Rolling along with Armada Week, time to shift gears back to the Autobots and check out Red Alert. As Autobot scientist and medic, he seemed like he would be a natural mix between G1 Ratchet and Perceptor, but in the cartoon he seemed more like a security officer than anything else. God, I hated that cartoon. As for the figure, even after owning this thing for almost a decade, I still can’t make my mind up on him. He’s got some good points going for him, one really outdated gimmick, and a few sticking points that really bug me.
Red Alert’s alt mode is an Ambulance and it’s a bit of a mess. I like the styling on the hood and the front grill, and the red, white and gray color scheme is appropriate, but the bits of brown here and there are really out of place and ugly. You may recall me saying how much I like clear plastic windows on my Transformers cars. You know what I don’t like? When Hasbro mixes that with painted windows. Red Alert’s windshield is translucent red, but the side windows are painted. It looks bad.
Red Alert has two live Minicon Ports on his alt mode. One is on the light bar, which flips out a huge, firing cannon and also activates his electronics. His lightbar flashes red and he says “Red Alert” which is followed by a siren. The siren doesn’t sound so much like a siren as it does a guy going “Wooooo Wooooo Wooooo.” The other live Minicon Port is on his hood, which springs the grill open to reveal a giant disc shooter. Hasbro, disc shooters went out with the 80’s and early 90’s, please stop putting them on my Transformers.
Transforming Red Alert into robot mode is fairly easy and what you get is a design that in theory is pretty much classic Autobot, but in execution has some problems. His chest is made up from the front of the Ambulance, and compared to his little head and arms, it looks way too big. Red Alert also has no abdomin, just the big boxy chest that terminates into his legs. A little redesign could have made this figure amazing, but as he is, he just looks badly misproportioned. And then there’s the head. I find it hard to believe that Hasbro wasn’t intentionally going for a Robocop look, because it looks so obvious that it’s just weird to see it on a Transformer. I could be the only one that sees that, but it really bugs me for some reason. I do like his colors in robot mode, though. The added blue on his arms and legs look good against the red and white of his ambulance parts.
Red Alert still has access to both of his Minicon powered weapons. You can flip his missile launcher onto his shoulder, which looks pretty good, and you can still activate the disc launcher.
Red Alert does have pretty good articulation for an Armada toy. He has universal movement in his shoulders and hips, double-hinged elbows and hinges in his knees and ankles, and his head swivels 360 degrees. He also has a number of different attachments that can be socketed into his left arm. Cleverly, these can be stored in a compartment in his leg, but that didn’t stop me from losing most of them.
Long Arm is a pretty cool little Minicon, although he really doesn’t look like he belongs with Red Alert. Besides being a crane, the black and brown color scheme doesn’t match his big bot buddy at all. Nonetheless, Long Arm’s robot mode is solid enough and his crane is actually articulated.
For a figure that I’m so ambivalent over, it’s kind of odd to think that I own three different versions of this same toy, but I do. In fairness, one of these was a Sam’s Club exclusive that came bundled with a real bitchin’ repaint of Armada Starscream. As for why I bought the Powerlinx version, well it just goes to show you how tightly the irrational grip of Armada completist fever had me back in the day. In my defense, there was a fourth version released that I did not buy, which was, ridiculously enough, released as Inferno in the 2008 movie line. Yeah, this mold looks right at home among the Bayformers, doesn’t it? My God, what were they thinking?