Transformer Armada 
Red Alert

It's another guest review - boy, this is getting to be a mighty popular feature!  Today it's a new reviewer, Floyd Wallace.  But I'll let Floyd introduce himself!

Just a few words about myself to start off. My Name is Floyd Wallace, I'm a 25 year old Theater Manager in NJ. I have been collecting toys all my life, at first as a kid and now into my adult years, I guess I never grew out of it. I have always been into Transformers, but I also collect Star Wars, the Simpsons, and (like so many other of my ilk) "whatever else looks cool" Transformers: Armada is something many Transformers fans have been looking forward to, and believe me they don't disappoint! Reviewed here is Red Alert, an Autobot. I don't recall off-hand what official name is given to this "size class" of TF:A, but it's at the $19.99 price point. On to the review!

Packaging - ***
Packaging to me, like most TF collectors, is just something stopping me from getting to the toy! The box for this is very attractive, with the new Dreamwave art all over it. Everything is displayed quite nicely, and you can easily see the TF in Vehicle Mode. It's not collector friendly in any way
that I could think of, unless you have a PHD in twisty-ties. Even then, the box is a bit hard to get into, and I had to rip the side of it to get the toy out. The back of the box features a brief summery of the Armada plot, as well as photos of the toy itself, and a small description of how the "Mini-Con Powerlink" works. More on that later.

Like the RID series, the box is tri-lingual, leaving very little room for much else. Unfortunately, no Tech-Specs or character information is given due to this shortage of space. Otherwise, the packaging is very attractive, and MIB collectors will be very happy with it.

Sculpting - **1/2
Sculpting on a TF toy is very hard to judge. These are obviously not McFarlane-like statues, where detail is key. Lately in the TF line we have been seeing a lot more time given to the head sculpts, giving us more in the way of facial features and expressions. Red Alert's face is a bit lackluster, with a basic grimace that makes him look like he's all business. The details in Vehicle Mode are well done, if not too interesting. The extra half star is given here for the inclusion of a sculpted Autobot symbol on the hood. It seems like a small thing, but we've been subjected to stickers for most of our lives, and this is a welcome change. In fact, this toy only has two stickers on the fenders, and the rest of the detail is sculpted.

The Robot Mode is very good looking overall, with the only problem being he is a bit disproportionate. His arms are way to small, and it leaves a very large chuck of car on his back, making it a bit hard to stand.

Paint - ***
With the lack of decals, paint is very important here. The paint work is very good, with no slop that i can see. There is a good amount of detail to be found around the grill, and in the "special feature" areas of the toy. My only problem with the paint, and it lost a star here, is that the colors are very lack luster. Although I am sure that the color scheme is appropriate for the character, the red on white just doesn't excite me. It's most evident in the Vehicle Mode. Without all the added weaponry that comes with the "Armada"  heading, the color scheme makes it look more like a toy geared to younger children. Kind of like a bulky "My First Ambulance".

Articulation - ***
Classically, articulation wasn't very important in the TF line. The fun was in the Transformation itself. But, when the Beast Wars series was introduced, articulation was becoming more and more of an issue. They started adding ball joints and making the Robot Mode more like an action figure. This is apparent here as well. While I won't attempt to count the points, there are ball joints in the shoulders and legs, as well as joints in the elbows, knees and feet. These make for some interesting action poses, but as I mentioned earlier, he is a bit hard to stand.

Accessories - ****
This is one category that is really going to shine in the Armada series. Red Alert comes with: 1 Mini-Con Crane "Longarm", 1 Launching Disk, 2 Arm Weapon Attachments, 1 Missle, a character sticker, and a Mini Dreamwave TF:A comic book. Several of these accessories, like the disk and arm weapons, are hidden when you first buy the toy. They are stored away inside the Transformer. The inclusion of a Mini-Con in all the TF: A toys just adds that much more value, not to mention play value (as I will talk about later). The one tiny issue I had with the accessories was the comic book. All the TFs
come with the same one, and feature the same tri-lingual dialogue that is featured on the box. Needless to say, it's a little strange to read. This is such a minor problem though, that I did not deduct any stars.

Action Features - ****
This toy is loaded with action features! Let me give you a brief summery of how the Mini-Cons work. On the Transformer, there are several "pegs" where you can attach a Mini-Con. These pegs either have a small hole in the middle, or a button to trigger an action feature. The Mini-Con "socket" has a small peg in the center to activate a button if it's available. Red Alert has 5 Mini-Con pegs: 1 on each door (storage), one on the hood (feature), 1 on the top (feature), and one at a "Repair Station" in Robot Mode.

When you attach  a Mini-Con to the hood, it opens the grill to reveal a Disk Launcher. Pull the Mini-Con back and it shoots a disk, also activating a firing sound and lights! When you attach your Mini-Con to the top connector, you can pull it back to reveal a rocket launcher (with firing missile) and lights and sound. Push it towards the hood, and your treated to "RED ALERT!" and siren lights and sounds! I can really see where the Mini-Con features are going to add to the fun value to this new line. Oh yeah...there is also a "Repair Station" that folds out of the Robot Mode's leg, featuring a flip-up display. Wow!

Transformation - **
This is a very simple transformation for a toy of this size. The Autobot cars from the RID series were much more complicated.  As with most TF series, the emphasis is on the vehicle mode, giving you a solid looking vehicle at the expense of the Robot Mode. Now, this isn't always bad, but at $20 I expected something a bit more complicated.

Value - ***1/2
With a boat load of action features, an included Mini-Con, and light and sounds, $20 is a great deal. The only reason I knocked off half a star was the simplistic transformation, and if not for the lights and sounds, this would be a $15 toy. When compared to the RID Megatron that was also at this price point, you are getting a far smaller toy with a less exciting transformation.

Overall - ***1/2
This is a great toy, with great features and accessories. I would highly recommend getting on the TF: A wagon. With more Mini-Cons on the way, this is going to be quite a good collection, with endless play value.

Where to Buy - 
I picked mine up at Wal-mart, and I'm sure they are hitting Targets and TRU across the country. Online you might want to try , they have the biggest selection of TFs on the net (that I've found anyway) and very reasonable shipping rates.

Feel free to send feedback to , and if i get enough positive feedback, maybe MWC will let me do more of these as i get them. Thanks for reading!

Figure from the collection of Floyd Wallace.

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