Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Masterpiece MP-26 Road Rage

Welcome to an extended gallery of images for Takara Tomy Transformers Masterpiece MP-26 Road Rage. Road Rage is basically a red version of Tracks whose roots lie in Takara's 1984 Diaclone Car Robot No.21 Corvette Stingray released in Japan (in red of course). With the red Corvette Stingray imported and sold in countries like Italy (GiG) and mainland Europe (Ceji Joustra) under the Diaclone banner, it's no surprise that collectors have memories of actual red Tracks toys, not just the artwork on the back of 1985 Hasbro boxes. In 1985, when Hasbro and Milton Bradley took over the licence and stock from Ceji Joustra to sell Takara's transforming Diaclone and Micro Change Series toys in mainland Europe, they inherited a gaggle of red Corvette Stingrays. These were subsequently repackaged into Transformers boxes (MB badged) and so was born a bona fide Transformers Red Tracks. In 2002, E-Hobby paid tribute to this colour scheme by releasing a red version of the reissue Transformers Tracks called "Road Rage", a character created for that E-Hobby release, and a female Autobot to boot. Here then is Masterpiece Road Rage, a repaint of MP-25 Tracks with newly sculpted head, hands, thighs and waist to differentiate her from Tracks. Oh, she also comes with the toy-accurate handgun, a mini Twincast, the small laser for the front of the vehicle... and a gorgeous red deco. No display stand, no Raoul and no "CS" on the hood for "Corvette Stingray".

Vehicle mode is as delectable as you'd imagine, but there is no glossy sparkly paint as with Tracks, and although there has been some debate as to whether she's painted or not, Road Rage does seem to have a quite dull red colour which is absolutely perfect. It's perfect because that's precisely what the Diaclone and Milton Bradley red Tracks looked like. As Road Rage's secondary colour is dark blue, the undercarriage at the back is not as intrusive visually as with MP-25 Tracks, so it ends up as negligible to the eye as MP-12 Lambor's undercarriage does. The hood has the Autobot logo, appropriately, but they didn't go for the wink to Diaclone that E-Hobby did with the reissue G1 Road Rage. You see, the original Diaclone had a silver triangle amidst the flame deco, only Transformers has a yellow triangle in the flame pattern. Diaclone also says "CS" for "Corvette Stingray" instead of an Autobot symbol, but we were never going to get that. E-Hobby Road Rage did at least give it a silver triangle on the hood but an Autobot logo on top, it was a proper homage, but MP-26 just reproduces the Tracks deco in full. I have 2 specimens of Road Rage here, the paint on both of them is superb. I also found the sprued mirrors easier to put on Road Rage than I did on Tracks. Noticeably easier.

FedEx and USPS are responsible for the lack of Clampdown in the above images, so it's not the complete Diaclone Masterpiece line-up I was hoping (and painfully paid) for. Still, it is more than just a little evocative of the unforgettable Diaclone Car Robot collections I have seen over the years, and I have quite a hope that we will one day be able to recreate Fumihiko Akiyama's famous BotCon Japan Diaclone Car Robot display at a Masterpiece scale. Well, chromed Campaign cars aside.

I always knew that when I received my MP Road Rage, I would display her as close to the original Diaclone as possible - since that's where my roots and interest in the hobby tend to lie - so I lowered her wings to be perpendicular to her body instead of angled, and I flipped the chest symbol around to be hidden. Above you can see a comparison between Transformers MP style Road Rage and a more Diaclone style Road Rage Corvette Stingray. I am still absolutely desperate for Takara Tomy to issue some kind of masked toy-accurate face for Road Rage through some promotion or another. The 2002 E-Hobby reissue obviously had the masked face as it was based on the toy, and unlike the vintage Milton Bradley Transformer, it did not have a rubsign on the hood like all G1 Tracks do, instead the rubsign was at the rear of the car, quite unsightly if you ask me. It had a huge Autobot sticker to be placed on the chest - and with the exception of the blue background - MP-26 has recreated this look.

Good grief she's beautiful, posable, unique and suffers every single issue that MP-25 Tracks did too. The hood is utterly horrible to separate on first transformation but is far easier on repeats. The chest tabs don't stay securely tabbed into the shoulders and the obstructions and limitations covered ad nauseum in my MP-25 Masterpiece Tracks review are still obviously relevant. She doesn't come with the small handgun like MP-25 so all she can clip onto her butt is the mini Twincast (repainted Blaster from Headmasters) and the little laser for car/attack mode. That totally new head sculpt is absolutely delicious, as are the more feminine thighs moulded for her. The toy accurate hand gun is marvellous and while it may seem she holds it very loosely, it has a second smaller tab that clips in just on the hand beyond the thumb and before the end of the hand where it's connected to the wrist. Give a firm push down and enjoy the satisfying click and subsequent rock solid grip.

On the whole, Road Rage's deco is a variant of Tracks's, which itself took all cues from the cartoon animation model. This of course does not apply to a repaint which acts as a pre-Transformers homage. Could they have done a more toy-accurate deco for Road Rage? Maybe, but what they have actually created looks plenty good enough and when I hide the Autobot chest logo, she looks and feels an awful lot like the vintage product. Since we don't have a toy accurate face, I don't see much point in nitpicking about inaccurate hand colour, thigh colour etc. This is especially pertinent when you consider that MP-26 Road Rage's colour scheme appears to be based on MSipher's Transformers Animated Road Rage illustration.

MSipher's TF Animated Road Rage

Ceji Joustra and GiG Diaclone Corvette Stingray

GiG Diaclone Corvette Stingray

This mould was also available in highly limited black as a Finnish Diaclone in 1984 and of course as a prize lucky draw repaint for the reissue line as well (slightly different decos) so I look forward to a black Masterpiece Tracks to make up for the two reissue ones and two vintage ones I have now sold. It's the first time in over a decade that I have not had a Black Tracks of some description in my collection, so the slot for MP-25B is open.

Tracks and Road Rage are of course triplechangers, the Finnish Diaclone actually had the phrase "Triple Change!" on its packaging! The flying car or attack mode is beautiful, and unlike the original toy, it has the fins on the rear like cartoon Tracks, and no backpack or rockets to fill out the rear of the mode. It doesn't matter too much to me how accurate this mode is, on the stand Road Rage looks wicked. Just like the vintage toy, you can attach the handgun underneath the flying car, but at a slightly different orientation. She can even go on the stand when the gun is attached that way as the gun has a peg hole on the bottom, but the connection between gun and figure is too loose on mine to maintain any sort of angle, so I had to abandon that. Other Road Rages are secure enough for this.

So, it's great, everything you would expect if you already had MP-25 Tracks, and I certainly do not want to review the mould in detail here as my MP-25 review did that already. But why should anyone care enough to pick up a MP-26 Road Rage anyway?

The Red Tracks is legendary. We all saw it on the back of the 1985 Transformers boxes and yet received no toy of it, except those in Italy, Japan and mainland Europe (albeit highly limited release). So it has history and it was the original colour this toy and character were released in. Furthermore, when the online fandom started to connect the dots and become a global community, websites like the now defunct run by Dutch variant collector and article writer Daniel Vink shot to popularity. One of the main reasons for that popularity was his boxed Milton Bradley Transformers Red Tracks, one of the only boxed examples and solid proof available at the time. 

Devvi's and my original MB Red Tracks

I had the incredible privilege of later owning that same MB Tracks and knowing Devvi, and I know how he was occasionally accused of making stuff up or peddling bootlegs when in fact he was doing pioneering research into variants and the history of the brand. Those formative years of the online TF community are etched into my mind and the mind of those who were collecting at that time, and legendary items like the Transformers Red Tracks, as well as, are inseparable from those memories and that time. So, for me, this is a massively significant toy and one I will cherish owning as a Masterpiece.

"How did she get my gun?!"

All the best


  1. Well you lied on the boards. It's not a little article it's a full of informations one ! As always... With sharp photos. As always...
    I once said I consider you as a guardian of the temple. You said you weren't. This kind of article prove I'm right :)
    BTW have you clear your thoughts about writing a book or something ?

    1. Too kind my friend as always! If I ever did a book I know in my head what I want it to look like, I just don't know where to start making it a reality. And I didn't really have a lot of faith that everyone who expressed an interest would actually buy it.

      All the best

    2. It's sincere. I think you underestimate your work and your ability to bring people further in our passion. Like you say it means a lot of work and time though. And you don't really know if people would actually buy this kind of stuff. It's the one thousand pounds question.
      Yet there's many people who don't ask themselves all the questions you do and who publish or produce far less quality content than you (would) do. I'm one of those who'd be pleased to help through Kickstarter or whatever.
      The first (and only ?) question is do YOU feel the motivation and strength to carry this project and show the world how deep the (your) passion for the Transformers universe goes ?