May 10th, 2009

too!, Frenzy wants to read

I scream, you scream, we all scream! It's Starscream!

Shortpacked!@TNI:  I would never condone such a thing.
Shortpacked!:  Funky phantom.

RE: Today's strip.  How much am I exaggerating?

So check out this new Starscream!

The first movie's Transformers were designed largely from concept art, what with the movie not being finished yet and toy development lengths being what they are, so I'm sure all those Hasbro and Takara peeps were super excited to get the chance to make better versions for the sequel.  See, they can base them off the final CGI models this time!  And things are always better on the second try, regardless, especially when the Live-Action design style probably involved a steep learning curve. 

And thus the new Revenge of the Fallen Voyager-class Starscream feels a whole lot more confident. There wasn't a lot of guesswork here, I imagine, like there was on the first movie's version.  For example, the first movie version's head looks like it was based off art of just the front of the head.  The details don't wrap around like they should, and the back of the head looks like an extrapolation.  But no more!  The new Starscream's here, and he's more detailed and movie-accurate than ever before!

His wings are oriented properly on his back, to give another example.  They jut outwards like they should instead of fold inwards.  (Though there's some extra jointing that I'm not sure what to do with.  Is there some further movie-accuracy that I could be achieving by using the hinges built into the wings that is otherwise completely unused during transformation?  Looking at screencaps and publicity stills gives me no clue.)  But the biggest difference in the new robot mode is easily the arms.  He has real arms!  With hands and fingers!  And they're... jointed so that he can only hang his wrist limply!  Yeah, this is Starscream, all right.

The transformation is pretty insane.  In between robot and jet, everything comes apart, layer by layer, like peeling string cheese.  Halfway through, I thought that I'd absolutely hate getting him back into jet mode again.  I was happy to be wrong.  It's not unintuitive to get him from robot back into jet mode at all.  Things line up easy-as-they-please and click into place.  Starscream is the best of both worlds - complicated yet not frustratingly so.

Another improvement is his jet mode.  The first movie's just barely the jet it claims to be.  It was largely a terrible-looking F-22 Raptor with a robot hanging under it, giant undisguised arms and all.  The ROTF version's jet mode is nothing like this.  The entire robot is integrated into the jet itself, save the robot hands that jut out the rear end.  There is basically no robot undercarriage. 

This does result in one of the new toy's few disadvantages over the old toy, though.  The old Starscream was pleasingly bulky and quite huge for a Voyager-class toy since he filled the packaging in width, height, and depth.  New Starscream's jet mode is the same size, but since the robot mode integrates better, it's not nearly as huge when it's all unwrapped.  He has less mass.  A smaller Starscream, especially when he was undersized compared to the rest of the line already, is one disappointment. 

Though "Mech Alive" gears turn in his chest when you rotate his head, so maybe that makes up for it. 

In completely unrelated news, I plan to auction my explicitly inferior first-movie Deep Space "Premium" Starscream figure soon!