Armada Toy Reviews: Thrust

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Armada, Decepticon

Armada

General Information:
Price Point: Supercon
Retailer: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart etc.)
Release Date: March 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3 (Advanced)
Accessories: Inferno Mini-Con figure, Missiles x 3, Missile launcher for Inferno

Inferno Review

Vehicle Mode:
Inferno's vehicle mode is a missile carrier truck. He is mostly dark green, silver and light green. His detailing is nicely sculpted, with small panels evident on the sides of the cab section. A Mini-Con symbol is on the left side, near the missile launcher. You'll note on the sides of the vehicle mode, in the parts that become the robot hands, you'll see indentations which were originally meant for Thrust's missile launchers to attach to. Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, this feature had to be eliminated in the end (more on that in Thrust's review). Still, Inferno has one big honkin' missile launcher, which is very cool for such a little 'bot. Inferno's Powerlinx point is on the underside of the vehicle.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Move the arms out to the sides.
  2. Detach the missile launcher and set it aside.
  3. Flip the cab section forward.
  4. Attach the missile launcher to Inferno's arm or back.

Robot Mode:
Inferno's robot mode has a neat little design. He's a rather stocky little robot, with a wide upper body and legs that are not as wide (mostly due to the arms). The funniest part of his sculpt is the robot face, which looks like a bird's face. It has a beak and a larger eye on the right. It's a rather humorous appearance for an "evil" robot. Inferno has seven points of articulation including his waist and legs.

Inferno's instructions list an alternative "Attack" mode for him. Basically put his arms forward, bend his knees and have him face down. Then attack the missile launcher onto his back and fire away!

Inferno would have been cool to have in a Mini-Con team or by himself so having him be part of a Supercon pack is very cool.

Thrust Review

Thrust is an old Transformer name. Dating back to 1985, Thrust was one of the second line of Decepticon jets (along with Dirge and Ramjet) who aided Megatron in his quest to conquer the Earth. During Beast Machines, Thrust was a motorcycle who served under that generation's Megatron. In 2003, Thrust serves yet, another Megatron, but he is back to being a jet fighter!

Vehicle Mode:
Thrust is a jet fighter in vehicle mode. Dave Van Domelen's review (no link at this time) states that it is an F-35 jet. The official web site for the F-35 is: http://www.lmaeronautics.com/products/combat_air/x-35/. You'll see many similarities. Of course, take into account that being a Transformer, the toy is going to have a certain amount of undercarriage junk and the Mini-Con of course.

Thrust is mostly dark gray with light and medium green parts. The sculpted Decepticon symbol on his wing is purple, and his cockpit is metallic blue gray. Silver is used for detailing such as exposed machinery. Some red is used for tiny details which really help give the feel of a living machine by contrasting against the dark colors. The rear thrusters are silver with orange painted at the ends to show the glow of the engines. A fantastic color detail on Thrust are hand brushed black details. The interesting thing here is that since this is a hand applied pattern, almost no two Thrusts will have the exact same pattern. My mint on card Thrust and loose one have completely different brush patterns, and others have reported seeing different patterns on toy store shelves.

Thrust's sculpt is wonderfully done. The top of the vehicle mode has an intricate seriesof lines and etchings making for one complicated looking machine. Towards the center of the jet is an exposed fan and behind that there appears to be a panel misisng exposing some machinery. I really must say I like the look of the raised/sculpted symbol on the wing. The purple paint goes well against the dark gray background.

Mounted under each of the wings (but actually attached to the robot legs) are pressure missile launchers. Push the back of the missile and they will pop out. Inferno can be mounted on the back of the vehicle via the Powerlinx point on Thrust's silver platform. In a rather unique design, the Powerlinx point on Inferno also doubles as a trigger for the missile, so pull back on the vehicle and the missiel will fire! The jet looks good with or without this, but doing so adds a bit of firepower to the plane.

Thrust has landing gear built into the back portions that lead to the thrusters. Coupled with the landing gear under the cockpit and Thrust is quite stable in vehicle mode.

Thrust's vehicle mode adds another jet to the Decepticon arsenal. Between him, Cyclonus, Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp, the Decepticons in Armada really do have aerial superiority, much like they did in the original G1 cartoon (in the early years anyhow). It's a cool looking jet with fantastic detail and deco.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Remove Inferno if he is attached.
  2. Move the thrusters out to the sides, this frees the center silver panel that Inferno would rest on.
  3. Flip the silver panel up onto the top of the plane.
  4. Swing the front of the nosecone down and flip the plane over. Turn the flat piece the robot head rests on
    around, and make sure the robot head is facing you.
  5. Move the "cone" on the robot head back a bit to reveal the robot eyes.
  6. Swing the sides of the plane (where the missile launchers are attached to) out a bit. Straighten them out and
    flip the silver ends up to form the robot legs and feet.
  7. Move the thrusters down to form the robot arms.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Thrust shows more of the same colors that we saw in vehicle mode. His chest is mostly silver and green with a red detail on the right side. His eyes are purple, as are the sculpted Decepticon symbols on either shoulder. His upper legs and waist are green while his lower legs and feet are dark gray and silver respectively. On his head, the faux cockpit piece has metallic blue gray windows just like the actual cockpit from the vehicle mode does. On the sides of Thrust's lower arms are black washes that help bring out the sculpted detail there. I'm of the mind that black washes on most toys (especially robotic ones) are always welcome details, so it was nice to see that here.

Thrust's sculpt is well detailed in this form as well. His upper body has three distinct layers which come down to triangular points on either side. They go from a rather wide chest down to a small waist. This angular appearance helps to make the toy look sleek and fast. His shoulders are also quite detailed, with an intricate pattern of lines in back of the sculpted Decepticon symbols. Having symbols on both shoulders looks fantastic.

Thrust's head pays direct homage to the
original Transformer his name derives from. Generation One Thrust (as he appeared in the comics and tv show) had a conehead (where the cockpit became the head piece). This transformation allowed a big distinction between the appearance of the first set of jets (the original Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp) and the second set (Thrust, Dirge and Ramjet). At the time, this was important since they were all based on the same basic toy design. With Armada Thrust, the cockpit piece on his head could have easily been made to fold all the way back or just be a part of the cockpit while the robot head separated from that section, but having this fun piece of visual trivia adds a charm to the toy.

A Powerlinx point can be found on either of Thrust's wings. He has another one on his chest, but that doesn't become useful until later. Because of how wide his lower arms are and the fact that the wings aren't very far out from the main body, you have to be fairly choosy about which Mini-Cons you put on there. Some won't fit well, others will only fit at angles while others fit perfectly.

Many have noted that Thrust's missile launchers (attached to his legs) look like they were meant to attach to his robot arms as well as Inferno. This is true, and unfortuantely, safety laws kept this from becoming a feature of the toy (I pray that the Japanese version will do this, but I'm not hopeful). Some may ask why since the missiles are long enough. The problem is not the missiles, but rather the launchers themselves. The basic concept is that if you hold on to the missiles and push the launcher, it becomes a projectile itself. Personally, I would have preferred that they either: a) Not make the missiles launchable at all and just a cosmetic detail or b) Made the launcher itself longer so the weapons could be mounted on the arms.

The unfortunate side effect of this is that the missiles stick up from the legs so much they sometimes get in the way of movement. Also, it reduces the "firepower" that Thrust has in this form. This change was most likely made very early on as the animation model pretty much reflects this design.

Inferno's missile launcher can be detached and attached to Inferno's arm for added firepower.

Thrust has twelve points of articulation in this form, which is quite high for an Armada toy and deserves recognition. His arms alone have six of these twelve points. Articulation fans take note: his upper leg and knee joints are on ball joints.

Thrust's robot mode is primarily hurt by the missile launchers being stuck to his legs. However, everything else about this robot mode rocks, and really overwhelms the one flaw.

Transformation to Attack Mode:

  1. Starting from the robot mode, raise the robot arms up.
  2. Turn the head around.
  3. Turn the lower legs to the sides (you may have to adjust this if you're going to stand the figure)
  4. Lift the section with the wings out, then pull it forward.
  5. Attach Inferno (preferably without his missile launcher attached) to the Powerlinx point on Thrust's chest.

Attack Mode:
The Attack Mode is just a variant of the robot mode. Push Inferno down to make the wing section spin around and around. This can be seen as Thrust using a tornado blast weapon or as a shield of some type. Either way, it's a neat action feature to include in the toy. The only thing you have to do is make sure obsctructions such as the missiles on the legs are clear before activating this feature.

Thrust is a very nice toy. Had more of the first line of Armada Supercons been more like this, I think people would have a less negative perception of the line overall. Highly recommended.