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

Name: Stasrcream
Allegiance: Decepticon
Sub-Group: Movie Legends (Legends of Cybertron [LOC] Series 8)

Leading the hunt for the AllSpark during the absence of Megatron on Earth has given Starscream a taste for command. He has experienced firsthand the brutality that allows Megatron to maintain control over his Decepticon legions. It is a style of leadership that Starscream takes to with gusto, punishing disobedience without mercy and rewarding success only with a narrowed eye and threatening gesture. He craves ultimate control, and looks forward to the day when Megatron makes the mistake that allows Starscream the opportunity to slip a jagged shard of steel between his processor clusters. [From Voyager Class Starscream.]

Of all the character designs from the 2007 movie, I'm sure everyone would agree that Starscream made perhaps the most impact. And in the run-up, hardly in a positive sense. The bulky gorilla-esque robot mode and insectile head hardly invoked the spindly G1 character (or any of his other incarnations). Instead, the hulking artillery piece of a mech brought to mind the bulk of G2 Dreadwing. However, the size of the character was rather fitting for the second most threatening Decepticon. After all, he had to be taken seriously by folks unfamiliar with the Transformers universe. And, I’m sure most people were thoroughly impressed by how intimidating and awe-inspiring the design was in action on the big screen. Even the head design seemed right – just slimy enough – when those words finally (and ever-so briefly) flowed.

Still, the complex design created problems for designing a toy with both an accurate robot and vehicle mode. The Voyager figure achieved a good robot likeness, but only half of the F-22 fighter design. The bulk of the robot was just too difficult to conceal within a sleek jet at such a small scale. How, then, could a miniature Legends Class figure hope to even come close?


Alternate Mode:

The choice of the F-22 Raptor fighter as Starscream’s Movie incarnation was certainly sensible. Compared with other characters, Starscream suffered little departure from his G1 self in respect to his alternate mode. It was hardly an original choice, either – he has been updated to an F-22 in previously – Energon being the best example, not to mention recent comics. Given his radical robot overhaul, I think it was a wise move keeping the fighter alternate mode. Plus, it’s just plain nifty.

Starscream measures 3 ½” (9cm) from nose-to-tail, with a 2 ¼” (6cm) wingspan. His proportions are actually considerably better in this mode, when compared to the Voyager Class figure – and he is obviously sleeker, with less bulk left over from the robot mode. Unfortunately, there is a gaping wound in the centre of the fuselage, ball joints at the wing-tips, hands just peeking beyond the tail and the head peers down at the rear, as with the Voyager offering. From the underside, the legs, head and arms all stick out like, erm, random robot parts tacked to the bottom of a fighter jet. However, these have less effect on the proportions of the fighter than with the Voyager Class figure. Alas, they do give an awkward, off-kilter angle to the plane when resting on a surface for display.

Molded detail is simple, but effective. After all, the actual vehicle is rather smooth, and major panels are all delineated on the figure. Although the tail is molded in grey plastic, the rest is a dull gold (as with the film representation). Silver picks out some details, which breaks the monotony but introduces an element of fantasy at the same time- as does the yellow cockpit (but, hey, it’s a great nod to G1!).

All in all, it’s a nice alternate mode, which surpasses the Voyager figure and at a tiny scale!


Robot Mode:

The transformation is simple, but inspired. The fact that you can reach an excellent representation of the movie design so easily from a great jet mode is amazing.

(Oh - ignore the instructions. They're appalingly bad! And if you can't work him out, you've probably chosen the wrong hobby.)

The resulting robot stands around 3” (7.5cm) tall, and is exceptionally detailed – albeit a little on the 2D side.

Legends Starscream is rather flat, and very skinny from the side. However, dead-on he gives the impression of his live-action bulk. He has the chicken-legs, which really don’t detract from his design, in my book. The level of molded detail is astounding and picked out nicely by the gold and grey plastics, and fully three different metallic paint applications, alongside the yellow cockpit, face mask and red eyes. Hasbro have actually pulled out the stops for this figure – unlike most of the Movie Legends line to date.

Starscream is well balanced and has excellent articulation in his arms (ball joints at the shoulders, and elbows – although the latter are limited in scope). The legs also have ball joints, but these are fairly useless for any form of poseability.

I would say that my Starscream seemed to have his lower arms and hands back-to-front. When in robot mode, the most likely thumb digit pointed backwards – as did the whole lower arm! I found that swapping the two lower arms increased poseability, made his arms look more natural, and made no difference to the transformation and alternate mode. Whether this is a design flaw, or assembly error, I don’t know. What I do know is that he works a lot better after you pop those lower arms off and switch them!

Oh, and yes – he actually has hands, rather than the cannons in the Voyager incarnation. I prefer this, myself. And, unlike other Movie Legends, the arm and hand detailing is superb on every surface.

Definitely the most displayable Movie Legends figure, alongside Megatron, and, remarkably, the best representation of the live-action film Starscream design offered to date.


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 6 – Starscream’s transformation is rather simple – but perfectly thought through, and very fun. You’ll just keep fiddling with him!
Durability: 6 – Although the quality of molding is amazing, and there’re only two pin joints, the plastic is remarkably flimsy – especially the grey used for the tail and arms. This is a delicate toy.
Fun: 9 – Starscream is excellent fun. The realism afforded by both modes is quite incredible at this scale and price, while the articulation and transformation are both excellent.
Price: 9 – At under £3 (and under $3 in the States!) Starscream is superb value, and the best representation of the Movie character on offer. He also comes closest to the quality seen in previous Legends of Cybertron (LOC) lines. However, there is still a slight drop in quality in comparison to previous LOC figures.
Overall: 8 – If you’re a collector of wee Transformers, you can’t afford to pass on Movie LOC Starscream. If you want a good representation of the Movie character, then this is it – if you can cope with the small size. And, at the end of the day, this may well be the best Movie LOC figure available.

 
 
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