Of special interest to me was the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. (Note: only dorks refer to aircraft by their nicknames: "Warthog," "Eagle," "Tomcat," "Fighting Falcon." If you want to look cool to military airplane junkies, you must use the aircraft's alpha-numeric designation.) I grew up just a stone's throw away from England Air Force Base, home of the Flying Tigers.
My childhood home pretty much sat directly in the flight path between the base and the practice gunnery range about 20 miles away. My brother and I used to climb onto the roof of our house and watch groups of A-10s orbiting the range, working over their canvas targets with the 30mm GAU-8 Avenger. Every year we'd be at England's annual airshow to watch the Thunderbirds and crawl all over the A-10s out for public display. My grandparents only lived about 5 miles from the range, so during the summer weeks we spent at their house you could constantly hear the "guh-RUUUUHHHMMMP!" from their guns (And I have never, EVER, not even ONCE, snuck onto the gunnery range to collect expended 30mm ammo casings. NEVER!**) My Pa Pa, being a retired Air Force man, always went grocery shopping at the EAFB commissary. I got my first Robotech toy (an Alpha) at the BX. I always demanded that he drive near the flight line so I could see the A-10s parked on the ramp. On some days we'd go park off base at the end of one of the runways and watch them land and take off. I worshiped at the altar of the 23d TFW.
I told you that story to tell you this...A-10 Transformer toys have never really done anything for me. G1 Powerglide was a great big "meh" to me. Universe Powerglide even more so. Those two Energon A-10s? I don't think they've been anything but the arm and leg on my Energon Superion (or Superius Maximus or whatever) since I tool 'em out of the package. Might as well go ahead and cover all the bases and say that the G1 Micromaster Tailwind is just about my favorite TF representation of the airplane, and I don't even like it that much because he's only, like, 2 inches tall. I just don't feel the toys represent the aircraft all that well. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that the real airplane is just a long skinny tube, with two short, fat tubes, two straight wings, and a big H-shaped tail. You can't really get a realistic robot to unfold from that, I guess...
Which is why I understand why Universe Stormcloud can't really be an A-10, only A-10-ish. But that's cool. Call me crazy, but the deco makes this figure and I really like it when my Decepticons are purple and black. Just like all true Autobots should be some combination of red, white, and blue (take that, Hot Rod!), all Decepticons should feature this color combination (at least if they aren't dark blue because you can't leave out Soundwave.) Since Universe Stormcloud features an abundance of black with some purple, I think this figure works better than the Powerglide deco.
The toy is solid enough. It's a little top-heavy, but that's about the only problem. I even like the little "MM-89" tampograph because (I think) it references the fact that the original Stormcloud was a micromaster and came out in '89. I think the tampos on the other two Universe ultras - BOLT-25 (Silverbolt) and MONZO-whatever (Onslaught)- are just superfluous. My ONE real gripe is probably pretty stupid. See if you follow my logic here:
1) Universe Stormcloud is an A-10
2) G1 Tailwind was ALSO an A-10
3) G1 Tailwind was blue
4) The Cobra Rattler was ALSO blue (pictures coming soon!)
Theoretically, had Hasbro done this figure as an homage to G1 Tailwind, we'd have had a giant, blue, transforming Decepticon A-10. Oh, what could you do with a giant, blue, transforming Decepticon A-10? Well, some company (say Hasbro or reprolabels or something) could have come out with a set of Cobra Rattler decals designed for said giant, blue, transforming A-10, allowing you to turn it into a Transforming Cobra Rattler that was also an homage to a G1 Transformer, thereby causing quite possibly the biggest 80's-related, nostalgia-propagated toygasm in the history of mankind EVER! (I don't even think a little mini-Skeletor pilot would have been required.)
See? See how Hasbro dropped the ball by not replying to the resume' I forwarded to them with the subject "Dear Hasbro: Please consider me as a replacement for the retarded offspring of five monkeys that had butt sex with a fish-squirrel you currently employ as your toy design team."
**And by "never, EVER, not even ONCE" I mean "have done it several times."