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Knightdramon's review of: BT-05 Dead End

Name: Dead End
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Soldier

There's no hiding this. This is my favourite character in the line. It's simply amazing what such a vague character can achieve, given the right mould.

Speaking of which... I'm sure that even your grandmother knows this was supposed to be Sunstreaker. But there's one little detail most people don't know: except for the eye colour and perhaps the face plate, he was supposed to come out in those colours. According to the Binaltech Complete Guide, the colour scheme had notes like 'gloss black' and no yellow. No clues as to what drove the producers to want to manufacture it in those colours.

A last minute [not literally] change ruined the day of Sunstreaker fans. I bow to the person who actually heard the fans and wanted a decepticon in the line. It was decided -- Sunstreaker would come out as Dead End. And oh boy, I'm glad he did.

BT 05 Packaging:
Look at Wheeljack, the latest release in the line. Then look at Dead End. Aside from some changes [pictures etc], the boxes share the same design. Blending silver and gloss black is all that's needed, really. A very beautiful and sinister picture of the toy in robot mode is used in the place of artwork -- and it works wonders. The usual pattern is used: all logos, including series logo, character data, takara logo, viper logo and scale are all featured on the bottom black line, in the foreground of the picture mentionned earlier. A detail [understandably] not seen in the last four Binaltechs is the 20th anniversary logo on the top left corner of the packaging.

As for Dead End... he's present in all his glory! The display stand [where he sits on] is white and it contrasts nicely with the black car. There are windows on four sides for your viewing pleasure. Unlike all remoulds that came after him, there's not a co-cell of his mould brother present at the bottom of the box. Instead, there's the traditional Binaltech logo, in a purple tone, on a black grid with blue lines. Below that is a white box with information on the materials used for the figure [ABS plastic, die cast and...other stuff] and lots of other things I can't make out.

The back of the box is split in two: a grid like surface for car mode pics and a blurry silver surface for the robot mode. There are three paragraphs, one for Binaltech, one for the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe and one for Dead End. Unfortunately I don't know what they're saying...

A fine picture is displayed for each mode on their perspective surfaces. Six small pictures [think thumbnails] are also on display, three for each mode. Each trinity is encased in a white background with a headline and text for each. They include: competition stripes, hood and read body highlights for the vehicle mode, and the usual head, hand and secret weapon for robot mode. I guess Takara will never let us down on this collector's edition packaging.

Besides the figure, included are: a display stand, a booklet, the weapon and a character card. The stand, as descirbed before, is white with golden stripes on the bottom surface. Dead End's name, as well as his car mode name, are framed in a golden surface at the bottom of the box. The same words are used on the upper flap part of the stand. A viper logo is prominently shown on the top right corner. At the back of that part is a huge Destron insignia with the binaltech logo. Some spray effects of golden and green shades are also used sparingly.

The booklet features terrific manga art of Dead End [although he appears a bit too bulky] along with the next chapter in the BT story and some data on the SRT 10 Competition Coupe. The picture used for the car features a red racing model, not a black one like Dead End.

The usual colourful character card is included with a short bio for Dead End. As with the rest of the line, there are no tech spechs.

Vehicle Mode:
Absolutely fantastic. Dead End was a maroon Porsche back in his G1 days, but now he emerges as a gorgeous black Dodge Viper SRT 10! Unless you have a look at his rear license plate, it's almost impossible to tell that he's a robot in disguise!

The front of the vehicle has the characteristic 'egg' like shape of the SRT 10. The front bumper has been remoulded from Lambor's and now looks much fiercer, adding an outward protrusion at the bottom. An orange Viper logo is embedded at the top of the bumper, painted over the silver and black. The upper headlight covers are made of translucent orange\maroon plastic, enabling the viewer to gaze at the beautiful sculpted headlights they cover. The lower, round headlights cased in the bumper are dark red in colour and lack any interior detail.

Front and rear tires are made of rubber [true to the G1 line, but not true to G1 Dead End] and have beautiful chromed hubcaps featuring a very complex design. Screws and bolts are moulded on the edge of the hubcaps. The usual 'Cybertronian Radial' logo is prominent on all four tires.

The hood has fifteen small openings perfectly aligned near the middle, as well as another one very close to the front end. Two... protrusions also decorate the sides of that opening. There are no paint obscurities here and that's a good sign, seeing as there are two glossy colours clashing with each other. I wish the same held true for my Wheeljack...

Moving backwards, the sideskirts are remoulded to be exceptionally low, almost touching the ground. The Viper SRT 10 logo is painted [not sculpted, so be careful] over near the front wheels. A very nice silver line runs accross the bottom of the sideskirt and an almost triangular design is at the end with nine bolts over and something that looks like an exhaust pipe [?].

One of the biggest changes from Lambor is the entire rear section. It's totally remoulded and now features a hardtop. There is one opening on the roof but unlike the ones on the hood, it doesn't go through the entire plastic piece. The rear window is nicely crafted and has a multitude of moulded bolts around it, as well as a parallel design one one side with a silver crest on top. This is where the actual car is refuelled? I don't know much about cars, but isn't it too high up?

The rear is almost rectangular instead of the awful rounded up part of Lambor. The headlight covers are the same colour as the front ones, and there are two designs for each of them. The only giveaway of the car being a transformer rests here in the form of the license plate. Dead End and a Destron sumbol are painted on the white plate along with four additional bolts. The words Dodge and Viper SRT 10 are on either side of the rear, each under one headlight. As with before, two openings are present at the very bottom. Moreover, the additional spoiler is present. The only downside is that despite its angular design and the effort takara has put, the stands for it are painted black... on the silver stripes. A minor gripe it is...

Colour wise, Dead End remains one of the prettiest. Adorable glossy black paint adourns both plastic and die cast parts, and semi gloss silver is used for the competition stripes. There is no inconsistency with the paint patters. The front and rear windshields are tinted dark orange, perfect for this model. All in all, it blends extremely well. This isn't a toy; it's a high quality collector's item.

Lastly, we're going to examine the gimmicks of the vehicle mode. No hyper power, no minicon ports and no force chip slots. In regards to that, Dead End can do almost all the things other scale model cars can. Firstly, his front wheels turn in unison. They are not connected to the steering wheel though; that would be insane, considering his transformation scheme. Secondly, his bonnet can open to reveal a poorly placed chromed engine with red engravings and the viper logo. No other engine detail whatsoever. In addition, he has a windshield wiper moulded on the bottom of the front windshield, but it has no articulation points.

Both side mirrors are articulated [able to move up or down] and are chromed in such a way so that you can see some reflection on them. The doors can open, revealling some interesting detail on the interior. The doors are painted silver at some parts inside and there's even a handle moulded. A steering wheel that can turn, some internal detailing and a very detailed dashboard are only some of the highlights; the seats have a very nice 'net' pattern moulded on them. All in all, he is one of the best Binaltechs in vehicle mode even a year after his release.

Robot Mode:
After a fairly easy transformation, the dark god joins the party [I'm fully aware that that characterisation is for Unicron, but... it's Dead End]. And oh boy, do we have the most handsome Binaltech so far!

First of all, I should probably mention that this mould was first produced in 2003. As a result, it doesn't have the fancy detailing Overdrive has, nor the god-like joints Grimlock owns. While he's my favourite, I admit he lacks detail and articulation at some parts.

His legs are literally full of detailing, and that's a good thing. His heels and ankles are painted bronze, and some lines are painted after that colour scheme. Red is used to give life to some cables that connect the ankles to the leg. A very catchy detail. His overgrown calgs use thin red lines for detailing, and some silver and purple for oval and triangular designs. The small things have some bronze on one side and his waist is painted silver [more like the crotch area].

This is where things start to get messy for the average fan. His huge windshield just sits at his belly. Because the rear part got remoulded from Lambor, the chest area is totally different. Mechanical details such as small cables and protrusions are present on the sides, but not in the centre. Instead, a large silver crest is present with the Decepticon symbol for the insignia.

Dead End's arms are totally bare of any detailing. The lines are moulded in and one is painted bronze, but the rest is just plain red. His wrists and shoulders are black.

The head sculpture is fantastic. It is Sunstreaker's of course, but it looks just right in those colours. The same bronze is used for his face plate, which has some interesting features. There are wrinkle-like lines under the eyes and with the grim expression, they really bring the character about. The helmet is an exceptional piece of work. A black frame surrounded the face and brings about a goatee; two ear horns are sticking out from the sides, the outer frame painted black while the inner details brought out in red. He also has a small mohawk on top, surrounded by various lines.

As far as kibble is concerned, Dead End has some, but it barely restrains his movements. The rear, hollow part of the car rests on his back and does little besides making him look cool. The rear windshield folds nicely to give his head a transparent background. The doors hang from his arms, but they are fully adjustable and can be reconfigured in many ways. Hanging down, parallel to the arms and set as wings are just three examples. The wheels on his shoulders and calfs act as a reminiscent to his G1 form [unintentional, but still looks like it]. The bonnet just hangs from his...erm...rear panel, but it's adjustable and doesn't restrain any of the legs. Lastly, the front bumper acts as armour on the ankles, and THAT restrains articulation. Because of that, Dead End cannot stand straight up without having one leg slighty bent to the side.

Even though he is a bit old, Dead End doesn't dissapoint [much] in the articulation department. As with all moulds before the RX-8, he has outstanding articulation at one set of limbs and comparatively sucky one at the other. In my friend's case, his legs are the sucky pair. Don't get me wrong, all joints are there. Each leg has a ball jointed ankle, a 90 degree bendable knee joint, is able to lean inwards at the thigh, upper part of the thigh can swivel 360 degrees and it can move up and down as well as sideways at the waist. What's bad?

Kibble and solid plastic. Because of the front portion of the car mode, he can't fully bend the knee. Furthermore, his waist is one solid piece that doesn't have panels that swing outwards. As a result, he can only move his legs forward or backwards that much before bumping on the skirt armour. No such problem exists for lateral movement though.

A second problem is his waist; it can swivel a full 360 degrees but the front windshield prevents that. So it can't move at all. His arms' articulation is probably the best part of the figure. From the shoulder and on, there are seven points of articulation ignoring finger movement. Both arms can go up or down 360 degrees, can be extended sideways 90 degrees, can swivel below the wheel [where the red plastic starts] another 360 degrees, have an 180 degrees movement capability at the elbow [can only go 90 in either way], can turn to face the chest below that point and have a ball jointed wrist. I'm a bit bothered because he can't touch his shoulder with his palm [elbow only goes 90 degrees in each way], but then again, only Laserwave, Meister and the Imprezzas can do that. And they can't point to the sides.

Finally, because of the remoulding, Dead End gains two more articulation points! Both shoulders can swivel forward to the chest panel, enabling for some 'holding the gun with both hands' poses Lambor could only dream of. And because of that extra part not being there [again, remoulding], he doesn't look nearly as chubby as Lambor does.

The magnificent head features one point of articulation resting on a ball joint. He can turn in all directions and even tilt upwards and to the sides. Definitely better than Tracks'.

To sum things up, this is a very nice figure. Considering it was released exactly a year ago [July 24], I'm still amazed at how many things it can accomplish. For anyone who dislikes the mass outbreak of white\red\yellow\lime green autobots everywhere, this is for you. Dead End ranks among the top 3 or so nicest vehicles in Binaltech, remains dark enough in robot mode and is a definite mock-up of an old hero. Unfortunately, Takara had to bow to fan demand. From september 2005, second in the binaltech asterisk line, a straight repaint of this figure in yellow will be released as Sunstreaker. Who will prevail? Dark Decepticon or yellowy bot? That's up to you to decide.

Overall, between Lambor and Dead End, pick Dead End. Unless you are a die hard fan of Sideswipe, this is the better figure of the two. Nicer car mode, darker and less chuby robot mode and a smaller head sculpt [Lambor has an unusually large head]. This is the 'Con for you.

Transformation: 7. Not very complex but not very easy. Door design is a bit poor, as both door frames pop from their sockets each time I try to open one.
Durability: 10 baby! He's my most unlucky transformer. The day I got him, a Meister just fell on him. No scratch from that. Days later, as I picked up Tracks, I hit Dead End. He dropped his gun and the poor guy fell from the table, performing a sommersault on air and slamming on his face. No scratch. There are the usualy paint chips on the sides of his hood and on the edges of the doors, but every BT has them.
Fun: 10. Or maybe that's because I really enjoy dark things on my display tables. Gorgeous alt mode helps when I feel like seeing something different.
Price: 8. He's still going for his original price, 35 euros [48 dollars]. While his price hasn't dropped from when he was released, bear in mind that Japanese stores don't have sales each time a guy sneezes.
Overall: 10. I can't bring myself to dislike this guy. Even though he can't sit on his rear panel and even though he can't turn his waist unless he's transforming, he remains my favourite. Highly recommended if you don't have Sideswipe\dislike the yellow repaint\love dark bots. Unless you house a profound hatred for remoulds, get him now. Trust me.
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