Henkei Thundercracker + Skywarp 変形!
Two of the most popular seekers are brought to life in the new Henkei! Transformers! (変形!ヘンケイ!トランスフォーマ) line from Takara Tomy. These are redecoed, Japanese versions of the Classics toy line released by Hasbro, they take styling and colour cues from the G1 (generation 1) transformers characters released from 1984 to 1991. Skywarp and Thundercracker are limited release editions, moulded in their colours from the same tool as the Starscream figure. Skywarp is an exclusive release figure from Toy Hobby Market, and Thundercracker from Ganbo Store (願望百貨店).
Skywarp and Thundercracker are both Decepticon Seekers that can transform into F-15 Eagle fighter jets, they can often be found fighting alongside Starscream against the Autobots and sometimes even amongst themselves. Both Skywarp and Thundercracker are identical in design to Starscream, apart from their colour scheme, but they have very different personalities and fighting styles.
Thundercracker is often depicted as a smarter fighter than Skywarp. He seemed to dislike his commander Starscream and would exploit reasons to undermine his authority if the opportunity arises. He also feels pity for humans at times, but is careful not to show this to his fellow Decepticons, as his sense of self preservation almost always outweighs what sympathy he feels for humans.
Skywarp on the other hand, is not as intelligent and as a result his talents are sometimes wasted. Even though he has teleportation powers, he mainly uses his abilities to pull immature pranks on both friend and foe.
Name: Skywarp + Thundercracker
Manufacturer: Takara Tomy
Line: Henkei! Transformers! 変形!ヘンケイ!トランスフォーマ
Material: ABS, Polycarbonate, Nylon,
Original Price: ¥3,465 ea. (approx. $45AUD / $36USD)
Secondary Market Price: $90USD – $140USD ea.
Height: 140mm / 5.5inches
Packaging is traditional clamshell, with slide out backing card so it can be resealed. Nothing too special here, the backing card is identical to the mass market Starscream release, even the product images are that of Starscream. The only difference being that the front window display card is now black and white, with the “limited edition” (限定版) words in Japanese and the name changed to the corresponding figure. The figures are tied down with those horrible twisty ties, but fortunately there are only 4 in each pack.
Skywarp and Thundercracker do not come with many accessories, each has a pair of spring loaded null ray missile launchers that can either be attached to the shoulders or held in the hands. The Henkei! version has chrome plated ends for the null ray, which looks really nice compared to the Classics line which were left in their original plastic colours. The missiles fire well, but look much better attached to the null ray, without the missiles they look a bit like giant hair dryers. The cannons can also be mounted under the wing in jet mode.
Since each figure came in Starscream’s packaging, that has Starscream’s stats on the back of the backing card, Tomy have thrown in a bio-card for each of the limited edition figures showing the stats of each character. (Not shown)
The design is good in the way that it resembles the G1 design but with much better articulation, transformation and proportions. Other than the fact that Hasbro and Takara Tomy have used the exact same mould to produce 2 different lines, and numerous different characters in each line, they’re actually not bad.
In my opinion, they could have at least made new face sculpts to give more “character” to each figure as they did with the Masterpiece line, still there is plenty of detail and they do look nice in robot mode.
In jet mode, both fighters look stunning, the proportions are great, and plenty of panel line details present. The under carriage is slightly bulky, but not too bad given that it does transform into a robot.
The Skywarp and Thundercracker figures only have 11 points of articulation each, that’s even including the feet, which is really just a part of the transformation but it does help when balancing the figures during poses. These are relatively simple toys, not many poses you can do with them but the fun is mainly in the transformation and flying them in jet mode across your room.
All the joints are nice and tight, nearly all have metals pins to hold them in place, and seem to be very durable and stay tight even after a few transformations. The hip joint is probably the only one I can see going loose after playing for a while, as it’s a plastic ball joint.
Not much paint has been applied to these figures, they are mainly moulded in the colour they need to be. Thundercracker has been moulded in metallic flake blue which is slightly different from his cartoon colour scheme, which explains why he costs slightly more. For the parts that have been painted, there is a wide variation in quality. Most areas have been painted sharply with good colour and definition, such as the wing strips and the Decepticon logo, but quality control was poor, there is plenty of over spray, random scratches and markings. I do like the metallic paint treatment they have applied to the thrusters, as you can see it’s a very glossy black/metallic grey colour.
There are so many little details to point out on these figures, both good and bad. Let’s start with the good. In jet mode, you can see they have taken the time and effort to sculpt a pilot seat into the cockpit. As mentioned earlier, the panel lines on the body gives the figures extra depth and looks quite realistic in jet mode (in a scale model sort of way). The chest vents can be rotated outwards to double as landing gears in jet mode, not the most accurate place for landing gears but better than having none. Another nice feature is the way you can turn the heads in robot mode using the nose cone of the jet, as the head is hard to grab onto due to the large air intakes.
Now the bad, it does seem like they haven’t really taken care when trimming the parts for assembly, you can see on the shin section there is a very deep cut, possibly an injection point that has been badly cleaned, this has occurred on both figures on both legs. On my Thundercracker figure, the null ray does not fit properly in the shoulder holes, this apparently is a common problem with this figure as I’ve read from other websites as well, it seems like that the two parts of the shoulder section does not assemble properly leaving the gap too large for the null ray to fit tightly. I’ve also read that some of the customers received their figures with two left legs, fortunately I have not encountered this, but it just goes to show how poor the overall quality control was in this line.
It’s a lot of money to pay for these two exclusive releases which are essentially the Starscream figure in different colour schemes. It would be easier for Takara Tomy to justify this cost if they offered something new and different apart from the colours. Even the packaging was a Starscream re-use, and even worse they didn’t even bother to re-shoot the photos on the back which kind of makes the whole exercise feel like a money squeeze.
This is a tough one though, as these two are very popular characters, and you can’t guarantee to get them even in the Classics toy line, as Thundercracker was a 1500 piece limited BotCon 2007 exclusive, and Skywarp was part of a Target store exclusive 2 pack with Ultra Magnus figure. But given the choice, the Japanese version is the way to go.
Thanks for reading my toy review!