I’ve been through all the TF: Prime Deluxe figures that I picked up at Ross, but I saved the one Voyager figure that I got for last. He’s Thundertron and I know absolutely nothing about him apart from what’s on the back of the box and that he was only twelve bucks. Was he even in the show? All I know is that he represents a new faction called “Star Seekers” that apparently blames the Cybertronians for the destruction of their planet. Oh yeah, he’s also A GIANT ROBOT SPACE PIRATE THAT TURNS INTO A F’CKING LION!!! I mean… how can that not be awesome? Well, we’re about to find out because truth be told, I’m pretty torn on this guy. I’m also hitting the Johnnie Walker pretty hard today, so you’ve been warned.
We’ve seen the TF: Prime Voyager packaging here before. I still dig it a lot, but for some reason Thundertron’s box seems extra cluttered and busy to me. Maybe it’s the huge Ross price sticker. The figure comes in a window box and is packaged in robot mode. Good choice, Hasbro, you don’t want the kids to get a good look at this guy’s alt mode before buying it. The window has the usual “Try Me” cut out so that you can check out his crappy weapon. Hey, what do you think about that, Grumpy Cat?
Thought so. I’m going to break with tradition and start with Thundertron’s robot mode, because it’s the one thing that I love about this figure.
The head sculpt looks like a call back to G1 Alpha Trion from the Sunbow cartoon. I can’t imagine why that would be intentional, but I calls it likes I sees it. The lion head landing on Thundertron’s chest seems to be an obvious choice for a lion-former, but it still looks pretty good, although I’m not a fan of the way the beard drops behind the lion’s head. What’s the point of being a robot with a beard if you can’t show it off? The sculpted texture on the shoulder armor looks great, as do the spikes that rise up from those pieces. I’ll also shamefully admit that I’m in love with the fact that you can pull off his foot, turn it into a claw weapon, which leaves him with a peg leg. It’s ridiculous and it makes absolutely no sense on any level and yet I still think it’s both hilarious and cool.
Thundertron’s deco walks a very strange line between looking either really amazing or really cheap. The white and blue color scheme is quite striking, particularly when you toss in the little bits of gold. I think the combination of regular blue and clear blue plastic looks amazing. While it’s totally a coincidence that I just looked at MOTUC Frosta yesterday, the truth is if she were a Transformer, this is what her deco would probably look like. I’m also really digging the Star Seeker emblem. If a Transformer Pirate were to have a faction symbol, that is exactly what it should look like! What I don’t like is the quality of the white plastic used here, particularly on the head. It just looks cheap.
I find transforming Thundertron to be a pain in the ass, not because of any kind of complex engineering, but because it’s such a horrible and abstract lion mode that it’s unclear where anything is supposed to go. You’ve got as good a chance of making this thing look like a lion on your own as you do following the instructions. When you’re done you get this kind of mechanical lion-cricket looking thingy. Wait… is this a FUZOR??? HAVE THE FUZORS RETURNED??? No, it’s just a bad design. Besides, if he were a lion-cricket Fuzor his name would be ROARCHIRP. The name Roarchirp is a trademark of FigureFan Zero LTD. All rights reserved. Call, me Hasbro… we’ll do lunch.
Even if you can find it in your heart to love something that looks like the progeny of a robot lion and a grasshopper, his beast mode just isn’t fun to play with. You can’t do anything with his front paws without them coming unpegged. Ironically, the ridiculous oversized weapon attaches to the beast mode’s back and would actually be kind of cool if it would stay deployed without holding it. But it doesn’t, so even that glimmer of hope vanishes.
As a Transformer, I don’t really hold Thundertron in high regard. He doesn’t really look like he belongs on my Transformers display, unless it’s with that hodge-podge shelf of toys from the first Robots in Disguise (1999) series where basically anything goes. He might even fit in with some of the Beast Machine toys, but with the exception of my glorious army of Tankors, I dumped my Beast Machines toys long ago. On the other hand, if I take him as just some crazy Japanese robot figure, I kind of dig him. He’s imaginative, he looks cool enough, and he’s reasonably fun to play around with, so long as I forget he changes into anything. I never would have picked him up for full price, and even at Ross’ deep discount, he was still a take-it-or-leave-it kind of purchase.
I just want to know what happened with the Pirate idea?? It was so damn cool for a true third faction…
It seemed like Hasbro pulled the plug on a lot of the potentially great ideas in Prime.