Posts tagged with "tracks" - 1
Posted July 13, 2021 at 1:44 pm

In the margins of Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Kingdom's spread of Beast Wars guys, Hasbro's trying to round out the 1985 guys the previous two parts of the Trilogy left behind.  That's right, we're finally getting to Tracks.  I mean, we're not gonna get to Skids this trilogy apparently, even though we've done like 4 Sideswipes, but we'll get a Tracks!

Kingdom Tracks feels a lot like Kingdom Rhinox to me.  This Tracks is fussy and you worry you might break it, and its transformation doesn't feel as streamlined or as enjoyable as most of WFC has been so far.  WFC seems like it had things down to a science, transformation-wise, and Tracks feels like he's off the field somewhere.  Hasbro was having a bad day when they designed both Rhinox and Tracks.  

Tracks' legs are a mess of thin panels that... don't really lock well together?  There's some shallow tabs that connect the outside of the shins and the feet with the rest of the shins, and, well, it's not enough.  And maybe I'm doing some thing wrong, but I feel like I have to push parts through other parts to get them into place.  

And most of Tracks' vehicle mode roof is a pair of thin translucent plastic parts that pile up on his back, which normally I wouldn't mind, but what bothers me about them is trying to push them into place in car mode.  It's not very elegant, and I feel like I just gotta push too hard to get tabs locked in.  I don't wanna end up with broken tabs.  

He also feels a little loose, which might just be my copy, and I brushed some floor polish on him anyway to mostly solve this.  

Tracks is NOT like Rhinox in that he looks exactly like Tracks!  He's not based on some weird video game version of Tracks with ears or something.  And there's no ugly gaping transformation hinges on the front of his legs.  He OPERATES like Rhinox, but he doesn't belong to Rhinox's weird visuals department.  And so at least this Tracks looks like he works next to your other WFC toys.  

Tracks, because he's Tracks, has a third flying car mode.  You untransform his arms and flip the wings out.  There's also tailfins to pull out, but they also want you to stack his guns back there between them, and his guns are as tall as his tailfins, so I'm not sure how useful or purposeful those tailfins are.

Anyway, Kingdom Tracks is good if you want something that looks like cartoon Tracks on your shelf.  He's not a great Transformer.  

Posted May 7, 2012 at 1:15 am

I mentioned back when I was getting my Runabout and Runamuck that they were numbers three and four of the five versions of the Tracks/Wheeljack mold I was destined to own, and here's number five.  It's Shattered Glass Tracks!  His personality is that he's Tracks, but he's evil.  He's not opposite in any way other than the heroic/evil switch.  He's still ridiculously vain.  Not the most interesting direction to go with him, but considering Tracks is generally considered a gay dude by the fandom, flipping that around could have gone unintentionally terribly wrong, so let's count our blessings.

He's in red Diaclone colors, which is what Road Rage also is, so you can repurpose this red Tracks as her.  If you want.  Maybe you should, since SG Tracks got all of 3 panels of exposure in this year's convention comic, so it's not like he left much of a mark.

Looking at my sea of Trackses, I feel sorry for Wheeljack.  Only his head didn't get used more than once!  Everyone else's head got two uses.  Maybe Hasbro or Tomy should fix that, giving me six uses of the mold.

Not sure who it should be.  I already got a Slicer.
Posted December 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm
Today's BotCon 2012 toy reveal was Shattered Glass Tracks, an evil Autobot.  He's last year's Reveal the Shield Turbo Tracks toy in red, black, and blue, so you can also use him as Road Rage if you don't care for that whole mirrorverse deal.  (If you want to read about the origin and history of the red Tracks that would become Road Rage, here's a good page for it.)

There's not a whole lot to say about the BotCon toy.  It's a pretty straightforward redeco.  It looks like a red Tracks, which is the point, and a goal that's kind of hard to miss.  It's not like Tuesday's Overlord, over which one could argue mold use and head sculpting and color layouts.  This is straight up an existing variant Tracks color scheme put onto a newer Tracks toy.

Posted March 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm
That's right, boxart pose! Deal with it!

Man, what the hell.

It's been crazy all up in this shit.  I had a red-eye flight back from Seattle, got home in Columbus around 9am, took a cab home, and I spent an hour or two doing things on the Internet and opening my Generations Wheeljack.  I'd ordered him online and he'd arrived on Friday while I was gone.  So I cracked open the bubble, transformed him into robot mode, and then went to take a nap.

And when I woke up from my nap, I was the sickest I have ever been in my life.  I spent 20 hours out of Tuesday in bed, asleep, and Wednesday wasn't looking too different until about 5pm.  But I'm slowly getting my strength and energy back.

So this Wheeljack may have the plague or something.  Or it was that awkward guy who hovered over my exhibitor table all three days in Seattle, wiping his nose on the book he read meticulously but didn't buy, and leaving his trash behind.  Either or.

My spleen for a Circuit Breaker figure.

Wheeljack's got a special place in my heart from my childhood, though probably not from the same childhood place as many other people.  When I was wee, the first comic books I ever owned were three-packs of Transformers titles sold at the K-mart register.  So I got a polybagged set of issues 7, 8, and 9, and another polybagged set of 10, 11, and 12.  Since I wasn't always home from school in time to watch the Transformers cartoon, these six issues were the main source of Transformers lore.  That I could read them over and over and over at my leisure kind of tipped the scale in their favor as well.  The world didn't have TiVo back then.  Hell, it barely had BetaMax.

But these issues are why, to this day, I love Ratchet and Huffer and Frenzy and Jazz and Wheeljack.  Specifically, I loved the Wheeljack as he appeared in issue 9, "DIS-Integrated Circuits!" He wasn't addressed as a mad scientist, he was just a gung-ho wise-talking warrior.  He was also, I had decided, due to issue 9, always Jazz's partner.  As my experience with Transformers widened, my idea of Wheeljack started encompassing the greater "Wheeljack is a wacky mad scientist" deal, but deep in my soul, he's that plucky wisecracker from issue 9.

Wheeljack, aka "shorty"

I talked a lot about this Wheeljack toy back when I reviewed Tracks, his mold buddy.  He's a pretty extensive retool!  And he  has even more surprises.  We could tell from the photos that Wheeljack had a new head, new wrenches (instead of missiles), new feet, a new shin transformation, new spoiler, and new wingtips.  That in itself is pretty impressive.  But what's even crazier is this: when you transform him from vehicle to robot mode, his head is on a geared track that moves up and out along with his shoulders.  Wheeljack's geared track is more shallow than Tracks's, meaning his torso ends up a smidge wider.  In addition, Wheeljack's legs don't extend as far as Tracks's legs do.  This means even the robot mode proportions between Tracks and Wheeljack are retooled.  Wheeljack's original toy was short and stocky and Tracks's original toy was tall and lithe, so this makes some manner of sense, and it results in Wheeljacks's new toy being a head shorter than new Tracks.

I kinda like keeping the wrenches stored back there. They look like pistons.

Sweet deal, yes?

As mentioned previously, the backs of Wheeljack's shins are retooled, what for making the altered leg transformation, but there's also new C joint rods back there to store his wrenches, if you're so inclined.  Wheeljack can't carry his wrenches around forever!

I'm sure Reprolabels will fix the deficiency of racing numbers.

Be careful about the instructions, however.  Though Wheeljack's instructions do give him his new head, they don't depict any of the other mold changes during the transformational steps.  Tracks's legs are supposed to extend way farther than Wheeljacks's, so strictly following the instructions on this may result in some excessive force that shouldn't be applied.  Just pull them out as far as they seem to want to go, and no further.

This is a great Wheeljack toy, one that magically incorporates all of his signature physical attributes: his stumpiness, his shoulder missile launcher, his wings, and even the placement of his wheel kibble.  It's absolutely insane that it also makes a fantastic Tracks toy, created with equal love.

I'm not sure how coherent this has been.  I'm still a little under the weather.
Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:01 am
Lookit me, buying's upgrade sticker set for Reveal the Shield Tracks for not the same reason as everyone else, because I'm unique and counter-culture-y!    Ah-heh.  No.

Is Wheeljack out yet? Is he?

Anyway, nobody likes Tracks' new tribal-style flame deco on his hood, and so everyone was super happy when Reprolabels made a sticker set for him that gave him some labels that'll cover them up with a more classic-style flame pattern.  Yeah, I didn't want those.  The tribal-pattern flames don't bother me, and the retro-style flames are just kind of gross.  Plus, yikes, they were designed by the guy who drew this.  I don't want that on my stuff.  I have some scruples left.  Not many, but a few.

Instead, I was all about the other stickers included in the set, most of which you can't see in this photo because I didn't feel like transforming Tracks back into car mode just so you could see his new foglights.  There's also a license plate sticker and some chrome silver stickers that apply on the business end of his side-view mirrors.  That's the kinda stuff I always like seeing in these sets.  I like "completing" the vehicle mode.

The robot mode stuff is almost always secondary to me.  But there's an awful lot more of it than the vehicle mode stuff, so that's why there's a picture of it here.  He's got yellow stripes on his feet, which I much appreciated, some more-complete red stripes on his wings, which I was okayish on, and green stripes that wrap around his missiles, which are okay by me because I like adding color like that.   There's also silver stickers that go on his knees which I only added because at that point I was having fun putting on stickers.
Posted November 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm
Redface is all the rage this year.

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.

Hasbro photo of Wheeljack. Note the new head, wings, wrenches, feet, and shins with fold-down wheels.

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.

The old flame deco was so last millennium.

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.

Sweet for Tracks, not so sweet for his passengers.

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.
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