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Classics Starscream Reviewed by Thunderscream
The Schemer Returns

"Starscream was deceitful and scheming, the most notorious traitor of them all." This brief description by Dinobot sums up this character in a nutshell. Immensely and inexplicably popular with fans, he's perhaps one of the most infamous characters in Transformers history. It's no surprise then that Classics would release him in its first wave and he returns to a form that is perhaps the closer to his original incarnation than any other figure in the series.


Altmode: F-15 Eagle

For his entry into Classics, Starscream returns to the form that made him famous, the F-15 Eagle, a fighter that's considered one of the most dominate in the world. His primary color is a light shade of gray, with red on his wings, intakes and tail stabilizers, and blue on the tip of his nose cone, down his dorsal tapering from behind the cockpit to the engines, and on his sides behind the intakes. His cockpit canopy is made from a clear dark yellow plastic outlined with silver, there are bits of gold on his undercarriage and his thrusters have been painted in a color that I can only describe as "gunmetal" from my experience with building scale models. There's also a little black under his cockpit, revealing the location of the head though not in a manner that ruins the illusion.

Anyone who was hoping that Starscream would be painted in a scheme similar to his G1 incarnation will be disappointed. The pattern is more suitable to an air show rather than combat but still somehow fits a character who's often depicted as one of the most flamboyant of the Decepticons. Though it's not always easy to see, there is an amazing amount of panel work on his form, just as there would be on the real fighter. A look inside the canopy reveals a pilot's chair and head's up display; no doubt a nod to the days when Starscream was made for a line that included human pilots. As with previous jet figures, Starscream has a pair of wheels that flip out a section from under and behind his intake vents. The wheels are molded from a single piece of plastic, so they can't roll freely. He has no nose gear due to the nature of his transformation. Starscream also comes with a small heat rub sticker on his left wing; rubbing it with a finger will reveal his Decepticon allegiance.

There are a couple of issues to note with this figure. The first is that his nose cone and cockpit can separate easily from the main body if one is not careful. Not completely off, since the piece is attached to a hinge, but its worth noting. As mentioned, the wheels are in an odd, unrealistic location; moving them to the portion that becomes the legs would have been preferable. Perhaps most obvious is the large hollow in his underside, just under his cockpit, between the intakes. It's necessary because of his transformation and anyone whose familiar with the actual aircraft knows that there's not much located there anyway. But because of a brace between in the front, this gap is painfully noticeable and could have been remedied by allowing it to slide up against the hinge behind the fuselage.


Transformation

I would suggest keeping the instructions on hand, but it's possible to figure out his alteration from jet to robot without them. Tucking the cockpit under the chest piece may present a problem for adult fingers, especially since it was designed with smaller hands in mind, but that's relatively minor. Also of note that the tail fins fold up against Starscream's leg, a sharp and welcome contrast from his G1 counterpart's "duck feet."


Robot Mode

Starscream stands about 5 inches tall in robot mode, 5 when his intakes are taken into account. There's no real change in color from his previous form; any additions are located mostly on his head. He has a black colored helmet, gray face, and eyes that have been painted red. The expression - which can only be seen if one looks closely - is etching into a hard scowl, not the confidant smirk one would associate him with. He has a pair of blue panels on his shins where his feet were folded up against before his transformation. Yet of all the Classics figures released thus far, he probably bears the closest resemblance to his appearance in the original animates series.

Starscream has thirteen points of articulation, mostly around his limbs, though his head can move from side to side. Interestingly, the nose cone cover, which hangs from a small brace behind his head, can be used as a lever to turn his head, a nice feature that's helpful for those with fatter fingers and one I'm sure wasn't intended. I do advise caution, though. The cover can also be set so that the nose sticks out behind him, just as it did on the original G1 figure, though it does rend the head immobile due to the proximity of the air intakes.

There are a couple of other problems that one will notice. There are not pegs or tabs to attach Starscream's wings to his back, though the hinges are tight enough so they don't flop around. This was undoubtedly done on purpose as there is a certain attribute on this figure that necessitates this; more on that in a bit. The legs on my version were loose at the hip joints, enough to pose a problem in trying to pose him. It was easily fixed with a thin coat of crazy glue, though, if you have it, I would recommend clear nail polish if yours are loose.


Accessories

Starscream comes with a pair of launchers and two missiles. The missiles are molded in a light gray plastic while the launchers are painted silver with a dark blue peg and a dark blue square painted on the top, just behind the light gray barrels. A small fin has been molded on to each launcher, possibly to give them a more aerodynamic appearance. The launchers are spring activated and can launch the missiles a distance of up to six feet.

The launchers can be attached under the wings of his F-15 mode as if he's carrying a pair of AMRAAM missiles. There are small knobs on the molded back of each launcher, which could be viewed as thrusters that enable Starscream to receive a small boost in speed. In robot mode, they can serve as his handheld weapons or attach to shallow holes on his upper arm becoming his null-rifles. This latter configuration is more in line with what fans are familiar with, both on the original G1 toy and the animated character. Unfortunately, the back of the weapons overlaps his shoulders and interferes with the articulation of his arms. They also push on the wings in certain positions, undoubtedly the reason behind why the wings can't lock to Starscream's back.


Final Thoughts

Starscream has always been popular among fans and this sculpt does both the character and the fans that love him justice. He's by no means perfect but I still considered one of the better Decepticon figures released thus far. It makes me even more eager for the upcoming Skywarp repaint. Highly recommended.

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