|Starscream Review Capsule|
|Starscream is a completely new toy based on the transformation and basic design of the old Megatron/Starscream or Dreadwing/Smokejumper or whatever set. No parts are reused, but the transformation is pretty much identical to the old version. The toy is larger and painted well with a few nifty new gimmicks. $10, snag it if you see it.|
Despite having croaked at the end of TransFormers Armada, you can't keep a good antagonist down. Starscream is back with a smaller toy that combines elements of a few older toys, but is a new mold that's sure to please fans of the character and of the toys.
He's a jet and he's a robot. He has a few large weapon components, and is actually sized to make the $10 price point seem fair. He includes two Energon weapons and two projectiles. In the Japanese Super Link series, he's called Nightscream.
The toy is fairly obviously Starscream, although the colors are a bit darker than we're used to and there's a little more blue. Still, the head is pretty much right on the money.
The head is based on various Starscreams that have come before, but without the trademark smirk of the Armada version and a new addition-- a green light pipe for the eyes. While the eyes don't seem to glow especially well, they do look excellent and the figure's face tends to make it fairly obvious who this is instead of some new generic robot.
The robot itself is fairly good, although despite being a new sculpt it's really very similar to the aforementioned older toys. The basic structure and articulation is fairly well done, with several points of articulation in the arms and legs that allow for a variety of poses which are a real plus given that the toy has a few weapons which may require a little variety in this department.
The toy's main gimmick in both robot and jet modes is the "Hyper Power" attack mode which seems to be characteristic of all Decepticons in Energon priced $10 and up. For this figure, his wings flip out and reveal twin rocket launchers which, thankfully, are hard to accidentally set off. The rockets are small, but fire a fair enough distance to not be disappointing. When the launchers are deployed, his arms are a little bit freer to pose, so that's a nice perk as well.
This is a heavily armed, nicely priced revamp of a popular character that should please even the most discriminating fans... but let's look at the other mode before praising it further.
In vehicle mode, Starscream takes the form of a jet. Which jet, I am not certain, but it's definitely a jet.
The transformation sequence is fairly involved, but should be familliar to those who have the toy on which Starscream was based. There's a lot of twists and turns, and it's fairly painless except for flipping out the arms. Beyond that, it's clean, and is one of very few new Energon toys to not have the robot head easily seen in vehicle mode.
The jet has three pieces of retractable landing gear and two firing missiles.
There are also two inactive Mini-Con hardpoints, one under each wing. These can be used for Mini-Cons or for the Energon weapons, as they have properly sized connectors to fit on these spots. You can also deploy the wings to "Hyper Mode" as a vehicle.
The vehicle itself is a little bland, as there are no rolling wheels or moving parts aside from the wings where the hands are located. It's a nice vehicle with a lot of work in its decoration, though, it just doesn't do much. Still, for fans who don't need a lot of moving parts, this is a darned fine vehicle.
Accessories & Gimmicks
Aside from the firing missiles, there's also an Energon gun and an Energon sword, and these have the ability to form a much larger weapon.
The sculpting is good, the coloring is a little unusual, and the figure can hold them without a problem. They can even connect to the vehicle in various places.
As all Energon toys, Starscream has a little spark crystal. His is on his chest. While the photo on the packaging shows a purple crystal, the actual toy has a clear one. You can place an Energon chip over it if you're so inclined, but it really doesn't make the toy look any better.
The main gripe to be had about the accessories comes from the giant sword, which is a little oversized for the figure and can cause the arms to sag from the weight of the weapon. It's a nice feature to have, though, but odds are most fans will be happy enough keeping the weapons in their smaller modes.
Packaging, Tech Specs, & Co-Sells
This toy came packaged in regular TransFormers Energon packaging with the usual compliment of twist-ties which is more limited than previous toy lines.
The packaging itself is typical trilingual fare. The card art is fairly striking, although not striking to the point where you might feel bad about opening the toy.
The stats on the cardback tie into the whole "Energon Ghost" concept, we presume, with a lot of question marks and "NA" rounding out his power. Surely, this will come into play later.
Starscream shipped as part of the wave 1.5 of Energon toys in December of 2003 alongside Hot Shot and Inferno. He replaced Rapid Run from wave 1.
It's Starscream. If you're a fan of the TransFormers, you need to go out and find one of these. It's a nice toy, if a little hard to find at the moment.
While some fans are undoubtedly spoiled by the larger, electronic Starscream from Armada, this isn't a bad follow-up as it has a lot of interesting bits to it and is a smaller toy that's priced accordingly. I'm sure fans would have liked a larger toy or perhaps a smirk on the face, but it turned out pretty well. According to Hasbro, it's an "Energon Ghost", whatever that means.
Nobody will call this toy of the year, especially with so many great toys having been released in 2003. This isn't to say it isn't good, or even great-- it's a fine toy and well worth checking out if you happen across it.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample purchased at a Phoenix Toys "R" Us on December 16, 2003 for $9.99
Reviewed on December 24, 2003.