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Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Deluxe
Year: 2005

Prelude: Way back in 2006 one of the first Cybertron figures on German toy shelves was Skywarp and I reviewed him then, coming to a ... less than favorable conclusion. Now, seventeen years later, I am taking a look at the figure Skywarp was repainted from, Cybertron Thundercracker. Has the figure aged well? Can a fresh outlook change my impression of the mold? We shall see. Let’s say go!

Alternate Mode: Now I usually begin a review with the robot mode, but in this case I am making an exception. Thundercracker transforms into a Sukhoi Su-37, a Russian fighter jet. And it is one of the best alternate modes I have ever seen on a jet Transformer. The jet looks great, barely any underbelly, an unfolding landing gear, sculpted missiles on the wings, and no visible robot bits to be found. Just about the only thing slightly out of place is the shaft for the Cyberkey at the jet’s rear end, but apart from that: brilliant.

The jet also contains a working Cyberkey gimmick. Upon entering the key in the back, the jet’s middle flips open to reveal Thundercracker’s large missile launcher. It’s not exactly a great gimmick, true, but it works and doesn’t impede the jet mode any. So bottom line, Thundercracker’s alternate mode is fantastic.

Robot Mode: Now we come to the robot mode. A transformation that is somewhat reminiscent of the old G2 Cyberjets (such as Hooligan) creates a pretty good-looking robot. Granted, he has the entire wingspan of the jet on his back and a huge, huge missile launcher for a left arm, but neither of that is really a problem. He also has pretty small feet, but still has a stable stance, so that isn’t really a problem, either. He has a great headsculpt and is very nicely articulated, too. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?

Sadly this pretty cool and good-looking robot has one major flaw. The left shoulder isn’t really connected to the body. It’s just kind of jammed in there (see pictures 7 and 8) and given the great weight of the left arm (the missile launcher) the slightest movement of the robot usually causes the shoulder to pop right out. You can’t tell me that a more solid connection wasn’t possible here. G2 Hooligan has basically the same design and is rock solid in robot mode despite being more than a decade older.

The fact that the Cyberkey gimmick doesn’t really make sense in this mode (the missile launcher can fire whether it’s flipped open or not) is really just the final drop. So bottom line: a robot mode with tons of potential, but its major flaw really drags him down (literally, given that the launcher pulls the shoulder down).

Remarks: Thundercracker was among the more prolific Decepticons in the Cybertron cartoon and regularly engaged in aerial battles with Jetfire. A Con of simple tastes, he was happy as long as he had someone to fight and blast out of the sky. He was also among the surviving Decepticons who, after giving peace a (very short) chance, decided to head off into space to look for more trouble in the series’ finale.

As a toy Thundercracker is a figure that was just inches away from being very, very good, but is nearly totally ruined, sadly, by a very badly designed shoulder. The jet mode is top notch and the robot mode would have been great if only the shoulders had been stable. As things stand, he looks good if you carefully pose him, but the moment you play with him the shoulder inevitably pops out. Add the rather uninspired Cyberkey gimmick and the tiny feet and you have a Cybertron figure that sadly remains far below its potential.

Rating: C-

Toy DB Link

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