Release Date: October 2012
Price Point: $5.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: Limited Markets (Dollar General, Big Lots! etc.)
Accessories: Rifles x 2
*Images above with asterisks (*) and text below in italics from Toys R Us.com:
Your terrifying THUNDERCRACKER figure has all the weapons he needs to wreak havoc in battle! In robot mode, his twin cannons fire launching missiles at his enemies. In vehicle mode, THUNDERCRACKER is a fighter jet with a landing gear you can flip down! Keep converting him from robot to vehicle mode and back so he can handle whatever his enemies throw at him!
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. Figure comes with 2 launching missiles.
With an ever expanding market in Asia, Hasbro China announced last year the release of several Transformers redec os for the "Generations" line that (at the time) were intended for a purely Asian release. However, fans got one whiff of this and they wanted these toys on the spot! Many of these redecos were rather inspired, while others were head scratchers. Either way, Hasbro US saw fit to find a channel to bring these toys to the US, in new packaging to boot! In an ironic move, while the Chinese versions of these characters were released on purely English packaging, the US releases have Chinese characters on them, representing their "exclusive" origin. You may sometimes hear these figures referred to as "GDO" Transformers. For those curious, this is not a Transformers term, it is an economic one, standing for "Global Development Organization".
The "GDO" line of "Generations" figures came in several scales, with the smallest being the "Legends" Class of mini-figures. One of these figures is Thundercracker, based on the Seeker sculpt previously released as "Generations" Legends Class Starscream and "Reveal the Shield" Legends Class Starscream. Check those reviews out (especially the "Generations" one) for details on this sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Previously the "Generations" Legends Class Starscream was released as a modified version of the "Reveal the Shield" Legends Class Starscream figure, with modified wings that had holes allowing the new "Null Ray" accessories to attach to the figure in vehicle mode. Also last year, Takara Tomy released a series of "EZ Series" (their version of "Legends") figures that featured the original "Reveal the Shield" Legends Class Starscream in Thundercracker colors. In a bit of a mash up of both these previous releases, this version of Thundercracker takes the modified "Generations" sculpt and some of the deco inspired by G1 Thundercracker to create a new iteration of the character.
This version of Legends Class Thundercracker is cast in metallic blue plastic, but a different and darker shade than his Japanese counterpart. Black, silver, gold and red paint are used to provide detailing. The black is distributed between the head, forearms and feet but not the thrusters on his lower legs, something the Japanese version did take care to paint. Most of the torso panel and waist are colored silver and the cockpit cover on his chest is painted gold, but a deeper shade than the one used on the Japanese version. The face and eyes are a combination of silver and red respectively, but the paint job is sloppier (at least on my copy) than on the Japanese version. The red winds up coming out of the edges of the eyes which is okay from a distance, but up close is very noticable.
This version of the "Seeker" sculpt is made to allow for use of two weapons based off of the weapons seen on the arms of characters like Starscream and Thundercracker in the G1 cartoon. In this case however the weapons have to be held in the hands of the figure since it already has weapons on the sides of each arm (a key part of the transformation scheme). You can also attach these weapons to the wings for storage.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- On each lower leg, swing out the vertical/horizontal stabilizer pieces.
- Swing the nosecone up over the robot head.
- Swing the entire head and nosecone piece back.
- Swing each of the robot arms up.
- Swing the Null Ray cannons forward to fill in the middle of the vehicle.
- Swing the legs up to the sides, connecting them to the underside of the wings.
- Rotate the robot head/nosecone around.
- Attach each rifle to the holes on the underside of the wings.
When comparing the Japanese verison of this figure to the US/China release it feels like the Japanese version aimed for a more "animated" feel while this version was going for a look more akin to the G1 Thundercracker toy. Part of the reason I say this are the darker colors, which were lightened up considerably when Thundercracker was shown in the animated series. Also, he has two huge Decepticon symbols on his wings which are lavender in color with white outlines, a design that pays more homage to the original figure than the animated series. This version also makes more use of black paint than the Japanese version. That one only had black paint on the thrusters while this one has it on the thrusters and nosecone (which is accurate to the animated series and original toy respectively). Both figures share the same red stripe details on the wings, a detail carried over from the G1 Thundercracker figure which had red stickers on his wings. Overall the vehicle mode looks great and I like the boldness of the Decepticon symbol design. I also have a preference for the nosecone being painted.
The weapons included with the figure fit snug in their respective holes on the wings. I prefer having them in as it "completes" the look of the figure in many ways but also ensures the holes on the wings are "filled in".
I still find this sculpt/design very impressive for a Legends Class figure. It's got a fair degree of complexity for its size and it tackles a design that has been attempted many times before with varying degrees of success when it comes to making a "Seeker" and having it resemble its animated counterpart. The addition of the extra weapons just makes it even better in my opinion. Highly recommended!