Friday, 27 December 2013

Transformer Space Pirate AHOY! Thundertron!

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I have a thing for Pirates.  They are cool and there aren’t many Transformers that are classed as pirates, so when I learned of Thundertron here being a pirate, I had to snap this guy up right away!  Annoyingly though he didn’t get released here down under.  But luckily the good folks at Amazon provided a way, and at half the local price as well.  Nice, but not surprised really.

It turns out that Thundertron was designed by Emiliano Santalucia and is a character from a book.  Of which I have not read.  Mainly because the last Transformer book I read was pretty awful and I am certain that the same author did the sequel.  Moving on to the toy.

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He comes in a standard Voyager box, being a voyager sized toy and was included in the Transformers Prime line…  Because he does…  ?  He has a mechtech weapon that has an LED in it which can be activated in the box.

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Overall the box looks quite nice.  Despite all the Prime graphics and little relation of Thundertron to Prime.  The artwork for Thundertron is great!

There a lot of pros and  a few cons to this guy.  As usual….  Luckily the good stuff far outweighs the bad for me.  The biggest positive element to this guy is the piratey-ness he exudes.  It’s marvellous and a credit to Emiliano’s design ideas.  The Mech tech sword can be mounted on his back, or on his arm for use.

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I love the robot mode of Thundertron as there are so many pirate like homages to him.  For a start, his shoulders look a tad a like admiral shoulder pads, his side panels remind me of a long jacket and the design on the top of his head is shaped like a Tricorn hat!  Add to that his mighty Blackbeard-esque beard.  For a final touch, you make him have a peg leg!

The face is very nicely detailed and interestingly constructed.  It has the potential for some light piping, but it doesn’t work due to the white plug going through the centre of his head.  The white plug does hold the blue of his hair and red plastic for his eyes all in place though.  His fore-head which forms the hat part is hinged as well.  Surprisingly complex for just a head really.  Sadly a lot of the impressive nature of the sculpt is lost as the beard is mostly hidden by the lion head on his chest.  Perhaps a clever reference to the aforementioned pirate jacket?  The more I looks at this guy, the more I like it!
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Robot mode is great!  It has tonnes of sculpted details just waiting to be discovered, exudes personality and is a joy to behold.  From the shoulder pads, to the groin area, even the back of his head, it all adds up and lets you know what this guy is all about!  The only thing I don’t really like is the translucent plastic in his fore-arms.  Why?  Why is it there?  You can’t really shine the LED in the sword through them, and even if you could, what’s the point?  I have seen some really awesome looking custom painted Thundertrons that just look amazing.  It would be nice if he looked a bit better from the get go, but I guess it’s ok.

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OK, before I move on, I better get this horrid thing out of the way.

Mech-Teach weapons.  Damn they truly suck.  I hadn’t had much experience with them until I got his guy, and I am kind of glad I don’t have any more than I do now.  This one is a rather nicely sculpted cutlass blade on, well, a square box to be honest, it does have some prongs, which I suppose represent claws when the blade is extended which look ok.  But if the blade isn’t, they just stick out looking stupid as the LED battery box is too large.  Add to that, the LED can only be activated when the blade is extended, BUT there is a spring that automatically pulls the blade back in again.  WHAT. THE. HELL?  Luckily it’ easy enough to disengage the spring from working and the blade still works.  Better in fact.
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It’s such an ugly, horrible accessory which doesn’t even light up very well at all, completely defeating the purpose of the LED light, which is the very thing that ruins the whole weapon.  What a complete failure of a gimmick.  I despise this so much, I have trouble properly expressing how much so…

Back to the toy though.  Thundertron is, as I said before nicely detailed.  Even down by his legs with some very nice touches. Like the way you can detach his lion foot and give him a peg leg.  Then you can mount it on his forearm for some (almost) Wolverine action.  I say almost as they don’t extend past his fist.

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The sword mounted on his arm looks ok from the side, but it would be pretty useless.  If only they’d just used a peg in the blade to go in his hand, they could have added some more paint details with the money they saved.

Interestingly enough, the lack of a foot doesn’t actually impair his balance all that much.  Probably because his remaining foot is rather wide.  I love him only having one foot for robot mode!  It adds so much character!
He’s just missing a parrot really…
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He comes with a new faction insignia which is not quite Predacon (from Prime) and I suspect is meant to be the symbol for his little pirate crew.  The name of which currently escapes me.

A bonus picture with another blue pirate I have hanging around.
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As you can see, the robot mode is really great.  Now let’s check out the beast mode.  A space lion.

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I don’t think the lion has been as well executed as the robot mode.  The front claws are too long and while I can see what the idea was for the panel off the back, it just doesn’t quite seem to convey it very well.  In addition to those problems, it is pretty much a brick, as the back legs only work due to the robot knees.  The front legs are locked into place.  Admittedly the way the shoulders and forearms form the lion legs is clever, it limits him to being a bit stumpy and lacking in arm movement.

Some nice touches though are his rubber tail, although coming from the middle of the lion’s back and despite me stupidly not photographing it, one of the ears is pierced. 

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It does however strangely make me think, “If a lion were a Pirate, this is how it’d look.”  As it were….

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Really I don’t have much to say about the lion.  It’s ok I guess, but not as nice as the robot mode is.  Which I suspect is going to be the mode he will stay in. 

So in the end, a nice enough figure, but a rather poor beast mode.  The weapon is just crap, plain and simple, it’s awful. I would have liked to see the money spent on the sword put into some better paint applications to make the robot mode a lot nicer.  However articulation is very nice and the nautical/pirate theme is very well represented.

On a slight side note, I think his name is a little boring.  Thunder and Tron?  Just sounds very lazy really, like they are trying to make him powerful with an association with Megatron and cool by adding thunder.  Weak.  A more water-y name would have gone a lot better.  But it IS nice to see a new character appear in the Transformers series and overall the positives outweigh the negatives on this figure to make him worth keeping.

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