Numbat's review of: Starscream
'My enemies will be left with nothing but the ashes of their defeat.'
Ruthless, cold-blooded, and capable, Starscream makes no secret of the fact that he wants to replace Megatron as leader of the Decepticons. The fastest flyer amongst the Decepticons ranks and one of the most dangerous warriors ever to grace the skies of Cybertron, he is still something of a coward. He cares too much for his own skin to ever take the risks the overthrow of Megatron would require.
Starscream is amongst the most iconic of Transformers. It came as no surprise when he was announced as one of the first wave of Classics Deluxe figures. However, there was a lot to live up to.
Starscream was my first G1 Decepticon. I remember the excitement of receiving him as a gift to this day. The expectations of a now adult fan base who have dreamed of a modern Starscream toy based upon the G1 design were likely to be higher than Hasbro could deliver.
Furthermore, with the recent success of the Robot Masters RM-12 Starscream figure – also an updated G1 design – and the well received Cybertron incarnations, based upon Don Figueroa's War Within
designs (with a hefty portion of G1 homage thrown in to boot) (not to mention Masterpiece Starscream), the market is already flooded with great Starscream designs.
How does he rate before we even start? Well, the packaging is great (something I rarely comment on – and truly this box has since been used as kindling [Hasbro] boxes are amazing fun for this by the way – they almost explode, and steam hisses from random holes between layers – great fun!]). I just love the simplicity, and the flip gimmick on the front (showing plane to robot).
However, although the bio is well written and captures Starscream fairly well, the tech specs also fall flat. The main reason in my opinion is the lack of intelligence. Starscream was always extremely clever – he just messed up because he was to full of himself, and so overlooked details, or just plain wimped out. But, hey. After the box burns, I can make him who I want him to be.
Although many of the Classics releases have been treated (or punished) with a redesign, Starscream still turns into a fighter jet (still the F-15 general design). Although the proportions differ slightly from the original G1 incarnation, the plane is very much the same beast. Of course, the upper side of the G1 Seekers always looked great, so there's a lot to live up to here. I'm glad to say the Classics figure delivers well.
Measuring almost 7 1/2” (19cm) nose to tail, with a 5” (13cm) wingspan, he's a decent sized Deluxe figure. The molded detail is absolutely stunning – creating a more realistic (although stylized) plane, while staying true to some classic details found on the original figure. I particularly love the afterburner designs, although I could spend ages (if I had the time) admiring this entire sculpt.
Everything is molded in 'silver' plastic. This is a slight negative, as this form of plastic has a tendency to develop streaks. Although it does work well on smaller figures (such as the WST line), it tends to look cheap on larger figures. Deluxe size is really pushing it. Oh, and when I said 'everything', I should have added, 'except for the afterburners, which are a dark gunmetal colour'. (And, for that matter, there is blue plastic along the sides under the wings.)
The paint scheme is a modified G1 look. The red streaks are far broader, and a blue stripe has been introduced along the top. The cockpit canopy is clear yellow, with silver struts, and looks amazing! The nosecone is rubberised, and is a metallic blue which works nicely – although by far the best touch is the silver rectangle in front of the cockpit. I don't know why, but this just totally makes the alternate mode for me.
Oh – and he has the classic rub sticker located on his left wing! Indeed, a real strength to this line is the lack of any overt faction insignias. All you get is the rub sticker – truly 'Robots in Disguise'!
Moving to the underside, the greatness begins to slide. The wing cannons are cool, although I do find them, and their missiles, perhaps a little oversized for the figure. The painted silver of the launchers does contrast well with the molded silver plastic though. And, true to the box description, Starscream does have retractable landing gear. However, this is very unusual landing gear. A wheel flips out from either side of the fuselage, just where the front edge of each wing joins body. These wheels do not move, and look a lot like bicycle wheels, given the insane number of spokes! The rear landing gear are not retractable, and are represented by two blue extensions of the, erm... robot's feet?
This last statement kinda embodies the underside of the alternate mode. It is just the body of Starscream – missing a few parts, and folded here and there. The biggest problem is the empty body cavity, with an arch near the front. You can try and justify it as some crazy air intake – but you'd have to try really, really hard.
Still – who looks at the bottom of the alternate mode? If we all did, we'd find very few standard figures score well here. The trouble is, with the F-15 design, the underside's flaws spill into front and side profile views.
However – thus far, I'd say he is an excellent and affordable version of the G1 design.
I feel now is the time to discuss the 'not a gimmick' missile launchers. The missiles pack quite a punch, and will fly far, but lack the ability to knock over a posed Classics Rodimus at point-blank range. That sum them up well?
The transformation pays a heavy homage to the G1 toy, although is a greater departure than the Robot Masters version. The biggest difference is the torso. There is now a panel on the back of the jet which flips open to allow a brand new reconfiguration of the nose and cockpit of the plane, while the arms flip out from his sides. An extra swivel joint allows the wings to flip up at Starscream's back, as well, and the tail fins folds into the sides of the leg (with great difficulty on mine – the joints are so stiff!).
The result is a beautiful re-imagining of G1 Starscream.
Standing 5 3/4” (15cm) tall, this is the best version of Starscream we've ever been so privileged to receive within an easily affordable price bracket.
Of course, changes have been made – but, unlike some of the Classics series, these are minor.
Red, silver and blue dominate the robot mode. Of course, the wings now have a lot more red than they ever did before – but this looks pretty cool actually. Also, there are little red stripes on the shoulders, but these lead you through the various contours nicely, creating a more pleasing whole.
Silvery yellow still kicks about on the knees and shoulder turrets, while the feet have a collapsed look like the G1 figure which is not at all displeasing.
Molded detailing is still phenomenal in this mode, and truly captures the G1 feel.
The head is nicely sculpted – although a little too sincere and evil for my liking – but does suffer from poor paint application (for both the black helmet and red eyes, over the grey plastic). In fact, bad paint work is a problem, throughout the figure – on the wings, with the blue stripe down the back and on the chest. This is an issue with all of the Deluxe figures I own (and that's the entire first wave). Ach well – there's gotta be a few negatives, right?
Another is the head articulation. Although it does turn, this is achieved by pushing the nose of the plane, which hangs ridiculously from the back of Starscream's head! I do feel this could have been better executed – but it is still an improvement on the original (by far!).
The reason for the bicycle spokes on the landing gear also becomes apparent, with the wheels doubling as turbines in his chest. It's just a pity the base of each wheel is not painted red, so as to match the chest assembly.
Finally, the cockpit canopy is sunken into the body – neither a plus or a negative really – merely a difference. A negative here, though, is the bolt holding the canopy to the fuselage being dead centre. But, I guess it had to be located somewhere...
Articulation is where we really win out. There are 19 points (including the wings, but excluding missile launchers), which is truly impressive. Alas, only his hips are ball joints, and for some unfathomable reason, his knees are ratcheted – truly restricting poseability on such a small figure totally needlessly. Also, with the wings now behind the shoulders, the range of arm movement is restricted – but you can't have it every way. These aside, this is a dramatic improvement on the Robot Masters incarnation of G1 Starscream.
The null ray cannons fit nicely to his arms, and can be posed much like the G1 cartoon character in combination with the arm joints. They do look perhaps a little large, though, but I can live with it.
There are flaws to this figure, but at the end of the day it is an extremely fun toy, and exceedingly displayable.
Marks out of ten for the following:
8 – Very well re-imagined, but not such a great disguise.
6 – Starscream is solid (at least mine) – and far heavier than Cybertron Deluxe figures. Still, the use of so many pins is asking for trouble, while the stiffness of the tail fins could lead to disaster – although they are loosening with time. However, I suspect Quality Control may be poor, as I have heard of other problems (including necks easily snapping) - so have dropped the mark from a '7', which I would grade my personal example at. Be wary!
10 – This is a perfect combination of nostalgia, excellent transformer and poseability. Oh, and it's G1 Starscream as you've never seen him before! You can't have much more fun with a toy...
He is a real steal at around £10 ($19 – standard Deluxe pricing in the UK). I managed to get him at this price, including postage, from Robot Kingdom as part of a set (complete first wave of Deluxes). He's even cheaper in US stores, I believe (at around $10 [£5.30]).
10 – This is the best value G1 Starscream that is ever likely to be released. He blows the original and Robot Master versions away, and still walks into battle against the greatest of the Autobots – all on just one Energon Cube!