Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Convertors Defender First Track

First Track 13

First Track, like all the Defenders & nearly all of the Convertors figures, originated from the bankrupt toy company, Takatoku. At the time of their demise, Takatoku was contracted to produce toys for such well-known anime shows as SDF Macross and Orguss, as well as some slightly-less-successful shows as Galvion and Dorvack...and another show called Galactic Whirlwind Sasuraiger.

First Track 12

Sasuraiger was the third anime in the "J9" series, which included Braiger and Baxinger. The series was a sort of a nod to the book "Around The World in 80 Days," with a host of characters with very American names ("Blues Carl Bernstein" and "Beat Mackenzie," to name a few) and the lead-hero-mecha turning into 19th-century-locomotive capable of space flight, on a quest to navigate all 50 planets in the system within the course of a year.

First Track 11

Interestingly, while the lead mecha is the TV-83X Sasuraiger, it was originally known as the "Batrain." This name can be seen emblazened on the tender of Takatoku's larger Sasuraiger toy. The smaller toy was picked up, like many of the other smaller Takatoku mecha toys, by Mark, and in turn, Select for the Convertors line.

First Track 10

The figure pictured is, in fact, the American Convertors version. The box comes from a knock-off of the Japanese version (the knock-off is virtually identical to this, except its hands are blue and it's broken now because the quality is TERRIBLE.)

First Track 9

First Track's bio reads:

Fast and clever. Converts into a train designed to protect Earth's rail transport networks which are important to supply defense systems.

First Track 8

Perhaps the most striking of the Defenders color-wise, First Track is actually made of 4 different colors of plastic. He's also the only Defender with chrome parts. Add to that the painted visor & chrome stickers and you end up with a very attractive robot. The colorscheme bears many resemblances to other Japanese mecha of the time, especially Super-Robots.

First Track 2

The amount of articulation is also noteworthy, if still a bit lacking (such is the mark of 80's transforming toys.) The head & shoulders can rotate 360 degrees, the elbows can bend, the wrists rotate, and the knees bend a little.

First Track 1

An unfortunate side-effect of the transfor--excuse me, conversion, the smokestack ends up in a somewhat awkward place. It's supposed to fold up against the back of the robot, but age has made my example a bit loose. The elbow joints also have a tendency to work loose, but this can be easily remedied with a small phillips screwdriver.

First Track 7

Another unfortunate aspect of the conversion is that First Track is a bit of a "parts-former"; the arms have to be removed, then pegged together underneath the boiler of the locomotive. Other than that, the transformation is a satisfying sequence of flips and twists.

First Track 6

The vehicle mode might turn some away, but I think it's every bit as attractive as the robot mode. A bad-ass robot with a big gun turning into a 19th-century locomotive colored like something that should be encircling your Christmas tree is something I find endlessly amusing. There are interesting nods to the robot mode all over, like the chest sticker atop the cabin & the red hands forming the cow-catcher.

First Track 3

I've seen pictures of the original Takatoku mini-Sasuraiger that show some additional stickers on the sides of the train's cabin. I have yet to see a figure with these stickers for sale, though...which is a shame, as the vehicle mode is just a touch bland without them. Nevertheless, all the colorful quirkiness of the robot mode is retained in the train mode. Also retained from the robot mode is the looseness of the elbows, which can cause the undercarriage of the train to hang just a bit askew. However, as previously mentioned, this can be fixed by tightening the screws. You likely won't even have to worry about it unless you plan on swooshing the figure around in the air, in train mode.

First Track 4

First Track is, to put it simply, awesome. The inescapably Japanese robot mode, with its wacky colors & giant chrome gun, coupled with the borderline ridiculous vehicle mode make the figure just as badass as it is fun and quirky. However, the parts-forming & the slightly daft alt mode might not appeal to some. Still, his superior design & slight scarcity (relative to other Convertors), as well as being one of the very few Sasuraiger toys, makes him definately worth tracking down.

4.8 out of 5 for the Batrain.

1 comment:

  1. I am holding him in my hands right now as i read this so thanks very much for the post, I actually won a transformers junker auction the other day and there was some crazy rare pieces in it including this little beauty and I love it. Not to mention a red Padlock robot, and no kidding an Diaclone red sideswipe, compelte with the Ralley front stickers, it was like christmas.
    thanks for the read now to put him on my shelf