Thursday, 23 December 2010



Thunderwing is a new version of Mega Pretender Thunderwing. Since this is the first time I've reviewed anything Pretender related let us review where he stands. Pretenders was a major Transformers sub range in 1988 & 1989. The base idea is that your Transformer was housed within a shell allowing the robot to disguise itself, usually as an Autobot Human or Decepticon monster.. Once the shell was opened the inner robot could transform as normal. Most were boxed. The Pretender line consisted of the following:

Pretenders Bog standard Pretender toys. Three series: The first 1988 series was sold in the US, Europe and Japan. The second 1988 series was sold only in the US (and associated markets) while the third series in 1989 was carded and sold in the US & Europe Oh and there was an additional toy exclusive to Japan in 1988.

Pretender Beasts Here the shells were 4 legged animals and the Transformer within became a mechanical beast. One series of four toys in 1988 sold in the US & Europe.

Pretender Vehicles Now the silliness creeps in. The outer shell is a vehicle. But Transformers can become vehicles already ! One series of four toys in 1988 sold in the US & Europe. I believe these were a Woolworths exclusive in the UK.

Classic Pretenders Standard Pretenders but with an older Transformers character inside. One series of 4 sold in 1989 in the US & Europe. The inner robots were later a carded store exclusive in the USA and boxed together in Japan.

Mega Pretenders Like the original Pretenders but the humanoid shell can also transform into a vehicle and then combine with the Transformer within's vehicle mode. One series of three toys in 1989 in the US & Europe, two of which were remoulded for Japan the same year.

Ultra Pretenders Essentially a Mega Pretender in a second vehicle shell. The Transformer robot could ride in the vehicle mode formed from the inner shell. One series of two in the US & Europe in 1989. *VERY* silly.

Pretender Combiners a series of six small Pretenders in Monster shell where the inner toys could combine. Sold in the US & Europe, again a Woolworths exclusive in the UK I believe. Released in Japan as the Dinocons with new shells.

Generations Thunderwing differs from either of the jet modes possessed by his predecessor. Formwise he's quite close to the Raptor jet used by BWII Flipchanger Thrust, but the white colour, blue wing highlights and nose fins remind me of Universe Ramjet (admittedly the nose fins are on the Armada Starscream mould which Ramjet is remoulded from). The cockpit canopy is moulded in clear orange plastic with the cockpit detail pictured inside. The front of the wings swing out to the sides giving the jet a much more alien appearance. Turning him over, straight out the package, will show you most of the robot mode, but that's because he's mistransformerd in package with the head showing. The middle of the robot's chest folds up to cover the head which improves the look of the underside slightly. Staying with the underside, the nose of the jet and the underside of the lower legs both contain fold down landing gear complete with moving wheels. With the forward landing gear down you're able to detach the front of the nose complete with fins to act as a recon drone. On the original this was the position occupied by the inner Thunderwing robot. I can see a Minicon/Legend sized version of the inner robot being released. If Hasbro don't do it, some third party manufacturer will! Under the end of each wing is a 5mm peg hole that allows you to attach one of the two large purple missile launchers included with the toy, which each launch a clear orange missile. Each side of the missile launchers includes a moulded missile of 3mm width which allows you to clip Clip & Bar weapons onto the side of the launchers and further tool Thunderwing up. Unfortunately the pegs for these launchers are only 3mm deep which means there's less contact holding them in place and they can easily be knocked to one side. In addition to these missiles launchers there is a gun barrel at the base of each wing which can be folded out to the sides. The engines at the rear of the jet form the robot's feet. If you open them up in jet mode then the jet can stand on it's rear for a vertical launch like the space shuttle.

Transformation: Remove the missile launchers and fold up the landing gear. Turn the jet over and fold the chest panel down. Lift the waist & chest up, which will pull the lower legs away from the jet and angle them upwards - they need to be pointing upwards before the body is returned to position when reversing the transformation. Pull the legs back folding them out on the strut that connects them to the back of the body. Fold the body back down. Fold the tail fins down to the sides and swing the front edges of the wings out to the sides. Fold the nose of the jet forward. Fold the rear of the jet, everything between and including the wings, forward to cover the middle of the jet. Close the wing edges back against the wings. Fold the nose back so it sits on the robot's back pointing upwards. Fold open the engines at the back of the jet and stand. Place the missile launchers into the 5mm hole formed in the centre of the robot's hands.

Thunderwing's robot mode is distinctly recognisable as the Pretender shell of the original Thunderwing, albeit with some jet wings on his back. If you've seen what the original Thunderwing looks like, and if you haven't then click here, then that's what you get here. The head is lightpiped with clear orange lights. The guns on the shoulders swing to the side. Articulation is good: bending knees, thigh swivel, ball jointed hips, turning head, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivel, bending elbows and turning wrists. The hands are moulded with fingers but with a more obvious 5mm gap between them than on some of the other toys with sculpted hands (as opposed to fists with holes in the middle). He can hold his missile launchers from vehicle mode in his hands but once again they could do with slightly deeper pegs to make them easier to hold. Yes he is a little on the small side, especially next to Darkmount, but his head is at a similar level to Starscream's.

Decent and plausible, if not authentic jet mode. Accurate robot mode that if anything improves on the original robot mode design. Apart from the pegs there's no real complaints but I could see this working better as a larger Voyager size toy with a transforming drone that could fit inside the chest compartment.


A slight retool as Black Shadow, Mega Pretender Thunderwing's Japanese retooled version, is inevitable and appears to be shown on Generations Thunderwing's instructions.

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