Transformers Classics (Starscream Review)

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Classics, Decepticon, Generation One, Seeker

Transformers Classics

General Information:
Release Year: October 2006
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Average depending on retailer)
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Missile Launchers x 2

Images:

*Image from the official Transformers web site.

Tech Specs:*
Motto: "My enemies will be left nothing but the ashes of their defeat."
Ruthless, cold-blooded, and capable, STARSCREAM makes no secret of the fact that he wants to replace MEGATRON as leader of the DECEPTICONS. The fastest flyer among the DECEPTICONS ranks and one of the most dangerous warriors ever to grace the skies of CYBERTRON, he is still something of a coward. He cares too much for his own skin to ever take the risks the overthrow of MEGATRON would require.

Strength: 7 Intelligence: 6 Speed: 10 Endurance: 6 Rank: 8 Courage: 4 Firepower: 8 Skill: 8

The Classics Transformers line started as a small line of figures intended to pay homage to classic G1 characters by giving them new forms using modern day toy technology and design aesthetics. One of the first figures in this line is Starscream, perhaps one of the most iconic Transformers characters on the level of Optimus Prime and Megatron. Almost every Transformers series in the past five years or so has had some version of this character appear or as a toy. Now Starscream gets back to basics as a jet that transforms into a robot.

Vehicle Mode:
Starscream's vehicle mode is an F-15 fighter jet. This is a refreshing shift from the more Cybertronian oriented aerial modes the character has been given the past few years. On some levels it feels as if the designers wanted to take an Alternators-esque approach to designing this vehicle mode. Many of the details are carried over straight from the real life F-15. The basic shape of the sharp nosecone to the twin thrusters in the back has been known to Transformers fans since the early days of the line. There are some other basic shapes that make this figure much like its real life inspiration. The wings are swept back and at the ends they are angled. The rear vertical and horizontal fins are the same, both angled back with sharp angles giving a very aerodynamic appearance. On the top of each vertical fin is a horizontal extension that sticks out in the front slightly.

Of course, nowadays having a good overall shape is just the beginning of a good Transformers sculpt. There are a lot of smaller line details integrated into the various panels on the vehicle. Many are rectangular plates and lines but there are also small round details in rows that look like places where the panels of the vehicle were bolted down. The rear thrusters are very detailed, going above the typical "cone with a series of lines" to a layered series of lines that more accurately portray real life thrusters on an F-15. The details extend to the inside of the cockpit, where a sculpted chair and control panel are present.

Perhaps the least realistic feature of the figure (in terms of sculpt) are the weapons mounted under the wings. Each is a missile launcher. The ends are somewhat based off Starscream's "null ray" weapons from the G1 cartoon with a rectangular end piece with smaller fins sticking out the sides. The other ends are missiles designed to also double visually as gun batteries. While not realistic, they are certainly powerful looking. Pressing the fins on the underside of each launcher fires a missile.

The designers of this figure clearly aimed to add another realistic level to the figure in its deco. The figure is primarily cast in silver plastic. Blue, red and silver paint are used for detailing. The cockpit cover is cast in translucent yellow plastic, a color carried over from his G1 animated appearances. The blue is used on parts such as the nosecone and a stripe running down the center of the vehicle. Red is used for several angled patterns on the sides, the wings and the fins. Fellow fan Kalidor and Dave Van Domelen have noted that the color pattern of this figure is based upon a real life color scheme for the figure.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the missile launchers.
  2. Flip the vehicle over and swing down the blue foot pieces at the ends.
  3. Swing up the horizontal fins on the rear section.
  4. Pull the rear section of the jet back to form the robot legs.
  5. Rotate the fin sections down.
  6. Swing the chest section forward.
  7. Rotate each wing around.
  8. Swing out each robot arm.
  9. Swing down the end of the nosecone.
  10. Rotate the cockpit piece around (the robot head will now be facing forward).
  11. Swing the cockpit section down, the swing the chest piece up over it.
  12. Swing out each robot fist.
  13. Attach each missile launcher to one of the arms, or they can be held in the fists.

Robot Mode:
One of the most difficult parts of creating a G1 cartoon-based Starscream are the proportions. A fluid, somewhat narrow (at the center) form is called upon to become this blocky, broad shouldered robot. By using a combination of a new Seeker transformation scheme and sculpting, the designers have finally achieved this in a Starscream figure.

Starscream has the basic overall shape fans will remember from the G1 cartoon. He has the two rectangular sections on either side of his head. His chest has two square sections on either side with a cockpit in the center. Each arm has a cannon mounted on it and of course, his wings are mounted on his back accentuating the connection to his alternate mode and his role as Air Commander of the Decepticon forces.

In order to bulk up Starscream's robot form, there were some nice design choices made. First, having the main body panel swing forward to allow the arms to come out and the jet cockpit to collapse into the main body. Often on Transformers toys with cockpits on their chest, the piece dominates the area. Here it is subdued enough that the other details can take center stage. Regarding the arms, the designers really made his arm mounted weapons huge in porportion to his arms. In the past they were generally fairly small but here they are about as thick as his shoulders. This really gives him a powerful appearance with only one slight drawback. Because the arm cannons raise higher than the shoulders, you can't really have him pointing the weapons forward without moving the wings back. This is minor complaint however since you can detach them from the side of the arms and have him hold the weapons in his hands.

While his animation model looked cool, it lacked detail that this figure has. Inside the two sections on either side of his head are sculpted line details that hark back to the stickers the G1 Starscream had inside the same parts. The squares on his chest have turbines inside of them and the hips and waist sections have multiple layers of detailing. Look carefully at the details on his waist and you'll find they are actually a flattened out version of the same details on the G1 Starscream figure with extra lines and details. The legs look perfect, with square shaped knee pieces and thrusters on his lower legs. His head sculpt is spot on, with the two vent like parts on the sides and a crest in the center with raised sections on either side of it.

Color-wise, Starscream is a good mix of old and new. His base plastic colors are silver and blue. Silver, red, blue and yellow are used for paint decos. His chest is the most decoarted, with red covering a lot of the main body section. Yellow is used on the main body and legs and blue is dispursed throughout the body from the weapons to the legs.

Starscream has thirteen points of articulation. The most interesting is the head, which still has the end of the nosecone attached to it. This allows you to move the head side to side without actually having to try to grab the head itself. The joints on his upper legs are ball joints, allowing the legs to move front, back and to the sides. Starscream's fist holes are sized to allow him to hold Energon weapons. This of course also means he can interact with any Mini-Cons with pegs.

Final Thoughts:
Classics Starscream is a fantastic modern day toy interpretation of the G1 Air Commander. The detailing is awesome, the transformation is new and fresh. On top of all that he's quite simply fun! Highly recommended.