"Generations" Power of the Primes Starscream Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Generations, Power of the Primes, Seeker, Voyager

Generations

Power of the Primes

Starscream General Information:
Release Date: December 2017
Price Point: $29.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Null Rays x 2; Seeker Enigma Spark; Prime Armor/Combiner Feet x 2

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The Autobots and Decepticons use Prime Masters to wield the incredible powers of the legendary bots who shaped the universe: the Primes. Prime Masters carry the spark of a Prime, allowing them to share a Prime's godlike ability with other bots. How will the scheming Decepticon air commander wield this epic power? Anything is possible and everything is at stake when the Power of the Primes is unleashed!

Transformers Generations Power of the Primes Voyager Class figures are 7-inch-scale figures that come with 2 Prime Armor accessories. Insert a Prime Master figure (each sold separately) into one of the accessories, attach it to the figure, and imagine Starscream wields the power of a Prime.

Figure Specs:

  • Voyager Class Starscream
  • Modes: robot, jet
  • Converts in 11 steps
  • Includes 2 Prime Armor accessories, Seeker Enigma accessory, and collector card
  • Works with Prime Master figures (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.
  • Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Starscream is one of the more ubiquitous characters in the Transformers line. Over the years the character has had a series of incarnations appearing across different lines. These include:

And many, many more. Starscream even had a Leader Class figure in the "Combiner Wars" line, but as many fans pointed out, he did not "combine" with anything. Now Hasbro has remedied that situation with a Voyager Class figure of the Decepticon Air Commander capable of combining with other figures!

Packaging:
Like previous waves of "Generations" Voyager Class figures Starscream is in a window box. The box has a black background with graphics on top. These include the Generations logo on the upper right hand corner and the vertical "Transformers" logo under it. On the other side is Starscream's package art along with the "Power of the Primes" logo and his name underneath with a Decepticon symbol (no more symbol confusion!). The right side panel of the box features the symbols for the twelve Primes along with the "Power of the Primes" logo and the "Authentic Transformers" logo at the bottom. The other side of the box shows Starscream in his "Combiner" form. Unfortunately only part of the art is visible, but it looks like he has Dreadwind as an arm and the upcoming Terrorcon Sinnertwin as a leg. I really hope we get to see the full art someday. In a nice touch, the figure can be seen both in box via the front window and a small window on top.

The back of the packaging shows Starscream in both modes set against a grey background. It also shows him with his Prime Armor attached and Micronus attached to it. His cosells are the first wave of Prime Masters (Micronus, Vector Prime and Liege Maximo.

Accessories:
Starscream includes quite the pile of accessories. Here's a rundown:

  • There are two "Null Rays", the weapons that Starscream traditionally has connected to his arms. These borrow some design elements from the classic G1 Null Rays (especially the way the barrel is shaped) but the back is a newer design featuring a raised section with a fin on top. Each of these is cast in light grey with a 5mm peg.
  • While you can use any of the Prime Masters in their "Spark" form with this figure, he includes his own non-transforming "Seeker Enigma" Spark. This piece is cube shaped with a smaller cube on top (the equivalent of the robot heads on Titan and Prime Masters) so it can fit wherever a Prime Master can fit. Instead of a Prime's symbol, the front is sculpted to resemble the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. This piece is cast in pink plastic with purple painted in front.
  • Unlike the figures in "Combiner Wars", not every Deluxe has a piece that can be a weapons, foot or hand. Instead, the Deluxe Class figures have fist pieces that double as Prime Armor. Voyager Class figures like Starscream have foot pieces that double as Prime Armor. Starscream includes two of these, both sharing the same design. Each foot is cast in black with light grey pegs on the top and bottom. The peg on the top is actually connected to an ankle joint that can tilt side to side, allowing for more articulation when combined with other figures. The feet can connect to the Null Rays to form a Prime Armor weapon which then attaches to Starscream's arms. You can also attach the fist pieces from Deluxe figures in the back to create a stabilizing heel piece (though you don't have to do so for the Combiners to stand).

Robot Mode:
Starscream's designs over the years have varied but in general one term I never thought I would apply to Starscream would be "chunky", but that word immediately comes to mind when looking at "Power of the Primes" Starscream. Instead of the sleek design with mostly thinner limbs seen on some Starscream designs, this one has rather thick forearms and lower legs. Why? Because those are the locations of Starscream's Combiner ports. The rest of the figure however looks relatively smaller, especially the chest and head which look extremely streamlined. The end result reminds me of some Anime style artwork, where certain parts of the character's body are exaggerated and others are made smaller to give the artwork a more dynamic look. If you are into that type of character silhouette then this figure will look great to you. However if you need everything proportional and just right then this may not work for you. Fortunately you can see these design elements right in the box before you buy.

All that said, the overall design is still "Classic" Starscream. These design elements include:

  • The head is a stylized version of the G1 head design including a central crest flanked by two rectangular pieces on the top of the head and "vents" on the sides of the helmet section.
  • The head is flanked by two pylons that go up and back a bit with an angle at the top.
  • The torso features turbine designs on the chest and a faux cockpit in the middle.
  • The knee armor has a rectangular outline but sticks out a bit in front.
  • The feet are large and angle downward.
  • Starscream's vehicle mode wings are attached to his back and go from one side to the other, looking almost like a cape.

Starscream's sculpt is very nice, with lots of smaller detailed sprinkled throughout the figure. For instance, the forearms have armor panel lines towards the front and going back. The hip/waist area has an interesting beveled panel in two layers that looks very cool and different than the character's usual detailing. The legs also have small greebles on both the outside and inside. I really like the way classic Starscream designs had extra details added on top of them with this figure.

Starscream is cast mostly in light grey plastic. Much of the middle of the body is an orange-red color. His forearms and feet are dark blue. His head is cast in black. Black paint is used on the torso. The face is painted silver and his eyes are red. Several details are provided by foil style stickers. Some of these are inspired by the G1 Starscream figure including three circles on the pylons flanking his head and the ones on his knees with triangles. His feet also have stickers based on G1 Starscream featuring arrows pointing forward. Showing the designers definitely paid attention to G1 Starscream's stickers, the ones on the sides of his forearms say "Beware of Jet Blast" with an arrow on them. Many stickers on the original Starscream tried to enhance the fantasy of him being a "real" vehicle by having warning messages such as this and it is fun to see it on a modern day figure.

There are fifteen points of articulation on this figure. That includes four on each arm and three on each leg. Those who have worried about quality control the past few years (with some justification) can rejoice. Every joint on my copy of Starscream is tight. This is especially important since he is a Combiner torso and he has to have tight joints to hold up the limbs properly. His feet are huge and the stabilizer fins from the vehicle mode basically act as heel pieces, making him very stable if you want to pose him out on your display shelf.

From a play value standpoint there is quite a bit going on here. Here's a rundown:

  • The Null Rays can be attached directly to 5mm ports on the sides of Starscream's arms "G1 style" or he can hold them in the 5mm ports in his fists.
  • You can store away any of the accessories with the 5mm ports on the wings.
  • Swing up the grey peg on the bottom of the Prime Armor pieces and connect the Null Rays to the 5mm ports on the Prime Armor to form an "Armor/Weapon" piece that attaches to the sides of the arms. This allows you to attach the Seeker Enigma and Prime Masters to Starscream in robot mode via the Prime Armor/Weapons.
  • With the Prime Armor/Weapons attached to the arms, there are 5mm pegs sticking out that you could attach additional weapons to. The ports are also designed so that you could attach a Mini-Con! In a possible Easter Egg, with these attached, Starscream's outline looks a lot like "Energon" Starscream.
  • While this feature is really intended for the Combiner Torso mode, you can slide the cockpit section on the back open. This reveals a slot for a third Prime Master Spark.

I do have one issue with the design of this figure. The wings on his back can rotate around to form the vehicle mode wings. In this mode they are supposed to connect to the back via a peg and port in the middle. Unfortunately the peg is not quite long enough to sit in the port on the back securely. Mine does fit into it, but it's right at the edge of falling out. I think this could have used one more pass in the design stage.

Starscream is one of those figures that slowly grew on me more and more as I played with him. I actually did not like him much right out of the box, but now I'm rather fond of the this robot mode. There's a lot of play value and he looks cool to me.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Turn the robot head around.
  4. On each forearm, lift up the side panels, swing the fists in, then push the panels back into place.
  5. Rotate each leg out a bit (so the feet are pointing out to the sides at angles).
  6. Connected to each of the knee joints is a panel. Pull on that gently and swing it down.
  7. Rotate the legs back to where they were.
  8. Push each thigh into the lower leg. Push the lower legs together.
  9. Rotate the wings in the back around, then push them down. The wings line up with the back of the lower legs and effectively keep them together.
  10. Push the wings down. There are tabs on the arms that connect to the underside of the wings.
  11. Swing the cockpit forward and push the panels flanking it down into the back of the pylons that flank the robot head.

There is one issue with the transformation and design of this figure. The lower legs leave a gap when pushed together. This is due to the panel that you fold down on the insides of the lower legs. There are two small pegs on it and they interfere with the two lower legs connecting. Fortunately the wings help keep everything together, but it still leaves a tiny seam that I am not crazy about.

Vehicle Mode:
The original Starscream transformed into a F-15 Eagle fighter jet. Since that time almost all the Starscream figures released have had some type of jet mode with hints of the original F-15 design. To avoid licensing issues, this vehicle is a mash up of design elements from other jets along with the F-15. for instance, the nosecone and cockpit section resembles that of the Dassault Rafale. The wings and stabilizer fins look like streamlined versions of the F-15 parts with some extra design flare. On both the nosecone and the middle of the vehicle there are several jagged, angled lines that resemble some seen on the live action movie Starscream figures. The aesthetics of the jet are a thrown off somewhat by the chunky robot bits on the bottom. Having robot parts on the bottom of the jet mode is something almost every Starscream figure suffers from to one degree or another, but this one is particularly noticeable.

Most of the jet mode is light grey plastic. Some of the details have been painted using blue on the nosecone and the vertical stabilizer fins. Orange paint is used at the base of the cockpit section. The cockpit cover is painted black. The covers on the thrusters are painted a beautiful gunmetal grey - perhaps my favorite paint color on this figure.

A bulk of the details on this figure are foil stickers. Now, many fans (such as myself) would prefer tampographs instead of stickers. In the past couple years, factory applied stickers tend to have a couple problems. First the factory does not apply the stickers consistently. One person may receive a copy of the figure with the stickers perfectly applied while others are very sloppy. Also the stickers do not always stay very well even if they are properly applied. I am of two minds about these stickers. I am sure they help keep costs on these figures down, but if not done well they can ruin the look of the figure. In the case of my copy of Starscream it kind of straddles the line between good and bad. First, let's go into the G1 inspired details:

  • The nosecone has a Decepticon sticker in front of the cockpit cover. This symbol is flanked by the alpha numeric "D-22". This is a reference to the character's designation in the original G1 Japanese release. I love Easter Eggs like this!
  • On the right side of the nosecone section, there is a fun sticker showing five tiny Autobot symbols crossed out indicating Autobots Starscream has destroyed.
  • Behind the "neck" of the cockpit section are stickers with a series of rectangular shapes and a trapezoid towards the front. This is a direct callback to a sticker on G1 Starscream in the same area.
  • There are two stickers on each wing (since each wing is divided up into two pieces). They are mostly silver with red on the edges. In the middle are large Decepticon symbols in purple. These stickers have a lot of cool little details including the word "Caution" on the edges, "No Step" on the silver sections and again the alpha numeric "D-22".
  • The vertical stabilizers have red and silver "F" shaped stickers with "D-22" on them.

Overall, I love the intent of the stickers. The smaller details also show that the designers really paid attention to the original Starscream toy when designing them. The problem is the material and how they are applied. On the middle of the wings there are Titan/Prime Master pegs. Since the stickers have to fit around them, it leaves a small edge that easily lifts up. This has happened on the left wing of my Starscream, but not the right. What is also bad is that the cut of the stickers also slices out some of the details such as part of the "D" on my left wing. I have nothing against stickers in principle, but I wish they were done better.

Starscream has one port under each wing to attach a weapon. You can attach either the Prime Armor and weapon or just the Null Rays. The 5mm ports on the robot arms allow you to attach additional weapons on the sides. For some fun Prime and Titan Master compatability, there are three pegs on each wing, allowing a total of six of the mini-figures to ride on top of Starscream which is one of my favorite features on the current line of figures.

Transformation to Torso Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Swing the panels on the forearms up, then rotate the fists in and push the panels back into place.
  3. Flip the robot feet up.
  4. Swing the wings back. There are tabs on the cockpit section's fins that fit into corresponding slots on the wings, then fold the outer halves of the wings back.
  5. Rotate the arms up.
  6. Pull the wings out a bit, rotate them around.
  7. Push each robot leg in, then rotate them around so the fins face forward (the same direction as the cockpit).
  8. Swing Starscream's chest panel open. Swing out the Combiner head and rotate it around. Under the head is an additional blue piece. Swing it out and attach it to the back of the cockpit section.
  9. Push the robot head into the chest compartment, then swing the chest panel back into place.
  10. Swing the panels on the torso's chest. There are grooves on them that connect to to the tabs on the rear stabilizers.
  11. Split open the halves of the cockpit section to reveal a space to attach the Seeker Enigma or any Prime Master in Spark Mode.
  12. Attach the Null Rays to the thrusters on the back.
  13. Any "Combiner Wars" or "Power of the Primes" Deluxe class "limb" figures (such as such as Dreadwind can be attached.
  14. Starscream's Prime Armor pieces can be used as Combiner feet. If you want to add some stability, the Power of the Primes fist/Prime Armor pieces can be added as heel pieces.

Torso/Combiner Mode:
Unlike many of the Combiner Wars Voyager Class figures, Starscream does not become any particular Combiner's torso. Neither the packaging or instructions show him becoming a separate entity (like Onslaught becoming Bruticus' torso). It sort of appears that Starscream combines with others just to use their power, which would fit with the character's narcissistic personality.

The design of this torso has some interesting callbacks. First, the Combiner head is basically a larger scale version of Starscream's own head (adding to the theory that this is just Starscream "power up" when combining instead of becoming a new entity). There is a crown on the top of the head that is sculpted into the top. This crown is based off the one the character (briefly) wore in "Transformers: The Movie" before Galvatron destroyed him. However the rest of the design seems to be (perhaps) an unintentional homage to the Starscream from the live action movies! The torso's most prominent details are the vehicle mode wings forming the sides, angling inward with the cockpit in the middle. The live action movie Starscream has similar design elements with a wide body that looks like the wings of the vehicle mode fold together to form part of the torso. Adding to this callback, the Prime Armor/foot pieces form feet that have claw-like toes in front which is similar to the feet on the live action movie Starscream. I'm hedging a bit on calling this an outright homage since I do not have official confirmation, but if it's not it sure is one interesting set of coincidences!

This mode mostly shows off bits you could see in the other modes so no huge surprises here. The stickers from the vehicle mode wings wind up providing most of the deco in this mode. The head is black plastic. His face is painted silver and his eyes are painted red. The crown is gold and the "jewel" in the crest is red (another "Transformers: The Movie" callback). The color combination looks good. The only spots I would have added some detail are the shoulder connection points.

The Combiner connection ports all work just as well as any of my "Combiner Wars" torsos. They are the same style, square shaped with a clip to hold the pieces in place. I really like how bulky yet angular the torso winds up looking when connected to other figures. In terms of articulation, the head can swivel side to side or look up. The robot mode shoulders are ratchet joints, providing some solid stability to the legs. Any other articulation is of course provided by the limbs themselves.

Final Thoughts:
When I first took Starscream out of the box I admit I was not crazy about the figure. However as I reviewed it and played with it I began to like it more and more. That said, there have been so many Starscream ones before this one that I cannot call this a "must have" figure. However if you have been wanting a Voyager Class Starscream based on his G1 design then this is a good figure to add to your collection. Ultimately it felt like this would have been a much better figure had it been given one more pass in design or quality control. "Power of the Primes" Starscream is a good figure, but it could have been a great one.

Pros:

  • A G1 inspired aesthetic with some interesting exaggerated features.
  • Stickers take a lot of inspiration from G1 Starscream.
  • Torso mode is a fun reference to the live action movie Starscream.
  • Fun interaction with Titan/Prime Masters and even Mini-Cons!
  • Stable in torso mode.

Cons:

  • The transformation issue with the legs in vehicle mode is bad and I expect better if they're asking $30 for the figure (note: I purchased it for $24.99 on Amazon).
  • The large forearms and feet aesthetic may turn some fans off.
  • Some stickers are not cut and/or applied well.