I went to write a post about the most recent toy incarnation of my favourite Decepticon, Skywarp, and those two schlubs he tends to hang out with when I found myself down a rabbit-hole that involved fun with spreadsheets. What precipitated this particular rabbit-hole? Wondering how equitable things have been over the years between the two second-fiddle Seekers. Starscream, of course, gets top billing (jerk), but between Skywarp and Thundercracker, which gets the short end of the toy releases stick most often? Short answer: neither, really. Leaving out repaints-with-the-same-name within the same toyline, out of roughly 40 individual molds, Starscream(s) leads the pack at 36 releases, with the tally of evil robots named Skywarp and Thundercracker pretty close to each other at 23 and 24 respectively. Taking this a step further, (where “unique appearance” equal toys that were not also repainted into the other two seekers in that same toyline or subline): Starscream unique appearances: 12 Skywarp unique appearances: 2 Thundercracker unique appearances: 1 These are whittled down further when you add “unique mold” to “unique appearances”: Starscream unique appearances with unique molds: 9 Skywarp and Thundercracker unique appearances with unique molds: 0 Thundercracker fairs one appearance better due to his Cybertron incarnation, free of the term “Seeker” altogether (though still under Starscream’s command), he received his very own unique mold… which was then promptly repainted into Skywarp. However, completely ignoring Takara’s really bad name reuse of the Maximal “Skywarp” from Beast Wars Second, Skywarp has never had a unique mold. He’s had his own headsculpt a couple times, but never an entirely different mold of his own. So, where did all of this wondering come from in the first place?
The possibility that we would somehow receive a Hasbro release for War for Cybertron Starscream and Thundercracker but not Skywarp never dawned on me. That is until I remembered that very thing happening in Dark of the Moon. Hasbro had a MechTech Deluxe release for Starscream and Thundercracker, but when it came to Skywarp, he was a Takara exclusive (a hole in my collection I have yet to go back and fill). At least, very much unlike War for Cybertron, there was no fiction appearance of Dark of the Moon Skywarp so it stings a little less, but only a little. In 2012 we got a wonderful toy of Starscream straight out of the War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron video games complete with the game’s neutron assault rifle — which, as seen in the image above, can be split into two separate guns). In 2013 we found out that we were getting Thundercracker released in the “Thrilling 30″ Generations line but that Skywarp would be released only in the TakaraTomy Generations line. I had already started making plans to ensure that I didn’t miss out on the Skywarp release when pictures started to show up online. TakaraTomy’s Skywarp looked, at least to me, decidedly un-Skywarp-like. Skywarp is not “the purple jet”. While his War for Cybertron model definitely ups the quantity of purple and adds in a considerable amount of grey, Skywarp is still the black and purple ‘bot he’s meant to be. Imagine the collective surprise when it was announced that in 2014 Hasbro would in fact be releasing their own version, making him more game accurate by giving him back his black, changing the hue of his purple, and returning his orange canopy. Opening this guy even sent me back to my XBox360 to play War for Cybertron Chapter II: Fuel of War, starring the three Seekers in a mostly flying level. I’m pretty sure that’s actually a picture of Starscream. The graphics in the game are so dark, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the three Seekers. Luckily, the toys don’t suffer from this same issue. As Thundercracker is demonstrating, you can actually remove the tailfin piece, revealing two specially designed holes to mount the neutron assault rifle. Just because I like taking pictures of these guys so much, here’s a shot of Thundercracker without the cannon on his back. Lighting issues aside, my biggest complaint in the videogame is Skywarp’s lack of warping abilities in the game. Granted, with the Hasbro release actually being IDW Skywarp, the only thing that really tells us that War for Cybertron Skywarp even has a teleportation ability is his TakaraTomy Generations bio. This is also the bio that has Skywarp hilariously undergoing mandatory training for his lack of focus and general bad attitude.
“When his rare ability to teleport gained him membership among the Seeker battalion, Skywarp was anticipated as a young and capable new recruit. Unfortunately, his deceitful personality proved to be a character flaw, and his skills would be used only for idle trickery and practical jokes. By appearing suddenly and attacking his opponents from behind, he should be able to upstage even Starscream in combat ability, but he soon loses interest when not under the command of Megatron. In order to improve his concentration and sense of responsibility, he has been ordered to complete a training regimen in Circuit-Su.”
Pretty sure the last thing you want to give the teleporting prankster is deadly martial arts skills.
And that glow from his eyes? No photoshopping going on there, that’s just how good the light piping is in this mold. Not that all the mandatory training in the universe would help, I’m pretty sure as long as he keeps hanging out with these other two troublemakers, he’s never going to amount to much.