Monday 16 October 2023

Tracks BT-06 (Binaltech, 2004)

BT-06 Cybertron Warrior Tracks
● Function: Warrior
● Transformation: Chevrolet Corvette
Tracks cherishes his Earth vehicle mode and is deeply connected to his Binaltech body, meticulously crafted by General Motors with their full resources. His vanity has intensified over time, making him increasingly self-conscious. He loathes any harm that befalls his body, and this heightened concern has sometimes led to lapses in concentration during battles, putting his own safety at risk. Presently, he's been entrusted with a significant role as one of the few Cybertrons capable of flight. With unwavering courage, he thrusts himself into perilous battlefields, relying on advanced force-field technology to bolster his defences.
● Weapon(s): Black Beam Gun; Heat Seeking Incendiary Missiles; Dual Plasma Shotgun
STR...6; INT...6; SPD...7; END...8; RNK...5; CRG...6; FPR...9; SKL...8

Tech Spec values are taken from Hirofumi Ichikawa's initial notes

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In October 2003, Walmart's inventory systems hinted at the upcoming release of the next Alternators figure, which was none other than Tracks. Then, in January 2004, an eBay auction showcased a prototype that deviated from the original blue colour scheme, presenting Tracks in a shade of yellow. 

Alternators prototype from the eBay auction

Hasbro would officially unveil the figure at the 2004 Toy Fair which was a similar prototype to the prior eBay auction but this version had been hand painted. 

Toy Fair 2004

While some fans voiced objections to the yellow colour, it became apparent that this choice was a requirement imposed by General Motors. Hasbro and Takara faced difficulties in obtaining the licensing rights from General Motors. Initially, they contemplated releasing Tracks as a Dodge Viper, but eventually, the car company reconsidered, allowing Tracks to don an updated Corvette vehicle form.

However, in July 2004, a blue version of Tracks made its debut at the 2004 San Diego Comic Con. Subsequently, it was disclosed that Hasbro had faced challenges in achieving the correct yellow plastic hue, which tended to be too transparent and was noticeable in the leaked prototypes. Consequently, they made the decision to revert to Tracks' original blue colour scheme.

Nevertheless, the distinctive yellow colour persisted, as Takara later introduced a yellow version of Tracks. In April 2004, an unpainted prototype was showcased in Dengeki Hobby magazine, and by June 2004, the magazine offered a preview of the fully painted prototype. 

Dengeki Hobby Magazine April 2004 issue (left) & June 2004 issue (right). Source:

In August 2004, BT-06 Tracks was announced for release in Japan. Notably, the instruction manual featured a slight variation of Tracks, featuring spring-loaded shotguns mounted on the forearms, unlike the retractable versions found on the final production figure.

Tracks underwent a transformation into a Z06 C5 Chevrolet Corvette. However, this time, he lacked an alternate transformation for flight mode. This omission was elucidated in the 'System Description' section of the instruction manual, which we've translated below. The same description also clarifies how Tracks could alter his colour, dispelling any notions that the blue version was from an alternate universe. Notably, the vehicle mode featured impressive details, including an opening bonnet that revealed the engine, which doubled as Tracks' weapon, and functional opening doors.

The transformation process strikes a balance between simplicity and complexity, resulting in a robot mode that effectively pays homage to the updated G1 Tracks. This is achieved through features like rocket engines and broad shoulders that evoke Tracks' original wings."

Personally, I still consider Tracks to be one of the less impressive Binaltech figures. After revisiting the figure for the first time since 2004, my opinions haven't changed. The main issue I have with the figure is related to the legs. The front of the car rests on the back of the robot legs, and the car doors on the hips can be quite obstructive. Furthermore, the hinges connecting the car doors to the robot have developed noticeable cracks on both sides, a concern not present on my blue version.

In late August 2004, an online shop called Image Anime inadvertently revealed that Takara had plans to release a blue version of Tracks in December of the same year. Takara officially showcased the figure on their website, and it hit the shelves a month ahead of schedule, in November. This blue variant shared the same packaging as the yellow version, with the only distinction being a blue sticker on the box window, which translated as "Blue Version BT-06 Tracks feat Chevrolet Corvette with special sticker". 

The sticker was a flame sticker to attach to the bonnet as a homage to the original G1 toy.

Tracks would later be released a black redeco the following year with a slight remould as a convertible vehicle with a new head sculpt, not as "Loudpedal" but Ravage (interestingly this was not named Jaguar).


Back of the box

Transformers Binaltech
The transforming car robots were the core product of the original Transformers. Now they have been upgraded for the modern era with fully licensed vehicle modes. The vehicle mode is 1/24 scale with opening and closing doors as well as a detailed interior. The car is fully painted to reproduce the quality of the real car with a finish to match that of a scale model. The robot mode is fully articulated allowing you to enjoy various action poses. 

Instruction Manual Page 1 & 2 (Same text as the back of the box)

Chevrolet Corvette
This is a faithful reproduction of the "Z06," a specialised performance variant of the C5 Chevrolet Corvette, America's esteemed high-performance sports car. It is named after the legendary 1963 race car. It attained top-tier specifications through several enhancements and, upon its 2001 release, commanded a premium price, becoming immensely popular in the United States.

BT-06 Cybertron Tracks 
The newest iteration of Tracks, renowned as the "most beautiful Cybertron," has been reborn as a Chevrolet Corvette, harkening back to his original design. Retaining the character's iconic well-balanced proportions, this version faithfully replicates the silhouette of his initial form, cleverly incorporating a previously optional weapon into the transformation.

The bonnet can be easily opened and closed, and the engine housed inside serves as a weapon in robot mode.

The sleek body design is faithfully reproduced, showcasing outstanding aerodynamic characteristics with a Cd value of 0.29.

Crafted exclusively for the Z06, the ultra-lightweight supercar tires, wheels, and brake discs, have been meticulously designed. 

The actual vehicle features four titanium exhausts.

An exquisitely crafted head that boasts full posability thanks to a ball joint. 

In addition to wielding the weapon, the flexible hands can be utilised for a range of expressive gestures. 

Transforms from an LS6 Engine into a “Black Beam Gun”.

Instruction Manual Page 9 & 10

Given the absence of air support within the Cybertron Earth Defence Force, Tracks' body underwent a targeted redesign to enhance its aerial combat capabilities, with a specific emphasis on air combat in robot mode and improved manoeuvrability. The redesign includes two mobile rocket engines as dorsal thrusters, enabling short subsonic flights, and they are capable of launching multi-warhead heat-seeking incendiary missiles from their tips. Additionally, both arms are equipped with dual plasma shotguns.

His primary weapon is the Black Beam Gun, a sophisticated armament that projects a kinetic energy beam infused with a hyper-kinetic black gaseous substance known as "Black Light." This formidable tool envelops his target in a force field, disrupting their optical circuits, and the impact force of the swirling gases inflicts substantial damage.

The integration of repulsor force panels and aerodynamic force fields in different sections of his vehicle form theoretically enables Tracks to achieve flight without the requirement of his former flight mode. Nonetheless, this design alteration leads to a significant drop in combat effectiveness and speed during flight, and due to Tracks' unique aesthetic preferences that prioritise appearance over functionality, these features are rarely used. Additionally, the vehicle's exterior panels are coated with the latest functional pigment from DuPont. This innovative coating allows Tracks to alter his body colour, effectively camouflaging himself or projecting dynamic video images of the surroundings, rendering him nearly invisible.


What is Binaltech…

Twenty years have passed since the Transformers made contact with humankind and since then the world has dramatically changed. The Cybertron’s and humans are now inseparable partners in destiny. By combining their technologies they have created a new generation of warriors, the “Binaltech Transformers” who have made great strides against the more powerful Destron threat. At the same time on planet Seibertron which has long been dominated by the Destrons, Megatron the Emperor of Destruction has finally launched a war of conquest to wipe out all Cybertron resistance. While the greatest Cybertron warriors were being sent into battle, this left Earth, their vital source of energy, exposed as a target for their enemies to conquer. Thus the future of Earth and the Cybertrons is in the hands of the Binaltech Transformers, their warriors of hope!

Chevrolet Corvette Vehicle Data
The Chevrolet Corvette, produced by the General Motors (GM) division, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2003 and stands as one of America's most iconic sports cars. It boasts the longest history and the largest production volume of sports cars with the same name worldwide.
The current C5, the fifth-generation model introduced in 1997, represents an advanced version with numerous cutting-edge features while upholding the traditions of a two-seater design. It retains its lightweight FRP body, characteristic long nose and short deck proportions, an impressive wide and low centre of gravity, an FR layout, and a substantial displacement engine.
The new LS6 engine delivers impressive power output and substantial torque. Notably, it marks Chevrolet's first foray into aluminium construction for a conventional engine, yet it retains its traditional V8 OHV configuration. The body structure exhibits remarkable rigidity while remaining lightweight, thanks to the use of a single steel or pressed perimeter frame, manufactured through GM's innovative 'hydroforming' method. The drivetrain layout incorporates a transaxle system with the transmission located at the rear. This front-rear weight distribution results in a near-ideal balance of 51:49, closely mirroring the optimal front-rear balance of a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicle.
The most recent models have achieved a level of maturity, incorporating several advanced mechanisms. Among these innovations is the “Magnetic Selective Ride Control” suspension system, a project GM has been researching since the 1970's. This system utilises electromagnetic coils and magnetically sensitive fluids, allowing for real-time, precise control, with adjustments made in 1/1000-second increments to adapt to changing road conditions. 

Overall Length: 4564mm
Overall Width: 1869mm
Overall Height: 1227mm
Wheelbase: 2654mm
Vehicle Weight: 1413kg
Engine: Water-cooled V8 OHV
Bore x Stroke: 99.1×91.9mm
Total Displacement: 5670cc
Maximum Output: 385ps/6000rpm
Maximum Torque: 53.2kgm/4800rpm
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual Transmission
Wheel: Aluminium
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70L

*These specifications are for the 2001 “Z06”.

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