Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Toy Review: Transformers BT-06 Tracks (blue)

Review: #2
Name: Tracks
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Autobot
Line: Binaltech (BT-06)
Year of Release: 2004
Size Class: Voyager
Variations: there is a yellow Binaltech version, a blue Alternators version (all plastic), it was retooled into Alternators Battle Ravage and also Alternators Swerve


Seeing it in pictures, I had originally thought that the box was bland and didnt really show off how cool the toy was like in latter Japanese Transformers toy boxes. That changed after I saw it in real life (holding it in my hands), it looks really really nice, with a window on the sides so you can enjoy the front and back of the car too (especially if you're a MISB collector).

The back is even nicer, showing the many features of Tracks, its just perfect, it's really attractive and I hate to say this, but it just looks better than the Hasbro counterpart. The box is not big as well, so it's space saving as well as elegant! You would notice that the pictures shows Tracks in yellow, yet the toy itself is blue, the reason for this is that Tracks was released in yellow first, and then in blue, but I guess they just got too lazy to change all the packaging and instructions to reflect the different colour change.

The top and bottom of the box isnt anything special, just displays the model of the car at the top, and the toyline logo (which I quite like by the way) at the bottom.

Once you open the box and take out everything, you'd notice that there is only one twisty tie holding Tracks down! That's because he has a plastic bubble that completely wraps around Tracks, which I think is really awesome, and makes for great convenience putting him back into the box. Tracks comes with a tech specs card, an instructions booklet (which is so much better than comtemporary ones), a cardboard stand for the car, a sheet containing instructions for feedback to TakaraTomy on their site (in Japanese naturally), and a flame deco sticker for the hood (as the original G1 Tracks toy had the flames on the hood, I prefer to not put it on, as the car mode looks more realistic this way).

Above are three samples pages of the Instructions booklet, which I thought I should show as it's just beautiful. First page explains the features of the toy (it reuses the pictures at the back of the box). The pages afterwards contain instructions on transforming the toy, in line art with text explanations (I dont understand Japanese, so it's useless to me), and it's very thorough, which is a nice touch. The last page just contains a part of the Binaltech story line, some explanation for Tracks' 'systems', and information about the real life car. All in all, great packaging and it just adds that little extra touch having all these extras, and a beautiful instructions booklet.


Binaltech Tracks is a fully licensed 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which makes him even more appealing. Although the real Corvette Z06 never came in blue, I dont think many people mind as Tracks just looks simply stunning in his vehicle mode.

He has red tail lights, yellow back indicators, four chromed exhausts, and his license place has an Autobot symbol. His doors are wound down (i.e. no plastic windows) and his windshield and back window are clear plastic.

At the back he has "CORVETTE" indented above the license plate, and he has the Corvette logo both on his hood and on top of the trunk. He also has "CORVETTE" as his front license plate. All details are painted, front indicators, front fog lights (although the headlights are in the 'down' position), and grill, he even has molded windshield wipers.

The bottom is actually pretty good, apart from the giant Aubobot symbol, and the very obvious white head (although turned around so the face is hidden), he doesnt look much like a Transformers. In fact, the whole gimmick of Binaltech is super detailed car modes, with as less seams as possible to not reveal that it can transform, in this aspect, it has succeeded on Tracks, he is just amazing and perfect.

A difference between Japanese Binaltech and it's American counterpart Alternators, is that Binaltech contain die-cast metal. Only Track's hood and doors are made from die-cast, the roof is painted transparent plastic, and the rear is just normal blue plastic, that being said, the die cast adds a lot of heft (he feels extremely heavy) and there is no mismatched paint at all, very very impressive.

Tracks comes packaged with his engine block separate, so you would need to attach it where it should go.

His hood opens, to reveal the engine and it's good enough, although there is other details molded in, it's all in blue, so you dont really see it, but no matter, I'm more than happy with this anyway.

Being an ultra realistic model car, he also features opening doors, which is awesome. They're actually on a ball joint, so you might want to make sure it lines up with the ground (so it doenst look weird, and the whole disguise of being a model car is blown).

But wait! There's more! If you look inside, you'll see seats (painted red!), and molded interior details, amazing! You'll see a steering wheel, gear shift, hand brake, and dashboard, this is more than you'd expect of an average Transformer. The only detracting thing is the 'tanks' beside the seats, you wont find those on the real car (they come in useful later for robot mode).

Had enough? Think this vehicle certainly cannot contain any more gimmicks? Well there's just one more, and this one's pretty cool, his front wheels are aligned to each other! If you turn one wheel to the left, the other wheel automatically turns left thanks to some plastic bars (truth be told, they are a bit annoying to align when transforming Tracks back into vehicle mode).

As you might have picked up, I'm really impressed by this vehicle mode, and I just love it so much, Binaltech really has the best ever Transformers vehicle modes ever but you're in for a ride, as this is his weaker mode!


What can I say? It's complex for it's time, but if you go through it slowly (and watching a video review of it beforehand helps) it's actually pretty simple. It's interesting and elegant at how this super detailed car transforms into a nice robot. Mine has tight joints, which is frustrating for transformation at you would need to use excessive force (nerve-racking to say the least, as you're not entirely sure whether the piece is supposed to move or not). I find the upper body is a bit more fiddly with the overhead cannons and chest piece, but still a fun transformation nevertheless, and reverse transformation isnt hard if you remember how to put the arms back in correctly.


I'll start with the engine block, you detach it while transforming and the thing itself 'transforms' into a gun. By transform I meant just pulling two pieces together and getting the handle out, personally, I dont think it looks too much like a gun, but it's still pretty cool.

Ok I have to admit, Tracks has the most appealing robot mode EVER. He looks stunning... breathtaking... however you describe him, he's just AWESOME. At least from the front anyway, the only thing that looks just a teeny bit out of place would be the white head, but that's how he was back in G1, so I can forgive that (and it's not too bad).

Looking from the back, well, some might say he is a bit too kibbly. I personally dont mind, he looks menacing with those door 'armour' on either side of his thighs, and he looks great from the front anyway. His proportions are just perfect, but his knee and leg rotation movements are limited by the giant hood panels behind his legs, that's the only flaw I could find (for now).

From the side he's surprisingly not bad, I think everything just folds away somewhere, that you'd be hard pressed to find a better spot for them (I especially like how the roof and windshield of the car fold onto his back).

He has a very nice head sculpt, with a great crest, but the white looks a bit bland on him, and tends to blend everything together.

He's very heavily armed, actually he's the most heavily armed toy in the whole Binaltech toyline! He has his engine gun (not pictured above), forearm guns on both arms, and his two iconic overhead missiles. He's one tough bot! His overhead missiles are independently targetable, they're on a up/down hinge and left/right swivel.

His forearm guns are retractable, hence the long length of them, these do slightly hinder arm movements, but it's not too bad and I think the forearm guns are worth this slight flaw anyway.

He's very articulated, his hands have a hinged index finger, while the other fingers are hinged as one. He has swivels for his shoulders, and they are able to fold forward. Elbows have an upper hinge, and then a swivel (so it can swivel from side to side) and also a ball joint, so that's really good. His head is ball jointed but he cannot look up that much, while his legs can rotate and have hinged knees, like I said before, the giant hood panels behind his feet do hinger the spread, so his legs arent that poseable. His feel is actually either on very limited balljoints or is on a swivel, I cant tell, but they can swivel from side to side and has a very very limited upward and downward motion.

You have a choice with his vehicle mode mirrors, they're on a hinge and you can leave them 'up' or 'down', I prefer 'up' (unchanged from vehicle mode) as it just looks too weird 'down', as they fold forward and hinder movement anyway. They're hinged for a reason, and I guess this would be it, but yeah, pretty pointless I'd say (although it makes them less likely to break if they can somewhat move).

So he's very bulky and hefty, he's just the right size actually, and his stance is really good. He had just the right amount of bulk to him to make him look much much awesomeness, I cannot find the right words at how great he looks! Most of his die cast is in his legs and the rest is just hanging from his waist, so he's really stable, and you can even use the giant hood pieces as heelspurs! Those giant shoulderpads make him look good and create the effect of the wings of the original G1 toy.


I really like him, sure, he doesnt have a flight mode, sure he is quite kibbly in robot mode, but he is just too good to pass. In my opinion, Tracks is the only Binaltech that's perfect in both robot mode and vehicle mode (especially when talking about aesthetics). He's also the only one who's the same model of car as his original G1 self (the Chevy Corvette, just a different model year). The vehicle mode has a lot of good realistic gimmicks (if it can be called gimmicks), and his robot mode is really playable due to all his weapons and poseability. He is definitely a MUST BUY!!! I do know that the die cast makes him super heavy and expensive for shipping, but I do think the Alternators (full plastic) version is just as good, you seriously cannot pass this mold up, as he really evokes Tracks and is a great stand-alone toy to boot (heck, you can even buy him to just display in a model car collection and none would be the wiser!).


Not enough pics? Check out the Binaltech Tracks Gallery over at

Credits: again, this review is mine, but I had used and Wikipedia for quick references, you will see that I have links for a couple of their pages in the review. As well as that, there's also, as I have gave a link to one of their galleries.



As you can probably tell, I really love this toy (it's my favourite), so naturally I had taken waaaay too many pictures than I needed for the review, so here's the rest of the ones (with some comments about features I hadnt touched upon in the review):

A display of all his opening doors and hood, looks pretty nice eh?

Interior taken from the other side of the car, so you can see the details better.

A look at the rear, including the indented "CORVETTE"

Silver hubcaps, and if you look closely, there's painted brake discs!!! His tyres are also rubber (awesome!) and have "Cybertron Radial" etched on them.

A "Z06 Sticker" on the side of the vehicle

Chromed mirrors so it looks like it's reflecting something, WOW!!

Perfect proportions, and looks very robotic, Tracks would be proud of this incarnation of himself. I love the placement of his tyres in robot mode.

The back's not too bad... is it? (I dont think so)


Well that's it, and thanks for reading this review (I should really thank you for surviving this abnormally long review, it's just that I love the toy and have so much to say about it, dont worry, my other reviews aint that long :P), you can always check out some my other reviews by clicking on the 'My Transformers' tab at the top of the blog :)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Had a went through the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen two-disc dvd today. I watched the movie for only the third time (which is pretty good, considering that I really liked Transformers in general), and it was still quite enjoyable. Well... by enjoyable I meant if you didnt have anything else to do and you dont mind a very very bad plot. I admit I am biased, but I do kinda like this movie, and probably everyone agrees, the first movie is just tons better. ROTF just didnt have a coherent plot, and it's very simple, evils guys build evil machine to destroy world, stop evil guys, done.

I guess the action is pretty good, but just that the bits in between the action, is very boring, it's the scenes with the humans, I'm thinking, they never used to be this boring, at least with Transformers (2007) it had meant something and they were interesting in their own way, but in ROTF, they were a liability. There was a lot of pointless stuff going on, especially with Sam going to college and some very very holes in the logic. If the Allspark shard could revive Jetfire, why couldn't it revive Optimus Prime in the first place? Ignoring all these, there were some pretty funny moments, and the robot fighting sequences were pretty cool, I'd still recommend this to people... just not as much as I would for the first movie.

Onto the special features, I couldnt be bothered watching the commentary as the first ten mins couldnt even hold my attention and it goes on for the length of the movie, I didnt find it interesting so I ignored it. The conceptual artwork was pretty nice, and there was a few that I hadnt seen before on the internet. The pre-visual stuff was really really interesting, as you get to see a few ideas that never made it to the final movie, and it was really nice, probably to me, the most interesting of the special features. The "25 Years of Transformers" was good as well, since that focussed on the challenges designers had to faced with creating the toys, and it was a great insight. Extended Scenes were disappointing, there were three, but I am so glad they didnt make it into the final movie (and I see the point why they didnt), it just made you go "WTF". The "A Day with Bay: Tokyo" was so so, not bad yet not great either, and I didnt bother with the creation and progress of the making of the film, since that doesnt interest me.

All in all, still think it's a worthwhile purchase of the two-disc dvd (although it's now hard to find, with only the single disc, containing only the movie available in retailers near me) and the extra content is enough, but I wouldnt really bother just for it, most people would buy it for the movie only anyway.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Review: George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt

Review: #38
Title: George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
Series: George's Secret Key to the Universe (not official title) - 2nd book
Author: Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking
Read Before: no
My Comments: Starts off slowly (just like a lot of other books), and pretty boring, there’s nothing interesting that’s happening in the beginning, this is half fiction, half non-fiction. I guess I might have to read the previous book in order to understand fully what some of the events in this one is talking about (although it’s pretty easy to pick up the gist of it), the whole non-fiction part of this book, the fact files, they break the flow of the storytelling, making it annoying at times (as you finish reading the fact file, then the story goes back but you’re kinda lost where it went up to and so had to flick back through the pages again to see), but I don't see any other way to put them in without disrupting the flow (if you put it at the back, then no one’s going to read it and it’s so inaccessible). The fact files are integrated better as the book goes on so it is not a critical nuisance, the story gets much better as well, where they goes to different planets and moons is very fun, as it provides a different view of conditions than what we usually see. Being a kids book, there are a few parts where it’s a bit lame, and there’s no real conclusion to the plot, it just leaves that little bit missing and unexplained. The pictures included of real life photographs (and some artist impressions) taken from space are really cool.
Rating: 6/10
Rereadability Factor: 5/10

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Toy Review: Transformers RtS Windcharger

Review: #1
Name: Windcharger
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Autobot
Line: Reveal the Shield
Year of Release: 2010
Size Class: Scout (Wave 1)
Variations: None


Windcharger's alternate mode is that of a car, which is based off the Dodge Charger LX. He is primarily cast in red plastic, and it does look quite nice, although as many people have mentioned, it has 'swirls' in it, which is a bit worrying, since it might be more fragile than usual. That being said, it is a really nice shade of red. Since he is part of the Reveal the Shield line, he has a rubsign on his hood. Rubbing it, or apparently touching it (it's based on heat), will 'reveal the shield' or more commonly known, his allegiance, he is an Autobot.

There's not many (if any) flaws with his vehicle mode, he rolls very well, with all four wheels of my one touching the ground, which is nice. The only flaw that I have found would be his roof not being able to sit flush with the rest of the car (seen in the photo above), and it is annoying as it breaks up and ruin the overall look and aesthetic. All the important details is painted, even the rear (it is just all too common to have the back of a car having a lack of paint), I guess the only other thing that I would have liked to have seen painted would be the hubcaps but it's far from a dealbreaker. Although not noticeable in the pictures, it would be nice if the two panels that form the rear of the car was lower to the ground, as it's a tad bit too high (there are two unpainted exhaust pipes molded in).

The underside could be a lot worse, but it's not too bad, you can practically see the whole robot there, and he does look like a shellformer. The gaps in the underside, and the whole cheap feel of the plastic, makes you think he might not be worth the money (in terms of material). The sunshade in place of the more common rear window did not bug me as much as I thought I would. One last thing is that fingerprints are easily left on the plastic (but just can be wiped of just as easily). All in all, an excellent vehicle mode, especially for a scout.


Transformation is extremely simple, but not to the point of a Legends class figure, and nowhere near as fiddly and annoying as Breacher's. This makes for a great piece to play with, since you can convert from one mode to another in a matter of seconds instead of minutes. I have a couple of tight joints, especially the hinge for the room and hood, it's a bit scary forcing it to move. One thing I have to say, the transformation is more of a "been there, done that" type, with the back of the car forming the legs (although it's just a tiny bit different than normal), the sides forming the arms, and the front forming the chest. The reverse transformation back to vehicle is a bit tricky, especially with the rear of the legs and getting everything to fit and click together. A really nice touch is that the rear of the cars can slide sideways in order to create thinner legs, something I didnt pick up at first.


First thing's first, he does have hands! If you were wondering if he did or not, just have a closer look, they're red and they tend to blend into the red panel behind the arms (which is a shame as the hands are well sculpted). The red hands is actually my only complaint about the robot mode, as it just looks really nice. Pictures does not give him justice, it's only when you have him in your hand, and played with him do you fully appreciate how good he looks. He has little restrictive kibble, the main one being the roof of the car and a bit of the hood on his back and behind his head. The legs looks really nice, and the panel in front of his knee, although some might see it as unnecessary kibble, is something I think that really adds to the look. His shoulders looks great too, being the sides of the front of the car, it's just a very well proportioned robot.

One thing I do recommend is... dont look at him from the back, it's just a big mess. The roof and hood really clutters the look, and the empty legs doesnt help either. To be fair, the legs arent just a big hollow rear of the car, it's actually fuller than you'd expect. He has some nice sculpted details and his headsculpt is just pure awesomeness, some might think that it bears some resemblance with Megatron's, and I can see that, but in hand, it's really unique and gives the robot some character.

The first gimmick is a carry over from the vehicle mode, and also the name of the line, the rubsign. It's now on his chest and looks good there (it would be even better if it wasnt crooked...), I guess the negative of a rubsign would be that there's no stamped Autobot symbol anywhere. I think the whole "is the robot an Autobot or Decepticon?" gimmick of the line would be better if it doesnt tell you on the back of the packaging... (sorry for the flash and fingerprint in the picture above, and that's my hand holding him, it's hard to get the camera to focus enough, and I didnt have enough natural lighting).

The second gimmick is way cooler, in each hand, you can swap it out for a magnet or if you prefer, a gun, this makes for some nice shooting poses, or even dual hand shooting poses. Each gun has a 3mm clip (part of the 3mm Clip System), which you can use for any of the 3mm weapons that came with ROTF Recon Ironhide, AA Breacher etc, but I find that they look odd on him.

He has excellent articulation, as you would expect of a toy in this era. Windcharger has ball jointed shoulders, hips, head and ankles (which in addition is hinged, making him very stable in a variety of poses). Sadly he only has hinged knees and no rotation whatsoever (guess if it did, it would making transforming him into vehicle mode much more fiddly), and he has no waist swivel (not that it is missed).


A good vehicle mode and an amazingly good looking robot mode makes Windcharger irresistible. I admit, I got him initially because he was cheap, but he's just too good to pass on, because he is just pure awesomeness. The G1 aesthetic should please everyone and even at full price I would gladly recommend him (though that's assuming the RRP of scouts isnt ridiculously high in your country as it is in mine).


Credits: although the review is mine, I have used and Wikipedia for information (I have linked their pages in the review)

Check out other Transformers Toy Reviews by going to the "My Transformers" Page.
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