Thursday, 21 March 2013

Generations Fall of Cybertron Starscream

Hasbro Generations Fall of Cybertron Starscream

How many Deluxe Star screams have there been since the introduction of the standard size classes? Not many: Energon, Classics and Dark of the Moon come to mind and a forthcoming Beast Hunters Deluxe. The main Starscream figure in the line is usually a larger Voyager.

He comes packaged in robot mode so we'll start by transforming him into a jet: spin the head round and unfold the shoulder armour. Fold the back up flattening the neck out. Fold the arms into the back and lock together. Fold the waist and the legs back pegging the ankles under the jet.

Yeah basically it's the tried and tested Cyberjet transformation. Don't muck with what works!

The jet mode looks really similar to the War For Cybertron design, especially the triangular tail sticking up from the body. The vast majority of the toy is grey but there's lots of blue and red as well. In fact the wings are entirely red which is a little off putting but I expect we'll see a version with grey wings and red wing stripes down the line. The purple Decepticon symbols on the wings are a little difficult to pick out against the red of the wings. They have their chins pointing forward.... this'll cause trouble later. The cockpit is moulded in clear orange plastic which we like but he has no landing gear underneath. There's a peg hole on the side of each engine and another under each wing: either of these can be used to mount his weapons in.

Ah his weapons. Possibly the real reason to buy the toy: Starscream eschews his usual null rays, missile launchers or swords for a twin pair of Gatling Gun. Each gun has a rotating barrel a feature rarely seen on a transformer: on the TMUK forum we thought of just Leader Starscream and Beast Wars Rampage.of Lots of Zoids toys have it - Darkhorn, Gunbluster & Shadowfox plus numerous add ons. Transformers? No. Anyway each Gatling has two pegs which let you hold the weapon or attack it to the jet mode. But you can also lock them together to form a dual barrelled Gatling gun. Whats more the barrels have cogs on the side which lock together in combined mode so if one barrel is turned the other rotates in opposition.

The combined form has two pegs close together that look like they should fit into the two holes on the underside of the jet formed from the outside of the forearms, but the peg holes are sat too deep for the weapon pegs to penetrate - the weapon can't fit between the engines. Bringing the arms out of the undercarriage just doesn't work either as the pegs are just slightly too far apart. It's an annoying near miss....

But fortunately there is an official place to store the combined weapon in vehicle mode albeit a concealed one! The triangular tail unit is a separate piece and will remove. It may not feel like it as the connection is VERY secure so excessive force is required but trust me, it comes off without breaking the toy. It's attached by a single 5mm peg but just in front are two close together 5mm pegs allowing you to mount the combined weapon on the jet mode. A 5mm port on top of the weapon *should* allow you to re-attach the tail but seeing as the post is made up of two half circles on each part of the weapon with split between the two parts down the middle the connection isn't the greatest. Any of the ports on the jet's top can be used to add on any other 5mm weapons you may have.

And if you want some silliness in jet mode it's possible to raise the head and have it facing out over the cockpit!

Reverse the instructions to return to robot mode. Optionally fold in the nose cone before unpegging the engines and folding the undercarriage forward to form the chest and legs. Fold the arms out the body then fold the rear of the jet down to form the robot's back. There's a fiddly bit where the back of the platform the head is sitting on in jet mode needs to be bent up to transform which takes some work but apart from that it's dead easy.

The robot mode is obviously Starscream: mainly grey with the cockpit in the middle of the chest flanked by red sides and dark, nearly black head with silver face plate. Some of the details could do with some tweaking though. We mentioned the red wings in jet mode, they look just as bad here and now the Decepticon Symbols on them are upside down in robot mode, a big bug bear of mine! They aren't the only red part that's annoying me though: the upper legs are red. While there have been iterations of the Starscream design with red on the wings, so you could see how they got to red wings, in all of them the basic colour for the legs is grey like most of the rest of the toy. So both of the major red pieces on the toy itself would be better grey. The other pieces molded in red plastic are the weapons, also traditionally grey, and two tiny pieces of plastic flanking the head, which could have been painted. Actually these bits are rather odd: they're meant to simulate the air intakes on the G1 design and stretch back from the chest..... but they don't go all the way back to touch the structure behind the head. Front on - fine. Sideways on - massive gap. The head itself is lightpiped in the clear orange used for the cockpit window and looks really good.

Articulation: very good: sideways rocker in ankle, bending knee, rotating thigh, universal jointed hips, ball jointed shoulders, rotating bicep, double bending elbow, rotating wrist, turning head. The articulation is so good that Starscream can hold the peg sticking out of each side of his combined weapon at once.

If you don't want him to hold the weapons there's plenty of 5mm holes on the figure: one on the side of each leg, one under each forearm plus the ones on his back under the tail fin that let him wear the combined weapon as a backpack. The only extra points he really could have used are one each on the side of his upper arms in order to let him use the Gatlings like the Null Rays on the original toy.

Very very good. Not perfect, but very very good. Most of the problems I have with it are easily fixed by recasting the red parts in grey which I would not be surprised to see at some point.

Takara Generations Fall of Cybertron Starscream

Time to air a longstanding bugbear that I've never had an opportunity to before!

For many years Takara were the deco kings. Their toys trumped Hasbro's everytime. Beast Wars, Car Robots, Amanda/Energon/Cybertron, Henkei.... Takara won everytime. Then a few years back, around the time Animated was starting in Japan Takara started doing metallic paint jobs. They didn't appeal to me. Yes there were a couple of hits United Megatron and Bumblebee - a very good Goldbug stand in - spring to mind. But most of the others just didn't do it for me and have a tendency to scratch very very easily.

These same metallic paint jobs have been used on the Japanese versions of the Generations toys and I've not been liking them there either.

Starscream is worse than most because the metallic looking parts are the red ones which rather draws my attention to them.


Takara Generations Fall of Cybertron Skywarp

Like you didn't see this coming!

A metallic dark grey and purple repaint of Starscream - loosely red becomes purple and the the grey and blue become the metallic dark grey.

Oddly it's not screaming Skywarp at me. Not enough (any) black!

Future Repaints

Redo Starscream with grey wings and upper legs.

Redo Skywarp in black with a better purple.

Thundercracker. Sunstorm. Oh you know the form ....