Starscream & Swindle - Armada - Figures

The name Starscream may be even more recognizable than Megatron. Maybe it's because the original G1 Starscream was always an underdog, a perpetual loser whom you loved to root for all the same. Or maybe it's because he was without a doubt the meanest, dirtiest, sneakiest, conniving, cowardly, back-shooting Decepticon slimeball of them all.


Car Mode
Swindle appears to be a type of nitro dragster. He measures roughly 6.5 cm(2.6") long and is red and black with a silver thruster at the rear. He rolls along quite nicely on carpet and smooth surfaces. His Mini-Con symbol is etched on his left side and his Powerlinx connector is located on his underside.

The sides of the car become the arms, the front splits down the middle to become the legs, and the spoiler slides down to reveal the head.

Robot Mode
Swindle stands 5.5 cm(2.2") tall at the head. He's got a rather unique head: vertical mouthplate and beady eyes topped off with what strongly resembles a lampshade or an upturned KFC bucket. The life of the frat party, he is. He has joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips, and ankles, yet he's one of the most unposeable Mini-Cons to date. His arms and legs can only spread out to the sides as if he were making snow angels. He has no moulded fists, just two claws on each arm.

In spite of these shortcomings, however, Swindle is a neat little toy.


Jet Mode
Starscream, naturally, is a red, silver, and black fighter jet with yellow detailing and purple Decepticon symbols on his wings. He measures 23 cm(9") long from nose to tail and has a 22 cm(8.5") wingspan. Superficially, he resembles an F-15 Eagle except for his two missile launchers and his lack of stabilizer fins. From the top, he looks absolutely great, but from the sides he looks kinda boxy. His nose and tail fins are made of flexible plastic, presumably for safety reasons. His robot arms, which have non-coloured Decepticon symbols and dead Powerlinx connectors on them, just sorta sit there underneath his wings, but you could easily conceive of them as fuel tanks or rocket pods.

Pressing down on Screamer's cockpit activates a laser-firing sound. Inserting Swindle into a slot located on the underside of the cockpit will result in a different sound, a scratchy, crackling noise, perhaps some kind of disruptor ray. Also, you can airdrop Swindle by pressing down extra hard on the cockpit. Geronimo!!!!

Now for the real fun. Pulling back on the live Powerlinx connector at Screamer's rear with your fingertip and then quickly letting go activates a "Jet Taking Off" sound. Holding on to the connector for about a second results in a "Jet Taking Off And Cruising" sound. (You can use Swindle to activate these sounds as well, but I find it's easier just using a finger). Plugging Swindle into the connector causes Screamer's twin missile launchers to flip forward and activates a rapid laser-firing sound that repeats itself six times. The spring-loaded launchers fire independently of one another and can send their projectiles flying for a distance of over a meter. The launchers can detach and re-attach fairly easily, but since they don't have handles for Screamer to grip, I'm guessing this was a safety precaution.

Due to Screamer's design, only thin Mini-Cons like Swindle and Grindor can effectively activate his launcher gimmick.

As seems to be the case with large Armada toys, Screamer is fairly easy to transform. Legs and hips swing out from beneath the jet, arms unfold, head pops up when hips are inserted into slot, cockpit folds down, heel spurs flip out.

Robot Mode
Screamer stands just over 19 cm(7") tall in robot mode. His head is black with a red crest, silver face, dark red eyes, and vents on his temples. Indeed, he's probably the best-looking Armada Decepticon thus far, and certainly the best-looking Starscream toy EVER. Everything about him just screams "Starscream!" He's got fins on his shins for brutally kneeing his opponents in the bearings, he's got a cockpit on his torso and Decepticon-branded wings hanging off his back, and he's even got an evil lopsided smirk. Probably he's enjoying the fact that he's got more joints than Megatron. He's articulated at the knees, thighs, hips, elbows(two hinge joints), and shoulders(hinge & swivel). Unfortunately, his hips don't spread out to the sides and he lacks those crucial shoulder joints for raising his arms above his head, so no major dramatic poses for him.

Screamer joins the ranks of Obsidian and Depth Charge in having an enormous handle that juts out a good 9 cm(3.5") from his back, necessary for accommodating the missile launchers. Doesn't really bug me that much; it gives kids something to hold on to during play. His left wing can detach and unfold to become a sword or club, but the handle is just a tad too thick for the holes in his fists, resulting in instant stress marks. (The Star Saber causes the exact same problem) Also, he looks silly with just one wing, so I prefer to not to employ the sword at all. More fun to attach Swindle and other Mini-Cons to the dead connectors on his forearms anyway.

Susp Sez: Unquestionably, this is the best Starscream toy of them all, easily overshadowing his G1, G2, and Machine Wars versions. It's not perfect, what with its protruding handle and stress mark-prone fists in robot mode, but its great looks and fun gimmicks make it truly a winner. A must-have in this reviewer's humble opinion.


"My destiny is leadership." -Starscream

DateAugust 10th 2002  
Score 9 stars (9 out of 10)  

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