Transformers Classics: Starscream, Skywarp and Acid Storm

When I was a kid, a lot of my Transformers frustrated me with their lack of articulation, but none were bigger offenders than the Seekers. Sure, the toys looked fairly close to their animated counterparts, but the fact that they were little more than bricks really sucked. I think it’s safe to say that the Seekers were among the figures I most wanted to see updated in the Classics line and when I first got my hands on Starscream, I was totally blown away his faithfulness to the the animated version and, more importantly, the amazing articulation.

In a just world, Hasbro would have delivered the three Seekers in the very first couple of waves of Classics, right there on the pegs for all fans to get. As it happened, they chose to spread them out all over the place and make it as difficult for us fans to collect as possible. Thanks, Hasbro, for pissing in all our collective coffee. Starscream was the only one of the original Seekers released on a single card, and even he was later updated to a much better paintjob for Universe 2.0. Skywarp came later on in a Target Exclusive boxed 2-pack with Optimus Prime repainted as Ultra Magnus. And then there’s Thundercracker, who was released as part of a ridiculously exclusive Botcon Exclusive set. Yeah.

So, let’s start with looking at Starscream. The sculpt is identical for all three of these figures straight across the board, which is fine because I adore this sculpt. The jet mode is wonderfully faithful to the original toy, minus the diecast of course. There’s lots of sculpted panel lines and the clear translucent cockpit looks awesome. Hasbro thankfully chose to forgo the smaller bomb-shaped missile launchers and go with the null rays, although they are unfortunately way too big, presumeably to meet safety standards. I would have been much happier if they were sized correctly and just didn’t fire, since they’re meant to be guns anyway and not missiles. The other little difference is that there’s landing gear under the nose, just two that flip down closer to the body, but Starscream can sit parked in his jet mode just fine without it.

The only real bummer about this jet is the deco. Part of the problem is the horrible color plastic that he’s molded in. It’s a weaksauce grey that just looks terrible and unfinished. Ok, it doesn’t look quite so bad when Starscream is in jet mode, but just wait until we get to his bot form. The colors don’t really jive with his G1 animated counterpart either and I would have rather had two Decepticon insignia on the wings, rather than the one rubsign.

The transformation on these figures is similar in a lot of ways to the original toys. The conversion of the legs is pretty close to identical. Folding out the arms and the positioning of the cockpit is close too. These guys have fold out fists, rather than them being separate pieces, which is a great improvement. The weapon pods unpeg from under the wings and peg into the arms. All in all these figures really show how little tweaking the original figures really needed to give them the kind of articulation that we all really wanted.

Starscream’s robot form is a thing of beauty. He’s proportional, very close in design to the G1 original, and best of all he’s very well articulated. His head will turn from side to side a little bit. His shoulders rotate and have lateral movement and he’s got hinged elbows. His legs are ball jointed at the hips and hinged at the knees. It’s true that his wings interfere a bit with his arm articulation, but you can flip them out of the way if you need to. Ah, but there’s that darn paint job. The bare grey plastic looks bad, especially on his face which isn’t painted at all. The red and blue looks better, but the red paint is weak and the grey bleeds through here and there.

Unlike Starscream, Skywarp’s paint job is AMAZING. Besides the great looking combination of his black and purple deco, the quality is just way up there. The black is nice and glossy and the silver and purple is crisp. I like the patterns on his wings, although I’d still like to have seen the Decepticon logos on the wings as opposed to the lone rubsign. In robot form, Skywarp’s colors are every bit as gorgeous. Plus, his face is painted silver, which makes all the difference over Starscreams.

And then there’s the third of the Seeker trio, Thundercracker, Acid Storm. Released as part of the Universe 2.0 line, a lot of people hated Acid Storm because getting him and not Thundercracker was like Hasbro was plopping a huge and unsightly turd right into our punchbowl. It was admittedly an interesting nod to an obscure character from the G1 cartoon, but it was still no substitute for Cracker. But if you can get past the hatred and vitriole over the fact that he isn’t Thundercracker, he’s actually not a bad figure. The color scheme is green with a camo deco that mainly just shows through in his jet mode. And hey, look! At least one of these jets have Decepticon insignia on their wings instead of that unsightly rubsign! In bot form, he’s mostly green and black with some yellow trim. It’s not the best color scheme I can think of, but he’s still a decent looking figure, and like Skywarp, at least there are paint apps on his face.

These three figures are among my favorite Transformers released to date, and apart from Starscream’s poor colors, I think these are textbook examples of how to do updated G1 figures. If you are looking to add these to your collection, you should definitely bypass Classics Starscream for the much better Unverse 2.0 Screamer. One of these days, I should really take my own advice and trade up too. Acid Storm is pretty easy to get, and I still think he’s worth it. Sky Warp is out there too, you just have to hunt for him. Now, let’s just hope that Hasbro finally delivers on a carded version of Thundercracker one of these days.

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