Cliffbee.com: Binaltech Sunstreaker Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Sunstreaker
Series: Binaltech Asterisk
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Warrior
Alternate Mode: Dodge Viper Coupe



VIPER MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 8.5cm

   A very realistic lemon yellow Dodge Viper with silver stripes running along the skirting, Sunstreaker is no longer a Countache, but he's still a good match for his brother Sideswipe. The black skirting of the Countache is gone, along with the silver engineblock on the back. Sunstreaker is a scale model vehicle, since Binaltech is all about realistic car modes. He's a 1:24 scale racing model Viper, and a repaint of Dead End sans racing stripes. The majority of the car is die cast metal, save for the rear section. His mag wheels are chromed, and the tyres rubber. The windows are a colours, with black seals.

   While this is a substantial departure from his G1 form, it compliments BT Swiper really well, and no doubt Sunstreaker would appreciate being such a sleek, stylish car. There's an Autobot symbol (and his name) on the number plate on the back - surprisingly they managed to fit the whole name on there, without any abbreviation as we've seen in the Binaltech line previously.

   Unlike his brother, Sunstreaker has a roof - but that doesn't mean he lacks interior detail. If you look inside, you'll see that it's all there, in black plastic. He has bucket seats, a steering wheel that actually turns, a dashboard, a handbrake and even a little gearstick that's been painted silver. There are even speakers in the dashboard. The front windshield sports a black plastic wiper while the silver fuel cap sits on the left bottom corner of the rear window. The side windows are open (ie down). He's got plastic rear vision mirrors sticking out of the doors, with the mirror side actually painted with a silver reflective paint. His headlights are colourless plastic with silver painted globes inside them, below the headlights are transparent indicators. At the other end, the taillights are wine red with silver Dodge markings below them. His bonnet has air intake holes on it, he has various "DODGE" and "VIPER" markings on the side and rear - clearly DaimlerChrysler have authorised the use of their trademarks.

   While Dead End was a significant retooling of Sideswipe, Sunstreaker is little more than a repaint of Dead End. I don't mind at all though - since during development Dead End seemed to be destined to be Sunstreaker, and the eventual Stunticon release was a surprise. Compared to Sideswipe, the roof, airdam and spoiler have been added, while the sides sit lower and have exhausts sticking out. There are notches added to the front of the bonnet, while the air intakes run right across this bonnet rather than just being on either side - which is the case on Sideswipe. The fibreglass roof cover has obviously been removed, in it's place is the rear window. The spoiler now sits on a much more angular rear section, which is almost totally retooled. There's a seam on the rear which gives the impression the boot opens (down to a gap in the stripes), but it's only for show. I'm impressed they added the seam, even if it doesn't represent an opening boot. Lastly, Sunstreaker has different hubcaps to Sideswipe, although both toys have chrome silver hubcaps.

   The play value here is great. The bonnet opens to reveal a chrome silver engine (which is identical on all three BT Vipers), the doors open and the steering wheel turns, as mentioned already. The wheels all roll, the front wheels turn, and turning one will turn the other as if on a rack & pinion - although the steering wheel is not connected to this. I've already mentioned that the boot (trunk if you're in North America) doesn't open, which is really the only other thing that you could realistically expect to open. This toy rolls fairly well, although being such a low rider he's limited to flat surfaces (like racing tracks!). Sadly the bonnet on mine doesn't quite sit flush - the front right corner pops up. While it doesn't stick right out, this is below the excellent standard we've come to expect of Binaltech. Having said that, the only other BT Asterisk toy I've reviewed, Red Alert, had mould problems also.

   Overall, this is a very good car mode. Binaltech is a level above anything else Transformers has ever attempted before, so the standards are pretty high. Sunstreaker has nice colours, and while the yellow paints on the metal and plastic vary slightly, matching such a light colour is really tricky (really, the difference is in the reflective qualities). The colours are a lot closer than on Decepticharge, who didn't have a decent reason for the variation. Sunstreaker is a believable scale Dodge Viper, although I suspect that most street rod owners would try to avoid lemon yellow. While there are hints that this a Transformer, Sunstreaker is a scale model in his own right. As a Transformer, this car mode looks great, both from an aesthetic and detail point of view. The lemon yellow is bright, but suits the character and for Sunstreaker I wouldn't want anything else. The hood defect on mine is an issue, and appears to affect quite a few Sunstreakers.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not going to bother trying to explain everything involved in what is a very complex transformation. His front third forms the legs, in a similar fashion to Tracks, the central section and parts of the rear become his torso in a complex series of folds and clipping together that results in a surprisingly solid torso. The windscreen and roof's cover become the chest, the head and arms fold out from within the rear section, while the doors end up hanging off his shoulders. The engine becomes the handgun, with a barrel folding out and the handle being underneath the engine block itself. The windshield on his lower torso is consistent with the G1 version, which is nifty. The transformation otherwise has nothing in common with the original.

   Being such an extensive retool, this transformation has a couple of minor differences to that of Sideswipe. Firstly, the roof tucks under the rear section now on his back. Secondly, without the roof cover, there's nothing to clip onto the windshield, which now just sits loose over his chest.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: 14cm

   Still largely yellow, with quite a lot of black added, all over the robot. There's slightly more black than on the original, but the effect is similar. The red shoulders are now yellow - there is some red on his groin however. I plan to grab an Alt Dead End, to give Sunstreaker red shoulders. The colour map is different to both Dead End and Sideswipe, and the changes reflect the character (who has fewer colours than the other two). The central chest plate is black, lacking the silver paint of Dead End's (this is the main paint mask change in robot mode). There's a prominent Autobot symbol (which was hidden in vehicle mode). Sunstreaker has black fists instead of yellow while his feet are yellow with black toes. There are some silver and yellow paint applications on his shins. The rear wheels are on his shoulders and the front wheels on the outsides of his shins. The colour scheme really works here, and with the simpler colour set, really makes this toy fit when you put Sunstreaker and Sideswipe together.

   The head is black with a silver face, blue eyes and the big yellow cheeks that the G1 toy had. This head looks about fifteen times better than it did on Dead End, simply because they've nailed the homage so well - while Dead End's colours were nice, you were left wondering why the toy wasn't Sunstreaker. The homage is so good that this robot mode is instantly recognisable as the vain twin, even without red shoulders and Countache elements.

   Not only does Binaltech incorporate scale model vehicle modes, it also features poseable robot modes. Sunstreaker's head is on a ball joint, his shoulders and elbows are double hinges, effectively forming ball joints. Actually the shoulders have three joints giving him full arm poseability. The wrists are ball joints and the hands are jointed. The fingers are curled to allow him to hold the gun, the index finger has a hinged knuckle, and the other three digits have a shared hinge at the knuckle. The thumbs do not move, but oppose the other digits allowing him to grip the gun. The reason for the separately jointed index finger is so it can wrap around the trigger.

   The hips are double swivels, the knees have only one hinge, but there's swivels halfway down the thigh essentially giving the knees full motion. The ankles are ball joints and he has heelspurs. There are metal car panels sitting on the back of the feel, which stick out on the insides of his feet - effectively these are the only car mode kibble Sunstreaker has. They do prevent him from standing at attention, but he's engineered so he stands at the more natural "at ease" pose, anyway. The bonnet hangs off the back of his waist, but it gives his legs enough clearance that it doesn't get in the way, so I'm not going to call it kibble. The waist doest twist, but it's more for the transformation that poseability, when the torso is fully formed the waist only wiggles.

   The gun is identical to Sideswipe's and Dead End's, as I've already mentioned. G1 Sunstreaker had no gun, so him having a gun is an extra of sorts. Chrome silver with red sides, giving Sunstreaker some more of that trademark hint of red. I'll still be giving mine red shoulders though!

   A good robot when it was done as Dead End, and a better one this time around. The chest doesn't clip together as Swiper's did, but this helps give the brothers slightly different looks. Nothing don't flop around, anyway. The colours are a good match while the head is fantastically well done. The poseability is good, although below average for the Binaltech toys. The kibble on his ankles is the only aspect of this robot mode that bothers me - the misplaced homage of Dead End has been well and truly corrected here.

Junko

   A soft plastic figurine with interchangeable limbs, Junko is 6.5cm tall and wears a skimpy red Amine style outfit. Junko is the woman driver featured in the RiD/Car Robots cartoon, and from memory she's usually wearing more than this. The skimpy clothing doesn't really appeal to me - but I'm giving this away to a friend once I've done the review anyway. She has blue hair and a slender figure. Junko's posed right arm is lifted up next to her ear, while the right sits behind her holding a parasol. The steering arms are designer purely to grasp the steering wheel. Both the seated and standing legs look quite similar, there's a flesh coloured stand which can clip onto either heel of the standing legs.

   Personally I don't care much for the driver figurines in Binaltech Asterisk, and I only care for the Transformer himself in this set. I really don't think much of the scant clothing here, but Junko scales well with the BT figures, which is the point I guess. She doesn't really belong with Sunstreaker, but at least this gives fans of the RiD/CR show a chance to pick up the character.

VARIATIONS

   None as yet. As mentioned Sunstreaker is a recolour of Dead End, in turn a retooling of Sideswipe. Pictures of the unreleased Alternators version indicate that toy will have silver racing stripes similar to Dead End, red shoulders (again like Dead End) and a different paint mask in robot mode. The Alternators figures do not come with the figurines that BTA toys do.

OVERALL

   You have to wonder why they didn't just do this in the first place. I really like BT Dead End, but the retool should always have been Sunstreaker. The vehicle mode is quite bright, but it has the flashiness and flamboyance that we expect of the character. The robot mode suits Sunstreaker to the ground, despite losing any Countache elements. The head sculpt is one of BT's better homages and the colour scheme really works well. I'm slightly annoyed that mine has a hood fit problem, but I don't know if this is a standard problem. I plan to display Sunstreaker in robot mode with his brother anyway. Sunstreaker actually _enhances_ Sideswipe, who looks better in the context of a pair of twins - this is one repaint that I'd recommend more if you have the original! Junko is a little too fanboy for my liking, but Sunstreaker is the real prize anyway. The playability is slightly below the standard of Binaltech, but as a twin for Sideswipe this is a great acquisition for G1 fans. Junko's inclusion does bump up the price, and some quick googling reveals that while the hood problem is not across the board, mine is not the only BTA Sunstreaker with car mould fit problems - 9/10.

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