Saturday, 23 May 2020

Tracks 44 (Transformers Collection, 2002)



Profile (Translated from the Trading Card)
44 Cybertron Tracks
Function: Warrior
Transformation: Corvette Stingray
Ability: His wings allow him to fly at subsonic speeds. Equipped with a missile launcher with heat-seeking capabilities.
Character: Interested in Earthen mechanical designs. Vain and loves his vehicular form.


Collectors Card

The Transformers Collection reissue of Tracks was released September 2002 alongside wave partner Skids. This was the first time since Tracks had been reissued since the 1991 gold box Transformer Classic Heroes.


Underneath the main box flap amongst the paperwork are profiles for Reflector and Tracks. The extended Tracks profile is taken from the Transformers Universe comic series, Reflector however was never given a profile for the Transformers Universe so this extended profile was adapted from the 1986 Hasbro tech spec.

Initial box art for Skids and Tracks. This Skids artwork appears on pages inside the final release.

The translations for Reflector and Tracks extended profiles  as well as the toy release history from the toy data file pages are below (Please visit this link for more extended profiles from the Transformers Collection Series):-

Tracks




○ Cybertron Tracks
○ Function: Warrior
○ Motto: “Looking good is what life is all about.”
○ Profile
Some of his comrades call him a “lousy Earth lover” as he prefers exploring Earth in his car mode rather than robot form. They tell him that he should always be focused on fighting the Destrons but Tracks believes his friends are only jealous of his looks. In car mode he can reach speeds of 448 km/h; he can also take part in aerial combat at subsonic speeds using the wings stored on the underside of his rear fender. In both car mode and robot mode he uses a heat seeking incendiary launcher with a 96km range. Also uses a Black Beam Gun which blinds his enemies with a beam of black light that adheres for a few minutes after hitting its target. Tracks’ biggest enemy is his own vanity. He can be so concerned by his own appearance that it impairs his combat ability. He knows he should transform into robot mode in combat situations but more often than not he stays in his vehicle form. This however leaves him more vulnerable than he would be in robot mode.

Released April 1984 “Diaclone / Car Robot” No.21
Western release in 1985 “The Transformers” Tracks
Released November 1985 “Transformers” Tracks
Released September 2002 “Transformers Collection 3” Tracks
Tracks is a car robot whose colour changed from the red of the Diaclone No.21 release to cobalt blue, however, in parts of Europe Tracks was released in the original red Diaclone colour. Additionally in 1991 Tracks was reissued in Europe under the “Transformers Classic” series (in some regions such as Spain Tracks was categorised as a “Transformers Autobot”.


Reflector




○ Destron Reflector
○ Function: Optical Intelligence Soldier
○ Motto: “See and you can know, know and you can destroy.”
○ Profile
When the three Destron soldiers, Spyglass, Viewfinder and Spectro unite, they form Reflector. Loves to observe everything from plants, buildings, Earthen topography….and especially his comrades mistakes. Reflector is impressed by his own surveillance abilities and exercises extortion and intimidation against his comrades. Has highly developed infrared vision allowing him to record and photograph images in darkness. This works the same at great distances or through camouflage. In camera mode, can emit a powerful flash of light leaving the enemy blind and disorientated for up to 15 seconds.

Released February 1983 “Microman / Microchange” MC-05 Camera Robot
Released June 1985 “Transformers” Reflector (Photo)
North America and European release in 1986 “The Transformers” Reflector
Although Reflector appeared from the beginning in the 1984 cartoon, it was not released in Europe or the United States until 1986 where it was offered as a Robot Points mail order item (the basic package simply stated “Transformers Camera”).

Click here for my article on G1 Reflector.



Tracks is packaged in vehicle mode and looks very bare without stickers as Tracks usually has the flame design emblazoned on his bonnet. Like most of my figures I have chosen not to apply the stickers. Unlike many of the Autobot / Cybertron cars Tracks' vehicle mode is plastic and is a very sleek looking Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C3. The rub sign is positioned on the roof on the hatch used for the Diaclone pilots, unfortunately this is very stiff on my version and I haven't been able to open it fully for fear of breaking the thing.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C3 1981 (Source: Cargurus.com)

As mentioned above in Tracks toy data, the original Diaclone "Corvette Stingray" was coloured red but for the Transformer release it was changed to blue. The artwork from the back of the boxes in 1985 also featured a "red" Tracks, this may indicate Tracks was supposed to be red or that the artist only had the Diaclone toy for reference. The latter is more than likely as Grimlock is seen with a chromed sword instead of the standard red sword for the Transformer release.

"Red" Tracks from the 1985 artwork

The red Tracks was released in Europe by Hasbros new distributor, Milton Bradley. It is thought these red Corvettes were overstock from Joustras Diaclone toyline. The "red" Tracks had a further release in 2002 as an e-Hobby exclusive and was renamed "Road Rage".


Rather uniquely amongst the Autobot cars, Tracks features a third "flight" mode where you flip out Tracks' robot arms and fold out the wings and attach the missile launchers. You need to be careful when folding out the robot arms, although Tracks is one of the more sturdiest of the Autobot cars, the doors are a weak point.


Additionally there is a port on the underside of the vehicle mode where you can attach the Black Beam Gun. The attachment of the gun was omitted from Hasbro's original instructions for Tracks but was retained in Takara's instructions.



In robot mode Tracks looks fantastic, especially with the wings and the mounted missile launchers. Articulation wise there isn't much to see really given the only movable parts are the arms. He does ave a waist swivel although this is part of the transformation. The robot head features a face mask which was changed to a mouth for the animation model. Tracks only has small fists so to fit the weapon, there is an attachment to fit over the fist so the gun ends up looking like an extension to the arm and its quite a good look. The front of the robot legs is where this figure features diecast metal and appears to be unpainted. For the 1991 Transformers Classics reissue the diecast metal on the legs was painted black.

1991 Transformers Classics Tracks with painted diecast legs



Overall Tracks is a fantastic example of an early Transformer figure and is well worth picking up.



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