Transformers Week continues with today’s look at Turbo Tracks from the Reveal the Shield line. Don’t let that yellow fool you, Tracks is right at home with your Generations line toys. Tracks proved a bit difficult for me to find at first, but I had to have him. He’s always been one of my favorites Transformers.
The funny thing about my favorite Transformers is that I came across them all in different ways. I’ve mentioned before that Hot Rod/Rodimus/Rodimus Prime is one of my favorite Transformers. The cartoon took care of that. I’ve never had a toy of Ratchet (never found the Universe version), but it was the comics – specifically those early issues where he took on Megatron – that made me love his character. Then, there’s Tracks. I don’t have too many memories of Tracks from the cartoon… I vaguely recall him playing basketball with Optimus, but that sounds crazy enough for me to be making up. I don’t remember Tracks from the comic at all. But I did have the vintage toy and it was awesome.
Most of the vintage Transformers were boxy at best, but Tracks was a sleek blue corvette that turned into a fairly sleek robot. I appreciated that he had a cool bot mode when I was a kid, but I’ll admit that I appreciated him being a blue corvette quite a bit too. Further, you could say that he was a poor man’s triple changer because, in addition to his bot & alt modes, he has a flight mode. Yep. He was a flying corvette. You could pop two rocket launchers on his trunk and flip small wings out from under his back tires. Lightning McQueen, eat your heart out.
Tracks & Hot Rod became the two centerpieces of my childhood TFs and they are the two of the TFs I’ve happily followed along with as I’ve grown up. The difference is that while Hot Rod has had a crapton of version, the Reveal the Sheld figure is just Tracks’ third mold after the original and the Alternator.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned more about Tracks. While he’s still the star of my own mythos where he’s one of the kickassiest TFs ever, the “real” Tracks could be best summed up with one word: narcissistic. See, he’s a bit of a pretty boy being a Corvette and all (and we’ll ignore all those lamborghini & porsches) and he was portrayed as being vain and more worried about scratches in his paint than victory. Well, our heroes can’t all be winners, right?
Turbo Tracks isn’t a corvette anymore, this time just a random blue sports car. He looks pretty cool. I like the clear plastic head lights and the tinted windshield, but I’m not sure what’s going with the hood decals. Hasbro did this us to us Tracks fans back in the Alternators line. I understood back then, perhaps Chevrolet didn’t want their new corvette to have a giant flaming logo on the hood. If I recall, they didn’t want to give up the rights at all and Tracks was originally going to be a different car. Anyway, Repro Labelsrectified that and it looks like I’ll be doing that again this time around.
* – The Japanese TF United version features a metallic color and the proper logo, but I don’t know if that’s worth it. I’ll just tack on an extra sticker set for Tracks on my next Reprolabels order, thank you.
The new Tracks does feature a flight mode again, but it doesn’t look as nice as the original. Admittedly, the original flight mode was mainly acheived by putting the arms in bot mode which isn’t much different than the current’s one door folding out method, but it just lacks the charm of the original. There’s a flip-over panel on the trunk that the missile launchers can clip on to in flight mode and, in a cool nod, the gun can be placed under the car in flight mode for an extra weapon.
The transformation to get Tracks from alt mode to bot mode is pretty straight forward. I’m not quite sure if I have the back of the figure transformerd correctly the doors/wings come into conflict with the rear of the car as it folds down and I’m not quite sure what goes where. Everything else works simple, the chest raises and pushes the head and arms into place. The legs pull down and he turns at the waist, a lot like his classic transformation. Continue to Tracks’ Bot Mode…