Monday, 14 May 2012

TransFormers (Movie) Thundercracker

In many ways, Generation 1 has a lot to answer for. In reusing one mold - the F-15 - so frequently, it has enabled obsessive-compulsive collectors, and forced them to repeatedly buy duplicates of other molds in later lines, just to complete their 'Seekers' sets.

In recent years, however, Hasbro and Takara Tomy have taken a different tack... a rather more sinister tack... Starscream is almost guaranteed to be in any new TransFormers line (the only one he's skipped is Beast Wars, and that's only if you don't include his spark-possession of Waspinator). After Starscream, however, you tend only to get either Skywarp or Thundercracker in the main line, with the other being some freakish exclusive. Sadly, the movie line was one such example of this villainy.

Vehicle Mode:
So, what we have is the original Voyager Class 'chubby' F-22 mold, with its huge undercarriage and enormous missile pods... only now mostly in blue. It's a lighter blue than would normally be associated with Thundercracker, and features a fine metallic flake component, so it looks pretty good. Just to confirm that this is Thundercracker, he's got some red and silver linework on his wings and tail fins, all of which looks really cool.

Naturally, the oversized undercarriage is molded largely in pale grey, so it sticks out like a sore thumb in terms of both colour and size.

The more I see this mold now, in comparison to the RotF Starscream molds - both Voyager and Leader Class - the more flaws I see... It really does look almost nothing like an F-22, except perhaps from above... but from there, you see the robot's head and feet sticking out where the afterburners should be.

Robot Mode:
So, aside from the colour scheme, what's new in this version of the mold? Well, there's a brand spanking new head, which is much more G1-influenced in its design, but that's really it.

The head is actually pretty damned good... It features excellent light piping (including, strangely, in its mouth) and it's a very malevolent looking face. Not sure if it was one of the pre-production designs for movie Starscream, but it works pretty well. It's actually a shame an upscaled version wasn't made for at least one repaint of the RotF Leader Class version (although just saying that gets my OCD tingling)... I mean, I ended up buying several extras of that with the intention of repainting them (which ain't going to happen anytime soon, I might add), but they'll all have the same head...

The problem with the distribution of colours on this version of the mold is that it looks as though - predominantly blue - Thundercracker is wearing grey shorts. Other than that, the colour scheme works pretty well, though a bit of paint on the 'toes' would have helped them stand out.

My own personal Seeker OCD issues mean that, despite this mold having been superseded not only by the (improved but still flawed) RotF Voyager (which has never been repainted as any other character!), the RotF Leader (which only got repainted as a 'Movie Masterpiece Starscream' in Japan) and most recently the Dark of the Moon Deluxe, I'd still buy the Skywarp repaint of this mold (which was a US/Walmart exclusive) if I found it and had sufficient disposable income. Likewise, while I didn't pick up the DotM Deluxe Starscream, I did get the Thundercracker repaint, only to find myself frustrated by the Skywarp repaint being a Japan-only exclusive. Seriously, Hasbro, are you trying to upset us Seeker fanatics?

There was also a Ramjet repaint of this mold, with the original Starscream head, but that just opens a whole new can of OCD worms, because the other two 'coneheads' became movie-line figures in completely different molds, so I ended up not getting any of them... And since this mold and those used for movie Dirge and Thrust aren't that great, I probably never will.

Nevertheless, I am quite fond of this mold because, despite it's myriad flaws, it's a reasonable attempt at Starscream's body type from the live action movies... But I certainly wouldn't recommend paying any kind of premium price, even for the exclusive versions.

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