Before we review this most awesome Transformers Masterpiece figure, we’d like to thank the lovely folks at KaPow! Toys who were kind enough to send it to us for review. Give them a click, a Toy paradise awaits…
Honestly, if there’s one range of toys above all else that excites us here at FTN more than any other, it’s the Masterpiece Transformers.
We mean, sure there’s the Diamond Select Ghostbusters and the Hot Toys figures and Funko and… well, you get the idea. But the Masterpiece figures bring us all right back to the golden age of toys.
Most of us here at FTN are around the 30-40 age group (yes, we’re shameless; no, we don’t care) and can fondly remember saturday mornings on the sofa, watching the Transformers cartoons (now called Generation One because of all the different incarnations we’ve had over the years), enthralled by the battle of the Heroic Autobots and the Evil Decepticons as they fought for our very home world.
And to this day, the simplest yet most awe-inspiring concept is that cars, vans, planes, guns and even radios could secretly be extraterrestrial robots hiding in plain sight, ready to do battle in a heartbeat should the need arise… with the iconic chick-chack-chunk-chock as they turned into twenty-foot tall aliens.
It’d still magical to this day.
But the one thing that we all just had to make peace with was that the toys, while ingenious for the time, just never quite looked right.
Don’t get me wrong, you can’t mention Optimus Prime, Megatron or Soundwave without a fond memory of our favourite toy springing to mind.
And yes, we still have a lot of them around the office – although many are worse for wear now.
And that’s where the Masterpiece figures come in.
Thanks to the skill and genius of modern toy makers and technology only dreamed of back in the day, the Masterpiece figures are all screen accurate, almost a foot tall and best of all? They have articulation and can transform and in some cases, roll out…
So, as a collector of the series with a family and responsibility, I was lucky enough to have two of the three seekers – Starscream and Skywarp but sadly I was unable to get Thundercracker. So you can imagine my ‘child at Christmas’ reaction when KaPow! Toys sent me one to review.
Yes, I almost passed out and yes, I played with the three brothers like a giddy school boy. But that’s another story.
Ahem, game face.
Thundercracker, like we’ve come to expect, is a glorious figure. But, being an updated figure there’s a few things to point out as I go along.
So, come with me as I tell you why this is a figure you NEED to have in your collection.
Check out the figure and packaging:
Unlike the US and UK repacks, the Japanese Takara boxes are still beautiful and the art work on both the front and back is a masterclass in simple but very effective.
The detailing and spec layout on the back is great and really gives you a good look at the figure in both robot and jet form (alt mode) while pointing out the feature. Ok, so we can’t read Japanese but is it weird that it just adds to the awesomeness?
Now on to the sculpt itself.
As with the majority of Masterpiece figures, the sculpting is superb as are the paint apps. Thundercracker’s iconic blue, red and silver is all present and correct, along with wonderful detailing and etching – just look at the panelling on his upper arms – which all add to the screen-accurate look of the ‘con himself.
I especially love the face – the silver picks out the sculpting in the face wonderfully and you can really feel Thundercracker’s snide, dangerous character underneath the steel. The red eyes stand out wonderfully, rounding out his sinister appearance.
One of the things that always blows my mind about the Masterpiece figures, is just how well they stand and how poseable they are.
The head rotates and moves up and down, the arms have full range at the shoulder and has an upper arm swivel as well as an elbow bend and moveable thumb and pointer finger – as is standard his other three fingers are all one piece, but still works perfectly well when gripping or posing his hand to be pointing.
His legs have a fair range of movement at the hips and have knee joins and, because the feet are made of a few parts, they can be posed too.
One small quibble i have is that the legs pull down/extend in robot mode and are slightly lose, resulting in him occasionally taking an involuntary lean, but this is a minor issue.
Again, there are a few nice features that are not necessary on the figure but really add to the attention to detail.
Thundercracker’s chest vents flip upward, revealing missiles underneath – i’m pretty sure this was featured once in the series but I can’t be sure I didn’t dream this. Either way, it’s a great little secret feature here.
Ok, I mentioned at the start that there was a minor issue with the new sculpt/mould and here it is:
In all previous versions of the Seekers, the back wings of the plane rested, in robot mode, on long fins that stood out from the body of the figure and it was probably the most inaccurate part of the Masterpiece family. But it was a pretty minor issue.
However, Takara has went to cost and effort to make the wings part of figure now. And that’s admirable, however, in my personal opinion, I feel it makes the lower legs chunky and inaccurate. However, I’m merely pointing it out rather than criticising as it certainly wouldn’t swing my decision to buy the figure.
Now, for the jet mode:
As with his brothers, Starscream and Skywarp, Thundercracker’s alt mode is clean, beautifully realised and as iconic as any thing ever to come out of the Transformers universe.
Notice too that the nose cone still opens revealing the dish underneath; as with the chest missiles, this is not necessary but just adds a little bit of awesome to an already brilliant collector’s item
Oh and it comes with a tiny orange, holographic pilot that sits in the cockpit in plane mode. Again, unnecessary but brilliant.
The rudder/fin also lifts up on the back of the plane and along the edges of the wings. Detail, detail, detail.
And of course, the beautiful detailing and lines on the plane are only improves by the sinister yet beloved Decepticon logo.
Man, how iconic is that purple badge?!
Second minor quibble, the new release doesn’t come with the base and stand that all the previous releases had that featured the character’s name and allows for the plane and figure to be posed in flying mode. I understand why it’s not included – costing etc – but I honestly would say it’s my only real issue with the figure as it allowed for some wonderful poses, especially in robot mode.
And finally, comparison sizes:
Ok, so it’s compulsory these days to do comparison shots in any review worth it’s salt and it would be remiss of me not to copy, em, I mean follow the standards.
So here is Thundercraker with MP Starscream (The US Walmart Exclusive), Skywarp (US Toys R Us exclusive), MP-10 Optimus Prime, as well as Shockwave (FT-03 Quakewave) and, of course, Megatron (X-Bots Abbadon).
As you can see, his scale is beautiful. Tell me you don’t feel nostalgic as heck looking at that…
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