It's about time, they said. A Takara Tomy, cartoon-accurate Masterpiece Decepticon strike plane Thundercracker. MP-11T is, across Hasbro and Takara, the second version of Thundercracker to use the MP-11 mould. The Hasbro Thundercracker from a few years ago was more toy coloured and had tampos of Reflector and Soundwave (as well as various bits of relevant text) that not everyone wanted. At the end of 2015, after a reissue of MP-11 Coronation Starscream and the Hasbro Asia MP-11SW Skywarp, Takara Tomy Mall (this specimen specifically through Hasbro Asia) finally gave us a toon-coloured light blue Thundercracker. So does the third Masterpiece toy to bear the Thundercracker name finally do the business for the cartoon crowd?
The MP-11 mould is now one of the most oft-used of the entire Masterpiece dynasty. We've had MP-11 Coronation Starscream (twice), a Hasbro Starscream recently, MP-11S Sunstorm and a Hasbro Sunstorm too, Hasbro Acid Storm, Hasbro Thundercracker, Takara Tomy MP-11SW Skywarp and now finally MP-11T Thundercracker. We know how this mould works, its ins and outs, the foibles and strengths. MP-11T does not correct the general lack of lower-body posability but as you can see, he can do all the signature Seeker poses from the cartoon and even does a half-decent run! Rotating the arms at the shoulder still causes the chest pieces to move in an unwelcome fashion. Like Skywarp, Thundercracker does not come with a display stand, and now he doesn't even have a Megatron gun whereas Skywarp did. Thundercracker comes with a collector's coin thanks to being the Hasbro Asia release and a translucent orange pilot.
This is what we all wanted from this release, a chance to recreate iconic scene after iconic scene from the earlier Transformers Sunbow cartoon episodes. I've even managed three balanced, semi-convincing running poses to pay tribute to the running scene of the Decepticon jets from the series 1 intro sequence. The colour is absolutely perfect, screen accurate baby blue that was previously the domain of the MP-3 based iGear Lightning. The thing is, there are a number of inconsistencies between the TakaraTomy season 1 jets that have caused upset to those craving a uniform appearance and presentation. Skywarp has stripes on his shoulders, breasts and wrists whereas the other two have solid colour forearms, breasts and shoulders. Thundercracker has a silver painted crotch piece whereas Skywarp's is moulded grey plastic. The Decepticon symbols on Starscream are upside down in bot mode but the other two aren't like that. In fact Thundercracker's symbols have a silver outline and are angled. Even the missile pods under the chest flaps are coloured red on Thundercracker in a slight departure from the others (white for Starscream, dark grey for Skywarp).
|With Hasbro TC's missile pods and display stand|
I've attached the Hasbro Thundercracker missile pods under the wings and placed him on the Hasbro stand - both carry-overs from the time of MP-3. This MP-11T is the one, however, that I had most trouble attaching to the clear plastic stand piece. The connection between jet and stand was quite weak and unreliable on my specimen. The transformation doesn't strike me as having any signs of mould degradation attached to it, although I had a little trouble getting all panels to sit flush initially, doing the front end of the jet fully before the legs/rear helped a great deal. You may have noticed MP-11T Thundercracker has a black nosecone like the Hasbro release and the G1 toy, so this is a major inconsistency across the supposedly toon-accurate Takara versions, after all Starscream and Skywarp have their toon accurate grey and black noses respectively, Thundercracker ought to have had a light blue nosecone to match the rest of his body. You'll find this is my only real gripe with this release.
More inconsistencies become apparent in jet mode. Skywarp's silver sections are longer on either side of the canopy than Thundercracker's, and the Decepticon symbol on Thundercracker's nose is smaller (and white backed) compared to the other two jets. There are differences in the way the landing gears are painted too .
I completely get why all of these differences would bother a collector, especially one who's had to fork out the better part of $200 for a repaint that is inexplicably limited in this fashion instead of a mainline release. OK we've had MP-7 and the Hasbro MP-11 Thundercracker, but the demand for the show-accurate scheme has always been there.
|Let's see how tough you are!|
All of these non-uniform issues, the price tag, the lack of stand and extras, the poor buggers who got two left hands or dodgy paint, and the mass of visible sprue separation marks across the toy...somehow just seeing this figure in hand, holding it, gazing upon it and placing it with the other Masterpiece Decepticons makes the issues feel insignificant. Maybe I'd feel differently had I gotten a dodgy specimen, but mine's perfect. And I mean that in a general sense too, warts and all. While I originally considered modding the nosecone to be blue, I'm truly taken with MP-11T Thundercracker as is. I love this mould, it has such a majestic presence in robot mode, a fiddly transformation that I never undertake unless for a photo shoot, but accuracy that I appreciate. I look at the head sculpt from the side and I just see Thundercracker from the 3-part pilot sneering at Bumblebee or sharing a whinge with Reflector.
|TakaraTomy MP-11T Thundercracker vs Hasbro Thundercracker|
That feeling of a properly complete line up of series 1 seekers has now been achieved for me, I'm genuinely not bothered by the small differences from jet to jet. If I was, I wouldn't have armed my Skywarp and Thundercracker with the Hasbro missile pods. But that price tag, it's just murder. I've dropped more on Thundercracker, Skywarp, the upcoming MP-11NR Ramjet and Coronation Starscream as individual figure purchases than any other toy in my collection over the last 3 years, apart from a vintage C-325 Greatshot!
However, I can do nothing but wholeheartedly recommend finding some way to own this figure as well as Skywarp and Starscream in MP-11 configuration because I just can't put a price on this...
All the best