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Hasbro: Transformers R.E.D. Starscream Review

I’m pretty easygoing with most toys. I don’t feel the need to earn some kind of toy collector street cred with how hard I can hammer a toy with nitpicks. But sometimes a toy or a toyline seems to self-sabotage itself with such stunning vigor that even I have to wonder just what the hell is going on. The Transformers RED line, one that I initially pretty happy with and was looking forward to, looks like it’s unfortunately jumping the Sharkticon.

I’m only getting the G1 characters from this line, and my reviews of Optimus, Megatron and Soundwave were overall positive. I had my issues, but they were fun toys that, while smaller than many were expecting, scaled fine with each other.

However, with Starscream and Bumblebee (to be reviewed later in the week) the toyline has taken a downward stumble that has killed a lot of my interest.

I don’t want this review to be all negative, but it’s not going to be Candyland farts.

Let’s start with the good. I like the overall “look” of Starscream. He looks like he should, and has a pleasing jackass smirk. The articulation is technically pretty good, working around the limitations of a blocky form.

But the plastic is chewing gum. You can see in the picture I have of him doing a split that the weight of his torso is causing his knee joints to buckle. Gummy plastic is an insult hurled at Marvel Legends from time to time, and it’s true that the plastic can be soft, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a figure with plastic this structurally unsound. I’ve eaten harder ice cream.

This made posing him for the pictures challenging, because his legs had a tendency to do the “little dick guy” spread. You know, the spread-leg thing guys who are trying to take up as much room as possible do. Which I guess is appropriate for Starscream, but not what I would call the funnest feature in an action figure. Funnest is a word.

The second most egregious thing is he’s larger than Megatron. Starscream should be wishing that he was in charge, not looking like he could take Megatron’s lunch money. The size issue is not as colossal as it is with Bumblebee (and oh boy do I have opinions on that later this week) but it’s another mark in the line-killer column for me. If there’s not going to be some kind of internal consistency in the line, then I’m not sure what the point is.

For accessories, Starscream comes with a pair of fists, a pair of expressive hands, and his coronation outfit. There are a pair of purple shoulderpads that peg into his original shoulders, a cape and a crown that fastens tightly to his head.

Lastly, he comes with two laser blasts that attach to his arm lasers. The tips of the arm lasers have a nice scorched look to them.

I like what he comes with. And overall the figure doesn’t suck. It’s not a bad toy in terms of sculpting and articulation. But everything that goes into him, from the height/size issues to the plastic quality kill anything good about him. It’s less than ideal in a line that should be delivering far better product.

This is a negative review and I almost decided to skip reviewing this figure, but the line is barely off the ground and it’s already feeling like something that won’t last much longer. At this price point it should be a fun line to collect for people who don’t need the transformations. But Starscream is feeling like strike one, where Bumblebee is most definitely strike two and three combined. But again, more on that later.