United Seeker Ace Set Gallery & Review!

{mosimage}I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the United Seeker Ace set (featuring Classics Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker) a number of days before it’s official release.  This set marks the first time all three figures are available together since G1 and the first time they were available in a set together.

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Here is the review of the Asia (excluding Japan) Exclusive Transformers United Seekers:  Aces set!  This set includes redecos of Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker in the style of Transformers United.

Packaging:  The packaging is among the best I’ve seen at non-convention exclusives, and even then it’s giving any one of them a run for their money.  On the front is a large full color illustration of the 3 original 1984 Seekers, Skywarp, Starscream, and Thundercracker; beautifully illustrated by (I believe) Hidetsugu Yoshihara.  Atop the front of the package are the words SEEKERS: ACES followed by the three figures’ names, as well as various Transformers United logos and the TakaraTomy brand logo.  The front cover lifts (it’s held in place by four Velcro tabs) up to reveal the 3 figures inside (all in jet mode) as well as a photo showing the figures flying through the air.  Several Decepticon logos and other text round out the rest of the front of the package.  The sides, top, and bottom have similar call-outs that we saw on the front, designating the line and what the set is as well as copyright information (on the bottom).  The back features Tech Specs and profiles (all in English) for each figure as well as the Gimmicks for each.  Notably the Tech Specs for each figure is a variation of the original Japanese G1 stats.

Each side of the package features one piece of tape.  The insert plastic bubble slides out easily and features a couple pieces of tape on each bubble.  The cardboard backer features a purple backdrop with white gridlines.

The one included instruction sheet is for all 3 figures and features the art on the front of the box as well as reverse instructions.

Like most TakaraTomy Asian exclusives the instructions and mailer box for this set features Hasbro information (but none on the packaging itself).

Figures:

Since most fans have one or twenty versions of the Classics Seeker mold, I’m mainly going to focus on the details of the paint job and how they vary from the Henkei (Gentei) versions as they’re closest to those versions previously produced by TakaraTomy.

Starscream:

Vehicle Mode:

Starscream’s vehicle mode is very similar to the Henkei one.  From the top it might be difficult for the untrained eye to tell one from the other.  United Starscream is a lighter gray and features metallic red details on his air intakes and a metallic vibrant blue on his vertical stabilizers.  The window is more of an amber color than the orange featured on the Henkei.  The stripes are less of a crimson and more orange than the Henkei version.  The United version’s vertical stabilizers are painted in the same manner as the Henkei, only with shiny blue paint and lighter red.  The stripe pattern on both is the same as are most of the paint layouts including the Decepticon insignias in this mode.  United Starscream’s Decepticon symbols feature a silver outline while the Henkei had no silver outline and are slightly smaller.  The United figure retains a similar gunmetal color for the canopy frame.  The jet thrusters are a metallic gray.

Robot Mode:

The plastic color changes on the jet mode carry over to the robot mode.  The differences between the Henkei and United releases become more apparent here.  Starscream does a very good job of replicating the cartoon’s color layout.  Pretty much everything is accurate to the show with some minor additions.  These additions include the shiny blue paint on his knees and the light gray details on his shoulder pylons.

The United version loses the extra details the Henkei figure featured on his launchers (including the chrome), forearms, shoulders, and waist.  The chest fans are still gun metal gray, as is his face, which features red eyes.  The helmet is black and leaves the sides unpainted so as not to be as noticeable in jet mode.  The red on the Henkei release is swapped for shiny red.  He features dark gray knee vents (a detail missing on the Henkei release) and the insides of his feet are also painted entirely dark gray.

Like most United figures Starscream features shiny paint throughout the figure.  Here it is used on his waist, chest, forearms (front and outer side), feet (sans the bottoms), and knees.  This paint is similar to what was on other United figures such as Cybertronian Optimus, Wreck-Gar, and Blurr.  The shiny paint works well as the unpainted blue plastic (on his hands and on the bottom of his feet) doesn’t really draw attention to itself.  The one noticeable area that is lacking it is his shin; which are a metallic light blue but not the shiny paint used elsewhere.

Unlike the previous Starscream figures, United Starscream’s forearms and tops of his launchers are not molded in blue plastic but light gray.  This is done so the launchers could be completely gray (without having to paint them).  But in order to do this the forearms are painted shiny blue.  The fists are a duller blue then the Henkei version.

Overall:  This figure, much like the Henkei release, is really sharp and manages to make (in my opinion) boring Starscream color scheme pop.  The details on this figure are really great and he manages to be the most accurate to the cartoon interpretation of the three figures (though he’s still not perfect).

Skywarp:

Vehicle Mode:

Like Starscream, Skywarp’s vehicle mode is very similar to the Henkei one.  From the top it might be difficult to tell one from the other (even more so than on Starscream).  United Skywarp has a glossier and darker black than the Henkei version.  The window is more of an amber color than the orange featured on the Henkei.  The stripes are brighter than the Henkei version.  The United version’s vertical stabilizers are painted in the same manner as the Henkei; black plastic with purple and white details.  The stripe pattern on both is the same, as are most of the paint layouts including the Decepticon insignias in this mode.  United Skywarp’s Decepticon symbols feature a silver outline while the Henkei had no silver outline and are slightly smaller.  The United figure retains a similar gunmetal color for the canopy frame.  The jet thrusters are a metallic gray.

Robot Mode:

The plastic color changes on the jet mode carry over to the robot mode.  The differences between the Henkei and United releases become more apparent here.  Skywarp does a good job of replicating the cartoon’s color layout.  Skywarp’s deco is similar to what was on the original cartoon.  He features the purple shoulders of the cartoon, but disappointingly (or very disappointingly in my opinion) his launchers are not entirely purple as they were solicited on TransformersAsia.com and on the packaging.  Now in all fairness the missiles and launcher muzzle are tied to parts on Skywarp that have to be black.  Though it is not out of the question to have had these pieces painted in purple; Henkei Ramjet featured paint on his missiles and launcher muzzle.  Though in Ramjet’s case it is probably much easier to paint over bright red and white with dark gray then it would be to paint over black with purple.  But I digress, the tops of the launchers and his hands are a medium purple (think a slightly darker version of the original G1 figure’s purple) making them darker than the Henkei and not nearly as magenta as the Classics version.

The United version loses the extra details of the Henkei on featured on his launchers (including the chrome), forearms, and waist.  The chest fans are still gun metal gray, and he has a silver face, with red eyes.  The silver on the Henkei release remains silver here (though the quality seems higher and is applied more consistently).  He features dark gray knee vents and the insides of his feet are also painted entirely dark gray.  If they were going for true cartoon accuracy the insides of his feet would be silver and the knee vents a light blue.

Like most United figures Skywarp features shiny paint throughout the figure.  Here it is used on his forearms (front and outer side), feet (sans the bottoms), and knees.  This paint is similar to what was on other United figures like Cybertronian Soundwave.  The shiny paint works well on its own, but draws a bit of attention to the unpainted purple plastic of his launchers and hands as well as the purple paint on his shins.  Still, it’s a dark rich purple and akin to the shade of purple used on the original Classics Skywarp mockup (the final toy ended up much more magenta).

Unlike United Starscream, Skywarp’s forearms (and tops of his launchers) are molded in the same color as his fists.  Therefore the undersides of Skywarp’s forearms are painted black as to not draw attention to them in jet mode (Starscream and Thundercracker leave this area unpainted).

Overall:  Despite my problems with the arm cannon color and to a much lesser extent his leg and feet details, the figure is exceptionally well put together and like his two brothers very tight with a high level of quality control.  The quality of the figures is among the best this mold has seen, if not the best.

Thundercracker: 

Vehicle Mode:

Like Starscream and Skywarp, Thundercracker’s vehicle mode is very similar to the Henkei one.  From the top it might be difficult to tell one from the other (more so than on Starscream).  United Thundercracker has slightly lighter blue than the Henkei version.  The window is more of an amber color than the orange featured on the Henkei.  The stripes are darker than the Henkei version.  The United version’s vertical stabilizers are painted in the same manner as the Henkei, blue plastic with black, red, and white details.  The stripe pattern on both is the same as are most of the paint layouts including the Decepticon insignias in this mode.  United Thundercracker’s Decepticon symbols feature a silver outline while the Henkei had no silver outlines (which are kind of hard to see on the Henkei version).  The insignias are also slightly smaller.  The United figure retains a similar gunmetal color for the canopy frame.  The jet thrusters are a metallic gray.

Robot Mode:

The plastic color changes on the jet mode carry over to the robot mode.  The differences between the Henkei and United releases become more apparent here.  Like Starscream, Thundercracker does a very good job of replicating the cartoon’s color layout.  Pretty much everything is accurate to the show with some minor changes.  These additions include the dark metallic gray paint on his knees, his chest vents are metallic gray (this was true for the Henkei one too) instead of silver, and the light gray details on his shoulder pylons.

The United version loses the extra details of the Henkei on featured on his launchers (including the chrome), forearms, shoulders, and waist.  The chest fans are still gun metal gray (though as mentioned before, they should be silver to be cartoon accurate).  He still has a silver face, which features red eyes.  The helmet is black and leaves the sides unpainted so as not to be as noticeable in jet mode.  The silver on the Henkei release’s torso remains silver here (though the quality seems higher and is applied more consistently).   He features silver knee vents (a detail missing on the Henkei release) and the insides of his feet are also painted silver.

Like most United figures Thundercracker features shiny paint throughout the figure.   Here it is used on his shoulders and collar.  This paint is similar to what was on other United figures such as United Blurr.  The shiny paint works well enough with the unpainted blue plastic.  Though it seems a bit of an unnecessary addition, as if the gray paint on his feet and forearms wasn’t shiny enough (it’s not shiny).

Unlike the previous Thundercracker figures, United Thundercracker’s forearms and tops of his launchers are not molded in black plastic but blue (the BotCon 2007 figure managed to have his forearms and the tops of his launchers molded in different colors – why this was the case for this release only, no one knows).  This is done so the launchers could be completely blue (without having to paint them).  But in order to do this the forearms are painted.

Like Skywarp and Starscream, Thundercracker’s forearms and feet are painted but not in a shiny paint.  They’re painted a dark metallic gray, which is likely to satisfy those who wanted the light gray hands and forearms of the cartoon and also those who like the black of the original toy.  I find this to be a nice touch as his feet and forearms are not the same color as his helmet.

Overall:  This figure, much like the Henkei release, is pretty sharp.  He seems the most like the Henkei release to me, but doesn’t have great quality control and tightness of the joints unlike 98% of the Henkei Thundercrackers.  He is fairly accurate to the cartoon layout, but I’m still a bit taken back by the metallic paint on this figure.  While not as noticeable as Skywarp’s the choices for where it is applied are a bit stranger.

Overall Set:  This is the first time the three original Seekers have been offered all at the same time, in the same line at once.  It’s also the first time they’ve been offered together in a set, as well as one of the only times their decos follow a similar theme (cartoon accuracy with additional shiny paint).  The packaging is fantastic and the paint jobs are great.  While I’m most disappointed with Skywarp (and that may be due to the changes from the initial photos and my penchant for the character) all 3 of them are on par with any of the previous releases and would make a great addition to anyone’s collection, particularly if you don’t have them already.  Though that is not to say this is at least the 3rd release (or in Starscream and Thundercracker’s case 5th release) of these characters in this mold.  While the Classics Seeker mold may be showing its age in some areas, it’s refreshing in an era where figures are getting smaller.

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Randy

News And Content at Allspark
Randy has been a member of the Allspark since 2002 and a member of the News and Content Team since 2007.Little known secret, his favorite Transformer is Skywarp.

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