Tracks (Transformers)

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Tracks (Le Sillage in Québec, Puma in Italy) is a character in the Transformers Universes. The name is now too generic to license in recent times; so the toys creator, Hasbro had to add a "modifier" - a prefix to the name in order to use it on their product, in this case the name became "Autobot Tracks" or "Turbo Tracks".

Transformers: Generation 1[edit]

Tracks
Tracks-boxartpic.jpg
Tracks box art
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Action Masters, Autobots Cars, Deluxe Vehicles
Function Warrior
Rank 5
Partner Basher
Motto "Looking good is what life is all about."
"Hey, watch the paint job!" (Alternators)
Alternate Modes Chevrolet Corvette C3, Cybertronian Shuttle Craft, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06
Series Transformers: Generation 1
Transformers: Alternators
Transformers: Reveal the Shield
English voice actor Michael McConnohie
Japanese voice actor Masashi Ebara

Tracks is somewhat of a rarity amongst the Autobots in that he prefers his new Earth car mode to his original Cybertronian form. His concern over his appearance has led to some friction with his fellow Autobots, as they think he should be less concerned with his looks and more on the battle with the Decepticons.[1]

Tracks speaks with a Boston Brahmin accent, and according to the voice actor Michael McConnohie is modeled on the voice of Thurston Howell, III.

Marvel Comics[edit]

Four million years ago, Tracks was one of five Autobots who agreed to have their sparks transferred to crystal storage in case the Autobots needed extra troops during the mission of clearing a path for Cybertron through an asteroid belt. In 1985, the Autobots were suffering heavy casualties and the five Autobots were activated in "Rock And Roll Out" (U.S. #14). Skids and the others (except Grapple) were shown around Earth by Bumblebee, where Skids encountered music for the first time and proved unable to interact easily with humans. Despite orders not to engage with the enemy, they went on to battle Decepticons at a concert.

Tracks was likewise heard complaining about a surprise inspection, but quickly accompanied Optimus Prime in locating the inactive hulk of Megatron. They were fired upon by human authorities, and Prime ordered a withdrawal.

Tracks continued to appear sporadically after this, although he appeared less as more new characters were introduced. He was in the battle in the Arctic, where he was damaged by the Terrorcon Blot, and was subsequently amongst the scores of Transformers killed trying stop the Underbase powered Starscream.

However, he was resurrected in issue #281 of the Marvel U.K. Transformers comic, as Wheeljack attempted to revive him. His efforts were stopped by Grimlock however, who didn't believe Tracks to be an effective warrior. Wheeljack eventually managed to resurrect him anyway, and Prime would station him on Earth - much to Grimlock's fury. His only subsequent appearance was in issue #289, in the last of the U.K.-only stories, where he is among the Autobots sent to rescue journalist Irwin Spoon from the Stunticons. Aside from Bumblebee and possibly Wheeljack (who had stopped earlier to tend to Prowl), he is the only one left standing after a high speed chase leaves both groups incapacitated.

Tracks reappeared in the Generation 2 comic during the final battle against Jhiaxus's forces. He was pursued by one of Jhiaxus' jets - only to lure it to its destruction by Leadfoot and Manta Ray. It is unclear if he survived the final battle after this.

Animated series[edit]

Tracks first appeared in the second season of the original animated series during the episode "Dinobot Island Part 2". He would go on to make regular appearances.[2]

He was the star of two connected episodes - "Make Tracks" and "Auto-Bop". In the former he was one of the Autobots assigned to New York to combat a spate of car-jackings. Tracks quickly fell in love with the city, but after chasing some car-jackers, ended up crashing and being stolen by a street youth named Raul. The two soon came to an understanding and helped each other discover what the stolen cars were really being used for - to make an army of drones for the Decepticons. The two stopped the scheme, and Tracks put his friend to work fixing the drone cars as a punishment for stealing him in the first place.

In "Auto-Bop" he and Blaster encountered Raul again. Raul tipped them off that a local disco was being used to brainwash people. The Autobots investigated and soon found the culprits - Starscream and Soundwave. While Blaster and Soundwave duelled with sonics, Tracks used his flying car mode to pursue and shoot down Starscream, ending the threat.

Tracks made a number of other notable appearances. When Omega Supreme ignored a giant space creature in order to pursue his vendetta against the Constructicons, Tracks was one of the airborne Autobots who valiantly attempted to stop the beast. He was one of those captured by big game hunter Lord Cholmondeley in order to lure in Optimus Prime. Later, Tracks was one of a team of Autobots sent to stop the newly created Stunticons. However, he underestimated their anti-gravity abilities and ended up being smashed out of the air.

Tracks had another prominent appearance in "Trans-Europe Express" a charity auto race from Paris, France to Istanbul, Turkey was held. The Autobots Bluestreak, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Smokescreen, Sunstreaker, Tracks and Wheeljack participated alongside several human racers including Augie Canay. However, the race was sabotaged by the Stunticons, who had been sent by Megatron to obtain one of the racers' cars in order to gain its metal to make a control device for a Cybertronian weather controller. Tracks was run off the road by the Stunticons again, but later managed to stop the Decepticons by destroying the Pearl itself, before escaping the vengeful Menasor.

Like many other season 2 Autobots, Tracks was gradually phased out for season 3, though not explicitly killed off in the movie.

There are videos on YouTube showing some cut scenes that did not make it to the final draft in Transformers: The Movie. One cut scene shows the decepticon Devestator in the middle of his attack on Autobot City and has to navigate through a passageway which hampers his movements due to his size. Ultra Magnus suddenly appears from a side passageway carrying autobots Tracks, Red Alert, and Sideswipe. Ultra Magnus unloads the three other Autobots in an attempt to either stop or at least delay Devestator so the other Autobots can regroup in for a counterattack. Due to the cramped passage the Constructicons disengage back to their six separate forms so as to fight more effectively due to the limited space in the passageway. Surprised and suddenly outnumbered two to one Autobots Tracks and Sideswipe flee and Red Alert is shot in the back as the Constructicons continue the assault on Autobot City. [3] He appears on a few scenes of episode 3 ofTransformers: Headmasters during some operations on Earth under the command of Ultra Magnus.

Books[edit]

Tracks was featured in the 1985 Find Your Fate Junior book called Battle Drive by Barbara Siegel and Scott Siegel.[4]

Dreamwave Productions[edit]

When Prowl and his team of Autobots confronted Trypticon the Autobots Hound, Tracks, Trailbreaker and others showed up as reinforcements (Transformers: The War Within - The Dark Ages #4).

Devil's Due Publishing[edit]

Tracks reappeared in the third G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers crossover series from Devil's Due Publishing as part of the combined Autobot/G.I. Joe force trying to rescue Optimus Prime.

Voice actor plays[edit]

Although no Tracks toy was made for the Transformers: Universe line, Generation 1 Tracks appeared in the 2004 Botcon voice actor play. Here, he was part of the crew of a timelost shuttle (alongside Bumblebee and Cosmos) that had been pulled through time by a mysterious vortex. They quickly encountered a group of later era Transformers - Silverbolt, Rattrap and Waspinator - and helped them rescue two groups of Transformers dimensionally displaced from the RiD universe by one of Rhinox' devices. Despite interference from the Decepticons (servants of Unicron), they succeeded, rescued the other Transformers, and were sent back to their own time.

Tracks appeared in the 2006 TransformersCon voice actor play. Voices in the play were performed by a variety of volunteers and the actual voice actors attending the convention. In this play various Transformers from different timelines and realities were swept up in a repeat wave and transported along with Unicron to Earth. The Transformers included Generation 1 Tracks, Ariel, Cosmos and Megatron, Beast Wars Tarantulas, Robots in Disguise Sky-Byte and Beast Machines Tankor. Tracks was played by his actual Generation 1 animated series voice actor. Eventually the Transformers were able to learn that the death of Unicron in 2005 was what created the repeat wave. They defeated Unicron by tricking him into Transforming and using up his power, then using the Key to Vector Sigma program (which Tankor had brought with him) to tap into the power of Vector Sigma itself, and through it the Matrix of Leadership. With Unicron severely drained the various Transformers faded back to their original timelines.

Fun Publications[edit]

Alternators Tracks was a minor background character appearing in Fun Publications fiction "Gone too Far", a text-based story set on Transtech Cybertron.

Toys[edit]

  • Generation 1 Tracks (1985)
Transforms from Chevrolet Corvette to robot, with retractable wings for flight mode. The toy for Tracks was originally part of the Takara Diaclone line, where it was red.
Reissued as Autobot Tracks as part of Commemorative Series 5 in 2003.[5]
Repainted red into the eHobby exclusive Autobot Road Rage (for whom she was based on the mainland European Tracks and the original Diaclone one).
  • Generation 1 Action Master Tracks (1991)
As part of Europe's continuing exclusive Transformer toys, Tracks returned as an Action Master, along with his new partner - the battle droid Basher. Basher transformed into a backpack for Tracks to wear which came equipped with a protective helmet armed with missile-launchers.[6]
A super-cool cruiser with a knack for more flashy maneuvering. He loves looking good. Always washing and waxing his armor for a dazzling shine. Often feels the battle hasn't really started until he gets out there. Does everything with a flair that seems to attract attention. A bit self-absorbed, but extremely powerful and well equipped in battle. Armed with a devastating black beam gun that fires concussion bursts of billowing, black gas that momentarily blind enemy forces. Armored vehicle Basher is equipped with infra-red scanners, remote controlled surveillance cameras, heat seeking missiles and laser beam trip wires for short-range covert operations. Basher combines with Tracks to form the interactive bodysuit with intelligent weapon system.
  • Smallest Transformers Tracks (unreleased)
Originally planned for released in wave 2 of the Smallest Transformers line, but was canceled along with Skids and the add-on parts for Megatron.[7]
  • Binaltech BT-06 Tracks (Yellow) (2004)
Tracks' recent revival was as a Binaltech toy in Japan, transforming into a Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06. At the request from General Motors, the figure was colored yellow, which was the official racing color of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R race car. Like his G1 predecessor, Tracks sports a red face and white missiles. The engine block transforms into his gun in robot mode. Unlike the G1 version, however, Tracks does not have retractable wings.
Tracks' transformation is similar to Mach Alert/Prowl from Transformers: Car Robots/Robots in Disguise, wherein the doors form his skirt armor and the quarter panels form his shoulders - giving him a Samurai look.
  • Binaltech BT-06 Tracks (Blue) (2004)[8]
A G1-accurate blue version of Tracks was released months after the yellow version. This figure featured Tracks' iconic flaming Autobot emblem on his hood.
  • Alternators Autobot Tracks (Chevrolet Corvette Z06) (2004)
Like the other figures in the Alternators line, Tracks was molded completely in plastic instead of incorporating diecast parts that the Binaltech line used. Originally, the yellow version was to be released in the U.S. market. However, the difference in materials used to create the toy caused the yellow plastic to show the toy parts in certain lights. Therefore, the figure was sold in G1-accurate blue.[9][10]
Redecoed in red as Swerve, with a new head sculpt.[11] Also remolded into a black convertible as the Decepticon Battle Ravage.[12]
  • Reveal the Shield Deluxe Turbo Tracks (2010)
A new mold announced at BotCon 2010.[13] His new form is a cross between a Chevrolet Corvette C6 and a Dodge Viper. As a modern take on the G1 toy's flame decal, the hood sports red and yellow tribal flame tattoos. Also, as a homage to the original G1 toy, the car mode features a flight mode, wherein the doors fold down and winglets extend from the door panels.[14][15][16]
The mold for this figure is also used for Wheeljack in the Generations toy line, as well as the 2012 Transformers Collectors Club exclusive Over-Run and Runamuck figures.
  • United UN-13 Deluxe Autobot Tracks (Takara Tomy) (2010)
The Japanese version of Reveal the Shield Turbo Tracks by Takara Tomy features a metallic paint finish and the original G1 flame decal on the hood.[17]


Transformers Animated[edit]

Tracks
Autobot
Information
Alternate Modes Cybertronian sports car
Series Transformers Animated
English voice actor Townsend Coleman

In Transformers Animated, Tracks appeared in a crowd scene at the end of "Decepticon Air". He later appears in "This is Why I Hate Machines", encountering Ratchet and Captain Fanzone outside a bar. Tracks is terrified of Fanzone for being an organic.

Transformers: Timelines (Shattered Glass)[edit]

Tracks
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Convention Exclusives, Deluxe Vehicles
Partner Ultra Magnus
Alternate Modes Sports car
Series Transformers: Timelines

Tracks is part of the BotCon 2012 exclusive lineup of the evil Autobots from the Shattered Glass timeline. His color scheme resembles the e-Hobby exclusive figure Road Rage, which was an homage to the Diaclone toy that was the basis for the original Tracks toy.

Toys[edit]

  • Timelines Deluxe Tracks (2012)
A BotCon 2012 exclusive red recolor of Reveal the Shield Deluxe Turbo Tracks.[18]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Alvarez, J.E. (2001). The Unofficial Guide to Transformers 1980s Through 1990s Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. p. 27. ISBN 0-7643-1364-9. 
  2. ^ http://www.anime.com/Transformers/ Transformers Season Two Box Set, Part 1 by Brian Cirulnick, February 2003
  3. ^ Youtube
  4. ^ GameBooks.org
  5. ^ TFW2005.com - Autobot Tracks
  6. ^ Tomart's Action Figure Digest #28, 1996
  7. ^ TFW2005.com - WST Tracks
  8. ^ TFW2005.com - BT-06 Tracks
  9. ^ http://www.mastercollector.com/articles/reviews/review102204-25.htm
  10. ^ TFW2005.com - Autobot Tracks (Chevrolet Corvette Z06)
  11. ^ TFW2005.com - Swerve (Chevrolet Corvette Z06)
  12. ^ TFW2005.com - Battle Ravage (Chevrolet Camaro)
  13. ^ TFW2005.com - BotCon 2010 Hasbro Designers Panel
  14. ^ TFW2005.com - Reveal the Shield Turbo Tracks Pictorial Review
  15. ^ "Q&A with Hasbro!". Transformers Collectors Club Magazine 1 (35): 4–5, 8. October–November 2010. 
  16. ^ http://mastercollector.com/articles/reviews/tracks-review.html
  17. ^ Figure King magazine, issue #155
  18. ^ BotCon.com - 2012 Box Set Previews: Tracks

External links[edit]