Dark of the Moon Thundercracker Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Deluxe, Movie (2007), Seeker, MechTech

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: April 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blade weapon, Blaster/Saw weapon


While the Cyberverse makes up a smaller scale of figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, the size class most fans are used to returns with "Mech Tech" technology. The generaly concept behind "Mech Tech" are weapons that transform from one type of weapon to another. These have standard peg sizes that allow the weapons to be swapped between figures. One of the second wave figures to be released for "Dark of the Moon" is Thundercracker, a redeco of Starscream with a weapon swap out (more on that in a bit).

This isn't the first time the movie universe has seen Thundercracker in toy form. Previously, Thundercracker had been released as a redeco and retool of the Voyager Class Starscream from the first Transformers film toy line. Now history repeats itself as this sculpt is used for Thundercracker on a new scale. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. For a more detailed look at the sculpt, check out my Deluxe Starscream review.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes.

Like Deluxe Starscream, Thundercracker includes two weapons. However, these two weapons are not both from the Deluxe Starscream figure. Instead, one of the weapons is carried over from Deluxe Starscream (the blade weapon that is one solid piece) and then (of all things) Roadbuster's saw weapon. I think part of the idea here was to differentiate Starscream and Thundercracker without having to modify the sculpt, but also to drive home the cross compatability of the Mech Tech weapons. Either way, it works. I can easily see Thundercracker using his saw on the battlefield with glee.

The blade weapon is cast in grey plastic, with the blade itself painted gold. Meanwhile, the saw weapon is cast in blue and red plastic, with the saw blades painted silver. All these colors are shared with Thundercracker himself and go well with him visually.

The saw blade functionality has not diminished with this redeco. Pull the red tab back and the silver saw blades swing forward. Sadly it still doesn't lock into place but that is not a surprise.

Vehicle Mode:
Thundercracker's vehicle mode really focuses on the blue color that the character is so well known for. Most of the vehicle's top and side portions are cast in blue. A bit of grey plastic sticks out the back and the cockpit is translucent yellow. Now if you flip it over, you'll see black and silver plastic as well. His landing gear is all painted grey. These basic colors are to be expected with any Thundercracker figure.

With some G1 inspired decos, it is sometimes the paint decos that make the biggest difference, and that is the case with this figure. Silver and red paint are used to provide details on the front and top of the vehicle. The front air intakes are painted silver, and a bit of silver outlines the area where the cockpit connects with the nosecone. The section in the back right over the rear thrusters is also painted silver. These details are nice, but the strongest details are a series of silver and red line patterns on his wings as well as his stabilizers. These patterns show angled red lines overlapping silver lines underneath. This is very reminscent of the colors found on the edges of G1 Thundercracker's wings. This pays proper homage to the G1 character, but also puts a new spin on the design. Located on the right wing is a silver Decepticon symbol, another small nod to the G1 Decepticon who also had Decepticon symbols on his wings.

All of the parts on Thundercracker still feel nice and tight here including his stabilizers and landing gear. The weapons attach to the underside of the vehicle without any problem staying on.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons if attached.
  2. Flatten the vertical stabilizers on the top of the jet.
  3. Swing the back panel of the jet up.
  4. Take the rear sections with the rear landing gear on them and swing them out.
  5. Straighten out the robot feet for now.
  6. On the waist panel (middle, towards the back of the vehicle's underside) swing down the grey panel.
  7. On the forward section, swing up the grey panel right behind the front landing gear.
  8. Swing the robot arm sections out to the sides and extend out the hands.
  9. Swing the panel behind the cockpit up.
  10. Swing the front of the vehicle down so the nosecone winds up in the brown lower body piece.
  11. Swing up the panel over the nosecone.
  12. Swing the wings from the vehicle mode up, then swing the panels on them to form the sides.
  13. Connect the rear panel from step three to the wings.
  14. You can angle the lower legs and toes to form the "chicken walker" look.
  15. The weapons can attach to his arms or the holes on his back.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Thundercracker takes the colors you saw in the vehicle mode and just runs with them. All the vehicle mode wing and armor pieces on his back create a strong background of blue for the rest of the figure to contrast against. This chest is formed from the front of the vehicle, so it too has plenty of blue. Bits of blue also appear on his shoulder, thighs, waist and feet. In between the blue parts are combinations of grey and black plastic. On his legs for instance, the thighs lead to grey pieces that angle back, and then to lower legs that are black. This alternating of colors keeps any one part of the figure from looking dull, and I have to say that it's pretty impressive when a figure can look good just based on the merits of the plastic colors alone, and Thundercracker manages to pull that off.

Color-wise, the silver and red colors are used in robot mode again, but thankfully they're not just the details from the vehicle mode carried over into this one. While Starscream had glyphs on his arms and legs, Thundercracker has more stylized designs. On his shoulders there are red details. There are also arrow shaped details on his thights. Silver lines are on top of the red ones on his legs. Silver is also used for a Decepticon symbol on his right shoulder.

The head is cast in silver plastic so to give it the rather traditional "Seeker" appearance black paint is used to color a good portion of the "helmet" section as well as his face. Right underneath the head is silver paint on the center of the chest. Cumulatively, all these details make one fantastic looking figure.

All the joints on this figure are tight and the weapons fit perfectly on him.

Final Thoughts:
I generally prefer my redecos to have some sort of retooling if possible, but this is one of those cases where no such thing is necessary since the new deco is so well done. Thundercracker looks fantastic and very different from the source figure. Add to that the really nice homage and this is one fantastic redeco.