Armada Toy Reviews: Thrust (Powerlinx - red)

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Armada, Decepticon

Armada

General Information:
Price Point: $18-20 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Release Date: December 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3 (Advanced)
Accessories: Missiles x 2 for Thrust, Missile x 1 for Inferno, Missile launcher for Inferno

Those of you who own Powerlinx Thrust probably looked at his sticker art and the back of his packaging and thought "Wait a second...where's my red Thrust?!". While Powerlinx Thrust is a G1 homage to the classic Dirge character, many people felt that the color scheme shown on the back of Powerlinx Thrust's packaging was much more appropriate as a homage, namely G1 Thrust's red and black color scheme.

Hasbro had intended to release this figure as part of the tail end of Armada. Takara made a short run of 1,200 of these figures as part of their "US Edition" line where they released US figures in Japan. However, Armada ended before Hasbro could release the figure in the US, and at this time, the
fate of a "red Thrust" outside of Japan is unknown. Hasbro addressed this question in their February 2, 2004 Q & A.
When asked if this toy would ever see release in the US, they replied: "We were hoping to be able to release the red THRUST in ARMADA, but were unable to make the change in time. We do hope to be able to release this item at some point in the future."

Most likely if this figure ever sees release in the US, it would be part of the Transformers Universe toy line seeing as how Armada has erm...transformed into Energon at this point.

This review will cover the changes made to this toy for this release. It is suggested that you take a look at the following reviews as well:

Packaging:
One of the things that really irked me when I finally broke down and decided to buy this toy was "I'm going to pay $20+ for a $10 item and I have to slice the bubble open!". Boy was I pleasantly surprised when I got the toy! While it does utilize the same backing card as the US Armada toys, the bubble wraps around the entire card and is taped to the back, meaning you can just slice the tape away to get the toy out, and put it back and just slide the bubble over the card again for a mint in package look (assuming you retie the twisty ties of course). I was very happy to see this done as it makes it a bit easier to swallow spending so much cash on a toy that would have been less than half the price in the US.

The card text/art, sticker and comic book are all the english versions. However, a Japanese sticker was added at the bottom, presumably for scanning purposes in stores.

Inferno

Inferno is a very slight variant on the one that came with the "Dirge" Powerlinx Thrust (whim I shall call "Dirge" Inferno for the ease of reading). The blue plastic parts on "Dirge" Inferno have been replaced with light gray parts. This includes the missile and the hinge the robot arms swing on. However, on Inferno, the small "computer panel-like" detail below his Powerlinx point on his chest has been painted blue along with the robot face, so some remnant of the "Dirge" Thrust remains. Inferno's parts are still fairly tight, and his missile still fires well.

Powerlinx Thrust

Vehicle Mode:
The color change is pretty much a one to one replacement. All the parts that are brown on the US Powerlinx Thrust are dark red on the Japanese Thrust. The black parts all remain black. The blue parts have been replaced with light gray parts. Silver details on the US Powerlinx Thrust have been replaced with metallic gold. Metallic gold is also used for the cockpit window. Interestingly, the Decepticon symbol on the right wing has been pained a darker shade of purple than that of the US release. Although the symbol is against a black background, it still blends in a bit too much into the darker colors of red and black. I think leaving it the lighter purple would have helped it stand out more. Also, unlike the US version, this symbol is totally filled in with purple, eyes and all.

These colors are a perfect homage to G1 Thrust. Hasbro and Takara resisted the urge to go all bright and splashy, and instead went with the subdued color scheme that G1 Thrust had. The vehicle mode looks like a jet you'd find in the
Decepticon army.

Robot Mode:
Thrust's robot mode follows a similar color subsitution pattern to the vehicle mode. All blue plastic parts on the US Powerlinx Thrust are now light gray. All the brown parts on US Powerlinx Thrust are red. Silver paint has been replaced by gold paint, but other than that, everything else is the same.

Light gray was a good choice in color to contrast against all the dark colors on this toy. While it is lighter than everything immediately around it, it's sort of a "darkish" color compared to say, neon yellow or something. I did find it interesting that the designers kept the shoulders white (with the Decepticon symbols painted in purple). One nice touch is that the orange dot on the right side of his chest is a slightly darker shade of orange than the one on the US version, continuing the theme of "darkening" the toy for this release.

Of course, what helps drive the homage home in this form is Thrust's "conehead" appearance. When Thrust, Dirge and Ramjet were released in Generation One, the toys all had the same central body piece as the previous three jets Thundercracker, Skywarp and Starscream. However, in the animation (and subsequently, everywhere else), the characters were drawn with the front section of the jets up in robot mode. This led to them being called "coneheads" and no doubt influenced the design of Thrust. In a way, the toy comes full circle with this deco and design put together with the name "Thrust".

There do not appear to be any defects from reusing the mold. All the joints are tight, and the parts all transform correctly.

It would be easy to say that this is better than the Powerlinx Thrust we got in the US, but that's not being fair. Each toy is a great homage to a particular G1 character, using an appropriate mold. However, given the limited nature of this toy, you should be prepared to spend anywhere from $25-50 on this toy. If indeed money is an issue for you, you might want to wait and see if he gets re-released in these colors at some future time in the US. Recommended with reservations about the price.