Cliffbee.com: Binaltech Bluestreak Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Streak (Bluestreak)
Series: Binaltech
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Gunner
Alternate Mode: Subaru Impreza WRX

The packaging calls this toy "Streak", in both Japanese and English. However since the character's English name is Bluestreak, I will refer to him as Bluestreak.



WRX MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18cm Width: 7.5cm

   An incredibly realistic metallic silver Impreza WRX, Bluestreak is more than just a repaint of Smokescreen. Aside from no longer being a Datsun, this is a pretty good representation of Bluestreak, and it's a nice choice of car. Aside from champagne mag wheels, he's pretty much all silver - just like the original. The majority of the car is die cast metal, except the boot, spoiler and rear bumper. He has the mag wheels, which are a different style than Smokescreen's, with rubber tyres.

   Bluestreak has clear plastic windows, except for the driver's and passenger's - which I suppose are wound down. His headlights are transparent plastic, moulded with parabolas inside and all, while his taillights are transparent red with white bits for the reverse lights. Embedded in the front bumper are parking lights - Smokescreen lacks these - in fact the front bumper is quite different, there's a license plate holder covering the air intake and the shape itself is slightly different. No doubt this is due to different bumpers on the WRC and production model WRX. He has a black latticed grill with a tiny Subaru logo on it (again, different to Smokescreen's), while the licence plate holder is white with an Autobot logo on it. The rear vision mirrors are chromed, and stick out further than Smokescreen (I guess the WRX has to have smaller blind spots and is less likely to traverse narrow roads through forests). The muffler and tailpipe are chromed, although it's easy to miss since this assembly is under the rear bumper - which is silver anyway. Incidentally, the rear bumper is the same as Smokescreen's, and on the boot above the bumper are the words "WRX" and "Subaru". The spoiler on the boot is a lot smaller, too, since this is a street machine, not a racing car.

   The insane level of detail is continued inside this vehicle. Open one of the doors - they all open, and you'll see the insides of the doors have been moulded. He's got front seats, a dashboard, steering wheel with adjustable steering column, handbrake and gearstick. Bluestreak is a right hand drive (Japan, but also UK, Australia, New Zealand), by the way - Smokescreen was left - I'm _really_ impressed that Takara bothered to change this - it's something they could easily have skipped but went to the trouble anyway. I guess the idea was that since Subaru is a Japanese company, they'd make it a Japanese WRX (as opposed to the largely European rally cars). The mould has a radio/AC unit in the middle of the dash which was left black on Smokescreen, but is now painted silver. Lift the hood and you'll find a red engine block with an Autobot logo on it.

   The rear license plate reads "SLV*STRK", the * is a tiny Autobot symbol. I suppose this is because Hasbro wanted it ready for their "Silverstreak" plastic version of the toy. There aren't any back seats, and this is more of an issue for a production car like Bluestreak than it was for Smokescreen. His robot thighs, which are red, lie inside the rear of the cabin, and are close enough to seat shaped to keep me happy, although I suppose they do qualify as kibble. They're not really very conspicuous - despite being red while the front seats are black. The rear windscreen has painted demister lines on it, something added to the paint job for Bluestreak, and it's a really nice touch.

   Bluestreak has great play value in this mode. He doesn't have axles, although he does roll fairly true, he's very heavy so won't roll all that far. The front wheels turn, and have a rack and pinion mechanism, so turning one causes the other to turn. As already mentioned, the doors and bonnet open, although the bonnet doesn't open quite as far as a real Impreza's does. The boot also opens, again it doesn't lift as far as on a real Impreza, but considering that this part of the car splits in half to form the robot feet, the fact that the boot opens in one section is an accomplishment. The steering wheel turns (but this doesn't turn the wheels).

   The play value is great, and being silver, paint chips are nowhere near as much of an issue as on Smokescreen - yes, he might chip but you could quite possibly not even notice. There are black lines running along the sides of the roof, but other than here I doubt any paint chips would make much of a difference. I don't have the Alternator (not released at the time of this review), version, but not being die cast metal, I can't see that toy being susceptible to paint chips.

   This is a great car mode, in fact I think it's better than Smokescreen's - fewer paint problems, it's right hand drive (hey, I'm an Aussie, I like RHD) and in my opinion nicer mags. Binaltech is aiming for a level never before reached by the Transformers line, and Bluestreak's car mode reaches this level. Unless you open the bonnet and see his Autobot symbol, it's hard to pick him as a Transformer - only the back seats really give him away. A fantastic Transformer alt mode, this is a good scale model car in it's own right. This toy looks great, partially because of the realism, but also because of the materials used (metallic paint, clear plastic lights, rubber tyres etc). His only real flaws are the paint (minor, minor issue) and the back seat, which you hardly notice anyway.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not going to bother trying to explain everything involved in what is a very complex transformation. Suffice it to say it's superficially faithful to the original - the front of the car becomes his chest and shoulders, the rear becomes his feet, his doors become wings behind the arms, which fold out from inside the engine cavity. The engine becomes his handgun. Excuse me for five minutes while I transform him..

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17.5cm Width: 16cm
exact height depends on pose, width is his wingspan

   The metallic silver that dominated the Impreza is still dominant here. His head is champagne gold with a silver face, red antennae and light blue eyes. The face has been resculpted to look like Bluestreak's cartoon face rather than Smokescreen's - they've removed the solid neck and instead given him Bluestreak's wider cheeks. This is the only mould change I can find that's specifically for the robot mode, although others are visible. His forearms and thighs are red, his fists black. This is a very close colour match to the original, and since the car parts are all in the right place, this is really easily identifiable as Bluestreak, something that I really like, both from a nostalgia point of view and from an attention to detail viewpoint.

   His rear windscreen is on his shins, and his front wheels are behind his shoulders, just as on the original. Additions include feet that stick out further, since the rear bumper lifts out, and heelspurs underneath. Gone are the shoulder mounted missile launchers - but this isn't a bad thing, since if you lost those he'd have exposed holes on the sides of his head. Bluestreak has an Autobot symbol on the left shoulder (not on both like Smokescreen), as well as the small license plate symbol, now on his chest. The gun also has Autobot symbols on either side, since it's the engine block. I'm not so sure I like the red gun - it looks kind of silly as a red engine block, and it means he needs paint around the raised parts of the symbol to distinguish it from the red background - this paint is white but it's not applied perfectly - Smokescreen didn't have white paint so his symbols work better.

   Not only does Binaltech incorporate scale model vehicle modes, it also features poseable robot modes. Bluestreak's head is on a ball joint, his shoulders are double swivels, his elbows are double joints, his wrists rotate and his fingers open and close, the index finger by itself and the others as one unit (allowing him to grasp his gun). Aside from the fingers, this provides identical articulation to the original. the double joints in the elbows give them a little more poseability, but there are no swivels so he can't shoot to the side unless he lifts his up right up.

   The waist swivel is needed for the transformation, like the original, but now it's available for posing, unlike the original, which locked once transformed. The knees are hinged, however the ball jointed hips allow you to rotate his toes apart slightly. His toes (ie the car bumper) are poseable, as are the heelspurs, so he's stable in most poses, with a little posing of the feet. Oh, he also has hinged ankles, which is easy to miss since they're the spot where the back of the car (feet) and rear windscreen (shins) met. They are a little restricted by the rear doors which wrap around the back of his feet, but you can unwrap them slightly if you'd like.

   It's difficult to find much fault with this robot mode. He's a little back heavy, but easy enough to pose thanks to the heelspurs. The only real negative I can think of is the gun's colouring, but you can easily just leave the gun out. Swivels in his knees and elbows would be nice, but in the case of the knees I suspect they'd become weak points, so I'm not sure I'd really count the omission as a fault. Despite these limitations, the poseability is still great, especially for such a realistic car mode. It's incredibly reminiscent of the original Bluestreak's robot mode, and looks great anyway. There's no car kibble - the integration of the hood, rear windshield and rear section into this mode all look good, and the door wings work aesthetically, so I wont count them as kibble.

VARIATIONS

   None I know of. The plastic Alternators version comes in either left or right hand drive. Hasbro mixed the two versions amongst markets (rather than all RHD in the UK, Australia and NZ and LHD everywhere else). Repainted (with some car mode retooling) in BT Asterisk as Red Alert, and in all plastic as Ricochet in the Alternators line.

OVERALL

   The realism of the car mode and poseability of the robot mode are both excellent. The robot form, colours, head mould and basic transformation scheme are Bluestreak, so it's a great update of the character. Aesthetically, this toy works in both modes, partly because of the level of detail, but also because the colour scheme works. While this line is pricey, you get what you pay for in Bluestreak, even at the import price of the Binaltech version. The attention to detail in this toy is great, the transformation is quite complex, but not difficult once you get the hang of it. He's very similar to Smokescreen, but without the paint chipping issue he's actually better. I've always been a Bluestreak fan, and since this toy just _drips_ G1 Bluestreak, I can't really take any points away - 10/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.