Thursday, March 25, 2021

Seek And You Shall Find

My very first “Transformer” was a blue jet that my dad brought home from a business trip in Japan. Actually, the toy was from the Japanese toy line Diaclone, one of the main precursors of the Transformers. That blue jet made its debut in the new line as the Decepticon Thundercracker. And although he was one of the bad guys, he has remained to this day one of my favorite characters in the franchise.

Thundercracker was released way back in 1984 as part of the first wave of Transformers along with his recolor mold mates Starscream and Skywarp. Collectively, this trio and other subsequent repaints of these guys were commonly referred to as “Seekers”. And due to an extended nostalgic extension to Thundercracker, I have always loved the original seekers and have made it a point to collect as many versions of this evil trio as possible.

I’ve already previously written a couple of posts about the different variations of seekers I already have in my collection, but I figure it's about time I give a quick update on some new additions to my display.

These first two sets are more of novelty versions but I feel they’re worth a mention since they are complete sets as well and add a little more variety to the display.


These super deformed versions (big heads, tiny bodies) are basically one trick ponies. As in you pull the oversized Decepticon tags on their heads to toggle their bodies between vehicle and robot mode. Nothing really mind blowing here, the only reason why I got these guys was that they were on clearance.


I picked up this set during a trip to Japan where apparently these guys are “a thing”. To their credit, these little dudes sport basic 5 point articulation (actually 7 since I recently discovered that they also have thigh swivels!) in robot mode and have a fairly simple multi step transformation into their alt modes. They’re a cute and inexpensive set so that’s good enough for me :)

Pocket Toys

So these guys are actually a KO of a legends sized seeker set made by 3rd party company DX9. What I like about them is that even if they’re fairly small, they’re quite detailed and articulated. They also have a cool and unique transformation sequence that I’ve never seen done with a seeker toy before.

First the arms have an asymmetrical transformation scheme with one arm filling out the underside of the cockpit and the other filling out the middle of the jet. Secondly, the rear tail fins neatly fold up behind the main wings leaving the robot legs clear and free of kibble.

Unfortunately, the end result robot mode ends up having a head that is not properly aligned with the shoulders, as in I feel its set a little too far back which can make for a bit of an eye sore. Still despite this drawback, these guys are a pretty cool set considering their size.

As I mentioned earlier, these guys are a KO set, so they were fairly easy to come by as all 3 were sold together in a 3 pack at a fraction of the cost of the original versions. And despite being knock offs, they’re built fairly well.

Iron Factory

Similar to the Pocket Toys, these guys are also legends sized, but they sport a stylized modern look. Their jet modes look more like F-22 Raptors rather than the traditional F-15 Eagle alt mode. So this kinda justifies me getting another “smaller” sized set. Despite their non-traditional look, as toys, I do prefer these over the Pocket Toys set as they feel like they’re made of better quality plastic and are more solid overall.

Another plus I like about this set is that each comes with adjustable flight stands that can be used in both robot and jet modes which give you even more display options.

Originally I remember being on the fence about these guys. Even if they were seekers, I was afraid of getting sucked into another collecting rabbit hole of Legends sized Transformers. But as usual, I caved. Starscream was sold first on his own with some added accessories. And then Thundercracker and Skywarp came in a two pack. And as an added bonus, both sets came with additional parts to build a 4th seeker toy, a ghost version of Starscream.

It also turned out to be a good decision on my part since like many Iron Factory releases, this trio has become a fairly sought after set. So yeah good for me :)


So I was really late to the party on this one and ended up regretting my decision for quite some time. Starscream and Thundercracker were general releases and were pretty plentiful in most stores. And then there was Skywarp who was an Amazon exclusive. I figured that there was no rush to get in on these since as I said Starscream and Thundercracker were everywhere, and Skywarp was just a click away.

Then one Sunday morning while on the way to a family lunch at the mall, I got pulled over by an over eager cop for a supposed driving violation and was issued a ticket. Pissed off, I made an impulse buy after lunch and got myself a Thundercracker. And this is when I realized what a truly great toy this was.

The Siege line is based on the Transformers war on Cybertron. So as a result, their altmodes weren’t reminiscent of anything you would find on Earth. In the seeker’s case, they transformed into a “tetrajet” which was loosely based on the design seen in the first episode of the original 80’s G1 cartoon. I don’t know, some may not like it, but I really loved this alt mode design, which reminded me of a classic 70s-80s sci fi jet from Star Wars of Battlestar Galactica.

What’s even better was the super articulated robot mode, the best articulation that I’ve ever come across on a seeker mode (yes even beating out the MP versions I have). And with that I was set to complete my Siege seeker trio. Unfortunately, fate had other plans.

While Starscream was still fairly readily available, Skywarp was…..gone. He was no longer in stock in Amazon and had shot up in price on the secondary market. While there were rumors that he would be reissued eventually, they never really materialized and so I basically gave up.

Eventually as part of the next toyline Earthrise, an Earth mode version of Starscream was released so I figured to go for that instead and chalk up the Siege versions as lost cause and precautionary tale.


Ever since it was first released in 2006, the Classics version of Starscream was basically the de facto seeker mold for every mainline Transformers collection.

For what it was, it was a very good mold, with one unfortunate flaw, it was sorely undersized. As a Deluxe sized toy, the classic seeker mold was at best the same size as most Autobot cars, which just didn’t seem right. For years we hoped for an updated and at least voyager sized seeker toy and for years we were left wanting. Of course we did get other Starscream toys since the original Classics one, but none of them really cut it for me and for many collectors. A remold of a leader sized Jetfire and a gimmicky “Combiner Wars” version just didn’t cut it.

So it was a pretty big deal when a proper earth mode Voyager Starscream was finally announced. Having learned from the whole Siege seeker fiasco, I didn’t hesitate this time and got myself a Starscream the week he was released here in Manila (days before Manila went on COVID lockdown!). And when a Thundercracker Skywarp 2 pack was announced, I immediately pre ordered myself a set. So fortunately I was able to get my Earthrise seeker set without much drama.

Now while these guys are really great updates, they could have been much better. Don’t get me wrong, I like them, I just wish Hasbro put more thought into this updated version and didn’t rely too heavily on the classic design. They just basically upsized the old toy and added a few more points of articulation. Unfortunately they still kept some design elements from the Classics version which I wasn’t a big fan of, namely the cockpit jutting out too far behind the head in robot mode, and the overall boxy aesthetic of the original toy. After the amazing Siege version, this one seemed like a slight step backwards.

And speaking of the Siege version, months after basically giving up on ever completing my set, fate decided to throw me a bone.

Early one morning, my one year old daughter woke up crying and screaming at around 3 or 4am. As my wife tried to console her, I was unable to get back to sleep, so I decided to check out Facebook. Almost immediately I came across this new post of someone selling his Siege Seekers set including the elusive Skywarp at a pretty decent price. While it’s generally not a good idea to make any impulsive purchases when you're half asleep, this was a no-brainer. I Called dibs on the minutes old post and the next day I finally got myself a complete Siege Seekers set!

I know the year is still young, but I’m pretty sure that this will go down as one of my top purchases of 2021.

So that’s it for now. I know that Hasbro/Takara is on the verge of releasing an updated version of their MP seekers but the jury is still out on whether I will upgrade my current set. They do look really good though, but I find their price to be a bit too much and out of my range so I’m not really in a rush for these guys. For now...I’m good, so until the next update.