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Vault Review: Transformers
Prime’s AM Thundercracker

It’s Monday night as I’m writing this review.  Like a lot of other Masters of the Universe fans, I’m anxiously waiting to hear if the ultimate Castle Grayskull playset is going to be a reality, but the website must go on, and it seems I’m never at a loss for a Transformers review.

Ever since delving a bit deeper into my Transformers habit, I’ve discovered for myself a new reason for collecting certain figures.  Usually my purchases are dictated by a love for a certain character or team, and in a more extreme version is my love for an entire universe (I’ll never forget you, Old DCU!).  But Transformers have opened me up to the joy of collecting specific molds.

I’d read about other fans only buying the various versions of a design they particularly liked, but I hadn’t experienced it myself until recently.  After all, it’s not like there’s a lot of design variation in the MOTU, DCUC, or Marvel Legends lines.  You can get a little taste of it in the GI Joe or Star Wars figures, but it’s usually just the same character in a different deco.  Transformers is one of the rare lines that allows you to buy different characters that share the same body design, engineering, and alt mode.

My first taste of this was with Lockdown/Axor and Bludgeon/Banzaitron.  But while I enjoyed both molds at retail, I didn’t love the figure designs enough to follow them into exclusives territory.  Heck, I’m not even going to buy that new Chinese Megatron (Megatron with only swords is just wrong!).  But when it comes to the Transformers Prime: First Edition Starscream, my collector brain kicks in and I must have them all!

So here I am, with my new Takara exclusive Thundercracker.  This figure’s design and transformation is exactly the same as the previous Starscream and Skywarp, but I still love it.  Most of these TF Prime figures have great articulation, but there’s just something about this particular Seeker body that allows for an amazing amount of personality through its poses.    Of course most of the personality is still Starscream’s, but it looks great in blue and purple too.  Continue to page 2…

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22 comments to Vault Review: Transformers
Prime’s AM Thundercracker

  • Beedo Sookcool

    Great review and pics, as usual.

    I’m holding off on this mould until it’s available as Slipstream. The attenuated, gangly design works better as a female seeker in my books. Otherwise, the Seeker lads just look, at best, like a bunch of whisper-thin Bohemian types.

    • LV

      I hear that a lot, but I’ve gotta disagree. While I’m excited about Slipstream, the mold looks at best like a fifteen-year-old girl. It’s just too angular and pointy and devoid of feminine curves to read instantly as “must be female” to me, as far as robots go (and yes, I know I just insulted a lot of thin girls, but thin girls by and large do okay in the overall opinions of society, so I hope they’ll forgive me).

      • Beedo Sookcool

        Well, the way this mold falls into a naturally slouched hunch, you just need to cross its arms in front of its midsection, and it’ll look like any girl between the ages of 11 and 25.

        Why do so many females walk around like that these days? They never used to when I was younger. Man, I feel old.

  • LV

    I want to emphasize this isn’t a knock on you, Vault, because as you mention in the intro, you’re totally down with new-character redecoes of molds, but I’m always a little frustrated by Transformers fandom’s simultaneous decrying of toys being “lazy repaints” while demanding Skywarp and Thundercracker and Ramjet and Dirge and Thrust and Sunstorm from every Starscream mold.

    I bet Hasbro’s current TF guys would love to go back to 1984 and tell them “make sure you make at least four color schemes for every single mold so we can print money twenty years from now”.

    • Brainlock

      well, isn’t that the way most fandoms’ evil armies are? All the Heroes get unique IDs and backgrounds, while the Villains only get this for the head honchos and an army of nameless grunts. the Decepticons buck this trend a bit by giving us the Seeker army, but also giving each one their own identity. When the Autobots do this (OP/UM, Arcee/Elita-1/Medic, Sideswipe/Sunstreaker, Ratchet/Ironhide, Prowl/Bluestreak) they usually have some “familial” connection, no matter how tenuous.

    • Faugh

      While I’m not a particular fan of the Seekers, there IS a precedent for them. There’s a world of difference between wanting four figures that are SUPPOSED to look like each other, and taking, say, Generations Kup, slapping a new coat of paint onto him and saying that he’s Shockwave, Grimlock, Seaspray and Sky Lynx.

      • LV

        Right, and that precedent was set by “we’re only using six molds for all the bad guys in the first year”. That’s kind of my point; the fandom is all about mold reuse as long as that mold reuse happened when they were kids too.

      • Composite Ghost

        This guy gets it. With the original Seeker trio it’s perfectly acceptable, even preferred, that they be straight up repaints of the same mold.

  • Beedo Sookcool

    I think the Seekers got carte-blanche back in the day because they were supposed to be an army, and that notion stuck. Three or more from the same template is a cohesive, awesome fighting force*. Two is lazy, cheap, and neon.

    * Like anything from Star Wars with “-trooper” in the name,

  • Brainlock

    I’m Team Skywarp. Sure, I’ll get most Starscreams (except this one, the blah color scheme doesn’t do anything for me), but I’ll always go for the Skywarp version and maybe the TC version. I’m not sure if it’s because he always looked cooler and bad ass in black, the fact I never had the G1 (only SS), or my high school’s primary color was purple. (and white. and we were the last to have the orange accents, too.)

    I would like to know if you are going to cover more of the retail line, like Prime and WFC lines. I recently got WFC Shockwave and Prime, and had a few quibbles on them. Like, speaking of color variant army building, WFC Prime is too small for a deluxe, imo, but twiddling with him a bit, I could see an easy Pipes redeco simply by making the cab blue and twisting his chest/hands around. (or orange for Huffer.)

    and I think WFC Jazz looks more like Prowl than Jazz.

    • Brainlock

      aaaaand just saw there’s a blue UM coming. Lovely. so all I need to do to custom WFC Pipes is figure out how to swap fists without breaking the arms. @_@

      oh, and red Shockwave is Air Raid (new torso cover)?

      • LV

        Well, he was originally Fireflight, and he has a Fireflight head and Fireflight’s red and white colors and his bio and tech specs are Fireflight’s, but for some reason Hasbro has decided to release him as Air Raid.

        Meanwhile, Tomy is still calling him Fireflight, but they recolored him black. C’mon, guys.

        • Beedo Sookcool

          Anyone else think they could’ve redone it as Galvatron without much tweaking?

        • Brainlock

          ok, I thought I heard the red Shockwave was coming out as someone else, but forgot who. I guess I assumed it was Blaster or something?

  • Composite Ghost

    You should get a Baro 2 for Starscream so all your seekers have matching Microns. Do it.

  • Great Job vault! I have been on record many times saying I hate this mold and its spindlyness, but you always manage to take great pics of it!

    Balo? ha ha ha

    • LV

      It’s the Japanese transliteration of “buffalo” with the middle syllable taken out.

      Yeah, all the Arms Micron Mini-Cons have terrible names.