Transformers Prime Thundertron Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Prime, Star Seeker, Voyager, Robots in Disguise

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: December 2012
Price Point: $24.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Sword/Claw weapon, Claw weapon/foot


*Images above with asterisks are from the The Official Transformers Web Site

Thundertron"Transformers Prime" features a cast of characters who mostly transform into vehicle forms. With the introduction of Thundertron into the mix, the cast of characters now gets a true beast entered into the fold (at least in toy form). He's also interesting because he is neither an Autobot or a Decepticon, but rather a member of the faction known as the "Star Seekers", a group dedicated to destroying Cybertronians. Why? Because they wrecked Cybertron in their war, and Thundertron feels he is the instrument of vegeance for the fallen planet. Featured in the "Exile" novel, Thundertron is technically part of the new continuity established for "Transformers Prime" even if he hasn't appeared in the television show.

Robot Mode:
Thundertron is packaged in robot mode, but several parts are tucked in so he would fit into the packaging. When you take him out, adjust the crest on his head, swing up the lower body "coattail" panels and push his hip joints in together. You'll also need to swing his chest panels out a bit so the translucent parts by his head can be swung down and out of sight.

Thundertron's design is meant to evoke a pirate from some old novel. Almost every aspect reflects this. His head design looks like he is wearing a "pirate hat" on the top of his head and that he has a long "beard" on the lower half of his head/face. His shoulders have armor on them that look quite ornate, harking back to the rather glamorous Hollywood image of pirates and their costumes. The lower body also echoes such classic Hollywood stylings for pirates. The two panels that flank his legs and the "coattail" pieces in the back all evoke a pirate's coat, with long extensions that cover the legs. Here, they just kind of loosely wrap around the legs instead of covering them up of course. These pirate influences befit a character who is meant to be a space faring Captain with a very particular mission.

While pirate design influences are all over this figure, some of his alternate mode shows through and influences parts of his design. The most obvious details are his feet and the lion head on his chest. Each of his feet have claws in the front, hinting at a beast-based alternate form. The shoulder armor on the articulated arms have large claws on them, bigger than the ones on his feet! Thundertron also features many angled and pointed designs that are reminscnet of feline teeth or claws such as the armor that wraps around his lower arms and the sides of his feet. Even the sides of his head have many layers that look almost like fur on a lion's mane. It's a very cool design.

In an unusual touch, his two lower legs are actually slightly different in design. The left lower leg features circular designs that look like small engine parts or cogs connecting to his foot. On the left leg however, there are claw like designs pointing downward leading to the feet. This is due to the ability of his right foot being removable to create "peg leg" and it adds to the animalistic look of the figure, even in this form.

Thundertron is cast in blue, silver, white and gold plastic. The blue plastic takes a couple forms. Most of the figure is regular hard plastic, but his tail (hanging off the back in this form) is more of a blue rubber. Blue is the dominant color in this form, making up most of the arms, waist, legs and feet. White is found on the upper body where it makes up his chest, and head panels. The silver is used on his fists and parts of his legs. Gold is found on his shoulder armor, forming the large claw pieces.

The paint colors on this figure largely echo the plastic colors. Paint colors include: blue, light blue, gold, copper, white and silver. The most heavily used color is gold. It's on his shoulder armor, the beast mode head on his chest, his thighs, right ankle and feet. For the most part, the blue is used for accents such as the edges of the panels on the front of his thighs and outlines on the beast head, but here and there it fills in a larger area such as his shoulder armor and right ankle. The blue is mostly use don his white chest panels while the light blue is found on the torso and the head. There, it works in concert with gold to form his "beard" and some of the details on the sides of the head. The copper color is used on the edges of the triangular shoulder armor pieces while the white and silver are used on smaller parts such as his knee armor and left ankle respectively. Overall I really like this deco. I think on its own, it is eye catching and the blue suggests the sea, appropriate for a pirate. The only misstep has nothing to do with the figure, but rather the assortment it came in. He is in the same wave as Ultra Magnus who is also blue. It makes for kind of a monotonous looking display on shelves, but by himself he looks great.

In a somewhat whimsical design aspect, Thundertron's right foot can be detached to form a claw/weapon. This results in him having a "peg leg", a feature related to pirates in popular culture. The other foot is large enough to keep the figure standing and balanced and it's a cool feature that adds character to the figure.

There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. I'm cheating a bit here by counting the ability of his fists to swing in and out as one point on each arm. A bit of the shoulder articulation becomes difficult unless you lift the triangular shoulder armor pieces up and out of the way a bit, otherwise the shoulder armor pieces connected to the arms winds up pushing down and the arm can't move as freely. I'm not sure why, but right out of the box the left side panel attached to the hip already had a stress mark on the plastic, so be careful. It has not broken or anything, but I felt it important to point out. As mentioned earlier, you can detach the right foot and use the heel peg to use it as a weapon. Thundertron also includes a sword accessory that is attached to a claw/base. Push the base down and the sword swings forward while a light activates at the same time, shining through the blue translucent blade. Unfortunately, this has the same problem other figures in this line do: the weapon cannot lock into place. Now I grant, the sword blade is long enough that it looks fine as is, but it would be nice to have the option to lock it in place.

Thundertron has 5mm connection points on his fists, hips, forearms and back. I especially dig the connection point on his hips because you can attach his sword to it and it looks like his sword is being held against his hip in classic "pirate/sailor" style. In addition to all these connection points he also has two on the sword weapon itself at the base. This allows for a bit of a "cheat" if you want his sword to remain in its deployed position and not spring back. If you attach his foot/claw weapon to the side where the battery compartment has a "+" sign and angle the claws down a bit, they can partly hold the blade in place. It probably won't hold up to play as I imagine moving the figure around a bit will undo this, but for display purposes it works!

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons if attached.
  2. Ensure the right foot is attached.
  3. Push the robot head forward and down a bit (it won't totally sink in).
  4. Swing the translucent pieces on either side of the head up.
  5. Push the beast mode head up.
  6. Push in each robot fist into the forearm.
  7. Swing the arms out to the sides and rotate them around so the shoulder armor attached to the arm faces down.
  8. Push each arm in, with the shoulder armor meeting in the middle.
  9. Swing each of the articulated shoulder armor pieces down, tucking them against the forearm pieces using the tabs on the articulated pieces against the corresponding slits on the forearms.
  10. Pull the hip joints outwards to the sides.
  11. Push the pelvis/tail section down.
  12. Rotate the robot legs around, then bend them at the knees and rotate the feet to form the rear legs.
  13. Rotate the front claws around so they point forward and down.
  14. Attach the weapon to the hole on the back of the figure or to the sides at the hips.
  15. Swing the outer claws on his rear feet back.

Beast Mode:
For lack of a better term, Thundertron is a very sleek looking "space lion" in this form. He almost looks like a modern day interpretation of what a Voltron lion would look like if it wasn't blocky or tube shaped, but instead looked sharp, fierce, angled and sleek all at the same time. While Thundertron is a beast for sure, there are no organics at work here. He's pure machinery as evidenced by the more robotic designs appearing on all four legs such as tubes, circular machinery and wires on the chest. Even the most beast like section, namely the head, is angled with mechanical looking detailing. His brow is beveled over his eyes and his snout comes to hard angles rather than the smooth curves of an organic animal. He even has some more subtle mechanical details including vent like designs on the outer claws on the rear legs. One of my favorite design aspects are the wings on his sides, connected to the hips. In robot mode they looked like the bottom of a pirate's coat. Here they look like wings for a space lion. I really like this design form an aesthetic point of view.

This mode uses the same basic paint and plastic colors as the robot mode, but emphasis is different thanks to the way parts come together. His head along with his "mane" is mostly white with blue and gold detailing. Some more white paint shows up on the sides in the form of stripes and the "Star Seeker" symbol, a fascinating amalgam of the Autobot and Decepticon symbols with swords underneath. My favorite deco on this figure is found on the "wings" and the "coattails". At the end of each you'll find a beautiful silver spray op that looks awesome. Overall I'm very happy with the deco on this figure.

In this form, you can use Thundertron's weapon on his back to slice away at enemies at his side or in front. You can also attach extra weapons to the sword base, giving him potential firepower on top of this. Thundertron has ten points of articulation, most of which are focused on the rear legs. Due to the way he transforms, the front legs can't really move much. I'm actually okay with this since it's not like he's a brick, he does have posability and combined with his play features equal a cool beast mode.

Final Thoughts:
Thundertron isn't a perfect toy, but he's a cool one for sure. I love how different his aesthetic is from other figures in the line and I dig his "space lion" form. The main strikes against the figure are the lack of ability for his weapon to lock in its activated form (but he's hardly unique in this sense) and the stress marks on my copy's hip piece. Recommended, but it's not for everyone.