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Armada Starscream - Generations - Deluxe Figure

Height: 13cm (head height).

Articulation: 19 total points - ball-joint neck; 4 points each arm: double-jointed shoulder, upper arm swivel, hinge elbow; 5 points each leg: Universal joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, hinged foot.

Colors: Molded red, black, light gray, clear orange, and yellow plastic. Painted light gray, black, yellow, and purple (Decepticon symbols).

Accessories: Swords x2, Missiles x2.

Release Data: Released in the United States in January 2014 at a retail price of US$14.99

Author: RAC

Disrespected by Megatron one too many times, Starscream decides to turn on the Decepticon leader. He once fought to earn honor in the eyes of the tyrant. Now, he will stop at nothing to earn his revenge.

Starscream was one of the more interesting characters in Armada, though not for the usual Starscream reasons. He was more or less the Decepticon equivalent of Hot Shot, the green young lieutenant, except without the trust and respect from his boss that such a character inevitably craves. This bio places him at the point where he's decided to side with the Autobots to get back at Megatron for all of that. Ultimately he would end up back with the Decepticons, sacrificing his life in one final duel with Megatron- who was Galvatron at the time -in order to make him realize that the Autobots and Decepticons would have to work together if Unicron was to be stopped.

Then he came back as a amnesiac ghost.

And then he came back again, and by then he was feeling a lot more G1 and tangible.


Robot Mode

It's Armada Starscream! The body isn't an exact match, as such figures rarely are, but it's closer than many Generations interpretations. The face seems a little older than Starscream should be- in both the animation and as a toy, he was very young and round-faced. The wings got fancier, and I'd almost like to see longer, straighter wings that matched the animation more- though he's already wider than he is tall, so maybe not. Even without the wings his proportions remind me of a Masters of the Universe figure, though not as much so as the IDW Megatron/G2 Dreadwing mold. His shoulder cannons are no longer round, but more hexagonal- a pattern that was once printed on his nosecone, but isn't here. Pity, that would have been a nice motif to continue. The cannons can be tilted back when not in use so that they point straight up, which does make them favor the G1 shoulder-things a bit. Because he's so underrepresented, y'know. There's some weirdness about this design relative to the original. On Armada Starscream, the big structures on the shoulders don't move, but the big cannons sticking out of the back of them flip forward when triggered by a Mini-Con. Since they can't do that here, the whole structure moves on Generations Armada Starscream, leaving his shoulders inaccurately bare when retracted... but the plungers for the pressure-launched missiles are still shaped like his upside-down, backwards-facing Null Laser Cannons. Which admittedly is how they had presumably been on Armada Starscream his entire life before he was partnered with his Mini-Con Swindle. Apparently it was not unusual for Transformers to have two big unexplained, useless things sticking a mile off their back in the Unicron Trilogy world! It's just a very, very odd way for fidelity to that design to be expressed. On the upside, the pressure missiles have decent range for missile launchers on a modern toy. They have an interesting mechanism where the yellow parts push forward then they fire, which looks neat.

But the biggest issue with Starscream is that the original toy hails from a time when you could afford to put paint on action figures. Armada Starscream had a lot more black on the torso and light gray around his lower legs, and lots more gray in his jet mode. Because of the lack of all this, the red is pretty well overpowering on Generations Armada Starscream. The "chinstrap" on his helmet, on the other hand, is painted when it shouldn't be, which does change the face a bit. The good news is that the red plastic is of a high quality- every so often you encounter a toy with some slightly translucent red plastic, and it looks cheap and awful. I was halfway afraid this would be the case with Starscream, but fortunately it's not- while some photos made it look so, it just turns out that it's very difficult to photograph and I am very lucky to have gotten decent results on the first try. The back of his head is the same clear orange plastic as the light-piping, I suspect to help it blend in in the jet mode. Which is nice, but I wish they'd budgeted for a cover of some sort because the head doesn't look very good in robot mode, which a robot head kind of needs to do. The effect is lessened when his shoulder cannons are in place though.

He's also got a bit of the "don't look at it from the side" thing a lot of current Transformers have had, but not to the same degree as Rhinox, just for the obvious example. Lastly, though he doesn't come with a Mini-Con partner he does at least have four Powerlinx ports available in this mode: two on the cannons, and one on each forearm.

Starscream's head is ball-jointed, but since it's on a hinged plate that doesn't really lock down in robot mode, it can be fiddly to adjust. The head also has to be facing straight ahead with the shoulder cannons down, or they scrape against his helmet and nose. It's not like he could see past them anyway. There is enough tilt to look up or down a bit, it's decent but not outstanding in those terms. The shoulders can't swivel in a full circle because of the wings, but their range is fairly close to what an actual human being's is. The wings are ball-jointed and can be posed, but the ball-joints themselves are what block the shoulders, so there's nothing to be done about it. The shoulders swing out to the sides pretty well with the cannons retracted, and even manage some range when they're not due to the shape of the cannons. There's actually some yellow struts underneath the arm so they don't look like they're just floating out there doing nothing when you swing the arms outward. Interestingly, the struts are only long enough that they look right with cannons down. The downside to this approach- swivel arms on hinged plates, is that the arms always only swing outwards along that axis. Universal joints are more versatile, but they just aren't possible here. There are forearm swivels with pegs that are exposed on the front, which I think may only stick out to me because I know what to look for. They work fine but are very stiff. Also extremely stiff are the elbows, which are textured like they're meant to click from one position to the next but don't. It really bugs me however that there are no wrist swivels. It seems like these would be a must for a swordsman.

The transformation would make a waist difficult or impossible, so there's not one here, sadly. The hips are limited only by the stabilizer fins on Starscream's nosecone, so there's a lot of possibilities there. Thigh swivels help with that, as do knees that go as far as a single hinge joint possibly can thanks to the transformation requirements. There are no formal ankle joints, which is not too surprising for the way the feet transform, but the hinges for transformation can finesse things a bit. The hinges are good and stiff too. The feet are angled for a specific default position but not so much that they're useless in others, and they have back parts as well, so even with the big cannons hanging out behind him balance isn't an issue.


Transformation

Fairly similar to the original in most ways. Unlike your average jet Transformer which stands up on end to become a robot, the orientation of Armada Starscream's core is more or less unchanged between modes. The only even slightly tricky part is lining up the wings with the wing chunks on the shoulders, and also remembering that the shoulders have to swing back to become part of the jet, which the 2002 model didn't do. (The tops of the shoulders also look like chunks of jet wing, because they did on the original toy.) That's what happens when you add shoulder articulation, I guess, but it also allows you to tab the arms into the wings to keep them still. One neat thing is how the tailfins are pushed out of their recessed positions in the legs when you get the lower body aligned properly. Everything locks down without being frustrating or difficult, and with the exception of the arms, you don't have any super-obvious robot parts left over. Even the feet look like they belong where they are, which is quite a trick considering they're just sitting under there being feet. And going from jet to robot, they even managed to preserve the head reveal gimmick of the original, where it pops up when you fold his torso into place- nice!




Vehicle Mode

The jet is more or less a sleeker version of the original with more interesting wings and a slightly less complicated undercarriage. Which is a positive, because it feels less thick and clunky as a jet- that was an unavoidable consequence of the electronics in the original. Though I'm not sure what generates thrust here- maybe the arms are extremely square jet engines and not just arms hanging out under the robot wings as is customary? There's not much that looks like an engine on the back end, even if you assume the missile launchers as some type of funky air intakes (that also fire missiles) in this mode. Those missile launchers are a bit less swept back on the new figure too, a bit less aerodynamic than the original. But with the exception of the jet needing more gray just as the robot could especially use more black, it looks pretty nice. You get a couple of Powerlinx ports on the top for attaching Mini-Cons, Energon weapons or anything 5mm-socket related, and there are folding landing gears on the nose and the back end of the jet.

Accessories

Where the original Armada Starscream had a left wing that became a single extremely long sword, Generations Armada Starscream has a pair of reasonably-sized swords that fold up and store behind both his wings. It's a sensible decision, because then you can lose the swords and still have a complete jet. On the upside, they look more like swords than the original mold's sword, which looked very much like an unfolded jet wing. On the downside, the hinge's connector is not a complete circle but a U-shaped piece, which means the swords pop apart incredibly easily. Annoyingly easily, in fact. I had to go burrowing behind a piece of furniture to reassemble one already. I have them in an airtight container now, where they will remain until photo time.

You may or may not find the length to be an issue to you as well. The swords are a good length for a one-handed sword in the real world, where the rule of thumb is for a sword to be about as long as the user's arm, generally speaking. For a toy and/or anime sword, that's shorter and less impressive than you might find ideal. Also, once again there's no wrist articulation, which in a toy of a swordsman is something I always find irritating.

And you also get chapter one of Dark Cybertron! It's kind of the weakest chapter so far, trying to set things up without revealing too much of what's going on, and having to divide its attention between many, many different places. You do get Swerve making Orion Pax's distress message his ringtone, so that's worth reading. But the important takeaway from the issue is that this Armada Starscream is also President Starscream in the current IDW continuity, after having essentially won the Robot Politics story arc from the Robots In Disguise monthly comic.

Of course he cheated.


Closing Remarks

I'm looking forward to getting a good look at the Takara version because as I said, this figure is severely underpainted and, in the case of the chin, mispainted. If the paint doesn't bug you too much, or you just want a Dark Cybertron Starscream, you're good to go because it is a really nice figure on its own merits. With the proper paint job I could see rating it Very Good, but between the paint and the really annoying fragile swords, Generations Armada Starscream is Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale. It's a good enough mold that I will buy it again as Jhiaxus with little to no hesitation.



ReviewerRAC  
DateJanuary 29th 2014  
Score 7 stars (7 out of 10)  
Reads8396
LinkArmada Starscream Gallery  


Armada Starscream Gallery Image Gallery


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