"Generations" War for Cybertron: Siege Starscream Toy Review

in 2019, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Generations, Seeker, Voyager, War for Cybertron: Siege

Generations

War for Cybertron: Siege

General Information:
Release Date: March 2019
Price Point: $29.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Null Rays x 2

Starscream

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:

  • Build the ultimate battlefield: discover an expansive ecosystem of collectible figures and weapon accessories with Siege figures. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability).
  • Customizable weapon load out: starscream figure comes equipped with 2 weapon accessories. Figure features multiple weapon ports to attach weapons, enabling custom weapon configurations in Bot and vehicle modes.
  • Expandable weapon selection: fans can build bigger mission loadouts by compiling an arsenal of additional weapon accessories from other Siege figures. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability).
  • Inspired Cybertronian Alt Mode: This articulated Voyager class wfc-s24 stars cream toy features classic conversion between robot and Cybertronian jet modes in 22 steps.
  • Add battle effects: attach fire blasts accessories (not included. Included with battle Masters figures. Each sold separately. Subject to availability) to the ends of weapon accessories to simulate blaster fire coming from weapons.

Build the ultimate battlefield with Transformers war for Cybertron: siege figures. Siege plunges fans into the epic fight to survive on the final day of the Autobots and Deception battle to control Cybertron. The Deception resistance army and the Autobus counter-resistance fighters gear up with the C.O.M.B.A.T. (Cybertronian omnifuctional modular battlefield assault Tech) system, the universe's most advanced modular weaponry -- including the tactical deception army Captain and air commander, Starscream.

In 2018 the "Power of the Primes" line finished off the "Prime Wars Trilogy" which had begun with "Combiner Wars". To kick off a whole new G1 inspired series of "Generations" figures, a new line known as "War for Cybertron: Siege" started in late 2018 (with a planned wide release in 2019). The traditional Voyager Class of figures continues in "Siege". "Siege" deals with the war on Cybertron before the Transformers leave their home planet. The first wave of "Siege" sold fairly well and took a couple months before the figures were (relatively) easy to obtain. Once March of 2019 rolled around, the second wave of figures began to hit stores including a new Voyager Class Starscream.

Packaging:
Hasbro and Takara Tomy really stepped up their game for the "Siege" packaging. This window box is no longer the rectangular shape of previous Voyager Class figures. Instead, it is rectangular on one side and then the left side features an angled section that sweeps backward. The middle features a large window with the figure in robot mode. Set vertically over the figure is a chevron with his name, rank symbol and alpha numeric designation. Under that is the large "War for Cybertron: Siege" symbol which looks gritty and striking. The Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side with the "Generations" and Takara Tomy logos above it. The angled section on the box shows off Optimus Prime's package art while the other features what looks like a poster for "Siege" including the Ark blasting off into space.

The back of the box shows the figure in both modes, indicating a twenty two step transformation. It also shows Starscream using Battle Masters and their Fire Blast effects.

There is a fun, hidden feature on the side of the box. Shine a Black Light there and you will see Cybertronian glyphs. These glyphs can then be entered into Hasbro's "Teletraan-1" web site. Starscream's glyphs translate into "Nullray", the name of his signature arm-mounted weapons. However, upon entering "Nullray" into the site mentions accessing "Database Content" but then says the file is not yet accessible and to come back in April 2019. This is likely due to this figure's "street date" being April 1, 2019 despite Walmart putting out the figures early in significant numbers.

Accessories:
Starscream includes two "HPI Null-Ray Laser Launchers". These are loosely based on the iconic weapons usually seen mounted on his arms in animation and comic books. However, the design of the Null-Rays winds up looking more like a flat rifle, complete with a targeting scope on top. That said, the front and back ends of the Null-Rays do recall the designs from the G1 cartoon (and other media) so the design lineage of the Null-Ray is present even if a bulk of the weapon design is new. The Null-Rays each have an attachment point for Blast Effects on the front and back.

These weapons are cast in grey plastic with no paint applications. Each weapon features a 5mm port and an attachment point at the end for attaching Fire Blasts effect pieces included with Battle Master figures. Personally, I would have preferred Null Rays that better reflected the look of the original Seeker weapons from the toy or cartoon, but they are really nicely sculpted with tons of detail.

Robot Mode:
In the very first episode of Generation One, we were introduced to several key Transformers characters on Cybertron. The setting was millions of years in the past, and characters were shown transforming into Cybertronian vehicles, but here's the catch: their robot modes were drawn as if they already had Earth-based alternate modes (that would not exist for 4 million years or so). The result was an anachronism that most fans just came to accept as one (of many) weird visual glitches in the Generation One cartoon.

When the time came to design Starscream's "Siege" figure, the designers wanted to give him a vehicle mode inspired by the "Tetra Jets" the Seekers transformed into in G1. At the same time however, they wanted to remain accurate to the look of the Seekers in the first episode, Earth-jet parts and all. The result is perhaps the most "G1" looking Starscream Hasbro has released in a while. Recent versions of the character such as "Power of the Primes" and "Authentics" Starscream all have more modern designs that are a bit more IDW Publishing inspired versus the G1 animation model. They feature lots of angled lines and super sleek design elements. In heavy contrast, this Starscream is much more blocky. His arms, torso and legs are basically a bunch of rectangles and squares stacked on top of one another. Sure there are some sleek parts such as the wingso n the back and the pylons that flank the head, but overall there is something very "80's" looking about the design.

Aside from his overall blockiness (which should not be confused with "chunkiness") there are some other key details inspired by the G1 Seeker model:

  • The head uses the Seeker design as its foundation, featuring a crest flanked by two rectangular sections, "vents" on the sides of the head and a face with two eyes, a nose and mouth.
  • The head is flanked by two pylons.
  • The weapons mount onto the arms.
  • The torso features a faux "cockpit cover" in the middle.
  • The knee armor is rectangular in shape with a smaller rectangle inside - a detail inspired by G1 Starscream's stickers.
  • The front of the lower legs feature trapezoid-shaped details that were thrusters on the original figure.
  • The back features wings with points sticking up on the ends.

This G1-esque design is sure to please some classic Transformers fans, but in keeping with the early "Siege" aesthetic, Hasbro and Takara Tomy decided to kick things up a notch when it came to small details. Almost every inch of this figure is covered in mechanical greebles. You'll see this everywhere from the shoulders to the torso to the legs and even a little bit on the head! The look certainly catches the eye and to this G1 fan, it reminds me a lot of how Starscream looked when he absorbed the power of the Underbase in the G1 Marvel comic book. In many repects, this sculpt represents the extreme of the usage of greebles in "Siege". Other figures such as Sideswipe do not have nearly as many details etched into them. Personally I think it looks great. It is different than most Seeker sculpts released before and I think the greebles do make the figure look more complex and interesting. Others may find it too "busy". Your mileage will vary.

Starscream is cast in grey, red, blue and black plastic. Smaller bits are cast in gunmetal grey, translucent red and translucent orange. These are classic Starscream colors and they are laid out accordingly. Grey makes up most of the body with red on the pylons and torso. The forearms, fists and the feet are blue. The head is black with translucent red light piping on the back. The middle of the chest features translucent orange for the faux cockpit cover. Gunmetal grey can be seen on some of the joints, the heels and the thrusters behind the head. From a base color standpoint the figure looks great.

The paint colors on this figure include red, blue, grey, silver and gunmetal grey. The red is seen on the wings. The blue paint is used on the lower legs. Meanwhile, the grey is used to paint in details on the "cockpit cover" on the torso. The colors that make the biggest splash are the silver and gunmetal grey. Both are primarily used for the infamous "battle damage" that is the signature deco of the "Siege" toy line. You'll mainly see the battle damage deco on the legs and arms. There is also a tiny bit on the torso. I am glad to see the battle damage deco was spread out on the figure. It helps it look more realistic than say, just having it on the legs or arms. The silver and gunmetal are also used on other parts. For instance, the face has silver and the turbines in his chest are gunmetal grey. The finishing touch are two tiny, purple Decepticon symbols on the wings. Overall, the deco looks great.

There are twenty six points of articulation on this figure. This includes six on each arm and leg and even waist articulation! Due to the way most Seeker sculpts are constructed, it is not common for Seekers to have waist articulation so I was very surprised by this. I was also very happy to see just how tight the various articulation points are. Not one joint is floppy. The figure feels solid.

Starscream has thirteen 5mm ports in this mode. Each arm has three (including the fists), each wing has one, the thrusters on the back count as three and the others are on the sides of the lower legs. This allows you to attach a lot of accessories to the figure. Even better, each port is nice and tight so weapons don't go flopping around. Starscream also features several smaller attachment points for Blast Effects (included with Battle Master figures). You will find these on the left shoulder, the forearms and the lower legs. Attach the Blast Effects and it looks like Starscream is getting hit with weapon blasts. It is a very cool way to display the figure, however at the same time the pegs do not ruin the aesthetic of the figure if you do not have Blast Effects attached. One more bit of functionality is a small port on the bottom of the crotch area. This is for use with display stands (typically made by Bandai) for display.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the lower part of each forearm out to the sides.
  4. Rotate the fists in, then swing the forearm panel back in place.
  5. Push the forearms up against the shoulders.
  6. Holding the wings and pylons, gently pull that entire section back. This will reveal tabs on the back of the figure.
  7. Rotate the lower body around.
  8. Swing the pylons down and clip them together to form part of the vehicle's nosecone.
  9. Swing the torso panel up.
  10. Swing the robot head back. The gunmetal grey panel it sits on should go through the slot and the edge should show where the robot chest was located.
  11. Swing the arms forward at the shoulder hinges.
  12. Swing the thrusters from the back of the robot mode up, then back.
  13. Swing the robot legs back, partially covering the thighs with the back of the lower legs.
  14. Swing the robot arms down. Rotate the forearm sections so the slots on them snap into the tabs on the sides of the legs.
  15. Swing the wings down. Tab them under the back of the nosecone section (near where the robot knees are located).
  16. Swing the torso panel up, pushing it into the tabs on the back.
  17. Attach the Null Rays to the 5mm ports on the bottom of the wings.

Note: When you raise the chest panel to cover the back of the vehicle, it has a tendency to pop off. It snaps back on via a friction joint, but according to a post on TFW2005 there might be a running change in the future where a pin was inserted instead. Only one sample has been reported online so far, so take this with a grain of salt until more pop up.

Vehicle Mode:
In the first episode of Generation One, fans saw the Seekers transform into alien jets with four distinct "points", two on the sides, one in front and one on top. In the years that followed, fans would come to call these the "Tetrajet" modes. Of course, in animation you can easily "cheat" the transformation so the Seekers basically "squished" and the "Tetrajet" shell formed around them seemingly out of nowhere.

Of course, in real life the parts have to go somewhere on a Transformers figure. On this figure this means that the robot legs are pretty obvious in this mode, despite some good efforts to cover them up. Bits of the arms also stick out from under the wings depending on what angles you look at. That said, the ship still looks cool. Instead of being a slavish recreation of the "Tetrajet" design, this design takes aspects of it such as having four "points" (the nosecone, the wings and the top) while squaring things off a bit on the nosecone section and the top. The result looks a lot like a Colonial Viper from "Battlestar Galactica". The nosecone and cockpit sections are the ones that remind me the most of the Viper. I like this combination of influences even if it is not 100% "cartoon accurate".

While the robot mode kind of goes into "greeble overdrive" design-wise, this mode is a bit more toned down. There are distinct panels running along the length of the vehicle mode, with the biggest concentration of raised details on the sides near the wings. There is a distinct cockpit section in the middle and three thrusters in the back. Unfortunately, the panel that forms the robot chest winds up on the back so it just kind of sticks out there. There are ways the designers could have made this look a bit less obvious, but it would have likely increased the complexity and cost of producing the figure. That said, the chest turbines look like extra thrusters and the thrusters from the feet help bolster the look of Starscream being an extra powerful jet.

This mode mostly shows off grey panels with bits of blue and red plastic from under the wings and the back. Translucent orange is used for the cockpit section. Blue paint is used on the nosecone tip. Red is used on the edges of the wing sections. Grey paint is used to fill in detail around the cockpit, on the front of each wing. Gunmetal grey paint is used to paint the thrusters in the back. It is also used for a significant amount of battle damage that runs from the front all the way back to the rear of the vehicle. Since the chest panel also had some "battle damage" on it, it adds some more to the back of the vehicle. The finishing touches are purple Decepticon symbols on each wing. Overall I really like the deco in this mode. For many years Transformers vehicle mode decos were being neglected, with entire sections of a figure left unpainted. This shows a clear effort to move in the other direction and I really appreciate that.

There are four 5mm ports on the underside of the jet, but you really cannot use all four at a time because of the position they are in. I prefer to use the ones under the wings instead of the arms. Meanwhile, there are five attachment points in the back for Blast Effects. There are the three thrusters on the top section and the thrusters formed from the robot feet. If you have the Null-Rays attached, you can utilize their attachment points for the Blast Effects, adding even more "thruster power" in the back and making it look like he is firing his weapons at the same time.

Final Thoughts:
Starscream is a fantastic figure, but he is also a somewhat polarizing one. Some will like all the greebles all over his robot mode, other fans may balk at them. Some fans will be cool with the "Colonial Viper" vehicle form, while others will insist that the "Tetrajet" should have four pointy ends. Personally, I really like the look of both modes. This Starscream is appropriately sleek (unlike "Power of the Primes" Starscream) and his scale makes more sense than the Leader Class figure from "Combiner Wars". My only reservation is the chest panel showing prominently in the back of the vehicle mode. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Fantastic sculpt.
  • Excellent deco.
  • Lots of play value and articulation.
  • Intuitive transformation.

Cons:

  • Extra "greebles" may bother some fans.
  • The chest mode panel in robot mode in the back of the vehicle mode will definitely bother some fans.