"Generations" Combiner Wars Leader Class Starscream Toy Review

in 2015, Action Figure Review, Combiner Wars, Decepticon, Generation One, Generations, Leader, Seeker

Generations

Combiner Wars

Starscream General Information:
Release Date: September 2015
Price Point: $45.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Arm cannons x 2, Leg cannons x 2, Blasters x 2, Missile launcher, Missile, Crown

Official images and text below in italics are from BigBadToyStore.com:
Starscream commands one of the most fearsome military units from Cybertron: the Seekers. The squadron has brought him great power and glory, but that means nothing as long as Megatron is the one who rules the Decepticons. Until Starscream can claim that throne, he will have to be content to be king of the Seekers.

The war between Autobot and Decepticon rages on, and with Starscream in the fight, the action gets more intense all the time! This awesome Starscream figure is a massive force for evil in robot mode with a blaster on each arm and an appetite for destruction. But when it's time for a screaming air assault, he converts to jet mode! Get ready for a whole new generation of Transformers mayhem with this incredible Starscream figure!

Product Features

  • Leader Class size
  • Featuring Starscream as a transforming figure
  • Converts from robot to jet in 16 steps
  • Includes missile launcher, missile, 2 arm cannons, 2 leg cannons, 2 seeker guns, crown, character card with tech specs, and instructions

In late 2014, Hasbro released a new Jetfire action figure as part of its "Thrilling 30" line, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Transformers toy line. This was a whole new sculpt and full of accessories, so it was only logical that Hasbro would want to reuse the base sculpt if possible. As part of the Leader Class assortments in "Combiner Wars", the base Jetfire figure was retooled and given new weapons and deco as the three key "Seekers" from Generation One. The second Seeker released was Starscream. This review will focus on the changes made to the sculpt for this release. Check out my Jetfire review for a detailed look at the original sculpt this figure is based on. Some of the text from this review is carried over from my Thundercracker review.

Packaging:
Starscream is packaged in a large window box. In true "Generations" style the box has mostly a black background. On the right side is the vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. The figure is in robot mode inside the box. Overlapping the figure is Starscream's new (read: not recycled from the "Legends" card game) artwork with his name underneath. The side of the box has a larger look at the artwork. The back of the box features the figure in both modes indicating 16 steps for his transformation. There is also a bio written up in several languages.

Accessories:
Starscream includes the same accessories as Thundercracker. The large arm blasters are light grey. The smaller blasters and leg weapons are blue. His missile launcher is also blue with a grey missile. Starscream does not however include the rocket packs that attached to Jetfire's back. An accessory that is unique to Starscream is a crown. This is based off a key scene in "Transformers: The Movie" where Starscream was Decepticon leader for a (very) brief time and wore a crown (which was quickly smashed by Galvatron). Like the on-screen crown it has a ruby crystal sculpted in the center with points coming up in the front, sides and back. The crown is painted gold and the crystal is painted red. The crown slides right over the head and fits perfectly. I love the addition of this accessory. It is true to the character and looks great.

Robot Mode:
"Combiner Wars" and "Titans Return" have both shown that Hasbro and Takara Tomy have taken retooling (and "partial tooling" as Hasbro has called it) to new levels and Thundercracker is proof of that. The designers did not just slap on a new head and call it a day. Instead several parts of the base Jetfire figure have been replaced with new parts for this release. These include:

  • The head sculpt is a new one based on the classic G1 Seeker head design. It features a small crest in the middle, two raised sections above it and vents on the sides of the head. This design is a bit more narrow and sleek than other examples of the Seeker head design and I think it looks great.
  • The wings on the back are new pieces. More on this in the vehicle mode review.
  • The shoulders are new pieces. Instead of the cylindrical shoulders used on Jetfire they are more boxy and wide.
  • The chest features all new parts. The center looks like a cockpit, but it is not actually part of the vehicle mode (the real cockpit is on his back). The parts that flank the "cockpit" are sections with turbines inside. These are thinner versions of the chest designs featured in the classic Seeker design.

It is extraordinary how well modifying these parts works to create a base Seeker mold. The sculpt looks bulky, sleek and powerful all at the same time.

Starscream is mostly cast in light grey plastic. The other plastic colors are metallic blue, metallic red and black. Despite appearances the red is mostly concentrated on the waist/hip area. The red on the chest section appears to be painted on grey plastic. The face is painted light grey and the turbines inside the chest are gunmetal grey. The cockpit in the middle of the chest is painted a copper color. The thrusters built into his lower legs are painted blue. The finishing touch is a purple Decepticon symbol on his right shoulder. The deco is classic Starscream and I like the choice to use metallic plastic on the blue and red parts.

There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. This includes four on each arm and leg. Starscream has all the same connection points as Jetfire. He has 5mm ports on the following points: the fists, the ends of the wings, the sides of the forearms and the sides of each leg. This allows you to attach all his weapons at the same time. You can also take the weapons and connect them all together to form a super weapon (Jetfire also had this ability). While Starscream does not have the rocket packs that came with Jetfire, he does still have the slots on the back to attach them.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach all the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the cockpit section on the back up.
  4. Swing the section with the stabilizer fins up.
  5. Swing the feet back into the lower legs.
  6. Swing the arms out to the sides.
  7. Swing the shoulder panels down.
  8. Pull the Chest forward and down.
  9. Swing the arms up, straightening out the panels/ bars that connect to the arms.
  10. Swing the arms down and straighten them out.
  11. Swing the legs out at the waist sections.
  12. Rotate the legs so the front of the legs face inward. Bend the legs at the knees two notches.
  13. Swing the legs all the way up. There are tabs on the legs that connect to corresponding slots on the bottom of the horizontal stabilizer fins.
  14. Push the chest/head section up. There are panels on the back that flip up. Once you have pushed this up all the way, swing those panels down.
  15. Push the cockpit section down.
  16. Swing the vertical stabilizer fins up.
  17. The weapons can attach in various ways. You can use the 5mm ports on the bottom of the wings and the legs.

Vehicle Mode:
The vehicle mode underwent less extensive retooling than the robot mode. The wings are the new parts but that is enough to differentiate this vehicle form from Jetfire's. Instead of wings that sweep forward and back, these wings angle back to points, resembling the wings seen on the Seekers in the G1 cartoon. The other details such as the pointed noseone and the stabilizer fins in the back help complete this image. From a sculpting standpoint most Transformers fans would instantly recognize this as one of the Seekers.

Like the robot mode this form mostly shows off light grey plastic. The cover for the cockpit is a golden translucent color which matches up nicely in tone to the G1 Starscream figure. The vertical fins on the back are blue. Meanwhile the tip of the nosecone is a rubbery blue plastic for safety reasons. There is red paint flanking the base of the cockpit section and on the wings. A white stripe runs along the front edge of the red on the wings. Calling back to G1 the vertical fins have white and red stripes on them. A finishing touch are large silver and purple Decepticon symbols on the wings which serve as a reference to the stickers on G1 Starscream's wings. Overall it's a good deco that does a good job of balancing a G1 based deco along with some modern touches.

The arm weapons and the smaller blasters can attach to the bottom of the wings. The leg blasters can attach to the bottom of the jet where the rear wheels are located. The missile launcher can attach to the bottom of the nosecone, though it winds up sticking out in the front quite a bit.

Final Thoughts:
I already liked the way this sculpt was retooled for the Thundercracker release. Now with the added crown accessory I really dig this release. That said, after spending money on both Jetfire and Thundercracker I could see how this would seem like a redundant purchase. If you are a big Starscream fan, this is a must have. However if you have plenty of Starscream figures already you may want to skip this, but that does not mean it is not a cool figure.

Pros:

  • New tooling is very effective in changing the Jetfire sculpt into Thundercracker.
  • Good deco with nice callbacks to the G1 character.
  • Ability to combine weapons or use them in different ways is fun.
  • The details inside the cockpit are gorgeous, and being able to open it is a really great bonus.
  • The crown accessory is awesome.

Cons:

  • Some fans may not care for a Seeker in this size class.