Posted November 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm
Reveal the Shield Tracks is kind of insane. He's insane in a way I don't think I'll be able to express fully until his retool comes out, but I'll give it some lip service here, because it's on my mind.
Much like Universe Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, Reveal the Shield Tracks's toy is intended to eventually do double duty as Wheeljack. What's different this time, though, is the severity of changes between the two toys. The only difference between Sunstreaker and Sideswipe was a headswap and rotating the waist 180 degrees. From what we've seen of Wheeljack's toy in promotional photography, though, shows stuff that blows that out of the water. It's crazy. I told you, it's insane.
Back in 1984/5, Tracks and Wheeljack were two totally different molds that were entirely unrelated to each other. They transformed pretty similarly, with both getting the roof-chest, hood-legs treatment, plus they both had wings. It seems like a smart move to make the new Wheeljack the same guy as the new Tracks, but with a new head and a twist of the waist during transformation. But, like, holy cow. The number of new parts we're getting on Wheeljack is crazy. He's got a new front bumper, a new spoiler, he gets wrenches instead of missiles, different wingtips, and the super-crazy part is the entirely new robot shins. Why are they new? I dunno! The robot parts of the shins end up on the back of Wheeljack's robot legs, so you don't even see them! But apparently it's just that important to make it so that Wheeljack's front wheels can fold down by his heels where they were on the original toy.
Anyway, enough about the toy that Tracks isn't. It's a hard subject to avoid, since it informs a lot of my feelings about him. So much about him is just there to be Wheeljack later. He has Wheeljack's stumpier proportions, for example. The original Tracks was tall and lean. His hand weapon is just Wheeljack's shoulder-mounted missile launcher with a 5mm peg. His wheels are on a hinge that rotates around the upper bicep so that you can position them on the front like Tracks's original toy or out to the side like on Wheeljack's original toy.
I fully expected this hedging to make the toy into a fiddly mess, but Tracks still remains a solid toy that has a lot of Tracks-specific features. It's not as clean of a transformation as RtS Jazz, but it's not anything near a disaster, either. The only problem I've ever had transforming him back and forth was finding out exactly where to shove the forearms into the car shell so that they fit. And now that I have that figured out, it's no problem at all.
Once again the clip-on weapons make the toy enjoyably versatile. Tracks has three. One of them, Wheeljack's shoulder weapon, as I mentioned previously, has a peg on it so that Tracks can hold it in either of his hands. Tracks also has two other clip-on weapons that approximate his dual shoulder missiles. They can clip under the doors in car mode and either stay stowed or fold out at an angle to the sides, or you can attach them to the back of the car mode via a panel that rotates around a hinge to unveil notches that the missiles can peg onto.
Just like the original Tracks toy, this one also has a winged car mode. It's, uh, about as good as the original, which isn't saying much, but it's still fun as hell. I've been keeping him in winged car mode probably more than robot mode, but then I've had a predisposition to flying toy cars around in the air since I was a child. When I was little, I had a little Matchbox car with little opening doors. I'd swing them open and pretend the car had wings. That's... basically where the idea for Ultra Car came from. A car with wings. It's basically the best possible vehicle ever, I tell you!
I'm still loving the open-sculpted hands. Tracks's are particularly good, since I like how bulky his fingers are, like he's wearing hockey gloves. They add so much personality to a toy.
I really like this toy as Tracks, so I'm bound to like a partially-different toy as Wheeljack! I look forward to him so hard. But, man, I am not complaining for having to have 70% of the toy twice. This is a good toy. And, Jesus, the lengths they're going to distinguish the two is admirable. Hasbro/Tomy's outdoing themselves here.