Series: Generation 1
Function: Aerial Espionage
Alternate Mode: Jet
Height: 2.5cm Length: 8.5cm Width: 8cm
A small mid grey jet plane with a rounded blue nose, twin blue tainfins and long blue wings, Thunderwing is heavily dependant on stickers on his otherwise grey fuselage - even the cockpit windows are stickers. There are lilac pontoons underneath the wings - the robot arms. They don't really ruin the look or get in the way, but they're visible. You can attach his lilac handgun into a hole just behind the windows to add some more colour. The grey is a favourite for Decepticons and works quite well with the blue and lilac, but I don't like the dependance on sticker at all - mine doesn't have any in this mode and there large tracts of flat grey plastic.
There's no play value here, other than the optional gun anyway. I don't mind so much since this small jet can attach to the larger jet mode of his shell, but without the shell this is a very static jet.
While there's no huge flaws, it's small and simple. The biggest actual shortcoming is his dependance on stickers - the stickers do a lot to liven up a fairly plain and low detail jet mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Swing the wings into the fuselage, fold away the tailfins. Split the nose to form his legs and flip up the blue feet. Stand Thunderwing up and lift out his head. Give him his handgun.
Height: 8.5cm Width: 5cm
Again mainly grey with lilac arms, blue feet and head, a gold face and black thighs, as well as some colour thanks to various stickers. This is _not_ the Thunderwing made famous my the Marvel comics - they used the shell to portray this guy. The colour scheme is fairly similar, but this small angular robot will be unrecognisable to comic fans as Thunderwing.
This robot mode is blocky and somewhat generic looking, yet aside from pigeon toed feet there aren't any glaring flaws. The hips and knees house screws, which stand out against the black thighs. Far from ideal but not a disaster either. For the most part, there's enough detail in the sculpt here to keep things interesting, save for the featureless thighs - there's no point on black anyway.
Again there's little play value. The shoulders rotate, the hips and knees can swing out to the sides - this is more useful in the hips than the knees. Otherwise he can only stand around holding his lilac handgun.
Forgettable and generic, while the colours are nice it's easy to see why Marvel decided not to spotlight this aspect of Thunderwing. The best thing about this inner robot is that it adds another dimension to the outer shell, which is the real prize.
SHELL JET MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 17cm, 22cm combined Width: 17.5cm
Designed to encompass the smaller jet as it's nose, although you can leave that component off if you like. This jet is blue with a grey front - the detachable nose and it's socket - with some gold paint around the tail and purple gunracks underneath the rear-mounted wings. More or less a flying triangle shape, Thunderwing is a mixture of rounded and angular elements with three tailfins and optional stabilisers on the nose (the smaller jet's wings). There is some green, dark grey and black visible here interrupting the colour scheme, otherwise it's a nice colour scheme.
I'm not entirely happy with the more organic curves around the canopy, but I do like the starship look of the combined mode. It's quite obvious that the shell's jet mode is designed to link to the inner robot - without the latter attached there's a gap under the front and with the canopy so far forward things just don't look right. There are large stickers on the wings which feature Decepticon logos amongst their details. Again the windows are stickers rather than paint or even moulding, in this case my Thunderwing actually has the stickers too (c8
The play value here is decent. As already mentioned you have the option of stabilisers on the nose, the small handgun can be placed on top, just in front of the central tailfin, and the larger lilac handguns for the shell can be attached underneath the wings and look really good there. It's unusual for G1 toys to accommodate the robot mode weaponry in vehicle mode, and this one is able to handle all three guns which impresses me.
Granted, this isn't the best jet mode ever done but for a Pretender alt mode it's really good. The green outbursts do bother me a little, as do the curves around the canopy, but otherwise this a nice, playable alt mode for a Pretender.
SHELL'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Detach the inner robot, fold away the wings and split his legs. Unfold the legs from underneath the large jet, lift up the canopy which will unlock the robot mode chest, fold it halfway down, then pop the smaller robot inside and fold the chest right down, locking away the inner robot and revealing the head. Flip out the feet, swing back the wings, detach the handguns and place one in either hand.
SHELL ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 10.5cm
Predominantly grey with dark grey arms, blue feet and splashes of lilac here and there - including the large handguns. Thunderwing has a blot of black and green paint now, including black thighs and a prominent black... monobrow. His face is painted gold with black eyes below his monobrow. Aside from the feet and some backpack relics visible in this mode, Thunderwing is very organic and rounded, so when I call this a robot mode I'm talking quite loosely - he's more of an alien than a robot. At any rate, this is a good colour scheme that's well laid out and the gold face really give him an overlord of evil thing (mind you, the fangs help!).
This is the classic Thunderwing from the comics, and the portrayal in the comics was quite toy accurate, so if you're interested in Thunderwing for his Marvel comic persona, this is the part of the toy that'll be most rewarding. Aside from small feet and a fairly big (but not awkward) backpack, it's very well formed and is Thunderwing's strongest mode, which I suppose is why Marvel focused on it.
The face is very detailed, with moulded teeth a hooked nose and cheekbones, and really exceeds expectations, particularly a time when Hasbro was cutting all sorts of corners. The chest is equally detailed, with a ribcage and various scaled textures underneath the green paint. The sculpt isn't as detailed elsewhere but it's still obvious they've put effort into it.
The poseability here is probably the main flaw - the shoulders rotate and that's it. Of course Pretender shells are usually unposeable lumps so maybe I'm being harsh considering that this one transformers. It does seem like Thunderwing's should be more poseable partly because it's strong in many other ways and for comic fans the shell essentially _is_ Thunderwing.
This is really what it's all about - Thunderwing's character in the comic is what draws most fans to this toy, and it's the shells robot mode that defines that character. So it's a good thing that this mode is one of the better Pretender shell figures. The colours and detail are great and the backpack is no more bloated than those of normal Pretenders.
None I'm aware of. Black Shadow, a Japanese toy, is a significant retooling of Thunderwing.
Something of a classic character in the Marvel comics, which makes this one of the most desirable Pretenders out there. Thunderwing's inner robot is mediocre and easily dismissed, but if you take Thunderwing as his Pretender shell and treat the inner robot as a bonus then this Mega Pretender is a worthwhile toy - 7/10