In the same way I have a huge love for urban warfare-themed Joes, I love Transformers that turn into any kind of “rescue” vehicle—police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, whatever. There’s something delicious to be about a civil protection vehicle turning into a giant robot. Plus, if you think about it, a lot of the early Transformers with these alt-modes were sort of ironic in their personalities: Blades is a crazy, violent brawler; Inferno would rather be fighting than doing search-and-rescue, Prowl’s a big fat jerk, Ratchet’s a party animal, and of course, Red Alert thinks everyone’s out to get him.
Red Alert’s vehicle mode is a stylized Lamborghini, just like his original figure. Of course, he’s a repaint of the Universe Sideswipe/Sunstreaker mold. That mold was probably one of my favorites in the second Universe line, though I think I liked it more as Sunstreaker. He has the same lightbar Prowl and Ratchet came with, which actually causes some problems I’ll get to later. This mold is really starting to show how many times it’s been used, as the panels don’t line up that well anymore. While it hasn’t been used as much as the Starscream mold, it’s seen 3 mainline US releases, 3 mainline Japanese releases, and three uses for the collector’s club!
His transformation takes a bit getting used to, and I actually had to refer back to my Sideswipe since it’s been so long since I transformed him or Sunstreaker. There are a lot of weird panels and he packs up pretty tight. The way the wheels fold out into the shoulders always through me for a loop. However, I’d say he has one of the best DRAMATIC HEAD REVEALS in the entire line.
Red Alert’s robot mode is pretty buff, much like Sideswipe. Like I said earlier, I liked this mold more for Sunstreaker. That’s mostly because I feel the other chest gives him a “slimmer” build and overall looks more appealing. Regardless, the two function pretty much the same way, with his average level of poseability, plus, hey, waist joint! Once again, he has those stupid door arms that drive me crazy, but whatever. I’ll just deal with it. The color scheme is very reminiscent of the original toy. I actually like toy accuracy, but this time around it brings about my biggest contention with the toy…
…the head. Leaving the head in black like the original toy was a bad move, in my opinion. The head worked great for Sideswipe, and as a result, he just looks like Sideswipe cosplaying Red Alert. I think it would have been more effective had they painted it red like the Japanese version.
I also have a bit of a problem with his accessories. While the dinky little gun is still effective as both a handgun and a shoulder launcher, I have an issue with the engine block. Because of the lightbar, it can’t be stored on his back light a jetpack. You either have to keep it off or wrap it around the gun, and the latter just looks weird to me, but it does give him a bit of distinction from the twins.
The Universe “Lambo Twins” mold was probably my favorite Deluxe-class mold from the second Universe line, but I think Red here is a few notches below the other two. He’s highly recommended if you have Inferno and need his best buddy and if you like the mold, but I’d say he’s a skip for the casual collector. If you want Red Alert, check the FPNYC shelves for everyone’s favorite paranoid security chief!