Still, the intent is clear. Take well-known Transformers characters from the Generation One universe and update them. The package, a very nicely done card with the original Transformers logo, being used for the first time in quite a few years on this major a product line, only says "Classic" in a small mention on the side of the bubble, where it says "Classic Deluxe", for instance. The phrase "Robots in Disguise" appears beneath the Transformers logo.
The card and bubble are angular and manage a very appropriate mechanical look, even if they don't have much resemblance to classic Transformers packaging. That's okay, though. It's still an impressive package design.
Certainly one of the best-known characters in the Transformers universe is STARSCREAM. This backstabbing schemer has been one of the most prominent Decepticons from the start. He wants to rule in Megatron's stead, preferably over Megatron's wrecked corpse, and in the original Generation One Transformers, he had an irritating, shrieking voice by the same actor who provided the same irritating, shrieking voice for Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe, the late Chris Latta. Can you imagine what this guy's answering machine must've sounded like!?
Starscream has managed to get around quite a bit, though. Hardly confined to the Generation One universe, incarnations of him have turned up in more modern Transformers animated series, and as such toy lines as well. This year's "Cybertron Starscream" was one of the biggest toys in the line, and even came with a crown for this pompous robot to wear, an interesting nod to the coronation scene in the G1-based animated movie, where Starscream nearly ascended to Decepticon leadership before Galvatron, the remade Megatron, showed up and put Starscream out of everyone's misery.
Even in the Masterpiece line, known for producing the most incredible Optimus Prime toy ever created, Starscream has turned up. In this case, he really has usurped Megatron's place, since Megatron's transformation mode of a gun makes him unfortunately impossible to market as widely as would be liked. So Starscream, I'm sure very willingly, stepped up to the plate in the Masterpiece line.
Starscream even managed to turn up in one episode of Beast Wars, where his wandering "Spark" managed to possess Waspinator (as if this particular Predacon wasn't subjected to enough abuse over the course of the series) and temporarily took control of the Predacons.
So it's no great surprise that Starscream found his way into the first assortment of the Transformers Classics line. And as well-known a character as he is, I decided to make him one of my first purchases in this toy line.
The original Starscream was a fighter jet, and quite a realistic one. He was one of several planes to use basically the same set of molds, including Thundercracker and Skywarp, and to a slightly lesser degree, Dirge, Ramjet, and Thrust.
The new Starscream is also a fighter jet, very reminiscent of the original, and yet also managing to look more up to date. Starscream is largely a silvery white, with significant areas of red, and limited amounts of blue trim. In his jet mode, Starscream is about 7-1/4 inches in length.
One aspect not carried over from the original Starscream is the pop-down front landing gear. This can be a little confusing, since the back of the package clearly says, "Flip Down Landing Gear". This is a little vague, however, given the angle of the photograph. The "flip down landing gear" can actually be found on the underside of the plane, on either section of what becomes Starscream's chest in robot mode. Two circular areas that flip open 90-degrees to become side-placed landing gear near the front of the plane. It should be mentioned that the landing gear does not roll, and is mostly decorative.
One cool feature is that the thermal logo stickers have made a comeback in this line. Starscream has a little silver sticker on the left wing of his plane form, with a black squareish shape in it. Touch your finger to it for a few seconds, in other words, expose it to heat, and the Decepticon logo appears. This was a strategy that Hasbro originally used not long after the original Transformers came out and rocketed to stardom. Other toy companies, led by Tonka's Go-Bots, quickly started producing transforming robots as quickly as they could. These stickers were Hasbro's advertised way of ensuring that you had an authentic Transformer. It's kind of cool to see them back. Interestingly, it's the only logo on the toy. There is no other Decepticon logo on the figure anywhere. That's somewhat unusual.
Beneath the wings of Starscream in his aircraft form are two spring- loaded missile launchers. These come with two accessory missiles which do fire. These also work as Starscream's main weapon when he is in robot form.
Transforming Starscream from jet to robot is a little trickier than the original version. Part of this is due to one of the things that always irritated me about the original Transformers back in the 1980's: In robot form, they generally weren't articulated all that much. The gimmick was the transformation, and once in robot form, they just stood there. If you were lucky, it could move its arms. Certainly this was true of the jets which included Starscream. This must have been a pretty major complaint, because ever since the days of Beast Wars, Transformers have been a lot more poseable in their robotic forms, and this includes the new Starscream.
Transformed into a robot, Starscream stands about 5-1/2" in height. The head turns, the arms and elbows are poseable, as are the legs and knees. The weapons that were attached to the undersides of the wings can now be attached to the shoulders of the arms.
And in robot mode, this looks very much like the original Starscream. A little upgraded, a little more detailed, but still, unquestionably, Starscream. The color scheme is perfect, the colors are where they should be on the toy, and there's a nasty scowl on the face, even. This couldn't be anybody other than Starscream.
Although, in fairness, if Hasbro wants to, there's nothing to stop them from using this same set of molds to turn out Thundercracker and Skywarp, and I rather hope they'll consider doing so.
Overall, the paintwork is excellent. Neatly done, and properly sprayed on. I noticed a little bit of wear around the "landing gear" areas on the chest, but this is extremely minimal, and really nothing that a little metallic red paint can't remedy. Check your local hobby shop if you encounter the same situation.
Starscream's profile from the package card reads as follows: "My enemies will be left nothing but the ashes of their defeat!" Ruthless, cold- blooded, and capable, Starscream makes no secret of the fact that he wants to replace Megatron as leader of the Decepticons. The fastest flyer among the Decepticon ranks and one of the most dangerous warriors ever to grace the skies of Cybertron, he is still something of a coward. He cares too much for his own skin to ever take the risks the overthrow of Megatron would require.
This is all entirely in keeping with Starscream's long-established personality, and in a very real sense explains why Megatron has put up with him for as long as he has, despite several abortive bids to take over the Decepticons. Starscream is listed as Decepticon Air Commander. Note the "commander" part of that. Starscream is the indeed the fastest flyer of the Decepticons, and Megatron knows this. He also knows that Starscream is ruthless. And the sort of treachery that Starscream is capable of is likely an admired trait in the ranks of the Decepticons, as far as it goes. And no doubt Megatron also knows that Starscream's cowardice and instinct for self-preservation first and foremost will keep him from ever achieving his dream of overthrowing Megatron and ruling the Decepticons himself. Starscream's capabilities are just enough to outweigh his ambitions in Megatron's mind.
Indeed, among his technical data listings, Starscream's lowest ranking is Courage, 4. His highest is Speed, 10. Fireblast and Skill are a close second at 8 each.
Hasbro and Takara have done a really nice job with these Transformers Classics. Although some may see the line as almost a "fill-in" between Cybertron and whatever toys are developed for the movie, this line should not be slighted. There are some impressive figures to be found here, very reasonable upgrades of classic characters, who, if nothing else, are a lot more poseable in their robot forms. That, to me, is reason enough to bring a few of them into my collection.
And certainly STARSCREAM is a major player in the Transformers universe.
And this particular edition of him has my highest recommendation!