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Series: Fans Hobby
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2020

Prelude: Feel the magic, hear the roar, Thunderclash is loose! Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Thunderclash, hoooooo! Or something to that effect. Thunderclash, the greatest champion of justice ever, the epitome of all things good and just, the hero all other heroes are jealous of, the founder of the Thunderclash School for the Heroic Arts, and... yeah, this toy here isn’t called Thunderclash, due to legal reasons. It’s Lightning Eagle, created by Fans Hobby. But he is Thunderclash, heroic Turbomaster of the Universe! And now we’ll look at him.

Robot Mode: Looking back at G1 Thunderclash, he followed the basic layout for most truck-Transformers in that the rear of the tractor becomes the legs, while the driver’s cabin becomes the torso. The same holds true for Lightning Eagle’s basic robot mode, which follows that most basic of truck transformations. The resulting robot is boxy, but still very nicely articulated and the paint job is pure G1 Thunderclash (just without the Autobot symbol for legal reasons). Very nicely done. The robot is Masterpiece-sized and stands at eye level with leader characters such as DX9 Carry.

Fans Hobby repurposed their Powerbaser figure – aka Powermaster Optimus Prime – for Lightning Eagle, so in basic robot mode Lightning Eagle follows the same layout. The actual truck front is on the back, while the chest features faked truck windows, though in this case they are covered by the added roof plate, adorned with Thunderclash’s trademark winged totem. The chest plate also partially hides this robot mode’s one weak spot, namely the rather hodge-podge belly / hip assembly. It doesn’t really hinder the figure any, but it does feel less stable and solid than the rest of him.

In terms of weapons Lightning Eagle carries a golden rifle. He can also use the two big golden turbines from his trailer as weapons (Super Turbo Defence Power!!), which can fire oversized golden bullets. So bottom line for the basic robot mode: very nice. Could be a tad more solid in the hip area, but apart from that: no complaints.

Alternate Mode: The basic Lightning Eagle robot becomes a tractor and the transformation isn’t really complicated. The resulting tractor looks very nice and very 1990s with his pink windshield and white, red, and turquoise paint job. Through the windshield you can see sculpting that looks kind of like a Matrix of Leadership, probably a holdover from the mold’s previous use as Optimus Prime. Then again, in the IDW comics it was mentioned that Thunderclash carried the Matrix for a while and it liked him so much that it had to be surgically removed, so... anyway, no complaints about the tractor.

The trailer that comes with it resembles the original G1 trailer in color, though not necessarily in shape. It’s more boxy, basically your standard truck trailer. Of course it looks far more like its predecessor once you affix the big golden turbines to the roof. The golden rifle can also be mounted between them.

As is standard for trailers in Transformers, it can also convert into... well, it’s supposed to be a battle station of some kind, I guess. The original Thunderclash’s trailer opened up into weird three-legged battle station and I guess Fans Hobby tried to top the weirdness here. It’s basically the trailer converting into super mode (see below), but leaving the shoulders folded in and affixing the turbines to the arms. I guess it’s supposed to be some kind of artillery station or something, but... yeah, let’s just say that I doubt anyone will really use this mode much. Lightning Eagle has a battle station mode, let’s leave it at that and move on.

Super Mode: As mentioned above this figure began its existence as a third party version of Powermaster Optimus Prime, so naturally its trailer converts into a larger robot, with an empty chest cavity where the smaller robot can plug in. The combination is not that difficult, though actually getting the smaller robot properly situated in the empty chest of the larger one does take some wiggling and fine-tuning. Also, getting the larger head to slip smoothly between the feet of the smaller robot is also a bit of a hassle. Once finished, though, you get a very nice, very chunky-looking super robot.

Lightning Eagle in super mode looks very much like the smaller robot, just bigger, chunkier, and more powerful. He also carries the two big turbines on his back, though he can hold them in his hands as well, of course. The rifle fits in his bigger hands as well, of course, or it can be holstered on his back. In this mode, once you remove the chest plate, you can see the Matrix-like sculpting on his chest, too, if that is your thing. Lightning Eagle retains full articulation in this mode as well, though his chunkiness does restrict him a bit here and there.

Super mode Lightning Eagle is pretty large, as you’d expect from a Masterpiece-scaled super robot, so be sure to have ample room on your shelves, especially with the turbines on his back. All in all there really isn’t that much of a difference between the two robot modes except for size, they look very similar and are clearly meant to be the same guy. Personally I do prefer the smaller robot somewhat, but the bigger one works very well, too. So bottom line: a nice super mode, even if G1 Thunderclash never had one.

Remarks: Thunderclash was the leader of the European-exclusive Turbomasters in 1992 and went largely ignored by Transformers media for decades. Then James Roberts used him in the IDW comics and ever since he has seen a resurgence in popularity, especially among third party companies. I first saw this figure in prototype form at the 2019 CONS convention in Germany and knew even then that I wanted to have it.

As a figure Lightning Eagle comes with a rather hefty price tag, but overall I would say that he is easily worth it. He cannot really hide the fact that the mold was originally intended for Powermaster Optimus Prime, but that’s not really an issue in my book. He works great in all modes with only minimal issues, the Thunderclash colors look great on him, and overall he is a great figure. That said, if you have no relation to the character of Thunderclash, then you might want to think twice about getting this rather expensive version of him. If you are a Thunderclash fan like me, though, then this should be a no-brainer.

Rating: B+

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