Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Under-appreciated Transformers

Taking photos for the Ambassadors articles on TFSource Blog recently, I had to dig deep into what collection I have left to put as many different Transformers from different lines together as I could. Doing this - especially transforming and posing them - reminded me just how amazing some figures are, why I've never thought about selling them amidst the variant G1 and Diaclone exodus, and just how little people speak about them in the Age Of Masterpiece And Third Party.

Remember Binaltech? That awesome line of Japanese Transformers (Alternators being its Western sister) where we finally started seeing fully licensed automobiles in Transformers based on G1 characters initially, die cast metal content, rubber tyres and stunning paint jobs? I do, every day, and playing with BT-05 Dead End recently drove home all the qualities of a line that paved the way for the Masterpiece Autobot cars we all enjoy today.

Binaltech Dead End

Dead End was the first Binaltech Decepticon, and appeared to have stolen Sunstreaker's mould, head and spot in the line at the last minute! That's a whole other story covered a little by myself HERE, but the basic fact is that this sleek black Dodge Viper Concept Coupe:
  • Is a massive visual and phyisical improvement over BT-02 Lambor/Sideswipe. It makes you say "Whoa" out loud in either mode.
  • Does not suffer from the kind of paint-chipping that the fandom's epic scaremongering has alluded to over the last TEN years. I've had mine for a decade and I know how to transform it, not a single fleck of paint can be seen on my white photographic background after this guy is transformed or posed.
  • Has a tremendously repeatable transformation where avoiding the rubbing of painted die cast parts together is easy
I have to re-iterate what I said in the above article link, the fact that we all immediately accepted this black and gold Sunstreaker-a-like as Dead End speaks volumes about what a good repaint it is. I concede that it can be hard to pose, but even after falling in love with the seemingly perfect Autobot Masterpiece cars, if this figure can still leave me in awe a decade after purchase, then it deserves my eternal adoration.

Binaltech BT-12 Overdrive

Actually painted

BT-12 Overdrive (Windcharger in Alternators) is another oft-overlooked release, but one of the strongest of the toy line. The paint finish and superbly-proportioned robot mode just make this toy sing in person. I have seen this actual figure finally create appreciation in a lifelong Binaltech-hater recently. The weight and heft of this figure, coupled with that beautiful colour scheme, alternate mode, glorious mass-shift between modes and dreamy translucent blue eyeband pretty much sold him the figure and the line. A decade after release. If that's still possible now, with Masterpiece in its pomp, what does that say about the common belief that Binaltech is now outdated? Not a whole lot. I love this figure so very very much, and that's without any mention of his sniper rifle.

Takara Tomy Transformers GT line from 2013

GT Saber, GT Maximus, GT Prime and GT Megatron

I am a huge supporter of the Transformers GT line from last year, featuring 4 main figures based heavily on the Alternity Convoy Nissan GT-R mould. The TFGT cars are re-tooled to resembled Super GT GT500 Nissan GT-Rs, silhouette race-bred circuit vehicles, but of course Takara had to keep costs as low as possible and - despite every single sponsor decal making it onto the toys - they had to use the streetcar chassis as a base instead of the much lower and aerodynamic, circuit-racer chassis.

These TFGT toys are of exceptional quality and boast breathtaking presentation. The choice of characters, weapons, companions (Microman style pose-able race queen figures) and immaculate paint jobs, rubber tyres, faithful Super GT accuracy and die cast content elevate these so far above the regular Alternity offerings, The problem was they were costly, a tangential line of toys that lasted four releases, and were competing with Masterpiece and 3rd Party for collector funds. Just because they brought together my two biggest passions of TFs and licensed motorsport, doesn't mean it worked for everyone else. A shame, these are sublime toys and deserved far more fanfare. 

E-Hobby Detritus

If getting people to appreciate the above was hard, convincing anyone that reissue exclusive E-Hobby Detritus is anything but a total waste of time will be a real trick. I did actually sell mine but I certainly liked this figure a lot. The colour scheme was perfect for the G1 Hound mould and Takara went some way to making it interesting.

Desert Hound?

Mounds of sand a great touch

Not only did Takara add a goatee beard to Detritus's face to further cement his status as a Junkion, but they added mounds of sand to different parts of the jeep and the accessories to give him a weathered look, and that is commendable because they would have gotten no less of a soggy reception without those added touches.

I bought this Detritus at BotCon in 2007 for a mere $20 because the box was wrecked, and I sold it on for not much more. Look around eBay now and all of them seem to start in the $100 region. Do people want it that much to justify the price? Not at all, but like all exclusive reissues, asking prices have inflated and eventually people will have to fill this gap, and they will pay. At least they will be pleasantly surprised. Great figure.

Human Alliance Barricade

The Barricade toy we deserved

I liked the first Michael Bay Transformers movie and DOTM, I really did. I saw each at the movie theatres an embarrassingly large number of times. The Decepticon Barricade - a Saleen Mustang GT - was a real highlight and we finally got a representation to be proud of in the Human Alliance line, which started out in the most impressive fashion. This figure was quite hard to obtain at the time and even more tricky now thanks to a very close counterfeit product on the market. Transformation is superb, repeatable, just complex enough to be engaging but not distressing like other figures of its size, and most importantly the figure mode representation of Barricade is the best out there, by far. Again, it's a licensed car that turns into a well-known character, but it's not a Masterpiece and therefore tends to be forgotten about. Not by me though, not any of these toys here, not ever.

Kiss Players Hot Rodimus

All the best

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