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Series: Prime Robots in Disguise
Allegiance: Star Seeker
Categories: Voyager
Year: 2012

Ages ago, Thundertron swore that the creatures that caused the destruction of his world would pay for their crime. Since then, he has wandered space in search of his revenge. His ship is primed, his crew is willing, and at long last, Cybertron is in his sights.

My Review:

Robot Mode: Thundertron is supposed to be a pirate and his robot mode easily shows this. His entire look emulates a (fictional) pirate’s garb. He looks like he is dressed in long, flowing garbs like a pirate’s tunic and his head sports the kind of beard that immediately reminded me of Davie Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Side note: straight out of the box Thundertron’s head – or rather the torso and neck area around the head – is mistransformed, as the two plates beside the lion’s head are still flipped up and the blue panels on each side are closed. In this case it’s actually the picture on the back of the box that’s correct, while the instruction manual stops short of actually getting the head out as far as it goes. For my taste the head could still be a bit more exposed than it is, but it’s tons better than how it’s pictured in the instructions.

Anyway, Thundertron not only has a pirate’s beard, hat and flowing garb, he also has a peg leg. Or rather he can have a peg leg, if you remove his right foot. The foot can become a claw for Thundertron to attach to one arm or – though this is not an intended function – a kind of Arms Micron companion. More on that under Modification (see below).

Articulation is very good for this figure and even with the peg leg it’s still pretty easy to get him into a stable stance. His shoulder movement is a tad restricted by those big shoulder pads with the lion claws he has, but with some minor adjustments he can still assume most poses.

Finally there is his main weapon, a translucent sword that is attached to a ridiculously large battery unit that you can flip around to activate a pitiful little red light. Honestly, even in near-darkness that little red light barely manages to light up even half the sword. Also, like most of the Voyager-class Prime weapons, it can’t be fixed in place, so you need to keep holding it. In this case you can just turn it around, but then the battery pack sticks out sideways. Best to take this weapon apart straight out of the box (again, see below).

Bottom line: the only bad thing I can say about Thundertron’s robot mode is his weapon and that’s easily fixed. Apart from that, an excellent robot mode, one of the most original designs in a long time. Very nice.

Beast Mode: Thundertron transforms into a robotic lion. Not sure that a lion is a pirate thing in any way, but that’s just a minor point. The lion itself looks very cool with a nicely sculpted lion head, great-looking fore paws and a pretty streamlined body. No mistaking it for a natural lion, but the detail work still looks fabulous.

Articulation is a mixed blessing here, though. The lion’s hind legs – the legs of the robot mode – can move freely here in this mode, no problem. The front legs, though, can only move from the knees down (akin to the limitations of Lio Convoy). The paws look great and can twist and turn, but that still doesn’t give this lion much in the way of upper body movement. And the lion mouth is fixed in place, too, he can’t open or close it. Not a deal breaker, but overall there would have been room for improvement here.

The big sword can be attached to the lion’s back, but is just as oversized and useless here as in robot mode. Again, please modify as described below. Overall a pretty cool beast mode, but with some things that could have been done better.

Modification: Following the few simple steps outlined in FakeEye22's Radicon thread you can not only improve Thundertron's ridiculous weapon tremendously, you can also discover his companion, something that every pirate needs: a parrot.

Let’s start with the weapon, though. A small screw driver is all you need to remove that oversized battery pack and leave you with just the sword. Now just file off the little gear pegs at the bottom of the handle and either put it in his hand this way (that’s very loose, though) or give it a bigger handle. Me, I just used a small piece of a drinking straw here, perfect fit. There are certainly other measures, too. Now you see the true majesty of Thundertron’s magnificent sword, which he can now properly wield in combat. Oh, and you can keep that golden / bronze claw that was attached to the weapon, too, as it perfectly fits over his fist as some kind of oversized brass knuckles.

And then there’s the parrot. Thundertron’s detachable foot easily transforms into a parrot, as seen in the pictures above. Just put some eyes on the ‘head’ (me, I just used a black permanent marker) and you’re done. And because fortune smiles on us, the translucent blue part from the weapon that plugs into Thundertron’s arm (or back in lion mode) is a perfect nest for the parrot, so he can easily perch in it. Presto, the perfect pirate look for Thundertron with a great sword in hand and an Arms Micron parrot on his arm. The whole modification thing took me about ten minutes and I know almost squat about customizing. So I think pretty much anyone can do it easily.

Remarks: Thundertron has yet to appear in the Prime TV series, but he did make an appearance in the "Exiles" novel based on the "War for Cybertron" video game. Which is supposed to be the same continuity as Prime (though it isn't, really), so the space pirate Thundertron appearing there is the one this toy here represents. I'm reading Exiles right now (a gift from my buddy James), but haven't reached the part with Thundertron yet, so I can't really tell you much, sorry.

From the initial pictures this toy caught a lot of flak, both for the fact that it has a beast mode (that was before the whole Beast Hunters thing was announced) and his rather bland-looking coloration. Truth is, though, Thundertron looks fabulous. The many white parts could maybe have used a tad more colored highlights, but other than that, he’s just gorgeous. And while his weapon is crap, at least as it comes out of the box, it’s easily modified to be really cool and the (unintentional) parrot companion is just too great for words.

Bottom line: I really love this toy. The beast mode could have been a tad better and I’d have liked a better weapon straight out of the box, but other than that I don’t have any complaints. And unless you don’t know one end of a screwdriver from the other, it won’t take you long to unlock the full majesty of this toy, either. Recommended to everyone who isn’t immediately turned off by the fact that Thundertron has a beast mode.

Rating: B (A- after modification)

And for a second opinion, the review from DerSisch:

Prelude: One thing I’d like to say first: I’m a huge fan of the Beast Wars line of toys, so comparisons to those figures will abound due to Thundertron’s alternate mode.

Even though Thundertron has yet to appear on Transformers Prime (as far as I know), I do think the character would have lots of potential, especially since he’s not part of either of the established factions and would probably fight his way through both.

Robot Mode: Looking at Thundertron’s robot mode, you immediately notice that he’s got his own style. First off, he’s got a really nice colour combination. Blue and white, those colours just work great. Thundertron also features highlights in bronze and some metallic spots on his tunic. One thing is immediately apparent: the trend of not painting figures, which ruined large parts of the DotM series, seems to be over at last. Only parts of the legs and hands are unpainted grey. The legs, too, feature highlights in bronze / gold.

I just love this design. Thundertron seems very regal, but also looks like a fighter and rather dangerous. I wouldn’t like to have him as an enemy. Some will probably complain about the plates hanging off his hip. Me, though, I see a weapon tunic that reminds me of an old-style knight (in fact, the head kind of reminds me of the crusader knight from Indiana Jones). Speaking of the head, it looks fabulous. The long beard, the ornate helmet, everything looks very regal here, too. This is also one of my major complaints about this figure, though: if you have so nice a head, why make it almost disappear between the shoulder peaces and lion head chest piece?

And my second complaint: the weapon. Okay, the sword looks really cool (and I see a lot of customizers appropriating it for Optimus and others), but I have a problem with it. For one thing Thundertron can’t really hold it in his hand, and the other being all that stuff hanging off it, just so a tiny little LED light can try (and fail) to make the sword glow. A simple hand-held sword would have fully sufficed here.

Now to Thundertron’s most original gimmick: you can take off one of his feet and turn it into a claw. Now some will say: “hey, that leaves him just one leg to stand on!” Which is correct, of course. He now has a peg leg. I don’t think there’s been anything like this before in Transformers, I think I would remember that. Just fabulous. Okay, he has a much harder time achieving a balanced stance now, but it looks great. Personally I’d have loved if they’d given Thundertron some kind of walking stick where he can pull a sword out of or something. Would have fitted nicely, but you can’t have everything.

Alternate Mode: By current standard Thundertron has an unusual alternate mode. Not car, truck, jet, or alien vehicle of some kind, no. Thundertron’s alternate mode is a lion. Okay, maybe the Cybertronian equivalent of a lion, as you’d hardly confuse it with a natural lion from our little blue planet (scale-wise the lion would probably be the size of a truck, too).

Let’s look at the positive aspects first: just like in robot mode Thundertron has a great colour combination and nice detailing. The head is expertly sculpted and everything fits together very well. Design-wise I’d easily award this lion an A-. But considering the type of alternate mode, one has to draw the comparison with the Beast Wars figures. Now one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) strengths of the Beast Wars figures was their great articulation. In case you didn’t know, at the end of the 20th century the Beast Wars figures were setting new (and very high) standards in terms of articulation. But this is exactly where Thundertron falls a bit short. You can pose his rear legs, but his front legs are barely mobile, so any kind of walking pose is out. You can’t even open or close his jaws. I’d have expected a bit more from a Voyager-sized Beastformer that has come out more than ten years after his predecessors.

Conclusion: Thundertron’s robot mode unites style elements of a crusading knight who looks regal, but can fight, too. Parallels to RotF Jetfire can certainly be drawn, but Thundertron looks much more the able warrior. The choice of weapons would have been much better without the light gimmick (if it can even be called that), though there are possibilities even with it. The beast mode only shows his teeth in terms of look (yes, this play on words took me quite some time), but just about every beastformer since Beast Wars can trump him in terms of articulation (even the Movie-Beastformers).

The robot mode easily scores a B+ from me. The beast mode, though, barely scratches by on a D (sorry, but as a Beast Wars fan I can’t give him more than that). I thought long and hard about how much the beast mode should drag this excellent robot mode down. In my opinion, not that much. I mean, most Megatron figures are judged by their robot modes first and foremost, not by their often lacklustre alternate modes.

So I award him: Rating: straight B.
Toy DB Link

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