Cliffbee.com: Animated Starscream Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




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

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Starscream for this review



PLANE MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 22cm Width: 17.5cm

   A cobalt blue stylised fighter jet with a transparent orange canopy and metallic red painted details here and there, Starscream has a black nosecone and black thrusters at the back. The colour scheme looks pretty good, although it's more Thundercracker than Starscream. There are gold Decepticon logos on either wing, facing backwards (and out to the sides slightly). There are two transparent orange missiles underneath, rounding out a nice colour scheme, but one that feels misplaced to me. Granted, these are the colours of Starscream in the Animated cartoon, but the replacement of grey with blue just doesn't sit right for me.

   As with many Animated toys, this is a very stylised vehicle with fairly low detail. The sculpt itself is complex enough, with subtle seams and the like, but the layout of his paint job feels very simple. The wings and tailfins are swept forward while his rear stabilisers are small. The nosecone is short and the fuselage very wide. It looks like he's based on a real fighter, but the proportions are very much cartoonish. I'm not really a fan of this style, but I can't really fault this jet within the cartoonish feel of this line - aside from the stunted nose, which looks so awkward because of the way it collapses telescopically during transformation.

   Unlike most Starscream toys down the years, there are no weapons underwing. Instead there are two missile launchers underneath, sporting orange missiles. These can sit on either side of the blue front wheel or fold back and stick out the back - in theory they're stowed, but they're far too visible. Either way, I find these launchers to be awkwardly placed and not really a positive. While pointing forward, they also prevent Starscream from standing on his undercarriage. The other aspect of play value here is the wheels - all can fold away, although I find the rear wheel struts tend to pop off when you try to fold them back out, which is annoying. He can roll on the wheels, although not well.

   Overall this is a disappointing jet mode. The colours look good, but I do wish they'd paid attention when assigning the colours to this character. There's not a lot of play value here for a voyager - and the missile launchers are very awkward. The missiles can fire, but you'll have to lift him off the table to fire them - and they sit in a bad position anyway. The lack of underwing weapons, lack of any other sort of gimmick and fairly low detail all exacerbate the bad play value offering that is his missile launchers. The style isn't something I like, but Starscream's jet mode is still quite obviously a jet and isn't as stylised as some Animated alternate modes. While the nose is a little weird, the styling is probably the highlight of this jet mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold away the wheels, unclip the thrusters, swing the arms out from underneath, swing the thrusters forward to become legs while folding down the front to form his chest and reveal the head. The nose automatically retracts and the canopy clips into his waist forming the torso. There are panels on his back which unclip from one another and open, to reduce visible kibble from the front. You're meant to unclip and swing them out of the way, in reality they'll just fall off when you try, and you'll have to reattach them. Position the arms, unkink his legs, fold out the heelspurs and feet and you're done.

   The transformation is very simple for a voyager - especially one lacking electronics. The auto-transforming of his nose is a nice idea but the limb movement is ridiculously basic for a toy at this pricepoint. The transformation itself is fairly unimaginative, made inelegant - even awkward - by those loose panels.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 17.5cm

   A cobalt blue robot with red around his shoulders and on his ankles, Starscream has black feet and forearms while the orange canopy sits on his chest. The head is black with a baby blue face and transparent orange eyes and mouth - both have a lightpipe. The blue launchers sit on the outsides of his forearms, sporting the orange missiles. His hands are one with the black forearms although his digits are cobalt blue. The wings rise behind his shoulders, again with outwards pointing gold Decepticon logos. The colours again work well - again they're more Thundercracker than Starscream, although there's no silver here.

   I really dislike some of the stylised elements here. His face is in a sort of smile and while the lightpiped mouth is an interesting effect, the Jay Leno chin is something I can do without. The lower torso and legs are very skinny while Starscream has wide shoulders and long arms. I find the long, wideset arms don't mesh with the slender legs - particularly since his thighs are tiny. The launchers on his forearms extend past the end of his hands proper (although not past his fingers), and the missiles protrude well past the fingers, adding length to his arms - something Starscream doesn't need. The wings look nice, but the wide cape serves to further accentuate the imbalance between his arms and the rest of the robot.

   There aren't really any gimmicks here, although the missiles fire. If anything they're set off too easily - the black buttons on the back of the launchers only need the slightest touch to set off, and I find that just handling this robot fires the missiles. There are black buttons integrated into the front and back of his forearms and the instructions suggest they're involved in firing the missiles, but they don't do this - I suspect they're part of an abandoned gimmick.

   The highlight here is poseability, although there are some annoying shortcomings in his articulation. The head sits on a slightly restricted ball joint. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows bend with rotators in the upper arms. His wrists are fixed although his thumbs and opposing fingers are on hinges - sadly it's easier to pop the digits off than it is to pose them. The waist is fixed while his hips swing and lift out to the sides. His knees are hinged with rotators, but the rotators are mid-thigh and on an angle, while the knee hinges sit below his prominent kneecaps - so posing the knees doesn't always look so good. The feet and heelspurs fond and the ankles are restricted ball joints.

   A fairly poor robot mode, thanks to some sloppy articulation and mismatched stylised elements. The poseability is probably his best feature here, but it should have been better - most of the flaws would have easy enough to avoid. The colours again work well, but again feel like they belong on a toy called Thundercracker - albeit there's less Thundercracker here than in jet mode. The missile launchers and poseability are the only play value here, which is again less than you'd expect at this size class.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although Skywarp and Sunstorm are repaints of Starscream.

OVERALL

   A disappointing voyager on several levels. The jet mode's style works well enough although the robot is oddly shaped. The colours look nice but the use of Thundercracker's colours just doesn't work for me. The play value is frankly awful for a voyager lacking electronics, and the robot mode's poseability is needlessly flawed. The transformation is uninspired and pretty simple at this size. I'd recommend Activator Starscream over this one - the transformation concept works at that level, and that toy doesn't has the plethora of flaws seen here - it even has better robot proportions - 3//10

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