Cliffbee.com: Activator Starscream Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Starscream
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Fighter Plane



PLANE MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 12cm Width: 10.5cm

   A mid blue fighter jet with brick red highlights, a bright orange canopy and black on the nose and air intakes. Starscream's colours are more Thundercracker than Starscream, which really annoys me - but that's how Starscream is portrayed in the Animated cartoon. The shades of blue and red used are very nice, mind you - the blue is a sedate shade with a tinge of grey and the red is subtle, a departure from some of the bright reds we've seen of late. It doesn't feel like Starscream to me (I think of this character as Thunderscreamer, actually) but the colours are good enough that I like the figure's colours a lot. He has gold Decepticon logos on his wings, facing backwards, and a neon red button on the top of the fuselage which activates (no pun intended) his transformation. The bright red and orange aren't an issue thanks to the subtle main colours.

   Starscream looks like he could be a real fighter jet - although I'm not aware of one that looks quite like this. There's a prototype feel here, with forward swept wings and tailfins. The tailwings are small and sweep backwards while there are twin engines with a fair gap between them. While the Animated line features many low-detail toys, there are enough moulded details here for Starscream to work well at this size. We do get some undercarriage junk - the hands are visible behind his wings, but for the most part this is all jet. There are guns sticking out from underneath the front of the wings as well.

   The whole point of the Activators is an auto-transform, so much of the toy's engineering goes into that. We get a little bit of play value here - there are plastic wheels at the back which can fold up, They fold up a little too easily - I would have actually preferred something fixed. The back of the engines unclip and float around too easily as well - they can't clip in without affecting the auto-transform. While neither of these issue are major, they do count against his vehicle mode.

   The colours here are wonderful, even if they're not Starscream colours. The hands behind his wings and loose legs bother me a little, but he's still a pretty good plane for this size. Starscream _looks_ like he could be a real fighter plane, which I appreciate, even if there's clearly some poetic license here. For the size, I'm quite happy with this jet.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the arms from underneath the wings and press the red button. The cockpit folds over while the nose folds away through a really clever gearing mechanism. The legs swing down into place and the head is revealed. Rotate the null rays on his arms down, flip out his feet, fold away the wheels and lift up Starscream's shoulderpads. This is a very well engineered transformation, and for the size is far more satisfying than the simple Voyager sized version - and more inventive, too.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 10cm

   A blue robot with red highlights on his chest, which also features the orange canopy. Starscream's shoulderpads are red while his forearms, feet and head are black and his face silver with red eyes. Again there's a strong Thundercracker feel here, although the red on the chest is more Starscream. Either way, the colours again work well, visually. There are no visible Decepticon logos here - only the pair now on his back.

   The bodyplan here is all seeker, with wings behind his arms - sweeping up - the cockpit on the chest and nose out of view. The landing gear on his shins even matches the patches on the G1 seeker shins. The feet are more like those of Jetfire than Starscream, but they work so I don't really mind. The proportions here are generally pretty good - more like a real Transformer than many of the Animated characters, which I appreciate. The head suffers from the Giant Jaw Syndrome, which bugs me a little, as does the smirk smile on his face. I'll admit that it's my personal preference regarding the head and smile, but I don't see how this sort of head is robotic.

   There are no gimmicks here but Starscream is stable and poseable, so I don't care. His head, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees all feature ball joints while the fusion cannons are attached just below the elbows, without getting in the way of his articulation. The heelspurs are useful while the wings on his back are close enough to his body that they don't cause any balance issues, yet still allow shoulder movement. The poseability here is great for the pricepoint.

   While the vehicle mode has some problems, this robot mode is just plain good. The colours work very well visually (character issues aside, since the designer of this figure had his hands tied there) and the layout is very reminiscent of a G1 seeker. His poseability is great, especially considering that the engineering here is geared around the auto-transform. The head isn't very robot like, which is a defining feature of this line, but I can't really call that a flaw.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. There is an indigo Thundercracker repaint and a dark blue and pea soup green Dirge repaint.

OVERALL

   As much as I dislike the concept of Animated, I'm glad that it has given us the Activator concept. Starscream's auto-transform is really well done, and while the same basic transformation feels very tired and uninspired on the voyager, at this scale it's perfect. The colours are visually appealing - even if the guy who decided to paint this character blue needs a slap - and the shades used here are good. The plane mode has some issues with kibble and stability, but still works quite well, while the robot mode is poseable and very much looks like a seeker. I'd easily recommend this toy over the larger version, and just plain recommend it anyway, based on the great engineering - 9/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.