Transformers Armada: Thrust with Inferno by Hasbro

My well of Generations and Classics figures has run dry for now, so until something new turns up, I’ll be back to digging into the Unicron Trilogy toys for my Transformers Thursdays. Today I reached into the Armada bin and pulled up… Deluxe Class Thrust! When Armada first came out I was newly returned to the toy collecting scene. Everything was fresh and exciting and I was positively drunk with a desire to get the figures as soon as possible, and for some reason I was especially obsessed with finding Cyclonus and Thrust. I would make regular trips to all the Targets, Kmarts, and Walmarts in the area and kept coming up empty. Finally, I broke down and paid a premium for them on Ebay. A few days later I was picking up cold medicine in a CVS or Walgreens and there were both figures hanging on the pegs in their pathetic little toy aisle. What were the odds of that? I still bought them and so I do still have carded examples of both figures floating around somewhere, but I couldn’t find the carded Thrust in time for today’s review, so let’s jump straight to the alt mode.

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As the name suggests, Thrust is a jet. In retrospect it’s odd that they went with a Deluxe jet so early in the line when they already had Starscream and later Skywarp and Thundercracker covered as larger toys. It’s even more odd when you consider how many repaints Hasbro got out of this mold. The mold itself has that rather toyish looking charm that characterized just about all of the Armada toys, and yet it still manages to pack a ridiculous amount of detail in the sculpt. This thing has sculpted panel lines, exposed engine parts, a VTOL fan, and even tiny rivets scattered across the body. And man, how I loved Armada’s sculpted faction emblems. The Decepticon emblem on his wing is gorgeous. If it weren’t for the giant goofy flick-fire missiles slung under the wings, this would have been a far more serious looking jet.

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Thrust’s deco is also rather schizophrenic. The gray body has a wonderful wash over it, which evokes a slight camo motif, but then the neon green missiles and mint green paint apps on the wings throw any realism out the window. Still, extra little touches like the red and silver paint hits betray a time when Hasbro was willing to throw a lot more money into the coloring of their Deluxe figures.

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Thrust’s Minicon buddy is Inferno and he’s one of my favorites. His alt mode is a missile truck and he has a very simple but effective transformation that gives him a simple four points of articulation. Still, what’s up with that face sculpt? He looks like a bird wearing a monocle. Why was Armada so obsessed with giving the Transformers crazy faces?

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Inferno can ride on Thrust’s back when they are both in vehicle mode, and this feature is easily my favorite thing about Thrust. Inferno doesn’t just get plugged on top, but he’s actually got a little compartment between the tail fins made for him to sit. He works so perfectly in there that Thrust’s jet mode looks a bit odd to me without Inferno riding along. Of course, it also helps that Inferno adds a missile launcher to Thrust’s arsenal. This kind of interplay between their vehicle modes is great, especially considering Thrust’s Minicon gimmick when he’s in robot mode is so ridiculous that I’m not even going to showcase it.

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And here we are in robot mode and man is Thrust a hot mess. Let me start out by saying I get a HUGE Beast Machines Vehicon vibe off of this guy and I don’t mean that in a good way. Yeah, Beast Machines Tankor is still one of my favorite Deluxe Transformers of all time, but he’s the exception to the rule. Most of Thrust’s design problems lie in his arms and legs. His arms have lots of tail fin kibble, which gets in the way of a lot of posing. He also doesn’t have hands, just thrusters to use as weapons. I don’t have a problem with Transformers having one gun hand. I actually kind of like it. But, c’mon guys, how does the dude get through life without at least one workable hand?

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The legs, however, are the real mess here. The missile launchers that are mounted on his knees could not be more awkwardly placed. You can take the missiles out to help a bit, but that’s a cheat and the launcher stubs still look fugly there. Also, check out the hollowed out tail that hangs down between his legs. The pegs on it are what his legs peg into in vehicle mode. Having them so close to his legs in their natural position is just terrible design. You might as well just leave them pegged in. Bah!

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The deco in robot mode also takes a hit. Besides the bland grey plastic, he shows off a lot of that ugly neon green. At least he has those two lovely sculpted and painted Decepticon insignia in his shoulders. Mmm… pretty.

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And that’s Thrust for ya. I don’t enjoy speaking ill of the Armada line, but even my ridiculous nostalgic love for Armada can’t blind me to the fact that this figure has not aged well. Then again, it was never one of my favorites back then either. That’s kind of ironic considering how much I went through to find him and that I wound up with two of them. Still, based solely on his pedigree as an Armada figure, I can’t totally hate on him. He’s got a strange charm to him and having Cyclonus and Demolisher on the shelf without him just wouldn’t seem right. The crazy thing is, I also have two of the subsequent repaints of this mold, but I’ll save them for another day.

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