Review by The Enthusiast
For diehard G1 fans, the Binaltech toys were manna from heaven: scaled diecast replicas of popular contemporary sports cars which transformed into modern day versions of classic G1 characters. Takara had toyed with a proper reinvention of the original Diaclone Car Robots concept a few times (the first wave of Autobots in the Robots in Disguise series, for instance), but with mixed results. They went all-out for Binaltech though, which positioned itself as a kind of ”Soul of Car Robots”. Despite producing consistently excellent toys, the series merely limped along, spawning the inferior Alternators for the US market before dying a quiet death a few years ago.
The corpse of Binaltech was still warm when the designs for the Alternity line began popping up in the Japanese hobby mags. Alternity would be a post-Binaltech series of scaled replicas of popular contemporary sports cars which transformed into modern day versions of classic G1 characters. Except smaller. And with drastically reduced diecast content. And for the same amount of money as Binaltech. And, of course, Japanese market only.
I was mildly interested in the first few releases, but unmoved by the pictures. The Bumblebee/Cliffjumper molds caught my eye, so I decided to give one a shot.
The box is pretty nice, and made entirely of screened plastic sheet. I like the effect.
The interior shell comes apart easily for removal and replacement.
This thing is small, let’s get that out of the way. Binaltech was 1:24, and Alternity is 1:32. Still larger than the G1 autobots, but not by much.
The auto mode compares favorably to its forbears, though it suffers from some of Binaltech’s shortcomings. The panels are always difficult to align properly when your transform it back.
All of the doors open as you’d expect.
The hood opens to reveal engine detail. All of the lamps are clear and some have additional painted details.
This specimen has a limited edition pearl finish, and the paint looks fantastic, though I’ve noticed some chipping.
Transformation is very involved and complicated, particularly if you are too proud to actually read the directions. After a few transformations, though, it becomes more intuitive. There are a few movements of parts which are tied together with complicated joints which sometimes become jammed.
The robot mode is solid, an effective updating of the character. Cliffjumper still has all the right shapes and proportions, but with a more sophisticated form.
It’s still a transformer, though, so the back is an afterthought.
I’m still a little ambivalent about those legs, though. They seem to borrow heavily from the Bay-era “pile of crap” aesthetic, but they look good enough.
Articulation is only average. Those legs have some wacky joints, which technically bend in all sorts of places, but yield few usable static poses. Look at this leg and tell me how it should be posed.
The fit and finish is very much in line with an adult collectible. Though the wild diecast excesses of the Binaltech toys have been whittled down to structural and balance-targeted pieces, the plastics are all dense and heavy. The figure has a surprising amount of heft.
Here’s a look at the diecast content, ala the Chachipower diagram. Yeah, it’s a little underwhelming.
I’m not blown away, but it is a fun piece, and well executed.
|Posted 23 May, 2010 - 14:23 by The Enthusiast|