Voyager class Starscream
|Character Design||Shogo Hasui|
Review by knoted
“The moment his sensor net registered MEGATRON going offline, STARSCREAM knew the battle was over, and the AllSpark lost. He converted to vehicle mode and boosted for outer space, hoping to buy enough time to rally the DECEPTICON survivors. Returning from CYBERTRON bearing the marks won during his reign over the DECEPTICON army, he is focused on conquest. With a new army behind him, he has the strength to pursue his own goals, and perhaps, when the time is right, bring MEGATRON back.”
As the box says, Starscream's jet mode has been based on the Lockheed Martin F22 Raptor with an actual toy license.
Although Takara/Hasbro already had the F22 license for the first movie, the first movie Starscream jet mode did not do the airplane much justice. This has been an ongoing problem for jet Transformers.
The jet-formers either had a real airplane license; which merely resulted into a poor jet facsimile with bulky robot parts hanging under it, or they did not have a real license to start with; which resulted into a rather crudely bastardized jet mode.
For Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, they have completely re-engineered the voyager class Starscream. It is immediately apparent that this version of Starscream has a very sleek jet mode. It pretty much nails down the most important silhouette lines of the F22 Raptor jet, save for a few exceptions. From the most important angles we cannot, or barely see, the robot parts, which would give away that this is a jet-former and a not just an airplane.
Panel lines on top are discreet, detailed and the bottom front of the fuselage is one clean surface shape.
The top of the jet is covered with Starscream’s Cybertronian war markings, or tattoo’s as they are often referred to. The only things, which really stick out, are of course his hands and his mounted Gatling guns. It has been noted and acknowledged that the initial prototype, featured articulated hand sculpts which could fold up to be concealed in jet mode. The original plan was to have the mounted Gatling guns to be detachable as well. Ironically, these prototype features are still visible in the instruction sheet, which comes with the box.
Despite these budget cuts, this is still an incredibly good jet mode. In addition, voyager class Starscream breaks with the jet-former tradition of having the robot legs and feet to form the rear thrust nozzles of the airplane. This helps in getting rid of the feeling of seeing through a jet mode disguise; in those cases when you immediately recognize ‘a bulky robot folded up under an airplane’.
The underside of the fuselage is completely clean up to mid section. Then we see black parts, slightly sticking out on each side from the main body of the airplane. These will become Starscream’s shoulder posts. Then we get to the arms with the mounted Gatling guns and the hand sculpts. When we consider the actual silhouette of the arms we can see they form a shape, which becomes narrower to the rear. This means that it gets the main characteristic shape of the rear airplane right.
On a side note; Preview material of ROTF Leader class Starscream is already online. It shows the underside of the Leader class jet mode to be wider towards the rear end, because it situates the thighs and hips there. Thus, the Leader class version is a bit less accurate in my opinion.
For size comparison; ROTF voyager Starscream amidst Universe 2.0 Starscream and ROTF deluxe class Breakaway.
Voyager class Starscream features translucent mold detail that depicts the jet engines.
The canopy features cockpit detail inside, but the actual canopy does not open.
As part of the transformation, the nosecone can fold down. The tip of the nosecone is made out of rubber. At the lower part of the intakes we see the circular Mech Alive sockets. It is vital to plug the circular connectors of the tail wings into these sockets during transformation, to accommodate the Mech Alive feature in robot mode.
Starscream does have sculpted landing gear, but the wheels do not actually spin.
It is also, thanks to his reengineering that Starscream has a really nice and fun transformation. The fuselage splits in two at mid section. These two halves then fold around the canopy to form
At the back, you will have to make sure the circular plugs properly connect into the Mech Alive sockets. Finally, the outer ends of the fuselage frame, tab into each other securely, to form the robot torso.
If there is one single design which has sparked intense debate amongst the TF fandom (and beyond), it has to be movie verse Starscream. Whether you love or loathe his design, it cannot be disputed that it is instantly recognizable as movie verse Starscream and it is capable of evoking strong audience reaction. This design happens to be the thing, which brought me back to the fandom after a hiatus of about 20 years after G1. I still like the original G1 Starscream, but this new design hits all the right spots for me.
Unlike the fragmented aesthetic of movie Megatron, Starscream does indeed feature triangular and diamond shaped elements, which are equally recognizable in both his F22 jet mode and his robot mode. In other words, I think the aesthetic of the F22 has been translated very well into robot mode. I do not think this would have been the case if they would have designed his robot mode to adhere exact human proportions. Besides, many robots are already shaped into the stereotypical fashion model proportions: super long legs and a relatively small head. I have not read the Reign of Starscream comics myself, but reviews do indeed prove that movie Starscream is not just a one dimensional generic baddy/monster, as some critics make him out to be, purely based on their dissatisfaction with the essence of this design.
Size comparison with Universe 2.0 Starscream and my custom ROTF voyager Megatron
The head sculpt features some nice detailing and I think the overall shapes represent his CGi design better than the 2007 version. It is important to note, his eyes have been painted red. This renders his light piping useless. At the back of his head we see the translucent light piping is amber like the rest of the translucent parts, which means he would have amber coloured eyes had they not been painted red. In this case, I think it would have been better to just have a red piece of translucent plastic for the light piping.
This image also clearly shows Starscream’s Mech Alive gears in his chest. Spin his head from side to side and the gears will rotate. This means the head is not on a ball joint, so unfortunately he cannot look up and down.
The wings on his back can fold up to form a simplified facsimile for the jet boosters on his back.
The chicken legs feature double-jointed knees and the thighs can swivel. The lower legs can position the fuselage covers in a horizontal manner, as if they were extra wings, although this is not screen accurate.
In this, close up of the arm we can see the mold detail in the mounted Gatling gun and the hands. You can see those details were once mounting clips and hinge joints, before budget cuts erased these features from the final product.
You can get some neat poses out of Starscream. He can either blast his enemies to shreds like in the street battle of TFTM 2007 versus Ironhide and Ratchet...
…or he can soar through the sky with slashing claws, as he slashed through the human F22 squadron.
Thanks to a very sleek jet mode, a fun / creative transformation and a robot mode, which evokes the essence of this movie Starscream design, ROTF voyager class Starscream is recommendable within the context of the $23 price range, voyager class toys.
|Posted 8 January, 2010 - 17:13 by knoted|