Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Concise Review of Energon Starscream In 500 Words Or Less

Pricepoint/Vintage: Combat Class, 2005.
Modes: Robot and Jet.
Transformation Style: G2 style rotating wing assembly.
Play Patterns: Robot and Jet. 5mm modular weapons. Energon weapons and chip. Mini-Cons. Firing missiles.
Points of Interest: Mistaken at launch for a retool of G2 Smokescreen. Is also an energon ghost.

The Good
Starscream is an inevitable feature of Energon top tens, being arguably the most competent, non-combining, Decepticon deluxe equivalent. The extensive play features that characterised the line are clearly here, but pares it with nineteen points of effective articulation and a visual treat. Both modes feature sculpted damage and asymmetric translucent plastic giving him an incomplete and ethereal look. He's a wraith with a big sword and gun, which combine into a bigger sword. These can stow on his wings, which also have "concealed" missile launchers, deployable in either form. The jet mode has foldable landing gear, a translucent cockpit, and storage for both weapons. If you ever wanted an undead robot jet with a sword bigger than he is, whom can partake in fly-by stabbings, and blow people up with missiles, this is your man.

The Bad
I find the arms to be a real irritation when transforming him, being a nuisance to position for jet mode, and not locking when you get there. My example was not entirely pristine when I got it, prompting some silver paint for the face, and has some loose/detachable elbows, but nothing major.

The Mediocre
For safety reasons, the "hidden" missiles extend an inch out of the back of wings. The knees also want to lock in position, the articulation being stiff in places. While not unusual or obnoxious, the underside of the jet mode could be cleaner.

The Alternative
Starscreams are extremely common at all pricepoints, with the most obvious alternatives being the Classics version, the 2014 Armada version. The G2 Smokescreen mould is another candidate, given the engineering similarities. This mould was also given G1 style redecos, and used for Botcon toys, all somewhat self-defeating given the sculpt.

The Verdict
My all-time favourite iteration of a character, this toy is an uncommon example of the designers completely nailing it at the beginning of a line, rather than the end. Play value is as good as any deluxe you care to name, articulation is great for the time, and he has a compelling appearance. There's nearly nothing to consider a weakness, only things which could have be done a little differently. You'd have to reject the entire concept in order to dislike this toy. If you only get one Energon Decepticon, and you aren't interested in the combiner teams, make it this guy.

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