"Generations" Thundercracker Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: March 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile launchers x 2, Missiles x 2

*Images and text below from The official Transformers web site:
Back on CYBERTRON, THUNDERCRACKER was a master of using sound to his advantage. His fear-inducing sonic booms were tuned perfectly to the composition of the atmosphere. Sonic vibrations from his attacks could be felt thousands of miles away, generating panic in those nearby, and deep unease even on the other side of the planet.

Roll out for some serious robot-battling action! This THUNDERCRACKER villain figure features twin cannons that fire projectiles and 2 launching missiles to give his opponents extra trouble. When it’s time for combat, convert him into fighter jet vehicle mode, send him “soaring” right into the heart of the battle and deploy his flip-down landing gear so he can join the fight! Ages 5 and up.

Back in 2006, the "Classics" version of Starscream was released. Fans everywhere saw the writing on the wall. The Seeker sculpt that Starscream represented could easily be repainted over and over to be released as the other Seeker jets including characters such as Skywarp and Thundercracker. As the years went along, that's exactly what has happened. This sculpt has been released a ton compared to your average figure. In the US alone, here's a brief list in chronological order of release (with links to my reviews if available):

Whew! That's a lot of reuses for one sculpt. Well, now the sculpt has popped up again. This time fans have a chance to get Thundercracker at regular US retail instead of having to hunt down the long sold out Botcon 2007 version or pay extra bucks to get the Japanese release. Given the sheer number of previous reviews, this review will heavily focus on the changes made to the figure for this release and compare it to the Botcon 2007 Thundercracker for good measure.

Vehicle Mode:
Unlike Classics Starscream and Skywarp, Thundercracker's deco is intended to be a faithful homage to his original G1 toy, not a reimagining. However, being cognizant of the previous Botcon 2007 release, the designers had to find a way to make sure this figure did not wind up becoming a total replica of that figure (which would enrage fans worldwide in one fell swoop). The result is a figure that is distinctively "Thundercracker" but manages to be different from the Botcon 2007 release.

Thundercracker is cast in metallic blue, black, silver and translucent yellow plastic. This sounds just like the Botcon 2007 figure doesn't it? Sure it does, but text doesn't do the figure justice. The Metallic blue color used here is a darker shade than the one found on the Botcon exclusive. The translucent yellow plastic is fairly clear instead of having a "milky" look to it. The black and silver are the same however. Even without paint decos, the blue is a very striking color in a different way than the Botcon 2007 figure and it looks fantastic.

The challenge was not just in picking plastic colors, but creating deco patterns that would not replicate the Botcon 2007 release while still staying true to G1 Thundercracker. While some deco patterns such as the red and white lines on the wings and vertical stabilizers are similar to the Botcon 2007 figure, they are not the same. They are a bit more sharp and angular looking, plus the red on the vertical stabilizers cover more of those sections than the Thundercracker from Botcon. A tough of blue paint is found on the sides of the air intakes, matching up nicely with the metallic blue plastic. Where this figure differs from its Botcon counterpart are two key areas. First, there is no heat sensitive rub symbol on the figure. Instead, each wing has a large Decepticon symbol in the middle, a detail carried over from the G1 toy that did not appear on the Botcon 2007 figure. The second difference in deco patterns involves the air intakes. On G1 Thundercracker there were details on the top of the air intakes, something that was replicated on the Botcon version of the figure. Here that area has been left blank.

While not the perfect replica of the G1 Thundercracker color scheme, this figure comes every bit as close as Botcon 2007 Thundercracker (meaning it looks fantastic). The perfect synthesis would be to take details from both and mash them into one toy!

There don't appear to be any functional issues with the figure in this form. The missile launchers hold tightly to the wings and the missiles launch without a problem. The landing gear swings down well and holds in place. I'm guessing the sculpt may have been spruced up a bit since my Universe 2.0 Starscream wasn't exactly tight at all. Count me as relieved!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the missile launchers.
  2. Flip the vehicle over and swing down the blue foot pieces at the ends.
  3. Swing up the horizontal fins on the rear section.
  4. Pull the rear section of the jet back to form the robot legs.
  5. Rotate the fin sections down.
  6. Swing the chest section forward.
  7. Rotate each wing around.
  8. Swing out each robot arm.
  9. Swing down the end of the nosecone.
  10. Rotate the cockpit piece around (the robot head will now be facing forward).
  11. Swing the cockpit section down, the swing the chest piece up over it.
  12. Swing out each robot fist.
  13. Attach each missile launcher to one of the arms, or they can be held in the fists.

Robot Mode:
Thundercracker's robot mode presented a similar challenge as the vehicle mode. What parts could be incorporated from the design/deco of the G1 figure that hadn't been done in the Botcon version of the figure? After all, Thundercracker's deco is fairly basic. Almost everything is blue except for the forearms, head, top of his eweapons and feet. The torso panel is painted silver, but I noticed the silver it's painted is different than the one used on Botcon 2007 Thundercracker. This silver color seems shinier and more reflective, which really stands out strongly against the dark blue plastic.

Based on the larger details alone, Thundercracker already looks great, but there's more! If you look at the air intake son either side of his head, small red triangles are painted inside, pointing down. These are details directly inspired by stickers from G1 Thundercracker in the same spot. The "L" shaped lines on his shoulders are painted red here instead of silver as they were on Botcon Thundercracker. His face is painted silver with red eyes, another nod to his G1 roots. Right on the center of his chest is a tiny Decepticon symbol, a neat and welcome detail. On the area around his waist are two small red sections, another homage to a sticker found on G1 Thundercracker. Finally, the thrusters on his legs have been painted dark silver, which is an interesting choice since G1 Thundercracker had the same parts but in black. My guess would be that the designers felt that would be a bit too much black on the figure and went for a lighter color that was still relatively "dark".

Thundercracker's joints are all tight in this form. For those who read my Botcon Thundercracker review will recall that I mentioned his left arm seemed a bit more loose than his right arm. No such problem with this version of the sculpt. In fact, he feels as solid as the first Classics Starscream. This includes the holes on his arms and fists, which fit his weapons nice and snug.

Final Thoughts:
Transformers fans rejoice! No longer will you have to spend tons of cash on getting a Deluxe Classics version of Thundercracker. Even better news? He looks fantastic, pays proper homage to his "source" character and all the joints are nice and tight. Highly recommended!

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