Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Legends Class Starscream comparison

Most people probably aren't interested in this, but I was struck by how much better ROTF Legends Starscream appeared to be compared to his 2007 mold-brother. You can tell it's ROTF Starscream due to the presence of the tribal scarring deco (they're not tattoos, at least if you go by the comics). More importantly, they finally put him in some decent plastic colors. His main color is now a very pale tan that's almost silvery. It's much more believable as a fighter jet color than the out-and-out gold form the 2007 version. Also, the arms now match the body and legs (although I think they're slightly different), so Starscream is no longer wearing a wife-beater. It also makes the arms less conspicuous in jet mode.

edit: By the way, here's my review of the 2007 version from the first time around:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Small stuff!

Ok, so it's been a little while since my last update. This is mostly due to me being busy, but part of it is due to the relative slowness of Transformer releases at the moment. The thing about the current movie line is that Hasbro wanted to get a majority of the toys available during the summer so that they would be on shelf while the movie would be receiving the most attention. What this means for TF collectors/fans is that at this point in the Movie line, which is about 5 months in, we would only now be seeing some of the toys that were released as long ago as July. So, in the case of most TF lines, we're used to seeing new toy releases spread out over periods of a few months, whereas with this line there is only a relative handull of toys left to be released.

Anyway, this current lull in normal TF toy releases means I've only been picking up a couple of small things here and there, since I've been avoiding eBay recently. Lately, Hasbro's online toy shop was kind enough to make available two of the newer Legends class Movie toys. The Legends size class, for the uninitiated, is a pricepoint/size of transformers that are relatively small, usually measuring about 3 inches in height. They are small representations of characters that have all received toys in larger size classes, and as such the Legends versions tend to be simply in detail, transformation complexity, and range of movement. Even so, they are usually still fun toys and a must for any collector who has the "completist" mentality. Without further ado, here are my reviews for Movie Legends class Starscream:


For this year's live-action Transformers movie, Starscream was one of the characters whose design received a very significant updating. The update to his vehicle mode was not too surprising - Starscream has been changed from his Generation 1 F-15 to an F-22 before, both in toys and comics - but the visual changes to his robot mode were definitely a step in a new direction. Movie Starscream is a massive, hulking robot with a large upper body and a relatively small upper body, resulting in an exaggerated appearance that some love and many have deplored. Well, like it or not, this is the design that Legends Starscream is modeled off of and also the mode he is packaged in.

The robot mode is a pretty good representation of what Starscream looks like in the movie: avian legs, massive torso and long arms, topped off with a rather insectile face/head. Like the larger, Voyager-class ($20) toy, this Starscream has a "realistic" muted color scheme. Most of the plastic is molded in a light tan color that is a bit metallic but still close to the larger toy's main color. Why they chose this color for these toys is unclear to me, as Starscream appears grey/silver in the movie, but it does look pretty nice regardless. This tan color appears on Starscream's torso, head, waist, and legs. The arms are molded in a light gray plastic that's not very metallic at all, as are the tailfins which appear above his shoulders. Most of the torso is covered in acoat of paint - either silver or bronze depending on the area. The silver is concentrated in the center while the bronze is near the shoulder areas. The eyes are painted red and the mouth area and abdominal cockpit are yellow in color; the shins are the same silver that appears on the torso. There is extensive molding on the torso and an aperture so that you can so the aircraft's cockpit through his abdomen. The head molding is good, although pieces molded to be the jet's thrusters are on the rear of the head and make it seem to have small horns or ears that the movie design does not possess. The arms are notable for having actual hands; the larger Voyager-class toy has arms molded to be permanently deployed in a missile-launcher mode seen in the movie. As far as articulation is concerned, there's of course not a whole lot. The arms are pretty good; both shoulders and elbows are ball joints with a pretty good range of movement. The hips are ball joints, but they are limited in motion; the selection of a ball joint here seems mostly to facilitate the rotating of the legs during transformation. From the back, it's pretty obvious that Starscream is a pile of jet parts, but the vertical stabilizers projecting from the shoulders look like small wings, and the nosecone sticks up like on the Voyager class toy. Overall, Starscream is pretty good looking in robot mode with the articulation you would expect for most Legends transformers. The main detractor is probably the bland gray plastic used for the arms; they could have used the same silver paint treatment that the legs got.

Starscream's transformation is pretty unique. In some ways it mirrors the Voyager class toy's, but in other ways it is a transformation that is completely new and has never been used on an aircraft transformer. Here are the basics: upper arms fold over the top of the torso and the forearms stick out behind the thrusters. The legs rotate outward and the waist/nosecone complex rotates forward, pulling the legs up under the fuselage where they peg together. Lastly, you rotate the rear horizontal fins backward to their correct positions (although, if you leave them folded in, you end up with a sort of delta-winged F-22. Kinda neat.). However, this describes the "official" transformation found on the package. I don't like the hands sticking out behind the jet, so I tried rotating the opposite way so that they would sort of be stuffed between the legs under the fuselage. You have to unpeg the legs to do this, however, and the peg on the one leg sort of gets in the way. I decided to cut the peg off, as the leg joints are stiff enough to hold htem in place. I'm pretty satisfied with the result, as I don't have hands hanging off the back of the jet anymore.

Again, Movie Starscream's vehicle mode is a Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter plane. Fans who have the aforementioned Voyager class toy know that it is not a particularly good representation of the sleek and angular fighter. Luckily, the Legends version fares better in this regard. The jet mode here is much better proportioned than its larger counterpart, and has very little robot kibble visible from the top, even compared to the Energon series Starscream. Of course, the underside is a Robot Body Parts Nightmare©, but that is almost par for the course for aircraft transformers. My only real complaint is in regards to the color scheme: the forward fuselage, nosecone, and wings are all tan whereas the vertical & horizontal fins are light gray. It doesn't really look bad, but it's certainly weird and not a scheme you'd see on a regulation F-22. The point of the nose and the leading edges of the wings have some nice silver paint on them; there is some on the edge of the yellow canopy as well. It helps lend definition, and I added some more silver paint myself to the hollows of the intakes and the edges of the tailfins. There are some other oddities to the mold - like the shoulders' ball joints on the wingtips and the huge aperture in the middle of the fuselage, but they are not very distracting. In the end, it's one of the better F-22 modes in transformer history, and certainly better than either larger version of this same character (the $10 Fast Action Battler version or the $20 Voyager version), something that seems to be the case with another prominent movie Decepticon (read: Megatron).

In any case, this is a pretty great little transformer. I recommend him, especially for the hardcore Starscream fans, Legends class enthusiasts, and aircraft TF enthusiasts. Here's hoping that like most Starscreams he gets repainted ad infinitum.

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