Thursday, 23 January 2014

Fall of Cybertron Starscream (Transformers: Generations)

Series: Transformers Generations

Year: 2012
Company: Hasbro

RRP: $29 AUD

By all rights, Starscream should be one of the least-liked Transformers, not one of the most-loved. His distinctive voice (originally provided by the late Chris “Cobra Commander” Latta) can be seriously grating, he’s always plotting to overthrow his boss and he’s quite the coward. Yet these unpleasant traits have actually elevated him to status of “favourite Transformer” for many, including myself.

Philosophically I’m aligned with the Autobots, but the toys for the Decepticons tend to be much cooler. None of the Autobots turned into bizarre or cool things like a boombox (Soundwave) or a giant scorpion (Scorponok). By and large, the Autobots turned into cars – which in spite of many Matchbox, Hot Wheels et al toys as a child, are things that have never held as much appeal for me as they have for the average male. Starscream has (as far as I know) always been some kind of fighter jet, which is much more awesome than a car.
A friend of mine is quite the Transformers collector, and his interest in them has piqued my own, so I’ve been umm-ing and ahh-ing over picking this guy up for the last few months -- here's what I thought.

PACKAGING (photo from
 The packaging for the Generations series is plain, but functional. The backing card has a red background, the Transformers logo featured prominently and a large illustration of the character themselves. On the back there’s some copy about the character’s background, and a photo of the toy in both robot and vehicle mode. It’s all printed on some nice sturdy cardstock, which in theory should make it great for MOCers – but the glue around the edge of the blister was quite weak on mine, so MOCers beware!

Starscream is held in place by string ties, rather than the common plastic twisties. They were a little easier to get off than plastic ones, but having scissors handy will definitely be helpful.

This particular sculpt is based on Starscream’s appearance in Fall of Cybertron – a game which I still haven’t got to playing. It’s a nice design which updates the G1 Transformers aesthetic for the modern age, without moving into the more realistic but less charming “movie Transformers” territory. In robot mode, he pretty much just looks like you expect Starscream to. He seems a little thinner than previous iterations that I’ve seen, but he’s also much more poseable.  I’ve never thought of Transformers as being particularly well-articulated – this was one of the limitations imposed by the transformation process, particularly in ye olden days. But Starscream is much more poseable than I had expected – or hoped – him to be!

He’s got:

*cut neck

*swivel-hinged biceps

*double-hinged elbows

*cut wrists

*ball-jointed hips

*hinged knees

His front “toe” is also hinged, but it’s more of his transformation than articulation per se. Starscream’s not going to win Articulation of the Year or anything, but all the joins are nicely concealed in among his robot parts, and as I said – he was able to move a lot more than I expected! 
One particular feature I do enjoy is Starscream’s light-piped eyes. Thanks to a translucent plastic panel on top of his held, Starscream’s eyes will glow when held up to a light source. It’s not a major feature, but it is a cool little touch.

The only detail sculpting-wise that I might have liked to see on Starscream is opening and closing hands. When you look at the detail and overall vibe of the toy, the “clenched hands with a hole in the middle” seem a little odd by comparison. Still, this is a minor quibble.

In aeroplane mode, he doesn’t directly resemble any “real” aircraft – which makes sense, as Fall of Cybertron is sent many millions of years before the modern day. However, it most resembles some kind of futuristic fighter jet – again, much cooler than a car.  
As for the transformation process, it’s simple enough to follow. The instructions aren’t in colour, which can make them a little tricky to follow – but the only area I really had issues with was the process of folding the arms into the underside of the jet.

I can’t really comment on whether Starscream is “in-scale.” Speaking as someone who’s never delved terribly deep into the history of the line, it seems to me that scale wasn’t really a concern back in ye olden days of the toyline. Didn’t the characters on the show tend to vary in size as required for a particular scene or storyline? Perhaps my memory betrays me, and someone more familiar with Transformers lore can fill me in.

Starscream comes with one accessory – a gun with (manually) rotating double-barrels. As seems to be standard with Transformers weapons, it’s ludicrously oversized compared to his robot mode, but still looks pretty awesome. The gun can also be split into two pieces, which can then be attached to the underside of his wings, providing Starscream with MASSIVE FIREPOWER to rain destruction from above on the Autobots.

The gun/s can be held in his hands, but there’s also a variety of 5mm plugs all over Starscream – theoretically, the gun/s could slot into any of them, but how aesthetically pleasing they appear will vary wildly.

Though I’m not a big action feature guy, it would have been nice if he had a firing missile, or if the gun barrels spun via button press, rather than having to manually rotate them.  

Paint apps are pretty minimal on Starscream, and consist solely of flat colours. He’s largely cast in a grey colour, with a few small parts in blue or red (maroon?). There’s quite a bit of slop around the edges, where paint hasn’t gone quite up to the line or just over it. By and large you won’t notice and it doesn’t ruin the look of the figure, but for $29 I can’t help but feel that a little more attention should have been paid to these details.  

"With this Energon...cone...I will surely have enough power to seize control of the Decepticons from Megatron, and destroy the Autobots once and for all!"

I haven’t had any issues with Starscream myself, but my aforementioned friend picked the figure up a while before I did — he had one of the plastic circles around the knee joint snap loose from the rest of the leg. As a result, his leg is quite wonky. Just something to watch out for, particularly if you do give this toy to kids.


This is the first Transformer I’ve bought in almost ten years, since the tie-in toys for the Energon series. Very few have caught my eye since then, outside of the occasional high-end one (well out of my price range) that would pop up at Toys R Us. But I’ve caught glimpse of Generations here and there over the last couple of years, and I think Hasbro is onto something good here. They’re toy-ish enough for kids, but just nice enough to be collector’s pieces too. I think the pricing is a little high for what’s on offer – I would have bought him months ago had he been $15-20, rather than $29, but I’m increasingly coming to (grudgingly) accept that’s simply what toys cost these days.

But I’m happy with Starscream, and I’m interested in picking up a few more from the line in the near future – another friend who’s off to Japan is searching out a Takara Skywarp for me!  Hooray!

(Not my favourite batch of photos this time -- sorry guys! I was in a bit of a rush to get this online).

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