Red Alert, like all the Autobot Cars until 1986, was originally released in Takara’s Diaclone as CAR Robot No. 19 New Countach Police Car. This version included a small plastic and die-cast driver who could sit in the cavity in the center of the car’s cockpit. This version is unusually different from the Transformers release, featuring a police-themed paint deco similar to Prowl, with stickers to match this function. Red Alert was designed by Koujin Ohno. The US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Red Alert) was filed on September 2, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. USD281001 S).
Red Alert transforms into a Lamborghini Countach LP500S Walter Wolf Special with a light bar mounted to the roof. This version predated the main production LP500S, and maintains some of the iconic features of the LP400 such as the trapezoidal roof depression for a periscopic rear-view mirror. Red Alert is highly accurate, featuring chromed “telephone dial” wheels shod in rubber tires, stickers to simulate the black highlights, Fire Chief stickers on the doors, and even sculpted tail lights under the stickered tail lights. His transformation is a more complex version of a simple scheme: the legs pull straight down from the bottom of the car, the arms pull out to the sides from the door areas, and the hood folds down flat to become his chest. His robot mode distinctly shows his Diaclone heritage, with plenty of stickers and chrome highlights. The die-cast rear fenders of the car weigh down his feet and make him very stable when standing. He comes armed with the traditional shoulder-mounted rocket launcher, red missiles, and a red rifle.
Red Alert is prone to a handful of major and minor breakages. Like several of his brethren, Red Alert’s roof is a separate piece of thin clear plastic attached in only one point by a small hinge, making it a likely point for breakage. Likewise, his car doors are separately molded from brittle clear plastic, and melt-riveted on at their bottom edge. Even if they are unbroken, it is common to find them somewhat loose due to their lack of fasteners. Red Alert’s door stickers are also more susceptible to yellowing than his white plastic bodywork, and it is uncommon to find a sample with pristine door sstickers.
Like most characters of this era, Red Alert has a number of production variations, though many of the teething issues were worked out with 1984’s Sideswipe. The most notable remaining variant is that his rocket launcher’s chrome piece comes in two varieties: the earlier type fits like a cap, covering the entire front face of the launcher, while the later type fits like a ring, leaving a black circle around the missile’s hole.
Red Alert was reissued in Japan in 2001 and 2002 packed with Sideswipe (“Lambor”) as an excusive to the World Character Convention and e-HOBBY’s New Year Special, respectively. Red Alert was reissued in Japan as part of Takara’s The Transformers Collection in 2003. These versions are virtually indistinguishable from the original release. He was re-released as part of Hasbro’s Toys ’R’ Us Commemorative Edition series in 2003.
Redecos & Retools
Red Alert’s mold was first used in 1983 without a light bar to create Diaclone’s Car Robot No. 15 New Countach LP500S in three variations: red, yellow, or black, exclusively in the Powered Convoy DX Set. The mold was modified with a light bar and used for Diaclone Car Robot No. 19 New Countach Police Car. The plain-roof version was used as Transformers Sideswipe in 1984. Red Alert was heavily redecoed and slightly retooled to create Generation 2 Sideswipe. In Japan, the plain mold was used in yellow to create Tigertrack for Figure King Magazine, and in black and blue as e-HOBBY Deep Cover. The light bar version was re-used as e-HOBBY Clamp Down.