Review by Wallas
I can't say if Coneheads, the second wave of Decepticon Seekers, were a popular subgroup. In the original G1 cartoon their role was mostly that of field operation grunts. Join the anti-Autobot laser volley here, crash into a mountain because you didn't see that tunnel in time there... If I'd have to point out their most memorable appearance, it would be the episode called “The Girl Who Loved Powerglide” in which they represented the Decepticons as the main villains of the story who were sent to kidnap a woman guarded by Autobots (Powerglide, to be precise). True, in this episode we learn Megatron's troops are incapable of fighting fair and that one big-mouthed Minibot can easily distract them long enough to bravely run away, but still, they also showed they can kick bumpers in some scenes. In the end Coneheads shared the fate of majority of Generation 1's enormous cast: they were there, but weren't all that significant for the overall plot.
Still, seeing all six (seven? Eight?) seekers share the same chassis where only wings, nose tips, waepons and tail fins differ, this unsaid subgroup allowed Hasbro to pretty much sell us the same idea over ten times, In the process challenging our completist egos and making these Decepticons far more omnipresent in the fan conscience then you'd grant them based on their importance to the franchise (not counting Starscream, of course).
Thrust was the fifth widely- released Seeker, following Starscream, Ramjet, annoyingly-hard-to-get Skywarp, and gap-filling Acid Storm (not counting the more G1-accurate new deco of Screamer), then being followed by Dirge and Thundercracker. Out of this bunch I have five of them, and Thrust is by far my favorite in overall presentation department at least.
Just on a technical note: in my reviews the description dealing with the specific photo is placed below it. Thought I'd warn you beforehand.
The first thing I noticed about this toy, right after noting down how it's 70% identical to other Classics-era Seekers, is how astonishingly beautiful this jet mode is. I know, that's hardly an objective way to start a review, but ever since I freed Thrust from the clutches of his blister box and twist-ties, I can't get my eyes off of him. This is not to say he looks photo-realistic, because the fact that he transforms into a F-15 modified for VTOL functionality in itself makes it more toy-like than the first three Decepticon jets.
My entire attention was drawn to the brilliant maroon that constitutes the majority of Thrust's colour scheme. I can't tell if pictures give the real-life model proper justice, but the plastic used on this toy is both gorgeous and about 10% transparent. This is not enough to see through the surface layer of the vehicle, but enough to spot something unique and pleasing about the overall appearance. As a result Thrust looks like a full-scale, high-end collector item rather than a mass-produced toy that was easily accessible during the time of TF Generations.
The light I'm using in my photo tent helps in exposing the numerous details etched into the hull. If it wasn't for the fairly dark shade of the plastic, I'd be tempted to get a Gundam marker and panel-line this toy with gray or some other barely visible paint.
From the side view Thrust looks a lot like Starscream and Ramjet. The real-life bottom line of the F-15 is slightly breached, but with the missiles/Null Ray guns attached, it's not all that visible. What IS visible though, is the lack of proper landing gear. The front wheels, following the mold's directives, are made from robot mode chest turbines (at least their edges are painted this time to fit the chest area), the back wheels are nothing more than round protrusions mounted under the robot mode feet. It's a shame that this was never fixed as new robots using this design appeared.
Bird's eye view reveals that in comparison to Dirge or Ramjet, Thrust's wing shape is not all that different from the source machine. If anything, the lift surfaces were merely adjusted to carry the VTOL engines so characteristic for this Transformer.
The shortened nose cone is identical to Thrust and Dirge. Speaking of front features, for some inexplicable reason Thrust's canopy details are covered in chrome. While it's nice to have chrome on a modern TF toy, the choice of location is odd and certainly not where the application would be the most effective.
Now the constantly mentioned VTOL engines. They are actually quite simple in design, with their only feature being able to spin the turbine freely. That and detaching them and mounting them on several other available hardpoints installed on the toy. Four of these points are on both sides of the wings, with two more on the underside of the tail fins. As both engines and the Null Rays use same diameter pegs, these parts can be freely moved across the toy, allowing more configurations than just the ones presented on the official images. In fact, as you'll see in robot mode, I believe I myself did not stick with the stock photo interpretation of their proper location. These hardpoints also allow you to arm Thrust with weaponry from any other Transformer toy using 5mm peg system, giving plenty of room for Rambo-ing, especially in the era of load-expanding Mechtech weapons.
Examples of different engine/weapon configurations.
You can also strip Thrust of all the pegged parts to have this oddly looking “Bare-naked Seeker” mode.
Here we can see Thrust with Classics Starscream and Ramjet. The fact their main hulls are identical while the finishing touches are completely different creates a nice feeling of connection between the jets, almost as if one was an engineering expansion of the other (something that I admit annoys me a lot with UE mobile suits from Gundam AGE, ironically- way, way too similar).
First thing that comes to mind while looking at this mode is deja vu. Design-wise this is Ramject with different wing assemblies and missiles, and since these parts stick behind the main body, the similarities are even more blatant than in jet form. Of course, this is part of the deal with any Seeker toy, but still...
On the other hand, out of the five Seekers I have as of today, Thrust effortlessly is the best looking of them (with Thundercracker right on his tailfin) and stands out the most as an eye-catching element of the shelf. The extremely awesome maroon combined with the G1-inspired design is simply a killer.
Then again, as a person with clean memories of how Thrust appeared in both comics and the cartoon, I'm slightly disappointed in the designers. You probably already figured out what I'm going to complain about. True enough... the wings. Unlike type-1 Seekers, the Coneheads had their wing assemblies stored on the legs, giving them a distinct, original look compared to most other plane-based Transformers. Moreover, both Dirge and Ramjet managed to recreate this in modern era with the bulk of their wings installed on their lower legs. Here lies the problem... Thrust does not follow this noble choice. Canonically, his VTOL-empowered wings were mounted on his thighs, and while the transformation prevents this from repeating this 20+ years after the first toy, they could have been mounted closer to the show-accurate location or simply further away from the chest. While this looks kind of corresponds to the original toy, I still wished they would stick with the show like they did for Ramjet and Dirge. Especially that reaching this from the existing configuration would take modifying just the wing hinges so that they allow the engines to elevate further behind the main body without rotating 180 degrees upwards like they do now. This would both give more G1 look AND allow the arms to move freely. If you try to leave the wings untransformed now, that's just not going to happen. Sigh.
Aside from that annoyance, the top half of the robot mode looks great. Sharp, vivid colors... I'm doing it again. Back to the wings for a second. As the hardpoints are on both sides, there are different schools of placing the VTOL engines in this mode. Some sources suggest to leave them behind the arms. I suggest to keep them on the backside, though, as this creates at least minimum space between the wings and the arms, granting at least minimal mobility to the latter when the weapons are plugged in.
The head is identical to Ramjet and Dirge mold-wise, though I appreciate the cartoon-accurate yellow eyes and cream-white face.
Going down to the legs, we see decent details and paint apps, as well as the user's freedom to rotate the tail fins to our preferences much like in case of Starscream. I prefer the standard option on the left, as the peg snapping into the leg in this position makes sure the fins are not moving up and down as they please.
Back to the arms, with the spotlight moved to the weaponry, which in my piece is somewhat problematic. Thrust's right Null Ray peg is thinner than its corresponding hole, so all I need to do to partly disarm my toy is to tilt it to the right. While this is probably a QC issue, its good that I'm 24 and left the tendencies to shake my toys in every possible way behind.
One thing Thrust handles better than Starscream is the wing shape that allows him to aim his guns while they're on the arm mounts. Then again, “better” is not the same as “the way it should”. Just like Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp, Thrust can't move his arms forward or to the sides while the Null Rays are attached properly alongside the arms (with the latter impossible for any toy using this mold or its variations). One way to overcome this would be to move the mount pegs closer to the ends of then guns... which fire spring-loaded ammo, because it seems I failed to mention that before.
As mentioned before, all these hardpoints and 5mm ports on Thrust make him a good toy for Rambo-ing up. Here he is holding six guns, but if we remove his engines from the assembly, he can store up to ten of these. Though with six of these ports being in vertical orientation for robot mode, it's really more storing than active use for most of them.
Three of my Seekers together again. The quality of Thrust's plastic is clearly visible here, with Starscream's grey and lack of solid definition in the face area making him look almost like a bootleg next to his co-workers. Still, while Thrust rules the looks, it's Ramjet who rules the play-oriented aspects...
After all is said and done, Thrust did little to improve the poorly-aging, faulty Classics Seeker design, with the “least troublesome of the bunch” title belonging to Ramjet once and for all. If you buy Thrust for playability and poseability that will grant many glorious scenes on the shelf... go buy a different toy. Generations has many far more suitable toys for this purpose, including the greatly-designed Drift and Darkmount.
Thrust's immense power lies in his looks. As a static, fix-posed transforming toy he is magnificent in both modes, with a colour scheme that stole my attention span like no other Transformer in recent years, that's how incredible the maroon on this robot is. If you value your toys for the visual side, then Thrust is definitely worth picking up.
In few words, poor toy, amazing display piece. It's your call.
|Posted 19 September, 2012 - 18:15 by Wallas