I should get Laura Linney to introduce this post. Masterpiece Seekers! Thundercracker! Skywarp! Starscream!

Super nerdy post title is super nerdy.

Almost exactly two years ago this month, I did a sequence of posts on the original G1 Seekers where I declared the acquisition of Thundercracker the “end of the Generations Seekers Saga”. Though the Generations line also included the three “Conehead” Seekers and the new Seeker, Acid Storm, the 2012 release of Masterpiece Thundercracker at least completes the original trio of Seekers in Masterpiece form.

A beautiful sight.

A beautiful sight.

We’re reportedly receiving Acid Storm in the Masterpiece line near the end of the year. Being a Toys R Us exclusive, he will most likely be difficult to find initially, then when he is somewhat easier to find his price will go up to excruciatingly expensive. This pattern repeating itself will determine whether or not I bother trying to pick him up at all.

Masterpiece Seekers Acid Storm Official

To complete a full set of “Masterpiece” Seekers, including the Coneheads, the Blue Rainmaker, and a G2 Ramjet if you want, you have to go 3rd Party. So far the original three and the planned Acid Storm are the only official full retail releases in Hasbro’s Masterpiece line. TakaraTomy released “special edition” versions of Sunstorm “Starscream Ghost Version”. I actually wish we were getting Sunstorm instead of Acid Storm over here.

Either way, these are the quintessential Seekers as far as I am concerned and having all three brings me much joy.

Masterpiece Seekers Robots

To make it easier to discuss in the forums, even Hasbro Masterpiece mold versions tend to get named after their TakaraTomy release numbers. Hasbro’s Skywarp and Starscream both use the “MP-3” version of the Masterpiece Seeker mold. TakaraTomy released Starscream as MP-3 and, using the same mold, Skywarp as MP-6 and Thundercracker as MP-7. Hasbro’s Masterpiece Thundercracker uses the new “MP-11” version.  MP-11 was first released as “Starscream Coronation Version”, while based on the MP-3 mold, there was significant remolding done. Most notable being the addition of struts in the back to help him stand better, the removal of the pieces hanging off the hips — something a lot of fans didn’t like about the MP-3 mold — and a brand new headsculpt. Apparently someone in the packaging department didn’t get the note about Thundercracker using the new version of the mold, as his box has a call out for “2 different heads!” which was true of the MP-3 mold, but not the MP-11 mold.

Masterpiece Seekers Package

The instructions included are also for the MP-3 mold. Oops.

The new headsculpt is pretty awesome and I had hoped to swap it out for Skywarp’s. When I did, I learned a couple things:

First, as expected, it looks really cool on Skywarp.

Masterpiece Seekers Skywarp New Head

Second, the older head looks surprisingly cool on the new mold.

Masterpiece Seekers Thundercracker Old Head

Third, the old mold can’t transform with the new, larger head, despite the new head having collapsible sides to make it somewhat smaller. Since I am not about to take a dremel to my favourite toy, the head swap was short lived.

"Maybe I'll just keep both heads instead?"

“Maybe I’ll just keep both heads instead?”

Other than the head differences, the new legs are heftier and lend more of a cartoon aspect to the mold. In fact, of the three, Thundercracker has far more of a cartoon look to him. The fandom is split, with a majority appearing to prefer the MP-11 mold because of the lack of “hip kibble”, but I actually fall more on the MP-3 side. I determined this when I set Masterpiece Thundercracker next to his G1 and Generations incarnations.

Masterpiece Seekers Thundercracker Robots

In robot mode Thundercracker looks a lot like a large version of his Generations release, especially with the new, chunkier legs and his new headsculpt. I’m not really a fan of that. It’s hard to put into words, but the closest I can come is that I much prefer my Masterpieces to be their own thing, to be uniquely distinct from the other releases of that same character.

His alt mode looks perfectly fine from the top, retaining the realistic F-15 the other two Masterpiece Seekers have.

Masterpiece Seekers Thundercracker Alts

He also retains the mold’s air brake feature.

Masterpiece Seekers Air Brake

Thankfully he also keeps the orientation of the Decepticon symbol on his wings the same as Skywarp’s, which puts them right way up in robot mode. Starscream has them the other way around in alt mode and therefore upside down in robot mode.

Unfortunately the removal of the pieces that hang from the hips results in removing the part that better covers the sides of his robot mode arms. They also added ball-jointed armatures attached to his guns so they would not need to be removed during transformation, nice touch but ultimately unnecessary in a Masterpiece toy and further take away from the look of alt mode. Both are minor details, but still push me further to the MP-3 side. Something else they did with Thundercracker that I don’t appreciate, and didn’t appreciate with the one application on the Starscream release, are the rather capriciously humorous tampographed details they added.

Masterpiece Seekers Reflector

Hidden on the back of his shoulders in robot mode, both sides of his alt mode are the only place you can really see the images of G1 Reflector with the words “Say Cheese!” Then, combining Thundercracker’s signature Sonic Boom attack with G1 Soundwave, this silhouette adorns the outside of both vertical stabilizers.

Masterpiece Seekers Sonic Boom

Had they been optional stickers, I would have thought they were pretty awesome (and summarily not applied them), but being tampographed I find them mostly annoying. Thundercracker really doesn’t strike me as the whimsical type.

Some far less annoying applications are the addition of  pilot names and Thundercracker’s G1 Takara release number, D-24, as a sort of call sign detail.

Masterpiece Seekers Kyde

Though one name is paying tribute to toy designer Joe Kyde, I’m not sure who exactly J. Sass is, though I am assured he is also a toy designer.

Masterpiece Seekers Sass

He might also be an actual dragon as far as I know. Toy designer sounds like a safer bet, I guess. The MP-11 mold keeps the MP-3 mold’s chest missiles and smaller accessories (accessories I completely forgot to even mention in either Skywarp or Starscream’s previous entries). There is a clip to allow jet mode to carry the gun mode Megatron that came with 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime, wing missile racks, a chromed “holographic pilot” figure, and a base with a stand for posing him in either robot or alt mode.

Masterpiece Seekers Accessories

The missile racks don’t make as much sense as it requires removing his attached guns with their armatures; kind of defeats the purpose of the armature pieces and leaves the unsightly ball-joint receptacle. MP-11’s “holographic pilot” replaces the MP-3 mold’s figure of Dr. Arkeville.  Also, the parsing of “Thunder Cracker” on the stand sets my teeth on edge.

All-in-all, any quibbles I have with either the MP-3 or MP-11 molds are very minor.

As I’ve already typed once; these three together bring me much, much joy.

Masterpiece Seekers Robots Posed

'Til All Are Mine.


4 thoughts on “I should get Laura Linney to introduce this post. Masterpiece Seekers! Thundercracker! Skywarp! Starscream!

  1. Are Hasbro trying to position Acid Storm as their Sunstorm? I’ve never understood the sudden emergence of that guy. Sure, he was in one episode as a background guy, but of all the characters who haven’t been made, like Trailbreaker (who’s finally getting an update!), why Acid Storm?

  2. I don’t know, but I prefer sunstorm much better. I love his and sandstorms Creamsicle colors, and their endearing personalitys. Basically, I want a generations sunstorm to go with the new generations sandstorm.

  3. Mmmm, creamsicles. I too do not understand using Acid Storm when Sunstorm has actually played a major role in U.S. fiction. There just can never be enough bright orange Transformers.

  4. I’m kind of glad they’re giving Acid Storm some spotlight. He’s a fresh addition to the named seekers and adds something new to any seeker army. It’s still possible that hasbro may end up deciding to make a Sunstorm but only time will tell. Given that we got two iterations of MP01, we can always hope. I personally want to have both regardless; the more seekers the better.
    I will say I really like how the three stand together. They look really nice and the photo you made really brings it out (I have yet to get a skywarp or a proper colored Starscream so for now i just have Blue-scream and this new Thundercracker). Moldwise MP11 feels alot nicer and transforms alot more smoothly. The movement of the tailfins also means his legs can actually pose. The circular feet on MP3 always annoyed me immensly so I’m rather glad they altered that. The thing that bugged me most about the MP11 mold are the tabs on the shoulders that clip into the wings for vehicle mode. They felt unnessesary and add a cumbersome aspect to the transformation which somewhat offsets all the OTHER cumbersome details they took out, but it’s overall still smoother than before. Also both versions of the mold can’t bend they’re wings back in bot mode without the wings falling down and i wished they’d fixed that earlier.
    Since i generally looks at Thundercracker from the top I feel he’s beautiful and so i don’t really notice the tampographs much (the sonicboom being an exception.) I feel they did a good job with this one and he looks beautiful.

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