Cliffbee.com: Thunderclash Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Thunderclash
Series: "European" Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Commander in Chief
Alternate Mode: Semi Trailer



SEMI TRAILER MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 28cm Width: 9.5cm

   A trailer truck similar to Optimus Prime, Thunderclash is a mixture of colours, with white being the most prevalent on both the truck and trailer. We also have red, gold, cobalt blue, baby blue and teal along with ten grey wheels (three sets on the truck, two at the back of the trailer). The windows and headlights are transparent pink while there are black stickers on the sides of the trailer with the word "TRANSFORMERS" emblazoned on these stickers. While I wouldn't call this a bad colour scheme, Thunderclash only gets away with this mixture of colours with the help of a lot of white.

   The Optimus Prime parallels here are quite obvious, but there's enough difference that Thunderclash isn't quite a rehashing of the G1 commander. There's an eagle-like sticker on the roof of the cabin (makes sense for a Commander in Chief, I suppose), with an Autobot logo on it. The roof of the trailer is covered in various armaments, which makes this truck different from Prime. At the front there's a gold gun, just behind this to either side are two large gold cannons, behind these is a stowed missile rack and there's a gold sight at the back with a pink window.

   The gun can swivel from side to side while the cannons serve as missile launchers, you can load a yellow missile in either launcher and pull back on the back like a pinball machine to fire the missiles. There's a cobalt blue button behind the gun which will cause the launchers to swing down to the sides, and while this is really needed for transformation it does give some play value here. The truck can detach, the hitch holds loosely using the weight of the trailer to anchor. The trailer can only turn about 15 on the hitch, which has a slot if you want to stow the handgun rather than mount it on the trailer.

   Overall this truck mode is a prelude of things to come. It doesn't really do a whole lot other than sit there looking colourful. While I wouldn't say Thunderclash's truck mode is bad, it really only does what it has to.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the truck itself, fold the hitch section down to form the legs, flip up the feet. Fold down a cobalt blue panel on the back to reveal the head, flip the head _halfway_ up, which will unlock the front, that unfolds to become his arms. Once you've swung out the arms you can fold the head right up and fold the panel up again. Fold down the roof to become the chest, extend his hands and give him the gold gun as a handgun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15.5cm Width: 11cm

   Again a cacophony of colour, Thunderclash has a white chest, red legs, teal groin and forearms, cobalt blue fists, upper arms and head while the top of the chest is baby blue and the feet are gold. I suspect the gold plastic used on his feet and gun is the brittle, troublesome plastic Hasbro was so fond of during this era, but my Thunderclash seems OK so far. The eagle sticker is now on his chest, along with its Autobot symbol, a feature reminiscent of Rodimus Prime. His face is gold with pink eyes, and a rather effective lightpipe. The colour scheme doesn't really remind of anyone - which makes Thunderclash a character all his own, and while I don't hate the colour scheme I can safely say that this is a good thing.

   There's not a lot of movement here - the elbows lift up 90 (actually they swing down, since they're up in truck mode), and that's about it. The hips swing as one but he's unable to sit down. The chest lifts up to reveal a Matrix cavity, which is kinda cool, if unintentional. Thunderclash can man the base mode of the trailer (which I'll come to soon), which largely makes up for him being a brick.

   The detailing here ranges from good to poor, depending where you look. The facial sculpt is impressive and the head has an Autobot leader feel to it, but the arms and feet are low detail. The six grey wheels hang off his legs which do get some detailing, and the pink front window panels sit behind his arms, not quite forming wings.

   Considering that this is the flagship toy of the year, the robot mode on its own is quite disappointing, but at the same time the focus is elsewhere. The play value isn't much here, but at least they've made Thunderclash _look_ like the almighty leader he's meant to be.

TRANSFORMATION TO BASE MODE

   Detach the cobalt blue back door of the trailer and set aside. Lift the missilerack up 90, flip up the sight at the top of the tower. Swing the sides out and forward to form two legs of a tripod, open the teal cover that's now visible, revealing a gold cannon. Rotate the tower, attach the blue door as a platform, pull down the red base of the truck as the third leg of the tripod. Fold down the feet of the rear legs and stand the tripod up. Place Thunderclash on his platform and you're done.

BASE MODE
Height: 30cm Depth: 36cm Width: 35cm

   An impressively large tripod, with a red front leg and two white legs pushing back to the sides. The gold cannon sits on the front while the multi-coloured tower, which includes the missile launchers, missile racks and the viewing platform. The legs are stable enough to support the weight of this gun emplacement _and_ the weight of Thunderclash himself, which makes this mode a success.

   The missile racks (which sit vertically) open up, allowing the missiles to slide into the open sides of the lauchers - you can pull back and fire one missile while the next automatically falls into the launcher. With twelve missiles included, you can fire six missiles per side before you need to go fetch them. I wouldn't be too rough, since pulling down on the base _will_ topple the base, but it's stable enough for the rapid fire gimmick to work. The launchers and tower can rotate right around, which is good, while the gold cannon will stay in its forward position. The sight is at the right height for Thunderclash to look through.

   Remember how I was tolerant of the rather static robot? That's because he gets to man this very cool base. The tripod itself is expansive enough to be impressive, and stability makes it better. The rapid fire missile launchers are very cool, making up for the bricky robot. This trailer makes a far cooler base than most have down the years, easily making up for the statue robot.

VARIATIONS

   None as such although Thunderclash was repainted (and, tragically, stripped of the missile firing capability) as Machine Wars Optimus Prime.

OVERALL

   With wacky colours and a moderately disappointing robot mode, Thunderclash seems like an odd choice for the line's flagship toy, until you unfold the trailer into a kick-ass battle platform which can be manned by Thunderclash. The rapid fire missile system is one of the best I've seen amongst Transformers projectile gimmicks, and combining this with the nifty tripod battle platform, we have a rather worthwhile set. Despite his flaws, Thunderclash is certainly recommended - 8/10

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