….fade in AC/DC’s Back in Black….
Far from being unexpected, however hugely welcomed, Takara present to us Black Tracks.
Or should I say “Loud Pedal”….sorry but it’s a bit of a shit name, I’ll get that out of the way right now (I’ve not seen such a rubbish name since the Volkswagon “Bora”). To bring you up to speed (for the uninitiated) Black Tracks was a figure from Takara under the Diaclone Auto Robo banner released in Finland way back in 1984, ever so slightly pre-dating the Transformers. Loud Pedal is based off of that toy and not the 2002 Luck Draw reissue, or the purely by coincidence character from IDW’s Transformers comics called Vivisector, look it up if you’ve got a minute (after reading this review that is, don’t be buggering off before looking at all the lovely pictures).
So yeah, Loud Pedal he’s a Decepticon……let’s see what you’ve got.
Box style follows the same template set out by the prior releases of MP-12T Tigertrack and MP-18S Silverstreak. Gloss black with black and white imagery of the character in both car and robot mode to the front, silver text and robot mode image to the back plus there is also the license logo’s of Chevrolet (GM) as he is after all based upon a 1978 Corvette Stingray C3.
The clamshell houses Loud Pedal in vehicle mode along with repaints of the miniature Blaster and Raoul figurine (Raoul’s wardrobe of choice is from the G1 episode Auto-Bop). Gone is the rather small and pathetic hand blaster that came with Tracks, to be replaced with the huge hand canon that accompanied Road Rage (silver this time as opposed to black). Other items carrying over from the Tracks release are the vehicle mounted nose canon and flight stand, this time in an eye pleasing translucent purple. This completes the accessories save for the bag with the instruction sheet, tech card and two sets of rear view door mirrors.
NB: There is also a small sticker sheet with alternate “CS” hood decal, again to replicate the original release and sadly this time round no collectors coin, sorry Chris !
“Now I know some of you will like the addition of the Raoul and Blaster accesories, it’s a nod to the cartoon episodes “Make Tracks and “Auto-Bop”, but I’m not that big on these additions. I think that maybe in part due to living here in the UK I never got to see any of the Season 2 episodes aired on terrestrial TV as a child. Also maybe if Raoul had have been articulated much like Spike and Daniel from the MP Magnus release I may have been swayed a little….” Text taken from my earlier review of MP-25 Tracks, which I still firmly adhere to.
Out of the box and unsurprisingly Loud Pedal looks amazing considering he is just a straight out and out repaint of MP Tracks (there is a single difference but I’ll address that later), the likeness to the actual car still makes me smile and is the better of the two, (sorry), three modes this figure has. The Corvette is such a sleek looking automobile it even looks like it’s going fast even when stood still (note for my pictures I have rotated the roof mounted Decepticon logo, thus hiding it and I have also not attached the door mirrors), you get a little de ja vu then ?
Opening bonnet (hood for our US viewers), reveals a moderately detailed engine bay. Here I go again banging on about the plastic wheels, blah, blah paying slightly extra, blah, rubber tyres or do away with certain accessories to make it more viable. But the best thing about Loud Pedal is the glossy black paint job, now I know I’m a sucker for a good repaint and even more so for a black version. But there is no denying that whilst this maybe the weakest of the MP figure molds to date (MP-09 debateable), this thing here just looks so damn sexy and with the purple windows I’m right there with Vikki Vale.
Shifting into flight mode and MP-25L still looks great, when mounted on that lush translucent purple base some dynamic flight angles are achievable. I feel Road Rage suffered for the lack of a flight stand, I rectified this by getting the clear one that was released later as an individual item, touché Takara.
NB: Not pictured but the hand canon can slot into the underside of the flight mode and the base then into that.
Transforming from car to robot, familiarity with this mold has now lessened the initial fiddliness I experienced with Tracks. It still has that “move one part and another part moves” thing to it, which annoys me to some degree. This is not an attribute localised to this figure I must add, other figures exhibit this quirk too.
Once in robot mode and Loud Pedal has quite an imposing look, he just looks mean especially with the purple highlighting the black. This thick glossy paint ensures that tabbed sections remain tabbed and the general feel as a whole seems stiffer than what both Tracks and Road Rage were. Now earlier I did mention that essentially Loud Pedal was just a straight repaint of Tracks, this is not entirely accurate. He has a retooled head, the addition of a face plate which has the look of the original G1 toy. For me this makes the difference and looks a lot better than Tracks’ red face, I was and still aren’t a big fan of it.
Loud Pedal has all the same articulation points as his predecessors and can achieve all their poses too, his robot mode is quite sturdy (once in position or a particular pose), however it does for me still have quite a delicate feel to it.
Speaking of a delicate feel, we had ourselves a little accident whilst doing the photos of robot mode using the flight stand. I posted a picture to Instagram and Facebook showing the resulted break, surprisingly I learned that it’s not an uncommon occurrence. I have to admit it was news to me as I’d not come across any feedback over social media regarding the issue.
Back when I did the reviews for Tracks and Road Rage I wrote that I hoped they would release Black Tracks, not because I’m a sucker but because I had faith that it would look great and that Takara would do a good job and you know what they did. But, there’s that word “but”, is it all good ?
As great as he looks in car mode I’m not the biggest fan of this mold, in robot mode that is. I find it too fiddly and the vast chasm on the back section bothers me, along with it sitting too high. It’s got great articulation but can be plagued by loose friction joints on the shoulders so it can limit some poses, especially when holding a weapon. Fortunately my Loud Pedal here is all kinds of stiff, which in itself can be just as much as an issue, causing the chest section to pop out when moving the arms (that one part moving moves others thing I mentioned).
Car mode is as always impeccable, Takara seem to have sorted out the panel gap issues I had with my Road Rage for this release. I had feared that another issue of the mold would increase this issue but I’m happy to say it has not. The paint application is amazing, no marks or blemishes….well, I’ve a couple of real tiny scuffs on mine but I cannot say for certain if they were there fresh from the box or after playing about with him for a while, I’ll keep an eye on that one for sure.
Gloss black and translucent purple have won the day for me, overall I’m happy with my purchase and with the figure in general, even in light of my continued concerns over this mold and the buggering flight stand issue.
….fade out The Rolling Stones Paint it Black….
Thanks to Kapow Toys Ltd, figures reviewed are available online via their website.
*Update* We are now on Instagram, all the pictures and minimal text for you image hungry people.
Or keep us locked into your browser favourites at Vaults of Iacon