Back in 2002, the first toy for Armada Starscream was one of a couple of purchases that broke my resolve to stop collecting robots in disguise - after the Beast Era ended, I was "done." But I never did get a G1 Starscream, and the new version was there at the store, so I snagged it. And now, for roughly the same price, I just bought a smaller toy with fewer features. Yay?
The most surprisingly fun feature Hasbro kept were Mini-Con hardpoints. These are little 5mm pegs on which smaller figures can connect, and in some cases they could activate weapons or other features. On Starscream, they're just cosmetic - there's one on each arm and two on his shoulder cannons. I have a dragon Mini-Con, Nightscream, which mounts perfectly to his arms or on the cannons on his back. It looks like he was made to sit there, so if you have one I urge you to get it out of storage.
While not a super-poseable monster of a toy, it's fun and quite fiddly. It's a great toy to keep around the couch when you're watching TV. This Starscream sports 15 joints not counting the articulated cannon backpack or the moving wings. Each wing has a storage space for a clear orange Energon sword, so unlike the original toy which turns the wing into the sword, now you can keep your wings and have your swords too. It's a nice change - I welcome it. The figure's head sculpt is still very good, although the chin is a little cluttered. Light-up orange eyes come courtesy of an unpainted slab of plastic. There's not a heck of a lot special going on here, other than those spring-loaded firing rockets. While once commonplace on deluxe Transformers, precious few toys at this price point in Generations feature rockets these days.
I'm sure most of you know this, but "Armada Starscream" pulls double-duty in the character world. On one hand, it's a new toy of the beloved, slightly more heroic and Dinobot-esque version of the character from Transformers Armada. This new toy is also IDW's current "G1" Starscream in the comic book, except there he lacks the Decepticon symbols on his wings. No matter the continuity, it's still a solid toy.
Transformation is simple and relatively painless - it's a lot like the original toy. Head goes into the body, the cockpit swings out, you fiddle the arms and legs into place, and presto - you got yourself something you can pretend is a plane. The new design has less undercarriage kibble, but it's still a robot that turns into a plane.
Starscream holds together well in either mode, and the rockets were well-designed enough so that you can launch them without tearing the ship to shreds. You can plug some Mini-Cons on it, but it's tougher to fit the new ones - the 2014 green models are much larger than the classic Mini-Cons, so I'd suggest getting some of those to use with Screamer here.
I'm a big fan of simpler toys, and this one feels like an idealized version of what that 2002 Starscream could have been. There are no electronics, no Mini-Cons, no ill-fitting fold-out swords. He's only about 5-inches tall, but it's a charming toy and one I'm glad I got - he's set to be retooled as Jhiaxus and while I don't know that I need one, well, who am I kidding. I'll probably buy that too.
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