Last article, we took a look at Tracks, now lets go back to the beginning with Road Rage, or should I say Red Tracks? No, really, I should say Diaclone Corvette Stingray, as this was how the toy was first available.
Released by Takara as part of the Diaclone line, this toy was distributed around the world by various companies before finding a long-term home and personal identity at the hands of Hasbro, as part of the shared Transformers brand.
Predating Tracks in his blue deco (believed to have been exclusively in Transformers branded packaging) with the Diaclone release of the toy in red, and was featured on the rear box art for the 1985 assortment in red (pictured), as well as super-rare but confirmed genuine Milton bradley European releases of Red Tracks in Transformers packaging
(repackages basically, removed from the Diaclone boxes in the factory, Diaclone driver discarded, and put into the new, larger Transformers boxes in their original styro with spacers. Later in the life of the Transformers brand, as they were reissuing Tracks as part of the Takara “book” reissues, TF licensee e-Hobby decided to release the Red version of Tracks as a limited release, giving the toy the name Road Rage, making that innocuous and much discussed red car an official part of the Transformers universe, finally silencing the arguments among the fandom the Red version of Tracks was known to have caused in the early collecting days.
She was released alongside Crosscut, and is described as a bodyguard / advisor, and her profile identifies her as an aggressive driver, no doubt a positive skill set for a male to have, but a source of embarrassment for the female. So close, yet so far.
Despite no comic or cartoon appearances, any very little other fiction other than glimpses here and there, this Little Red Corvette has now had three releases, and her colour scheme also doubles up as Shattered Glass Tracks over in the Fun Publishing sub-continuity Shattered Glass as part of Botcon 2012, a boxset of figures that gave the character her first Western release!
Lets look at the toys! Most of my opinions about the individuals molds hold over from the last article about Tracks, but I expand upon them a little here.
G1 Road Rage
Released in 2002, we finally got an official Red Tracks which wasn’t old stock re-packaged and an identity. Yay!!! More female TF characters don’t hurt either.
The mold looks great in red, even if I’ve not had the heart to apply the stickers to mine.
Maz goes into great detail here, I’m starting to feel like I’m a portal to his site now. Hah!
At this point, I should for the sake of clarity state that the Binaltech version of Tracks did not come in red, however, the cheaper, plastic, Americanised range known as Alternators did a version in red in 2004, however, they called this release Swerve and made no allusions to Road Rage at all. It came with a new head to make it less Tracks and more Swerve (despite the mold looking NOTHING like Swerve), but it also came with flame decals so at a glance it can serve as Red Tracks at a glance, should you want it to.
Shattered Glass Turbo Tracks / Classics Road Rage
The first thing I did with this figure when i got back from Dallas and Botcon 2012 was slap a repro label over that horrible purple Evil Autobot logo with a proper G1 faction sticker. The mold works really well in red, although the joints always felt looser than the RTS / United version and she is prone to doing the splits. I’m sure there is an innuendo there, but I won’t play to it.
The detailing on this figure is much more reminiscent of the Diaclone Corvette figure than the E-hobby Road Rage release, with the triangle on the hood flame and the tampo-ed squares on the wings which were missing on Turbo Tracks. It’s still not enough to cover the short-comings of the the “flying car” mode though.
MP-26 Road Rage
As with MP Tracks, the alt. mode looks amazing, and the robot mode displays good but doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. It includes a miniature alt. mode Twincast instead of Blaster and comes with a more toy accurate handgun which I instantly gave to my MP Tracks instead, but many collectors criticised the lack of accessories compared to MP-25. The mold definitely fits the female aesthetic better than the G1 and Botcon release with it’s modified rounded hips / crotch-plate and sculpted lips, although some collectors felt that without an animation model to pander to, this figure should have gone for toy accuracy (her only real identity, lets be fair) and at least included the option for a plug-in faceplate.
I just wish they’d done a little more with tooling differences to help differentiate the two, maybe even hidden the wheels from her shoulders for a slimmer upper body (as we’ve seen done with the Sideswipe / Red Alert mold and was easy to do with the Botcon release by mis-transforming them if you so desired – heck, you could even not full transform the chest making her shorter and less wide, a happy coincidence due to the nature of the transformation on the Turbo Tracks mold), but it’s just not enough to differentiate.
Even with the short-comings of the mold as discussed in the last blog, I almost want to say this is the best version of the character, but in many ways it is just Red Tracks, which I’m sure is exactly what a lot of people wanted, I would just like a few more options is all. However, I can’t argue that the chance to have another stunning red Corvette in my collection is damn cool, and as much as I like the character of Road Rage, this currently resides in my MP Diaclone shelving display.
If you missed my previous blog about Tracks, check it out here.
MP Road Rage was purchased from Masterforce.co.uk courtesy of the awesome Morg. Check out the site for some great deals!
Diaclone images courtesy of Maz, white background photos by Nico Reznick.