Cliffbee.com: Cybertron Thundercracker Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Thundercracker
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Sukhoi Su-37 Fighter



JET MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18cm Width: 13.5cm

   A grey fighter jet with silver tailfins and stabilisers, Thundercracker has some bright orange highlighting including a paint wash in the lines on his wings. The nosetip is black, the canopy transparent orange and there are some mid blue undercarriage elements peeking out. There's a large Decepticon symbol on top of the fuselage, which looks okay although I would have preferred wing logos like those of his G1 namesake. While Thundercrackers should really be blue rather than grey, I don't mind the grey as much as how they managed to butcher a good colour set here. The grey with silver and blue would have worked well, as would grey, silver and orange, even grey, blue and orange - but with four colours there's just too much going on. He's not awful by any means, but three colours would have worked a lot better.

   The jet is reasonably accurate, with a few changes made to accommodate the key gimmick. The lines are good, and the seams stand out with the orange paint wash. There are two thrusters at the back and two silver missiles underneath each wing. The tailfins, missile and stabilisers are all composed of a soft silver plastic for some reason. While I'm not a big fan of the tailfins, the soft stabilisers really bug me. The missiles don't detach, but then being soft plastic there's not much point - and he has a hidden missile launcher anyway.

   There are three wheels underneath which can fold down, and while they're solid moulded, they're detailed enough to keep me happy. If you plug the blue Planet Key (code: d98d) into the back of the jet, the spine of his fuselage lists up to reveal a single transparent orange missile, which can be fired by pressing two light grey buttons at the back of the launcher. The missile travels okay, but considering how much of the toy is taken up by this gimmick, it's not terribly impressive. The open spine looks strange and it exposes the robot head.

   This jet mode is decent, and while it's Thundercracker's stronger mode it's not without some problems. The soft plastic has no good reason for being here, the colours are just a little too busy and the key gimmick breaks up the jet without bringing much. The frustrating thing about this jet mode is that it could easily have been great, but silly decisions hold it back.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold away the landing gear, swing out the spine to form one arm, lift the other arm out from underneath, lift out the legs and then fold to nose down to form his chest. Thundercracker's transformation is pretty much the Cyberjet model, which is 10 years old. He does have a couple of small enhancements - the right fist deploys from within the forearm and the thrusters swap out for his feet.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13.5cm Width: 12cm

   The grey is still his main colour, with the blue now becoming Thundercracker's second colour. His head, shoulders, feet and thighs are blue while the face and ankles are silver. The orange is on the periphery now, only coming into play on the canopy (on his chest) and the eyes - both are transparent orange. The eyes do have a lightpipe, albeit a pretty weak one. The colours aren't fantastic, but the fact that there's more blue is a good thing - even if this toy fails to evoke the G1 seeker.

   This robot mode is dominated by the large missile launcher that is Thundercracker's left arm, and this is not a good thing. The weight of this weapon arm makes Thundercracker tricky to balance, and even pulls the chest away from the backplate. There's nothing other than resistance in his shoulders keeping the chest and backplate together, which is really bad engineering. The wings hang off his back, and look pretty good, especially with the missiles underneath, and had they given this toy two proper arms they'd be a great backdrop, rather than kibble to help the arm look awkward.

   Thundercracker's legs and normal arm have good poseability, but this is sabotaged by his two main drawbacks. There are only so many stable poses you can achieve without him coming unstuck or falling right arm first. The head rotates and there's some motion in the right shoulder, although the right elbow isn't well articulated, limiting what you can do with the missile launcher part. The key gimmick still works, but is even less impressive now, since Thundercracker suffers so much because of it - by the time you fire the missile you're already mad at the gimmick.

   While the Cyberjet plan Thundercracker uses was a decade old by the time he was released, this robot mode has quite a lot of potential. Had they bothered to secure the torso and not proceeded with the stupid missile launcher arm, this could be a good robot mode. The colours don't really justify the name, but that's the least of this guy's problems.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Cybertron Skywarp is a repaint of Thundercracker. Thundercracker was sold on his own or in a twin pack with Crosswise. Movie Divebomb is a repaint of Thundercracker.

OVERALL

   A toy with quite a bit of potential, Thundercracker is a victim of his own key gimmick, which i much ado about very little. The missile launcher isn't really much to get excited about, and the compromises he makes to include it simply aren't worthwhile. The colours could have been a little better and the G1 homage is very weak, and while the jet mode has some nice aspects, Thundercracker is still a disappointing toy - 4/10

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