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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
Alternate Mode:
Box Art:

Clay's review: Henkei Thundercracker

Name: Thundercracker
Function: Air Warrior

Overall, he's like this, but smaller. The end.

Ah ha, no. I made a joke :-). Whereas the masterpiece Thundercracker corrected a couple of problems from the previous releases, the Henkei version actually introduces some. If you wish to read about this mold in depth, refer to Starscream since I'll mostly concentrate on what's different. The big deal about Thundercracker is that, aside from the limited 2007 Botcon version, he wasn't available as Starscream and Skywarp were. The Henkei version provides a cheaper alternative than the convention exclusive unless you're ambitious or ornery enough to paint your own.

Alternate mode:

Thundercracker is the same F15 jet as Starscream. What's really different between the Henkei and Hasbro releases is that Hasbro actually attempts to make the deco, you know, good whereas Takara simply puts out new product colored exactly like it was in the cartoon from twenty-five years ago regardless of whether it fits the new toy or not. In Thundercracker's case, this isn't too bad, but he looks decidedly uninteresting next to the Hasbro Starscream or Skywarp (although he is an exact match for their Henkei counterparts).

This isn't really a big deal, but I do wish Takara would try a little harder. At least the chrome isn't overwhelming and tactless.

Robot mode:

Here's where things start to fall apart... literally. Through some amount of poor quality control or mold decay, Thundercracker is ridiculously loose in some joints. The most afflicted areas are the right knee and the hole for the right arm's cannon. Both knees are loose, mind, but the right knee is so limp that can't support the weight of the toy, and it droops to one side as a result. The arm blaster is another matter. The cannon itself is fine, but the arm's socket for it is so loose that turning Thundercracker on his side causes the missile launcher to fall out freely (the Henkei Skywarp apparently has some of the same issues).

Both of these problems can be easily fixed with clear nail polish. The arm is straightforward enough - simply put a few coats of polish inside the socket and let it dry - but you have to take apart the lower leg to fix the knee. I don't recommend doing this unless you practice on a cheaper version of the mold since you have to break some glue in the back of the leg and hammer the pin in the foot out first. It's not hard, mind, but you can easily break the toy if you don't know what you're doing.

Transformation: 10. As with other iterations of the mold, it's pound-for-pound the best seeker mold released.
8. No problems that I can foresee, other than maybe losing the missiles.
Fun: 7. The looseness of the joints makes him a bit harder to pose than the other releases. Otherwise, it's still a nice mold.
Price: 4. Thundercracker will probably run you about $50 to $75, depending on the store, auction frenzy, or which continent you're ordering it from. The reason is that, besides being an import, Thundercracker is also exclusive to a store in Japan called Ganbo or something, so anyone shipping it out of Japan will have had to have paid retail price instead of wholesale. It's the way the cookie crumbles.
Overall: 6. The quality control problems can be dealt with easily, but the price is nasty. Given that Thundercracker's deco is a slavish homage to the original toy's, he's rather dull next to the Hasbro seekers. However, he's still a fraction of what the Botcon version costs, so if you want a complete seeker trio, this is probably your best option. Recommended only for completists / seeker jet nuts.
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