Dark of the Moon Deluxe Starscream Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Deluxe, MechTech, Movie (2007)

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: April 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Null rays/blade weapons x 2

Images:

While the Cyberverse makes up a smaller scale of figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, the size class most fans are used to returns with "Mech Tech" technology. The generaly concept behind "Mech Tech" are weapons that transform from one type of weapon to another. These have standard peg sizes that allow the weapons to be swapped between figures. One of the first figures in the deluxe class of Mech Tech Transformers is Starscream. While Starscream has taken many forms including a Voyager and Legends Class figure, this is the first time this iteration of the character has been done in deluxe form with an F-22 Raptor vehicle mode.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. I will make one general statement that will probably be replicated throughout several of the first (and possibly second) wave of deluxe figure releases regarding the Mech Tech weapons: they cannot stay in their "transformed" state without being held in place. Most Mech Tech weapons are spring activated, and when you release the switch that transforms them, the weapons automatically revert back to their previous form. This is important to note as the packaging clearly shows the weapons can maintain their alternative forms with no mention of requiring support (this could change). Is

Is this disappointing? Absolutely. However, it must be stressed that this seems to only apply to the deluxe wave one so far. Larger figures do have weapons that can "stay" transformed and who knows? A future deluxe wave may have figures that can stay in their alternate form. Also please note that in my photos, I had to use various tricks to make the weapon stay in its alternate form (including liberal use of paper and paper clips to keep them in place).

Starscream's weapons are sort of an exception to the rule. I stress "sort of". Each of his weapons is basically a roughly oval weapons pod with a barrel at one end and a blade at the other. The weapons are not clones of each other. One has an oval tube with a machine gun barrel at the end and a smaller tube attached with a blade sticking out the back. The other weapon is larger, with a targeting scope and a smaller blade on one side and a gun barrel at the end. If you push the barrel on this weapon to the side, the blade and the base of the weapon extend out on two hinged arms. On its own, this weapon does not stay in place. However, if you connect the other weapon to this one, the blade then stays in place, forming a double bladed staff weapon. It's a very cool weapon and one of my favorites among the first wave of Mech Tech weapons. I also dig that they're called his "Null ray" weapons even though they look a lot more like machine guns.

The sculpting on the weapons is very well done. I'm particularly fond of the patterns on the blades, which have an angled line pattern with patterns on top including Cybertronian glyphs. The weapon base/handles also have some cool detailing including circles and raised, curved lines.

The weapons are cast in brown and grey plastic, with brown being the dominant color. The blades are painted silver, as is the end of the smaller weapon. These colors look great on the weapons, and match up with Starscream's colors very well.

Vehicle Mode:
In "Dark of the Moon" Starscream retains the same form and design of his "Revenge of the Fallen" self. Transforming into a sleek F-22 Raptor fighter jet, Starscream is one of the characters in the movie universe who has not traded up his alternate form for a different one since the first movie. Indeed, he even enhanced it in "Revenge of the Fallen" with a complex set of Cybertronian glyphs painted onto his body. These are most noticable in this mode, where what could have been a fairly boring figure becomes very visually dynamic thanks to the complex set of jagged lines and patterns on the top of the vehicle mode. He also retains a lot of the details fans have become used to seeing on a Movie Starscream figure including jagged line designs (a staple of the F-22 Raptor design) and a cockpit with a seat and control area sculpted inside.

Starscream is cast in light grey, brown and dark grey plastic. Most of the body is light grey, with brown and dark grey used for smaller parts such as his landing gear. The cockpit cover is cast in translucent yellow plastic, giving you a nice view into the cockpit. Black paint is the primary color see in this form as, you guessed it, the glyph patterns including a Decepticon symbol on the right wing. Not much of a disguise, but definitely visually striking!

There are three landing gear pieces on the underside of the jet. Two swing out to the sides in the back and the other is located under the nosecone section. You can attach weapons to the underside of each wing as well as each horizontal stabilizer, although he looks a bit odd if you do so. You'll also see additional holes very close to each other in the middle of the jet's underside. If you have enough Mech Tech weapons, it's not hard to load Starscream up to a fairly ridiculous degree with firepower. I also give this high marks as one of the few times in Transformers history the undercarriage junk of a jet mode actually helps hold weaponry!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons if attached.
  2. Flatten the vertical stabilizers on the top of the jet.
  3. Swing the back panel of the jet up.
  4. Take the rear sections with the rear landing gear on them and swing them out.
  5. Straighten out the robot feet for now.
  6. On the waist panel (middle, towards the back of the vehicle's underside) swing down the grey panel.
  7. On the forward section, swing up the grey panel right behind the front landing gear.
  8. Swing the robot arm sections out to the sides and extend out the hands.
  9. Swing the panel behind the cockpit up.
  10. Swing the front of the vehicle down so the nosecone winds up in the brown lower body piece.
  11. Swing up the grey panel over the nosecone.
  12. Swing the wings from the vehicle mode up, then swing the panels on them to form the sides.
  13. Connect the rear panel from step three to the wings.
  14. You can angle the lower legs and toes to form the "chicken walker" look.
  15. The weapons can attach to his arms or the holes on his back.

Robot Mode:
Between the last two feature films, we've seen Starscream in toy form in several iterations from a Legends Class to a Voyager and even Leader Class. The transformation scheme for this deluxe is a really impressive one. The way the various parts move and come together is really stunning and a bit challenging, something I really appreciate when a new toy is being made of a character that already has several toy incarnations.

In his robot mode, Starscream retains the design fans have become familiar with over the past few years. His upper body is roughly triangular in shape, with wing sections on his back, thin and long arms with clawed hands and "chicken walker" style legs. This version of the character looks super sleek in this form.

Starscream is full of sculpted detail, and rather intricate detail at that. The standard ones are there such as his claws, wires on his forearms and the mandibles on his head. However, there are additional details I had not anticipated. One is found on the panel that forms the inside of his back piece. When transforming the figure, look at that part before you swing down the nosecone to cover it. It has details that resemble a spine complete with wires coming out of it. That's cool (and a bit gross) all at the same time. Look at his back panel and you'll see lots of detail that looks vaguely techno-organic as well. The sculptors really did a bang up job on this figure.

The same primary plastic colors from the vehicle mode are used for the robot mode. While light grey is still the primary color, the brown and dark grey colors are more heavily featured. The dark grey is found on his chest, arms and legs while the brown makes up most of his hip area. The black painted glyphs are still quite visible here including some newly revealed glyphs on his thighs. Other paint details are done in silver, red, gold, grey and metallic blue. While that's a lot of variety, the colors are all used very sparingly. The grey paint is used on the forearms to give them some contrast. The silver, metallic blue and red are found on the robot head. The gold is used for a small patch above the cockpit cover on his chest. However, several small details on the same figure add up to a very detailed looking toy, and Starscream fits right in with this statement. Deco wise he looks fantastic.

This figure has twenty one points of articulation including five in each arm and leg. What surprised me is how stable the ball joints on his arms were. The arm pieces are rather thin, and I thought the weight of the weapons on them would drag them down but they stay up just fine for posing. As mentioned earlier, you can attach the weapons to Starscream's arms or combine them into their double bladed weapon form and attach again. I also like using his back panel holes as weapons storage. Theoretically you can attach weapons to the holes on the panels under his arms, but they would be a bit awkward in terms of where to put the arms.

Final Thoughts:
I always like it when characters are offered in various scales, and Starscream is a great example of what can result from a character being made in a different scale than his previous releases. Starscream looks great in both modes, has a really fun transformation and has weapons that can actually "locK" in place if combined. There's a lot to love here and that makes him highly recommended!