Today our guest review comes from Jose Negron, Transformers buff.  Here's a review of Starscream, one of the recent rereleases of the classic Transformers.  Take it away Jose! 

For the past year or so Takara has been re-releasing some of the classic Transformers toys. These toys for the most part are exact reproductions of the originals. While the selection of re-releases is somewhat limited and not always friendly to the wallet, this does present an opportunity for Transformers fans to fill some holes in their collection.

Here's the catch though. These re-releases are domestic to Japan only which does contribute to the hefty price tag that come with some of them.

One of the most recent of these re-releases is Starscream. This edition of Starscream is for the most part an exact reproduction of the Starscream toy released back in 1984/1985. It's a generally available item in Japan (i.e. not a store or convention exclusive).

The character of Starscream is a controversial one. He is most likely best known for continually plotting against his own leader in an attempt at becoming faction leader himself. This eventually lead to his own demise. But of course you can't keep a good villain down. He returned in ghost form in both the classic Transformers cartoon series and the more recent Beast Wars Transformers. 


Packaging - ***
The packaging is quite nice and collector friendly. The front includes a view of the Starscream toy itself along with character art. The back of the box depicts a battle scene of sorts and you have pictures of the toy itself on the side panels.

The toy itself is packed in a plastic tray. You're able to remove it from and place it back into the tray, for storage, with minimal damage to the packaging.

The text is in Japanese, so if you don't read Japanese there's not much you're going to get out if it.

Overall I like it. The view of the toy and colorful character art are attractive and it can be used to store the toy itself.

Jet - Transformation - Robot
Starscream is packaged in his jet mode - sort of. To complete the look of the jet you have to attach the wings, the tail fins, landing gear and weaponry.

His jet mode is modeled after one of the F-series military jets and definitely looks like one.

His transformation involves flipping down the feet, rotating the wings and tail fins, folding down and pushing the nosecone piece into the body to both push out the arms and form the chest and head. The instructions are in Japanese but one is able to follow the transformation sequence using the accompanying images.

In robot mode Starscream looks like, well, a robot. He's definitely recognizable as such. Distinguishing features include the wings, the launchers on the arms and the jet intakes which end up on his shoulders.

Paint - ***
The paint application is clean and polished. No complaints really but nothing to get overly excited about, although I do like the colors themselves.

Sculpting - **
You have some sculpted lines on the chest, head and along the backside of the jet body but some of this is covered when the labels are applied. For the most part that's what the labels are for - to supply the detail.

I do like the overall look of the jet and robot. Some nice sharp edges and such. Like I mentioned previously the jet looks like a jet and the robot looks like a robot. The look and feel of the red color on the die-cast metal chest is appealing.

*Oooo shiny*

Articulation - *1/2
In robot mode there are 2 points of articulation - at the shoulders. That's it.

Accessories - **
I have to score this in the middle because his accessories are not really accessories in the traditional sense (i.e. Joe fig that comes with lots o' guns and extra stuff). They're all required to complete the look of either of two modes (jet or robot). Without them the jet wouldn't be a jet and the robot would be fistless and unarmed. Included are his wings, tail fins, fists, rocket launchers, missiles, bombs and front landing gear. All of these are detachable from the main Starscream body.

Also included is a nifty trading card with the character art on one side and info about the character on the other. Once again the text is in Japanese.

Value - ***
Compared to today's toys Starscream is somewhat lacking with little articulation but it does make for a nice display piece, in both jet and robot modes. The real value here, however, is being able to get a minty new Starscream without having to spend the few hundred dollars a boxed vintage one could cost.

Overall - ***
For fans of classic Transformers toys, both those who were around THEN and those who were first exposed to the Transformers name via the Beast Era Transformers, this is a good opportunity to pick up a fan favorite without having to pay through the nose for a vintage one. Nice overall robot mode and jet modes - colorful display piece.

Keep in mind, however, that the launchers do work and there are number of small detachable pieces. So probably not the best toy for a small child.

Where to Buy:
This re-release of Starscream is domestic to Japan only, so it's not available at stores like Toy R Us or Walmart. Given that, however, it's still relatively easy to acquire from one of several online dealers or from a local Japanese import store. It's NOT a store or convention exclusive so the price tag is somewhat manageable.

I purchased mine from Captured Prey, price then was $35.00, current price $30.00.

Starscream is also available from the following:
Wizzywig Collectibles - $40.00 - sub-standard $37.99, standard grade $39.99
Image Anime Sale - $30.00 Sale Price - As per their policy => "Sale price Items: Any item that has a SALE price will only be effective through Online purchasing Only! (Sale pricing will not be effective for Phone orders)"

I've dealt with all of the above on at least one occasion in the past and have come away a satisfied customer. As of this writing all have Starscream in stock and all are based in the United States.

Questions? Comments? Email Jose!

Figure from the collection of Jose Negron

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