The first year of Generation Two in 1992 saw many repaints of the G1 range, some of these featured minor changes (Inferno), a few new paint detailing (Jazz), some complete mold redecos (Sideswipe) and some of these included running changes through the line (Dinobots seeing three separate colour-scheme releases, with a fourth for Grimlock planned and unreleased).
What was interesting to see was that the original Seeker jets saw less repaints in G2 than during G1, with only two of the original six figures seeing a release. We know the Thrust and Dirge wing molds were available (and not “lost” like Sunstreaker or Wheeljack) because just a decade later they saw a release first through e-Hobby and later through Toys R Us as Hasbro Commemorative Editions, but for reasons unknown, two jets is all we got. So lets see them.
The leader of the Seekers is back, even if he has less of an Air Squadron to command then in previous years.
At first glance, his redeco may look tonally similar to his original; A grey body becoming white with reddish parts for the upper torso, with grey highlights replacing the original blue. In hand, the red is very noticeably a salmon colour (which became a more orangey shade with the TFCC release) and the blue to grey colour swap does make him noticably different, especially on his wings which – having not been blue on the original release – would have been on a different mold sprue to his blue parts, so his colour change is more thought out than a mere mold palette swap. The slight purple of his cockpit and missiles were a nice change carried over in the TFCC version, which does a remarkably good job of copying the original, especially on homaging some of the original sticker apps.
One of the major changes from G1 to G2 was the addition of a rudimentary sound-chip and new missile launchers. Like G2 Optimus Prime, Starscream features an add-on “light and sound” box that clips onto the figure, meaning Starscream can now make the “pew-pew” noises so you’re kids don’t have to. Unfortunately, the technology of the time meant that the noises were of the same quality as you’d find on a key-fob at a cheap market stall; limited to a poor quality gun noise, and a take-off engine thrust noise that never seems to end. Still, at least they didn’t try and add a voice file like on Megatron and Prime!
The new missile launcher is an interesting choice and was also carried over for G2 Superion / Silverbolt, we presume the changes were not aesthetic but necessary thanks to new toy laws denoting the size of missiles, to avoid choking mishaps with small projectiles. What I find oddest about these missiles and launcher is that they were not carried over for the TRU reissues which had all new missiles designed to comply with the same laws (not so with the Takara / eHobby reissues), and even as recently as the Platinum Seeker sets we saw a new change to Thrust’s Missile
Launcher Holder, which now is a solid piece with no firing mechanism at all. Surely it would have been able to port the G2 missile and launcher over for these subsequent releases?
The alt. modes are pretty much what you expect, with G2 Starscream featuring the same factory sticker sets as the G1 figure, hence the old school faction logos, curiously this was carried over with the redesigned factory applied wing and tailfin stickers, which also featured the G2 logos. Given the G2 logos were used before (and after) G2, they had them in hand at the design stage, so it’s very curious that these were not used.
Thankfully, the TFCC release features accurate G2 faction logo stickering as part of it’s tampographing, and I would be remiss if I didn”t mention that it’s probably the finest designed and applied tampographing of any of the recent figures released, and a highlight of the TFCC range.
Something else worth mentioning, this is the fourth mainline release of Starscream from a company that was starting to realise the value of it’s own character IPs. Starscream was released in 1984, and both as a Pretender Classic and an Action Master before his G2 release, only a small set of characters share that honour including Jazz and Grimlock, but unlike the big-players Prime and Megatron, Starscream was not replaced for the 1986 line (despite his graphic on screen death) making him one of the most enduring characters at this point in the line’s history – only Bumbleebee with his five releases by this point, beats him (although an argument could be made for Grimlocks three G2 colour-schemes pushing him into the lead).
Now that is a colour overhaul!!! Having lost his white torso to G2 Starscream, G2 Ramjet went in a completely different direction. Now bright purple, with turquoise detailing. Because G2.
Most of the things I mentioned for Starscream apply here for G2 Ramjet; new missile launchers, crappy clip-on sound-box which is only good at annoying pets, parents (and later spouses – it still works after all these years and the same batteries too!). The way Ramjets wings display in robot mode give me the perfect opportunity to point out another G2 addition, the tampo’d faction identifier on the underside of his left wing identifying Ramjet as a Deception. Something similar was carried over for the Transmetal era of Beast Wars, with name idents tampo’d on the curiously faction-less beasties.
The TFCC CHUG version did an excellent job homaging the original, once again replacing the old G1 stickers with G2 tampos, and although some of the detailing was lost (air intakes for instance) they did an excellent job all-round. The biggest difference between the two classics molds used were off course the conehead, a change made for all the coneheads in the CHUG line to differentiate them from Starscream and co., and a great improvement on the G1 style of Coneheading, which always looks naff.
CHUG2 Ramjet actually pre-dates CHUG2 Starscream by about five years and was so popular he sold out in 2 days, it’s great that they manage to “finish” the set before the TFCC line died, but I sort of wish they’d rounded it out with the other four as well. Tricky, considering Hasbro never revealed any scheduled repaints for the other characters, but in the years since G2 two other repaints of Ramjet have leaked, one known amoung the fandom as Sandstorm (click here for excellent Maz analysis of this unique hand-painted mold), and the other in a sky-blue deco you can read about here.
However, for those wanting to boost their G2 seeker ranks, Action Master Thundercracker’s colour-scheme is one of the most G2 looking things around and makes a great stand-in, and I feel Shattered Glass Dirge (below) could have also made an excellent G2 stand-in had they ever released it (although the mold is Ramjets, you can tell by the wings), and at a push Nacelle could almost be used for a G2 Thrust, although he is no longer a conehead. But that’s it, no real inspiration for Skywarp.
Despite the enduring popularity of obscure G2 and the necessity for repaints, there have been no G2 MP style seekers. Well, no official ones. The iGear version of G2 Ramjet was released, but in very limited numbers. Originally scheduled to be a Comic Ink store exclusive in the USA, an alleged Cease and Desist order apparently shut that down. It’s a very nice piece if you can find it, and there are rumoured to only be about 20 ever made.
Overall, I’m a big fan of G2 toys, so all four of these official pieces call to me in a way I don’t fully understand, but even I have to draw the line somewhere, so G2 MPs are not for me. However, there are plenty of other MP seekers available through Kapow Toys either in stock or on pre-order. As well as that, the Kapow SALE is currently underway. Go to.