"Reveal the Shield" Turbo Tracks Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: November 2010
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster, Missile cannons (non-firing) x 2

*Text below and images from Transformers.com
If there’s one thing AUTOBOT TRACKS loves, it’s himself. In his opinion, nothing is quite so fine as the glint of sunlight off his perfectly polished chrome, or the looks humans give his sweet paint job as he rolls by. He’s no coward, but he avoids battle all the same, if only to protect his precious body from getting scuffed or, even worse, dented.

Turn the tables on enemy forces when you throw this warrior into the fight! Press the button to reveal this figure’s robot allegiance and then prepare him for a battle. Your TURBO TRACKS figure is dedicated to destroying any opponent and his converting blaster will help you two get the job done. If robot combat turns into a car chase, convert your warrior into sports car vehicle mode and send him racing off to rule the “road”!

Figure comes with converting blaster. Ages 5 and up.

Tracks is one of those interesting Transformers that is not what you would term as a "headliner" like Optimus Prime or Bumblebee, but he has popped up several times in Transformers history since his original 1985 appearance. He appeared in the later years of Generation One as an Action Master. When Generation One reissues began to be released years ago, Tracks was one of them (along with variants in red and black in Japan). More recently, the character appeared in the Alternators toy line. With so much emphasis given to the 1985 figures in the "Reveal the Shield" toy line, it's no surprise that once again Tracks has turned up in the Transformers toy line.

Vehicle Mode:
The original Generation One Tracks became a sleek looking Corvette Stingray. His later incarnation as an Alternator updated him to a modern Corvette. Since the "Reveal the Shield" line generally doesn't use licensed vehicles, so this time out Tracks is a very sleek looking vehicle with some slight influences from the Corvette design. That said, I'm quite amazed at just how many design features are borrowed from the Corvette. These include:

  • The front wheel wells raise up fairly high on the sides, similar to many Corvette designs.
  • On the top of the cabin section, there is an indentation in the center, same as the original Corvette Stingray.
  • The rear section has a small section that raises up in the back, looking almost like a mini-spoiler of sorts.
  • While the rear lights are designed to look like rectangular wrap around lights, their center is an indented circle, similar to the "double circle" signature rear lights on a Corvette.
  • If you look along the sides of the vehicle, the top and bottom halves meet at a point towards the middle where it forms a bit of an angle. This is similar to the sides of the original Tracks.

That said, there are some aspects of the figure that differ from the Corvette. The most noticable is the front half of the vehicle, which is significantly shorter in length than the Corvette. The front end has a very different grille design than the Corvette, complete with headlights mounted directly in the front instead of on the top. The rear window has a different, more angled shape than the curved shape of the Corvette's rear window and the wheel spokes are a different design as well. Combined, these details all work together to differentiate the vehicle significantly from the Corvette despite the Corvette design elements carried over into the design.

If you look at the sides of the vehicle, you'll see Tracks' missile launchers. I wasn't exactly crazy about them there (hence the way he looks in my photos) since they detract a bit from the "disguise" aspect of the vehicle. However, there really is no other place to store them. I can sort of see the appeal in that they offer some extra "mechanical" detail to the vehicle, but with a car that is meant to look sleek and smooth, they are a bit too distracting.

Tracks is cast in four primary colors: dark blue, clear plastic, black and a smokey grey translucent plastic. The main color is blue, with the black used for the tires. The translucent grey plastic is found on the windows while the clear plastic is used on the headlights. Paint applications are done in red, yellow, gunmetal and silver. The red and yellow are most heavily featured on the hood, where they form a fairly intricate flame detail - a homage to the flame detail found on the original Generation One Tracks. The front grille is painted gunmetal grey while the sides of the wheels are silver. A bit more red appears on the back on the rear lights while the black is used on the back window. It's a fantastic color combination that pays proper homage to the original while looking great on its own. My favorite aspect is the way the red contrasts against the blue.

Transformation to Flight Mode:

  1. Swing the back half of the vehicle down.
  2. On the underside of the back half, you'll see a panel with two tabs sticking out. Rotate this around so the tabs are now facing outside the vehicle.
  3. Swing each door out to the sides.
  4. Swing the doors out flat, and pull them out to extend them a bit.
  5. Swing out the ends of the wings formed by the doors.
  6. Swing the back piece back into place.
  7. Detach the missiles from the sides and attach them to the tabs on the back of the vehicle.

Flight Mode:
To modern audiences who are unfamiliar with the original Transformers series, the whole concept of a flying sports car with wings and missiles on top seems a bit absurd, and you know, if you think about it too hard it probably is. Of course, we're also talking about a cartoon with sentient robots that change into everything from cars to planes to toasters, so that places it in the proper context for me at least. Silly fun is part of Transformers history and this mode proves it. Based on the Generation One Tracks' "flight mode", this figure manages to effectively create a distinctive mode while still retaining elements of the original. Mostnotable are the wing extensions, which end on points with a red line painted at the edge. This is inspired by similar design aspects found on G1 Tracks in his flight mode. Also like the G1 flight mode, this one has the missile launchers mounted on the back, with the main difference of course being that the G1 Tracks actually had missiles to fire whereas these are non-ufnctional missiles. Like G1 Tracks, the wings are cast in white plastic, as are the missile launchers. Both of these design aspects will also feature prominently in the robot mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode (from vehicle mode):

  1. Detach the missiles from the sides of the vehicle and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the back panel of the vehicle mode out.
  3. Remove the blaster weapon and swing the front barrel out, and set it aside for now.
  4. Pull the doors out to the sides.
  5. Swing each door out to form the wings, and extend out the ends of the wings.
  6. Swing the front section with the grille and headlights down.
  7. Swing the rear wheels around and then swing the robot arms down.
  8. Push the cabin section up, which will raise the robot head up and extend the arms out to the sides.
  9. Pull the front half of the vehicle down to extend the robot legs.
  10. Rotate the waist around.
  11. Move the robot feet down.
  12. Swing the grey panel inside the back of the vehicle out, then move it forward and clip the two tabs into the notches on the back of the robot's chest panel.
  13. Attach the missiles onto the grey panel using the clips. Rotate them around so the "fins" are on top.
  14. Attach the gun to one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
One of the strongest aspects of the "Classic" style figures has been the ability to recognize a character almost instantly, despite having a new form. Tracks definitely fits the bill. His entire outline and profile match G1 Tracks almost to a tee, thanks to so many aspects of both figures matching up including:

  • The back panel of the vehicle mode forming a part of the robot mode's back section.
  • The missile launchers wind up on the top of the back section in both versions.
  • Each version has "wings" in the back of the figure.
  • Both have arms with wheels at the shoulder section.
  • Bot head sculpts utilize a helmet section with a visor that resembles those on the armor of Knights.
  • Each version of the character uses the cabin section of the vehicle mode as a chunk of its torso.
  • On each lower leg are two rectangular sections with curved edges. These resemble similar details on G1 Tracks' legs.
  • The front of the car on both versions becomes the legs, with each aving the front wheels on the sides of the legs.

Tracks also borrows design elements from his G1 animated counterpart. One such aspect is the face design. The original Tracks figure had a face with thin eyes and a sharply defined mouthplate. When time came to feature the character on the television show, he was given a more expressive face with a mouth instead. This design was carried over into the Action Master and Alternators versions of the character and now this version has a similar face. The other aspect is the weapon design, with his blaster borrowing heavily from Track's animated weapon design. The original G1 figure had a long barreled rifle, but it was shortened for the animation model, and it is that weapon which is included with this figure.

There are many details that belong to this figure all its own. The "Classics" style figures don't just update a character, they also give it plenty of extra details. A lot of these are concentrated in the legs. Eeach leg section is distinctive from the next, with the thighs leading to knee armor that then leads to lower legs with several layers of detail and armor. I'm particularly fond of the layered armor sections in the middle of the lower leg, right by the wheels. I also dig the design of the feet which extend out in a U shape a bit, offering a bit more stability than the typical Transformers feet that extend inwards in a U shape. Tracks also reveals a new detail in this form with the panels that extend out on the sides of his chest during transformation. There you'll find a circular detail with a point at the bottom leading to several raised ridges. I really enjoy the aspect of having details that are hidden in vehicle mode pop out in robot mode and these fit the bill perfectly. One final aspect of the sculpt I'd like to comment on are the hands. Instead of the traditional fist design, these hands are slightly open, with the fingers all in slightly different positions, making them quite distinctive in appearance. However, the insides of the palms are sculpted to allow his weapon to fit in perfectly! I really dig this part of the design.

All of the vehicle mode colors carry over into this form, except now a lot more white and gunmetal plastic is revealed. The white makes up the head, the missiles, the upper arms and key sections of his wings. His lower arms are black along with the back half of his weapon (the front half is silver). His upper legs are gunmetal while the lower half is cast in blue. There's quite a bit of paint deco in this form, but it isn't obvious at first. The first ones you'll ikely notice are the red on his face and wings, both consistent with his G1 appearance. You'll also find red on his forearms and lower legs. However, the color I almost didn't notice until I stared a bit was the lower leg being painted gunmetal. The color matches the plastic on the uper leg very well, to the point where at first I thought that section was cast in that color! One "surprise" color is metallic green, which appears on the parts that pop out on the sides of the chest. This may seem to be a bit out of place in the overall color scheme, but if you take a look at Generation One Tracks, quite a few of his stickers featured green as a color, so this is a nice nod to that design aspect. Very nice work overall.

As with G1 Tracks, the heat sensitive rub symbol winds up on the center of the chest in this form. Out of the packaging I noticed my sticker was raised a bit and I had to flatten it down, but it's not perfect and there's a bit of a "bend" in the middle. I recommend taking a good look at the sticker on yours in the store before purchasing it to be sure it was applied properly.

Tracks has twenty four points of articulation in this form, which is a fantastic amount. This includes five on each arm and leg and hurray, waist articulation! Several of these points are ball joints including his shoulders and hip joints, allowing a good range of motion. Since you can move his wings a bit, he can even move his arms behind them if you wanted. There are no fancy features in this mode. Tracks is just a solid Transformer who changes from one mode to another (and another) and back, just like the classic figure he is based on!

Final Thoughts:
Like so many figures before him in this Classics style line, Turbo Tracks is a fantastic update of a classic character. I was very pleased to see so many aspects of the Corvette design carried over in vehicle mode and his robot mode is simply spot on perfect. Let's put it this way: I look forward to seeing redecos of this figure. If that's not a strong endorsement, I dont know what is! Highly recommended.

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