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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review: Legends Animated Starscream

Name: Starscream
Allegiance: Decepticon
Sub-Group: Universe Legends Wave 4

Starscream is something of a staple in the Transformers universe – a lynch pin constant throughout most series. It’s no surprise that he makes another return in Animated – especially with its heavy G1 influence.

Despite this inspiration, I have personally found it difficult to connect with the designs – they are far too stylized for me, although I have been very impressed with the incredible effort that must have gone in to matching the cartoon robot forms almost perfectly with their alternate modes through clever transformations.

Legends Class Animated Starscream is my only Animated figure at present. Always a fan of Screamer, the Animated design appeals to me more than some other characters have, and I think the style works nicely on a smaller toy. However, like many, I had concerns as to whether the Legends scale would allow for a transformation complex enough to provide both a representative robot mode and fighter jet.

Alternate Mode:

Starscream is once again a fighter jet. His latest incarnation finds the mode updated and futuristic – somewhere between a fighter jet and a star-fighter. Measuring 3 ½” (9cm) nose to tail, and with a wingspan of 3 ¼” (8.5cm), the Legends Class figure is rather dainty, and appears delicate (although this is likely an illusion – the plastic feels very solid when handled). The proportions are slightly out – the nose does appear overlong (although for what reason, I have no idea, as it does not serve a structural purpose in robot mode, merely adding kibble…) – but, in general, the jet is satisfying from a distance.

Closer examination reveals the arms in full view under the wings, a large chunk cut out under the nose, and the face is staring right up at you from between the twin booster engines. As serious as these defects sound, they really make little difference to the appearance of the alternate mode when on display. The dull blue-grey colour helps the arms blend in, while the head is well hidden from all angles except from above.

The simple moulded detail is in-keeping with the style, and the solid colours (red on grey, with orange cockpit canopy outlined in black) look nice. The Decepticon insignia is printed in gold above the right intake next to the cockpit, and is not overly obvious. The wings are rather plain, and cry out for insignia, or at least a red stripe!

All that considered, this mode could have been worse… but also better.

Robot Mode:

After a simple, yet fun, transformation, you have a miniature version of Animated Starscream (standing 3 ¼” [8.5cm] tall).

The colours match the jet mode, although black is used to highlight the gauntlets, which also makes the hands far more obvious than when in jet mode. The simplicity of style looks rather nifty on this scale, and there is very little kibble (bar the nosecone sticking up like a fleshy tail on his rear). The head sculpt is perfect, with the trademark sneer for all to see. Similarly, the silver and black paint applications are perfectly applied – as are the tiny red eyes,

The figure is fairly under-articulated, with ball joints at the shoulders and hips. The simplicity of the design would have allowed for elbow and knee joints easily, and it’s a shame that these have been overlooked.

Unfortunately, there is a major design flaw in this mould. The head is perched on a ridiculously elongated and cluttered neck. Or, more accurately, the head has been moulded to peer down at a sharp angle, meaning one must rotate this up so as he can look forwards – resulting in an ugly giraffe neck… There seems to be no good reason for this flaw, and it’s a terrible shame, as it seriously affects the look of what is otherwise an excellent robot mode.

Ultimately, Legends Class Animated Starscream is a fun figure, but has some unfortunate failings. Unfortunate, in that the designers have done a decent job at recreating Animated Screamer on a tiny scale, and for some reason left glaring flaws which have no bearing on the transformation or design.

The end result is a mediocre Legends Class figure, that remains daintily nifty, despite major failings.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 4 – Simple, but it does the trick.
Durability: 6 – Fairly solid, but a lot of the parts are very thin.
Fun:7 – Despite major design failings, this figure demands attention and is great fun to fiddle about with. It is not a display piece, however.
Price: 6 – Legends Class has shot up in price lately, coming in at $5 or £5, depending on your country. This is not nearly as good value as it once was, and Animated Starscream is not the best offering in the range.
Overall: 6 – If you like Starscream, you’ll already have this guy. If you like Animated, this is a decent miniature version of an iconic character. If you like wee Transformers, this guy ain’t bad. However, at the end of the day, this figure has some pointless flaws, and is not the best Legends Class figure available, so he shouldn’t be at the top of your shopping list.
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