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Autobot Tracks

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

Everyone loves the self-centered pretty boy, right? Right?


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.

The original Tracks was a Corvette Stingray, but this version is more of a generic sports car. Still, all the high-points are here: blue body, silver hubcaps, red and yellow flames on the hood... it's the broad details that really matter, after all, and the car still looks very nice. There is no longer an Autobot symbol in the flames (since it would defeat the purpose of the "Reveal the Shield" rubsigns), but the flames are looking sharp. Surely Tracks would approve.

Something Transfans will approve of is that you can re-create the old toy's "winged car" mode; sure, it's ridiculous, but it always was. Just fold open the doors, and flip over the bar behind the rear window that will allow you to plug the two rockets - normally stored under the doors - onto the back end. You could also fold the wheels under if you really wanted to: it's not like they touch the ground any more anyway.

Converting Tracks isn't a terribly difficult process - he's part of the adjectiveless "Transformers" line, but he's not one of the movie toys, so the design isn't overly complex. It's more about updating the classics than going crazy with the weird folding. His "dynamic head reveal" involves pushing the car's roof up, but at the same time his arms slide out to the sides - neat!

The robot design draws heavily on the original toy: the hood of the car remains his chest, the feet fold out the same way, etc. A lot of the shapes that used to be created by stickers are now molded right into the plastic, and though they're less colorful (naturally), they'll last a lot longer. The wings are no longer attached directly to his arms, and the rear of the car doesn't form a big hooded shell over his head.

Speaking of the head, it's a blend of the toy and cartoon/comic appearances of the character. The 1985 toy had an angled faceplate, while this one has an actual face, as was seen in the animation. The crest on his forehead, however, has vertical slats like a knight's visor, which was something only seen on the toy, because apparently it would have been too hard to animate consistently.

Articulation is plentiful and well-engineered. He moves at all the major joints, including the waist and wrists, and although the toes are a bit floppy, he stands securely (just don't tip him forward, or down he'll go). His hands are done in the new "natural" style, with four gesturing fingers instead of a fist with a hole through it. The rockets clip on behind his shoulders. The gun, which stores in the back in car mode, isn't an update of Tracks' "black beam gun" - it looks more like Wheeljack's shoulder-mounted thingamajigs, and there's a good reason for that.

Hasbro has made it clear that they plan to reuse this mold to create Wheeljack, though it will have some substantial mold changes. Tracks is already pretty cool, and it looks like Wheeljack will be different enough to make it worth buying them both.

-- 12/21/10

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