Posts tagged with "thundercracker" - 1
Posted February 8, 2016 at 9:30 pm

Armada Starscream from earlier in the Generations toyline was a pretty damn good Starscream toy.  It was a new version of... well, Armada Starscream, but shorter and with shoulder joints and you didn't need to have a Mini-Con to make his missiles fire.  It was a joy.  I mean it, it's a great little thing.  So much that when Cheetimus painted one up like Sunstorm I was like YOINK and bought that fucker.  

Well, here comes more!

This is Starscream Super Mode, because way back in Armada, when they redecoed everybody, they made them into upgrades of the same guy rather than new characters.  But Starscream's "super mode" was in Thundercracker's colors, and so when he got upgraded in the cartoon the English version dubbed in a little "I look like Thundercracker!" comment and the toy was sold as Thundercracker.  Otherwise, Starscream in this deco is known as the Starscream who goes total Linkin Park angsty and gets himself disintegrated by Unicron to make Megatron so way sorry for the way he's been a stupid jerk, DAD.  I'm serious, there were so many Linkin Park AMVs.  He tried so hard and got so far, yo.  But in the end?  (he came back as a zombie in the next series and then in the series after that he was totally fine, so... no, it didn't really matter)

But hell yeah I'd buy a Starscream Super Mode or Thundercracker or whoever.  I loved the deco on the original toy, which was certainly inspired by Thundercracker, but took a few left turns.  For example, his eyes had to be silver.  They really had to, to keep the rest of his deco silver where it needed to be silver.  And that plastic sprue was nylon, which is unpaintable.  And so instead of having his face be red-eyes-on-silver-face, Armada Thundercracker was red-face-on-silver-eyes.  Which is, you know, striking.  I'm very upset this did not pay forward in later Thundercracker toys.  

I do think the deco loses a little something when his blacks are gunmetal instead of black.  But whatcha gonna do.  It's my only sort of not-really complaint.  I like this toy a lot.  Give me more.

(spoilers: we're getting more)

Posted September 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Hold onto your butts.  We're about to get painfully nerdy in here.  We kind of have to, because I don't know if I have enough words otherwise to bury two photos of a simple and predictable Seeker redeco in.   It's Thundercracker.  He's a blue and silver Starscream again.  Let's move on.

War For Cybertron Starscream is technically a toy of Aligned Starscream, right?  Sure, the War for Cybertron aesthetic is blocky and having-a-nose-y enough that he can pass for other version of Starscream, and sure enough a bunch of the WFC designs were borrowed for the ongoing Robots in Disguise comic which is a Generation 1 book.  Some folks don't cotton to the idea of stylistic choices varying so widely within a continuity, and so they're happy to ignore the whole Aligned angle and just consider him G1 since he looks G1y enough to them.  

There was also a Thundercracker in War for Cybertron, and now there's a toy basically in those colors as Thundercracker.  He's being released in the same line as WFC Starscream, but only after the focus of the line shifted from WFC to a G1/Classics approach.  And since these toys are being packaged with comics, specifically comics which were written to these toys, thus placing the WFC Thundercracker design in this G1 world as G1 Thundercracker, he isn't even ambiguously a WFC toy, even though he's still sort of repurposed.


Here's the wrinkle that I've been mentally picking at.  While the Deluxe Class toys in this portion of the Generations line come with IDW comics featuring those characters, the packaging bios mostly ignore the IDW comics' specific interpration of these characters, content instead to rehash the original tech spec bios from the eighties.  Swerve is a guy who doesn't drive so good instead of being a insecure bar owner, for example.  The packaging presents the "original" version of the character rather than the version currently-appearing-in-fiction.  We're getting a new Armada Starscream toy and the Generation 1 comic books are gong to use that design for its G1 Starscream character.  However, if the pattern holds, the bio on the package will still talk about Armada Starscream rather than G1 Starscream.  The packaging will claim the toy is a different iteration of the character versus the comic inside.   

What I wonder is, does this hold true for Thundercracker?  And even if this is a question to ask, is it possible to know?  WFC Thundercracker's characterization is likely indistinguishable from G1 Thundercracker's.  So of course this Thundercracker's bio is just every Thundercracker bio you've ever read before.  And it'd be written this way whether it were WFC Thundercracker or G1 Thundercracker being described.

(I wouldn't expect the writer of this bio to know that Takara's Prime Thundercracker toy's bio takes the character in a different direction, nor would I expect him to feel bound by it.)  

What I'm getting at is that this is likely a toy that comes in packaging which claims it's two different versions of the same character, much like everything else in the line, but with Thundercracker there's no outward way for us to know that, because of things.  

And that fascinates me.  

Because I'm a weirdo.  

Posted July 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm
In 1997, in the middle of a years-long focus on Beasts who War, Machine Wars was an oasis of vehicles.  It wouldn't be until 2000 that Hasbro would give us vehicles again, and so this strange KB Toys-exclusive line of  redecoed European toys and unused G2 stuff was all the game there was to be had, if you were into stuff with wheels or thrusters.  It was also the only place you could find Autobot or Decepticon symbols or the names "Optimus Prime," "Soundwave," and "Starscream."  And as the one of the first real departures for these characters from what they're "supposed" to look like, it was an exotic thing.  It became less exotic as time went by, and doing weird things with older characters wasn't terribly special.  Optimus Prime's been both a shoe and a baseball cap by now, so an Optimus who transforms into a truck with some slightly different colors isn't as eyebrow-raising as it used to be.  And oh no, he had an exposed mouth!  ... and so has nearly every Optimus since 2004.

However, despite all this, Machine Wars still had some unique things going for it, which called out to everyone that "this is Machine Wars."  For example, it had two new characters!   The first was Hubcap, who shared a name with an older character, but was written to be nothing like him.  The second was Megaplex, who was a decoy for Megatron.  Like, he was literally an exact copy of Megatron's body so as to confuse the Autobots.   His entire existence was based around him being target practice for someone more important.  Another interesting thing about Machine Wars is that Starscream was the tallest toy in the line.  He was massive, while Megatron (and his decoy) were pretty small.  How did that work?  How did Tiny Megatron keep Giant Treacherous Starscream in check?  There must be a story there.

Well, I guess, too bad.  BotCon 2013's toy set went off in a completely different direction entirely.  Megaplex is no longer a decoy, he's a clone, and so he doesn't look anything like Megatron anymore.  In fact, everyone's clones.  Skywarp and Thundercracker and Starscream are also all clones.  The entirety of last year's magazine comics were also about repurposing toys from the Nineties as clones of the guys they have the names of, rather than being the real guys themselves.  It was annoying last year and it's annoying now.  And Starscream's now shorter than his Megatron, aka Megaplex, the clone of Megatron.  There's not much here that resembles Machine Wars to me any more, at least not the parts I found memorable.

And my love for Machine Wars is pretty nil enough already to have what slivers of stuff I found remarkable about it be ignored.  Excitement level... pretty low.

So, uh, hey, here's your normal-sized Starscream who's not really Starscream, or whatevs.

*half-hearted thumbs up, forced smile*
Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:46 am
Never in all my collecting life have I heard a knock at the door, discovered it was UPS, been handed a box from Big Bad Toy Store, and not known what in the friggin' Hell it was.   Seriously, this was a first.  There was this real moment of anticipation as I cut open the package to see what was inside.  It was like Christmas.  But, you know, a good Christmas, back when I got toys instead of underwear.  (I have to admit this is mostly my own fault.  I would probably still get toys for Christmas if everyone I knew weren't aware that I've already bought everything I want.)

But it was Prime Thundercracker!  I didn't even realize he was out.  He's a Japanese exclusive of some sort.  So I guess whatever event he was attached to happened, and I didn't check my Hotmail account for a shipping notice during the few days that it took for the package to arrive here.

I don't know how keen I am on Skywarp and Thundercracker being exact duplicates of Starscream in the Primeverse.  Starscream's design is pretty individualized, unlike how it is in most other continuities.  But at least Starscream's "First Edition" Deluxe Class toy is pretty damn awesome, so that mitigates this unease somewhat.

Thundercracker has the same stickers as Skywarp, but in different colors.  Thundercracker's Mini-Con's stickers, however, are different.  Which is neat!  What isn't neat is that this chrome version of Balo is just an upgraded form of Bulo.  I kinda wish he were a second guy.  Instead, he just replaces a guy I already have.  I've probably whined about this phenomenon before.  Let me also whine about "Silver Metal" Balo's chrome plating.  It keeps mine from coming together well.  His legs like to pop off because the chrome adds just enough extra coating to keep his parts from meshing properly.  Bummer.

Now I'm excitedly waiting for Slipstream to arrive next year.  The Transformers Prime cartoon is pretty light on worldbuilding, so I have to depend on the toylines to make me feel like this is a massive universe.
Posted September 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm
So I ended up getting MP Thundercracker.  I wanted his stand, really, for Sunstorm (and I bought some Goo Be Gone on the same trip so I can remove "Thunder Cracker"'s misparsed name from it) and yesterday we stumbled across a buncha Thundercrackers, so.

His colors are nice.  I might like them better if I weren't having to compare them to Sunstorm's, whose colors are just an orange-shift away from Absolute Perfection.  He's a dark, deep blue, and I like his charcoaly forearms.  Also, man, he's got some goofy tampographs, which I adore.  The ones on top of his jet intakes that look like his original toy's stickers I don't really care for, but the rest are adorkable.  He's got Kyde's name on one side and... J. "Dragon" Sass's on the other...  And there's "Sonic Boom!" tampos on his tailfins and weird tattoos of Reflector on the backs of his shoulders, visible from the sides of his jet mode.   These goofy tampos make him slightly less boring.

It's obvious that Hasbro thought they were putting the original version of the mold in this package, given all of the call-outs.  It claims he has a swappable face, which is totes not true anymore, and he comes with the original version's jet mode missile pods, even though they're not exactly compatible with him anymore.  The instructions, of course, have the original version depicted as well, so that'll give somebody an ulcer, I'm sure.

I'll have to decide if I'm keeping him.  I want the stand, certainly, but I need some time to decide if I want to keep the robot.  If you want one of your own, he's Toys"R"Us exclusive, so keep a vigil for one there.  They'll go fast.
Posted June 12, 2011 at 6:41 pm
This was insane even for 1991.

Once upon a time there was a guy named Thundercracker. He was just a boring ol' redeco of Starscream.  (Or vice versa.  S'hard to tell.)  Starscream was way popular and managed to be one of the first handful of original Transformers toys that got second and third toys.  Starscream got a Classic Pretender toy, an Action Master toy... but Thundercracker was kind of a nobody, so he didn't get that kind of attention.

But when he did get that kind of attention, yikes!  As I said, he was kind of a nobody.  So unlike Starscream, who was important enough to keep his appearance mostly intact during those years, Thundercracker could apparently look damn near like anything!  And so, after Generation 1 ended in North America, and Action Masters continued in Europe, Thundercracker got his second toy.  And, oh lord, it is probably the craziest damn color scheme you'll ever see on a Transformer.  He was purple.  And maroon.  And blue.  And green.  And gold.

Thundercracker before and after some unspecified tragic incident, I imagine.

It is a color scheme so insane that it crosses the threshold from insane terrible into insane awesome.

Who will dare to homage Action Master Thundercracker?  Certainly not Hasbro!  What retailer would carry this thing?  I mean, look at it.  No, this task would fall to Fun Publications, who could probably target just the very handful of people who'd care about the homage.  And, y'know, hopefully avoid the folks who look at it, go WHAT THE HELL, and then continue on about their day.

Technically, this BotCon toy is Shattered Glass Thundercracker, Thundercracker's mirrorverse counterpart.  You're allowed to be crazy colors in mirrorverses!  And so he  has a red Decepticon symbol on his shoulder.  But, dude, c'mon.  Action Master Thundercracker.  The Holy Grail of insane Transformers callbacks.  The one you thought they'd never do, and by "they" you mean "EVERYONE ON EARTH."  BotCon did an admirable job matching the colors on Action Master Thundercracker's nonstransformable figure to this Classics Seeker mold.  The Action Master didn't have arm-guns or proper wings, so those kind of end up whatever the plastic sprue breakdowns allowed, but otherwise he's spot-for-spot accurate.

This is why BotCon is awesome.

But my favorite thing is his jetmode.  Action Master Thundercracker never had a jetmode, because, y'know, he was an Action Master.  And so we finally get to see what kind of cracked-out jet mode Action Master Thundercracker would transform into.  And the answer is... yeah, pretty cracked out.  His wings are purple, his body is maroon, his intakes are randomly green, and then right down the middle of his nose the colors swap from maroon to purple.  That's my favorite part.  I love that there is absolutely no attempt at vehicle mode cohesion.  This toy is all about robot mode accuracy to something that never was really supposed to have a jet mode.

You can still see him when you close your eyes.

(Oh, hey, stealth homage.  His wings are done up like the wings to Action Master Thundercracker's "Solo Mission Jet Plane," his Action Master transformable exo-suit.  Neat.  That might also be where the green intakes are from, who knows.)

One small flaw in this toy being Shattered Glass Thundercracker and not the original Thundercracker proper is that it negates the awesome and/or tragic story that would involve such a drastic color shift.   I mean, consider Thundercracker, the fictional character.  For millions of years, he's this dark blue and black and silver guy.  Pretty conservative.  But then, out of no where, he's this purple and blue and green and every other color monstrosity.  What's the story behind that?  Did he have a stroke?  Is this a personal visual statement?  Is he attracting a mate?  Did someone paint him up like this as a gag and he's too colorblind to notice?  Did he lose a bet?

These are the questions that keep me up at night.
Posted May 28, 2011 at 1:32 am
Microsized but nonsucky seeker

Despite my still huge backlog of first- and second-wave Dark of the Moon toys, I'm talking about a third wave guy I picked up today.  That's just how I roll sometimes.

(You'll note a pretty mundane word is being auto-censored right now.  It's an experiment I'm doing.  Ad revenue from one of my adservers is oddly down this month, and this is also the month that, because of writing the phrase "Dark of the Moon" all the damn time, I'm suddenly classified as an "asssstronomy" site.  I'm usually classified as a film site, because ... I don't know.  But I was wondering if I ditched all the Lunar references and got myself back into the film category revenue would increase, because I'm a curious nerd like that.  (A curious nerd who likes money.)  Also, I changed all of the "dark of the moon" tags to "transformers 3."  Anyway.)

At some point in the past few years, I've started to really enjoy movie Starscream's design.  I don't know if I like it as Starscream, per se, but I enjoy it regardless.  Why these things happen is hard to discern.  Starscream's not from a particular design philosophy that I usually enshrine.  Perhaps it's rooted in how much I really like Leader Class Starscream from the previous movie's toyline.  And so a current attempt at that same design in a smaller size caught my attention, I guess?  But I had force myself to pass up Deluxe Class Starscream himself.  I had the perfect Starscream already.  But this guy, Thundercracker, isn't Starscream!  I don't have a movie Thundercracker.  There've been movie Thundercrackers, but I don't own any of them.  And, woo, such a pretty blue.  Yes.

Yes, I shall buy a Thundercracker.

I took like six pictures of his jet mode and every single one was fuzzy like this. I guess my Four Loko must have kicked in just before then.

And he's a pretty great toy, all things considered, once you get past the whole relative scale thing.  He's certainly not clear of robot mode parts on his jet mode underside, but he's no boat, either.  I'd say he has amazingly small amounts of robot mode parts silhouette for being a smaller Deluxe Class toy that looks as much like the movie's design in robot mode.Everything smooshes and folds up and compacts pretty well, even though sometimes that means it's compacting up against the undersides of the wings.

Getting him in and out of both modes isn't a frustration party, either.

Thundercracker comes with a blue version of Roadbuster's okayish chainsaw.  He also comes with a sword which I am guessing is the top half of the MechTech weapon that came with Starscream's Deluxe Class toy.  There's a notch at the bottom of the sword that looks like it connects to something else.  Hmmm.

And nearly most importantly, Thundercracker is a very attractive blue.  I almost picked him off the peg with my mouth instead of my hand.
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