Thundercracker & Zapmaster - Armada - Figures

As with most of the wave four Armada Transformers, Thundercracker is a repaint of a previous mold. It is said that this is the powered-up form Starscream will take later on in the Armada cartoon. And while I'd like to think of Thundercracker as a new character, time will tell as the story unfolds who Thundercracker will really be.

Jet Mode
At 9” in length and with a wingspan of 8 ½”, Thundercracker is a huge jet. He is mostly blue and black and red and silver highlights. Wheels under the pods beneath the wings and at the rear of the jet provide the landing gear. Due to the missile launchers on the back of his jet form, Thundercracker lacks proper tail fins and rudders. There are two sets of tiny ones on the launchers, but they appear to be more decorative than functional. Also, there is a Decepticon insignia molded onto each wing, though not very neatly painted.

Pressing the cockpit canopy will activate a laser-fire sound effect. Attach Zapmaster underneath the cockpit and an ejecting noise will sound as Zapmaster is dropped when the canopy is pressed. Hold it down even longer to have the laser-fire sound follow the drop sound. Push back on the Powerlinx peg at the back of the jet briefly to activate a take-off sound. Keep holding it and it will continue with in-flight sounds. Place Zapmaster on the peg to flip the rocket launchers forward. Unlike Starscream, you do really need Zapmaster for that since Hasbro fixed the notch holding the tabs on the launchers. A repeated missile-firing noise will activate as well when the Minicon is activated. There are two other Powerlinx pegs, one on the outside of each wing pod, but they are static.

Rotate the lower rear jets wings outward and bring around so the wings face down. Flip out the red stabilizers on the feet. Bring the waist and legs forward. When locked into place, Thundercracker’s head pops up from behind the canopy. Extend the arms out and down and flip the fists out. Fold the canopy down and swing the wings to face forward.

Robot Mode
At 7 ¼” high, Thundercracker is quite impressive looking, even moreso than Starscream. The color scheme has more gray into now from the mid-arms on thighs. In a very generalized way, Thundercracker looks similar to his G1 namesake. The head features some of the same detailing, and the red face just looks really cool to me. The wings, while smaller, are positioned the same. He has intakes on either side of his head and his cockpit makes up his chest. He features swivel and hinged shoulders, double-jointed elbows, hip rotation and his knees bend and swivel.

While there are no new Powerlinx activated gimmicks in robot mode; the left wing can detach and fold out to become a rather thick sword. Thankfully, the post in the hand is large enough to hold the sword without causing stress marks, like Starscream's does to his hands. Also, due to the electronics and the launchers, Thundercracker is very back heavy. If you neglect to fold out his red feet stabilizers, he will not stand up unless propped up in front of something.

Thundercracker’s Minicon partner is a gray, blue, and black formula-style racecar named Zapmaster. Pull out the sides of the car all the way back then lower the gray portion down. Split the front of the car in half and lower the front section. Lower the spoiler to reveal the robot head and you’re done. With the exception of the silver detailing on his face, Zapmaster remains mostly gray and black with blue feet. Unlike some of the other Minicons, he has some nice face detailing. Sadly, he has no articulation to speak of save for being able to point his arms and legs outward.

Starscream was one of the toys I was most looking forward to ever since the first pics came online. Thundercracker has exceeded Starscream in every way for me. His color scheme is much nicer and the mold changes make me happy. The toy is a decent homage to the original Thundercracker and the gimmicks don’t really get in the way too much. I do wish the sword looked better and that both wings could function as swords. Also being back heavy may deter some from enjoying him. Zapmaster is a little bland looking though.

ReviewerRichard C. Mistron  
DateFebruary 28th 2003  
Score 9 stars (9 out of 10)  

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