Cliffbee.com: Starscream & BB Toy Review

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Name: Starscream & BB
Series: Beast Wars Second
Allegiance: Destrons
Function: Sneak Aerial Commander (Starscream); Bombardier (BB)
Alternate Mode: Stealth Bomber (which is technically a Gestalt of Starscream & BB); Tank (BB); Fighter Jet (Starscream)

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me these toys, making this review possible.







STEALTH BOMBER MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 19cm Width: 30cm

   A black stealth bomber with some purple undercarriage stuff and yellow sticker highlights and transparent yellow cockpit windows, this plane is essentially a repaint of G2 Dreadwing with better defined individual components. It carries an array of slightly transparent yellow missiles and there are silver stripes along the front of the wings. There's a purple Gatling gun underneath and some hints of purple on the back of the fuselage. The colour scheme is taken directly from a unreleased G2 Megatron/Starscream "ATB" set, although the stickers are different - stickers on either side of the fuselage display "ATB" in yellow text - but bear Predacon symbols. Stickers on the stealth jets on top read "FOR STARSCREM" [sic], rather than simply "MEGATRON", indicating that BB - who constitutes the majority of this plane - is subservient to Starscream. It's a decent colour scheme, even if they yellow and purple do have a distinct G2 feel about them - since the black as a base colours means it's not garish.

   This is a big plane, with a lot of good things going for it. Firstly, there's the size. Secondly the thing shoots _twelve_ missiles. Six of these are in the Gatling gun, which are released in series when you turn the back of this gun. The other six are under the wings, and pressing on small transparent yellow buttons on top of the wings allows them to drop, like bombs. I like the fact that these buttons are small, since they don't ruin the look of the wings at all. There are two sets of rear wheels underneath, the front undercarriage is replaced by the Gatling gun, on which it rests happily. So it doesn't roll, but planes like this taxi pretty slowly anyway and it's too big for rolling along the ground anyway.

   The size allows for a fair bit of detail, by G2 standards. This thing has air intakes, underwing missiles as well as just a good stealth-like shape. There's a bit of undercarriage rubbish, which is BB's legs. Otherwise, it's pretty hard to fault this mode. The wingtips fold both up but there's a remould for this version which prevents them from folding too far down. It's far more logical for a stealth bomber to be black rather than blue, which helps this repaint a lot.

BB'S TRANSFORMATION TO TANK MODE

   Unclip Starscream from the back of the combined jet mode. You'll notice that by himself, BB is still a mostly complete plane, without tailfins. Remove the missiles or they'll go everywhere. Fold the wingtips up. Lift up the wings (they spring up). Fold up the wheels, swing the Gatling gun right back, and up so it's on top of the fuselage. There's little black buttons at the back of his robot legs, push then to release the tank treads, and click these into place. You can place the missiles into the Gatling gun on top, but you don't have to.

BB'S TANK MODE
Height: 12cm Length: 17cm Width: 11cm

   A black, grey & purple tank mode, with the same transparent yellow cockpit as the combined mode, and with almost-transparent yellow missiles (if you decide to use them). The grey is a lot more prominent here, the treads and the sides of the tank itself (which are the undersides of the wings) are grey. The purple is limited to the big gun on top, which can swivel in two directions and shoot at pretty much everything.

   This mode is easily the weakest point of this package. It's not that it's terrible, but so much of BB goes into the Stealth Bomber that the tank looks like it's been fashioned out of a bomber. The cockpit makes this rather obvious, being atop a pointed nose. The treads are somewhat thin, from the front it reminds me of a catamaran.

   The gun, as mentioned, can point pretty much anywhere, and can shoot missiles all over the room. The bomber's wheels are underneath the rear of the treads and there are small wheels under the front, this tank mode can roll, in fact it does so much better than the bomber. So while it may not look like a normal tank, it has better play value as a tank than most TF tanks that do. He looks more menacing in black that Dreadwing does in blue.

BB'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the missiles or they'll go everywhere. Lift up the air intakes and swivel them so they stick out at the front. There's a panel to the right of the Gatling gun - fold this up. Then fold the spot where the Gatling gun attaches to the body to the right until it clicks (this is inside the toy, where Starscream fits. Fold the treads back onto the legs then fold down the legs, Swing the hips in and click them into place. Fold the feet into place and position the knees. Fold the nose down halfway, fold out the head and then fold the nose right down to form the chestplate. Swing the arm intakes to the sides for form the arms, and them lift the outer parts of these out to the sides till they click to reveal the arms themselves. Swing the Gatling gun un to form a shoulder cannon. Attach missiles if desired.

BB'S ROBOT MODE
Height: 18.5cm Width: 15cm

   A big, stocky black robot with purple lower legs and forearms. BB also sports a large purple shoulder cannon. The torso and deflectors attached to the forearms are black, the shoulders, thighs, feet & head are grey. The eyes are transparent yellow, with a very nice lightpipe.

   As mentioned, this guy's stocky. We're not talking nightclub bouncer, we're talking professional Sumo wrestler. He's very wide and has a big round head, which is pretty much dome shaped. There's no waist either, which along with the head, makes the guy look somewhat large, hence the sumo motif.

   Not only is he big, but he's poseable. He has hinged knees, ball jointed hips, two joints at the shoulders giving full poseability, hinged elbows and a head that turns. While he's a tad back-heavy, he's got big enough feet that he can stand in pretty much any pose with a little work. The cannon on the right shoulder is _huge_ in proportion, and is able to point pretty much anywhere, although it's slightly limited by the wing sitting behind it to the right. But it spins and when it does so, it'll send missiles all over the Cybertrons (or your living room).

   Poseability, a kick-ass shoulder cannon.. and you can give him one of Starscream's missile launchers, since he has holes in his hands. These holes are too small to use the missiles as clubs, but when you've got a rapid fire shoulder cannon, your enemies shouldn't be getting close enough for you to need a club. In essence the deflectors on his forearms become redundant as shields, because noone'll get near him. But they look awesome.

   What can I say? It's a great robot mode. Poseable, good colours, great weapons, light piping and a nice strong look about him. It's somewhat unusual in that this larger figure is effectively the sidekick.

STARSCREAM'S TRANSFORMATION TO JET MODE

   Unclip Starscream from BB. Fold down the undercarriage. Either remove the missile launchers or add missiles to them.

SMOKESCREEN'S JET MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 15.5cm Width: 8cm

   A black jet with purple bits on top of the fuselage, and a grey and purple underside - the wheels are grey. The cockpit is transparent yellow. The colours are nothing like those of G1 Starscream, but then this is a different character (unlike the unreleased G2 version, which was the traditional character).

   The wings are swept back, and the tailfins point out to the sides slightly. On the insides of the tailfins are yellow sticker with "002 STARSCREM" - that bad transliteration is back - the outsides sport purple Destron (Predacon) logos. Actually these are the same stickers wrapped around. The nose is long and pointy, making this jet look very aerodynamic, which is enhanced by the swept back wings.

   The wheels are moulded and do not roll, so this jet doesn't do much other than stand there and be a jet. It looks good, though. The missile launchers can be added to the sides, and although personally I prefer to leave them off, they do give some play value.

STARSCREAM'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold up the wheels, grab the legs underneath the jet and swing them forward as far as they go. Push down on the tailfins and the arms pop out the bottom. Swing the arms out to the sides. Turn the nose & legs around 180, then fold this assembly up between the shoulders to form the robot and reveal the head. Swing the tailfins out, fold out the feet and attach missile launcher.

SMOKESCREEN'S ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 8cm

   Starscream shares a similar colour set to BB - the torso and head are black, the arms and boots purple while his elbows, thighs and feet are grey. His mouthplate is silver and his eyes are transparent yellow - this colour really makes for great lightpipes. If anything, these colours would suit Skywarp better than Starscream, even if the purple is a much darker shade than than on Skywarp. This isn't a criticism, since this is new character anyway, just an observation.

   While BB is big & stocky, Starscream is small and slim, even lanky. I guess Starscream is the brains and BB the brawn. The robot mode looks pretty good, and is reminiscent of a Cyberjet. In fact it's pretty obvious by the transform that Cyberjet Strafe is designed by the same person who designed this toy. The head is strangely reminiscent of Optimus Prime, for some reason.

   This is probably G2's finest moment in terms of poseability, although the Laser Rods & Cyberjets are pretty much on par. Starscream's practically a contortionist. He has ankles and heelspurs with their own 'ankles', knees with two joints each, ball joint hips, two sets of joints per shoulder and hinged elbows. His head turns, also. About the only things that could have moved but don't are the wrists. The missile launchers, one for each hand, are pretty big, because they're designed to work with BB also. They add to the play value of this toy, however.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although the G2 set of the same colour scheme was produced in very limited numbers (there are a few in existence), the shades of plastic are slightly different and the stickers are different (thanks to FortMax for the info!). Starscream was revisited as Hellscream and BB as Max B. It's worth noting that BB is an acronym sometimes applied to various toys/characters called Bumblebee, however there is no relation between BB and Bumblebee.

OVERALL

   As much as G2 is dismissed by many fans, it did give us wonderful toys such as this duo. The colours here are an improvement over the originals in g2 - although they weren't _bad_ colours as such. There's two new characters here - which did appear in the BWII cartoon. The combined stealth bomber mode, Starscream's jet mode and both robot modes are great, the tank mode of BB is rather unorthodox, but as with everything else here, the play value it offers is worthwhile. The missile launcher really make this set fun. If you don't have the Dreadwing & Smokescreen set, I'd grab these guys, and even if you do, they're still worth considering thanks to the improved wings and colours - 10/10

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