Transformers Movie (2007) Protoform Starscream Review

in 2007, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Movie (2007), Seeker

General Information:
Release Year: April 2007
Retailer: General release (Wal-Mart, Target, Toys 'R' Us etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Depending on retailer)
Accessories: Flame, Missile launcher, Missile

Images:

*Image from the official Transformers web site.

Tech Specs:
One of the most dangerous creatures in the galaxy, STARSCREAM commands the DECEPTICON search for the Allspark while MEGATRON is missing. Streaking towards Earth, he reshapes his body, morphing his metal skin into a protective shell that glows and sparks as he makes his fiery descent. On Earth, he will scan a disguise and modify his PROTOFORM into an Earth fighter jet from that will allow him to achieve his goal: the total destruction of the AUTOBOTS.
Strength: 6  Intelligence:Speed: 10  Endurance: 7
Rank: 8  Courage: 4  Firepower: 7  Skill: 9

Packaging:
Protoform Starscream is blister carded. The design of the packaging is clearly meant to evoke the darker, more realistic look of the movie. Instead of bright colors and smooth graphics, the brushed steel Transformers logo from the movie is on top of a partial Autobot symbol with Allspark glyphs inside of it. There is no other sub-line such as "Robots in Disguise", the "Transformers" logo is supposed to say it all. Around the edges of the bubble on the inside is a strip of cardboard with tech details on it that evoke the "Entry Mode" of the Transformer inside. The back of the packaging has the character's tech spec and cosells Optimus Prime's Protoform figure. The card is not just glued onto the front of the cardboard. The top edge is glued but then it wraps around to the back on the sides where it is taped to the card, similar to many Japanese style releases in Galaxy Force. Overall, it is very striking packaging and will definitely stand out in the toy aisles.

The general public's first look at Starscream in action figure form from the upcoming live action movie is his Protoform configuration. Unlike Beast Wars or Robots in Disguise, Protoforms in the movie universe are functional robots with fully functional personalities. They simply lack a true disguise form. Like the Protoform Optimus Prime figure, Starscream's Protoform configuration has elements of the character's G1 form and his movie form all wrapped up in one figure.

The head design is perhaps the one of the features on the movie robots that most fans are not very fond of. The aesthetic the designers of the movie went for was clearly a scary and alien insectoid look. My conjecture is the idea is to use a somewhat frightening form, and generally insects (especially in a large size) can be quite creepy. Starscream's eyes are oval and slanted, giving them an alien appearance. His mouth is designed with a "chin strap" section around the edges, and then two smaller protrusions inside that resemble mandibles. If you really wanted to stretch things a bit, you could argue that he has some G1 Seeker-ish design elements such as the crest on his head and lines on the sides that sort of resemble vents. However I think such similarities are more accidental than deliberate.

The torso section is the area that holds most of the parts that are reminscent of G1 Seeker design. On either side of his head are thin, angled fins, reminscent of the angled sections on either side of the Seeker heads in G1. There are two large turbines on his chest, something G1 Seekers are shown having in some artistic interpretations. The center of his chest comes out at a point and then angles downward, looking almost like a cockpit (and indeed, in his alternate form his chest is the cockpit section).

Starscream's arms and legs have a sleek, jagged design to them. Next to his shoulders are small wings that swing outward along with angled sections on his lower arms. Even his hands are actually three long, dangerous looking claws. The legs continue this look, where a lot of shapes are triangular along with wings on his lower legs. His feet are angled too, each with a triangular shape leading down to a point in the center. Even his lower legs sweep back and up if you look at the angle of the sections near his knees. All these design elements are foreshadowing for his F22 Raptor mode in the movie, which involves a lot of angled panels forming his main body.

Starscream is cast in gold plastic. Red, silver and black are used for deco patterns. Black is found on his mouth/nose area and on the turbines on his chest. Red details are used on small areas such as his shoulders and the wire like details on his lower legs. Silver is used for larger detailing such as the center of his chest and the front sections of his feet. His eyes are a translucent orange plastic. It is not entirely see through however, so any light piping effect does not work too well.

Starscream has fifteen points of articulation in this form. This includes ball joints on his shoulders, legs and waist. While this may be just on my particular figure, the ball joints that connect his hips to his legs are rather loose, making posing sometimes difficult. This is easily solved by popping off the joints, applying some clear nail polish, allowing it to dry and then popping the limbs back on. Still, this hints at a quality control issue that really shouldn't exist after so many years of Transformers toys being developed using ball joints.

Starscream comes with a missile launcher that fires a gold missile. You can also put his flames in place of the missile to make it look like he is unleashing a stream of fire. I like the way the middile launcher has a jagged, angled look that matches the rest of the figure.

Transformation to Entry Mode:

  1. Detach the gun and set it aside for now.
  2. Point the feet down and swing the heel pieces down.
  3. Connect the two lower legs together.
  4. Swing out the small wings on the lower legs.
  5. Lift up the panel on the back.
  6. Rotate the lower body around.
  7. Position the arms so they are straight and the thumbs point back.
  8. Swing each arm in and then up, connecting it to the panel that was on the back of the robot.
  9. Swing the waist section back.
  10. Push the robot head in.
  11. Swing the small panel from the back on top of the robot head.
  12. Insert the weapon into the underside of the back panel.
  13. Swing the legs up.
  14. Swing the panel with the wheels up.
  15. Swing the small wings on the shoulders out.

Entry Mode:
The Entry Mode is meant to serve as a basic form for a Transformer to use when entering the atmosphere of a planet. One can guess that the comet-like shape is meant to facilitate dealing with the burn of entry and at the same time it gives Starscream the vague look of a ship (most notably he resembles a Kazon ship from Star Trek. The front end has a triangular shape to it and the turbines from the robot mode now look almost like huge eyes, and the armor plates over them look like big eyebrows. It's a very expressive alternate mode reminscent of Vehicons from Beast Machines.

Starscream's angular details really take center stage in this form since everything condenses together here. His fins on his shoulders are now on top, he has the small wings on the sides and on the rear. Combined with the forward section coming to a point in the center his look really foreshadows the angled/panel look of his future F-22 form.

There are some smaller details on this form that are newly revealed. On the top panel that covers the head is a sculpted Decepticon symbol. Running along the top are inset angles, trapezoids, lines and more. On the sides are circles that look like gears in the middle. I really like the sculpted detail on this guy. He looks really complex and in my mind truly resembles a starship like the aforementioned Kazon ship with small windows and panels.

Starscream's colors remain the same here, but we get more silver showing thanks to the panel that folds over the head and the aforementioned circles on the sides. He could have used a bit more deco on the smaller details on the top and sides, but there is so much concentrated in the front that he hardly looks plain.

The Entry Mode can roll on three wheels on the underside, two large ones on back and a small one in the center towards the front. The main problem I had with this form is during transformation. When you swing the waist section back, the ball joint at the center sometimes pops and you wind up with Starscream split in half. It's easy to snap the two halves back together, but overall this could have been done better with a different type of joint. The flame accessory can also be attached to the missile end to look like exhaust flame coming out the back.

Final Thoughts:
Protoform Starscream is a disappointing figure not because of sculpt or design. He is a strong figure, but the quality control issues with his leg and waist ball joints is really disappointing. I grant this could just be my particular figure (although others online have reported the waist issue as well). Disappointing because of the potential this figure had.