Transformers Animated Starscream Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Transformers Animated


Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: June 2008
Price Point: $19.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missiles x 2

Images:

*Image from Hasbrotoyshop.com

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
No one really likes STARSCREAM, not even the other DECEPTICONS. Who can blame them though? He’ll do whatever it takes to gain control of the DECEPTICONS, even going so far as trying to destroy his commander, MEGATRON. Of course, he’s also nearly as powerful as MEGATRON, and just as sneaky. He’s the fastest flier there is, and even OPTIMUS PRIME would have a hard time beating him in a fight. He’s the best there is at what he does. Even so he sometimes overrates himself, and that’s why he’s still second in command.

This awesome air warrior is ready to make a crash landing right into your collection! Discover the hidden arm lasers or deliver a double sonic shock blast in robot mode! And it’s ready, aim, fire! – with two fierce firing missiles that are ready to launch in fighter jet mode. This STARSCREAM figure is ready to do battle…are you?

Starscream is one of the most enduring figures in Transformers fiction. In the past twenty five years, Starscream has played a role in almost every Transformers series with few exceptions (including "Beast Machines" and "Binaltech"). "Transformers Animated" is a series that seeks to pay homage and update some of the iconic Transformers characters throughout the history of the line, and one of the first Voyager class figures to do this was Starscream.

Vehicle Mode:
The Transformers Wiki entry on Animated Starscream lists his real life vehicle influence as the Su-47 Berkut experimental fighter jet from Russia. Like the Berkut, Starscream features wings that sweep forward instead of back and dual horizontal and vertical stabilizers. Using the Berkut as its base, the designers pushed the design several steps forward, adding flair to the design. Among these design additions are more extreme points added to the wings and stabilizers (somewhat reminscent of the points on G1 Starscream's F-15 form), five air intakes (one around the nosecone, two on either side of the cockpit and two more towards the middle of the vehicle) and some really nice angular line designs found all over the jet. Additional stylings include flaps sculpted into the edges of the wings and horizontal lines etched into the stabilizers.

Among my favorite details on Starscream are the vertical lines in his air intakes, most of which are set at angles. I'm also very fond of the line designs on his wings and nosecone. They harken back to the sticker designs used on G1 Starscream, which had a similar, angled shape. I do want to give credit where it's due hwoever and point out that his cockpit interior design is really nicely done. He has a chair with sculpted lines in it and control panels on either side of it. In front of the chair is a curved set of display screen. Such intricate detail isn't always seen in Transformers jet cockpits, so it's a nice touch afforded by the Voyager size class and price point.

Starscream has three landing gear pieces. One is under the cockpit section and the other two are the black pieces on the underside of his engines. The two rear pieces in particular take a bit of strength to pull out (and nails or a small screwdriver) since they were designed to integrate into the curved shape of those pieces. Each landing gear piece features rolling wheels and nice detail work including struts and hinges. In the Animated series, Starscream features null ray cannons under his wings, but in this figure, the weapons wind up in the middle on the underside of the jet. The default position for these weapons is pointing backwards, with his missiles pointing to the rear like thruster flames. These cannons can be swept forward however to allow him to fire his weapons at targets in front of him. Black triggers can be found on both launchers to fire the missiles. In a rather amusing and interesting design choice, Starscream's missiles have little toothy grinned shark faces sculpted into them. While this is not an unheard of detail (Beast Wars Cybershark had a similar design touch) it's not one that is show accurate (but it's amusing all the same).

Like the Activators Starscream, this figure is cast mostly in a grey blue color along with black and translucent orange plastic. The black makes up smaller parts such as some joint pieces and the thrusters in the rear. Translucent orange is found on the missiles and cockpit, thought he cockpit is much lighter and borderlines on being yellow. Red and black paint details are used on the jet, including red for the lines on his wings and stabilizers as well as black for the air intakes and nosecone. Gold Decepticon symbols are painted on both the top and bottom of the wings, though why they chose gold instead of say, tampographed white and purple symbols is beyond me. I generally attribute such oddities to cost, but I'm not sure that it would cost that much more for a tampo instead of a paint application. The blue grey color is the most mystifying and it makes me believe that at one time this was the color intended for Starscream (perhaps in early preproduction of the series). On the show itself, Starscream is grey, with no hint of this much blue tinge on him. It's rather discouraging since he looks fantastic in every other way, and it really makes me wonder if we're going to see a more "show accurate" Starscream pop up at some point.

In terms of show accuracy, the only factors that really detract from the figure being show accurate are the colors and the undercarriage junk. Of course, making a robot mode out of a jet that (at times) is animated paper thin is difficult, so I applaud the designers for taking steps such as having the robot legs form part of the sides of the jet and not just getting tucked underneath.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Eject the missiles so they don't go flying everywhere and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing down the vertical stabilizers.
  3. Separate the rear engine sections from the main body of the jet and swing them down.
  4. Swing the robot legs/waist section forward. This will cause the nosecone to tuck into the cockpit section while swinging out the robot arms at the same time.
  5. Fold the wing section back to reveal the robot head (this is partly started by the auto transform from the previous step).
  6. Press the cockpit section against the main body to lock it into place.
  7. The wing section clips onto the underside of the landing gear on Starscream's back. Then swing out the small wings pointing down.
  8. Straighten out each leg and fold the halves of his feet out.
  9. Attach each missile into his launchers.

Robot Mode:
During the transformation process, it is possible to not form the entire upper body of the robot and instead create a Robotech-esque "Gerwalk" mode, but this has never been featured on the television show and is more of a consequence of the transformation scheme than deliberate design.

Styled after the animated series' rather unique designs, Starscream's proportions are very different from a traditional Transformer. Depending on what part you're looking at, he goes from thin and sleek to bulky and powerful looking. The head design is elongated, with his now infamous "Jay Leno" chin which is exaggerated to the extreme (complete with a wonderfully done smirk). His wings on the back are a grand, sweeping design that indicate his swift and sleek alternate mode. While his shoulders and arms are wide and "beefy" looking, his torso is very narrow. Then, while his thighs are small (and connected to a tiny, tiny waist) his lower legs are relatively huge and sprawl out at wide angles to the side. These proportions all borrow from the animated model and result in a fairly unique looking robot mode.

Like many of the "Animated" characters, Starscream borrows several design elements from his G1 counterpart. They include:

  • The "wings on the back" design is one of the most defining physical features of the G1 Seeker design.
  • The head design utilizes several G1 elements including the U shaped crest piece and vents on either side of the head. Here, the vents resemble "hair" on the sides of his head thanks to their curved shape and horizontal line stylings.
  • The torso design is based on the "Seeker" standard of having a cockpit in the center with air intakes on either side.
  • Like the G1 Seeker design (and many that followed), Starscream's weapons are mounted on his arms.
  • On Starscream's lower legs, the landing gear from the vehicle mode forms black strips in the middle. These are analagous to similar strips that resembled thrusters on G1 Starscream's legs (and would later carry over in some incarnations as simple rectangular designs).
  • The feet have a small rectangular design in the center, analagous to the section that curved inward on G1 Starscream's feet (which translated to rectangular designs on the animation and comic book model).

Some of Starscream's details are unique to the Animated model however. Aside from his aforementioned proportions and gratiuitous chin design, his arms are almost entirely an original design unlike previous Seeker designs. The shoulders have armor coming out to the sides, something that vaguely hints at his "armor" from "Transformers: The Movie" but his upper and lower arms are curved and rather thick looking. While his chest does borrow from the G1 Seeker design, his air intakes point downward instead of forward, creating a thinner and sleeker looking chest design. His legs are set at an interesting angle, which curves back a bit then forward again. This emulates the angular look of the robot mode as seen in the cartoon and looks fantastic. One last detail that I love is the "collar" around the head, which makes him look like he's wearing some type of dress shirt. It is a bit more pronounced than it is in the animation model, but it's a detail that could have been easily left out, and I'm glad to see it included.

Like the vehicle mode, the blue color dominates the robot mode. However, a lot more red appears here thanks to the shoulders, chest and waist all having significant amounts of red on them. The undersides of the wings have Decepticon symbols on them, so here they appear on him whereas other versions of Starscream lacked this design touch. The shoulder area right under the red parts are black and the lower arms are black (shades of the lower arms/fists on the G1 toy being black) while the fingers are blue. His feet are black with blue in the center. The head is cast in black with translucent orange plastic used for his light piping which not only goes to the yes but his mouth as well! An interesting design choice. Overall, the colors look nice, but I confess that at times I feel like I'm looking at a blend of Thundercracker and Starscream.

Starscream has an impressive twenty seven points of articulation in this form. This includes seven in each arm (counting the missile launcher being able to swing back and forth) and seven in each leg. You can of course fire his missiles in this form, but he has an additional feature whose purpose is a bit lost to me. Slide his missile launchers forward and two panels raise up from his lower arms. These may indicate some type of super blast or something, but no matter what their purpose is, they look darn cool. My only warning is that you're going to want to be extra careful when sliding the missile launchers down. First, take out the missiles so they don't go flying, and then slide the launchers down carefully or you'll pop his thumb/finger pieces out rather easily. The sad part is, as easy as those parts are to pop out, they are ten times harder to get back into place.

Final Thoughts:
Voyager Class Starscream is a really cool figure. I give it high marks for sculpting, fun features and posability. It's not a slam dunk however. The fingers should have been made differently so they wouldn't pop off so easily, and I'm still a bit irked by his primary color being off from the TV show model (mostly because this probably means a redeco will be done down the line that I'll have to buy). These two weak points don't override the strong points however and this figure is definitely recommended!