Cliffbee.com: Movie Protoform Starscream Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Starscream
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Protoform

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



PROTOFORM MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 7cm

   A brown lump which looks more like a rock than anything else, in spite of various plane hints. There's a rather forced transparent orange comet-tail, which tapers to a gold tip. There are silver and red paint applications here and there, which don't really bring anything, and black fans on the front, the sort that you find at the front of jet engines. The jet engines are nice, but it's probably the only highlight here. There is a moulded, but unpainted, Decepticon symbol on top. The colours aren't ugly, but they hardly make this lump an interesting one.

   Starscream is meant to be a protoform with some plane hints here and there. He's a rather poorly defined lump, however. On the one hand there are small fins here and there, and the nice fans on the front. On the other, this thing feels too disjointed, with gaps and random corners here and there. The sculpt is detailed but directionless. The upper part resembles the flat upper surface of a fighter jet, with the messy lower section I guess representing the underside. the placement of the various winglets is fairly random, I get the feeling the designer stuck them in places which would work for the robot mode.

   There's not a lot of play value here, which is to be expected really. There are three brown wheels at the bottom, one at the front and two at the back. Despite their visibility, he's not that stable since the back pair are very close together.

   An aimless execution of a rather limited concept. There are some plane elements here, but there's no cohesion - it's almost as if the designer has just added elements without worrying about the end result. The forced tail piece hurts, the brown is not attractive and he's unstable. While something like this is never going to be fantastic, the application only makes things worse.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not going to go step by step since everything's generic. Essentially the underside folds down to form legs, the sides fold out to form arms, the head flips up while the top folds down as a backplate. The tail section becomes his weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 10cm

   A brown robot with red and silver highlights and black fans on either side of his chest. The face is black and resembles that of the standard Starscream toy. Again his colours don't really offer much, in fact they're kind of ugly here, especially on a toy with a rounded, alien, head. There's no visible Decepticon logo - painted or otherwise.

   For a Transformer with such a muddled alternate mode, you'd expect that Starscream's robot mode would be good. You'd be wrong. It's quite ugly, and I don't mean that in the "alien" sense of some of the movie Decepticons. The proportions aren't great, the hands are awkward claws, his waist belongs on a Barbie doll and his legs are awkwardly close to one another. There are winglets which stick out on his ankles - ironically they're folded up in the other mode - which look like bellbottoms since his legs are close together. There are a few plane features here, including the jet turbines on his chest, along with fins on either side of his head, on the outsides of his shoulders and those I've already mentioned on his ankles.

   The weapon is a missile launcher - both missile and launcher are brown. You can plug the orange tail piece into the end of the missile, but this looks really awkward - I recommend setting it aside. The poseability is limited, despite a lot of jointing. His head turns, although it's hard to position thanks to the fins on either side. His shoulders are ball jointed, but they attach at the top of the arm, so he can't lift his arms right up. There are rotators below these ball joints which are meant to help the elbow hinges, but the elbows fold inwards rather than forward, which is bad design. Granted the wrists also turn, so you can rotate the arms, but they're clearly designed so that the elbows fold inwards.

   The waist is a ball joint, which is possibly my least favourite aspect of the entire toy. It pops out far too easily, especially during transformation, and isn't a taught joint anyway. The hips are ball jointed while the knees are hinged. The feet and heelspurs are on hinges, which offer little help since more dynamic poses are out, Starscream has a tendency to keel over thanks to that waist joint. The weapon doesn't sit firmly in his hands - it wont fall out, but swings around.

   I'm not sure which mode I dislike more, but considering that this mode should be more focussed, I'm more disappointed with his mode. The jointing is awkward, the shape ugly, the colours really don't help. I'm struggling to think of a facet here that I'm actually pleased with.

VARIATIONS

   There is a more colourful convention exclusive, which was released in Japan.

OVERALL

   This was never going to be a fantastic Transformer, but Optimus Prime proves that a bad concept like this can still be salvaged. Starscream really fails to do that. The alternate mode is a mess, failing to really look comet-like, or even terribly rock like. The transformation is by the numbers and I find myself reattaching the waist every time. The robot mode is ugly with careless jointing and a poor shape. This really is the movie line's answer to the Jumpstarters - 3/10

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