Cliffbee.com: Broadblast Toy Review

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Name: Broadblast (which is a corruption of "Broadcast", the Japanese name for Blaster
Series: Binaltech Asterisk
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Communications
Alternate Mode: Toyota bB

Thanks to Griffin for loaning me Broadblast for this review.



bB MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 16.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A very realistic metallic silver Toyota bB, which is a cross between a station wagon and a people mover van. Broadblast's front section is die cast while his windows are colourless plastic. The wheels are silver with rubberised plastic and you can add included flame stickers to the doors, similar to those that come with BT Skids (of whom Broadblast is a repaint), although the stripe stickers that came with Skids are absent this time around. There are also two Japanese "student driver" stickers and a pair of Autobot logos, along with two yellow stickers with Japanese text on them.

   The level of detail is what you'd expect of a Binaltech. Broadblast has colourless front and rear lights, with orange indicators on the headlights, embedded in the bumper, sides and underneath the taillights. There's a false grille and two black real grilles on the bumper, and little bB logos on the false grille and rear door. All four side doors and the rear door have moulded handles and there are two wipers on front and one at the back. There's a petrol cap moulded above the left rear wheelbay. There's a chrome exhaust underneath the rear bumper while the license plate on the back reads "bRBL" and sports an Autobot logo. The rear vision mirrors are also chromed, of course. The Toyota badge is conspicuous in it's absence.

   There's very little that gives away the robot mode hidden underneath - the robot feet are visible through the back window but don't jump out and ruin things. Of greater concern are the front doors, which don't quite sit flush, rather the back edges pop out slightly. This is a mould issue that's also prevalent on Skids.

   The detail inside the cabin is great. There are black front and rear seats, a right side steering wheel (for Japan), the insides of the doors are also black and are quite well moulded with speaker grilles and doorhandles. There are light & indicator sticks on the steering wheel and a speedo mounted on the black dashboard. The speedo and parts of the radio face are painted silver. There's no gearstick, which we usually see on BTs but being a van this might be one of the steering wheel sticks. Besides, there are seatbelt sockets on the seats, which is something new to Binaltech.

   The play value here is great. The bonnet lifts up to reveal a small black engineblock, while the rear door lifts up and all four side doors open. The wheels roll and there's a limited rack and pinion on the front wheels. I'm really quite disappointed by the front doors not sitting flush, but Broadblast does have as many movable parts as could be expected, which is a plus. This van seems to be a slightly smaller scale than previous BTs, but the box still claims he's 1:24 like the rest, so I'm giving the benefit of the doubt.

   While this is a very good van mode, the doors bother me, since there's no good reason why they couldn't have been better moulded. The colours don't really represent Blaster, since there's no red or yellow - although Blaster does sport some silver. Character recognition aside, the colours work well. The detailing leaves nothing to be desired, even if the doors do. Perhaps the most notable aspect of this vehicle mode compared to previous BT moulds is a shift away from sports cars - which for me makes a welcome change.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   As complex as every other Binaltech, and too intricate for me to explain here. The front becomes the chest, while the doors become wings and the head is concealed under the bonnet. The black engineblock (which has the toy's only Toyota logo) becomes a handgun of course, much of the rear section becomes his legs. While arms underneath the hood is a pretty standard Binaltech trick, Broadblast's front actually rocks forward during the transformation, with a hinge under the bumper connecting it to the rest of the toy, which is something new. The roof and back of the van become a backplate in robot mode. The front seat slides up into his back, but has a very annoying tendency to fall off during the transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 15.5cm

   Broadblast is again mainly silver, with red shoulders, forearms, kneecaps and helmet while black elbows, fists, groin, hips and black and yellow shoulderblades. While we have some red introduced here, the colour scheme still doesn't really line up to Blaster's, although the four basic colours now match. There are Autobot logos stamped onto both shoulders. The wings will look different depending on what you with the sticker sheets - the flames and stripes will be visible if you've applied them - mine has red stripes, since they appeal to the G1 fan in me.

   The bonnet actually slopes down, so while it forms his chest and the doors are wings, the perspective of the bonnet is something we haven't seen before. Broadblast comes with flames stickers like Skids, but lacks the G1 Skids style stripe stickers that BT Skids comes with. The rear bumper forms sort of ankleguards and there's a backpack (the roof and rear door) which is quite visible but not too distracting. The head has Ironhide aspects to it, and I've heard conjecture that this toy was meant to represent that character. This head isn't really very Blaster-like. The face is silver with blue eyes, and while the silver layout is different to that of Skids, it's easy to see that this is simply a repaint and not a retool.

   Poseability is typically excellent. The head is on a ball joint, along with the shoulders, wrists and ankles. The elbows are double hinges with rotators above them while the shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides. The knees are hinged while the thighs have swivels and the hips rotate and lift out to the sides. Other than the waist, Broadblast has everything I could ask for in terms of articulation. The heelspurs are hinged, but I would have liked them _slightly_ longer - the backpack is a tad heavy for some of the more dynamic action poses - although since most of the die cast metal is on his chest there's a counterweight making Broadblast quite stable. The hands open and close, with the index fingers independent of the other digits, which is a common Binaltech trick. The gun doesn't sit in his hand as snugly as on some BTs since it plugs into a hole on the inside of a hinge, but once you get it right the gun will sit happily.

   I find that the ankles are a little weaker than I'd like, mainly because this is a rather top heavy toy. There's more backpack than on most BTs, but then he has an awful lot of roof to stow in this mode. These are my main complaints about what is otherwise a strong robot mode. Sadly this is one of the worst BT homages, and I really would have preferred this mould repainted red and called Ironhide. The colours _are_ nice, but Skids is a lot more focussed.

LUMINA

   A soft plastic figurine with interchangeable limbs, Lumina is 6.5cm tall and wears a red jacket and short black skirt, along with black shoes and no socks. She's not quite as anime as some of the other BTA companions, and represents a fairly obscure Masterforce character. She has brown hair and pony tails, which is quite anime. The steering arms are designer purely to grasp the steering wheel, the free standing arms hold accessories (of sorts) - the left hand holds a notebook while the right holds a camera. Sadly, Griffin's came with two left steering arms. 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, but this figure looks nice enough. Lumina is more subdued than the two other BTA companions. While she's okay for what she is and is probably the best of these figures so far, Lumina doesn't really bring much to Broadcast.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. At the time of this review there has been no announcement of an Alternators equivalent.

OVERALL

   A nice colour scheme on an interesting mould, but Broadcast is really held back by how bad his homage is. The link to Blaster is tenuous and really any repaints of this mould should have been Ironhide or Ratchet. On it's own merits this is still a strong toy, so if you like the bB and these colours, then you'll probably like Broadcast. I don't dislike the toy, but as a repaint there's just not enough here for me to want this toy. Lumina is the best of the three BTA soft figures but doesn't really add much to Broadcast. A good mould held back by a backpack in robot mode and not-quite-closing doors, along with a bad character matchup - 7/10

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