Clay's review: Streak
Streak was originally planned to be the debut release of the Binaltech line, but for whatever reason was swapped with Smokescreen and ended up as the third release (most likely because the flashier Smokescreen catches the eye better). As a result, there are probably a lot more people with Smokescreen instead of Streak (especially so for the Alternator versions). It's a bit of a pity (assuming you can dramatize toy release schedules) because Smokescreen ended up as one of the icons of the line while Streak was more representative of it.
Streak's vehicle mode is that of a Subaru Impreza WRX. More simply, Streak is the street version of the WRC race car that Smokescreen is built from. It's a very unassuming model for a Transformer: instead of the flashier sports cars that ultimately dominated the line, Streak is a humble, silver, four door, get-from-point-A-to-point-B car.
Even from the production aspect, it's a good disguise. Since Binaltechs are a mixture of plastic and die cast metal parts, a few have the plastic bits molded with the appropriate colors while the metal parts are painted later, resulting in some minor mis-matching of color on a few releases (I'm looking at you
, Overdrive). Not so with Streak. The only hints at the warrior within are some extra fractures along the car body to accommodate the change to robot.
Whereas Smokescreen (rather appropriately) buries its tell-tale details among a torrent of advertising banners, Streak hides in plain sight.
Streak's robot mode shines iconic of the Binaltech line. Unlike some of the other early releases (such as Lambor and Tracks), Streak uses the car parts to build its physique in the same advantageous way most of the later molds would: shoulders made broad by doors, large stable feet created from the rear of the car, the roof neatly folded into the back, and the heart of the car itself forming the weapon.
Even the color scheme is representative of most Binaltechs: primary color is decided by the vehicle mode, and the rest is filled out with one or two accent colors. Simple, direct, concise. Instead of being splattered with six different shades to make the toy flashy, the coloring of the robot is restricted to reflect the realism put into the car. And to me, it works. It lets of the detail and the engineering that have been put into the toy speak for themselves.
Streak is stock. Streak nails down all the basics of design, appearance, production quality, and just plain "look at that!" style neatness that all other Binaltechs sell themselves on. Streak's early release in the line makes it the yardstick to gauge rest by.
7. Streak is basically average for a Binaltech. He's more complicated than Tracks, but less so than Grimlock. I've noticed the Binaltech Subarus tend to transform more easily than their Alternator counterparts: not entirely sure why, either.
7. Streak, and the other Binaltechs, aren't rough-and-tumble playthings like most Transformers. They're mostly for show and display. That said, Streak is relatively stout. Falling off the shelf shouldn't break anything permanently, but the painted metal can chip.
X. Depends on how you define 'fun'. If you like puzzles and appreciate engineering, you'll like Streak. If you're a bit more 'hands on', Streak may be too fragile and expensive to really enjoy in the traditional sense without fear of breaking the silly thing.
X. Most of this review was written in February 2007; at that point, Streak was about $70 for sealed product. I'm now finishing the review in March 2008 (I'm a master-procrastinator, I know); Streak is averaging around or over $100 for sealed product. Given that his price is (currently) inflating over time, it's hard to recommend getting one at the moment. I would suggest any price under $70 to be worth considering as it's unlikely to ever settle back to the retail price.
8. I love the damn thing. Even though this review is essentially a postmortem report considering that Streak was released four years prior, I'm still quite fond of the concept, execution, and presentation. Even though Streak isn't as flashy as Smokescreen, Streak is well worth picking up if you can find him at a reasonable price.