Tuesday, October 30, 2012

They Call Me The Seeker….I Been Searchin Low & High

(Geek mode ON) The name “Seeker” was a term originally coined by fans to describe the Decepticon Jets of the same mode, eventually adopted by Hasbro and various comic continuities. (Geek mode OFF)

I don’t know what it is about them, maybe it’s because my “first” Transformer was Thundercracker,  the blue robot that turned into an F-15 eagle that my dad got me all those years ago.  Or maybe it was the fact that they just look so cool and exuded this sense of superiority over their land locked Autobot enemies.  Whatever the reason, I sure love me some seekers! I proudly call myself a seeker whore as I basically buy up anything seeker related that Hasbro (and other 3rd party companies) come up with.

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Now when I’m talking about seekers, I’m more often than not referring to the original three, namely Starscream (white jet), Skywarp (black) & Thundercracker (blue), all released in the first wave of Transformers in 1984.  Although my seeker love does extend to others introduced later, like the coneheads, Thrust, Dirge & Ramjet and the fan introduced Sunstorm and the Rainmakers….my seeker love eventually always goes back to good ol’ Starscream, Skywarp & Thundercracker.

Transformers as a toyline has gone through a number of different sub-lines, usually coinciding with a newly released cartoon series.  And with every new sub-line created, some sort of version of Starscream is always present.  And more often than not, since they are basically just repaints of Starscream, Skywarp & Thunder are almost certain to follow as well at least in toy form.  Unfortunately, Hasbro doesn’t always make it easy for seeker whores like myself.  While Starscream is almost always a mass retail release, usually, either Thundercracker or Skywarp end up being some sort of store exclusive sold at a higher price, which makes getting a complete trio even more of a challenge and even more satisfying when finally achieved.

Anyway, here’s a rundown of all the different versions of seeker trios I’ve managed to complete through the years.  But let’s get one thing out of the way first, no I do not have the original toy versions of the 3 seekers, although they’ve been re-released a number of times, I’m not THAT big of a nostalgia nut to spend money on what essentially were plastic bricks :P

Not even rose-tinted glasses can make these guys look good....
Classic Versions: This was the first “modern” version of the original 1984 seeker.  And just like the original, transformed into an F-15 eagle.  Luckily all three main seekers were released in retail (although Skywarp was part of a 2 pack & Thundercracker came out about 5 years after the first release, Starscream way back in 2006). I think this mold holds the record of the most repaints I have in my collection....over 10 (pls don’t judge me :P) .  It’s a decent version, though a little out-dated in 2012.  The original seeker design is in a sore need of an update…preferably in a bigger scale.  This one is just too small compared to most of the inferior Autobots in my collection *cough*Bumblebee*cough*.  If they did release an updated version I would GLADLY scoop it up and all the inevitable repaints that would follow in a heartbeat.

Nothing beats a classic....except..a NEW classic...please Hasbro? 

Home made Skywarp
Movie Versions: This particular design has a lot of haters…mainly because they pretty much looked like apes, but I didn’t care.  When they released Star Scream & Thundercracker for the first movie, I immediately got them.  The completist in me made me buy an extra one which I repainted to Skywarp.  Eventually though they did release an official Skywarp as a special exclusive for the 2nd movie.  I eventually tracked one down on clearance and officially completed THAT triad.

Finally complete!
Movie Versions #2:  When the third movie came along they released an updated version of the movie seeker design..although in a smaller scale.  Initially I was turned off by the smaller scale (and the fact that I already had movie trio on the shelf) but…they looked SO good, a lot better than their bigger versions…so I got myself a Starscream & Thundercracker from retail and tracked down a Skywarp w/c unfortunately was another Japanese exclusive and was priced higher (what is it with Skywarp????)

A more refined monkey squad....
Alternity:  Ok these guys came from a higher priced die-cast line from Japan called Alternity.  The draw with this line was that the characters transformed into highly detailed and officially licensed cars meant to attract car enthusiasts.  Yup read right…CARS!  These seekers transformed into cars!  While some fans would consider this as sacrilege, I welcomed the change.  It was a fresh idea and the end result, although not perfect in execution (they are a HASSLE to transform), was pretty decent! Plus, the cars they transformed into looked amazing and uniquely fitting for a seeker don’t you think?

Baby you can drive my car....
Transformers Prime:  These guys are the latest version of the triad released so far.  These designs are based off the currently showing excellent cgi series, Transformers Prime.  The Starscream design looks exceptionally devious & evil as compared to past versions and is perfect.  Although the jet mode isn’t as exciting or intimidating, looking more like an F-16 falcon, it still seems to have the most personality…I guess I’m just a real fan of the semi updated take on the character in the new series.  Both Skywarp & Thundercracker are straight up repaints and as of today only released in the Japanese Prime line (translation: more expensive) and as of now don’t really exist on the show, but neither of these kept me from completing this triad.

Just when you thought they couldn't look more devious....
Masterpiece:  Ok this is the BIG one.  The Masterpiece series is the ultimate high end of Transformers toys.  These are ultra-detailed, larger scaled toys whose robot modes look amazingly accurate to the cartoon model while still managing to transform into a very realistic vehicle.   When a masterpiece Starscream was announced, there were no ifs or buts about it, it had to be mine!  And as each subsequent masterpiece seeker was released, I got them too without hesitation!

Ultimate proof of my Seeker obsession....
Even knock-off Masterpiece coneheads have a place on my seeker shelf as well J
......No...actually I think this is
Of course there are a whole lot more versions of seekers out there.  Some, like the original versions I never set out to get from the get go. But there were some I tried to complete and for whatever reason was unable to complete.

Ultimately, I do think my collection NEEDS
some Cybertron styled Seekers...
Titanium Series:  This line was another diecast line.  It looked promising, the first seeker released here was Thundercracker and to differentiate this version from others, this was designed after the Cybertron version of the seeker.  So it transformed into some sort of spaceship (no F-15 eagles in Cybertron) which looked cool.  So I got myself a Thundercracker and was thoroughly underwhelmed! It just wasn’t a very good design, not for the price I paid for it.  So I immediately ditched this line and ignored the Starscream & Skywarp releases that followed.  Although…if I DO see the other two at a decent price, I just MAY complete this trio in the future, but those chances are pretty slim especially since Hasbro recently announced a new upcoming, improved & cheaper Cybertron Starscream to be released soon.  And I’m sure his 2 cohorts will eventually follow soon.

Now THESE will do :) Hurry up Hasbro and do the OTHER 2!
Animated Series:  Ok this one hurt.  These guys were based on an animated series that ran from 2007-2009.  What made this series stand out were the more cartoony & stylized designs.  Although at first the look was met with a lot of hate, the style eventually won fans over, especially when the seemingly impossibly designed toyline came out which pretty much successfully captured the new look in plastic form.  Starscream was no exception, his design was amazing, and they released a Skywarp shortly thereafter.  Thundercracker was soon to follow, unfortunately, the cartoon & the toyline ended before it could be officially released! A few finished samples surfaced on eBay and went for over 1000++ USD!!! This was a price that was definitely way beyond my range.  So as much as I LOVE this version, it is destined to go incomplete on my shelf, until I decide to get an extra Starscream for cheap and paint him….

No Thundercracker for you!!!!!
And finally….I forgot to show off one last trio, the icing to my seeker collection that I just HAD to get. They don’t transform or anything and are TINY…but they just look SO CUTE…..