Two more characters have had their box art entries greatly improved by new scans! On the right we have GRAND, the Headmaster of Grand Maximus, who was the Japanese Masterforce redeco of Fortress Maximus, meaning that Grand is a redeco of Fort Max's Headmaster, Cerebros … except Grand has one thing Cerebros doesn't: a Pretender shell. Perhaps the shell is intended to make up for the fact that he was given the unoriginal and slightly ridiculous name of "Grand". I don't know, don't ask me. I'm not a scientist.
Did you know that the word "shelled" simultaneously means both "having or enclosed in a shell" and "having the shell removed"? It's true. This means I get to write the following sentence:
While the shelled Grand in the foreground dominates the image, I'm just as interested in the shelled Grand behind him (in robot mode, below his head mode) as the American Cerebros never had any box art. Grand was scanned from the excellent Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging. You've bought that already, right?
When the Classics/Universe version of Thunderwing was released (and we coincidentally updated his box art), there was already strong suspicion that his original Japanese-exclusive remold, Black Shadow, would also get his first stateside release. It wasn't just the knowledge that Hasbro likes to make easy money by repainting its figures and effectively selling the same toy to collectors twice: it was the fact that Black Shadow's head and chest were accidentally used in Thunderwing's instructions. But just because Hasbro intends to sell a repaint/remold doesn't mean they always get around to it. I am therefore very glad that they have indeed released Black Shadow (under the apparently more trademark-friendly name of "Sky Shadow") and I now finally have this sinister interstellar terrorist glowering at me with his ferociously malevolent eyes...
I'm consistently surprised by how persistently enduring the character of Thunderwing remains. After all, Thunderwing arrived at the tail end of G1, one of the oft-maligned Pretenders, and never appeared in a single cartoon episode. Nearly all the credit for his characterization has been in both the classic and modern comic books, all penned by Simon Furman, the most prolific Transformers writer of all time.
Furman is a big fan of taking neglected and under-utilizied Transformers and instilling new life and characterization into them. In the original comic series, Thunderwing's affinity and obsession for the Autobot Matrix drove him to steal it (and become possessed by it) during the "Matrix Quest" storyline. In recent IDW comics continuity, Thunderwing was recast as the victim of his own "polydermal grafting" process (read: modernized Pretender) and simultaneously became insane but so uncontrollably powerful and invulnerable that he mindlessly turned Cybertron into an irradiated, uninhabitable husk.
Box art editing whiz Paul Heal has returned with three new submissions: a cleaner Abominus without the overlaying Japanese text (this really impressed me); a new Catilla; and Thunderwing! Check them all out (along with Carnivac) in Latest Additions.
The Thunderwing amd Catilla scans were graciously contributed by Rework. Abominus scan donated by Jeff Morris.