Name: Red Alert
Series: Generation 1
Function: Security Director
Alternate Mode: Lamborghini Countache
Height: 4cm Length: 11cm Width: 5cm
A mainly white Countache, Red Alert has clear windows, a black front bumper and a red front bonnet (which is the boot, or trunk for you North American types). He's also got red trim at the bottom of the sides and below the bonnet. Lastly, he has twin strobes on top of the cabin.
I have a case fresh reissue in front of me, granted. But this is a sweet car mode. The wheels are chrome, the tyres rubber, all the windows clear - there's even a windscreen wiper moulded onto the windscreen. My old Red Alert, which is showing it's age, still manages to look nice, if tired, so I don't think it's the fact I have a new toy in front of me influences me too much. There's a "Fire Chief" motif on each door, with a shield, and one on the bonnet, albeit in reverse colours since the doors are white and the bonnet red. He's got "FD" stickers on either side near the back and stickers for headlights - although the base plastic has moulded headlights anyway. The rear of the car, from just behind the doors back, is metal with the exception of the spoiler.
Speaking of details, the air intakes, rear lights, door seams and front indicators are all there. The rear lights have stickers over them as well. The original has pinkish tail lights with one part red, the reissue all the tail lights are red. Also, the reissue's stickers have a simulated number plate that the original lacks. Inside the cockpit there's room for one driver - a Diaclone driver, of course. You can actually mistransform Red Alert so that his head is visible in this cavity!
Play value is limited to rolling on his wheels, which is about as much as you can expect from a car mode, short of a pull-back motor. It doesn't have axles, and hence doesn't roll straight (or very far) unassisted. But Red Alert looks that good that overall this is still a fantastic car mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
One advantage of having two toys in front of me is I don't have to do a transform to write the review. But anyway, pull back the engine block, separate it into two halves to form the legs. fold down the front around 90° and then pull out the doors to form the arms. You can them completely fold down the front to become his chest, and swing out the head from under this front section. Swivel up his roof to form the backpack, position the arms, give him his weapons and you're done. I did transform the one I had in car mode, BTW, so I can compare the two in robot mode.
Height: 11cm Width: 7.5cm
The white gives way a fair bit in this mode, with the addition of chrome silver, black & more red. He's got a black head with a silver face, the show Red Alert has a red head and a white face, btw. The chest is red & white, being the front of the car. His arms are silver & white, with tyres on his shoulders and black hands. The waist is red, the groin black. His thighs are red, shins black, the sides of the lower legs are white and the feet silver.
He's got some blue present on stickers on his shins and feet, as well as small traces of yellow on various stickers. Unlike Sideswipe, he has no stickers on his forearms. For what it's worth, the stickers in robot mode are metallic foil on the reissue and paper on the original. the factory-applied stickers (The headlights & "Fire Chief" ones, of which only the chest one is really prominent in this mode) are paper on both. Foil wears less, but if it curls, you're in trouble. So I guess I'd go with foil, but not by much.
From what I can see, there aren't too many mould changes between the two. On his shoulders, behind the wheels, there are two small protrusions on the reissue, which serve to lock in the front section in car mode. These were actually added to the mould for G2 Sideswipe. The other mould changes I've discovered tie in there, too. The missiles are not compatible with each other's launchers - which I discovered when trying to put original missiles into reissue the launcher (rather than remove the new ones from the sprew). Most likely because they had to re-do the mould for the missiles which were not used on G2 Swiper. The front of the launcher on the reissue is entirely chrome silver, while only the outer edge on the original is silver - the inner part black. Originally, Red Alert's gun had a longer handle than Sideswipe's, but the reissue's gun has the shorter handle, probably also related to G2 Sideswipe. I doubt Takara bothered with any other changes, since these are already enough anyway.
The missile launcher itself is black, the trigger white and the missile red, with the front part being chrome silver as I've already mentioned. It shoots maybe a foot, which is pretty good for a Diaclone launcher, actually. The gun is red. The toy's poseability is limited to the shoulders which can swivel 360° and his hinged elbows. But you can add the missile launcher to it's play value. At any rate, the strength of Red Alert in this mode is his display value, as in car mode. While it lacks a little in show-accuracy since Sunbow decided to recolour his head, it still is a very good and well proportioned robot mode.
A recolour and slight remould of Sideswipe, released a year earlier - although both are based on Diaclone toys from even earlier.
Originally released in 1985, reissued in 2001 in limited numbers by Takara, with sticker medium changes and mould changes borrowed from G2 Sideswipe. The reissue was revisited in 2002 with a "New Year's" version, which was also limited numbers and was, as far as I've heard, just a sticker and packaging change.
For what it's worth, the reissue box is the same size and style as the original. Most of the writing on it is in English, despite it being produced for the Japanese market.
A great toy. Attention to detail, realistic car mode, good colour scheme and quality of manufacturing (metal, clear windows) all work in Red Alert's favour. While a lot of this is no different to other Diaclone based Transformers, he has less dragging him down than a lot of the others. The only real thing that counts against him when compared to his contemporaries is the fact his head isn't show accurate - but since that was Sunbow's call which was made after the toy was designed, I'm not going to hold it against the toy. I've always liked the character, and he has the star role in "Auto-Berzerk", so if you liked the cartoons he's definitely recommended - 9.5/10 losing half a point because there are a couple of more poseable toys from the same set, 9/10 if you weight show accuracy