Binaltech toys - the doors open, the front wheels turn and there's a rack-and-pinion mechanism under the hood. That hood opens, with the hinges at the front (as Corvettes' do), which opens to reveal a rotary engine and some black moulded machinery over the wheelbays. All four wheels spin, of course. The hood is composed of two halves, which split for the transformation. While neither my blue or yellow Tracks toys have any problems here, Ravage's hood tends to split into two when I don't want it to (I've heard this can be a problem on some Tracks toys, it's probably a result of the individual paint job).

   The only real flaws with the car mode are the tabs on his windows and the fact that black swamps a lot of the detail. The latter isn't really a flaw, since Ravage is meant to be cloaked in darkness, but if you're getting to toy as a Corvette fan Tracks is probably a better choice. The wheels are an improvement on Tracks's excellent wheels and the droptop is a simple way to bring something new to the mould. A very good car mode and a suitable application of the character.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not going to bother trying to explain everything involved in what is a very complex transformation. The transformation is virtually identical to that of Tracks, except the roof no longer has to unclip. The front becomes the legs, he has wings formed from the halves of the rear section, and the rear tyres end up on his shoulders. Like Energon Downshift, he has a false roof on his chest, complete with Decepticon symbol. The doors form an armour skirt and as is customary of Binaltech, the gun is the engine transformed.

   One annoyance about this transformation is the way the door hinges are nestled within the engine cavity/lower legs. It makes the transformation back to car mode fiddly, since you have to sneak the hinges in as you're transforming his legs.

   Ravage is a shellformer, an this mould is really the first shellformer amongst the BT toys. Having said that, it's a well done shellformer, we don't have any giant panels getting in the way, and there's enough car detail in the robot mode to keep me happy.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 16.5cm

   Again mainly black, with many of the robot mode parts that are gold/grey on Tracks now black. His elbows, fists and thighs are grey and his waist is painted silver. The chromed rear wheels sit on his shoulders while over the shoulders Ravage sports twin grey cannons with red tips. The red paint is metallic and looks really good. They've also used it on his knees and twin blasters on the outsides of his forearms along with some minor high The gun is grey with red and black and is identical to that of Tracks. Ravage's head s a cat's head like that of Transmetal Jaguar (the Beast Wars Ravage). It's black with two small white fangs and red eyes, and really makes this robot mode work as Ravage for me. The colour scheme is a lot darker than either version of Tracks and while some detail is lost amongst the black it's an appropriate scheme and the blood red paint applications make this a very good looking robot mode.

   There are lots of features here which are remnants of Tracks, as you'd expect, but the wings, shoulder cannons and armour skirt call work well for this toy and give the toy a majesty that's fitting for a classic character like Ravage, so I can live with the remnants. The head has of course been completely redone, which is the crucial part here. There's really not a lot of similarity with the original Ravage other than the feline head and the abundance of black. But the using the anthropomorphic conversion defined by Beast Wars, this is pretty good representation of the character.

   Ravage has some really nice chrome piping in the middle of the waist and the twin blacks which slide out of the forearms, on the back of his hands. The four blasters, twin barrelled handgun and shoulder cannons make this easily the most potent Ravage we've seen. He sports a large Decepticon logo on his chest.

   As you'd expect of a Binaltech toy, Ravage has great poseability. His head is on a ball joint, the cannons are on joint swivels and so become independently targetable. They don't fire missiles, but then this means you can't misplace the missiles. The wings actually attach to his torso, via both hinges and swivels, and there are hinges where the arm proper attaches to the wing. The elbows are ball joints, the index fingers are jointed individually, the other fingers hinged as one and the thumbs fixed to ensure he grips his gun nice and firmly.

   The waist doesn't twist but the hips are ball jointed with swivels below the sockets. The outsides of the groinplate lift to allow for greater leg poseability, and the doors are on ball joints as well as the already mentioned hinges, meaning they'll happily get out of the way of his legs. The knees are double hinges rather than on ball joints, but the swivels below the hips give them lateral movement anyway. The feet rotate on restricted ball joints, and have adjustable heelspurs. The hood shells sort of hang off the back of his boots and work wonders as giant heelspurs if you want them to.

   So you're wondering when I'm going to stop ranting and point out the flaws? It's difficult for me to really pick any. A rotating waist would have been nice, but the lifting panels on his groin make this a minor issue. I suppose a purist might say that Ravage should be a quadruped. There is a fan mode, which isn't much more than Ravage on all fours, with inverted knees and his hands folded away. The red wrist barrels form front claws of sorts, which is kinda cool. The head isn't designed to lift up, but if you slide it back on it's ball, it can lift up for cat mode. The jaw can actually open and close too. The big chrome wheels make this a cat that was very obviously a car, but it's still nice that it's possible to put him on all fours.

   The simple truth is that they've made this robot mode damn well that it's hard to fault. And it works surprisingly well as Ravage, thanks in no small part to a fantastic choice of colours. Good poseability, cool weaponry, make this one of BT's best robot modes.

VARIATIONS

   Ravage will be released in Alternators with plastic replacing the die-cast parts. As mentioned, he is a repaint and retooling of Tracks.

OVERALL

   This was already a great mould with two great modes, and it's been reused very well here. The translation to Ravage is well done and the value of appropriate colour scheme for homages is highlighted here. Definitely a toy I'd recommend to BT fans (does anyone actually dislike the BT/Alt lines?), and if you're a fan of Ravage or the Corvette you'll want this toy. The black hides some of the details which come out better on Tracks, but even then the dark, shadowy look suits the character to the ground so I only mention this since it impacts the scale model aspect of the toy. The loose connecting tabs (sunvisors) on his roof are my only real complaint - 9/10

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