There have been plenty of Transformers named Red Alert over the years, and I’ve looked at a couple here on FigureFan, including the Armada version and the Generations version. Today we’re checking out one of the Cybertron versions, which is supposed to be the same as Armada and the Deluxe Cybertron Red Alert only reformatted into a kick ass new body. Confused? Don’t worry, I hate the Unicron Trilogy cartoons, so that’s the last reference you’ll see about the origins of the character. Let’s just look at the toy…
Going from a rescue vehicle to a missile carrier… not too shabby as far as upgrades go. The first time I saw this toy I thought it was only a matter of time until Hasbro repainted him into Machine Wars Soundwave. Oddly enough, as far as I know, that hasn’t happened yet. In any event, Red Alert is a military style armored truck with a massive missile on his back. Hasbro packed a satisfying amount of detail into the sculpt, with ladders, vents, and hatches all molded into the sides, and there are Minicon Ports on each side if you want to stick some little robots on him to power him up. Red Alert rolls along nicely on eight wheels, has a hinged gun that can raise and lower, the giant missile gantry can be raised into a firing position, and the missile itself is removable from the launching gantry. As solid as the truck mode is, the missile itself is just sick with sculpted detail. There are tons of panel lines, vents and wires, and multiple paint apps.
Speaking of paint apps… Alas, Hasbro tried to remain true to Red Alert’s ambulance colors, and I’m not at all fond of the fact that the truck is white. There are some nice mud splatter paint apps along the wheel wells, but otherwise the coloring on this toy’s vehicle mode is disappointing. The toy was later repainted as a Toys R Us exclusive, but the new red and blue color scheme didn’t help any. I’d still like to see him released in more traditonal military colors.
As a Cybertron toy, Red Alert has an action gimmick that can be activated by inserting his CyberKey into the port in the back of the gantry. All of my CyberKeys are in a ziplock bag somewhere at the bottom of one of my totes, so fortunately, you can also activate it by sticking a pen in there. In this case, Red Alert’s missile splits open to reveal a cool red translucent missile launcher. Yes, folks… the missile has a hidden missile launcher! Talk about fucking overkill! Red Alert is taking no chances.
Transforming Red Alert is fairly easy, although there are a lot of hinged panels to fold in just the right way. You also need to start out by pulling apart a pair of very strong pegged pieces on the front, which requires enough force to make you think you might be breaking him. I also recommend pulling off the missile before hand. When transforming him, you also discover that he has two compartments in what will become his legs. These hold his mallet and claw accessories. His gun also detaches during the tranformation.
Ok, so let’s deal with the obvious. How does this guy get by day to day with that ridiculously huge missile on his shoulder? It would have been so easy for Hasbro to add an extra hinge so that thing could tuck away onto his back, but sadly its left to just sit there. You can take the missile off, which is what I obviously recommend, but then you just have this empty launcher gantry jutting out. It looks better, but still not optimal. Fans of this character will be happy to see that the head sculpt retains a lot of the design from his previous two toy appearances. This is probably my favorite of the three, and he still has that Robocop thing coing on. It also features some mighty nice light piping.
The rest of Red Alert looks pretty ok. He looks really powerful, like he would be a slow moving killing machine. His overall profile reminds me a lot of the Armada Overload toy, probably b ecause of the hunched shoulders and deep, blocky torso. He clearly looks best when viewed dead on from the front. His legs are also chunky and hollow once you take out his accessories. The mallet and claw are kind of a nice nod to Red Alert’s interchangeable hand from Armada, only this time they plug into his gun, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The gun isn’t actually held in his hand, but rather can peg into either of his forearms to form an arm cannon.
Red Alert sports some pretty good articulation. His arms rotate at the shoulders, are hinged at the elbows, and swivel at the bicep and wrist. His legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees. He can also swivel at the waist. There’s no head articulation at all.
I think I would have really enjoyed this figure as a kid. He’s got a lot of different play features and just feels like he would have been tons of fun to play with. As an adult collector, however, he doesn’t do a lot for me. His missile carrier mode looks nice parked on my Transformers shelves, but his robot mode just has too many impractical design flaws. Back in the day, when I was buying every Transformer I could find, I was pretty happy with him, but nowadays I would have easily taken a pass and left him on the shelf.