TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)
Ever the usurper, Starscream is quite a culturally relevant entry in the Transformers franchise. Not only is he himself well-known, even to more moderate fans, but the role he fulfills has become a fixture of virtually every incarnation, even when he himself isn’t included. And, after just getting a classically inspired release during last year’s Power of the Primes, Starscream’s back again for Siege.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Starscream is the other half of the second wave of Voyager Class War For Cybertron: Siege figures. He joins Soundwave in making this particular assortment a completely Decepticon one, which seems reasonable enough, given the Deluxe assortment was all Autobots. In his robot mode, Starscream stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 workable points of articulation. This figure sports perhaps the best posability I’ve seen yet on one of these guys, allowing for a lot of real expressiveness with him. Honestly, that’s probably the greatest thing you can offer in a Starscream figure, given just how over-the-top the character is usually portrayed as being. Moving past that, Starscream is sporting a new sculpt, which is already slated for re-use as Thundercracker in Voyager Wave 3, as well as a Skywarp figure somewhere along the way. If you’re going to re-use a sculpt, you’d hope it would at least be a good one, and fortunately, that’s very definitely the case. This new Starscream has a sharp, angular, and very modern-looking take on his classic design. Like Soundwave, he maintains all of the most important elements of his classic appearance, but injects some more modern day levels of detailing into it. Also like Soundwave, he keeps some left-over elements of his old alt-mode, specifically the old cockpit on his torso, which doesn’t actually have anywhere to go on his new figure. To be fair, though, he’d hardly look like a proper Starscream without it. Unlike a lot of Transformers, Starscream and his fellow Seekers actually have established Cybertronian alt-modes in the old cartoon, which means that this figure doesn’t have to do quite as much as some of the others in the line to come up with one. He turns into a Tetrajet, as he did in the Cybertron sections of the cartoon, though this particular design appears to be heavily influenced by the Colonial Vipers from Battlestar Galactica. It’s a cool ship design, so I definitely can’t complain. Heck, I’m not even going to to complain about the fact that his legs are just hanging off the bottom when he’s transformed, because, quite frankly, that’s not uncommon for Starscream figures, and it’s not overly visible when the ship is just sitting there. What I *can* complain about, though, is the process by which you arrive at the alt-mode. Quite frankly, it’s the most frustrating transformation process I’ve dealt with since I started collecting. Essentially, the actual Tetrajet appearance is just a shell that drops over the figure proper, who has to be folded up just right in order to fit in that shell. The trouble is, that getting him folded up to fit within the shell is really not easy, and my figure seemed to be fighting me every step of the way, and I’m still not actually sure I got him transformed completely correctly. Additionally, while going through the transformation process, there’s a running flaw in the figure’s design that reveals itself. The front of his torso is designed to swing upward during transformation, but it is only held in place by tension pegs. This means that the first time you go to transform him, the plate’s going to pop out of place, and it’s pretty much never going to stay properly seated again after that point. There really should have been metal pins holding that piece in place. Starscream includes two “HPI Null-Ray Laser Launchers,” which are the arm mounted guns he’s sporting. While they’re officially supposed to plug into the upper arms, the 5mm pegs allow you to also plug them into the forearms, which I think looks a lot better.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I knew I wanted Soundwave from the get-go, but wasn’t immediately sold on Starscream. It’s not that I don’t like the character (quite the contrary), but I just wasn’t sure how far into this line I wanted to go. By the time he actually started showing up, any pretense of skipping this line had been dropped, and there was no way I was missing a Starscream. In hand, the figure perplexes me. The robot mode is absolutely fantastic, and one of the best in the line. The posablility and general appearance of the character just really work. However, the transformation is frustrating, and the end result was ultimately unsatisfying. And then, even if you just leave him in robot mode, there’s that chest plate issue, which will continue to plague him in both forms. There have been rumors of a running change to add a pin, but so far there’s no evidence that they’re anything but rumors. Of course, none of that’s going to help those of us that already have him.
Starscream was picked up from my friends at All Time Toys, and can be purchased here. If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.