Cliffbee.com: Energon G1 Starscream Toy Review

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Name: Starscream (sold as "Energon Starscream", which leads to the designation "Energon Energon Starscream")
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: F-22 Fighter Jet

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Starscream for this review.



JET MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 16cm Width: 11.5cm

   A predominantly grey F-22 in the spirit of G1 Starscream, Starscream has red paint on the edges of his wings and around the bronze canopy. His nosecone is blue and there's some more blue here and there, although most of it is for his robot mode. He sports raised purple Decepticon logos on the wings. It's a much more coherent colour scheme than that found on the original, and without the awkward transparent plastic and bright green patches. The G1 colours in themselves will please many fans, but for me the coherency of this colour scheme marks the biggest improvement here.

   While the paint splotches are gone, the moulded battle damage underneath remains here, on his starboard air intake, port side wing and port side thruster. I don't really like the idea of the battle damage, but even allowing for that, when they removed the paint representing scarring they should probably have removed the sculpted damage - it really sullies this tribute.

   The plane mode itself is fairly good, although the rear wings are too low, since they rest on the robot shins. They're also incongruously blue, but at least they're not prominent. There are blue missiles that can sit in the launchers under his wings, and hang out the back of his wings. These elements add just enough blue to really make the G1 tribute work.

   There's quite a bit of play value, he has two long grey weapons that can attach under the wings. One is a cannon and the other has a blade on it. Both feature a nice silver paint wash. The idea of this silver is great, although it does mean they're a slight mismatch with the rest of the jet. I'm not really a fan of Energon's weapons overall, but in solid colours these do well, and bring no real drawbacks, so I'm happy enough with the option. The Decepticon spark crystal is in a block just behind the cockpit, allowing you to attach an energon crystal.

   The missile launchers are a mixed blessing for me. The missiles secure quite firmly, but annoyingly there's no way to fire them in the standard configuration. If you fold down the wings, you can fire the missiles, but the whole idea of a wingless fighter just seems self-defeating. The wings clip into place quite firmly, unlike those of the original - another significant improvement. The missiles shoot quite well and can go half a metre.

   It's possible to fold in his landing gear and rest him on the table (or whatever), although he looks better with the front wheel down while resting. The moulded front wheel folds up under the nose as you'd expect. The rear wheels are unusual in that they're moulded onto small panels that fold over, rather than on the end of posts.

   This is a fairly good jet mode, but the problems it does have are all annoyingly avoidable. The colours work well and will of course please G1 fans. They're better than the mixed colours of the original, at any rate. The phantom battle damage is silly & lazy. The missile launchers work really well, but would be twice as cool if there was some way to fire them without folding the wings out of the way. It's a good jet mode with problems it really shouldn't have.

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, swivel the tailwings up to his shins, fold out the feet and heelspurs and rotate the lower legs.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 12cm

   A grey and blue robot with black and red elements, there's not as much G1 here now. The torso, shoulders and the cape are grey while his head is black with a silver face and red eyes. The thighs and feet are black while there are red painted elements on his arms and torso. His boots and forearms are blue along with the left elbow, while the right elbow is grey. This mismatching of his elbows is a remnant of the partially transparent nature of the original. AT any rate, it doesn't look very good, and there's no good reason for it either. The bronze canopy sits on his lower torso, and looks pretty good there, but overall this is a fairly disappointing colour scheme, thanks to the black diluting the tribute and the hopelessly uneven elbows.

   There are some really cool features here. The red shoulder towers not only pay a great homage, they look pretty good. The wings make a great cape and the central spark crystal is well positioned. The wings can swing up and deploy as missile launchers over the shoulders, although they can't quite reach horizontal and get in the way of arm poseability. It's still a good idea, and the missile launchers work pretty well so this adds to the play value.

   The head is a pretty close match to that of Armada Starscream and the facial sculpt is pretty good. There's also a clear G1 look to the face, especially with this colour scheme. While I'm not a fan of energon weapons, Starscream's sword and pistol are both fairly good, if a little heavy for his elbow joints. They can combine into a really long sword, but it looks stupid, so I say leave them separate. You can attach the weapons onto the missile launchers over his shoulders, if they're deployed, but they look better as hand weaponry. I'm even less a fan of the energon chip, and since Starscream's spark crystal works so well, I strongly recommend against covering it up.

   Poseability is probably the best feature of this robot mode, and indeed the toy. His head rotates, the shoulders rotate and the elbows have hinges and swivels. The hips are ball jointed, the knees bend as well as rotate, and the feet and heelspurs can fold down making him pretty stable. Smokescreen's knees only had some wiggle in them, so Starscream's knees are the big difference. It's just as well too, which these big heavy weapons he has, not only can he wield big ass weapons like an Actionmaster, he can stand upright at the same time - something the Actionmasters could never achieve.

   Good poseability and good play value in general, but the tribute is weakened by too much black while the mismatched elbows finishes the job, killing the display value here. Still, this mode suffers less from stupid design choices than the jet mode, and is actually a good mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, this is a repaint of the original Energon Starscream. BotCon 2009 Leozack and Skyquake share the mould.

OVERALL

   A disappointing repaint of a similarly disappointing mould. I find Transformers that attempt to address unavoidable problems better than those with inherently avoidable problems that haven't been addressed. Not only does this mould carry problems, but they're poorly dealt with on this repaint. The unpainted battle damage on the jet mode is surpassed by the different coloured elbows - but both contribute to this repaint missing the mark by some distance. The tribute is good in vehicle mode but weak in robot mode. Aside from the colours, it's a good robot mode with good play value. The jet mode should have been a good mode, but the only way to fire the missiles is to make him wingless, and the battle damage is a needless flaw. A well engineered mould, but not at all innovative - 5/10

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