Cliffbee.com: BotCon 2008 Starscream Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Starscream
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Heroic Decepticon
Function: Lieutenant Commander
Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Jet



JET MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 22cm Width: 19cm

   A white jet with red on the base of his wings and around the canopy, which is composed of a smoky transparent plastic, Starscream is roughly a tetrahedron, although he's flatter with quite a few prominences. He's a repaint of Cybertron Voyager Starscream, but as part of the Shattered Glass theme, his colours match those of Jetfire, since Starscream is now a scientist on the side of good (as was Skyfire in the G1 cartoon). There's some black behind the canopy and small red Decepticon logos on either wing. The colour scheme is simple and clean, and while there's more than just a hint of Jetfire here, the most is clearly that of a seeker jet.

   There are lots of little moulded details, including air intakes on the sides of the cockpit with black cannons moulded right above them, jets sticking out the back of the wings and swept back wingtips. The Decepticon symbols on the wingtips are raised with the relief unpainted. The tailfin is an a-frame shaped affair with a key slot underneath.

   While it's clearly not Earth-like, this is instantly recognisable as a jet and with such detail, the end result is an attractive jet mode. There are three small white wheels underneath (two at the front, one at the back), and there's a missile launcher that slots nicely between the front wheels, that holds a single smoky transparent missile. The missile sits, partially visible, underneath the white nose, which is made of a soft plastic - a nice G1 homage.

   His Planet Key is red with white around the edges and a black logo in the centre, and lacks an allegiance symbol. It slots in under the tail as mentioned. Starscream can easily hold his key without automatically setting off the gimmick - something most Cybertron moulds don't seem to be able to manage. When fully pressed in, it operates a series of internal gears, causing two long smoky blades to flick out from underneath the wings. While the gimmick is quite impressive in itself, it's not hard to deliberately set off only one blade, if you feel the need. Adding this to the fact the key can happily stow, this is a great gimmick. On mine, at least, the missile fires as soon as you touch the button underneath.

   The colours aren't really those of Starscream at all - I guess white, red and blue would have been a little closer, and would have linked in to Skyfire better (since it's Skyfire than inspired the bio of this toy). Still, the mould is very much a seeker thanks to the overall tetrahedron shape, and it's not like these colours are poor. The detailing is good and the play value is good (I'll assume the hair trigger on mine is a one off), and this is a pretty good attempt at an heroic Starscream.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the launcher from underneath, unclip the nose halves, swing out the air intakes to form his legs, rotating the boots into position. Fold the front of the plane (complete with the prodruding legs) down to form his chest, which will reveal the head. Lift up the feet, swing out the heelspurs and fold the nosetip halves way into the same position under the feet. Rotate the wings down to form the upper arms, swing out the forearms from underneath the wings. Unclip the two halves of the compound tail and swing down behind his back. Place the missile launcher in either hand and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19.5cm Width: 19.5cm

   Again white with red and black, including a black and red "collar" like that of Jetfire, red "armour" on the outsides of his arms and legs - like Jetfire - and a red canopy on his groin, like... Jetfire. Much of his robot mode is white, mind you, although there are various black painted details and the shoulder pylons are red and black. Starscream has a silver face and blue eyes - the head is far more like that of Skyfire than Jetfire, so they've based those colours on the show-only character. While the mould is based on G1 seekers, this repaint is very closely following in with Jetfire (and his cartoon equivalent), to give this Starscream a different feel. It works too - he definitely looks heroic, since he's a virtual stunt double for the Macross-derived Transformer.

   There are a few G1 homages here, the already mentioned shoulder pylons as well as the face (which is modelled on the seekers, not Skyfire). The cockpit on his torso and cape-like wingspan are the others aspects. This is a detailed robot mode with a good colour map. The jets on top of the upper arms, wings outside those arms and canopy on his chest are highly visible jet aspects, and all form distinct features. Starscream's wingtips can actually fold back, although they look better out to the sides and offer the only Decepticon logos on this robot. For the sake of comparison, I've folded them back in my photo.

   Both weapon options are still available here - the white launcher with smoky missile is pretty obvious since it's his handgun, and the Planet Key activated blades are again available. The key can again activate one or both blades, and again it can happily stow in place without activating the gimmick.

   The poseability is pretty good here. Starscream's head turns, the shoulders rotate and lift to the sides slightly while the elbows can bend 90. Considering that the key gimmick has to work via the shoulders, the movement in these joints is amazing. The hips and knees rotate in two directions each while the feet and heelspurs can fold down. The leg poseability provides a lot of poseability here, and the heelspurs anchor the figure well considering that he has a tail and Planet Key hanging off the back.

   Great play value, a lot of moulded detail, some nice plane features - this robot mode has it all. While more poseable elbows would have been nice, they would have been restricted by the blades (I'm nitpicking anyway). My only real complaint is that the launcher's trigger is easy to set off. The colours simply scream "JETFIRE!!!", and while this homage is perhaps a little strong - he doesn't really feel like a Starscream anymore - it certainly defines this as an heroic character.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Since Starscream was available exclusively at BotCon 2008, he is likely limited to a single production run.

OVERALL

   A decent mould with a nice tetrahedral jet mode, a good robot mode with simple but effective play value and an interesting paint job. The colours do a good job of defining Starscream as heroic, even if the Jetfire overtones are a little strong. It's certainly an attractive and considered colour scheme, which is what you want out of a BotCon toy. The mould has been repainted a few times, so while it's a nice mould it's not enough on its own to justify paying secondary market prices for Starscream. If you have the means and the inclination, I'd recommend Starscream - 9/10.

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