"Generations" Cyber Battalion Starscream Toy Review
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $14.99 (MSRP)
Retailer: Limited Release
Accessories: Null Rays x 2
Official images and text below in italics are from the Official Transformers web site:
This Starscream figure won’t back down from any battle with his Autobot enemies! He’s the power-hungry Decepticon with his own evil plans and a sworn enemy of the Autobots. It only takes 6 steps for him to change from warrior robot mode to power-diving jet mode. Will any Autobot be able to stand against his air assault? There’s only one way to find out!
2-in-1 Starscream figure. Figure converts from robot mode to jet mode. Converts in 6 steps.
In March of 2015, some interesting listings popped up on the Official Transformers web site for "Cyber Battalion" figures. These appeared to be simplified figures that resembled upscaled Legends Class figures. However, these figures were not present at both Toy Fair 2015 and they were not part of Hasbro's presentation at Botcon 2015. Still, sightings of these figures in countries like Brazil were popping up here and there online. In July of 2015, Ben's World of Transformer sponsor Bigbadtoystore listed several of these figures (including their larger "Cyber Commander" counterparts) and they sold out fast and a week later the listings were gone from the web site.
While the Hasbro web site lists an MSRP of $14.99 for Starscream, I wound up paying $24.99 since I wasn't sure when I would ever see these for sale again (note: at the time I am typing this review, there are zero listings for these figures on ebay or any other retailer I normally frequent). It is very unusual for figures to make it to the official web site, get a limited release and then seemingly vanish from the market so this review is a bit of an anomaly among the other "Generations" figures. Perhaps they will see some bigger release down the road but nothing official has been announced at this time.
Unlike most Transformers packaging on the market nowadays, this figure comes in a rectangular box that has no window, so you can't see the toy inside. instead the front has photography of the toy in both modes with a white and grey grid behind it and a Decepticon symbol in grey. Cut in a triangular panel is artwork featuring Starscream. To the right is the vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. The back of the packaging features the figure and instructions along with a brief bio blurb in four languages (including english and spanish). Towards the botom is safety information, but interestingly on my box there is a sticker slapped over this section with Chinese writing and citing Hasbro's China web site.
Open the flap on the side and you pull out a cardboard tray with the figure attached by plastic ties. This explains why there's no window box. Basically money was saved by not having to print a fancy background for the tray. It's just plain cardboard. My guess is given the simple nature of the figure, the designers figured most folks getting this would ditch the packaging anyhow. What I like about the packaging is that it is reusable and easily fit onto a bookshelf. There's even character art on the side with the character's name so you can line them up!
The first thing to note about this figure is that it is not an "upscaled" version of the Legends Starscream figure. It does share a lot of that figure's engineering (especially with regards to the transformation) but in terms of actual sculpting and design there is a world of difference between the two.
In many respects, this Starscream figure takes the very angled and sleek design of the Legends Class figure and dials it back more towards a G1 direction. For instance, his shoulders, chest and legs are all much more rectangular and angled than the ones on the Legends figure. While the Legends figure has pointed feet, this Starscream's feet are rectangular and angled on the sides.
None of this is to say he doesn't look sleek and modern. His forearms have a distinct curve on the inside and his head sculpt takes the classic G1 head design for Seekers and streamlines it. Also the bars that traditionally stick up on either side of a Seeker's head are set behind the head and angle downward to the sides. The wings on his back end don't come to points the way the Legends figure does, instead they end in straight lines on the sides. I have to say from a visual standpoint I really like the look of this figure. The blending of old and new design elements is very eye catching.
Size wise, Starscream stands at about 7 inches (roughly 17.78 centimeters) tall. This puts him on par with "Combiner Wars" Cyclonus in terms of height. The figure weighs in at 5 ounces (about 141.7 grams) versus Cyclonus who is about 5.9 ounces (about 167.2 grams). Of course, keep in mind Cyclonus has some extra weight thanks to the parts he needs to combine with other figures and the "Galvatronus" head. Given that, I think it's fair to say this figure is almost at a Voyager Scale in terms of the amount of plastic used and size.
Starscream is cast in silver, metallic red, light blue and dark metallic grey plastic. The silver is used for the shoulders, upper arms and wings. The red is focused on the sides of the torso section as well as the bars behind his head. Light blue is used on the forearms and the feet. The dark grey plastic is used on the lower legs, head and his null ray weapons. I really like the look of these colors. Using the metallic plastic colors really helps elevate the appearance of the figure, giving it a more premium appearance (even though it is a relatively simple figure).
The paint colors used on this figure include silver, copper, red, light blue (which looks teal under some light) and purple. The silver is the most heavily used color. It's used on the nosecone portion of his torso, the thighs and face. Copper is used to paint the cockpit section on his chest. Red is used for his eyes as well as line details on his wings. The blue is used for line details right next to the red ones on the wings. Above these lines are purple Decepticon symbols. I have to admit I was a bit surprised at just how much paint this figure had. I didn't expect there to be as much deco as this and it was a pleasant surprise.
There are thirteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three in each arm and leg. Unlike the Legends Class Starscream, this figure has no ball joints. Instead the shoulder and hip joints are ratchet joints, which help lock these joints in place very nicely. I was surprised to see the head even turns side to side. Unfortunately, one major point of articulation was sacrificed in this design: the knees. This hobbles the figure because you can swing his legs forward and back and out to the side, but it doesn't do much good in terms of posing the figure if his knees can't bend. To me the lack of knee articulation is the greatest weakness of this mode. Note: the legs are cast as one solid piece, so there's no hinge of any kind at the knees, not even a connection pin.
Starscream comes with two null ray weapons (I'm borrowing the term from his other incarnations, they're not called that specifically on the box). They each have 5mm pegs that allow them to either attach to his shoulders or to his fists. He also has holes on the back of the wings (technically the underside of the wings in vehicle mode) for weapon storage. Most of the Cyber Battalion figures lack any type of accessory so I was very happy to see Starscream included his iconic weapons.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms.
- Push the lower legs together in the middle.
- Swing each robot foot up.
- On the back of each lower leg swing up the vertical stabilizer fins for the jet mode.
- Swing the arms up so they are out to the sides.
- Swing the wings back, connecting them to the robot legs.
- Swing the arms down and connect the notches on the back of the forearms to the corresponding tabs on the underside of each wing.
- Swing the cockpit section up from the robot torso.
- Swing out the nosecone tip.
- Attach the weapons to the holes on the underside of the wings.
Modern day versions of Starscream such as the Legends Class Starscream figure have taken the basic F-15 Eagle form and smoothed it out, exaggerating some features, angling others and overall making it look more like a scifi vehicle. Like the robot mode, this vehicle mode design seems to move back a bit towards a more G1 direction. Starscream does still look like he based his vehicle form off an F-15. It has the two vertical and horizontal stabilizers in the back, the wings sweep back and end in a straight line on the sides. However there are a ton of other details which are totally made up just for this figure. These include two huge air intakes leading to his rear thrusters, some angled line patterns at the base of the cockpit section and a lot of beveled sections in the middle of the vehicle. There are a ton of line details showing where metal plates presumably meet on his armor and other details that look like they could be access panels. His wings have small pods sticking out (reminiscent of a detail on G1 Starscream) and the nosecone looks like it has some type of pod (or perhaps machine gun ports?) built into the sides. If there's one thing this figure is not lacking in, it's detail.
This mode shows off all the colors from the robot mode, with grey making up most of the middle section and wings while the red plastic is focused towards the front. Blue makes up the thrusters and stabilizers as well as the nosecone. Some new paint details appear in this form. There is some dark grey on the aforementioned air intakes and black on the angled patterns at the base of the cockpit section. Overall the vehicle mode looks great. There are a lot of colors to give it strong visual appeal and again I am impressed by the deco on the figure.
Starscream has two fake "wheels" on the robot knees, so they wind up towards the back of the vehicle's underbelly. From underneath the cockpit section you can swing out his front landing gear to balance him out. The holes on the underside of his wings are 5mm, so you can fit weapons from other Transformers there as well. Interestingly the wings are on a hinge, so you can swing them up and down pretty easily in this mode. I suspect this is partly to facilitate posing and play as well as the transformation.
This figure is a lot better than I had expected. I really didn't think it would have as much detail or deco as it does. I also dig the metallic plastic colors. Make no mistake, this is a very simple figure on par with the Legends Class but with less articulation. This is definitely aimed at a younger age group and my theory is that the Cyber Battalion line was meant to be an entry point for younger collectors who may still be focused on the "Robots in Disguise" segment of the line but want to begin getting into "Generations". In that respect this figure succeeds, though the lack of knees does still bother me. A cool figure overall.