Cliffbee.com: Pretender Starscream Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Starscream
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Aerospace Commander
Alternate Mode: F-15 Eagle Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 13cm Width: 10cm

   A grey and blue F-15 fighter with a black canopy, Starscream is mainly grey with blue from the back of his wings to the aft. The colours are close enough to the original's to establish the character, even if the blue doesn't quite line up. There are some red stripes on his wings and Decepticon logos behind those - all stickered details. The colours work fairly well, even if the simple colour mapping does look a little cheap compared to the original. I'm not too critical of this - it's a smaller, simpler toy.

   This jet's shape isn't quite right, it's longer than it should be and the tailwings don't hang out to the back as they should. The robot shoulders stick out from underneath the front of the wings, while the wing transformation joints stick out quite noticeably on top of the fuselage. Despite these flaws, Starscream's jet mode is pretty good in the scheme of Pretender alt modes - and the moulded detail such as seams is reasonably good (if not as good as on the original).

   There's no play value here at all - no wheels, no missiles or guns under the wings, no opening canopy. Starscream is able to tuck into his shell, mind you, and that gives the overall package some play value - but the jet itself does nothing.

   As Pretender alt modes go, Starscream gets a pretty good vehicle mode. Sure, it doesn't do much and it's not all that realistic, but it's easily identifiable as an F-15 (and a jet) and has meaningful detailing. The character is established, which may seem obvious, but the Actionmaster version isn't as good a match.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the tailfins, set aside. Slide the engines apart to form the legs, flip the nose down to form the central stripe of his torso (and reveal the head), rotate the wings and give Starscream his guns. In a way this is a simplification of the original's transformation - although it's much simpler.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 9.5cm Width: 10cm

   A mix of red, grey and blue - with the red being painted rather than die cast as on the original. His arms and boots are blue while the torso is mainly red. Starscream's thighs, head and central stripe are grey, with the black canopy on his chest. The wings sit behind his arms, with the Decepticon logos still visible. The colour scheme is a better match now, with only the arms out of sync - his black face and canopy match the original toy (if not the cartoon).

   This is a pretty simple robot mode, and it does a pretty good job of copying the original Starscream toy. The air intakes don't quite work and the arms aren't too accurate, but it's unmistakably Starscream. My main complaint relates to the number of visible screws here - fourteen, along with another two hidden underneath shin stickers. While I can live with screws being visible, Starscream looks like he's been shot with a nailgun or something - it really detracts from the appeal of this toy.

   The play value is alright, with the arms able to rotate and lift out to the sides - more poseability than a lot of Pretenders get, in fact. The guns formed from his tailfins work well, and while they don't match the shoulder mounted launchers we're used to, they compliment the shoulder motion well enough, so I'm happy.

   This should have been a decent little robot mode, considering it's a hacked down version of the character - and the shoulder motion and colour map are both impressive. Unfortunately the designer made no attempt to conceal the screws that hold Starscream together - and they're all visible on the front of the robot.

The Pretender Shell

   One of only two human Decepticon Pretender shells (Stranglehold being the other), Starscream is a pale Caucasian with brown hair, in an aqua bodysuit. There is some grey and black on the body while his arms are brown with spiky armour, matching the detachable helmet (which has horns as well as spikes). It's fair to say that this colour scheme is not at all classic Starscream - but then that's the whole point really. It _did_ feature in the Marvel comics, though, and the colour scheme is nice enough.

   I quite like the spiky armour theme happening here - it's not the most inventive motif but it's consistent on the arms, legs and helmet, and for that reason it works. The plane's wings - which cannot fit inside, ate able to plug into the back, and while this doesn't look great, the blue tailwings _can_ fit inside. The grey wings are neutral enough to not stand out, and aren't really visible from the front. The large blue handgun this shell carries does stand out, its blue plastic matches that on the inner robot.

   A good Pretender shell that contrasts with the main robot, whilst still complimenting it. The spiky theme and horns aren't really stereotypical Starscream, but the theme is well executed, so I can deal with the divergence.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. The inner robot was sold sans shell as a US K-Mart exclusive.

OVERALL

   For the most part this is a solid effort - the plane is a solid effort, the robot has some positives and the shell is good. While both robot and jet modes are a lot simpler than the original, that's to be expected here. Poor screw placement really sabotages the robot mode, which is a real shame since the inner robot is otherwise a worthwhile tribute to the original. While I'd easily recommend the original Starscream over this toy, the shell is good, so for Pretender fans this one's recommended - 6.5/10

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