Transformers Armada Thundercracker and RID Dreadwind and Smokejumper Reviews

Transformers Armada Thundercracker and RID Dreadwind and Smokejumper Reviews

Jay Cochran - April 30, 2003
Agent Adam sends us these reviews of the new Transformers Armada Thundercracker w/ Zap Master and Robots In Disguise Dreadwind and Smokejumper from Hasbro.

Thundercracker w/ Zap Master

Series: Transformers - Armada
Price point: Maxcon

Thundercrack is a repaint, and very slight remold of Armada Starscream. Like Starscream, he is very reminicient of the original character he is based on. TC's vehicle mod is a futuristic jet. He retains his predecessors color scheme: Mostly blue and black, with pinkish-red trim, and a yellow cockpot. Like most of the offerings from Armada, the alt mode is not very realistic. Like my friend puts it, he looks like a robot hiding under a jet. Robot mode is a great improvement from his lackluster vehicle form. Looking much like the seekers of old, Thundercracker is very impressive in this mode. Unlike Starscream, his Decepticon emblem is pink, instead of purple. Armada Galvatron also has pink emblems. Since Thundercracker is an evolved Starscream ( Only on the show. Hasbro views the toy as a seperate character.), and Galvatron is an evolved Megatron, perhaps the emblem changes to reflect this. Thundercracker's left wing can be removed, and unlfolded to create a cool sword. It looks ok, but would have been better if the wing's underside was filled in, currently it is hollow. TC's minicon partner, Zap Master, is a repainted Swindle. He gets my vote for lamest Armada name. He's not that far from lamest minicon either. I will say his face is painted very nicely though. Zap Master can activate Thundercracker's main gimmick. By plugging ZM into the powerlinx port behind TC's head, the null rays will flip forward. It comes with missles, but looks much better without them. Plugging ZM in this active powerlink, and pulling him back, causes the soundbox to activate. It emits a blasting sound. Additionaly, ZM can be plugged under the cockpit in vehicle mode. Pressing the cockpit emits a heavy blaster sound effect. When Zap Master is not plugged in, the cockpit will make a light blaster sound. As mentioned earlier, there is a slight change to this mold. On Starscream, it was quite easy to manually lift the Null Rays without a minicon on the port. It has been fixed so this is no longer possible.

Thundercracker is a great toy. He is not heavily articulated, but that does not offset the coolness factor of the toy. His minicon gimmick is interesting, but because of its design, leaves an overhanging "backpack" behind him. If you are a fan of Armada, and like the Starscream mold, I highly recommend Thundercracker.

The Verdict: 8 Energon Cubes (out of 10)

Dreadwind and Smokejumper

Series: Transformers: Robot in Disguise
Pricepoint: Gigacon

I was initially hesistant to pick up this set, seeing as how I own a version of it released in Japan as a Beast Wars toy. But now I am glad I did. I actually prefer it over my older one. This mold(s) was/were originally used in Transformers Generation 2. Originally, it was Dreadwing and Smokescreen. Later it was released in Japan during Beast Wars: the Second. And now it was just released as Dreadwind and Smokejumper. Pretty lame names, but nothing beats Zap Master as the lamest TF name in recent history... Anyway, Dreadwind and Smokejumper are for the most part dark green, but also has greyish white and light green on their arms and legs legs. Their eyes have that clear-back-of-the-head light up gimmick, in a satisfying red. The cockpits are also clear red plastic. The combined ATB (Advanced Tactical Bomber) vehicle mode looks very nice. If you were not looking for it, you would not realize that it is actually two toys! Dreadwind w/o Smokejumper looks ok, but that big hole in the middle is distracting. Dreadwind, is technically a triplechanger. His 2nd alt mode is called a tank, but doesn't really resemble one. The chain missle launcer, that is underneath the hull in ATB mode, i raised up as the turret. The legs unfold for tank treads. Smokejumper's alt mode, a sleek jet, fares a little better. All I can really say is that it is a cool little jet. Dreadwinds robot mode is bulky. Although he can hold Smokejumper's blasters, DW's main weapon is his chain missle launcher. Hit hangs over his right shoulder, and makes him unbalanced, making him hard to pose. Once you get it right though, he looks very good. RiD is known for its articulation, and this set deffinatly belongs there. Smokejumper is even more poseable. Some say that he is one of the best TF's ever, and its hard to disagree. His blasters can not on be holstered, and held, they can also be plugged in to his forearms for a different attack mode. Robot mode looks very nice, and although his head definatly resembles a certain Autbot leader, he is very Decepticon looking. The fact that he has two Decepticon symbols helps I guess. Dreadwind has three. Do they forget what side they're on, or something?

In short, this set has everything really. Great Alt modes, cool robot modes, and plenty of articulation. I highly recommend it.

The verdict: 9 out 10 Energon Cubes.

Click here to see more pictures of both toys.

These figures are on shelves now. You can find Transformers items at these following Etailers:

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