Posts tagged with "starscream" - 1
Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:10 am

Hot on the heels of Stege Starscream and his Colonial Viper altmode is... EarthRise Starscream, who's back to being an F-15!  You're like, "hey, didn't we just get a Voyager Class Starscream, and this is a new Voyager Class Starscream?" and the answer is "YUP."

(Though honestly, it's Starscream.  He's popular.  Folks will buy him, even if you or I are not one of those folks.)

The thing about Stege Starscream is that he was surprisingly great.  You know, for a shellformer.  He wadded up his robot mode into a little ball and you close the spaceship mode around him, the end.  And while that in itself may not be what we strictly want out of a transforming toy, it did offer some advantages.  Mostly, like, Stege Starscream's robot mode was incredibly poseable, especially for a Starscream.  It had waist rotation, it had ankle tilts, it had double-jointed elbows, it had shoulders with wide range... you could get the danged thing to fold its arms across its chest, fer cheese's sake.  It could do that BECAUSE it folded up into a ball and the altmode closed around it.  

EarthRise Starscream, meanwhile, is ... a Transformer.  It transforms.  The cockpit becomes the cockpit chest, the wings become the wings, etc.  The robot becomes the jet -- at least as much as most Transformer robots become jets.  And that... means the articulation is scaled back.  It's been noted by everyone (including Hasbro) that ER Starscream is essentially a scaled-up Classics 2006 Starscream.  And it... has slightly more articulation than that toy, which was notoriously stiff.  ER Starscream adds some wider range to Classics Starscream's shallower joints, plus a bicep swivel, and the head turns independently of the nosecone on his back, there's those ankle tilts that are all the range...

But there's no waist rotation, which is a gaddanged FIRST among the Deluxe-and-up toys in this War for Cybertron toyline trilogy.  There's no double-jointed elbows, no extra range in the shoulders for arms-folding (it was required for transformation on the Stege toy).  And so after the absolute bounty of articulation that Stege offered a Starscream for the first time, this new Starscream feels stiff.  Even though, on average, his articulation is more than Starscream toys typically have.  

On the other hand, it actually transforms traditionally without being a Popple.  

So, y'know, pick your poison, I guess.  

I have two.  I bought a second one to paint up in Early Marvel Comics Starscream colors, from back when the interiors colorist was working off early Starscream model sheets where his chest was black instead of red.  I got halfway through that one and realized, yo, if I stop here, I've got a toy colors Starscream, with darker blues instead of the cartoon's brighter blues.  It looked nice, so I kept it there!  I also gave him Classics Starscream's null ray arm cannons, because I like them bulky.  ...and then I painted my back-up ER Starscream toy in the Early Marvel scheme.  Y'know, comics blue-for-black chest, blue head and face with white eyes, inverted colors on the feet...  And I fold the wings back out of view, since Mike Manley didn't draw them in issue 9.  

no i'm not gonna lop off an ear, jose delbo drew him earless only after the color scheme was updated

Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:08 am

Transformers Stege is moving on to wave 2, and so here's Starscream.  He's half of the second wave of Voyager Class guys, and gaddangit, I like him.  I hate that I like him.  

First of all, like, dude, he is very Stege.  His legs look like a close-up of the Death Star trench run.  Like he was carved out of a Cheddar Bay Biscuit.  Like he is literally a sponge.  I could go on.  It's not an aesthetic I like.  There's not an art to his leg details, it just looks like detail for detail's sake.  An obsession with lines without understanding how they fit into the whole.  It's like drawing in Photoshop while zoomed in too much.

The silver lining is that the soot and scorch marks they slop all over his legs has a flattening effect!  There's just so much detail on top of detail that your eyes kind of glaze over and can't focus on it!   *uneasy thumbs up*

It's maddening that this is the style they chose for this particular Starscream, because otherwise this particular Starscream is superb.  He is... delightfully poseable.  He's more poseable than the Masterpiece.  (though the Masterpiece is admittedly pretty stiff)  It's not just the amount of articulation points, but the range.  His elbows are double-jointed.  His wrists turn and can hinge down a bit.  His knees aren't double-jointed, but when you fold his legs up, the thighs collapse into the shins, allowing the legs to bend as much as a human's.  (there is a spring-activated piece of plastic back there so that his shins don't look hollow from behind)  And, universal across Stege toys Deluxe and larger, a dedication to giving each figure ankle tilts and waist rotation.  Yeah, that's right.  A Starscream toy has waist rotation.  You'd think that'd be impossible, based on, you know, how his chest canopy window usually has to reach across to his happy trail area, but this toy says LOL and splits that canopy in two so you can twist his torso as you please.  And also, he's got extra hinging at his shoulders for transformation that also allow you to get his arms across his torso into one of the best approximations of folded arms I've seen in a Transformers toy.  

As a result of this, you can give him a lot of personality.  This is what will sell you on owning him once you have him in hand.

He transforms like a Transformers jet.  You know, he's got a robot on the bottom and a jet on the top.  In Starscream's case, you kind of put him in a limbo pose and then fold his backpack around him while twisting his shoulder intakes into the jet's nose.  And by "jet," I mean this guy is a Cybertronian Tetrajet, as seen in the first episode of the original Transformers cartoon.  And by "Cybertronian Tetrajet," I mean this guy is a Colonial Viper.  

I'd love for this guy's face sculpt to have a smirk.  Instead, Thundercracker seems to have the smirk head, if the samples at Toy Fair last month were indicative of the final production run.  Smoove move, guys.  You got Seeker noggins switched.  (i guess they switched the original tech spec numbers around in the 80s, so maybe this is an homage)

To sum up, if you like Starscream and don't mind that his leg texture looks like an Escher print, get your hands on this guy.  He is a great toy in spite of himself.  I originally planned to buy him only because he's so Steged that he looks like the overdetailed art of Underbase-powered Starscream from the Marvel Comics.  But now I just genuinely like him.  It sucks.

Posted December 23, 2017 at 2:40 am

Power of the Primes Starscream is probably the toy from this line I was looking forward to the most.  Transformers fiction was giving that a little boost admittedly -- the toy is sculpted to adhere to the same Starscream design that the comics currently use.  And Starscream in the current comics (especially his portrayal in Till All Are One, which ended with an Annual just this week) is friggin' fantastic.  I've been wanting a Starscream to go with a Deluxe Windblade for so long, and the other two designs that have appeared alongside her -- Deluxe Armada Starscream and Leader King Starscream -- were not appropriate sizes for hanging out with a Deluxe Windblade. 

Voyager Class is just about perfect.  It's perfect size for Starscream in general, at least fiction-wise.  (If we were going true vehicle scale we'd probably have to start doing him in Titan Class, and that's.... inconvenient in so many ways.)  If Hasbro wanted to do this Starscream toy in every Seeker variety, I'd be cool with that, and I'd buy them all.  

(mind, they'd have to do, like, several dozen more limbs so they could all be combiners simultaneously, but)

Plus I just like the proportions of the robot mode.  I love big punchy fists and big stompy feet.  It's a great robot mode.  It's dynamic.  

The jet mode is... like 99% of every other jet Transformer.  There's a robot hanging underneath the jet parts.  Just a pair of arms and a chest, unaltered, attached under there.  But that's generally what you expect with a Transformers jet.

There's some to-do about how his robot mode chest cockpit is "faux kibble," but, y'know, the real jet cockpit becomes the torso mode's chest, so I'm okay with it.  As long as one of the modes uses the cockpit for a chest, I count that.  The torso mode clearly is taking some inspiration from Movie Starscream, with the big triangle shape made out of wings (and, again, with the cockpit in the middle), and I love that.  The combiner mode head is just a bigger Starscream head with a TFTM crown on it.  It makes me wish that Grimlock's combiner mode head gave him HIS crown.  They both have canonical crowns!  It could have been a nice pairing!

but, lordy

lordy lordy lordy

For a few years, the larger Transformers have started giving toys these foil stickers.  They're terrible.  They're tacky-looking, they start peeling off pretty quickly, and all-around they're just not great quality.  And they're factory-applied, so you don't even get to have the fun of ruining your toy yourself.  There's no ownership in them.  They're just there to look gross.

And, like, I dunno whose idea it was to use foil stickers to cover the entirety of Starscream's jet mode wings, but I think I hate them.  It looks so amazingly terrible.  The photos here don't really capture it in all its shiny, reflective glory, but the stickers just drive me mad.  

And you can't pull them off, because then his wings lose their red strips and the Decepticon logos.

Sure, yeah, eventually Reprolabels will have replacements, and those stickers will be real stickers made of material that doesn't tear like Kraft singles, and be, like, matte so they mesh with the rest of the jet surface, but... not everybody's gonna want to spend more money to make their toy not look shitty.  

So, like...


why would you destroy this toy that i otherwise would have loved unreservedly with such a travesty

Posted February 27, 2016 at 3:15 am

I was satisfied enough with Hasbro's "Armada Starscream" toy.  I mean, I've gushed about it a few times here before, most recently for "Super Mode"/Thundercracker, so it's clearly a toy I like.  Takara came out with their own version which was much prettier (fairly objectively, even), but what mattered to me at the time was that my toy matched how Starscream appeared in the then-current IDW comic books.  Their Starscream looked like the Hasbro toy.  So. 

Fast forward to now, when I've got Super Mode Starscream and that kitbashed Sunstorm and the upcoming Skywarp and Ramjet.  Those are all painted pretty damn well, and suddenly my Hasbro Armada Starscream looks like the odd guy out.  Long story short, I got the Takara one to hang out with my other versions of the mold.

The Hasbro one can continue being the IDW guy.  The Takara one can be the Unicron Trilogy version of Starscream.  He can hang out with Thundercracker and Skywarp, and maybe Ramjet will come visit occasionally when he blows through the vacation days he's built up with Unicron.

The main difference between the two Starscreams is that Hasbro's (left) is mostly red plastic and Takara's (right) is mostly white plastic.  And then Takara puts all this red and black paint on top of that, while Hasbro kinda just let their toy be, relatively.  

I love this thing.

Posted February 8, 2016 at 9:30 pm

Armada Starscream from earlier in the Generations toyline was a pretty damn good Starscream toy.  It was a new version of... well, Armada Starscream, but shorter and with shoulder joints and you didn't need to have a Mini-Con to make his missiles fire.  It was a joy.  I mean it, it's a great little thing.  So much that when Cheetimus painted one up like Sunstorm I was like YOINK and bought that fucker.  

Well, here comes more!

This is Starscream Super Mode, because way back in Armada, when they redecoed everybody, they made them into upgrades of the same guy rather than new characters.  But Starscream's "super mode" was in Thundercracker's colors, and so when he got upgraded in the cartoon the English version dubbed in a little "I look like Thundercracker!" comment and the toy was sold as Thundercracker.  Otherwise, Starscream in this deco is known as the Starscream who goes total Linkin Park angsty and gets himself disintegrated by Unicron to make Megatron so way sorry for the way he's been a stupid jerk, DAD.  I'm serious, there were so many Linkin Park AMVs.  He tried so hard and got so far, yo.  But in the end?  (he came back as a zombie in the next series and then in the series after that he was totally fine, so... no, it didn't really matter)

But hell yeah I'd buy a Starscream Super Mode or Thundercracker or whoever.  I loved the deco on the original toy, which was certainly inspired by Thundercracker, but took a few left turns.  For example, his eyes had to be silver.  They really had to, to keep the rest of his deco silver where it needed to be silver.  And that plastic sprue was nylon, which is unpaintable.  And so instead of having his face be red-eyes-on-silver-face, Armada Thundercracker was red-face-on-silver-eyes.  Which is, you know, striking.  I'm very upset this did not pay forward in later Thundercracker toys.  

I do think the deco loses a little something when his blacks are gunmetal instead of black.  But whatcha gonna do.  It's my only sort of not-really complaint.  I like this toy a lot.  Give me more.

(spoilers: we're getting more)

Posted January 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I was gonna talk about the new Whirl first, but he kind of snapped his leg off at the knee before I could even get stickers on him.  SO HERE'S ARMADA STARSCREAM, COVERED IN MY TEARS

Armada Starscream is, obviously, a new toy of the Starscream design from Transformers: Armada.  Since these toys are being featured in the IDW Transformers comics that come packaged with every Deluxe, Armada Starscream's design is also now a IDW comics continuity G1 Starscream toy!  For those of you keeping track, this is the second time in a row a Starscream toy that represented Starscream from a different continuity family has been used as a G1 Starscream in this comic.  With both Aligned and the Unicron Trilogy out of the way, once this Starscream also repurposes an Animated or Movie-style version of himself, I think this dude will have collected the whole set.  He will become Meta Starscream, the Allscream, Devourer of Alternate Starscreams.

The toy itself is fantastic.  While it is, broadly, a smaller version of the original Armada Starscream toy but with joints, the sum is more than these parts.  He feels solid and dynamic and feels like he has a presence, and he has more weapons than you expect of a toy in these expensive times.  While the original Armada Starscream would pop off his entire wing to make a sword, this new Armada Starscream hides his (now-translucent) swords behind his wings.  They just fold up and plug into the backs.  He also gets two, instead of just the one.  Also, dude's got double missile launchers.  It's been a while since those were the norm!  They're the push-pressure kind, not the spring-loaded kind, and they sit in his maneuverable shoulder intakes.  Starscream's also got Mini-Con hardpoints on both his forearms and on the back of each of his launchers, as is right and good.  

If you're more discerning about your Starscream purchases, I'd check out this guy.  He's one of the best Starscream toys, I feel.   Or you can wait until we get that Jhiaxus retool out of him we seem to be receiving.  New cockpit, new wings, new tailfins, new head.  When I'm at Toy Fair in a few weeks, I hope we get to see him.

Posted August 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm
I tell you what, I did not care a lot about Megatron's new stealth bomber body when it was introduced in IDW's first ongoing Transformers title.  I mean, I didn't hate it.  It just kind of existed.  It was  undoubtedly a thing, just not a thing I gave a lot of thought about.  And it had a big M on his forehead, which I'm not sure if I love or hate for its goofiness.

But then Hasbro decided not only to make a toy of it, but to also commission of comics about the toys they were making to include in the packaging.  And so we got this amazing comic book both written and illustrated by Nick Roche.  I wish Nick Roche would write more.  Hell, I wish he would draw more.  .... while he writes.  He also both wrote and drew Spotlight: Kup, which is another fantastic Transformers story, easily one of the best.  The connect between what the story wants to do and what it actually does is strong.  Not an inch is wasted.

You might roll your eyes at a "Spotlight: Megatron" issue because, yeah, oh boy, FINALLY, there's gonna be a focus on Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, ABOUT TIME, but the comic book lives up to and exceeds your expectations.  We see Megatron returning to life in a new body amidst his crumbling army, and we see how we begins to build that army back up again.  He has a way of things, a formula, and center to that formula is Starscream.  However, Starscream's as much in shambles as the rest of the Decepticons, and so Megatron literally spends the issue beating Starscream back into his usual self again.  And Jesus God, is it slashy, and not in a kind way.  By issue's end, you have a perfect idea of how Megatron's brain works.  It's brutal, but amazingly executed.

ANYWAY NOW I CARE A BUNCH ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR MEGATRON BODY I GUESS.  Thanks, comic.  Stupid excellent storytelling.

Stealth Megatron is a Deluxe.  This means he's on the small size for towering over much of your collection as he should, but there's a Starscream who's arriving on pegs at the same time who is just about the right size relative to him.  Legends Starscream is also an IDW comics design, but a discarded one that was never used for Starscream himself (just Thundercracker).  Also, this Starscream comes with a tiny Waspinator partner/weapon.  I'm just piling on the reasons to own these things, aren't I.  And so I've been having my Deluxe Megatron smack my Legends Starscream around my desk since Megatron arrived in the mail.  They're a good pair.

Despite Stealth Megatron's Deluxeness, he's pretty meaty.  His arms have a great mass to them, and he just looks like this intimidating chunk of dude who could mess you up... so long as you don't put him next to anybody else in his size class.  He transforms by bunching up into this pentagon-shaped thing, and then you tear his arm cannon in half and plug them into the ends for wings.  It's a little complicated and messy the first time you try it, but on the second tries and beyond it gets pretty simple.  The learning curve is fairly short.

And of course the comic book comes with it.  If you don't own the comic book, pick up the toy just to read it, dammit.  (Or here it is on Comixology.)
Posted July 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm
In 1997, in the middle of a years-long focus on Beasts who War, Machine Wars was an oasis of vehicles.  It wouldn't be until 2000 that Hasbro would give us vehicles again, and so this strange KB Toys-exclusive line of  redecoed European toys and unused G2 stuff was all the game there was to be had, if you were into stuff with wheels or thrusters.  It was also the only place you could find Autobot or Decepticon symbols or the names "Optimus Prime," "Soundwave," and "Starscream."  And as the one of the first real departures for these characters from what they're "supposed" to look like, it was an exotic thing.  It became less exotic as time went by, and doing weird things with older characters wasn't terribly special.  Optimus Prime's been both a shoe and a baseball cap by now, so an Optimus who transforms into a truck with some slightly different colors isn't as eyebrow-raising as it used to be.  And oh no, he had an exposed mouth!  ... and so has nearly every Optimus since 2004.

However, despite all this, Machine Wars still had some unique things going for it, which called out to everyone that "this is Machine Wars."  For example, it had two new characters!   The first was Hubcap, who shared a name with an older character, but was written to be nothing like him.  The second was Megaplex, who was a decoy for Megatron.  Like, he was literally an exact copy of Megatron's body so as to confuse the Autobots.   His entire existence was based around him being target practice for someone more important.  Another interesting thing about Machine Wars is that Starscream was the tallest toy in the line.  He was massive, while Megatron (and his decoy) were pretty small.  How did that work?  How did Tiny Megatron keep Giant Treacherous Starscream in check?  There must be a story there.

Well, I guess, too bad.  BotCon 2013's toy set went off in a completely different direction entirely.  Megaplex is no longer a decoy, he's a clone, and so he doesn't look anything like Megatron anymore.  In fact, everyone's clones.  Skywarp and Thundercracker and Starscream are also all clones.  The entirety of last year's magazine comics were also about repurposing toys from the Nineties as clones of the guys they have the names of, rather than being the real guys themselves.  It was annoying last year and it's annoying now.  And Starscream's now shorter than his Megatron, aka Megaplex, the clone of Megatron.  There's not much here that resembles Machine Wars to me any more, at least not the parts I found memorable.

And my love for Machine Wars is pretty nil enough already to have what slivers of stuff I found remarkable about it be ignored.  Excitement level... pretty low.

So, uh, hey, here's your normal-sized Starscream who's not really Starscream, or whatevs.

*half-hearted thumbs up, forced smile*
Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:02 pm
Starscream is one of the entirely new molds in this wave of Fall of Cybertron toys.  He's probably one of the most anticipated of the line, as his absence from the War for Cybertron toyline a few years back caused much despair.  But hey,  everyone's favorite scientist-turned-Seeker-commander is here now.

I am going to blow your mind here:  Starscream's cockpit turns into his chest, there's wings on his back, and his legs turn into the rear thrusters.  Oh, hey, and did I mention that he's got arm-mounted cannons?  Yeah, I know.  Hard to believe.  I'd note how weakly his head hides along the top of the fuselage in jet mode is an innovation, but I think Armada Starscream was the first to debut that technology.  Remember to rotate his head backwards!  That's how you make a face not be there.

Sarcasm aside, he is a pretty solid toy.  He's wide and chunky and nothing in his transformation is annoying.  Having no surprises is sometimes its own reward.  This transformation style was figured out loooong ago, in the days of yore.  And he doesn't have to look like a real jet, so the robot mode can be executed more strongly.

Starscream's arm cannons can combine into a single double-barreled weapon.  When the two cannons peg together, their gearing interlocks so that when you rotate one set of barrels, the other set rotates as well.  When combined, the weapon looks like the Neutron Assault Rifle from Fall of Cybertron.

While this Starscream is primarily the same dude as Prime Starscream (you can tell because ... uh... both their feet are four-pronged thruster heels?), the design is also repurposed as normal ol' G1 Starscream in the current comic books.  It's peacetime in these stories, so you gotta lose the arm cannons.  Further cementing the G1 connection is the black helmeted head, which Starscream has in the comic books; Fall of Cybertron Starscream's helmet is painted blue.
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