Cliffbee.com: Henkei Thundercracker Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Thundercracker
Series: Henkei
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: F-15 Fighter

Thanks to fatbot for loaning me Thundercracker for this review



PLANE MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 13cm

   A metallic mid blue F-15 fighter in the spirit of the original Thundercracker toy, with silver air intakes. For comparison's sake, the blue is slightly lighter than found on Classics Thundercracker. There are red and white stripes on his wings and tailfins. The tailfins are black (not the case on the BotCon-releasedtoy). Thundercracker is a repaint of Starscream and and Skywarp, albeit he's a _much_ closer match to G1 than either of those toys. The blue here is closer to that of the G1 Thundercracker toy than his cartoon incarnation. He has a transparent orange canopy, which sports grey ribs. There's a purple stamped Decepticon logo on his nose and two larger, backwards facing ones on the wings. The missile launchers under his wings are blue, with the obligatory chrome at the front of the launchers. The overall effect is very similar to the Classics toy, although there are many small differences.

   For the size this is a pretty realistic F-15, with a seat inside the cockpit, subtle but complex plane seams moulded on top of the jet and _underneath_ the wings, detailed engine cowlings and canopy ribs. The guns underneath his wings are close to Thundercracker's original weaponry, also.

   The missiles fire about half 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 while Thundercracker sits flat on the table, rolling would have been nice.

   The mould itself is a very good F-15 for the size and the launchers work well. A good paint job, and while the addition of black on the tailfins is a minor improvement over the Classics toy, the fact is they're very similar. There's a lot of attention to detail in this mould, and by this stage in it's evolution the paint mask is spot on. While some don't like Henkei's insistence on using chrome, but it's minor here (there's also black chrome on the thrusters, which is equally subtle).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the missile launchers, extend the rear to form the boots. Fold up the tailwings and rotate the tailfins forward to form heelspurs. 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 and fold back to reveal his head. Flip out the arms and fold the chestplate back into position. Flip out his fists, give Thundercracker his weapons, either on the upper arms as traditional null rays or as handheld missile launchers.

   I really like this transformation. Without trying to get too fancy, it takes the original seeker layout and improves on it. He gains proper thighs and manages to keep the wings and tailfins permanently attached, integrates the fists and both configurations are true to the original.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   Again quite faithful to the G1 toy - moreso than the Classics version, in fact. His torso and air intakes are silver, along with the face. His head is black and his eyes red, the orange canopy is now on his chest. The wings sit behind his arms and the tailfins on the outsides of his ankles. The thighs are blue, rather than the silver of the cartoon Thundercracker, but I can let this go, since there's no way the thighs could have been painted in the metallic silver paint used on the torso without serious wear. The Decepticon logos on the wings are upside down, as in the cartoon. A really nice touch is the underside of the wings (at the back here) - which sport the upside down logos and stripes seen on the front. Thundercracker has black forearms and feet. Curiously, the only allegiance symbols here are upside down.

   There's not much here that's not G1 Thundercracker. Well, he has thighs and gain articulation - the head turns, the shoulder swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. As with the original, the wings have to swing back accommodate the moving arms - but this isn't as pronounced since these wings are set back slightly. The hips are ball jointed and the knees have both hinges and swivels. The waist is fixed - but I don't mind. The feet are a little too static, the heelspurs are decent but not great, so we don't get too many stable leg poses. On the whole the poseability is good but not fantastic. The tailfins fold away a lot better on this figure than on my Starscream.

   As with most Classics moulds, Thundercracker 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. We do of course get firing missiles - and they are an improvement over the neutered ones the original had - but they don't really qualify as a gimmick. A common feature of Henkei Thundercrackers is that the missile launchers don't plug into the arms well at all - in the case of Fatbot's they don't plug in at all, they simply fall out.

   A solid robot mode but the inability of the missile launchers to plug into his arms is a real killer here. The poseability is good even if the legs are a little limited. Thundercracker is a fantastic tribute, and while the paint job here is great, the regression of his missile launchers makes this robot mode weaker than previous versions of the mould.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, he is a repaint of Starscream and Skywarp. There's also the Classics versions I've mentioned, which was limited in production like this toy.

OVERALL

   A really good mould and a fantastic paint job should make this a wonderful toy, but the failure of the missile launchers in robot mode really ruins this toy. Okay, the jet mode still works well and the robot mode is great otherwise, but it's a flaw which is difficult to ignore. The poseability is very good and the finer details of the paint job are great, so he still has a lot going for him, but I'd recommend the equally elusive BotCon toy over this one - 7/10

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