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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's review of: Red Alert

Name: Red Alert
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Security Director
Sub-Group: Autobot Car
"Caution can never be overused."

Nothing escapes his notice, no matter how small. When his sensors are activated, thinks trouble is coming. Edgy... unpopular with comrades, but appreciated. Can trigger alarms in other Autobots. Excellent sensory perception. Fast in vehicular mode. Carries 25 mile range rocket launcher and particle beam rifle. Prone to rash judgements which can lead to injury to himself and comrades.

Red Alert is one of the more overlooked Autobot cars. He had an episode of the Cartoon focused on him, but seldom appeared afterwards. In the comic...his appearances were incredibly rare (he's more known for his violent end in the G2 comic than anything he did while alive). The end result of this is that I had absolutely no idea who Red Alert was until I got involved in the on-line Transformers community. His relative obscurity made him (IMO) a strange choice for an early-wave Hasbro reissue, especially since his vastly more popular mold-brother Sideswipe had to wait a year or so longer before he saw a Western release.

Vehicle Mode:
Fresh out of the box, Red Alert is a white Lamborghini Countach with a fire department deco. The look works fine from a distance, but close up you can see a few flaws. A lot of the stickers used in this mode are white, but the white doesn't perfectly match the colour of his paint. Also, he doesn't seem to stick together in this mode as well as my old G2 Sideswipe does; the seams between sections of his body are a little too obvious.

Another point (one that is hopefully isolated to my toy) is that Red's spoiler has a tendency to fall off. It's been like that since the day I got him. It's an easily-fixed problem, but consumers shouldn't have to fix such things; that's Hasbro's job.

Robot Mode:
Red Alert's robot mode is much, much better than his vehicle form. His body is a mix of white, dark red, black and chromed silver. He's equipped with a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher (which unfortunately had to be disabled in the Hasbro version to comply with toy laws) and a particle beam rifle. All in all he looks very, very nice. In fact, his design and colour scheme combine to make him by far the 'prettiest' of the Autobot Cars.

One thing to note is that Red isn't particularly accurate to his cartoon likeness. This is hardly a surprise for one of the Diaclone molds, but it might be a bit of a turn-off for primarily cartoon fans. His chest is a lot wider than his animated self, his legs are chunky and his arms are a bit scrawny. That's par for the course as far as early Transformers go, since most of them underwent major changes when their cartoon character models were designed. However, the biggest difference that gets noted is that Red Alert's head is the 'wrong' colour. The cartoon edition featured a red head with a white face, but the toy has a black head with a silver face. I vastly prefer the toy version and wonder why Sunbow changed it for the cartoon in the first place, but I know others disagree with me.

Now, on the articulation front, Red's about average for pre-Movie Transformers. His shoulders and elbows can move, and his head can tilt forwards and back. That's it. This pretty much rules out any exciting battle poses, other than pointing his gun at someone.

Durability-wise...well, there's the spoiler problem, which I noted before. His shoulders are held together by little more than thin plastic rods, which means you should be rather careful with them. Also, I know from experience (with G2 Sideswipe, who shares the same basic mold) that his side windows (the ones on his arms in robot mode) can break off if you're not careful. Pretty much everything else looks durable, which puts him far and away above the average G1 car.

Transformation: Not too challenging, but neither is it too difficult. Both modes are rather good-looking, and they're both pretty convincing. 7/10
Durability: A little delicate, but you don't have to worry about him as much as you would with Jazz or Prowl. 6/10
Fun: He looks good, he represents a cool (albeit rather obscure) character, and he's about average in the articulation stakes for a G1. If you enjoy older molds, you'll enjoy him. 8/10
Price: $29.99US retail. Less if TRU runs another sale on reissues any time soon. Considering how much an original will cost, I'd say it's a good deal. 8/10
Summary: I really do like this guy. The wonderful colour scheme carries the day here, though the character's zany persona doesn't hurt. He quickly and unexpectedly became my favourite G1 car soon after I picked him up. If you like early G1 toys, you'll like Red. 9/10

 
 
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