2/08/2007

Transformers Classics Series: Starscream - Review

Purchased at: Target
Price: $9.99

I said a while ago that Soundwave was my favorite Decepticon. I retract that statement. Soundwave was one of my favorites, but my actual favorite of all time Transformer was Starscream. I was an airplane freak as a kid and Starscream was just about the coolest jet out there. He was sneaky, treacherous, backhanded, and back-stabbing, only in it for himself. His trickery and deception always failed and yet, he never gave up. For all of that, I was not one of the fortunate owners of this toy back in the 80's. When the G1 reissues came out I plunked down the full $34.99 for my Starscream reissue and that was the only time I ever felt no pangs of guilt for spending over 30 bucks for a Transformer. (Well, except for my Masterpiece Optimus, but I even then I got him on clearance for something like 45 bucks.) My son got this figure for me for Christmas, and it belongs in your collection, too.

Vehicle Mode

Classics Starscream 1

Starscream is in his classic F-15 Eagle form here. Complete with yellow canopy and dual spring-loaded missile launchers (or Null-ray weapons, if you prefer.) This figure, in my opinion, is the EPITOME of what Hasbro's Classics line should be. The original figure only brought up to the current standards of poseability. There's a tiny bit of robot kibble on the underside, and the vehicle mode is a bit chunky because of it, but if you look at the vehicle from a top-down or angled perspective you don't really notice. Also, the nose of the aircraft is a bit more F-14 Tomcat-ish. Other than that, an F-15 Eagle is reproduced with fairly good accuracy if you consider that in a few minutes it's going to be a robot. My ONLY gripe with this is that when parked Starscream does not have a nose gear, but rather two tiny wheels flip out from his chest to form the front landing gear. The rear landing gear wheels are molded into the parts that will become Starscream's feet, just like the original figure. This gives Starscream a slightly odd appearance when parked on the ramp. For an aircraft nut it's a bit offputting to see an F-15 parked without it's nose gear deployed.

Robot Mode

Classics Starscream 2

Here is where the toy really shines. I love the way the transformation is handled. First, you pull rear fuselage down to deploy the legs and fold the portions on the underside of each engine to form the feet. Where the original G1 figure the legs were unposeable, the new Starscream has articulation at the hips and knees. The hip joints on my figure are looser than I'd like, but this may just be unique to my figure. The feet hold true to original's "hollowed out on top" look. There's no clunky "pull it out and insert a different peg" transformation of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers. The Vertical stabilizers are rotated forward 90 degrees, and the hinged horizontal stabilizers are folded up parallel with the vertical stabilizer. The upper body's transformation is what I really like. On the original G1 figure, you had to fold the nose cone down and through the figure's abdomen, this would force to nub-like arms out and you had separate pieces for the forearms and hands (well fists) that you had to keep up with when not in robot mode. On the new version, the forward fuselage opens up like a clamshell, the two arms swivel out to the side, and the hands are folded up in the forearm. Once the arms are out of the way, the nose of the aircraft is rotated 180 degrees, the cockpit is on a hinge that allows it to be tucked down in the "clamshell," which is then closed. The nose cone is simply flipped back to reveal Starscream's head. You rotate Starscreams head 180 degrees to see his face (his face is hidden in robot mode, unlike the original figure.) The two front landing gear wheels (if deployed) are folded back into Starscream's chest and become his characteristic "pectoral turbines." The only bit of kibble located on the figure in robot mode are the wings and the front portion on the nose cone, which hangs off the back of Starscream's head. The wings are iconic of the G1 Seekers and it would have been a travesty to do anything else with them. The original G1 figure also had the nosecone hanging off the back of the head, so I can't really complain here.

My one gripe about the figure, and it's something I carry forward from my review of the Classics Optimus Prime, there's no Decepticon symbol on the toy at all. There's the mood sticker on one wing, but again, this only seems like an afterthought. (Now that I think about it, NONE of the Classics figures I own have a painted on Autobot or Decepticon symbol, they all come with a simple mood sticker. What gives?) A Decepticon symbol on each wing, like the original figure, would have made this the best looking Starscream toy ever. As it is, I hold this one in about the same regard as my Armada Starscream. Sure it's no where near as poseable, but he had raised and painted Decepticon symbols on his wings (which, with a little gray paint in the recesses, looks AWESOME) and came with that classic Starscream smirk.

Final Verdict
Once again, minor complaints about the lack of Decepticon symbols aside, this is an excellent figure. Hasbro is two for two in its Classics line. Run, don't walk, to your local Mega-Mart and pick this figure up.

1 comment:

Tineda said...

I'm not sure if you know this yet, but there happens to be a Starscream getting sold in the TF:U packages, like Galvatron and Ironhide. They corrected the issue about Decepticon insignia; now he's got one on each wing in the ever-present purple paint. ^^