Cliffbee.com: Activator Thundercracker Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Thundercracker
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Fighter Plane

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Thundercracker for this review



PLANE MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 12cm Width: 10.5cm

   An indigo fighter jet with some purple highlights, a bright orange canopy and black on the nose and thrusters. Thundercracker's colours don't really fit those classically associated with name introduced in G1. Considering that Activator Starscream did the Thundercracker colours first, it stands to reason that this repaint does something different - but it feels more like a new seeker character than an existing one since there's neither blue or red here. He sports gold Decepticon logos on his wings, facing backwards, and a neon red button on the top of the fuselage which activates (no pun intended) his transformation. The indigo and purple work well enough, but I find the indigo too similar Starscream's blue for this repaint to really stand out. I should point out that while the Hasbro pictures (which I've used here) portray this toy as a solid blue, which is much lighter than the indigo plastic actually used.

   Thundercracker looks like he could be a real fighter jet - although I'm not aware of one that looks quite like this, and I doubt that we'll ever one in indigo and purple. There's a prototype feel here, with forward swept wings and tailfins. The tailwings are small and sweep backwards while there are twin engines with a fair gap between them. While the Animated line features many low-detail toys, there are enough moulded details here for Thundercracker to work at this size, although he's a little dark for the detailing to work as well as it does on Starscream. We do get some undercarriage junk - the hands are visible behind his wings, but for the most part this is all jet. There are guns sticking out from underneath the front of the wings as well.

   The whole point of the Activators is an auto-transform, so much of the toy's engineering goes into that. We get a little bit of play value here - there are plastic wheels at the back which can fold up, They fold up a little too easily - I would have actually preferred something fixed. The back of the engines unclip and float around too easily as well - they can't clip in without affecting the auto-transform. While neither of these issue are major, they do count against his vehicle mode.

   The colours here are different but the choice of character feels forced and they do hide the detail, so Thundercracker's not as successful as Starscream in this respect. The hands behind his wings and loose legs bother me a little, but he's still a pretty good plane for this size. Thundercracker _looks_ like he could be a real fighter plane, which I appreciate, even if there's clearly some poetic license here. For the size, I'm quite happy with this jet.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the arms from underneath the wings and press the red button. The cockpit folds over while the nose folds away through a really clever gearing mechanism. The legs swing down into place and the head is revealed. Rotate the null rays on his arms down, flip out his feet, fold away the wheels and lift up Thundercracker's shoulderpads. This is a very well engineered transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 10cm

   An indigo robot with silver elements on his chest, which also features the orange canopy. Thundercracker's shoulderpads are silver while his forearms, feet and head are black and his face silver with red eyes. Again there's not really whole lot of Thundercracker in these colours, although the silver chest fits the character. The colours work well enough even if they're not really Thundercracker. There are no visible Decepticon logos here - only the pair now on his back.

   The bodyplan here is all seeker, with wings behind his arms - sweeping up - the cockpit on the chest and nose out of view. The landing gear on his shins even matches the patches on the G1 seeker shins. The feet are more like those of Jetfire than Thundercracker, but they work so I don't really mind. The proportions here are generally pretty good - more like a real Transformer than many of the Animated characters, which I appreciate. The head suffers from the Giant Jaw Syndrome, which bugs me a little, as does the smirk smile on his face. I'll admit that it's my personal preference regarding the head and smile, but I don't see how this sort of head is robotic.

   There are no gimmicks here but Thundercracker is stable and poseable, so I don't care. His head, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees all feature ball joints while the fusion cannons are attached just below the elbows, without getting in the way of his articulation. The heelspurs are useful while the wings on his back are close enough to his body that they don't cause any balance issues, yet still allow shoulder movement. The poseability here is great for the pricepoint.

   While the vehicle mode has some problems, this robot mode is good. The colours work better and while the character doesn't fit the toy, it's a closer match here than jet mode. The layout is very reminiscent of a G1 seeker. His poseability is great, especially considering that the engineering here is geared around the auto-transform. The head isn't very robot like, which is a defining feature of this line, but I can't really call that a flaw.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned he is a repaint of Activator Starscream. Activator Dirge is another repaint of Starscream who shares the mould.

OVERALL

   Thundercracker wants his colours back. While the indigo and purple is an interesting idea, this isn't really Thundercracker. The dark colours conceal his detailing a little but they're not bad otherwise. The mould is great and the auto-transform is really well done. The plane mode has some issues with kibble and stability, but still works quite well, while the robot mode is poseable and very much looks like a seeker. I'd recommend Starscream over this toy, and they're similar enough that I can't really recommend getting both, but Thundercracker is better than Dirge - 7/10

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