"Timelines" Games of Deception Thundercracker Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: June 2007
Price Point: $329 for Botcon 2006 registration that included boxed set, $279 for members of the fan club
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile launchers x 2, Missiles x 2

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):

Imagine my surprise when I realized I never reviewed the Botcon 2007 version of Thundercracker! Well, with Thundercracker suddenly sprouting up everywhere (even in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line I figured it was time to make sure I take at least a brief look at one of the most coveted exclusives from Botcon 2007. This review will focus on the changes we made to the sculpt for this release. All the reviews linked above can provide you a more detailed look at the sculpt and design.

Vehicle Mode:
When the Botcon 2007 set was developed, the "Classics" line was still relatively new. While the line was updating characters and changing others dramatically, it was decided that Thundercracker would be designed to pay faithful homage to the original 1984 figure as much as possible. The premium nature of the figure allowed more decos to be applied than you would generally see on a mass release figure, which allowed for this vehicle mode to stand out.

Thundercracker's primary plastic colors are metallic blue, black, silver and translucent yellow. Blue is Thundercracker's signature, and here it is well represented with a blue plastic that has a metallic shine to it. It's a really rich looking color and since it dominates so much of this form, it really looks fantastic. His nosecone tip is cast in rubbery plastic for safety reasons, but looks just fine. The vertical stabilizers at the rear of the vehicle are black while the air intakes in the front are cast in silver. The cockpit cover is cast in translucent yellow with a rather milky texture to it so you can't quite see all the way through into the cockpit. This color layout is almost exactly the same layout as the original Thundercracker toy, down to the vertical stabilizers being a different color from the horizontal stabilizers in the back. This fidelity even continues on with the missile launchers attached to the wings, which are mostly blue plastic with black on the ends.

Plastic layouts are one thing, but the decos on this figure are really what seal the deal to make it a fantastic homage. On the wings, you'll see red and white lines that run along the edges. Similar lines are found on the vertical stabilizers. Both of these details are a direct carry over from decals that were applied to the original Thundercracker figure. On top of each air intake towards the front, you'll see a yellow triangle with a black border and a bright orange rectangle next to it. These too are details carried over from stickers that were included with G1 Thundercracker. To add a bit more deco and detail to the figure, some orange paint has been added to the points on the end of each wing, representing lights. The one detail from the original figure that was not adapted to this version are the large Decepticon symbols on the wings of the G1 version. Instead, a heat sensitive rub symbol is found on the left side of the vehicle. Long before the "Reveal the Shield" campaign, part of the appeal of "Classics" was its callback to G1 tropes such as the rub symbols, so this was used on all the figures in this particular set wherever possible.

In a bit of a historical footnote, this sculpt is not exactly the sculpt used for the Classics Starscream figure. Instead, a couple of parts around the air intake were modified when this sculpt was redone as Skywarp, mostly around the air intake area and the robot shoulders. This change is relatively minor and does not affect the functionality of the toy adversely in any way.

The landing gear built into the underside of the vehicle still swings out and holds in place without a problem. During the time frame this figure was created, the Seeker sculpt was still relatively new so it would have been surprising for there to be mold defects.

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:
Unlike the vehicle mode, the robot mode of the Seeker sculpt has much more fidelity to the cartoon model from Generation One than the toy. As such, it is a bit difficult to have replicated the G1 toy's color scheme and decals exactly. However, many elements of the robot mode design do come from the G1 figure. For instance, while most of the figure is still metallic blue in color, his head, fists and feet are black plastic, just like the G1 toy. Much of the center of the torso and waist area is painted silver, with some black details filled in. The thrusters located on his lower legs are black and his feet have silver details on the inside, echoing the silver sticker that was found on the inside of G1 Thundercracker's feet. Silver is also used to paint an L shaped design on his shoulders, the lower part of his knee armor and his face. His eyes are painted red, taking a cue from the animated series where the Decepticons had red eyes while the Autobots had blue.

I think it's fair to say that this mode is faithful to the original G1 figure in many ways, but it's nowhere near as eye catching as the vehicle mode. Still, that balance works out well as Thundercracker was never exactly known for having a ton of visual flair. If the intent was to pay proper homage to the original figure and character, this color scheme does it very well.

In terms of functionality, all of Thundercracker's parts are in good shape. Nothing is loose and his missile launchers work fine. What I will say however is that his right shoulder joint is noticably more loose than the right. That is not to say that it is so loose it can't stay up. It holds weapons fine, but it is a difference that is easily felt when you position the arms. Other than that, there are no oddities with this particular figure.

Final Thoughts:
As a somewhat slavish homage to G1 Thundercracker, this figure scores high marks. Now that "Generations" Thundercracker has come out with a very G1 based color scheme, the demand for this figure has understandably gone down, but for its time it was an awesome reincarnation of the character, bringing him firmly into the "Classics" universe. At this point, he would still cost more than the Generations version, so I do recommend him, but primarily to completists.

Lightbox Gallery