Release Year: October 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $19.99 (Depending on Retailer)
When prototype pictures of Binaltech/Alternators Tracks were released on the net a while ago, everyone noticed that the plastic color used was yellow. Most people dismissed this as being just the color of the proto, with Binaltech/Alternators having created Transformers faithful to their G1 counterparts in many ways, including colors. However, when Binaltech Tracks was released it surprised many fans to see that Tracks was indeed yellow! However, the Alternators version of the toy has gone in a different direction. It is recommended that you read the Binaltech Tracks review. This review will focus on the changes made to the toy for this release.
With this wave of Alternators (Tracks and Meister), the packaging has changed. Instead of the black, window box of the first couple waves, the new packaging is red and black, with emphasis on the red, creating a unified look with the current Energon "Powerlinx Battles" packaging, which is also red and black. The window is gone, with the toys now encased in bubbles within the box. Overall, this packaging actually looks a lot nicer than the previous packaging, grabbing you visually.
Tracks is a Corvette Z06, making him one of the few true "updates" in the line. Thanks to licensing work by both Hasbro and Takara, Tracks has simply upgraded from an 80's Corvette to a Corvette of the new millenium. The Z06 is a lot more understated than its 80's sibling. While the sides of the front hood still curve, the curve is nowhere near as severe. The back has the trademark rounded Corvette rear lights. The checkered flag logo associated with the Corvette can be found on the front and back of the vehicle, and its black and red interior blend nicely with the outer blue.
Some of the best details on any toy are the smallest ones. Tracks has the "Z06" logo on the sides in front of the door, an Autobot symbol can be found on the license plate and in a surprise move, the side view mirrors are coated with vacuum metallized silver to make them look like real mirrors. While Binaltech has done this will all their releases, Alternators has not.
And yes, Tracks is blue. Interestingly enough, when Takara saw that Hasbro was going to release a blue version of this toy, they actually rushed a Binaltech version into production (to be reviewed soon). Unlike the first Binaltech Smokescreen, this blue is dark, deep and has metallic flake! This looks fantastic on the toy, but unfortunately makes you scratch your head and wonder why this wasn't done for Smokescreen.
What Tracks is still missing are the big flame decals on his hood. Takara has taken it upon themselves to add these to their blue Binaltech Tracks, but this version was available first, and frankly, while the flames would have been a nice G1 homage, they're hardly authentic, and being authentic to the real vehicle is part of the appeal of this line so I really don't miss their presence.
The lack of die cast metal is not detrimental at all to this toy. In fact, in a way it makes things a bit better. The hood panels open forward, which for some reason on the Binaltech version is a bit tough, but on this one is simple since the plastic is flexible.
Now this is the mode where the color has the most dramatic effect. It's not just because blue is so associated with the character of Tracks, but also because the other primary colors of red, white and silver stand out a lot better against the darker blue than the lighter yellow of the Binaltech version. This is most evident on parts like the head, which is a fantastic reproduction of the animated version of the character. The Autobot symbol on the
chest practically shines against the dark blue chest piece.
One of the deco points that amazed me the most are the waist and upper leg pieces. Each of these are in the same colors as the Binaltech version, so they are a mix of gunmetal, silver and red. What amazed me is that the gunmetal and grey are done so well that the parts look like they're made of die cast metal. This is fantastic work and I'm glad they didn't try to use some flat silver or something cheap.
This one is a no brainer. Basically the main difference between this toy and its Binaltech counterpart (the blue version) is a couple stickers and weight. For $20, Alternators Tracks is a bang up job and worth adding to your collection!