An Alternators logo? But Arcee only appeared in Binaltech! LOLOCAUST!!!!


Transformers Tracks
Transformers Tracks
Transformers Tracks
Transformers Tracks

Tracks came out relatively early in the Binaltech/Alternators programme, presumably as 1) the character's original car mode had an updated version actually in production and 2) General Motors, who own the Chevrolet brand, were probably fairly open to licensing, foreshadowing their involvement in the live action films. Of course, Takara had to make things complicated, and originally released the character in yellow for some stupid, exciting reason. It probably had something to do with lolicons and some insane plan to portray the thing as some version of Convoy. Hasbro took one look at it and painted it blue. Takara belatedly realised people buying a Tracks figure might want something that looked like Tracks and followed suit, resulting in a blue Binaltech version which also included a sticker to represent the character's iconic flame design (the one I have, courtesy of Inflatable Dalek ).

After gaining respectability, the mould was then sullied twice. Firstly, someone stuck a cat head on it and called it Ravage (through hard work from the design team, this was eventually usurped at 'Stupidest Alternator Ever' by a Jaguar XK that turned into a Jaguar XK on four unconvincing legs). Hasbro decided there was more mileage in the mould, and gave it a new generic head and red colour scheme (complete with the flame sticker - how philanthropic). They named this thing Swerve, Transformers-speak for "no one really, but we thought we could get a recolour out of the mould".


Presumably due to its' lineage, Tracks' Stingray mode looks strangely retro compared to most of the sportscars in the Alternators line - there're even a couple of straight lines on there. It's not exactly stunning, but there's not much wrong with it. I was never much of a fan of the original Tracks car mode, which looked a bit cartoonish and OTT (I know the real thing's like that, but accuracy and aesthetic appeal are two different things). This version dials that back a lot, but doesn't really replace it with much in the way of style.

As usual, the alternate mode is detailed - in fact, it's one of the most detailed of the line. Either that, or Chevrolet just put a lot of badges on their actual cars - a total of four are present here. Add in the flame sticker, the clear plastic lights, the licence plate (simply an Autobot logo on white - nice work, less is more) and the car isn't boring to look at. The join lines are quite bad, sadly, and the robot feet are clearly visible at the front, while he doesn't quite have the smooth interior of other Alternators. Or maybe I'm wrong and the latest Stingray does have missile launchers inside the doors.


Tracks has fairly straightforward transformation - getting the front started can be a little tricky, but after that it's very intuitive. The robot layout is quite closely modelled on the original Tracks, with the rear wheels ending up on the shoulders and the car bonnet on the rear of the legs; the rear of the car is even split and orientated to provide a reminder of the original's wings. On top of this, there's some blatant cheating to make an approximation of a car roof on the chest, despite there being a car roof on his back - this is actually quite cool, so I'll let it slide. Then there's the head, the spitting image of the character's cartoon model, and looking superb for it. The overall result has lots of bits hanging off it, but is by far the strongest of the three RiD Car Brothers-influenced robot modes in the line (the other two being the Honda and the Viper), at least looking balanced thanks to the chunky legs.

Sadly, the figure's various parts actually restrict Tracks' articulation. Bits of him have to be moved in order for his limbs to go through the full range of movements, and even then it can be a long and unrewarding process. Also, in common with many Alternators designs that stray from the rough Datsun-style robot mode, Tracks is lacking a waist joint. By way of compensation, though, he is by far the most heavily armed figure in the line. In addition to the standard engine-based gun (one of the more convincing examples of an idea that's a millstone around the line), he has non-firing missile launchers heavily based on the original's, which can either be positioned over his shoulders or folded away on the figure's back. That's not all, though - both wrists contain twin cannons that can slide out - it's a shame they didn't do something like that with the bulky forearms of Mustang, really. Talking of the Mustang, Tracks' two rather desperate retools are missed opportunities, as the layout would have made a much better base for Wheeljack than the mould he did eventually get.


Tracks isn't without his faults, and the somewhat cluttered nature of the robot mode won't be to all tastes. However, he's alongside Hound and Skids as the most effective homage of the Alternators series, with an orchestrated attempt to make him look as much like the original Tracks as possible. It's an attempt that's largely successful, resulting in one of the most individual figures of the series.