Transformer Classics
Optimus Prime and Starscream

Tonight's guest review is from Josh, who's covered a number of goodies for us in the past.  Tonight he takes on some Transformers - tell us all about it, Josh!

Transformers…more than meets the eye…Transformers…robots in disguise…NOW that I have you humming the theme song, lets talk about one of the coolest toy lines ever to grace the shelves.

Transformers had many kids, (myself included) TRANS-fixed to their television sets back in the 80’s. The cartoon, comic and toy line has continued to evolve and transform not unlike its Cybertronian robot characters.

Over the years we have been treated to some amazing toys(20th Anniversary Optimus Prime), and some not so amazing ones (Megatron is a gun, he will always be a gun.. Not a tank…not a T-rex…not a dragon.. A Gun…ok I’ m off my soapbox).

But now Hasbro has done something interesting. Instead of continually trying to re-invent the line, they are updating it for 2006, but giving fans highly articulated figures based on their iconic looks from the 80’s cartoon series.

This review will cover the 2006 Optimus Prime and Starscream. SO how did Hasbro do? Lets transform and roll out… to find out!

Packaging - **
The packaging for this line is not bad. For a Larger figure like Optimus there is a lot of wasted space (Megatron and Optimus use the same size packaging. Megatron fills up ALL the space while prime uses considerably less.) Prime is suspended in the middle of the package and there are windows on all sides to give you a good idea of what Prime looks like in Truck mode. Starscream is in a carded bubble type of package. There is virtually no wasted space and the plastic bubble has a nice embossed Decepticon symbol on top. All of the figures come in vehicle mode. There is a flap on the outside of the packaging on ALL the figures that shows you what the robot looks like in Robot mode. The boxes for both my Prime and Starscream were pretty dinged up. So why do you ask only 2 stars? None of the packages are collector friendly. While that’s not surprising, you could think there is SOMETHING different that twisty ties and glued down bubbles. Take a look at the more recent alternator lines. Those figures just have a simple plastic knob that turns to release the vehicle. While that is more unlikely for a figure like Starscream, it would have been nice on a figure like Prime. So add in the already dinged up packaging, and the destruction that must ensue to get the figure out and the packaging becomes a moot point. But lets be honest…the packaging is meant for one reason.. To sell.. Will kids see this and be drawn to it? Maybe. It looks too close to the other Transformers line out there. Hence the 2 stars.

Sculpting - ***
This is where this line really shines. I have Bumblebee, Hot Rod (here in this line called Rodimus…dman copyrights!) and both of those figures have fantastic modern styling in vehicle mode and near spot on sculpting robot mode. The SAME can be said for Optimus and Starscream.

Optimus is very well done in vehicle mode. Hasbro has opted for the classic “cab over” design, not the craptacular engine forward design that looks to be used in the upcoming Transformers movie. Prime has plenty of detail to make him look like a truck and once you transform him he has great classic detailing along with some nifty modern ones. Primes head is a nice blend of old school and modern. But you will know instantly THIS IS Optimus Prime. There are several fairly intricate details on his legs and torso and really sells the look of a truck that transforms into the leader of the Autobots.

Starscream is another fantastic sculpt. Unlike Prime, Starscream retains his classic look in both vehicle AND robot mode. As the F-15 Eagle Starscream looks great he has all the details of his real life counterpart. He even has an opening canopy.

Once in robot mode Starscream is a dead lock for his 1980’s counterpart. He is very well sculpted with all the details you remember and a few more. The face is very well done although could have used some added details (more on that in the paint section).

Paint - Prime *** Starscream **½
Primes paint is pretty nice in truck mode he has the classic red and blue paint scheme but also has silver stripes. The paint lines are clean and there is very little over spray. The paint on prime is well done capturing his classic look while in robot mode.

Starscream also… for the most part has nice paint ops. While his wings torso, arms and legs all have nearly perfect paint, its his face that knocks his score down a little.

ALL of the figures in this line Bumblebee, Rodimus, Astrotrain, Prime AND Megatron ALL have painted faces. They all have that iconic silver face with the blue eyes for auto bots and the red hues for the deceptions. Starscream however, does NOT have a painted face. Instead Hasbro has opted to go with the bare gray plastic here. The eyes have some slight color to them, but in comparison with the rest of the line looks out of place. On the package, Starscream HAS a painted face, but that must have been one of the changes that was made from prototype to production. Its been said on this site time and time again, good or bad paint can make or break a figure. While this detail doesn’t totally detract from the overall appearance it WOULD have been the finishing touch on a very nice paint job.

Articulation - Prime ***½ Starscream ***
One of the major improvements of the classics line over their 1980’s counterparts is their articulation. While the 80’s versions were very basic “arms up, arms down” these figures have articulation that kids in 2006 come to expect from toys.

Prime has swivel shoulders, with cuts at the upper arm. Pin elbows, a cut at the upper torso and waist, swivel hips, pin knees, cuts below the knee and possibly the MOST disappointing, a cut neck.

If you can think it up, you can probably put Prime in it. ALL of the joints are tight and hold their position thanks to the typical locking joints. But Prime doesn’t have a ball jointed neck, and while the standard cut does fine it could be so much better. BUT, the head does fold down and forward a little more thanks to how Prime has to transform, so even though you do not have a TRUE ball joint you can still get prime to look slightly up and down.

Starscream also has decent articulation and is a great leap forward from his 80’s counterpart. Starscream has a cut neck, ball jointed shoulders, pin elbows, ball jointed hips and pin knees.

Again, it would have been nice to have a ball jointed head. Starscream is a victim of his design. Because the fuselage vents are so tall it limits how far to the left and right Starscream can turn his head. STILL you can get him into some very cool poses and like Prime, has the same tight joints with click lock feature.

Accessories - Prime *½; Starscream *
This is one category that is lacking a bit. There are so many different options that COULD go with these figures like a Autobot matrix of a coronation crown. But instead we are treated…or mis-treated to the bare essentials some guns and some missiles and that’s it.

Prime has his smokestacks that turn into his blaster and his wind vane turns into his Ion Cannon.

Starscream comes with two missiles. In plan mode they fit under his wings and in robot mode they are his blasters that are on his upper arms.

Value - ***
I think both of these figures are a tremendous amount of fun for kids and adults alike. Sure there are things that could be improved upon, but when have we ever really seen a PERFECT toy. For adults these will make you think about the good ole days when you had nothing to worry about other than the Decepitcons getting more energon cubes than the Autobots. For kids these are sturdy toys that transform into damn cool robots… and well ALL know.. Robots are frickin awesome. Expect to pay about 10 bucks for Starscream and 20 for Prime. Of course that all depends on where you find them.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Both my packages were fairly crushed. So were most of the ones on the peg. While the figures were just fine, for those MOC’ers just give things that extra look.

Overall - ***
Like I said above, these are sturdy toys with a great amount of poseability and play value. Im 26 and found myself transforming them over and over simply because it brought me back to my younger days. I am a HUGE fan of Optimus Prime and this is a welcome addition to the collection. As for Starscream…well c’mon its Starscream it goes way beyond “impulse buy” it’s a must buy!

Packaging - **
Sculpt - ***
Paint - Prime ***; Starscream **1/2
Articulation - Prime ***1/2; Starscream ***
Accessories - Prime *1/2; Starscream *
Value - ***
Overall - ***

Figure from the collection of Josh.

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