Masterpiece Theater - Tracks
I knew the exact moment when Masterpiece Tracks and I weren’t going to get along…when I was putting in his damn side mirrors.
Everything prior to that point had been great. Granted, everything prior to that point…I hadn’t actually come in physical contact with the actual figure. I managed to score one from Past Generation Toys via Amazon for $50…with free two day shipping, so, you know, that was kind of awesome. And that’s where the awesome ends.
Which is weird really…since when I think about it, this figure really should impress me. Robot mode is mostly all right (I do have one gripe), the vehicle mode and flight mode both look really good (hell, the hood even opens to reveal an engine!) and the transformation is probably the most intuitive of the Masterpiece line so far. So where does it fall apart? Well, aside from the aforementioned side mirrors, I have to point to the wings. The wings get in the way a lot during transformation…and there’s really no good place to put them so that they don’t. Once you get Tracks into robot mode, the wings prove to be more on the back than on the arms…which in some ways I understand…but this ends up resulting in a bit of a gap that definitely shatters the illusion of the toy if looked at from the side. (Front on it looks fine.) However…the gap isn’t large enough to accommodate free arm/shoulder movement…at least, not without some fussing with the joint…and those damn wings. Just like during transformation, they’re bound to get in your way during any sort of posing you might want to do with the figure.
And while we’re on the topic of hellish annoyances, let’s talk about those side view mirrors, huh? Like previous Masterpieces Wheeljack and Bumblebee [Reviews pending. – Ed.], fresh out of the packaging, the side mirrors come on a sprue to be removed. Once you do, they’re supposed to slide in tightly and remain in place thanks to the friction. Wheeljack and Bumblebee’s do this just fine. Tracks’ however pop out all the goddamn time…and since these things are tiny, well, let’s just say it’s a damn good thing that Takara has included an extra pair. I haven’t had to use them…yet…but I imagine it’s only a matter of time.
Accessory-wise, Tracks comes with a bit more than the standard Masterpiece: a flight stand for his flight mode, a little clip-on laser barrel to go over his license plate to give the appearance of a concealed weapon being unleashed, and a small Blaster and Raul to recreate the old G1 episode ‘Auto-Bop’. [Which was a horrible…HORRIBLE episode. – Ed.]
There are a lot of things that Tracks does right. He looks great in all his modes, just as poseable as all the other Masterpiece Transformers, has an intuitive transformation and has a pretty good amount of accessories. While his flaws aren’t deal breakers, they did detract significantly from my enjoyment of the toy. As such, if you can find this figure for a deal, then yeah, go for it. But if you can only find it for full price? I just can’t give it a full recommendation…I really can’t. I just can’t help but wonder if one last pass at the design or engineering table might have solved some of these problems.