2/11/2009

Transformers Universe Stormcloud

Let me set up today's (tonight's?) update with a little story. When I was but a wee lad, I liked airplanes. In fact, I LOVED airplanes. I spent my formative years reading and learning about them. While other boys could rattle off Wade Boggs' batting average, or Doc Gooden's ERA, or the number of double plays Cal Ripken turned, I specialized in aircraft statistics. Want to know the F-4's max speed? I could tell you. What was the combat radius of an F-15? I wouldn't even have to look it up. The MiG-25's wingspan? Easy stuff. Unfortunately, knowing this kind of information wouldn't necessarily impress one's peers as much as you'd think. Sure, if you knew what Dale Murphy was batting on Tuesday nights with a full moon in the month of July, you're looked upon as some sort of god. But if you knew information that could, should crack Cuban and Soviet commandos decide to para-drop into flyover country as some sort of prelude to an invasion, prove vitally useful, well...usually that meant you got picked last for kickball at recess when they chose up sides.

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.

Hawg

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.

Universe Stormcloud 1

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...

Universe Stormcloud 2

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.

Universe Stormcloud 3

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.)

Universe Stormcloud 4

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."

4 comments:

Matt said...

I am REAALLLY tempted to get Stormcloud. I couldn't find him, got Powerglide, and now I see him everywhere.

But if I did, I'd friggin paint his faceplate silver. Makes me think of a duck every time.

Skeletor Pilot was hilarious.

~Matt Booker

Heavyarms said...

The only reason why I don't mind the neon green face is that that's the way G1 Stormcloud is painted. It is kind of like his "thing."

TheBleakRanger said...

I thought about getting this guy b/c I, too, am a lover of the A-10, but when I see him in robot mode all I can think about is "His name was Robert Paulson!"

Matt said...

You know, I'd almost forgotten about my want for Stormcloud, but your post returned it and I picked one up.

He's friggin awesome. The purple blue of his engines blends so much better than Powerglide's orange boobies.

And even his face. I'm going to keep it as is, and not because I'm being lazy. While the silver would be neat, it's much less 'duck' in person and I had that micromaster as a kid. While the alt modes are different, there's more purple on his arms and legs than I thought, so the homage is good.

~Matt Booker