Binaltech was one of the best Transformers lines we've ever had. The attention to detail was above and beyond what we knew or deserved, from the accurate and faithfully reproduced real world vehicles in 1:24 scale to the G1-inspired robot modes and character choices we'd been screaming out for. Takara delivered up a series of die-cast deities with paint jobs to simply die for, highly detailed and collectible file cards and instruction booklets. So how is it that a release that does none of those things, namely the E-Hobby exclusive colourless clear all-plastic BT-18 "Rijie", could be a contender for best Binaltech?
|BT-18 "Rijie" Electro Disrupter|
|Feat. Ford GT|
Maybe because it's one of the most beautiful toy moulds in the history of humankind? If you manage to mix the best Autobot ever - Mirage - with one of the most insanely, ludicrously stunning supercars in the world, a Ford GT, the result is going to be special. The all blue packaging signifies the completely translucent nature of this release, much as C-78 Crystal Rodimus had when that reissue was released about 5 years earlier.
The fact that Takara made BT-18 Mirage (or Rijie - from Ligier) the first and only all-plastic Binaltech release still does not detract from its perfection. Those wonderful paint jobs I mentioned, well invisible Mirage doesn't have one. He's made of clear plastic after all, and not blue tinted clear plastic like the 2007 attendee exclusive BotCon Classics Mirage, but completely clear plastic. There's no instruction book with a brief history of the illustrious life of the Ford GT and the GT90 before it, no lineart, just a sheet of paper. There's no collector's card either. The Takara Tomy partnership begins with a dissecting of the best parts of Binaltech! Despite all of that, BT-18 is dripping with appeal.
|Gran Turismo 4, anyone?|
Look. At. All. Those. Opening. Parts. Does it really need any colour? Does Alternators Mirage really look that much better because of the blue paint and plastic? The construction of this Binaltech, and the later Kiss Players Hot Rodimus, is noticeably better than that of Mirage. The one bug-bear I have with my BT-18 is that one of the pegs on the rear engine cover is deformed so the whole back section doesn't clip in snugly.
I count my lucky stars every single time I see this toy that I pre-ordered it from TFSource as soon as I heard about it and am not in a position where - for once - I missed out and had to pay 3 figures for what was originally about $80. I believe it was one of the last purchases I made around 2007/2008 before giving up the last time, so even at a time of waning enthusiasm, this was a no-brainer.
The chest/hood assembly on BT-18 actually lines up perfectly with the two black chest flaps that are supposed to hold it suspended in place. That's not the case with my Hasbro Alternators Mirage. Also of interest, BT-18's eyes are blue whereas Alt Mirage's are yellow. A nice touch is that you can see through the little brow guard that BT-18 has, so the full shape of his eyes are visible through the clear plastic helmet. Little things, nice touches. Clear toys are simply the best.
Of all the Alternators and Binaltech moulds, Mirage/Rijie has one of the most repeatable and non-frustrating transformations. Something about this toy just makes me think that they saved Mirage as a character for a time when they knew they had engineering gold on their hands, with as few compromises as possible, with as sleek a car mode and perfect a face sculpt as they could muster. That kind of privilege given to a character like Mirage - the guy who saved everyone and everything in More Than meets The Eye/Arrival From Cybertron Part 3 - means that this toy reserved a place in my heart for all of eternity.
|End of a most objective review...|
All the best