A long-surviving part of my original childhood Armada collection, I remember buying this figure from Wal-Mart as a wee lad during Armada’s waning days on the air. By then, most of the original molds and colors had been replaced on the shelves by the Unicron Battles recolors and retools, so I couldn’t get my hands on Red Alert in his original palette as I wanted.
This Powerlinx recolor uses the exact same mold as the original first-run of Red Alert from 2002. I’m not keen on the orange, but I think it’s actually a little more detailed in paint apps than the original.
Even though they’re robots with perfectly replaceable limbs, Red Alert lost his left hand in battle and cites that as his reason for his cursed gun-arm that’s totally more practical even though he’s a medic.
He does actually come with swappable options for his gun-arm though; they’re stored in the rear flaps of his ambulance mode, which are incredibly inconvenient kibble plates that can fold down on his knees in robot mode.
The other flap contains a flip-up clear battle screen, for use by what I’d assume to be a Mini-Con. Most Mini-Cons are too big to sit on his flaps and make pragmatic use of this though, pus it just looks silly.
Machine gun arm is sure deadly.
The arms actually have a pretty good and free range of motion on their own; the only slightly weird thing is that rotating them backwards or forwards at the shoulder takes the door flap with it, making it look a bit strange if you have the arm pointing out with the flap facing vertically.
The legs on the other hand, aren’t so great. As I mentioned briefly above, those giant car flaps do get in the way somewhat. Other than constantly bumping against what basically amounts to his entire ambulance roof on his back, this stuff pretty much negates all his leg dynamics.
The metallic red paint on the front of his legs is a nice touch though; that wasn’t there on the original colored run, if I recall correctly.
For a figure like this, Red Alert is actually loaded with a fair amount of gimmicks, most of which are Mini-Con activated. Setting Longarm onto his hood-mounted Mini-Con port will open his spring-loaded grill. Pulling back will then fire a neat little black Autobot Disk of
Your Impending Doom Medical Aid.
The firing mechanism actually has a fair bit of power, so don’t go pointing Red Alert’s chest at anybody’s eye. The disk itself is pretty boring; I’ve considered touching it up a bit by painting the Autobot logo in, but ultimately never got around to it. Wait, is it supposed to be a tire?
Another key Mini-Con hard point is on Red’s emergency lights, which actually activate lights and sounds!
They’re pretty cringe-worthy though. Pushing forward on it will have some cheap little red lights flash, along with someone (clearly not Red Alert’s voice actor) hammily declaring, “RED UH-LURT! WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO-WOO!” (Thanks, Transformers Wiki, for that one).
Pulling back on the Mini-Con will activate a spring-loaded shoulder cannon though. This gimmick is actually pretty cool.
But that’s not all.
The cannon can actually detach and become a hand-held gun. There’s just no end to the fun here.
The cannon/gun actually doesn’t technically fire a missile, beam, or violent projectile meant to kill. This guy’s a medic after all (let’s not talk about how his disk is supposed to be used).
In-series, Red Alert actually fires this cannon to save Mini-Cons; it’s supposed to be attached to a wire and act as a recovery/rescue claw. The claw function is replicated here, which is neat considering it even articulates, but there’s no string, and it fires as a regular spring-loaded missile when the little black button on the cannon is pushed.
Taking a quick look at Red Alert’s Mini-Con partner, Longarm.
Longarm’s nothing remarkable; pretty limited and clear articulation like most Mini-Cons. His crane ironically makes him backheavy but also serves to counter that problem by acting as a third leg.
Longarm’s vehicle mode. The actual crane itself is articulated and can fold, along with a neat little hook that can probably hold a Christmas ornament up.
And lastly, getting to his ambulance mode. This is apparently a BMW X5 rescue SUV? I’ve never seen/heard of the real thing, but I’ll buy that. Overall this is a really solid and well-detailed vehicle mode; you can tell it has excellent paint apps because its stayed relatively clean despite going through the roughing up I gave it during my childhood.
The only awkward thing is the legs poking out of the back and Red Alert’s head seen clearly through the not-tinted-enough windshield.
Attack mode. All of the concealed weapons are still usable in vehicle mode. The doors are just open to show that they conveniently open like actual car doors for transformation.
All told, Red Alert’s not too bad of an Armada era figure. The Powerlinx coloring kinda takes the Red out of Red Alert though. Not gonna lie, getting decent poses are a bit difficult with his funky proportions (his chest sticks out way too much to look remotely normal) and the legs don’t like working with you much. Other than that, on display he’s a necessary addition to the Autobot team.