Alternate Mode: F-15 Fighter
Height: 6cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 13cm
A grey F-15 fighter in the spirit of the original Starscream toy, with red and blue highlights. The red is mainly confined to his wingtips and tailtips while the blue is found on the tip of his nose and in a tapered stripe down the centre of the fuselage. Whilst the colour map doesn't match the original as closely as it could (Robotmasters did a better job of that) the colours are still clearly Starscream. Apparently the changes are meant to match an actual paint job on some F-15s, although I don't see why Hasbro made the change _now_. The transparent canopy is yellow with silver framing. There's a G1-style rubsign on his portside wing, and this is the only allegiance symbol Starscream has. The engine cowlings at the back are gunmetal, rounding out a good colour scheme.
For the pricepoint this is a pretty realistic F-15, with a seat inside the cockpit, subtle but complex plane seams moulded on top of the jet and _underneath_ the wings, detailed engine cowlings and canopy ribs. The guns underneath his wings are Starscream's traditional null rays rather than realistic missile racks and the underside isn't so realistic - but for a deluxe that stays true to the original whilst improving the play value, I'm quite happy with the plane mode's realism.
The guns underneath his wings are actually missile launchers, the missiles fire about half a metre, and aren't susceptible to popping out the moment you touch the triggers, which I appreciate. The launchers detach for his transformation, but I'm happy to report that the wings and tailfins do not - fuselage-only G1 Seekers are far too common, but this guy won't be ruined by a missing tailfin. There are four pseudo-tyres underneath - moulded lumps rather than wheels, and while Starscream sits flat on the table, rolling would have been nice.
Despite the changes to the paintmask and lack of true wheels this is a good jet mode. The fixed wings are a nice improvement (something the Robotmasters figure couldn't quite manage) and the vehicle holds together well. Granted, there's no need for the changes his paintmask, and this does count against Starscream, but the character is still represented - and at least it's not turquoise!
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Detach the missile launchers, extend the rear to form the boots. Fold up the tailwings and rotate the tailfins forward to form heelspurs. Fold down the feet and stow away the front wheels. Stand him up, swivel the wings up. Fold out the chestplate, rotate the canopy and pivot down to form the centre of his chest, rotate the nose and fold back to reveal his head. Flip out the arms and fold the chestplate back into position. Flip out his fists, give Starscream his weapons, either on the upper arms as traditional null rays or as handheld missile launchers.
I really like this transformation. Without trying to get too fancy, it takes the original Starscream scheme and improves on it. He gains proper thighs and manages to keep the wings and tailfins permanently attached, integrates the fists and both configurations are true to the original.
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm
As you'd expect, this is a grey robot with a red chest integrating the yellow canopy. His fists and feet are blue while the head is black with a grey face. The wings sit behind his arms and the tailfins on the outsides of his ankles. There are some colour changes, but nothing major. The air intakes sit on his shoulders and the weapons on his shoulders. The rubsign is visible behind his left shoulder, again this is his only allegiance symbol. Excuse the pun, but this robot is classic Starscream.
So what's different? Well, as I mentioned, this Starscream has thighs. He's also more poseable - the head turns, the shoulder swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. As with the original, the wings have to swing back accommodate the moving arms - but this isn't as pronounced since these wings are set back slightly. The hips are ball jointed and the knees have both hinges and swivels. The waist is fixed - but I don't mind. The feet are a little too static, the heelspurs are decent but not great, so we don't get too many stable leg poses. On the whole the poseability is good but not fantastic.
As with most Classics figures, Starscream lacks any true gimmicks - instead the toy focuses on being a good Transformer. The added poseability, solid build, hand weapon option and thighs are enough for me. We do of course get firing missiles - and they are an improvement over the neutered ones the original had - but they don't really qualify as a gimmick.
While it's simple in many ways, this is a solid robot mode without any significant flaws. The poseability is good, and while the legs are a little limited, he's all over the original (and more stable than the Masterpiece). The traditional colours and distinctive jet elements are all there, making sure this figure is instantly recognisable as Starscream.
Takara's Henkai version has a colour map which is closer to the original. Ramjet is a retool of Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker are repaints of Starscream. Universe's Acid Storm is a new character which also uses this mould.
In my opinion this is the best Starscream toy we've seen in a long time. Sure, the Robotmasters toy followed the original's colours better (especially in jet mode), but has very loose wings and slight proportion issues in jet mode. At one fifth of the price of the turquoise Masterpiece, I prefer this guy to the larger of 2006's Starscream toys. More stable, less fragile and it's actually _grey_. This toy is both a great display piece and fun to play with - an excellent update of an iconic character - 9/10