I’m going to start this post right off with the one thing about Tracks that I don’t like. In Tracks defense, the one thing I don’t like about him has nothing to do with him. It has to do with the fans.
“Looking good is what life is all about.”
See, Tracks is remarkably vain. This vanity about his looks coupled with his “Thurston J. Howell III” voice in the cartoon — I remember Michael McConnohie, Tracks’ voice actor, calling it “Harvard Lockjaw” at Botcon 2002 — lead to a number of jokes about Tracks being gay. This, in and of itself, is fine. When it becomes annoying is when it never stops. Point in case: the first chunk and a good portion of the captions on Tracks’ TFwiki page reads pretty much like a twelve-year-old boy writing,
“Hur hur. Tracks is a homo.”
over and over and over. What might have been a funny line or two drudges on as paragraphs of desperately unfunny, ham-handed attempts at gay innuendo. Setting aside that (admittedly minor) annoyance, Tracks’ G1 toy is pretty near perfect as G1 toys go. He has a solid, easily recognizable Corvette Stingray alt-mode.
He then takes the greatest of all Corvettes and actually ups the awesome by having a flying car attack alt-mode.
As spot-on as his alt-mode is, Tracks has an equally solid, well-proportioned, robot mode.
Though he was depicted in almost all of his media appearance as having a mouth, his G1 toy’s head has a mouthplate, but it includes knight’s helmet-like detailing along his forehead. This detailing was then carried across to both his 2004 Alternators and 2010 Reveal The Shield incarnations, but those last two added back in his nose and mouth from his media appearances.
As part of the overall wonderfulness that is the Alternators toyline in general — a line dedicated to re-imagining G1 toys once again as licensed vehicles with a larger size and tons of articulation — Tracks toy is impressive. He retains his G1 head as well as the over-the-shoulder missle launcher design and adds pop-up wrist cannons and his handgun, which transforms from his engine. He even has a faux-roof-and-window section that folds down to form his chestplate to match the G1’s car roof location in Robot mode.
The new Reveal the Shield toy — now adding “Turbo” at the beginning of his name for trademark reasons — looks to do the Alternators toy one better by keeping the headsculpt, the missle launchers, his roof chest, as well as the shoulder wings from the G1 toy.
As splendid a job as the two newer toys do at updating the virtually articulation-less G1 robot mode, both of their alt-modes pale in comparison to good old original.
As an unlicensed vehicle, RtS Tracks is a generic blue sports car that looks kind of like a Corvette and a non-descript muscle car got together and had a baby. It tries an update using an almost tribal tattoo homage to the G1’s hood flames, I am ok ith it, but a lot of fans didn’t like it. They either bought the more G1 accurate Japanese United line release, or bought new labels from Reprolabels to cover it up.
The Alternators toy is a Corvette Z06, a fifth-generation Corvette. In my ever-so-humble opinion the Chevrolet Corvette hit the peak of automobile design perfection in the third generation Stingray designs and has been in steady decline. That is, until recently when the 2009 Stingray concept car looked like it was going to bring sleek back to Corvettes. I was quite delighted when Tracks’ fellow autobot Sideswipe used the 2009 Stingray as his alt-mode in Revenge of the Fallen.
Once again trying to trump the Alternators release, RtS Tracks can also recreate the G1’s flying car attack alt-mode.
From one of the best G1 toys, to a wonderfully detailed Alternator, to the astoundingly accurate Reveal the Shield update; Tracks, Tracks, and Tracks are rocking it out in style.