Transformers: Masterpiece Tracks (MP-25) by Takara

I’ve been pretty quiet on the Transformers Masterpiece front, but that’s more Takara’s fault than mine. There were only a handful of releases over the past year and a lot of them were Diaclone homages, which I would have been all over if it weren’t for the fact that I collect so many other things and I’m not made of money. Case in point, the last MP Transformer I looked at was MP-22 Ultra Magnus and that was almost exactly a year ago today. So, let’s break this long hiatus and take a look at MP-25… Tracks!

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We’ve certainly seen this packaging before. Tracks comes in an enclosed box that matches the other MP Autobot cars. A lot of the copy is in Japanese, but there’s a little English to be had. There are plenty of pictures of the toy in its various modes and the front boasts that it is an official licensed Chevrolet product. These boxes aren’t terribly flashy, but they are collector friendly and they sure look great all lined up in a bookcase. Inside, you get a folded color instruction sheet, a profile card, and a bunch of neat extras. Tracks wasn’t a member of the Autobot “Class of 84” and I never actually owned his figure as a kid, but I enjoyed him a lot on the cartoon and the only reason it took me this long to pick him up was because he hasn’t been very well received. Let’s start with the alt mode…

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Faithful to his G1 roots, Tracks is a Chevy Corvette Stingray. I’ll be honest, I’m a Ford guy… Mustangs in particular, but if I ever loved a Chevy it was this lovely Corvette design. Tracks’ vehicle mode lives up to all my expectations, but then I never doubted it would. Apart from a seam here and there, the MP line hasn’t had any issues with it’s auto modes. He sports a gorgeous metallic blue paint job, which is absolutely flawless! We’ve come a long way from the paint QC issues on the original figures. The colorful tampo on the hood looks amazing and you even get a flip-panel on the roof, like we saw with Bumblebee, which allows you to display him with or without the extra Autobot symbol in his vehicle mode. I prefer it without. There is a fair amount of kibble showing through underneath, but that’s understandable because he’s got a lot going on under there. Also, it surprisingly doesn’t interfere with his ground clearance at all, allowing him to roll smoothly.  The only glaring issue I have with this alt mode are the mirrors. Takara includes two sets of rear view mirrors on sprues. Yeah, we’ve seen this before, but in this case, they don’t want to stay in very well. I actually wind up taking them out when transforming him to avoid losing them. I’m tempted to glue them in, but squirting glue onto Tracks’ paint fills me with dread and I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate it either.

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Tracks features an opening hood, which reveals a detailed engine. It’s a really nice and unexpected feature. I’m pretty sure the Stingray had a reverse hood, but I’m not going to make a big issue about it here. Oh yeah, he also has a second alt mode…

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MP Tracks retains the alternate flight mode that was featured on the original toy and in the cartoon. I’m a huge fan of this, mainly because I’ve always had a weird obsession with the idea of flying cars. It’s not a huge difference from his regular car mode. He adds a couple of side pylons with intakes, his back wheels turn upward, sort of like VTOLS, wings fold out from the back and you can clip a gun onto the front of his bumper. Converting him into this mode is a bit more involved then I would like, but it’s hard to argue with the results…

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Especially when Takara gave us such an awesome display stand! This snazzy black stand features a double hinged arm that plugs into the bottom of the vehicle and a silver Autobot emblem on the base. I love that they included something like this. It really feels above and beyond and it turns what could have been just a flippant little secondary alt mode into something that I very well may use as a permanent display option. OK, enough with the alt modes, let’s get this dude transformed…

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So, transforming Tracks proved to be a real bitch the first time. He feels a lot more complex than any of the other Autobot cars and some of the movements are a little scary. The tab that holds the halves of the hood together is really tight and pulling that apart makes me nervous every time. Pulling the shoulders away from the body to extend them outward is another step that makes me cringe. There are a ton of moving parts here and sometimes I have to apply a little more force than I’m comfortable with. I also worry about paint scraping. A lot of those beautiful blue plates slide against each other and I don’t want the finish to be ruined. With all that having been said, I thought putting him back into auto mode would be a nightmare, but it went more smoothly than I expected.

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With all that having been said, I generally dig Tracks’ robot mode, but it isn’t the slam dunk that I felt we got with the Datsuns or Lambor. There’s no doubt about it, this is Tracks and he makes for a damn good idealized version of the original toy design. I think the proportions are overall OK, but there are little things here and there that feel less polished. I’m not a big fan of the construction of the ankles. There’s a little too much gap there when viewed from dead on. There’s a lot of hollow space visible behind his head, which is why most of the official pictures of this guy are taken from a low angle looking up. That’s definitely his best angle. Lastly, he looks pretty rough from the back. I don’t mind the rear of the Corvette as a backpack, it actually pegs in quite nicely, but below that he looks rather unfinished.

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The portrait is quite nice, featuring Tracks’ trademark red face and white helmet. Again, great paint here without a flaw to be seen. I also really dig the flip out Autobot symbol on his chest.

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In addition to his handgun, Tracks comes with a couple of friends. You get Rauol, Tracks’ human friend. You know, the one he met because he was trying to carjack him. He’s just a static figure on a stand with some very rudimentary paint and an eerie blank face, but a welcome little addition all the same. You also get a tiny little Blaster in his boom box mode. Definitely some cool bonuses.

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In no way do I think Tracks is a bad figure, but he does feel a little different from the figures that came before him and not as polishes as some of the better figures in the MP line. A lot of that is no doubt because of a change up in the lead designer, but some of it could also be because of Tracks’ more challenging design. Either way, he’s still going to have a proud place on my Masterpiece shelf and I certainly don’t regret picking him up. For whatever little issues he may have, Takara clearly went above and beyond with the extras on this guy and all that conspires to make him feel like a worthwhile purchase. In fact, to be honest, I’m seriously thinking of picking up the repainted and tweaked mold as Road Rage.

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7 comments on “Transformers: Masterpiece Tracks (MP-25) by Takara

  1. Hmmmm.

    Love the flying car mode and the detailed engine. Not sure about the tricky transformation. I have a lot of MP style figures that I don’t really transform because I’m scared to. Appolyon is still in bot mode. My clear “Invisible” (Mirage) is too tight for my liking to even try!

    • Yeah, me too. I can’t even say that I transform my MP figures a lot, but I still have fun doing it now and again. Probably won’t be the case with Tracks. I may end up displaying him in robot mode and getting Road Rage to display in the flight mode.

      • OK so I decided to go for Tracks. Just got him, along with Ratchet. I am most pleased! I love the paint job. Just lovely, and I too fear the dread of scratching that lovely car. So far so good. I think the display stand is likely to get scratched up though, it’s so mirror-like.

        I don’t mind the transformation. The first time was a bit daunting but I have transformed him back since without the instructions, or problems, so that’s good. Mine has a bit of a gap at the front of the hood. I’m not too keen on the gappy ankles. The knee articulation isn’t great. I wish there was more weapon storage. But I do like my Tracks. Right now I have him displayed in flying car mode and he looks great!

        Regarding the mirrors, I somehow shoved them in and they’re staying in for now. They stayed in during last transformation. You can try taking a hobby knife and adding a little friction to the mirror posts with light cuts. I didn’t do that, but I did it with other figures.

      • I’ll give that a go with the mirrors. Glad to see someone else digs this toy, because he doesn’t get a lot of love. I hear tell he’s getting a third release as a black Diaclone themed Decepticon.

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