Cliffbee.com: Henkei Thrust Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Thrust
Series: Henkei
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Air Warrior
Alternate Mode: Modified F-15 Fighter Jet

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Thrust for this review.



JET MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 15.5cm Width: 14.5cm

   A maroon F-15 fighter based on the original toy, Thrust is repaint and retool of Henkei Ramjet. His grey wings are wide and quite short with some light grey lightning-esque painted details. The wings sport backwards-facing stamped Destron logos but lack the maroon VTOL pods seen on both the original toy and the BotCon exclusive Classics Thrust. There are detachable red VTOL pods underneath the grey stabilisers at the rear. The inside of his cockpit and part of the grey missile launchers underneath the wings are chrome silver while the canopy is colourless plastic. There's a small forward-facing Destron logo on the nose, which is painted grey. While it's a decent colour scheme, I'm not sold on the mid grey used here - it's much lighter than the slightly metallic black of the original and the black seen in the cartoon. It's clearly Thrust, but black would have been much better. The chrome feels somewhat gratuitous, and while it's nice of TakaraTomy to add in the chrome, it doesn't really bring anything.

   The basic Classics seeker is a fairly realistic F-15, and forms the basis for Thrust - the modifications here invariably affect this realism. The wings and stabilisers are vastly different, as mentioned they feature VTOL fans. The nosecone is shorter than an actual F-15's - a feature carried over from Ramjet - a by-product of the robot mode being designed as a conehead (unlike G1 Thrust).

   Interestingly, the retooling of his wings and stabilisers is different to that of the BotCon toy. I prefer the integrated-into-wing VTOL pods of the Classics version, which is more compact and natural. You can detach the pods on Henkei Thrust and plug them into holes in his wings - either below the wings, meaning the missile launchers sit on top of the wings - or above where they float awkwardly, but allow the missile launchers to sit underneath. The toy comes shipped with the pods underneath the tailfins - which seems to be TakaraTomy's suggested configuration. Mind you, they also suggest leaving the wings down in robot mode, which matches neither the G1 toy or cartoon (and will likely be ignored by most fans).

   The missiles fire about a metre, and aren't susceptible to popping out the moment you touch the triggers, which I appreciate. The launchers detach for his transformation, but I'm happy to report that the wings and tailfins do not - fuselage-only G1 Seekers are far too common, but this guy won't be ruined by a missing tailfin. There are four pseudo-tyres underneath - moulded lumps rather than wheels, and Thrust sits flat on the table. The missile launchers are the same mould as on the other Classics/Henkei seekers.

   While the mould was modified for Ramjet - the subsequent changes to the wings really sell this mode as Thrust. The changes made by the BotCon crew for their version are more elegant, but this is still a useful retooling. The colour scheme works, although again not as well as the BotCon toy. I get the feeling TakaraTomy were trying to differentiate this toy from the BotCon version, and while the differences favour that toy, this is still a good jet mode. I like the fact that there are few detachable parts - the bombs do detach but don't fall out as easily as the bombs did in G1.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the missile launchers, extend the rear to form the boots. Flip over the wings. Fold down the feet and stow away the front wheels. Stand him up, swivel the wings up. Fold out the chestplate, rotate the canopy and pivot down to form the centre of his chest, rotate the nose to reveal his face. Flip out the arms and fold the chestplate back into position. Flip out his fists, give Thrust his weapons, either on the upper arms as traditional arm bombs or as handheld missile launchers.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 14.5cm

   A maroon and grey robot with the wings behind his shoulders - again as wings. Thrust has a white face with yellow eyes, a grey torso with some gold painted details here and there. The chrome of the cockpit is visible on his chest while the chrome on his missile launchers is also prominent. His missiles are grey rather than maroon (which matches neither the original toy or cartoon), although they're like those of Classics Starscream rather than Ramjet - and this shape suits Thrust better. The grey air intakes are now on his shoulders with gold insides, the canopy is integrated into his chest, as on the original.

   There are several improvements in this design compared with the original seeker design. For starters, this Thrust has thighs. He's also more poseable - the head turns, the shoulder swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. The wings are no longer detachable - and hence can't be lost, although the detachable VTOL pods are a needless concern. The hips are ball jointed and the knees have both hinges and swivels. The waist is fixed - but I don't mind. Adding to the play value of this improved Thrust are the missile launchers, which not only fire missiles but can be held in his hands. The conehead - which is now by design rather than retro-engineering, looks much better than the (unofficial) conehead of the original, since it's not quite so tall. This does impact on the jet mode, but I'd rather a slightly shorter nose than a Thrust with a dunce hat.

   As with most Classics figures, Thrust lacks any true gimmicks - instead the toy focuses on being a good Transformer. The added poseability, solid build, hand weapon option and thighs are enough for me. I should also point out that Thrust's wings are too high - they're meant to hang off his hips rather than back as is the case here - I would have liked to see some tweaking of the transformation hinges - but this is a fairly minor gripe.

   The differences between this toy and the earlier BotCon version aren't so much of a liability here. The white face suits the character much better than the black face and the grey groin is better than the silver of the Classics toy. Also in this toy's favour are the slimmer missiles than the Ramjet-esque missiles from the BotCon version. I do prefer the black of the other version, and don't like the almost entirely maroon arms and feet here. On balance neither version is better than the other, although the black works better for me, so I prefer the BotCon toy again.

   A great robot mode which clearly portrays Thrust. While it has addressed the shortcomings of the BotCon toy's robot mode, the feet and arms aren't well painted and the grey is again a little light. The stabilisers on his ankles make for useful heelspurs - the poseability is really good. The conehead works well and this is very clearly Thrust, so this is still a good robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Thrust was a Ganbo store exclusive, sold only in Japan.

OVERALL

   A great retooling which represents Thrust very well. The vehicle mode has some issues - the detachable VTOL pods should have been hardwired to the wings and they can't hold the missile launchers, but the robot mode has addressed some (minor) issues on the BotCon version. The colours are good but I really would have preferred at least a darker grey if not black for his secondary colour. These are fairly minor issues on a very good toy. The BotCon toy _is_ stronger overall, mainly on the strength of the vehicle mode - but I certainly wouldn't recommend against this toy if you get the opportunity to buy it - 8.5/10

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