Saturday, 30 April 2016

TF Prime 'Ultimate Opponents' Starscream

I'm going to have to confess to being a little obsessed with the First Edition Starscream mold at some point... Having picked up the original as a result of the awesome TFCC Subscription Service figure Slipstream, I went on to buy the Dark Energon version (which I considered calling 'Skywarp'), then Arms Micron Thundercracker then, as required by my OCD, the 'actual' Skywarp. More recently, while trawling through eBay, I found a TransFormers Prime 'value pack' featuring two First Edition repaints - Starscream and Bumblebee - along with 'companion' figures - Mech commander Silas and one of his nameless, faceless mooks, much like the Jack and Raf figures from the NYCC2011 Arcee and Bumblebee set.

Needless to say, the compulsion came over me...

Vehicle Mode:
In some ways, this version of Starscream appears truer to the TV show CGI than the mass-released Voyager or the First Edition Deluxe, in that it's virtually all pale grey (slightly pearlescent) plastic with only a few coloured highlights. Unfortunately, those colours are dark purple (with a pearlescent/metallic flake component to the plastic) and bright purple/pink, and some of the latter colour was applied to his cockpit canopy... so it's Starscream with added Fabulous.

There isn't a massive amount of paintwork elsewhere on the model - the flaps and stabiliser wings have strips of flat purple, then the missiles have purple/pink warheads and a couple of points on the fuselage feature touches of dark metallic purple.

Robot Mode:
Even more Fabulous becomes apparent in robot mode, where Starscream's trademark kinky boots are in the dark purple plastic with the pearlescent swirl and silver tips to the feet. The mostly grey arms feature flat purple on the shoulders and forearms, and a lighter purple (not magenta, as it may seem in my photos) for the biceps. This is also about the only version of Starscream to feature a coloured rubber crest - all the others were grey - and some paintwork on his missles - each one has a purple tip. Much of the chest is plain, unpainted grey plastic, but the very outer sections (below the 'eyes' in his chest) are picked out with the dark purple paint and the very central part of the collar now looks like a light purple cravat.

Other than that, there's not a great deal to be said for 'Ultimate Opponents' Starscream, as it's just a recolouring of the excellent First Edition mold. It's the standard version rather than the Arms Micron, but it works well as one of Starscream's clones.

The big problem with Hasbro's habit or repainting characters so they're almost unrecognisable, yet keeping the original name, is that they end up with a whole lot of products that are effectively redundant. There's no real point to picking up the 'Ultimate Opponents' set for any of its components, and the whole box is actually pretty underwhelming. All that's really worked in my case is that I rather like the FE Starscream mold, and so I seem to be buying every iteration I can lay my hands on... Your mileage may vary.

It might have been more interesting if Hasbro had made this either a G1 homage Starscream (which should, theoretically, have been inevitable at some point in TFPrime's lifetime) or follow Takara Tomy's example and make the other official Seekers. As it stands, I'll either consider it one of Starscream's clones (from the TFPrime episode 'Armada') or try to come up with an alternative identity for it...

...And it certainly won't stop me buying any other iteration of this mold that might turn up in future.

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