Release Date: June 2011
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):
- Skywarp (Target Classics exclusive)
- Dirge (Timelines)
- Thrust (Timelines)
- Thundercracker (Timelines)
- Acid Storm
- Starscream (Universe 2.0)
- Dirge (Generations)
- Thrust (Generations)
- Thundercracker (Generations)
Four years after a Thundercracker was released as part of Botcon 2007, Thundercracker rears his head again as a Botcon 2011 exclusive figure. This time he was sold in a "Shattered Glass" Souvenir set with Galvatron. Many "Shattered Glass" characters take their "alternate" color schemes from some redeco of the character that has appeared before in Transformers history or the color scheme of another character. Thundercracker is actually based on a relatively obscure source: Action Master Thundercracker. This figure was only available at the end of the Action Master line in European markets back in the latter days of Generation One. For years, this figure was known (read: hated or loved) for its insanely loud and ugly color scheme. We decided to celebrate this odd footnote of Transformers history with this figure, but have no doubt, this is clearly a "love it or hate it" color scheme. It either offends your senses or excites them. No matter how you look at it though, it can truly be said this is one Seeker variant that most likely would have never come out at mass retail!
Often with any review based on a character from a previous generation, I like to compare the sculpts and designs of each mode to the other. In this case however, that's not exactly possible as Action Master Thundercracker belonged to a line of Transformers that (for the most part) did not transform. As the story went, Energon had run super low, so Transformers turned to a new power source known as "Nucleon", which never ran out, enhanced their powers and took away their powers of transformation. Thundercracker was one of these Transformers back in G1's twilight years, and as a consequence he could not transform. Instead, he was outfitted with a vehicle that transformed into an Exo-Suit around him.
All that said, it means that with this particular version of Thundercracker, his vehicle mode was widely left to interpretation in terms of a having a color scheme. His colors are based on the Action Master figure of Thundercracker, not the vehicle he came with. So what are his colors? Well, and remember, I'm totally serious here, the colors are: purple, red, neon green, translucent green, light blue and black. So what in Primus' name were the guys at Fun Publication thinking? Just check out the picture above of Thundercracker with his G1 counterpart out and you'll see what they were aiming for was a homage to one of the most garish Transformers ever released! The purple and red colors make up most of the vehicle mode. The green is found on smaller parts such as his seat inside the cockpit and his launchers. The blue plastic is found on the underside of the figure. For this mode's purposes it is found on the main body in small parts such as the robot shoulder joint as well as the triggers on the missile launchers. Black is used on either end of the figure (for his nosecone and thrusters respectively). By itself it's already a loud color scheme, but there are paint decos as well!
The paint colors used on Thundercracker are a combination of red and neon green. Neon green is found on the top of the air intakes in the front. Red is used for several details including the edges of his wings and stabilizers. Red is also used to paint the bands the wrap around the cockpit cover. There are not a ton of deco patterns in this form, and I suspect the rather obvious lack of symbols is on purpose. You see, part of the intent of "Shattered Glass" figures such as this one is not only to create the "alternate universe" version of the character, but also to allow fans to use that figure as the "regular universe" version if they want. Hence, the lack of a big purple Decepticon symbol on his wings (although a white one may have been neat).
The two missile launchers on my Thundercracker fire without a problem, and there is no concern about the missiles flying out on their own. The launchers also fit nice and snug into the holes on the wings. I've also had no trouble with the landing gear.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the missile launchers.
- Flip the vehicle over and swing down the blue foot pieces at the ends.
- Swing up the horizontal fins on the rear section.
- Pull the rear section of the jet back to form the robot legs.
- Rotate the fin sections down.
- Swing the chest section forward.
- Rotate each wing around.
- Swing out each robot arm.
- Swing down the end of the nosecone.
- Rotate the cockpit piece around (the robot head will now be facing forward).
- Swing the cockpit section down, the swing the chest piece up over it.
- Swing out each robot fist.
- Attach each missile launcher to one of the arms, or they can be held in the fists.
Since Action Master Thundercracker was "stuck" in robot mode, this iteration of Thundercracker can have its colors transferred almost one to one onto this sculpt. The same colors present in the vehicle mode appear here, but this time the proportions are different. His main body and air intakes are purple while his legs are a combination of light blue, purple, red and neon green. His arms are also red with neon green forearms. Almost detail for detailthis figure matches the G1 version's colors. It's a fantastic homage that doesn't end with the plastic colors!
Paint applications are done in neon green, light blue, red and neon green. Again it sounds crazy, but those are the actual colors! It's so hideously wonderful the fanboy in me gets a chuckle every time I look at the figure. Perhaps my favorite deco pattern is the head. The "helmet" section of the head is painted gold while his face is light blue. His eyes are the traditional "Decepticon red" color coming together to form a visual train wreck that you have to see to believe (and enjoy). Like Action Master Thundercracker, Shattered Glass Thundercracker also has a Decepticon symbol on his right shoulder, though here it is painted white, making it nice and "neutral" for whether you want this to be "Shattered Glass" Thundercracker or G1 Thundercracker in Action Master form, reborn!
All the joints on this figure are surprisingly tight. You don't have to use tons of force to move them but they feel very tight and factory fresh. His weapons still fire just fine and they fit perfectly on his arms orin his fists. I also like to store them in the back as the weapons fit nicely there as well.
To me, Thundercracker is awesomeness. He represents some of the best aspects of Botcon exclusives. He is a figure that will likely never be realeased at reatail, the color scheme is based on a fairly obscure figure and he is an absolute mess of colors that should not go on most toys. The thing is, Thundercracker is so bold and in your face that it's hard not to be amused. Keep in mind this guy is not cheap, and in essence you are buying a garish figure for a fairly high price. I said earlier that Thundercracker would be a "love it or hate it" figure and I stand by that analysis. Highly recommended, but only for those with a very particular taste in figures!