You know what’s weird? It really wasn’t all that long ago that genuinely no-one really gave a monkey’s about a character like Tigertrack. Seriously, the lad has only been part of Transformers since 2003, and even then it wasn’t until 10 years later when he got his own Masterpiece toy that a few people sat up and said, “Who?”
Not that he suddenly skyrocketed in popularity overnight, mind, but something about his alluring yellow finish has obviously captivated people because look at him now, eh? He’s back in souped-up form, and with a la-de-dah Generations Selects release, no less. It’s not just the colour of the finish that’s a bit tart.
Joking aside, I couldn’t be happier for it. There was always something I loved about that original toy (which was of course the subject of a recent Toy of the Week spotlight), and certainly enough that I have frequently thought it’s a shame Hasbro brought over the red version of the Diaclone toy for Transformers. Yes, I said it.
I’m hugely pro the MP figure too, and in many ways credit it for leading me all-too-far down the rabbit hole of collecting weird and wonderful alternate colour repaints over the years since. This zingy little lad has a lot to answer for, it seems.
Of course today’s effort is a significantly more stylised take, as although he is yet again a repainted version of an equivalent Sideswipe toy, in this case it’s the Siege mould and that means it’s supposed to look all Cybertronian and whatnot.
In reality, “Cybertronian” alternate forms are whatever they need to be at the time, aren’t they? Does this thing look like it originated on an alien world devoid of Earthen influence? Er, no, not really, but it is sort of suitably futuristic that it gets a bit of a pass, I suppose, and it’s certainly a very different aesthetic than we’re used to seeing for ol’ Tigertrack.
And hey, it’s a very handsome thing all the same, with a pleasingly sleek shape that gives it all the sexiness of the more traditional Countach form despite the visual departure. It may not be what we’re used to, but you can’t argue with the result.
I’m a particular fan of the moulded translucent windshield, which is probably the main thing that separates this release from mould-mate, Sideswipe other than just, y’know, the toy being a different colour and all. The lighter shade shows off all the intricate detailing of the design and looks really quite striking in hand.
Really though, whichever way you look at this chap, it’s all good news, with not an angle in sight that doesn’t sync up with how marvellous the alternate form is on the whole.
The other thing to note here is that paint. As soon as I released Tigertrack from his cardboard packaging I was immediately struck by just how nice it is! I often see a lot of comment online about Generations toys edging closer to Masterpiece in many ways, and whilst I would personally refute that to be true in every sense, this release certainly puts in a good enough showing in terms of fit and finish.
It’s surprisingly thick but also very consistently applied and gives Tigertrack a really quality feel in-hand. In my (admittedly fairly limited) Generations experience thus far, this is by far and away the nicest-looking and best-feeling example I have handled – if only they could all be as good!
In fact a quick comparison with Earthrise Sunstreaker will surely show what I mean, as the painted finish and general level of quality on offer here blows that other yellow fellow out of the water, quite frankly. Where Sunstreaker looks surprisingly lacklustre for a lad who prides himself on his appearance, Tigertrack simply soars.
It helps that the colour matching across painted panels is drastically superior to the multi-hued hodgepodge that Sunstreaker is sporting, as whilst there is an ever-so-slight variance if you really go looking for it, the yellow remains quite pleasingly consistent on the whole.
It definitely elevates Tigertrack quite a bit, and easily allows him to shine in any kind of Generations display. Even the so-called Cybertronian styling looks relatively at home in the world of Earthrise, somehow.
What is also rather nifty though is an additional dose of play value thanks to being able to arm him up with his various weapon accessories. There are peg holes on the roof and sides of the car mode, allowing for a few different combinations thereof.
For my money, I think the shoulder-mounted missile launcher looks best on the side of the car, but whichever way it all adds a dash of extra firepower to the proceedings.
So yes, he’s a bit of a showstopper in vehicle mode, all told, and easily takes his place alongside the other interpretations of the character as one for the ages.
Naturally that’s just half the story though, as a few twists and turns later and you’ll have Tigertrack contorted up into his robot mode. At the risk of turning this whole write-up into a gushy affair, it’s only right to credit this toy with also having one of the most satisfying conversions I’ve experienced on a Generations toy as well. Everything clicks & clacks solidly into place in a way that I was really hoping would be the general standard of mainline figures, and there are a few very clever touches such as how the panels in the legs help to flip out the feet.
The result is an exceptionally tidy and rather terrific-looking robot form, which instantly evokes the classic look of the intended character whilst still managing to be a stylish overhaul in its own right.
Proportionally, Tigertrack is quite short and stocky-looking, but somehow I think it works. A lot of that is no doubt down to the very wide chest coupled with the angular backpack sticking out from the sides of his abdomen, but really, he pulls it off with aplomb.
I also like how this is one of the least hollow-feeling Generations toys I have seen thus far, with only larger stuff like Earthrise Optimus Prime filling in the gaps a little better. A lot of that is down to how the legs transform, leaving only the forearms with gaps at the sides.
That’s not a grumble though as on the whole, Tigertrack cleans up exceptionally well and can only be described as a rather magnificent yellow specimen.
I mean, just have a gander at that headsculpt, why don’t you? As well as the quality of the paint on offer, I would concede that the other area where this design flies closer to Masterpiece-levels of achievement is in how well that face is rendered, capturing the essence of the character to a tee. It quite clearly uses a similar design to the equivalent MP release, although in this case the fetching baby-blue eyes are actually easier to discern.
It leaves Tigertrack with a real sense of presence overall, and has you repeatedly marvelling at just how handsome he really is! Swoon alert.
Fortunately it’s not just good looks on offer, as he’s a lot of fun to handle, too. He feels just as cohesive and tightly put-together as he did in vehicle mode, but now you’ll find yourself instinctively picking him up to have a little play and a pose, he’s just so pleasing to fiddle with.
As far as articulation goes, there’s enough range and stability on offer for him to pull off all the poses you should need out of a toy of this kind. In fact I’d throw this in as yet another area that has drastically improved on mainline Transformers toys in more recent years, and it shows in how this design feels almost on par with the Masterpiece Tigertrack toy from seven years ago in that regard. It kind of makes you wonder where we’ll be in another seven years!
There’s more play value to be had with his weapons yet again, as you can change the configuration to give him quite a few different looks along the way. One thing I clocked in my recent Unboxing video on this chap was that you can actually have the shoulder-mounted launcher on his right side (which makes it more in-keeping with the G1 toy’s traditional appearance) by plugging the silver missile into the rear end and turning it round. It leaves about a millimetre gap between the missile and the launcher itself, but it still works.
Should you prefer, then he can also wear the launcher or rifle on either of his arms, both at the forearm or on the side of the bicep, thanks to a couple of very handy peg holes (as well as one on his back).
Then you could just have them both held in hand, or even remove the missile section and peg that in somewhere else, or have that in hand, or… look, you have a lot of options, ok?
It all adds up to make the kind of experience I was ultimately hoping for from Generations toys when I elected to give them a bit of a try. There’s a satisfying simplicity to the whole affair, but it’s still done well enough that you get a real sense of value overall.
In fact of all the recent Generations figures that have come my way, this has been the one that’s captivated me the most, hands down. He just works superbly well, and feels like a truly worthwhile update to the character.
That’s high praise indeed from me, given my already extreme level of affection for both the original toy and the subsequent Masterpiece release. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can level at the new take is that it holds its own alongside them.
I only wish that every mainline release felt as polished as this. I’ve had grumbles about some of them showing with paint flaws or other defects right out of the box, not to mention the unfortunate and unsatisfying “squishiness” found in the transformations on toys such as Runabout & Runamuck.
Not that I haven’t enjoyed those toys too, mind, but again, stack him up next to something like Sunstreaker and the quality of execution on offer here is palpably superior. I like Sunstreaker’s design and transformation quite a bit, but he ends up paling in comparison to Tigertrack on account of how nicely done the Selects figure is.
It helps that he’s safe from any of the minor grumbles that pervade some of the other examples, leaving him feeling like the gold (or perhaps the yellow) standard thus far.
Perhaps the real shame then is that he’s likely to be overlooked by some collectors who still see him as a mere repaint of a more well-known character. His star may be on the rise, but Tigertrack feels destined to always live in Sideswipe’s shadow, somehow.
For the rest of us though, there’s honestly so much to love about this latest take on the character, which comfortably proves that whether it’s vintage, Masterpiece or Generations, you simply cannot go wrong with Tigertrack.
WHAT’S HOT? Superb vehicle mode, highly attractive robot mode and a fun transformation. Plus the fit and finish is superior to other Generations efforts.
WHAT’S NOT? The chest is a smidge wide, I guess, but really it’s not a problem to my eye.