Of all the transformers that have been the subject of remolding or repainting, the jets have come close to or is the biggest target for this cost cutting measure. Let’s face it the molds can be expensive and one way to cut the bill down is to re-use them in new ways. Change the paint scheme and stickers and you got more, change the wings and you get more…. you get the point. If you have been reading along I explained that Starscream started out life as Takara’s F-15 Robo Super-high-speed fighter type but there was another the F-15 Robo Acrobat type who became Thundercracker. These two were exactly the same except colors. The first was grey with red and blue, and the second was blue with red and white. Hasbro scooped these both up for their Transformers 1984 G1 line but they decided to make another in black with purple and silver now known as Skywarp. (this was all new except they used the same molds)
Did you know that Diaclone toys were meant to be vehicles even in their robot modes and the cockpits would fit a smaller robot pilot (even Grimlock had one… Since I have a pre-transformers third party Starscream I have one of these little guys)
But these simple repaints were just the first destination on our trip itinerary and we now go onto our next stop that is the original cartoon, it was decided that the jets would be the bulk of the Decepticon troops, they came in different colors and their original “Cybertronian” form was a strange pyramid looking form.
for a long time people wanted a cybertronian jet toy, since Hasbro and Takara never did anything “Third Party company” Impossible toys made these in 2013, they look nice, but they are kind of fragile, I broke a wing tip right off the hing of the *Ramjet by another name* trying to transform him, so he stays in robot mode.
The video game War for Cybertron changed what these pre-earth jets looked like and toys soon followed by both Hasbro and Takara. (Takara’s united line had one major change they came in metallic paint, I have skywarp in both and look completely different paint wise.)
When Megatron led his troops on his ill fated journey to stop the Autobots and ended up on earth, he only took the three prominent Seeker members (Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp) but the others have always been the subject of fan conjecture.
Our next stop is 1985, Hasbro released three new Seekers using the original body molds but each had new wings with the jet cone flipped over the head to make them even different from the first three giving them the fan nickname “coneheads” These guys were three of the jets left on Cybertron and when they arrived on earth they were given slightly different forms then the other earth bound jet warriors. Thrust in burgundy and black and white with turbines on his wings, Ramjet in white, rust red and grey with additional engines on his wings and Dirge in blue with gold and his wings had a molded in front smaller wing.
well Hasbro tried to get one of these out known as Sandstorm a sandy camo repaint of G2 Ramjet in 1993 (Ramjet and Starscream were the only G2 repaints of their original G1 toy with a sound box gimmick) but it never was released. Takara would answer that with bringing out Sunstorm, a repaint of the G1 Starscream in orange and in 2008 when Hasbro launched their classics line with the original 6 jets (Skywarp was a target exclusive) there was a green one named Acid Storm issued as well, so now we know the names of 9 seekers (originals, the coneheads and the storm brothers) but it does not stop there…. Takara added 2 more in a botcon 2013 exclusive three pack of repaints of the classics mold one in orange as Sunstorm, one in light purple as Hotlink and one in light blue as Bitstream with a subtitle of Rainmakers
Having 11 names seekers is never enough so Slipstream a female seeker was added in 2013 part of Transformers Collectors’ Club’s “Transformers Figure Subscription Service”, Slipstream is a new-head retooling of Prime “First Edition” Starscream, transforming into a jet resembling a General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and they also will be bringing out Nacelle in blue, red and white, using the BotCon 2007 Thrust’s wings with the classics mold’s original head. In red came Red Wing received his first bit of characterization when he was given a short bio by the Transformers Legends game but sadly no toy. .
so now we have 14 names on the list and in every transformers alternate reality there are Seekers, In the movie reality the Seekers were not all planes and could not really be placed in the true definition of Seekers since they had a different mission and were not exclusively Decepticons. I know this entry is pretty light and I could have gone on and on, but you get the idea that the Seekers are the backbone of the Decepticon forces. I will leave you with one twisted thought, Waspinator from the Beast Wars has had a strange time that lets him be an honorary Seeker in a way…. The Ghost of Starscream took over Waspinator for a brief time in two different alternate realities, that produced a toy that was a robot turning into a wasp and a third jet mode. When He arrived back on Cybretron his spark was removed and placed in the Vehicon general Thrust (a motorcycle… but still the name!). He was also give an jet mode toy as a BotCon 2006 exclusive that shows he was a jet before the beast wars started. He also became the weapon partner to legends class Starscream in 2013 furthering the link between Old Waspy and the seekers…
Over the years the seekers have been the target of some very low quality knock offs that you can buy for very cheap. Some are so close the only way to tell the difference is coloring. In the early days Takara leased the molds out to other companies so the amount of jets out there is staggering.
One more thing, I have heavily stated in the past and will always state that Hasbro is a business and they need to make money to stay around, one way of cutting costs and making profit is to reuse molds whenever possible, so new characters along with variants of established characters are ways to do so. Some people do not like this flooding of the market with the same toy in different colors and want to see new molds all the time. It does happen where a mold is not reused again, look at 2010 Leader class Starscream a big good looking Movie version that I have standing in the center of one of the seeker shelves. You would think they would do a couple repaints or five or seven but they never did, a tremendous waste of a mold. Now in 2014 Hasbro released Jetfire (an argument could be made that Jetfire could be a seeker too since in the cartoon he was a friend of Starscream before the war and the movie variant was a seeker) a whole new leader class and this time they reused the mold with some major remolding to make Thundercracker that will be released this year and time will tell if they repaint and retool him further for more seekers (like they have done with the legend class Starscream that produced repaints as Thundercracker and Acid Storm and may see more as well)