Alternate Mode: Attack Boat
Thanks to JuzMel for loaning me Thunderblast for this review (I have since acquired Thunderblast)
ATTACK BOAT MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 14cm Width: 8cm
A purple speedboat with transparent orange windshield and outriggers, Thunderblast's deck is largely painted silver while the open cabin features two black seats and a dashboard with various dials and controls, but no obvious helm. Behind the cabin she sports a large silver block shaped weapon, which has four moulded pseudo-missiletips at the front. There's also a single black deckgun towards the bow, which a stamped Decepticon logo behind that. The colours are fairly simple really, which I appreciate since you can't do too much with purple and transparent orange that works. the black and silver are both neutral enough that her colour scheme works - to the point where the transparent orange doesn't really detract (although I would have preferred a colour other than orange).
This is one the best - if not the best - hulls I've seen on a Transformer boat, which is made possible by a very cheaty transformation. Still it works, and I'll credit the designer for that. The shape is good, the only detail are streamlines running from bow to stern and there are no random gaps, as we usually see. She will happily lie flat on the table too, which is a great feature. The deck looks sufficiently boat like, too, with a clearly defined cabin rather than token windows somewhere pretending to be a bridge. The huge gun at the back can turn to the sides without her losing balance, which is impressive. I'm not sure how that would go in the water, but I'm not going to soak a borrowed toy to find out!
The play value here is pretty good. The gun near the bow rotates through 360° and there's a little console of sorts on the portside, so that a human (well, creature at the same scale as her seats) can man this deck gun. As I've already mentioned, the rear gun also rotates - again through 360°. The gun itself actually detaches from the base fairly easily (for use as a handweapon), so you might find yourself reattaching it after you turn the base. The base also has a hinge, it lifts up to about 30°. Plugging her blue Planet Key (code: dh62) into the back of the gun will cause the front to fold down and the top to spring out as a missile launcher. The orange outriggers detach to form missiles for this launcher, which looks fairly impressive even if the range is maybe a foot. I'm not going to test this borrowed toy to see if it floats, but I don't think she would.
A pretty good boat mode, if a simple one. The simplicity works in her favour since she concentrates on being a boat without too many gimmicks, and there's no kibble to speak of. I like the gun at the bow and while the key gimmick in the larger gun is somewhat underwhelming, it's contained there which means the gimmick doesn't get in the way of Thunderblast herself. While she isn't the coolest Transformer boat toy ever, the boat mode is one of the strongest.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
If you want to call it that - Thunderblast is quite possibly the most blatant shellformer ever. Lift up the panel on the stern, split the sides of the hull and fold right up, revealing the pretty much intact robot underneath. Unclip the stem (tip of the bow) which becomes her feet and rotate the legs into place. The feet are, amazingly, the only part of the robot visible in boat mode. While the oblique angle her thighs transform at is interesting, the rest of the robot is pretty much undisturbed inside the hull.
The transformation allows for such a well shaped boat mode, but it wont please fans who appreciate complex and clever transformations. The robot mode ends up with a lot of kibble as a result - and it was mainly the latter that prevented me picking up Thunderblast. I don't hate the toy, but the transformation just lacks the cleverness of many shellformers (such as those from BW Neo).
Height: 15cm Width: 10cm
Thunderblast is again largely purple, but there's more colour now. Her head, forearms, torso and gun (the rear gun of the boat) are silver while the groin and upper arms are black. Her things are painted gold, along with sections of the inside of her hull, which hang behind her arms as a huge cape. The purple deck head (underside of the deck) sits behind the robot, starting above her head and extending down to her ankles. Her face and chest are painted silver (and therefore are a different shade to the silver plastic of the head and chest) while her eyes are red and there's a red matrix-like sculpt on her chest.
As with many female Transformers, the robot's body shape is distinctly feminine. Her waist is borrowed from Barbie and she has long slender legs with high heels and long shins. The limbs are quite rounded which seems to be a common theme on fembots, perhaps as a way to keep things slender. This overly feminine shape is possible, of course, since the robot tucked away inside the hull, doesn't have to worry about being a boat. The overly feminine shape bugs me not so much because it's so stereotypical but because there's no boat in it.
Again the play value is fairly good, but there's a significant footnote. The gun fits into either hand and her hips and shoulders are ball jointed while her elbows have two hinges each. Her knees and ankles are hinged while the head and waist are fixed (since there's a plate behind them). The footnote is the boat on her back which causes significant stability issues and therefore limits the poses available. I find she needs to be wielding the gun to help offset the weight on her back - even then you're still limited in what you can do.
I'm not sold on this robot mode, simply because it's not at all innovative. Sure the robot shape is really good and there's a decent sculpt, but she just hides under the hull and ends up being a robotic Barbie doll with a boat on her back. I'd be keener if the cape wasn't so blatantly obvious as her alt mode opened up. Still, she does display fairly well other than this aspect - once you find a stable pose.
None as such although there was a white variant in Japan.
A great boat mode which unfolds to reveal a very obviously female robot underneath. I do like the boat, especially her hull and the gun at the bow, but I can't help feel shortchanged by the transformation and the resulting robot mode. Whilst I don't like the boat mode enough to want this figure, Thunderblast isn't without her appeal. If you like the robot mode, then I'd say she's worth considering, but the transformation is frankly not worthwhile - 6.5/10