An Alternators logo? But Arcee only appeared in Binaltech! LOLOCAUST!!!!



When Sideswipe became the second figure in the Alternators/Binaltech line, reusing the figure as Sunstreaker was something of an obvious step. Initially, though, Hasbro threw the world at large a curve ball. The demand for Decepticons in the line (because, obviously, everyone gets their Alternators out for a big playroom floor ruck) saw Sideswipe retooled and recoloured as cult favourite Stunticon Dead End. With what was obviously Sunstreaker's head, and a colour scheme that resembled fellow Stunticon Wildrider if you were being generous, but was more like either Runabout or nobody really in practice.

Thankfully, sanity prevailed and a Sunstreaker finally came out in 2005, a straight recolour of the Dead End mould. The Japanese version came out under the short-lived Binaltech Asterisk imprint, where (as a forerunner to the sanctioned child pornography of Kiss Players) it came with a sexualised PVC figurine of a girl named Junko, a character from Car Robots (the Japanese version of Robots in Disguise; she's the one whose cars are always being harrassed by Side Burn). Almost as worryingly, it was exactly the same colour as the water in an unflushed toilet. Thankfully the Hasbro version was a more vibrant yellow among other changes, and this is the one I ended up with - again thanks to Clay.


The Viper really isn't a car I'm particularly mad about - there's no imagination to the thing. It's not ugly or anything, but it lacks the sharp lines of the GT40, while also missing the functionality of the Impreza. That said, the sports version - with hard top, spoiler and reworked air dam - is an improvement on the original used for Sideswipe. The colour scheme is smart and crisp, vastly aided by the black racing stripes (even if this very much screams movie Bumblebee nowadays), and looks much sharper than the Binaltech equivalent.

Regardless of my reservations about the Viper, it's undeniable that this is a good render of the thing, with the usual Alternators staples - a detailed interior, rubber-tyred chrome hubbed-wheels, transparent lights and windows, tampographed badges and the like - though the Autobot logo on the front grille is lost over the yellow and black. Disappointingly, the bonnet and doors can be tricky to open without deforming other parts of the car mode - a shame considering the effort that's gone into the details.


Sunstreaker's transformation and layout is one of the ones from the line that remind me of the Robots in Disguise Car Brothers. I've nothing against those guys in particular, which were decent for their size, but were very much of their time with their Beast Wars shell-former aesthetics. Scaled up to 1:24 the basic concept doesn't work anywhere near as well. Sunstreaker is straightforward to transform, though the great big shell of the rear end that folds up and just sits on his back is clumsy. In fact, Sunstreaker is littered with barely hidden - the car bonnet hanging over his arse like a suit tail isn't good either (tending to blend into the legs when seen from the front), while the car doors just hang off the sides of his arms in an unconvincing fashion.

The legs are the big fault - they just look weedy and unfinished, and have little useful articulation. The hips have hardly any movement, while the car grille parts on the back of Sunstreaker's ankles force limit him to standing with the legs splayed at 30°. The odd thing is that when you think about it this is a fairly natural way for someone to stand, but it just looks unnatural and forced. The knee and ankle joints help somewhat, but the figure just looks top-heavy. It's a shame, as the top half is good, even with the back end of the car on his spine. The arm articulation is superb, the chest design solid and the head cast absolutely spot-on. The Hasbro version wins out again by maintaining the utterly pointless but highly recognisable red upper arm pieces. The engine block gun looks surprisingly good too - at least there's some size to the thing.


Sunstreaker is flawed, certainly. The legs are the real problem, and a disappointment even compared to the troubled Ford Mustang mould. However, the figure isn't without charm, notably capturing Sunstreaker's essence nicely. While far from being one of the triumphs of the line, at least the figure is straight forward, and probably the best of the various Viper variants - there's a little more punch to him than there is to Sideswipe, it's less generic than Dead End, and a vast improvement over the Binaltech Asterisk Sunstreaker.