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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Detective Barricade's Review: Starscream

Name: Starscream
Function: ‘Questor’ (Seeker) Commander
Sub-Group: Alternity

I can’t read Japanese, so I’m going to skip his bio. But seeing as how this is Starscream, we can safely presume it has something about him being in charge of the ‘Questors’, which is a fancy name for the Seekers, and scheming to overthrow Megatron. It may also tell of how he got all of his crazy hyperdimensional powers such as his four ‘evil optics’ which can send a victim into stasis lock just by looking at them, and his Retroactive Nullifiers which can erase their target from history. No, I’m not making this up.

Anyway, Alternity Starscream is the fourth mold in the Alternity toyline, and the second Decepticon mold as well. While he’s very much unique compared to the other three, he’s not without some problems that make the price tag that much more discouraging...

Alternate Mode:

Alternity Starscream does not turn into a F-15 Eagle, or a F-22 Raptor, or any sort of fighter jet whatsoever. This time, he converts into the Mitsuoka Orochi. It is incredibly sleek and low to the ground, with lots of molded in details that are somewhat lost in the sea of white. It also has four headlights and four tail lights, a nicely detailed grill, and even has brake pads behind the wheels. The hood, doors, and trunk all open, however aside from the seats and steering wheel inside the interior, nothing special is really revealed. In particular, there wasn’t any attempt to hide the back of Starscream’s head under the hood. As far as colors are concerned, it’s almost entirely white with some silver, black, and grey highlights. I’m not sure if this is accurate to the car or not, but the outer headlights have black slits painted on like the eyes of a snake. And the only metal in this mode to be found is in the panels the doors are attached to.

‘Flight Form’:

Because Starscream is usually able to fly in both modes, TakaraTomy threw in designed a secondary vehicle mode! To get to it, just flip the fins to the outside, with the rear wheels tucking away. Yeah, it’s about as interesting as that sounds. And it also ends up scraping the tires and wheels as you straighten out the wings due to there just barely not being enough room.

Robot Mode:

The robot mode is very interesting. With the top of the car forming ‘wings’, (with the help of two wingtip panels if you can call it that) the front bumper evoking air intakes, and the fins sticking out of his shins, Starscream certainly has hints of his previous bodies built in. Transforming the toy for the first time can be confusing in places, particularly the legs. The knees slide in at an angle and click in place, then the wheels slide back and should tab into the slides if done right. The head is very creepy with the ‘four evil optics’, but at least the light piping is undeniably excellent, working very well even with minimal light. While there’s no double jointed elbows or knees, he only really lacks a waist, which isn’t possible due to the transformation. While still primarily white in this mode, there are a lot of midnight blue, dark blue, and red revealed to help break it up.

However, there’s a few problems. The door panels are on ball joints, and will pop off if you don’t convert the panels in just the right way. On my copy, the peg on which the ball stem rotates on is crooked, and thus the door panel will always pop off whenever I put it back into vehicle. The other problems are the tabs for the waist and shoulders. They don’t work particularly well. The waist may be more due to just how tight the ratchets for the hips are, but the shoulder clips basically just sit on top of the tabs. Granted, if the clips pin is tight enough, like on my copy’s right clip, they should be okay, but these issues do hurt the toy. And sadly, there’s nothing keeping the wings from being nudged out of alignment.

Marks out of ten for the following...

Transformation Design: 6 Once you get used to it, it’s not that hard. But things have to be done just right in order for it to work.
Durability: 7 The ‘Flight Form’ damages the rear wheels, the door panels don’t take much to pop off, and some locking tabs barely work. Everything else feels quite solid.
Fun: 6 Transforming him is fun, but he’s more of a collector’s item than anything. He rolls very well though.
Aesthetics: 7 The body is quite striking, and the vehicle is very accurate to the real thing. But the head, with its ‘four evil optics’, is definitely not for everyone.
Articulation: 9 Nothing really gets in the way, and can assume a wide range of poses. The lack of a waist hurts him slightly.
Value/Price: 5 His problems do add up, making the $50 price tag even less tempting. Best wait for a sale, as he’ll likely linger for awhile.
Overall: 8 If you’re really into the Alternity line, 6 otherwise. If you’re just getting into the Alternity line, there are better options for your first one than this particular mold. I compliment TakaraTomy for their effort to do something completely different, but a few more minutes in the design stage might have helped.
 
 
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