Ganon578's review: Stormcloud
Universe Ultra Classic Series
“The air is my playground."
An expert in electronic warfare, Stormcloud prefers to remain high above the battle, raining electromagnetic interference down on his enemies. His on board communications package is second to none, with the most advanced decryption software in the galaxy, and laser antennas powerful enough to insert data into radio transmissions as they move. He can insert corrupted data into Autobot transmissions without even needing to intercept them, causing chaos on the battlefield below.
Stormcloud was one of those Transformers that was most likely going to stay at the store because my budget wouldn’t allow him to travel home with me. However, when I got a gift card for my birthday, and with other Transformers that were on my “gotta have” list already in my collection, I decided to get him. It wasn’t a difficult decision; he already had a couple things going for him: 1) He’s got the decent Powerglide mold, and 2) He’s got one heck of a sweet paint job.
A short history lesson on Stormcloud: He’s a representation of the Generation 1 Micromaster Stormcloud that was part of the Air Strike Patrol set released in 1989. This set included Nightflight, Storm Cloud, Tailwind, and Whisper. Stormcloud was originally a black and light purple jet with a yellow face, and I think he’s faithfully recreated here, even though he was minuscule back in G1, and now he’s sufficiently HUGE. To the review!!!
Stormcloud’s alternate mode is based on an A-10 Warthog military aircraft, and it’s pulled off relatively well. Proportionally, it works well; there aren’t any glaring issues like small wings, etc. The engines on the back of Stormcloud are a little large in my opinion, but hey, he’s a robot from space, so you have got to give it some leeway. Detailing of the mould is great, there are rivets all over where panels join, just like a real aircraft, and there are small vents and intakes all over that give Stormcloud a touch of realism. The color deco is good, and is a stark contrast to the deco of Powerglide. The black is a great backdrop for the silver and grey that marks the aircraft, and surprisingly, the purple stands out too. In this mode I was glad to see that there was minimal yellow paint to be seen, as it could have really wrecked the mode. I mean, it’s very difficult to be stealthy in battle if you’re yellow (unless you’re battling on the sun). Stormcloud has a couple cool paint apps: 1) MM-89 is painted on the engines, homage to “Micromaster” and “1989”, and 2) Silver Decepticon logos on the wings, done up with an aerial theme. Overall, the paint job is good.
As for his “in disguise” factor, all robot parts are tucked away nicely in this mode; his arms/hands fold up nice to make some below wing engines, and the head is tucked away so well you don’t even notice it’s there. The only part of kibble that you see is on the bottom of the plane, where a small part of the torso has no place to go, so it more or less just sits there. Stormcloud’s alternate mode is really durable; the only weak points would be the wing joints, and I fear if someone dropped him they would break off. I actually saw one in package at retail that had a dislocated wing; how that actually happened, I don’t know, all I know is that I didn’t buy that one.
I only have two other complaints: First, the front end sits a little low even when the landing gear is down. Come on Hasbro, spend the extra penny and make the front landing gear a quarter inch higher. Second, it’s difficult to get the Gatling gun to sit right if you keep the missile connected in the back. It kind of has to sit off to the side, forcing it to not point straight ahead; maybe Stormcloud wants to only give grazing shots while not really killing anyone.
I should mention the electronic sounds that somehow justify an Ultra price point: In his alternate mode, Stormcloud has three sounds. Push the big red button and you get a “whoosh” sound that could be him taking off or launching a missile. There’s also a sound that’s hard to describe, but sounds like engines revving. The third sound is a machine gun sound that will last as long as you hold the button. All three sounds are accompanied by red LEDs flashing in the back of the engines and in the cockpit. All in all, the alternate mode is pretty nice despite some minor flaws.
I’m usually a big fan of the robot mode in favor of the alternate mode, and Stormcloud doesn’t disappoint. The color deco stands out well here, with the black backdrop, grey highlights, along with some purple and silver thrown in for good measure. To keep in line with the ’89 Micromaster, Hasbro decided to include a little yellow for the face and knees. If you look at stock photos of Stormcloud, you would initially think the yellow is really bright. I was pleased to see when I opened him that this isn’t the case; it’s duller than I expected, and doesn’t look as gaudy as I originally imagined. The purple of the mould is more apparent here, as his forearms are completely purple. It breaks up the black a little, and adds a little depth to the figure. A silver ‘Con symbol adorns his chest, and that’s about all the paint detailing you get.
There is quite a bit of detail in the mould itself, and it goes a long way to making him look robot-esque (is that a word?). Durability is still good in this mode, and the weak wing joints aren’t as noticeable since they lock into the upper torso. He does have some spindly thighs though, which makes him look like a 70’s disco-former wearing bell-bottom pants, but it’s not too bad. On that note, the only major complaint I have about this mode is his proportions. His legs and arms are quite thin, while his torso/upper body is just massive. It makes him a little top heavy, and therefore hard to pose. Plus, the other Decepticons probably don’t play sports with him, since chest bumps after a good play would cause major damage. Seriously, the huge chest makes him look like he has giant blue boobs. One other side note, the button that activates the electronic sounds (which you only get the machine gun sound in robot mode) also activates small LEDs in the eyes and boobs/engines, and they’re red. An upgrade to a blue or purple would have been nice, but maybe they wouldn’t show up as well. On the positive side, the articulation in robot mode is very good, and if you can get him to balance correctly, he can be put into some dynamic positions. I know I really kind of slammed him in this review, but he’s not bad by any means. The mould is still great, even though it’s somewhat unbalanced. Plus, Stormcloud has a really sleek-looking color deco, and a great alternate mode to go with a very cool robot mode, not to mention the nostalgic “transform” sound he makes when switching between modes.
Marks out of 10:
8. It’s fun, and not terribly difficult. There isn’t anything that will surprise you, but it’s well engineered.
8. He’s pretty durable, but there are some definite weak joints at the base of the wings.
6. He’s cool and has a firing weapon along with an electronic sound gimmick, but most of his weight rests in his upper torso, making positioning a chore. He’s a good display piece though…
6. He gets a low score because of the Ultra price (~$25-30 US). He could have easily been made into a Voyager Class Transformer, and the electronic sounds aren’t enough to warrant the higher price point.
7. Stormcloud is very cool, that’s for sure. He has a great paint job (I like it better than Powerglide), but if you already own Powerglide, even though the mould is good, it’s hard to recommend the purchase. Should you run out and buy it? Probably not. But if you don’t have Powerglide, he’s definitely worth considering.