Galaxy Force Toy Reviews: Thundercracker

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Cybertron, Decepticon, Galaxy Force

Transformers Galaxy Force

General Information:
Release Year: December 2004
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $25 (Depending on Import Retailer, purchased at Image Anime)
Accessories: Force Chip, Missile x 1


Tech Specs:*
"Thundercracker is distinguished for enjoying fighting more than getting regular daily refueling. This excessive battle-fever affects the entire Destron force. While his skills are as yet unrefined, Master Megatron recognizes his ability to encourage others' fighting spirit. He is always sighting on targets, even while disguised as an Earthly jet fighter."

Strength: 7  Intelligence:Speed:Endurance: 7
Rank: 6  Courage: 8  Firepower: 9  Skill: 7

*Tech Specs translated by Doug Dlin.

Like his G1 namesake, Thundercracker is a fighter jet working for the Destrons. Thundercracker is a name that has been used repeatedly in recent years, most recently in the Armada toy line as a redeco of Starscream. This time however he has his own unique mold in Galaxy Force.

Vehicle Mode:
Thundercracker is a fighter jet in vehicle mode. Exactly which jet is a tough question for me, not being an expert in aircraft. A search on the US Air Force site seems to indicate that the designers took elements of both the F-15 and F-16 fighter jets and merged them into one unique jet. The nosecond angles down a tiny bit and then the main body angles back in one unified piece (unlike an F-15 which has wings that can move forward and back). However, at the rear are two vertical and two horizontal fins, something an F-15 has, but not an F-16.

Note added 11/30/09: According to several fans who have written in (including jetstorm592 and baggler) Thundercracker is in fact a Sukhoi Su-35. It is a small scale jet used mostly by the Russian military. Thanks guys!

In terms of sculpted detail, Thundercracker has just the right amount. Jets aren't generally bumpy and choc full of external details anyhow. In this case much of the details are lines indicating plating, panels etc. The cockpit has a seat inside of it for one pilot and a control panel. The highest concentration of detail in a small spot is the rear section, where the Force Chip plugs into. Here you'll find tech details not found on the other parts of the toy.

Thundercracker has two missiles mounted on each wing. They're not removable, but they look great. Most jet Transformers don't have missiles there just for decoration, they usually serve as weapons for the robot mode too. This is one of the few cases where it is purely there for visual effect.

Color-wise, Thundercracker's base color is dark grey. However, some of his G1 signature color, blue, peeks through on the underside and the rear thrusters.
His missiles and vertical fins are silver, and metallic silver paint makes up small details here and there. However, the color that keeps things interesting is orange. Orange is used for the ends of the wings and the edges of other parts, but it is also used as a wash for the dark grey. This brings out the line details on the dark grey, making it look like its glowing with energy. This was a good decision as leaving those parts grey, or even just using blackwash would have kept the vehicle mode looking rather dull.

Thundercracker's Force Chip seems to be an indicator of his status as a flier. The symbol on the chip looks like the sun breaking out from clouds. Add to that his planet is listed as Earth, and it makes sense. The outer part of the Force Chip seems to represent a futuristic readout panel with a quantity indicator on one side and a display on the right. When you attach the Chip to Thundercracker in the back, the central part of the body flips up revealing a missile launcher. This can then be fired by pushing the grey buttons on the side (not the blue buttons).

There are three pieces of landing gear with non-rolling wheels, one under the cockpit and two on the robot legs (underside of the jet). Looking at these gives you an idea of how much the designers were tyring to integrate the robot bits into the overall vehicle. The robot legs are curved and shaped like the sections leading up to the boosters, for instance. Very cool.

One thing that I was impressed by with this vehicle mode is how thin it is in comparison to past Transformers jets. Most have a lot of undercarriage junk happening, but in this case it seems like the designers were trying to keep Thundercracker as slim as they could, and it looks really nice.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the Force Chip.
  2. Detach the boosters from the main body and swing them down.
  3. Flip open the panels on the sides of the boosters, rotate the boosters so they go in as the robot foot pieces come out.
  4. Fold the robot feet out.
  5. Swing the central part of the jet body up and back, then swing it to the side.
  6. Lift up the other robot arm and swing it out to the side.
  7. Swing the cockpit section down to reveal the robot head.
  8. Flip open the panel on the lower right arm to flip the fist out, then close it up.
  9. Tuck in the end of the jet's nosecone.

Robot Mode:
Owing to how thin the vehicle mode is, Thundercracker doesn't have any particularly big parts in this form save his left arm. Rather, all his parts are rather small and sleek. His legs are thin and his feet are downright tiny. I'm actually amazed he stands as well as he does on them. The designers went pretty minimal on the details too. His legs have some cut lines and ridges on them, but that's really it. The nicest sculpted piece is the head, which has obvious design influences from the classic G1 jets most notably the two raised parts on the top of the head.

Color-wise there aren't any surprises here. A bit of silver is used on the head, chest and lower legs, but there is surprisingly little color detail (considering the wash used on the vehicle mode). Personally I would have liked to see a wash on his left arm. The underside of the missile launcher has some nice sculpted detail that would look nice if it was brought out more.

The left arm is the oddest part of Thundercracker. Basically it's a huge missile launcher that you activate by pressing the grey buttons on the sides. It's just a rather large and ungainly looking piece and not particularly good looking.

Thundercracker has fifteen points of articulation in this form. However, posing him takes a bit of work since you have to take into account the weight of his left arm.

Final Thoughts:
Thundercracker is an odd design. The vehicle mode is fantastic with a cool deco. The robot mode is just weird with its oversized arm, undersized feet etc. Still, overall it is a fun toy with some nice design features. Mildly recommended.