Name: Red Alert
Alternate Mode: Armoured Missile Truck
MISSILE TRUCK MODE
Height: 11.5cm Length: 24cm Width: 7.5cm
A white armoured truck with a giant missile on top, Red Alert is a hybrid of two concepts rather than a true military vehicle, but the idea works well enough. He has eight dark grey plastic tyres, a navy blue stripe down the centre (an aspect carried over from the deluxe toy of the same character) and some grey camouflage around the wheel bays. The missile is mainly light grey with some dark grey detailing and a ring of transparent orange in the middle. The colour scheme is fairly straightforward and understated, but this is a good thing on a functional military vehicle.
The level of detail on this toy is pretty good, with rivets, ladders, slit windows, ration packs and such. There's a stamped Autobot logo on the roof, with a twin-barrelled cannon on top. The missile is mounted on a blue base, which has an access basket at the back, allowing a Minicon (well, one of the smaller ones) to work on the missile's propulsion system. There are hardpoints on either side of the truck itself, allowing you to attach two Minicons to the truck.
As you might expect there's quite a lot of play value here. As with many Ultras, there are electronic gimmicks, and you need to install two AAA batteries (not included). Red Alert comes with a transparent Planet Key (code: up0t), which plugs into the back of the missile's base. As with most later Cybertron toys, the missile will sit halfway or push right in and activate the gimmicks. The front half of the missile opens to reveal a transparent orange shaft, incorporating a working missile launcher - the blue tip of the main missile is actually a missile, with a blue button now accessible on the orange shaft. This launcher isn't all that powerful, but it's a nice touch. The missile can slide off its base, which can lift around 80° and is able to support the weight of the missile.
If you have the batteries loaded, sliding the missile off or plugging in the Planet Key will cause flashing lights and sounds. The electronics are mediocre, but since the mechanism is nestled inside the missile it doesn't get in the way - he's not built around a block that limits the Transformer itself. While electronics rarely impress me, Red Alert has enough play value otherwise that I'm happy to view it simply as a bonus. The twin grey cannon on his roof lifts up, rounding out the play value.
On the whole this is a good missile truck, even if it is a bit of a hybrid vehicle (Fit For Natalie informs me that Red Alert is a BTR-80 armoured personnel carrier with a missile grafted on top). The truck itself looks pretty good, the play value is impressive and the detailing is quite good. While it's solid without being spectacular, I really like Red Alert's truck mode's visual impact.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Swing the rear side panels forward, covering the front tyres with the rear ones. Open the roof of the cabin, fold the sides of the front down to form the legs, lift out the feet and heelspurs. The centre of the front splits to form arms which fold back into position against the rear of the truck (the torso). Fold over the chestplate, which will also reveal the head. Slide the missile right so that it forms a shoulder-cannon and clears the head.
Height: 23cm Width: 14cm
A white robot with blue thighs and arms, a blue chestplate and blue head. The missile on his right shoulder is mainly grey, with the dark grey and orange still around. Red Alert's face is gold with a transparent orange eyestrip. There are some orange painted highlights on the fringes of his chest, on the white torso itself. The colour scheme loosely matches that of the deluxe version, and while the face is broadly similar this robot mode has a distinctly different feel.
The central strip of the truck now sits on the outside of one forearm - when you split the arms it'll go with one or the other, while the missile forms a huge shoulder mounted feature, as mentioned. With the arm weapon and the huge missile, Red Alert is a rather fearsome looking robot. The boots are chunky and this figure is generally boxy, giving him a colossal look. Red Alert is meant to be a medic rather than a warrior, but this is one well equipped medic.
The arm-attachment is essentially his hand weapon, since Red Alert doesn't gun with a handgun (he does have holes in his fists, however). There's a slot at the back end for his Planet Key, although you don't really need to use it - pull the grey top piece and it'll flip over, forming the barrel of a gun, and this works well as a handgun, despite it being stuck to the side of his arm. This piece can be detached if you prefer. Following on from the tools inside the shins of the deluxe, this figure again has tools inside the shins. The left shin houses a hammerhead, which incorporates a spring, so that as he hammers, the head itself collapses and rebounds. The right shin houses a blue claw, and both this claw and the hammerhead plug into the business end of his gun, forming either a long claw or of course, a hammer. All the gimmicks of the missile are available here, since it doesn't actually transform itself. Curiously, if you treat it as a shoulder-mounted missile launcher, Red Alert has an enormous launcher and a single small, blue missile.
Red Alert is quite poseable for such a blocky toy. The shoulders swing while the elbows, hips and knees all have both hinges and rotators. The head, waist and wrists turn and the shoulder missile can lift up and down. The heelspurs allow for some leg posing, while the ratcheting joints in his hips make sure this top heavy toy doesn't collapse under its own weight. Despite his poseability, Red Alert lacks any ball joints.
A good robot mode with lots of play value - and Red Alert is far more poseable than he looks. His bulk and impressive weapons make sure Red Alert looks imposing, while the straightforward colours work to his advantage, since the missile and arm-mounted weapon are allowed to come to the fore without dominant colours competing for attention. The weaponry options are fun, and I'm glad that the electronics aren't inside a huge block dominating the torso.
None that I'm aware of.
This is a simple concept, and it's done quite well. The colours are simple, allowing the missile to dominate the aesthetics of Red Alert. Both modes are quite attractive and the play value is good in both modes, with two key gimmicks in robot mode and one in vehicle mode. The robot mode is more poseable than it looks, and the integrated tool/weapon on his arm works well and links this toy to the previous version of the character. Generally I've found recent Ultra-sized Transformers carrying electronic gimmicks to be disappointing, but I'm impressed with Red Alert - 8/10