Of the simplified upsized figures, Starscream captured imaginations pretty early when a yellow test shot showed up at a museum exhibit. It's big, it's interesting, and it's vaguely classic - this is what the old farts go for. If it actually sold for its regular retail price, it would no doubt be one of the must-own toys of last year - but at import prices of $23 or higher at stores you likely have never shopped at, you probably just skipped it. Shame on you - get one.
As a roughly 7-inch tall robot, it is a crying shame that Hasbro didn't get this out in the USA as an online exclusive or as a "value channel" (Big Lots/Family Dollar) exclusive. This Starscream is loosely based on the Thrilling 30 Legends Starscream [FOTD #950], but only just barely. The smaller toys have better articulation, which is one of the reasons that this big Cyber Battalion toy got a lot of heat for not sporting any knees. At first I thought it was a pretty weak criticism, but after you get this in your hands you'll quickly see that it's a fine toy. Almost.
Starscream has 5mm fists and 5mm ports in his shoulders, plus 5mm ports on the wings so you can mount his guns in a variety of places. The figure has lateral articulation on the shoulders as well as rotation joints, plus some decent - if simplistic - elbows. The hips have universal joints, and the ankles move as part of the transformation. A really nice head sculpt rotates at the neck, and it has brightly-painted red optics that really come to life nicely. I'm glad they abandoned the light-up eye ports, but they remain on the larger Cyber Commander Optimus Prime and Bumblebee toys. Starscream has a decent - not great - amount of detail with some swell vents, panel lines, and other minor details. The metallic orange canopy also looks pretty nice. Despite the limited articulation, the figure looks impressive - you'll barely notice the landing wheels on his knees, or the flattened wings on the back of his calf elements. The generous slathering of silver paint on the chest and thighs add to the figure's look, as it makes it seem like they spent some decent money on him. The wings even have unnecessary joints for safety reasons, ensuring that this figure seems to have more going for him than anybody else in the series. It's killing me that we didn't see more of these.
Transformation is similar to the aforementioned Thrilling 30 Starscream - the feet tuck in, the legs squeeze together, and the arms sort of fold down while the wings flip down and the nose come rotates up. It's simple. You can figure this one out easily. Transformation is fast and fun, with no tabs feeling fragile or joints that pop off. This is a legit toy and much like some of the Beast Hunters dudes who were effectively upsized Cyberverse toys, it's a bit of a crime that we don't have more like it.
As a jet it's really not much better or worse than anything else. There's a retractable skid under the nose, but no wheels or any spinning parts. The cannons mount cleanly under the wings, and it's appropriately jet-like. Hasbro rarely innovates in the vehicle space, so these simpler toys having no new mechanisms or excessive 5mm mounting points makes a lot of sense. It would be nice if they kept more places to mount other accessories but you really can't argue with a decent, clean action figure at what would theoretically be a low price. Some more paint on the wings would have been nice, but again, the goal here was to do something cheap.
Considering that the price difference between Hasbro's 4-inch "Legends" toy and this 7-inch one would have only been five dollars, it's downright painful that we didn't get a wider release for this toy. It would've probably offered some real competition for the 2015 Leader Starscream [FOTD #1,270] at only a third of the price, but maybe that was the point. That's a lot of Starscream to go around. If you have the means to get this one, do so - and if you only want the best, get him first. The other figures are all quite nifty, but there's little doubt that this one seems to have had the most love given to him. I can't say it compares favorably with the triple-mode combiner torso Voyagers of 2015 if they were on a level price playing field, but once you get it in your hands I doubt that you'd dislike it. I can't stop messing around with these, and if there's a better G1 Starscream head on a recent toy I've not seen it.
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