Courtesy of his rising star in IDW's comic series, Thundercracker has managed to escape the gravity keeping him in token repaint status - there have been many Thudercrackers as Starscream repaints over the last decade - but this one has the benefit of having appeared in a comic book prior to its production as a toy, which gives it a little extra desirability.
The mold is, for all intents and purposes, a blue Starscream with the typical silver and white and red markings. If you got Starscream last December, you know exactly what to expect - rocker feet, swivel wrists, and two big weapons which plug into legs, wrists, wings, or whatever you want. It's pretty decent,
The figure has roughly 20 points of articulation, depending on how you feel like counting. There's extra shoulder movement but I would say that's more of a design flaw, and the lateral movement on the ankles is pretty minimal. The sculpt looks great in these colors and I daresay I like it more than Starscream - other than the fact that the product's SKU is tampoed on a wing in shiny silver, that is. Seriously, Hasbro, stop doing this. Put it on a foot or something, not next to an arm. It just makes us all look foolish here. The face is good, the legs are god, and the wings as seen in robot mode are mostly good - except the SKU. The back of the robot wings are almost perfect, there's some silver backing the Decepticon sigils which help them pop, but the silver isn't as wide as it should be and looks unfinished. Basically, it's another undercooked design and for all I know, the factory went to production with an early, incorrect deco sample.
Transformation is easy, but not simple - there's a teeny bit of fidgeting to get the arms and legs in place, but it's pretty easy and you won't have too much trouble figuring it out without instructions. It's fun, it's easy, you won't be sorry you bought this one.
The Cybertronian space jet is, as always, cool stuff. Loosely inspired by the tetra jets of 1984, this triangular vehicle has some big guns and no moving parts to speak of - aside from the gears on the guns. You can combine them into a larger, awkward weapon that sort of rotates if your sample isn't particularly stiff. (Mine is.) I'm all for fun action features, but I wouldn't call this fun - the vehicle itself is nice, but does nothing. In short, it's a toy collectors should dig. Just don't count on it - or most of the recent vehicle modes - to be a lot of fun unto themselves. They rely on the robot mode and character to be interesting.
I'll buy pretty much any "classic" Decepticon jets, especially recolors. I would love to see Sunstorm or Acid Storm with this mold, and Skywarp is already out in Japan (search on TG-16, packaged samples are at least $30.) I personally am not a big fan for shelling out premium prices for repaints - I have, I don't want to - so I'll probably just stick with whatever $13 or $16 can get me. Thundercracker is a decent, if not stellar, toy of a familiar face and the fourth Generations Thundercracker since 2011 if we count Legends, the other Classic-inspired one, and the Masterpiece Edition which, uh, was not what we would call popular. I like it, but I love deluxe toys - so go ahead and get one, you'll be happy you did.
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