Construct-Bots Transformers Starscream Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Construct-Bots, Decepticon, Generation One, Scout, Seeker

Construct-Bots

General Information:
Release Date: August 2013
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer at time of initial release)
Retailer: General (Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us etc.)

Images:

*Images and text below from Amazon.com:
Welcome to the incredible world of Transformers robots. It is a world of high technology, ancient history and a battle that has spanned the entire galaxy and millions of years. Optimus Prime, leader of the heroic Autobots, battles the tyrant Megatron and his evil Deceptions for the fate of freedom across the universe. There's a Transformers figure for every kid or collector. From big converting figures to miniature battling robots, you can team up with Transformers toys to create your own incredible adventures. Whether you're defending Earth with the Autobots, or conquering space with the Deceptions, the action is up to you. Transformers is a world-famous entertainment brand with 30 years of history, blockbuster movies, hit television shows and countless novels and comic books. With Transformers toys, you can create your own chapters in this epic, ongoing story. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Construct-Bots are a line of Transformers construction/action figure sets released in 2013. The intention is to bring a different type of Transformers play pattern than their KREO cousins. Instead of having to disassemble and reassemble the figure every time you want to transform it, Construct-Bots allow you to build a transformable figure focused around a central skeleton shared by all the Construct-Bots. One of the first of the "Scout" Class figures released in the line is Ironhide, based on the Generation One version of the character. The "Scout" Class are the most basic of the Construct-Bots sets, featuring approximately 40 pieces. Most of these pieces are standard across the Construct-Bots sets. What mainly differs set to set are the colors of the parts, the quantity and of course the head sculpt used to represent the character.

Construction:
Construct-Bots are essentially all the same. They utilize a basic skeleton that is molded in plastic with rubber coated ball joints. The rubber layer allows the joints to move and hold their position in a variety of poses. Not just your normal bending of elbows and so on, but doing things like handstands or kicks are also possible without too much fuss. The skeleton itself assembles in under ten minutes easily. After that, all the parts that attach are essentially armor. Some pieces are a bit more substantial, such as the upper arms, which wrap all around the upper arms of the skeleton. Other parts are smaller and more like armor plating such as the pieces that make up the top of the forearms. Starscream came together in about twenty minutes for me, due in part to having a small number of pieces relative to the larger sets. I did use the instructions however as I'm hardly an experienced model/kit builder. I altered one thing however. The instructions have the wings connecting to the arms. While it doesn't look bad, it doesn't look that good either. Instead, I recommend taking the clip and connecting it to the black bar that's set near the shoulders on the back, which gives Starscream a much more classic "Seeker" appearance and it makes him a bit less awkward (imagine swinging your arm and knocking over the guy next to you constantly).

Robot Mode:
Except for his hands, Starscream uses a completely different set of parts than Ironhide. In general, his parts are more sleek, angular and streamlined than Ironhide's. This is especially true on the legs, where the lower legs and feet come to points on the knees and "toe" area respectively. His torso/waist piece has a large cockpit window making up most of the chest, which is thematically similar to the classic Seeker body where the cockpit of the jet was on the torso. The part that most strongly defines this sculpt as Starscream is the head sculpt, which is a direct translation of his G1 cartoon head design. This includes two raised sections on top, a crest in the center and "vents" on the sides. Another callback to the G1 Seeker design is the placement of his two weapons. They each connect to the sides of his wrist area. In G1 they would've connected to the sides of his arms of course, but the concept of having weapons on his arms is intact. Instead of a long, sleek null ray however, these weapons are smaller gatling guns. Overall, I really like the look of this figure. It's instantly recognizable as a G1 Seeker inspired character and it's very sleek to boot - not something you typically expect from a building set.

Starscream's parts are cast in classic Starscream colors: light grey, red, blue, grey, silver and black. The skeleton is mostly made of grey and black parts. The head is also cast in grey. the wings, torso/waist cover, lower legs and feet are all light grey. His arms are made up of red and blue colors while the thighs have red panels. Overall the plastic colors do a great job of representing Starscream. There are some paint applications here as well. The "window" on the chest is gold and the raised portions of the Decepticon symbol are painted purple. The anomaly on this figure is the head. It's cast in grey and the "helmet" portion should be painted black, and it is...sorta. Only part of the helmet is painted black, specifically the left side. Indeed, this is not a one off error. The actual official photo shows this deco, which is just bizarre. The face is painted silver which is fine - but the eyes are painted blue, which is a color more often associated with Autobots. One would expect it to be red. I'm not quite sure what happened here but the colors are all off and it seems to have had some type of issue from the beginning. Unfortunate because the rest of the figure looks great.

There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. That doesn't sound like a ton, but it actually is if you consider eight of them are ball joints. Each ball joint is coated with a layer of rubber, allowing the figure to stand or pose in a variety of ways. Starscream has a boatload of connection points including eight on the arms, ten on the legs and two on each wing. That gives potential to attach a lot of extra weaponry!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and Decepticon symbol and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the torso/waist panel forward and push the robot head in, then swing the panel back.
  3. Swing the cockpit section on the back up.
  4. Swing the central connector piece back.
  5. Move each leg up, then rotate the feet to the side. Connect the grey peg underneath the cockpit section to the hole on the inside of each leg. Connect the grey pegs on the underside of the cockpit end to the holes on the feet.

Vehicle Mode:
Starscream's vehicle mode feels like it took his "Tetra Jet" Cybertronian mode (from the first episode of the original "Transformers" animated series) and then streamlined it. It has a very bulky body with some pointed ends. The "ends" come out at three main points, the nosecone and the ends of each wing. The wings are swept forward with what appears to be a serrated edge on the front. With his gatling gun like weapons mounted on the wings, Starscream looks absolutely fierce in this form.

With any construction set type line there's somewhat of a need to accept certain gaps in design, and this set is no different. Right under the nosecone you can see the back of the robot legs. It's pretty obvious his fists are on the back section of the vehicle. However, the functionality of this figure allows you to get around that somewhat. On both aforementioned parts, there are holes for 5mm peg weapons. You can also attach additional weapons to the top of the vehicle in the front, sides and back. Also, each wing has two holes and two pegs for even more weaponry. From a play standpoint, there's a lot of potential here.

The colors on this figure are distinctively Starscream. The grey makes up most of the figure with red and blue parts towards the back. Some of the black joint pieces show here as well such as the clips that attach the wings to the central section. The cockpit and a piece in the back are colored gold. The Decepticon symbol on top is painted purple. There's not a lot of paint detail here, but the plastic colors are diverse enough that the figure does not look boring at all.

Final Thoughts:
I really like this set, but it's not going to be for everyone. That's just the nature of the Construct-Bots line (KREO faces similar design challenges). This is not a perfect "G1" or "Armada" Starscream, it's a new interpretation of the character in a set that's fun to play with and assemble. The biggest sticking point in my mind is the odd paint job on the helmet. I find it bizarre that such an odd error not only occurred in my copy, but the line overall. Were it not for this I'd be giving the figure a "highly recommended" rating. Instead, I'm going to say that this is a fun toy, but one with a glaring error.