Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Transformers THUNDERBLAST (and REDECOS)!

Transformers Thunderblast, Elita-1, and Chromia - Hasbro 2005/TakaraTomy 2009

As I get more and more involved in collecting female Transformers, I find myself going back and coveting figures I had turned my nose up at in the past. When I first saw the Thunderblast toy 15 years ago, I thought she looked bulky and silly. And the whole "shellformer" criticism it was receiving stuck with me and it quickly fell off my radar. But recently I realized that this is actually a really terrific example of an early fembot toy. The robot form has a really good design with a feminine silhouette and great articulation. I also love the head design with its subtle nod to the earliest G1 fembot, Elita-1. And what really sealed the deal was when I saw the three very different color variations of this mold that had been released. I normally avoid repaints, but with Transformers I am inexplicably drawn to them. And then kismet happened when I found the Japanese Chromia version (easily the rarest of the three) for $30 at a local toy show. I'm excited to finally have them in my collection. Let's check them out below!

Transformers - Cybertron (Deluxe Class)
Hasbro 2005

Thunderblast is a Decepticon from the Cybertron chapter of the Unicron Trilogy.
She always stood out to me as one of the earliest examples of a female decepticon who (1) wasn't a beastformer, (2) was intentionally designed to be female, and (3) got a toy that wasn't just a repainted male.

Thunderblast (and the two retooled figures below) all come with the same assortment of accessories.
In the top picture you will see the rectangular gun. This can be held by the robot form or mounted on top of the boat form. There are two translucent missiles. And there is a key.

When you insert the key into the back of the gun, the top firing mount springs up. This raised piece is where you can load the missiles (one at a time) for the projectile gimmick. When not in use, the missiles can be stored behind her wings (in robot form) or under her hydrofoils (in boat form).

As mentioned above, these figures are prime examples of "shellformers," meaning they don't exhibit any impressive engineering, but rather the robot form just curls up and the vehicle form simply encapsulates it like a shell. I have a picture further below (of Elita-1) that shows the curling process.

All these figures also feature light-piping for their eyes.

This character was notorious for having very organic looking breasts and nipples depicted under her chest armor as seen below.

I wanted to take a minute to talk about the display of the "wings" while in robot form. The wings are hinged in two places so it's possible to give them an accordion-fold and have them hang a little closer to the body. The only issue with this is that it strains a corner of plastic near the top shoulder area. I think eventually white stress marks could appear. So, even though I think the slimmer display on the Left looks better, the wider display on the right is the safer way to go.

Thunderblast was also released on a giant "super value" card with Brimstone and Sideways.

The Takara release of Thunderblast had a few differences. For starters, she was curiously named Chromia. The physical differences are small but noticeable. (1) The eyes are lop-sided due to a manufacturing error, (2) the stone in her chest is purple (Hasbro's is pink), and (3) her abdomen is painted slightly different.

Transformers - Galaxy Force (DVD Pack-In)
Takara 2005

This is a very odd figure. For starters, she continues to use the name Chromia from the regular Takara release of Thunderblast. She was released as a DVD-exclusive figure with one of the disks from Transformers: Galaxy Force (the Japanese name for Transformers: Cybertron). And lastly is her color scheme. It's widely considered to be an homage to Minerva, but I personally feel that she's meant to represent Override who was first presented as female in the American Cybertron series. But, to confuse matters, the character remained male as Nitro in the Japanese Galaxy Force. So this Japanese exclusive homage figure that is distinctly female really makes no sense.

Botcon 2009 Anniversary Attendee Pack
Hasbro 2009

As typical with a lot of Transformers convention exclusives, Elita-1 came in a very unimpressive polybag (along with Razorclaw).

Here is a picture showing the underbelly of the boat in the transformation process.
The robot form just folds up and the boat closes around her.

Time for some Group and Comparison Pics!

Here are all three together.


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