Energon Toy Reviews: Starscream

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: December 2003
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Gun, Sword, Missiles x 2

Images:

Starscream was one of the more interesting characters to come out of Armada. His cartoon characterization was one of the highlights of the series, and it is great to see the character will continue on into Energon. While the show has not yet been released, it was mentioned at OTFCC 2003 that Starscream would possibly be a "ghost" of the character who met his end in Armada. Until the show is released, we may not know, but what we do have here is one neat toy.

Vehicle Mode:
When the prototype pictures of Starscream popped up on the internet, there was an almost collective gasp from fandom as it found something extremely familiar about the design. That's when people suddenly realized they had seen this design for (what was then) a recent Target exclusive: Smokejumper, who himself was a third generation redeco from G2 Smokescreen and Beast Wars
the Second
Starscream.

However, cooler heads took a look and realized that while the designers were using the transformation scheme of Smokejumper, the parts on Energon Starscream were actually all new parts. However, the controversy continued. Well, now that I have him and G2 Smokescreen in front of me, I can honestly say that Starscream is not a retool or a redeco, he is a new toy which simply uses the same transformation scheme as G2 Smokescreen.

Starscream is a jet in vehicle mode. He's actually a bit bigger and bulkier than Smokejumper, which is a good thing considering he is a deluxe price point toy. His color scheme almost seems like it is meant to hark back to both the original and Armada Starscreams, but in darker tones. The overall color is dark gray. The sculpted details such as V lines and ports are brought out with a silver wash, offering a really nice looking contrast. A really cool detail on the right side, towards the rear is some cracks and damage sculpted into the thruster. This is painted with a silver wash that really emphasizes the damaged points.

The wings are made of a translucent green plastic, which I have heard is intended to indicate parts that have been reconstituted on his damaged form by using Energon. Dark gray is used to paint over most of the middle section of each wing, and purple is used to paint the sculpted Decepticon symbols. On the left wing, there is a spot of what looks like "battle damage" painted a brighter green that looks almost like a circuit board pattern. More evidence of "battle damage" can be found on the front part of the jet where the right half looks like its armor plating has been stripped off, revealing machinery underneath while the left side looks like it still has its armor covering, showing smoother, more uniform surface. A really nice touch.

Metallic red paint is used for many details on the figure. The wings have a trim near the edges in red (reminscent of past Starscreams) and the areas around the cockpit are red as well. On the lower part of the jet you'll find fins with red detailing as well.

There are two weapons included with Starscream. One is a large gun, the other a sword. Both are cast in the same dark, translucent green as the rest of Starscream, which is quite a contrast to the brighter green of the weapons on Battle Ravage, perhaps indicating different methods/origins for Starscream's manipulation of Energon. The sword is a nice touch as it is a reminder of one of the weapons Starscream carried in Armada. The sword has a nice silver painted edge to give it a metallic appearance on one side. The sword has two handles/pegs and two holes. The gun has one peg, one regular hole and a Powerlinx point that you can attach to a Mini-Con Powerlinx peg. Each weapon can be put on the Powerlinx peg on the underside of Starscream's wings. You can also Powerlink Mini-Cons there since those are Mini-Con pegs.

Starscream's wings can be folded out to the sides for an "attack mode" of sorts. When you do this, you reveal the triggers to the missile launchers. You can also attach his weapons to the space between the wings themselves and the central body of the jet. Since the wings are on hinges, you can even move them up and down to aim the missile. Pop on a couple Mini-Cons on the wings too for added power!

Another fine, and much appreciated detail is inside the cockpit. Instead of just putting an opaque piece of plastic there, the cockpit cover is translucent so you can see inside. What greets you there is a chair with a control panel in front of it, a fine little detail to add in. Another nice detail is the landing gear, which comes out from under the nosecone and the robot legs. They all fold in unobtrusively so they don't get in the way at all or look awkward.

Starscream's vehicle mode looks great and is full of detailing. Its deco hints at previous incarnations of Starscream, but manages to define a look
all its own.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the gun and sword if attached.
  2. Swing down the robot leg piece so they and the waist piece rest up against the cockpit section.
  3. Rotate the fins on the robot legs around.
  4. Fold the front and back pieces of the robot feet out, and then twist the lower legs around so the fins and foot pieces point forward.
  5. Rotate the rear half of the jet around.
  6. Swing each robot arm out to the side.
  7. Straighten out each robot arm and flip the fins on them so they point to the sides.
  8. Fold the main body of the jet up and down, the red, rectangular sections with the gold circles should wind up on the back on either side of Starscream's head.
  9. Attach weapons as desired.

Robot Mode:
Starscream's robot mode is much sleeker than his previous incarnation. Without half of the top of a jet hanging off his back, this form is much less bulky. For those who still believe Starscream to be nothing more than a retool of the G2 Smokescreen/Smokejumper/BW2 Starscream mold, looking at the robot mode should put this thought to rest. Here are some of the points you can look at (among many):

  • Starscream is taller and a tiny bit wider than G2 Smokescreen and gang.
  • Though the transformation scheme is, in essence, the same, the entire wing structure is new. This was necessary to allow the weapons to attach in various ways.
  • Individual pieces such as the shoulders and legs have significantly different details than G2 Smokescreen and gang.

While Starscream is a unique mold, fans of the War Within comic series will be happy to hear that the designers took some design cues from that series. There are two primary "War Within" inspired design elements. 1) If you look at the two red, rectangular parts behind his shoulders, you'll see each has three gold missile tubes inside. War Within Starscream had missiles there as well. 2) On the shoulders you'll find two triangular, red designs. War Within Starscream also had these details.

Starscream's sculpt looks really nice in this form. The head uses the "standard Starscream head" (crest in center, with two on the sides, vents on the sides of the head etc.), but adds a couple layers of detail too it. Interestingly enough, while the head is not a retool (the shape is just too different than G2 Smokescreen's), it does have on similar feature, two tiny tube like protrusions on either side of the lower jaw. Starscream employs a feature that was rather common years ago in Transformers. The eyes and the back of his head are made of translucent green plastic, allowing for a light piping effect.

The Decepticon Spark Crystal winds up center on the chest here. For those curious, any Energon Chip from the basic sized toys will fit over it. The shoulder armor on Starscream his rather wide and high, giving Starscream a powerful appearance. What's really neat is that his right shoulder and upper arm pieces are molded in translucent green plastic, along with the bright green circuit board pattern painted on. This seems to indicate another body part Starscream has had to create from Energon.

Starscream's weapons can be handled in a few ways for this form:

  • The sword can plug into the gun barrel to form a super large sword.
  • He can hold each weapon in his fists.
  • The weapons can connect together and still be held as a hand held weapon.
  • You can fold the wings on his back forward to reveal holes for the weapon pegs under the wings. You can angle the wings to "aim" the weapons.

I love the fact that you have only two weapons which can be used in so many ways. It really boosts play value and the "cool factor" at the same time. Obviously this time around, Starscream is one guy you don't want to tangle with!

Starscream has fifteen points of articulation in this mode. Each arm has four points and each leg has three. It really seems that articulation has become a large part of the Energon line, as few figures have less than ten points of articulation in robot mode. It's good to see Starscream is no exception.

He looks cool, he's fun and he has a potentially interesting storyline that manifests itself in the toy. All these factors make Starscream one of the must have Transformers of the year. Highly recommended.