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Deluxe Starscream - Beast Hunters - Figure

Height: 13.5cm head height.

Articulation: 18 points overall- double-jointed neck; 4 points each arm: double-joint shoulder, ball-joint elbow, swivel wrist; 4 points each leg: ball-joint hip, thigh swivel, hinged knee, hinged ankle.

Colors: Molded bronze, black, maroon, lavender, and silver. Painted silver, yellow, red, and lavender.

Accessories: Non-firing Missiles x2, Thunder Talon.

Release Data: Released February 2013 at an MSRP of $14.99.

Author: RAC

The scheming Decepticon second-in-command Starscream looks forward to the day both the Autobots and Megatron are out of his way!

That's a nice, concise description of Prime Starscream. Possibly every Starscream, but let's stay focused. While Wave 1 of Beast Hunters featured heavily-reworked versions of existing Deluxe figures and one iffy-looking Predacon, Wave 2 is all-new. Half the characters in the wave have been featured at other pricepoints, but this is their first go-round as Deluxes. ...well, that's not entirely true of Starscream. He's had a Deluxe figure before. But that was not a Robots In Disguise figure, and this is also not that figure.


Robot Mode

It's definitely an entirely new mold, and not a "reskin" of the First Edition Deluxe Starscream. Besides nearly every detail being different, it's easiest to tell from the jointing in the arms, which is all completely different and much closer to the general engineering stylings of the Robots In Disguise line. While this is plainly recognizeable as Starscream in all the broad design strokes, the particulars are all of course in the Beast Hunters mold: spiky bits and thick, ridged armor plating arranged on the body not so much as a new form as aftermarket upgrades to the Transformers' existing bodies. It's an only slightly bulkier but much less streamlined look for Starscream, who before was all elegant, sweeping lines. The wings especially clue you into this being a reshaped, more armored Starscream. Starscream's body also has a variety of different ways to hold or store his weapons: he's got tabs on both his wings and arms that fit slots on any of his weapons, and 5mm sockets on his forearms and his back for the Thunder Talon weapon, as well as hands suited for 5mm pegs.

Where previously Starscream had cool grays and silver with a light splash of red, his Beast Hunters form has an array of slightly-clashing colors from a dark bronzish color to silver to lavender, all accented with red and bright yellow. And here's an interesting situation on my figure: the yellow paint covers more regularly and evenly than the red, which is a bit thin and you can see where it pooled and where it didn't. It looks kind of like what happens when I paint red and trust me, a professional mass-market toy really shouldn't look anything like the products of my meager painting skills.

The face is a good likeness, though his trademark little self-serving smirk gets a bit lost in the silver plastic, which is of that swirly type I still associate with the dollar-store toys of my youth despite seeing it on Transformers a fair amount of the time. Unusually, his eyes are painted and not light-piped. His neck is double-jointed for transformation, but also gives a good amount of expressive range besides allowing you to put it in his traditional hunchback position. Lots of tilt, plenty of swivel- great neck! The shoulders swivel in a 180 degree arc when at rest because that's what his wings will allow. They can go in a complete circle if angled differently though. He can also raise his arms straight out to the sides, and the transformation hinges let him swing his shoulders forward to a useful degree, again good for expression as well as lugging his Thunder Talon around two-handed. Elbows are ball-joints in the grand old style going back as far as G2, flexing to 90 degrees and swiveling unimpeded. The wrists swivel, but they're pretty stiff.

The hips swing straight forward and a part of the way back, impeded by the tailfins on his backplate. If not for the little pieces sticking out from his pelvis- which interestingly enough mirror pieces on his former self, Fall of Cybertron Starscream -he'd be able to do a split without any trouble. There are thigh swivels just above the knee that adjust the angle of the leg well enough. The knees are great, folding to a super-tight V and being of the ratcheting variety to provide plenty of strength for posing. I wish this had been carried over to the ankles; the feet are pretty loose and while they're big enough to hold him up in a variety of poses they tend to make him want to tip forward or back sometimes. It's not so bad that it can't be compensated for, however.


Transformation

If you've owned more than two Starscream toys in your lifetime (or any Transformers jets for that matter, or any Macross Valkyries even), it probably won't startle you to see that this Starscream is transformed by unfolding the torso so that the back becomes the tail of the jet and the front becomes the nose, with the limbs folding up semi-elegantly underneath. What is elegant is the way that absolutely everything is locked in place by tabs from the arms to the legs to the wings. The wings may pop loose depending on how you hold the figure, but everything else is good and solid.




Vehicle Mode

The jet mode also pretty well drives home the idea that Starscream has been heavily armored and modified- and also that this is supposed to be a toy, not an accurate model of anything. As before it's the same basic shape as his original Prime jet mode, but with thicker, ridged plates and claw-shapes all over. I don't know if this was intentional or not but the shape of the wings is somewhat reminiscent of Megatron to me. In this mode all the bronze parts are brought together, all the yellow parts are brought to the fore, and all the lavender ones relegated to the undercarriage where the leftover robot pieces live. As is ever the case with Transformers jets he's best looked at from above; the side's a little iffy, and from underneath is... well, just don't. The flare of his heels is put to good use down there to keep his hands from showing at least, so you're left with a bunch of parts that shouldn't be on a jet more than a bunch of obvious robot parts hanging out on the jet's undercarriage.

Naturally there are slots on Starscream's wings for his missiles. The little yellow claws near the nose of the jet look a bit out of place until you attach the Thunder Talon. The tabs on Starscream's arms line up so that you can attach the Talon in jet mode and hide his robot parts more effectively. It's not going to do much good for grabbing stuff with his nose in the way, but I kind of like how it looks.


Accessories

Missiles

I really like the tab system for these: they tab to Starscream's wings or arms or each other. So if you want Starscream with the Thunder Talon on one arm and a stack of missiles on the other, you can do that. If you just want to tab the Talon onto his arm while leaving the missile in place, you can do that too!


Thunder Talon

At first glance, this is that scourge of Hasbro's Marvel Movie lines and the Prime Voyagers: the Big Dumb Accessory. But while this is a big and largely frivolous accessory, it feels a whole lot better thought out than any of those- and unlike most of the Voyager weapons, this feels a lot more like it was designed with the figure, to function as a part of it, than an afterthought.

Nearly as tall as the figure itself, the Thunder Talon is a big maroon device with silver fins and claws. Pulling on the fins will cause the claws to close. That's pretty much what it does, but in execution it's very well done. The molded detail is pretty sharp, and when attached to the jet mode it looks natural and like it was supposed to be there. I really like the little buzzsaw molded into the middle of the claw, as though the idea is to catch something and then rip it apart. And lastly there's all the ways you can attach this to the figure, as I've mentioned in the previous sections: you can stow it on Starscream's back, you can have him hold it one or two-handed, you can tab it to his forearm, you can peg it to his forearm, you can tab it to the missile on his forearm, or you can tab one or both missiles to the Talon as he uses it. Like I said, it feels like an integral part of the figure, and a very versatile one at that. And most importantly of all, it doesn't feel like the figure itself was sacrificed or shortchanged in any way to make room for the weapon. If you're going to do accessories like this, this is how you do them.


Closing Remarks

Disclosure! I started with Starscream because I expected him to be the Wave 2 figure I cared about the least, the one I figured to be the weakest and the least to my liking. And after being pleasantly surprised, I'm hoping that actually holds true. As a toy, Starscream is Very Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale, and is the best Big Accessory execution I've seen out of Hasbro in a good while. So far, all the new molds for Beast Hunters that I've handled have been pretty good- here's hoping that's the rule and not the exception.



ReviewerRAC  
DateFebruary 26th 2013  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  
Reads5826
LinkDeluxe Beast Hunters Starscream Gallery  


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