Dark of the Moon Human Alliance Half Track with Major Altitude Toy Review
Release Date: August 2011
Price Point: $9.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Rifle, Major Altitude action figure
Images: Image gallery of Half Track with Major Altitude
As the "Dark of the Moon" toy line began to be revealed during the time frame of Toy Fair 2011, some interpreted the "Cyberverse" Commander series of figures as the heir apparent to the position held by the Scout Class figures, a major staple of the Transformers toy line since the days of "Beast Wars". However, Toy Fair 2011 revealed this to not be the case. Instead, the Scout Class is being enhanced and folded into the "Human Alliance" sub-line of Transformers figures. Originally this line focused on large scale "Alternators" style vehicles with human partners, all based on the movie universe. The concept has been expanded now to include new characters that work together on the battlefield. In some respects, this sub-line is a near realization of the "G.I. Joe and Transformers" toys fans have wanted for years.
Half Track is a redeco of Human Alliance Sandstorm. However, this set is not just pure redeco, a brand new figure is included in the form of Half Track's partner: Major Altitude. Major Altitude is a brand new figure and I will go into a more in depth review on him. For Half Track I will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Major Altitude is dressed in an astronaut suit, making him quite different than his other N.E.S.T. counterparts. His head is inside a large helmet with a visor covering his face. The rest of the suit is rather bulky, with a barrel shaped torso section and really thick fabric around the arms and legs. These larger scale sections are enhanced by several smaller sculpted details. This includes the acronym "N.E.S.T." around his mid-section and bands around his left forearm that look like they have tools attached to them. He has knee armor on and the material underneath it has cloth-like wrinkles.
The figure is cast in black plastic, which I found to be an interesting "stealth" color to use on the Moon. From the perspective of war I guess this makes sense, but it was quite a surprise given that most Astronaut outfits are white. He has paint applications in white and green. The green is used to paint his visor on the helmet and the "N.E.S.T." letters. Bands around his torso, left forearm and parts of his legs are white. The green and white contrast really well against the black plastic and looks great.
Major Altitude has thirteen points of articulation. This includes three in each arm and leg. Most of this articulation is designed to allow him to sit in or "pilot" Human Alliance Transformers. This includes wrist articulation so his hands can be positioned to fit the various positions of steering wheels or handles on different Human Alliance Transformers.
Overall I really like Major Altitude. There are quite a few figures showing humans in military style outfits or regular, every day clothing. However, there aren't many that are "space-based" characters, making Major Altitude a rarity among the Human Alliance line.
Half Track's predecessor Sandstorm had a very military themed color scheme, but Half Track is much different, leaning towards a more "space" based theme of colors. His primary plastic colors are white, silver, black and metallic light blue. It's a really nice color scheme that looks really nice if you think about it against a black and grey lunar background. This is one of those cases where the colors are distributed well enough that he almost doesn't need any paint deco to look good. For instance, his upper arms are silver, forearms are metallic blue while his fists are black. Meanwhile the thighs are blue, lower legs black while his feet are a combination of black and white. These alternating colors work together to create a really nice looking figure.
while he may not need paint decos, he definitely has some. Blue, silver, metallic blue and white are all paint colors found on this figure. The blue is used for the crest and raised sections on the "helmet" section of his head. His nose and mouth area are silver. On the chest is a blue section that has some metallic blue paint on it. It's actually a bit hard to see since it's metallic blue paint on metallic blue plastic but it does shine a bit more. The white paint is used on his legs, painting over patches of armor on the sides of his legs and knees. Altogether the color pattern is very consistent and looks great.
All of Half Track's joints are nice and tight. He still includes his blaster with a 5mm peg on one end and a C Clip on the other, connected to the weapon by a ball joint. This is one of my favorite weapons since it works in two different ways on most figures in the line.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode
- Remove the weapon if attached and set it aside for now.
- Push each of the robot feet up.
- Push the feet together.
- Rotate the upper body around.
- Swing the armor panel on the torso forward.
- Swing the black tubes on the torso forward.
- Swing the section on the back with the tubes up and over the robot head, covering it.
- Swing the upper body up, connecting the tubes that were connected to the torso to the ones tyou swung over the robot head.
- Swing each robot arm down.
- Push the fists into the forearms.
- Bend the arms at the elbow and connect the tab on the forearm to its matching hold on the vehicle's rear section. The exhaust pipes should now point back.
- Clip the weapon onto the top of the cage section.
- Raise the cage section to seat a Human Alliance figure in the driver's area then swing the cage back down and lock it into place.
Like the robot mode, Half Track's vehicle mode has colors separated out in distinct sections, with the front and back having large white chunks but the middle section being largely metallic blue. While his wheels appear cast in black plastic, they are dark grey instead. Some black plastic still shows in the form of the rails in the seating area and details on the front end of the vehicle. Paint details are few here, but honestly it doesn't need a lot. The headlights are painted metallic blue while the exhaust pipes in the back are silver.
While his fellow Autobot Sandstorm is a dune buggy in vehicle form, Half Track is meant to be a Lunar Rover. In this respect he works very well as one. He has a fairly flat seating area and large wheels. when you add in Major Altitude "driving" him, it really completes the image and looks great.
Transformation to Artillery Platform Mode (from vehicle mode)
- On the back of the vehicle is a black peg. In vehicle mode it should be rotated up, rotate it down to begin this transformation.
- Swing the top part of the cage around the driver's area forward, including the robot head so you reveal the rocket tubes.
- Separate the forearms from the torso section and swing them up at the hinge connected to the shoulders.
- Point the exhaust pipes forward (the same direction as the rocket tubes), connecting the silver tabs to the matching holes on the torso section.
- Swing the black handles on the robot arms up.
- Swing up the front end of the vehicle mode and connect the black clips to the small pegs sticking out on the sides of the black seat piece.
- Slide the seat back a bit, this pushes the rocket tubes forward.
- Clip Half Track's weapon to the cage sections that are angled up behind the arms.
- Connect a Human Alliance figure to the chair.
Artillery Platform Mode
In the artillery platform mode, the newly revealed part are the missile tubes on the lower section fo the unit. This piece is cast in metallic blue. The other parts given more emphasis are the control handles (located on the robot forearms). There's nothing particularly "lunar" about this mode, but I still love it. I've always been fond of the concept of Transformers becoming weapon emplacements and/or hand held weapons and in this case Half Track is both. Put Major Altitude in the control seat and it looks even cooler, like something right out of a science fiction movie (which is perfect). The color mix works very well here and the sliding mechanism that brings the missile tubes out still works without a problem.
Half Track is a great example of a redeco. He has a very distinct color scheme and even better, he comes with a different "partner figure" than the previous set of Sandstorm with Dedcliff. I love the way the designers also came up with a different type of vehicle mode that makes perfect sense even without any retooling. Highly recommended!