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Cybertron Thundercracker Reviewed by Thunderscream
This Ain't No Starscream Repaint - Unfortunately

The name "Thundercracker" is one familiar to most fans since G1's first release in 1984. Back then, Thundercracker used the same mold as Starscream, though he was colored a light blue. The name slipped through the cracks in later years until the Armada series brought the name back - as a repaint of Starcream, and even became the form used for the powered up version of Starscream in the animated series. For Cybertron, Thundercracker returns with his own mode and his own character. This review will focus on the Cybertron release.

Altmode: "Flanker"

Thundercracker's jet form is loosely based on the "Flanker" series of Russian jet fighters. I say "loosely" because his nose cone looks like that of an F-4 Phantom, but comparisons of his animated counterpart and photos of actual Sukhoi "Flankers" confirm the intended influence. Though the information above designates his form as a "Su-27", the canards in front of his wings suggest that he's actually a later form, possibly an Su-37.

Thundercracker's primary color is adark gray, with orange trim in his panelling, tips of his wings and tail fins, and cockpit. He also has silver on his canards, missiles, under the cockpit, and on the rear probe, where his cyberkey goes, as well as blue in his engines and underside. He comes with retractable landing gears, perfect for displaying him at rest.

Thundercracker looks good in vehicle mode, aside from his "warped" nose cone, which brings his overall rating down a bit. In many ways, this is deceptive, as I will explain, his robot mode doesn't live up to one's expectation.

Robot Mode

Thundercracker retains his colors in this mode, with a little added blue and silver. Many of the complaints towards him have been directed at this mode, and looking at him, I have to agree with these complaints. His robot mode is extremely loosly fitted, mostly around his winged back and massive cannon arm. If his cyberkey's not in place, his back hangs off him and his left arm won't be positioned on his shoulder correctly. His legs aren't as spindly as reported, but his feet are tiny; someone once referred to them as "ballerina" feet. Because of his feet and the massive cannon arm, he's difficult to pose with any stablity. Due to these flaws, his rating suffers significantly.

Cyberkey Gimmick

Thundercracker comes with the typcial blue and silver Earth Cyberkey that marked many of the early releases, though, in theory, he (and every other figure) can use just about any Cyberkey. His gimmick can be used in either vehicle or robot mode. Place the key in the port behind his cannon arm (which forms the rear "sensor stinger" common to all varitions of the "Flanker") and a panel will open, revealing a transparent orange missile. Pressing a pair of small, gray buttons on the side of his cannon will fire this missile. It should be noted that this missile can be fired in robot mode without the Cyberkey inserted.

While there's no issue with using the Cyberkey in vehicle mode, using it in robot mode contributes to Thundercracker's overall instability. One can argue that without this key, one can't even keep his arm in place. Again, his rating suffers.

Final Thoughts

While it's nice to see Thundercracker recieve his own mold instead of being yet another repaint of Starscream, it stands to reason that the designers and manufactuers could have done considerably better. His nosecone could have been rounded out, but overall, the real flaws come out when he's in robot mode. I only recommend Thundercracker if you're a completist or simply like the mold. If you can't find him, then the recent Skywarp repaint may do. Otherwise, you'd probably be better off skipping this release all together.

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