Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Jet
Height: 9cm Length: 22cm Width: 19cm
A maroon jet with extensive silver paint, a black nose and a semi-transparent purple canopy. Starscream is roughly a tetrahedron, although he's flatter with quite a few prominences. This colour scheme is really nice, although it's not exactly using the signature colours we associate with the name Starscream. I've heard it variously described as being closer to Thrust and Ramjet, although for me this colour scheme feels new - and I like this. While it's not a perfect homage to the G1 character, it's something more interesting than the raft of grey Starscreams we've seen in recent years.
While I don't have (or plan to pick up) the Supreme version of this guy, I think this jet mode is well suited to the mega size. There are lots of little moulded details, including air intakes on the sides of the cockpit with grey cannons moulded right above them, jets sticking out the back of the wings and swept back wingtips. There are small moulded Decepticon symbols on the wingtips which are painted purple with white relief. The tailfin is an a-frame shaped affair with a key slot underneath.
While it's clearly not Earth-like, this is instantly recognisable as a jet and with such detail, the end result is an attractive jet mode. There are three small black wheels underneath (two at the front, one at the back), and there's a missile launcher that slots nicely between the front wheels, that holds a single purple missile. The missile sits, partially visible, underneath the black nose, which is made of a soft plastic - a nice G1 homage.
His Planet Key (code: s5a3, same as the larger toy's) is transparent pale blue with metallic blue paint and a raised purple Decepticon logo, and slots in under the tail as mentioned. Starscream can easily hold his key without automatically setting off the gimmick - something most Cybertron toys don't seem to be able to manage. When fully pressed in, it operates a series of internal gears, causing two long purple blades to flick out from underneath the wings. While the gimmick is quite impressive in itself, it's not hard to deliberately set off only one blade, if you feel the need. Adding this to the fact the key can happily stow, this is a great gimmick.
While the colours don't match the Cybertron cartoon or the G1 character, this is a great plane. The colours _are_ good and the play value is excellent, with quite a lot of detail here. One upside of the colour changes in this toy is that the head is not at all obvious in jet mode, since it's surrounded by black paint. For the most part, the red paint (on grey plastic) of the Japanese version of this mould has been replaced with silver (on maroon), the red around the head is now black. Everything fits together firmly and the colours are cohesive, making a great fantasy jet.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Remove the launcher from underneath, unclip the nose halves, swing out the air intakes to form his legs, rotating the boots into position. Fold the front of the plane (complete with the prodruding legs) down to form his chest, which will reveal the head. Lift up the feet, swing out the heelspurs and fold the nosetip halves way into the same position under the feet. Rotate the wings down to form the upper arms, swing out the forearms from underneath the wings. Unclip the two halves of the compound tail and swing down behind his back. Place the missile launcher in either hand and you're done.
Height: 19.5cm Width: 19.5cm
Again maroon with silver paint applications, Starscream has black feet, forearms and thighs. The head is also black with a silver face (that's quite obviously modelled on G1) with dark red eyes. The maroon-for-grey and silver-for-red swaps are again evident, although the shoulder pylons are black rather than silver (red on other versions of this character). Again this is an attractive colour scheme, with some gold highlights, a purple canopy on his groin and the Decepticon symbols on his wings (on the outsides of the upper arms. Again while there are hints of various G1 seekers, this is pretty much a new colour scheme.
There are a few G1 homages here, the already mentioned shoulder pylons and face. The cockpit on his torso and cape-like wingspan are the others aspects. In these colours the homage is more of a general seeker tribute than Starscream (or anyone else), but then the Galaxy Force version lacks blue also. At any rate, this is a detailed robot mode with a good colour map. The jets on top of the upper arms, wings outside those arms and canopy on his chest are highly visible jet aspects, and all form distinct features. Starscream's wingtips can actually fold back, although they look better out to the sides and offer the only Decepticon logos on this robot.
Both weapon options are still available here - the black launcher with its purple missile is pretty obvious since it's his handgun, and the Planet Key activated blades are again available. The key can again activate one or both blades, and again it can happily stow in place without activating the gimmick.
The poseability is pretty good here. Starscream's head turns, the shoulders rotate and lift to the sides slightly while the elbows can bend 90°. Considering that the key gimmick has to work via the shoulders, the movement in these joints is amazing (I'm still trying to work out how the activation is passed through the shoulders). The hips and knees rotate in two directions each while the feet and heelspurs can fold down. The leg poseability provides a lot of poseability here, and the heelspurs anchor the figure well considering that he has a tail and Planet Key hanging off the back.
Great play value, a lot of moulded detail, some nice plane features - this robot mode has it all. While more poseable elbows would have been nice, they would have been restricted by the blades (I'm nitpicking anyway). While the colours don't provide a great homage this is still an attractive robot mode. My only real complaint is that the launcher's trigger is easy to set off.
This is a repaint of the Galaxy Force version of Starscream, which I've already mentioned. There are also Supreme and Legends size Starscreams in Cybertron - both share the GF version's colour scheme. This particular toy comes exclusively with Vector Prime as a TRU exclusive. TFU Dirge is a repaint of Starscream (in another two pack!).
If you're after show accuracy or a G1 homage, the colour scheme might bug you - but that doesn't change the fact that Starscream has good colours. Both modes are good, the detail and play value are great and the key gimmick works in both modes - there's even room for the key to store. It's a shame that Hasbro are only releasing this toy with Vector Prime, since that toy was previously released on it's own (making this an expensive purchase for many). If you haven't picked up Vector Prime (I skipped him initially, and used a gift voucher for this set anyway - the pair cost me $A30!), then I'd definitely recommend the set. If you do have VP, I'd still recommend this mould over the oversized version, assuming you're able to find a GF Starscream for a decent price - this is a great mould - 8.5/10 if you haven't grabbed VP already, 7 if you have