Masterpiece Starscream Ghost Version
Review by The Enthusiast
Starscream was memorably dispatched by Galvatron in Transformers:The Movie (1986). Megatron’s second hand man would soon return to the G1 continuity in the cartoon’s third season, albeit in ghost form.
Ghost Starscream first possessed other bots before obtaining a new physical form, which was promptly jettisoned into space. Starscream’s ghost would later appear again in the Beast Wars continuity.
The Ghost Starscream has proven itself to be a sturdy toy gimmick for TakaraTomy. And why shouldn’t it? I don’t even need an excuse to partake of a translucent recast, and the Ghost variation happens to have a perfectly good excuse. The latest Starscream mold to get the afterlife treatment is the Masterpiece.
Masterpiece Ghost Starscream presses all of my nerd buttons. Transformers? Yup. Masterpiece? Uh-huh. Clear? It’s a ghost, ain’t it? Shoji Goddamned Kawamori? Oh hell Yes! I sat out the original Japanese release (too pricy), though its subtle color scheme was very appealing. I bought the American G1 “weathered” repaint (and immediately removed the weathering with rubbing alcohol), but was left unimpressed. It was all very fine and good, but this Starscream was ultimately closer to the fiddly, awful Masterpiece Megatron than to the epic Masterpiece Optimus Prime.
My faint appreciation of the American version is helpless before the Kryptonite of gobs of clear plastic. Does the recast make up for the original’s shortcomings? Not really, but it certainly looks very good.
Masterpiece Starscream Ghost Version, hereafter MPSGV, is packaged in a typically robust Masterpiece box, sturdy corrugated cardboard with contrasting matte and glossy elements.
The inner plastic tray is bare bones, with only a few accessories, just the way I like it. Included is a pilot, a stand, two canons, and a couple of missile clusters. TakaraTomy includes a decal sheet, but I can’t imagine anyone marring the perfect transparency with gauche decals.
MPSGV arrives in jet form, which is really as solid of an alt-mode as any transformer ever possessed. The numerous panel lines and layered details are perfectly complimented by the clear plastic. The textural complexity is breathtaking. Gaze upon it, ye mortals!
Unfortunately, many of the jet’s details are compromised by the lack of paint applications. The assorted hatches and cockpit details suffer with the vague blurriness of the product. Doesn’t bother me, though.
Transformation is complicated enough to be interesting, but becomes easier after awhile. The clarity of the plastic has the added value of revealing the figure’s exact diecast content, which consists of a piston at a rear panel, a largish connector bar for the cockpit, a set of bars connecting the top fuselage panel, and a substantial structural torso insert. All of the diecast has a kind of purplish cast, which is a little feminine for my tastes.
Starscream’s bot form is in many ways a let-down from the terrific plane mode. The figure suffers from a surplus of kibble and clutter, particularly when compared with its minimalist progenitor, or a sleek and compact Valkyrie. There are two tabs at the front of the shoulder clusters which will fall off a dozen times while transforming (echoes of MP Megatron’s woeful handgun panels). The legs are flanked by ungainly panels. A clutter of junk hangs on the back.
Posing is pitiful. Balancing the thing on two feet is a delicate process. You have to hunch him over sometimes just to keep him standing.
The use of the stand improves matters, but what a cop-out. So Starscream hovers very stylishly, befitting a ghost, I guess.
Starscream does succeed in being Starscream, though. The sophistication of the figure far exceeds other incarnations, and the overall design is a marvelous reinvention of a classic character in a modern form. And did I mention is was designed by Shoji Kawamori!
I do quarrel, though, with the pinkish hue of the bulk of the parts. Why couldn't these just be clear?
The MPSGV is a very nice looking display piece, an impeccable objet d’art, but not a wonderful toy. For me it’s sheer beauty overcomes it’s shortcomings as a plaything, but pieces like this are clearly objects first, toys second, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
|Posted 20 December, 2010 - 23:29 by The Enthusiast|