Red Alert |
Different, I guess
Transformers Generations War for Cybertron Trilogy Walmart Exclusive Netflix Deluxe
Item No.: Asst. E9489 No. F0705
Includes: Light bar, blaster, cardboard backdrop
Action Feature: Transforms from Robot to Car
Availability: December 2020
Other: Brown shoes don't make it
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I had this Red Alert sitting on my "to open" pile for about four months - which says something about how exciting it is in the context of the greater collection. A redeco of Siege Red Alert [FOTD #2,195] from 2019, this is a visually interesting figure that provides the bare minimum of "new" plus an unadvertised bonus backdrop piece. If you need the entire set, it's worth getting - but it's not exciting.
This is by no means a bad figure - but the previous version wasn't terribly hard to get and remains cheap. Normally this would be a recipe for disaster, but Walmarts (and most of the US market) have struggled to keep Transformers in stock during the pandemic so any product on the shelves tended to do pretty well. The old version was largely absent from retail for months before this one arrived, and most people buying toys are not collectors and have no idea if this is new or old or not. Hasbro could've just reissued the old one and it would have probably sold just fine - but they wanted to make one look like the Netflix character, who had a pretty decent role on the show.
So you ask "why bother?" Or "Why wouldn't I bother?" I like the paint on this one more than the first release, but the plastic is worse. You can tell that the limbs look a little yellow, and they're all that way - it's probably the plastic mix and not rapid aging, but we won't know for sure for a few more years. It doesn't quite match the original rendering - the toy lost some of the scuffs and scrapes, and the cracked paint was swapped out for a weird fade to grey. The toy looks good, but not as good as the concept. Also the silver scuffing on the legs is the same as the Siege release, rather than the new paint mask teased on the box.
The figure's feet are brown, rather than grey with brown tips. Articulation is great, transformation is fun, and it isn't anything bad - it's just not as different as it could be. The clear colorless windshield on the box is a cruel tease compared to the tinted (but not opaque) one on the final toy. I doubt Hasbro had the budget to replicate the level of detail on Netflix' series, but the less-complex-but-still-good deco on the packaging looks like it would have been awesome.
The car looks a lot like the previous release. Much of the vehicle mode is grey plastic painted white, which gives it a unique feel from the molded-in-white black-box Siege version. A few landmarks are changed, like some grey on the "door" area as well as a little less visible white, and it's fine. Either car mode is pretty good for different reasons, but the paint and added windshield crack and a smudge on the hood make this one a little more distinctive. Because of these features, Hasbro dropped things like painted headlights. Will you notice? Probably not. It still looks better than the regular release.
While not necessarily essential, the secret 10-part display arena of the Teletraan-1 will make this figure somewhat desirable until even better playsets get made. It's also a pretty good sub-line - if you only bought Walmart's exclusive white-box guys, it's a pretty great little sub-collection. If you bought the previous black-box mass-retail items, most of these will seem a little redundant - even Red Alert here. If you don't have any version of Cybertron's Red Alert, I'd prefer this one - but with the caveats about the pre-yellowed limbs.
Any way you slice it, it's another Red Alert. If you are in need of one, this is a really fun mold to fidget with and a solid design. But Hasbro has also used this basic mold for no fewer than 10 known repaints and remolds - and it would not surprise me if more were coming. It would have been neat to see the toy's black head used here or other changes, but if you just want a decent Netflix-ish Red Alert? This is a fun toy.
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