Dark of the Moon Activators Starscream Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Activators, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Revenge of the Fallen, Robo Power, Seeker

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: May 2011
Price Point: $7.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images and text in italics below from The Official Transformers Web Site:
STARSCREAM is no coward. He’s just careful. He would always prefer to retreat in the face of defeat than stand and be destroyed. He has survived as long as he has because he’s willing to run away when he knows he’s beaten. Still, that doesn’t stop him from blasting the AUTOBOTS every chance he gets.

Spring into action with this easy-conversion vehicle-to-robot villain! With just one click of a button, this fearsome STARSCREAM figure changes from F-22 Raptor jet vehicle mode to battle-ready robot mode. Click the button again to convert him back to vehicle mode so he can chase down his enemies. As the battle rages on, keep clicking to convert him back and forth - and face whatever his enemies throw at him! Easy, button-activated conversion! Ages 4 and up.

For years now, Hasbro has worked hard to introduce Transformers to kids at younger ages. Part of this involves releasing Transformers that have simplistic transformations and have few to no accessories, making them an easy to understand, single package of fun. The term "Activators" has been used in the Transformers line before. Originally these were from Transformers Animated, representing simplified, but show accurate versions of the characters. This line is different however, representing a much more simplified transformation scheme and much more squat and cute looking versions of the characters they represent.

Even cute sub-lines of Transformers have to have Decepticons, and this line does so by introducing a new interpretaiton of Starscream, the second in command of the Decepticon forces.

Vehicle Mode:
Starscream's F-22 Raptor vehicle mode is normally a very fierce, sleek looking piece of military hardware. In Activators form, it looks like a super cute vehicle that maybe little kids would ride in at Toys R Us. The basic shape of the Raptor is intact, with a nosecond that comes to a sharp point in the front, wings that flatten at the outer edges and horizontal stabilizers with a distinctive five sided shape. However, the proportions of everything are all condensed, to the point where the nosecone is actually moved back a bit. The back section has an extra section that is the key to the Activator transformation. This section looks a bit like two robot feet fused together. I'm not quite sure what they were going for here but it looks mechanical.

While the overall shape of the figure is a warped version of the real life Raptor, a lot of the details sculpted into the surface of the jet come right from that vehicle's design. From the front to the back of the vehicle are jagged rows of lines running in horizontal patterns. Additional details can be seen on the underside of the jet where there are tubes andthruster nozzles. It's a nice bit of sculpting for what is meant to be a super simplified version of the character.

Starscream is cast in silver and metallic brown plastic. The silver makes up most of the vehicle as you'd expect. The metallic brown plastic comes into play more in the robot mode but here you'll seit represented as the small wheels that the vehicle can roll on. Paint applications are done up in gold, red and black. Gold is used for the cockpit while black paints the Cybertronian glyphs that cover the top of the vehicle, down to the Decepticon symbol on his right wing. The rear "Activators" piece is painted a dark red color, perhaps to make it resemble energy coming out the back and propelling the vehicle. Overall the paint job works well with the sculpt to make a weird, but amusing version of the Decepticon Air Commander.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Hold the figure on the sides (near the wheels) and press the red piece down on a hard, stable surface. This takes care of most of the transformation.
  2. Swing the wings up to reveal the claws.
  3. Repositon the arms and press the figure again in the same manner to reverse the transformation.

Robot Mode:
In contrast to the very cute and exaggerated sculpt of the vehicle mode, the robot mode really tries to bring out a lot of the complex detailing of the CGI model. It also doesn't attempt to make Starscream look "cute" at all, at least in the head and torso sculpt. The head is very much the insectoid design we have come to know including the mean looking eyes and mandibles. His chest has an angled and layered design with tubes and wires sculpted into it, hinting at the machinery underneath. The legs have the "toes" from his CGI model though here they are positioned more like traditional Transformers legs than the "chicken walker" look he sports in the films. Perhaps the only "cute" part of this design are the arms, made up of the vehicle mode's halves. The parts made up of the nosecone halves can move up and down, then then you can move the wings for additional arm movement. It looks a bit odd, I admit, but at least he has just as much functionality as the Activator versions of Bumblebee and Optimus Prime in that regard.

Starscream shows mostly silver plastic in this mode, but if you look underneath the vehicle mode halves you'll see dark gold plastic used for his arm joints. Gold, black, red and purple paint are used for detailing. Gold is found on his legs and torso with purple found on the chest as a Decepticon symbol. His eyes are a nice combination of a black background with red pupils. It's a nice paint job overall considering the relative simplicity of the figure's overall design.

There are four points of articulation for Starscream in this mode, all located in the arms. His arms can swing up and down and so can his claws.

Final Thoughts:
This line of Activators differs quite a bit from their predecessors so recommending this figure isn't the same as say, recommending the Activators from Animated but for what it is I do like its simplicity. It is definitely cool for younger kids who are not yet ready for more complex transformations, but older fans will probably shy away from this iteration of the Decepticon Air Commander. Recommended but for a very specific (read: younger) audience.