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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Sir Auros' review of: Energon Starscream

Name: Starscream
Function: Currently Unknown
First cartoon appearance: N/a

Energon Starscream was my number one priority for the first wave of Energon toys and I could just tell from the pictures that it was going to be an impressive figure. What I didn't count on though, was the figure being smaller than I expected and with a significantly more reasonable pricetag. Oh yes, Starscream can be purchased for roughly $10 USD and is pretty much on the same scale as most of the Energon and Armada figures in the same price range. I wasn't particularly disappointed with the decrease in the size I imagined the figure to be, and the price was quite reasonable for such a great figure. Despite being my first priority as far as the Energon figures went, Starscream was actually the last Energon figure I bought out of the first wave because it took me quite some time to find a store that was carrying him and it seemed the figure was released a week or two after the first shipments were showing up on the aisles in my area. Something else worth mentioning about this figure (or really, its packaging) is that Hasbro is once again doing tech specs, but doing them half-heartedly as his strength is given a question mark and his rank and courage are "N/A." This explains the wacky tech specs on the right.

Vehicle Mode:
Once again, Starscream has a fairly futuristic looking jet mode, but much less so than in Armada and I find the overall design to be better looking than that version as well. However, this is one area where the size of the figure ends up hurting it…slightly. I just don't see a jet mode that is clearly that of a fairly large vehicle working in this scale. It's just too small and really throws off the scale of the other figures. Granted, every single line of Transformers has had this problem since G1, I feel that this vehicle mode isn't done justice by the small size and for some reason this figure stands out more than any other sitting in vehicle mode beside an equally-sized or larger car. The jet mode looks fine and will give you about as much play value as any other jet. This mode is also where the battle damage stands out. I'm not quite sure what's up with this, but I haven't seen it on any other figures yet other than Unicron, but it isn't overdone and doesn't end up looking tacky. The only other fault I can find with this mode (other than the scale issue), is that Starscream's gun and sword attach to the undersides of the jet's wings to turn them into some sort of oversized guns. I'm not a big fan of this arrangement, but there's really nowhere else to put the things and still have them attached to the toy in jet mode, so I just deal with it or display the figure in robot mode.

Robot Mode:
Starscream's robot mode is intensely cool and articulated and really a triumph in remolding a figure. The figure is either a retooling of a G2 and RiD figure Smokescreen or else based upon those earlier figures and it's truly remarkable how different the Energon Starscream mold is from his lesser-known forebears. The head is fairly clearly based on the Armada Starscream's head, but that is the only similarity that I see between the two other than both being jets. The wings can be manipulated to give the figure two rocket launchers on its shoulders and the included gun and sword can be combines in two or three different ways that I have found as well as simply dual-wielded and used for posing the toy in plenty of nice display modes. The only thing I don't love about the robot mode is the feet. It looks like he's wearing shoes for crying out loud. This is one area where I feel the original Smokescreen mold shouldn't have been changed as that figure has feet that seem more natural for a robot. Other than that minor issue, the figure displays very well in robot mode, is extremely aesthetically pleasing, and has good play value. One final thing that I should note about the robot mode is less about the actual mode and more about the transformation from jet to robot. The transformation for this figure was very difficult for me due to a fear of breaking the arms in the process, but in the end excessive force was necessary to get the figure to transform that first time. On subsequent transformations, it was slightly easier since I knew that the directions actually were correct and that the arms weren't likely to break during the transformation even though they often felt like they would. Just thought that was worth mentioning for anyone who buys this figure and is squeamish about that bit of the transformation.

Transformation: 8 I give it such a high score mainly because the first time is really rough due to the previously mentioned concerns about the arms, but there is a bit of twisting and turning with this figure that may necessitate at least a glance at the instructions.
Durability: 9 The figure seems fairly sturdy everywhere except the arms during transformation, but I've transformed this figure literally dozens of times and the arms aren't any looser or showing significant wear, so I'm left with the conclusion that the toy actually is well-built.
Fun: 10 Excellent play value in robot mode and even if you're not into playing with your toys, you can still put this one in many dynamic poses for display.
Price: 10 Also an excellent purchase for a mere $10 at most retailers because this really is a quality toy.
Overall: 9 Certainly the best figure to come out of the first wave of Energon and will probably have a good shot at being the best figure to come out of the entire line, but only time will tell…
 
 
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