I wish there was such a thing as a definitive toy. And I don’t mean one end-all-be-all toy that could change the course of human history. I just mean that I wish they could make a Spider-Man action figure that was so great that I would say “This is the definitive Spider-Man figure. I will never need another Spider-Man figure for as long as I live.” And then of course I would want a definitive Optimus Prime and a definitive Snake-Eyes, a definitive Donatello and so on. I would still end up with a massive toy collection but it would be satisfying to know that each time I bought a new toy it would be the last time I would ever need to buy a toy of that particular character. Of course that would be impossible to do because I’m never satisfied with what I have and I want nearly every version I see. The recent G.I.Joe figures for example have been amazing. If I could go back in time and show my 8 year old self what G.I.Joes would look like in 2012 I imagine my small mind would be blown by the detail, durability and accessories of the Joes, not to mention the concept of time travel. These modern Joe figures are everything I would have wanted as a kid. So why then do I still feel compelled to buy up random loose limbed vintage Joes? And Joe Mighty Muggs? And Combat Heroes? And 12” dolls? And why am I excited about the upcoming Lego styled Kree-O Joes? And why would I still love to see hyper detailed 6” versions of Joes characters? How many goddamn shapes and sizes of Destro do I need? What is wrong with me?!
Take Starscream for example. He is one of the most popular and recognizable Transformers of all time. I never owned a Starscream as a kid but I did own Thrust who was one of the Starscream repaints that filled the ranks of the Decepticon Seekers. Starscream was one of the many G1 Transformers characters that I would have always loved to have. The issue I have with G1 Transformers though is that the toys leave a lot to be desired. The characters were brought to life in the cartoons and comic books and yet the toys were often clunky, mis-colored, out of scale disappointments. Those old seeker jets were very stiff looking and not representative of the awesomeness presented to me on the small screen every day after school. So even though I would’ve liked a Starscream toy I wasn’t losing any sleep over it.
When Hasbro starting releasing the Transformers Classics toys a few years ago I was pretty stoked to have a reason to start buying Transformers again. The Classics line has been renamed a few times now that I’m not even sure what it’s called anymore. I believe it started as Classics, then became Generations and is now Universe. Regardless, it’s a line of G1 Transformers with sculpting, articulation and detail much closer to the animated versions than anything we’ve ever gotten before. The figures look like they’re supposed to, the paint schemes are right, and the clunky stiffness has been replaced with well-placed joints allowing for dynamic poses and playability. When I got the Classics Starscream it was very satisfying to finally have my very own figure of the Decepticon’s scheming second-in-command. I displayed him proudly on my shelf. He wasn’t perfect but he was pretty darn good. So why then did I feel the need to buy this dinky figure at Winners last year?
Winners is a like a retarded department store dumping ground. Some people love it but I detest shopping there. They supposedly carry designer clothes at discount prices…I dunno, the place just bugs me. But crappy clothes and candle holders aside they do tend to get some cool toys now and again. Their rickety toy corner is always a mess with disorganized half empty shelves and dump bins of randomness. And yet for some reason toys that you can’t find anywhere else sometimes end up there. So on a Christmas shopping excursion to the mall around this time last year I popped into Winners to search for hidden gems. I think I did actually find something good but I can’t recall what it was. Anyway I went up to pay and I discovered that they stick a lot of their action figures up near the registers as impulse buys. I don’t know what these little Transformers would normally sell for but I found teeny weeny versions of Starscream, Megatron and Optimus Prime hanging on the pegs for five bucks a piece. I actually didn’t have a Megatron or an Optimus figure at the time so I began to admire them. They would look ridiculous displayed with my other Transformers and they would in no way satisfy my Megatron and Optimus needs, I would clearly need to buy bigger and better ones eventually so why waste my money. Then again it could be ages before I find a decent Megatron. How can I even call myself a Transformers fan without owning a single version of either faction’s fearless leader? I convinced myself that I had no choice and decided to pick them up as stocking stuffers for myself. So I bought the leaders to fill holes in my collection, even if only temporarily. But why then did I feel the need to buy the little Starscream as well? Was I gonna start a whole new collection of little Transformers to display alongside my normal sized ones? What’s the point in doing that? I already have the Starscream figure that I would buy to replace this little one if I didn’t already have it. And yet logic doesn’t stand a chance against the joy my inner child experiences every time I buy a new toy. So I picked up 3 stocking stuffers for myself that night. And ever since my mini Optimus Prime, Megatron and Starscream have been chilling out at the front of my Transformers shelf, dwarfed by even Cosmos and Seaspray.
This is a fine little Starscream figure. He looks good in both robot and jet modes. The Transformation is very simple which I like, just a couple of quick flips. This is exactly the kind of thing I would’ve love to find in my stocking on Christmas morning back in the day. And even though I knew he was gonna be in there because I bought him for myself, and even though I already own a superior Starscream figure, and even though there was also a Unicron figure waiting for me under the tree, I was still happy to unwrap this guy last year. You just can’t beat a classic, no matter the size. So despite now owning 2 decent versions of the character ( 3 if you count this one) I feel I probably still have a few more Starscream purchases left in me. 4 out of 10.