Yesterday I looked at an Autobot Deluxe, so let’s switch over to a Decepticon Voyager, and who better than to start with Starscream. I may not watch the show a lot, but I absolutely adore Starscream in it. I love his creepy personality, I love his lanky design. They did a beautiful job crafting the same old scheming Starscream in a fresh new way, and it’s awesome. Even if I hadn’t committed to collecting this line, I would have still bought Starscream the moment I saw him. In fact, he’s the only figure I’m looking at this week that I did not get on clearance. Nope, I laid down a full Andy Jackson on him. Let’s see if he disappoints.
Hey, it’s the first look at the Voyager figure packaging here on FigureFan. Starscream comes in a nice window box with the figure packaged in robot form. I really dig the box’s deco. It’s cool, it’s flashy, it shows off the figure well, and above all it makes me want to buy the toy. There’s a “Try Me” hole cut out in the window so you can reach in and activate the Mech Tech Weapon, which transforms and lights up. I think it’s great that they actually call it a Null-Ray Blaster, but as we’ll see in a bit, it’s a worthless piece of crap. The back of the box has a photo of the figure in both modes, and the side panel has his biography and his tech specs. Technically, the box is collector friendly, but I had to cut so many strings to get Starscream out, I thoroughly mangled it in the process.
Even though, Starscream is packaged in his robot form, I’m starting with his jet mode. Why? Because I don’t like to break up routine, and also because I want to get the bad stuff out of the way first. Ok, bad may be a little harsh. The jet mode is certainly passable, but because of a lot of hinges and seams on the top and some robot kibble on the bottom it isn’t terribly attractive. It’s also a little chunky. Bottom line, this jet is not the sleek and stylish jet we see on the show. The inspiration is certainly there, but compromises had to be made. Now, I’m willing to give the jet mode a lot of slack because Starscream’s robot mode is so amazing that it’s hard to believe that Hasbro could engineer it to change into a jet at all. The missiles are detachable, which is cool, and while there aren’t any flip down landing gear, there are tiny molded wheels that allow the jet to stand evenly and display well. I should also point out here that getting Starscream into his jet mode can be a bit fidgety, but once you know what you’re doing it’s actually pretty easy.
With that out of the way, we can move onto Starscream’s robot mode and everything is rainbows and cupcakes from this point on, because the robot mode is downright awesome. I seriously adore this figure. Hasbro did a great job capturing all the personality of his on screen design and the proportions are excellent. He’s got the same lanky arms and legs and you can pose him in that hunched over, groveling stance that he loves to so much whenever he’s in Megatron’s presence. The way the wings angle up on his back and they are hinged so you can swing them in and out a bit to help with posing. All the other jet kibble is strategically placed. Even the tail fins on his ankles serve to stabilize his ability to stand. You can also remove the missiles from the wings and clip them onto his arms as additional weapons. So cool! And the head! Oh, the head! The head sculpt is absolutely perfect and nicely painted too.
The paintwork is solid enough, but could stand a few simple improvements. I would have really liked to see the same silver paint used for his thighs to be used on the two pieces that make up his chest. I also would have preferred the Decepticon emblem on his shoulder to be right side up instead of sideways. But these are tiny little gripes.
And then you have the Null-Ray Blaster. What a steaming pile of crap! It’s a stab at continuing the Mech Tech weapon gimmick that was started back in the Dark of the Moon line. Now, I have no problem with this idea, and I can remember really digging some of those DotM Mech Techs, but Starscream’s weapon looks like a jumbled mess. Besides just looking like hot garbage, it suffers from the same problem as the DotM gimmicks, where you have to keep holding it to keep the weapon converted. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have it lock into place? Doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t have saved this thing anyway. What’s worse is that Hasbro spent the money to put a light up gimmick in this thing. It can be plugged into Starscream’s jet mode or clipped onto his arm and either way it destroys the aesthetics of the toy. The best thing about it? You throw it in the garbage and forget about it.
So to sum up, Great Primus, this is an awesome figure! Apart from the few suggested improvements to the paint, I love every inch of him. I doubt he’ll spend much time in jet mode, but then most of my Transformers are displayed in robot modes and only converted when I want to play around with them or when it’s time to put them into storage to make room for some others. And speaking of storage, I have a feeling that when my Prime figures are finally rotated out into storage, Starscream will be the one figure that remains on display all the time. And that’s just about the best compliment that I can pay any figure in my collection.
Tomorrow, we’ll check out the big guy himself, Optimus Prime.