Cliffbee.com: ROTF Leader Starscream Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Starscream
Series: Movie Tie-ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet

Thanks to Eazy D for loaning me Starscream for this review



JET MODE
Height: cm Length: 30cm Width: 21cm

   A grey F-22 with intricate black tattoos all over, Starscream has a transparent amber canopy with a similarly transparent amber seat inside. There's some brown around the thrusters at the back and amongst the black tattoos on his wings are some while details. There's a purple Decepticon logo on the port side of the fuselage and a larger black one on the starboard side wing. Aside from the wholly-unrealistic but movie accurate tattoos, this colour scheme is what you'd expect to see on an F-22. There's even mid grey jets nestled within his thrusters.

   This is more than just the voyager scaled up, but the overall look is very similar. This jet has almost no kibble (the thighs are visible underwing, but you have to really look), while the ROTF voyager has hands hanging out the back and the first movie's Starscream toy had more kibble than fighter plane. We haven't seen a fighter with so little kibble underneath outside of the Masterpiece line. The detailing here is great with a lot of seams and a soft nose (using a plastic colour that matches the rest of the toy perfectly. There is a panel on the back - between the tailfins - which doesn't quite fit flush but that's really the only shortcoming here.

   There's quite a bit of play value here. The purple Decepticon logo sits on a button which, when pressed, causes a red LED inside the cockpit to flash (hence the transparent seat) and a sound to emit. The sound will alternate between voice callouts. Starscream comes with two brown missiles that can plug into holes underneath the wings. There's also a concealed missile launcher underneath which can plug into the same holes, allowing Starscream to fire the missiles. All three wheels underneath can roll & fold away (although, as with many Transformer fighter jets, he doesn't lie flat on his belly).

   A great jet mode with essentially no kibbly, great detailing and useful missiles. I don't think a whole lot of electronic gimmicks, so I'm happy to report that they don't hinder this vehicle mode. The tattoos kinda wreck the realism that would have been possible here, but it fits into the movie.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Well, he's a leader class toy so it's fairly complex, and a little tricky initially but it's an elegant transformation that doesn't require everything in exactly the right order, so it's not frustrating. In summary, the cockpit becomes his chest and the head is hidden behind the cockpit. The arms are contained within the engines (the jets are his shoulders) and the legs are the underside. The wings break apart and some elements become Starscream's signature wide body while the rest fold up on his back. The missile launcher & missile detach but can stow (or be used) in robot mode.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 28cm Width: 22cm

   Again based on grey, Starscream has less tattoo here - on the thighs, shoulders, chest and head. Only the chest tattoos are actually part of the vehicle mode so the rest are robot only tattoos. There's actually very little of the vehicle mode surface exposed at the front here - only the chest. His forearms and ankles are brown while the amber canopy is central on his torso and is joined by amber eyes. There's a Decepticon logo stamped on top of the body, on the right side of his head - but this is only visible from above. Again the colours are essentially movie accurate. The tattoos don't have the same deleterious effect on the realism.

   This is a very well sculpted & detailed robot - as should be the case at this size (sadly, all too often it's not the case). Starscream, has a very detailed torso, intricate legs and forearms and finely sculpted long fingers on his open hands. The head is very the alien one we saw on screen - complete with the weird teeth-like things on his mouth. There's a bit of backpack kibble, which is the wings & some fuselage panels, but I love how they've clipped it all against his back with a locking panel.

   There's a lot of play value here. If you pull Starscream's canopy forward the chest opens out, his mouth opens, he'll talk & the LEDs in his chest & head will flash. Both forearms have red tabs inside them, sliding the right one reveals a small gatling gun which pops out from underneath the back of the forearm. The left side has a missilerack (with fixed missiles) that reveal through the same mechanism. Both hands cleverly fold back onto the forearm allowing his missile launcher to plug onto his wrist - forming the built-in launcher seen on screen. This launcher has various spines & false missiles composed of soft grey plastic. It can of course fire the brown missiles, and both this launcher & the missiles can plug onto his back if you don't want to use them in this mode. There's a button on his right shoulder (where that allegiance symbol is); pressing this button will activate the now standard transformation sound. In fact, it'll usually get pressed during transformation (which is why it exists where it does).

   The poseability here is good, although some joints lack a little articulation. His head turns (no ball joint, since the jaw opens as part of that canopy gimmick) while his waist is fixed. The shoulders lift & swing out to the sides as do the hips - these are all ratcheting joints. Starscream's elbows are hinged with rotators while the wrists and fingers are all hinged. His knees are double hinged with rotators. While Starscream is meant to have crooked legs, you can straighten his legs if you prefer - either way the ratchets in the double knee joints will help with stability. His ankles are effectively fixed but the heelspurs are big enough to be useful.

   A fantastic robot mode with excellent detailing which represents the character well - especially the head, Starscream has great play value and electronics that again don't get in his way. This is a well designed robot mode that relies on action features, movie accuracy & details rather than any silly gimmick to work.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A really nice toy which improves on the already-good voyager ROTF Starscream (while absolutely pulverising the pathetic original toy of this character) - and this figure proves that Starscream should have been in this size class from the beginning. The transformation is clever & complex without being difficult while the play value, detailing & lack of kibble in both modes are impressive. He's all the more satisfying when you consider that the majority of Decepticon leader class toys down the years have been poor - 9.5/10 (losing 0.5 for the slightly off panel in jet mode)

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