COUNTDOWN: 5 gorgeous Binaltech repaints

I may have mentioned this, but I’m a huge repaint fan.

There’s just something about seeing an already familiar toy design rehashed in a bold new colour scheme that really gets the motor running. There’s often no better way to fully appreciate a particular mould than to admire it with a different look.

Having recently showcased examples from the Unicron TrilogyCHUGBeast WarsBeast Machines, RID 2001Animated and even Generation 1, now it’s time for one of my most beloved bits of the franchise – Binaltech! Simply put, here are five gorgeous repaints for your consideration!

#5: BT-15 Prowl Vivid Blue Pearl Edition (2005)

Let’s kick off with one of the real quirks of the Binaltech line: those instances where the car manufacturer fairly obviously stipulated that they would quite appreciate having their license realised in a colour scheme more accurate to the real-world model as well as the classic Transformers reference. Still, only a handful of these examples are quite as unintentionally bizarre as ‘blue Prowl’ here, which takes the famous police car of the early Autobot bro brigade and gives him a snazzy new civilian makeover. It’s not just a palette swap either, as the lightbar is nowhere to be found, although he rather suspiciously still has his nightstick, so one could argue that he’s just going undercover somehow. In any case, it works surprisingly well despite the emerging robot mode bits all being the same off-white as the main release and looks frankly spectacular in both modes with a suitably sparkly blue finish. Technically, it’s not a repaint at all, given it was released concurrently with the police car edition, but whatever, it’s well worth a look!

#4: BT-17 Black Convoy (2007)

Released as a Wonder Festival exclusive at a time when it seemed like the main Binaltech line was all but dried up (before a last-hurrah brief resurgence a year later), Black Convoy is a reasonably notorious release for numerous reasons. First, it’s a repaint of the divisive Kiss Players Convoy design from 2006, notable for its unusual portrayal of the Autobot leader (the word later being that it was originally intended as another character entirely) and some rather bizarre proportions. Secondly, a black recolour had already been realised by Hasbro that same prior year, debuting with additional teal accents and a red windshield as Nemesis Prime. Thirdly, as the first release of this mould to sport diecast metal, it was a big shock for collectors, clocking in at an almighty 695g and proving somewhat ungainly in the process! Finally, it was a bugger to get hold of and quickly shot up in value on the aftermarket as collectors now looked to fill a newly-emerged gap in their otherwise complete collections. Yet despite all of that, I maintain it’s a thing of absolute beauty, standing apart from the Western equivalent with the metallic black finish proving irresistible up close. It’s far from a perfect Transformers release in so many ways, but undeniably stunning all the same.

#3: BT-20 Argent Meister (2008)

Fortunately, Binaltech went on to see new days following the release of Black Convoy, and even though it only equalled a further four toys into the bargain, all repaints, they were pretty noteworthy! For consideration here is the oddly-monikered ‘Argent Meister’, a silver re-do of BT-08 Meister (invoking a pun on Jazz’s classic function of “Special Operations Agent” and ‘argent’ being the tincture of silver). At first glance, this looks fairly straightforward, but there are more than a few surprises that make it worthwhile! Perhaps most obviously, it’s a nod towards the 2007 big-screen movie interpretation of the classic Autobot, which is fun in and of itself. Beyond that, the toy makes great use of the Mazdaspeed Version II retooling found initially on the BT-13 Laserwave take on the mould, meaning BT-20 now sports new front and rear fenders, side skirts and a spoiler. Overall, it’s hard to truly convey how lush this particular release is unless you see it in hand, but trust me, it’s highly striking!

#2: Kiss Players Hot Rodimus (2006)

Kiss Players? Isn’t that one of the most notoriously creepy bits of Transformers history? Well, yes, the toy line was accompanied by a rather unsavoury manga and radio drama that established the robots had a partnership with young human girls who merge and power up through kissing them… and there are some weirder bits besides. However, let’s put all that to one side for a second (in a locked box, inside a sealed safe, buried deep at the bottom of the ocean) and focus on the toys themselves, which are great! You need no further evidence of that than Hot Rodimus from 2006, undoubtedly one of the most visually striking releases ever, in this writer’s humble opinion. Taking Mirage’s cool blue Alternators design and giving it a firey red makeover for its premier Japanese outing, the figure is the perfect sister release to the Hasbro alternative in many ways. Plus, it features a newly-tooled head and even neat signature gimmicks for the character, which hadn’t been seen on any previous design at this point, such as a flip-down visor and a fishing rod accessory! Leave the fiction firmly at the door but there’s no denying this one is too splendid to ignore!

#1: BT-09 Swindle (2004)

Having looked at delights from 2005 to the line’s end in 2008, we must take a step and appreciate one of the earlier releases in the Binaltech line and one that holds an extraordinary place in this collector’s history with the franchise. The year is 2004; a younger Sixo has all but gotten out of the Transformers game at this point save for a passing nostalgic interest when suddenly, a bright yellow 1:24 transformable model of a Jeep Wrangler presents itself in a Toys R Us on a random New York jaunt. It was love at first sight, and as the meme goes, it awoke something in me that has never entirely gone back into the bottle since! Even now, whenever I look at this thing up close, the excitement for it is palpable, with that astonishing canary-coloured alternate mode, butter-smooth transformation and outrageously handsome robot form just too good for words! People can nitpick Binaltech as a line all they wish or poke at this being a traditional combiner character who here isn’t part of a larger gestalt form – it matters not a jot. BT-09 Swindle is and will always be the real deal as far as I am concerned – the gateway drug that brought me firmly back to the franchise I love. Oh, and it’s a pretty stellar repaint, too!

So that’s our list! What are some of your favourite Binaltech repaints?

TTFN

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About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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