Transformers Cybertron: Red Alert and Cannonball by Hasbro

As threatened promised, Transformers Thursdays are going to be all about the Unicron Trilogy this February and today I’m going to stick with the Cybertron line. In fact, like last Thursday, I’m going to revisit the years 2005 and 2006 with an original mold and the subsequent repaint. Let’s check out Red Alert and Cannonball.


Red Alert was introduced into the Unicron Trilogy as a Super-Con (think Voyager sized toy with electronics) Emergency Rescue Vehicle in the Armada line. In Cybertron, he’s been reduced to a smaller, Deluxe Class version of his Armada alt mode. Was that before or after he became a huge missile carrier? I honestly can’t remember. For now, he’s basically a white SUV with blue striping, tinted red windows, and some lights on the roof. It’s a nice looking auto mode, but I always found it odd that he didn’t have any markings to denote him as a Rescue Vehicle.


He also has the unfortunate characteristic of having the top of his head exposed in vehicle mode. We’re not talking Energon level of bad here. I’m looking at you Energon Irohinde and Inferno! No, it could pass as part of the light bar if you don’t look too closely, but it’s still a noticeable piece of lazy design.


As a Cybertron figure, Red Alert features a CyberKey gimmick and this one is pretty cool. Insert the CyberKey into the back and the side panels pop open and a pair of guns flip out. When these gimmicks were good, they were really good. But what about the robot mode?



OK, so Red Alert’s transformation features some really interesting and original engineering. The front and back of the vehicle actually connect together to form the front and back halves of his legs. It’s inspired and unexpected. Unfortunately it results in a robot mode with some majorly overdeveloped lower legs. Indeed, Red Alert is just an overall stocky guy, so much so that it works against a lot of his articulation. Particularly with those big knee shields and shoulder armor plates, it’s just hard for this guy to function in regular poses. Otherwise, he actually retains some design elements from his larger Armada robot mode, which is kind of a neat throwback, right down to the gun in place of his left hand. I also like the slot in his chest. Yeah, it’s to tab something in during transformation, but it’s also evocative of the disc shooter that Armada Red Alert had in his chest.


The CyberKey gimmick is still available in the robot mode. You stick the key into his backpack and the guns deploy right above his shoulders. It’s neat, but the guns ride so low on his shoulders, they’re not very noticeable. It also pushes out the sides of the backpack, which gives the shoulder armor even less room to maneuver.




The head sculpt is pretty reminiscent of the Armada toy too. I always thought this guy looked a bit like Robocop… with light up ears. So, yeah Red Alert is kind of goofy, mostly due to his proportions, but I can’t help but have a soft spot for him. He looks like something that might have been released in the waning days of G1. Or to be more specific, I can practically see what the G1 package art of this robot mode would have looked like it and would have fit perfectly. Was he good enough to warrant buying a repaint? Nope. Did I do it anyway? You betcha. Let’s look at Cannonball…



Released the following year, Cannonball is a Decepticon pirate that transforms into a black SUV. Yes, I will allow that to sink in for a moment. Ready? OK, because according to his bio, he leads a crew of pirates who pray on starships and return to Cybertron to spend their loot on “Black Market Energon Stars and Pleasure Programs.” That’s the kid-friendly way of saying hookers and blow. I’m starting to remember why I bought him.



The vehicle mode here is a straight repaint, but oh what an interesting repaint it is. He’s black with silver trim. Oh, and he also has neon green skulls and skeletons painted on his roof and doors WHICH IS TOTALLY METAL! It looks like he once visited the Day of the Dead festival and really liked it so he got all tatted up. The lights and windshields are tinted purple and the top of his head is now as obvious as ever because it’s gold. And of course, the CyberKey gimmick is the same on this figure’s vehicle mode only Cannonball’s guns are gold… because pirates love their bling!





Likewise, the robot mode is a straight repaint. The silver paint picks out the detail a little nicer than Red Alert, although I’m not a fan of this gold plastic. I do, however, enjoy the fact that those bitchin’ skeletons now reside prominently on his shoulder armor. And, nope, you don’t even get a new head. Although I will say the new deco really makes it stand out from Red Alert’s noggin.



I kind of like this pair and I’m not sure exactly why. Sure, it’s partly the clever engineering in the legs, but in the end I think it just comes down to personality. These robots have it in spades. They’re chunky nature makes them not all that fun to play with, but they display nice. When I begin the final culling of the Cybertron tote, it’s possible these guys might survive the purge.

Transformers Generations: Skywarp (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

Batten down the hatches, Transformers fans because it’s a movie year and that means a lot of Hasbro’s attentions will be turned to “Age of Extinction” toys. Still, the year ahead may not be quite as bad, as Hasbro stated earlier this week at Toy Fair that they will keep the more “collector focused” Generations line running alongside the movie line. That’s good news because I don’t see myself buying any of the movie toys this time around. But I’m getting ahead of myself. There are still some Deluxe Comic Packs out there to be had, and a few I will no doubt have to pay a premium for online because I can’t find them in stores. Anyway, today I’m finishing off my Fall of Cybertron Seekers and I’m as happy as a Dinobot in beryllium bologna… or is that cesium salami? Whatever!



There’s Skywarp in all his delicious IDW Comic Pack glory. As I already mentioned these have not been showing up anywhere in my neck of the woods, so I’ve resorted to hunting them online where even the less desirable ones are going for crazy money. As usual, you get the figure packaged in his robot mode and set against the backdrop of a reprint comic book. Skywarp actually comes a little bit mis-transformed. I don’t remember that being the case with the last two releases of this mold, but I might have missed it. Let’s start with Skywarp’s alt mode.






This is the third time we’re looking at this mold and it’s worth mentioning that I was a little underwhelmed by it when it was first released as Starscream. I thought the Thundercracker deco helped it along quite a bit for the second release. How about the third time? Well, I’ve always been fond of Skywarp’s deco and while I think Thundercracker’s paint job is the best out of the three Seekers, Skywarp’s coloring looks mighty good too. The black and purple represent the most iconic Decepticon colors to me and here they look as snappy as ever along with the Decepticon tampos on the wings. Otherwise, there isn’t a lot that hasn’t been said about this mold. The weapons are exactly the same as we’ve seen two times before and peg in nicely under the wings.





Skywarp’s robot mode also holds no surprises, other than the left arm on my figure wants to pop out at the bicep whenever I rotate that joint. I’m going to have to see if a little nail polish remover might help hold it in place. There’s no new sculpting, which is fine as I’m very happy with the head sculpt on this mold and the light piping effect in the eyes is as great as ever. The weapons can be pegged into his forearms or he can hold them like guns. I think the one big outstanding gripe I have with the design is how much I wish the weapons would have been made to peg into his biceps like the Classic Seekers, but you can still get some decent action poses with his weapons. Otherwise, Skywarp is a pretty solid figure and while I always thought this robot mode was perfectly fine, I think it’s been growing on me even more.




It seems like an eternity ago when I first picked up a controller to play War for Cybertron and I’ve wanted a complete set of those Seeker designs ever since. It might have taken a while, but I have to give it to Hasbro, they eventually delivered. I still wish Starscream had been delivered as part of the WfC line and not the FoC line. The earlier figures were more complex, had better paint apps, and were all around better designs. Starscream would have probably been a better figure and so would his two Seeker chums, but what we got in the end aren’t at all bad and they still look smashing when displayed alongside War For Cybertron Megatron.

Transformers Cybertron: Thunderblast by Hasbro

Transformers Thursday is once again upon us and as promised last week I’m going to keep this crazy nautical-themed Decepticon thang going on for one more entry with Thunderblast. This time we have a double rarity because not only are we checking out another seafaring Transformer, but it just happens to be one of those female types. What-What??? Let’s start with her alt mode.


What we have here is a sleek and sexy speed boat that happens to be armed to the teeth. It’s also one of my all-time favorite Deluxe alt modes from the Unicron Trilogy days. Besides just being so unusual, it’s also wonderfully detailed right down to the little seats in the open cockpit and the translucent orange windshield. There’s a tiny deck gun on the bow that swivels and two outriggers with detachable torpedoes. Dominating the entire payload is the huge 4-pack missile launcher on the back that can swivel 360-degrees as well as raise and lower. If you think it’s a bit much you can also take it off to give Thunderblast a sleeker look. This would be an incredibly fun little toy even if it didn’t transform.


The deco here is Decepticon perfection. You get a lot of blue with a beautiful coat of metallic silver paint and some purple accents. And since Thunderblast comes from the days when Hasbro could throw paint apps at a figure on a whim, you get a little gold on the very front of the ship and a couple of red accents to round out a great look. The Decepticon insignia on the bow is a thing of beauty.





As a Cybertron figure, Thunderblast comes with a Cyberkey that unlocks a gimmick in the 4-pack missile launcher. Put the key in the back and it opens up the faux launcher to reveal a real one. You can load the torpedoes into it and fire away. As far as Cyberkey gimmicks go, this one isn’t one of my favorites. I don’t like the fact that you have to load the launcher after the reveal. Plus, those missiles look great as torpedoes, what’s the point of taking them off and shooting them through the launcher. The Cyberkey stuff has always been hit or miss for me and this one is largely a miss.


As great as Thunderblast’s alt mode is, transforming her is pretty laughable. You just open up the bottom of the boat in two halves and there she is. Unfold her arms and legs, and hinge the boat backpack down to help her stand and you’ve got your robot mode. The robot itself looks really good, but that doesn’t impress me when she’s wearing a giant splayed out boat on her back. I suppose you could argue that it looks like wings and an analogy to G1 Scourge could be made, but the boat kibble is just too unwieldy to make this figure work for me. It’s a shame too because she has amazingly good articulation. There are ball joints in her shoulders and hips, double-hinges in her elbows, hinges in her knees and ankles, plus swivel cuts in her biceps and thighs. Her head is ball jointed and she even has a swivel in her waist. That’s a lot of great articulation that you can’t do a whole hell of a lot with because of that backpack.


Still, as far as female Transformers go the sculpt here certainly works. Thunderblast looks a lot more feminine than the other female Cybertron figure, Override. She’s got some beefy child-bearing hips, high-heeled boots, and she’s definitely packing a chest. Oddly enough, the chest looks suspiciously like the Autobot Matrix of Leadership to me. Weird! The face is very reminiscent of the CG model of Beast Wars Blackarachnia and there is some spectacular light piping in the eyes. Also, I really love the silver paint they used here.


In robot mode, Thunderblast can make use of her huge missile launcher as a giant gun. It pegs into either of her forearms, but it’s designed to look like she’s holding it by the handle, which is pretty cool. You can get some decent looking poses with her wielding it, but between the giant gun and the huge backpack it looks like this poor girl is going to crumble from the weight of poor design.


In the end, Thunderblast is definitely a worthwhile figure to own just because of how unusual she is. A female Decepticon boat? You just don’t see that very often. Her alt mode is fantastic, but she’s ultimately a super simplified shell-former with engineering that just doesn’t impress. Sure, I’ve seen plenty of worse Transformers, which is why I’m still happy to have her on my shelf, but I can’t help but think that if she was a Voyager Class maybe Hasbro could have worked a few more hinges into her and got that huge backpack of hers under control.

And since I mentioned Override and there aren’t a lot of female Transformers out there, next Thursday we’ll go ahead and check her out.