"Generations" IDW Thundercracker Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: August 2013
Price Point: $14.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Assault Cannons x 2

*Images above with asterisks(*) and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Thundercracker believes that the ability to fly is the ultimate expression of evolution among his kind. He views all those without it as inferior beings, doomed to crawl and struggle in the dust. He proves this to himself over and over by taking every opportunity to attack those below him. But his sneering superiority hides deep insecurity. He's unsure of himself as a warrior, doubts his commitment to the Decepticon cause and suffers an almost crippling fear of someday being trapped on the ground. The battle between Autobot and Decepticon is never over and this Thunder cracker figure is the next generation of awesome Transformers action. Your Thunder cracker figure is a hardcore Decepticon with spinning assault cannons that will make any Autobot think twice before taking him on. When he needs to do recon or launch an attack from above, convert him to Cybertronian fighter jet mode. Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his Autobot enemies dish out.

Thundercracker2012's big "Transformers" multimedia event was not a movie, but rather a video game. Following up on the success of "War for Cybertron", High Moon Studios released "Fall of Cybertron", a game telling the tale of the exodus of the Transformers from their dying homeworld. In concert with the release of this game, a segment of the "Generations" toy line was dedicated to "Fall of Cybertron" action figures. Some of these designs would later appear in the IDW Publishing comic books. This figure comes packaged with "Spotlight Thundercracker", a comic book featuring the character. In essence, this figure serves two purposes, you can interpret it as a "Fall of Cybertron" Thundercracker and/or the "IDW Publishing" Thundercracker.

Several months after the release of Starscream, another Seeker has joined the Decepticon ranks in the form of Thundercracker, the Decepticon aerial warrior! This review will focus on the changes made to the Starscream figure for this release, so check out my Starscream review for details on the sculpt.

Robot Mode:
This Thundercracker sculpt uses the same sculpt as Starscream, with no retooling. My first thought was to look at his face, but nope, it's the same grim expression as Starscream's. If you love the sculpt and colors don't really matter to you, this is already a win.

Thundercracker is cast in five different colors: blue, black, silver, translucent yellow and translucent red. The blue makes up most of his amor, from his wings to his shoulders, legs and parts of his chest. The silver plastic is used for smaller parts such as the upper arms and the hinged sections that make up his shoulder connector sections and the parts that connect the back panel to the chest panel. Black is found on other sections like his forearms, head and parts of the waist area. The translucent yellow is used for the cockpit cover and his eyes are translucent red. These colors are all fairly iconic Thundercracker colors (which have been used several times before).

By themselves these colors already distinguish Thundercracker quite a bit from his brethren, but there are paint applications that help complete the picture. Silver paint is found on the torso, knee armor, face and wings. A bit of lavender is used on the "glowing" portions of his chest and black paint is used to detail the lower legs. Red paint is found on the wings, right above the silver "stripe" details. It's somewhat hard to judge how "accurate" Thundercracker is to his comic book counterpart as his colors seem to change from artist to artist. For the most part however there is enough color break up here that I can see how it took inspiration from the comic book and the game (with its "glowing" lavender parts). I think the deco looks great and works nicely as two different versions of the character in one.

One interesting note: I was told by a fan that he noticed a difference in the face design between Starscream and Thundercracker, saying the first use of the sculpt, Starscream had a smirk on its face while Thundercracker does not. This has not proven to be the case for my copies of the sculpt. I'm not claiming "variant!" or anything, but I wanted this comment acknowledged in case others see it too. I stared at all three copies I have of this sculpt (Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp) and the same head sculpt appeared for each.

Thundercracker's weapons are cast in blue and silver (for the gears). There is some silver paint on the top. These are the same weapons included with Starscream, resembling the "Neutron Assault Rifle" from the video game. The weapons still connect without a problem and the rotating gear mechanism works nicely, spinning both barrels at the same time. The joints on Thundercracker are all nice and tight and he retains all his weapon connection points including those on his forearms, legs and his fists. One feature I did not notice before was the ability for the tailfins on his back to detach, revealing three connection points. You can store his weapons on his back and then attach the tailfins to the hole on top of the combined weapon, keeping all parts attached in robot mode!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the angled parts that extend from the chest to the sides of the head forward.
  3. Rotate the robot head around and push it down.
  4. Swing the torso and legs up, taking the parts from step two and overlapping them onto the raised sections from the back of the robot mode.
  5. Fold the forearms over the upper arms and then connect them together.
  6. Push the arms under the back panel.
  7. Swing the robot legs back and connect each to the pegs by the robot arms.
  8. Push the robot feet up.
  9. Attach each weapon half to the underside of a wing.
  10. Flip up the tip of the nosecone.

Vehicle Mode:
Thundercracker's vehicle mode is instantly recognizable as an update of the G1 character. Here, his blue and silver combination of colors work nicely together, with the blue color being the dominant one and silver offering nice contrast. The strongest deco job can be found on the wings, where silver and red stripes sweep across the wings at an angle. Overlaid on top of the stripes are large purple Decepticon symbols. The cockpit is translucent with a bit of a yellow tinge to it, appropriate for the character. The lavender "glowing lights" sections all show here too, winding up on the middle and front sections of the jet fighter.

The aforementioned ability to store Thundercracker's weapons on his back extends to this mode, where the weapons wind up on the top of the vehicle, giving him concentrated firepower and a rather bulky appearance. All the weapon attachment points are secure and there doesn't appear to be any mold degradation even though this is the third use of this sculpt.

Final Thoughts:
Thundercracker is an excellent redeco of a figure I already liked quite a bit. The trio of Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp is one of those "must haves" for many fans, and it's cool that we are one step closer to having that team in domestic release. Highly recommended!

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