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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's review of: Starscream

Name: Starscream
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Air Commander
Sub-Group: Seeker Jets
"Conquest is made of the ashes of one's enemies."

Seeks to replace Megatron as leader. Ruthless, cold-blooded, cruel... considers himself the most sophisticated and handsome of Decepticons. Believes Decepticons should rely more on guile and speed rather than brute force to defeat Autobots. Fastest flyer of group, can reach Mach 2.8 and an altitude of 52 miles. Shoots cluster bombs and null-rays which disrupts the flow of electricity. Very good at what he does, but sometimes overrates himself.

I honestly don't understand why I bought this guy. The seeker mold is terrible. I knew it was terrible before I bought him. And I did it anyway. Because I'm a sucker.

Starscream is quite possibly the third-most famous Transformer of all time (behind Optimus Prime and Megatron, naturally). That had a part to play in my purchase, certainly, but TBH I've never liked the character. Despite having an incredibly awful design (or perhaps because of that), the seeker mold has an offbeat charm that many find appealing. Not me, though; while I love the jet mode, the robot mode leaves a lot to be desired.

Vehicle Mode:
I have to admit, this mode does look really, really good. It's a fairly accurate reproduction of an F-15 Eagle with a grey-and-blue paint job and red highlights. Those colours work well on him A lot of my affinity for this mode can be chalked up to my fondness for F-15s, but I think Starscream is an above-average reproduction of one.

Starscream's not only nice-looking, he's a surprisingly good toy in jet mode. His cockpit opens and shuts (though you have to be careful about it; I broke the cockpit off my original Thundercracker with no effort at all). So many parts of him can be removed (wings, tail fins, forward landing gear and weapons) that it's not hard to simulate battle damage from an aerial dogfight. It is also possible to swap his removable parts for those of his seeker counterparts, meaning that you can create different seeker colour schemes if you're of a mind to do so.

The only real complaint I can formulate about Starscream's vehicle mode is that some of the pegs on the removable parts are too long; this is most noticeable on his wings, which have about 5mm of space between them and the fuselage. Still, that's a small blemish (and it can be easily remedied with a sheet of sandpaper and a few minutes' work).

Robot Mode:
Well, this is where the wheels fall off the proverbial wagon.

Starscream has perhaps the most disappointing robot mode in Transformer history. Lacking the absurd wrongness that I find so amusing on the likes of Ratchet and Megatron, Screamer is simply bland, chunky and ugly. He has no elbows, no thighs, his hands are big blue blocks, and he as a grand total of two points of articulation.

You can easily see where his cartoon model came from; all of the elements are here, albeit distorted grotesquely. The air intake vents beside his head, the leg design and all the other components are there, so if you just want to own an avatar of Starscream this would suffice. Be warned, though: Screamer isn't the same colours as his cartoon counterpart. The greys on his body are slightly different and the blues are much, much darker. I actually prefer these colours (I think they look more...menacing than the light grey and baby blue cartoon model), but if you're big on cartoon accuracy you may want to direct your attention towards the cartoon-accurate Takara Anime Starscream (or somesuch name, anyway) reissue. Or better yet, the Robotmasters Starscream (which is a dead ringer for the cartoon model, and actually has joints).

I could rant and rave for another twenty pages about the shortcomings of this robot mode. I could tell you over and over again how he's ugly, blocky, and has no articulation. But all of my complaints can be summed up in one sentence. Starscream doesn't look like a robot, he looks like a folded-out airplane with a face.

As a side-note, Starscream was modified for this reissue. His missiles and null rays were extended and are now ridiculously long. I remedied this by trimming down the missiles and gluing them into the launchers.

A second side-note: don't chew on his nosecone. Many a seeker have been ruined that way.

Transformation: 4 - The mechanics are innovative. The end result is hardly worth your while, however.
Durability: 3 - Lots of detachable bits to lose, his nosecone can be chewed off, his cockpit canopy can be snapped off, and none of his other parts are all that sturdy.
Fun: 5 - He's got a pretty jet mode to play with, but not much else.
Price: 2 - All the reissues are overpriced, but the seekers more so than the rest.
Summary: 3 - No, he isn't any good. But he's also Starscream, so if you're collecting based on character importance then he's a must-have anyway.

 
 
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