Monday, 2 January 2012

Review: ThunderCats Thundertank

ThunderCats is back! You wonder what took it so long really - all the other classic 80s hits had comebacks ages ago. Think about it: He-Man had the 200x line, Ninja Turtles around the same time too, Transformers has been reincarnated thousands of times. But we got there in the end, and with it a new version of one of the best vehicles of the 80s: the Thundertank.

Looks pretty good, eh? Reminiscent of the old version, but more beefed up. On the face of it, Bandai have a hit here.  On the face of it.

I'll skip straight to the point. A tank should be a big, solid thing that you can bash into things with little/no damage inflicted on the vehicle itself. It should be carving damage on the opponent, not be on the receiving end.

Which is what makes this so utterly upsetting:

This is how the claw arms spend most of their time. The clips are so small, delicate and loose that the slightest knock causes them to fall to pieces. It's not broken - you can easily clip the bits back together - but it's not not really what I'd expect from an armoured tank. Sure, it's fun - briefly - as battle damage, but 90% of the time it's just plain annoying.

Instead of 'transforming' into a battle mode like the old tank, the main action feature on the new tank are little buttons on the back which, when pressed, shoot forth 'bikes' under the claws. This works well and you get little sound effects to go along with them.

Unfortunately, due to the poor claw-tank attachment, when you try to clip the bike back on it generally results in the whole claw coming off. This was annoying when I tried doing it. Multiply the annoyance level by 10 if you're a child.

The bikes, as they are, serve no purpose. I guess you could pretend they're missiles but really they're just placeholders for the 'real' bikes which are sold separately. These are larger and will fit figures in. Buying both the bikes will also double the cost of the tank.

The other action feature of the tank is the thunderlinx (could be spelt as 'lynx', I can't remember) system. This involves the magnets that are in the back of all the figures activating various exciting features. On the tank, this means that if you put a figure in the driver's seat instead of just the regular noises you get a random man (definitely not a voice from the cartoon, and the same man no matter who you sit in the tank) shouting 'thundertank activate' before the regular noise.

It's a bit pointless.

The other thunderlinx feature is that waving a figure over a spot on the back of the tank will open the door to the storage compartment.

This is hideously annoying as it means you have to find a figure every time you want to open it - super annoying if you've put your figure inside the compartment. A simple (normal) button would have been preferable.

Snarf comes exclusively with the Thundertank. In what I guess could be argued as a homage to the original figure, he's made completely out of scale to the other ThunderCats.

It's a shame really. I know Bandai can make decent, solid vehicles as I have the Rhino they made for the Captain Scarlet line a couple of years ago. Now that is exactly the type of thing I'd have liked to see for the Thundertank. It's a big, solid lump of plastic with big chunky wheels and powerful enough to knock anything out of its way.

Oh, if only the Thundertank had been more like that...

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