Sunday, August 5, 2012

Transformers Prime Deluxe Class Starscream Part 3

Joints on joints

A look at Transformers Prime's Deluxe Class Starscream's jet to robot mode transformation after the previous posting. ^^

The two sets of missiles must be detached from underneath the wings first.

(Left) Untab the ankle from the jet's spine. The two circled areas show the tab and slot.
(Right) Similarly, untab the thigh from the jet's spine to release the leg.

Expand the top and bottom thruster parts (?) which will eventually become the heel and foot of Starscream.
There's no need for such a wide expansion by the way, as I'll show you why later, but the joints do allow the parts to by fully expanded.

Flip up the knee blades.

Flip out two little fins stored inside the calves.

Untab the waist from the jet's body near the nose. The circled portion shows the tab and slot.

(Left) Flip the lower body downward after it's untabbed from the jet's body.
(Right) Rotate the entire lower body around at waist level.

The two tabs released just now must be connected to another set of slots beneath the jet's nose, just maybe one centimeter away from the previous set of slots that locks the tabs in jet mode. ^^

Like this. ^^

Another 180 degree rotation, this time involving the legs and the jet's nose the waist tabs are connected to in the previous step.

The lower body's transformation is complete. ^^

(Left) To transform the arms, the wing must be separated from the body first. The circled portion shows the little tab at the base of the wing and the slot it's connected to in jet mode.
(Right) Using its double hinge joint, the wing is bent backward.

(Left) Split the jet's tail right at the center.
(Right) A slot on each half of the jet's tails is released from spine's tab.

(Left) Bend each half of the jet's tail downward until it sits on the side of the body.
(Right) Due to the joint design, the robot mode's shoulder armor is automatically revealed to the front as the tail is bent downward, which I think is a very neat feature incorporated into the transformation sequence. ^^

The shoulder armor needs to be tilted backward to reveal the elbow and the back side of the forearm.

The arm is rotated at upper arm level to the side so that the fin is facing the side of the body. The fin is bent upward and the hand is adjusted to the front at wrist level.

Extend the forearm at elbow level until the joint clicks. This will unveil the hinge elbow joint.

Most of the upper body's transformation is done. ^^

Amazingly, Sarscream's head still remains hidden at the final stage of transformation. ^^

To transform the head and backpack, the chest piece must be tilted forward first.

You can see Starscream's head inside the chest area there. ^^

Extend the entire spine with the head downward on the back of the robot.
Starscream's head is on a separate joint "bar", which is flip outward from the main spine.

(Left) Small as it is, the tailfin has a delicate transformation sequence with quite a few steps until the very end. ^^
(Right) You can see the "teeth" tabs that lock the two tailfin halves.

The tailfin is split right down the middle, with each half then bent downward for about 140 degrees. The main thruster is rotated for 180 degrees.

To connect the spine to the body, the tab in the red circle hooks to a slot behind the chest piece.
A similar tab can be seen beneath the neck joint (highlighted in green circle), which will be used to connect the head to the chest piece.

As mentioned above, the tab beneath the neck joint is connected to a slit on the neck area.

(Left) Peg the split tailfin block with the thruster to a slot behind the spine.
(Right) The main thruster with its joint is tilted downward for 180 degrees.

Using the double hinge joint shown earlier on, the wing can be tilted backward even more so that it doesn't stick out too much on the side.

Another joint near the previous hinge joint allows the wing to be angled upward slightly to give it an even more dramatic appearance. ^^

The backpack is done. ^^

For the head: just rotate it to the front via the ball type neck joint and flip the little fin on the forehead forward.
The fin is supposedly straighter and more pointy at its tip, but storage inside the chest piece in jet mode caused it to be slightly deformed, but that's just a very minor issue.

The missile sets are connected to the fins on the forearm.

As mentioned at the beginning, the ankle joints don't need the full expansion they are capable of. As a matter of fact, in order for Starscream to stand up properly, the feet and heels need to be retracted. A pair of fixed "stands" on the side of each foot helps to make the standing pose a lot firmer.

And the transformation of Starscream from jet to robot mode is complete. ^^

For a Deluxe Class figure, the engineering of the transformation sequence is exceptionally well done. ^^ Essentially, Starscream's waist and legs are designed to be the jet's nose and bottom section, while his arms are folded up to the back as the tail. The real gem of the whole design is definitely the jet's spine which ends up folding and collapsing into the robot mode's backpack and head. I had a really fun time tilting and rotating the various parts to form that component. ^^

As shown in the previous posting, the jet mode looks quite bulky on the bottom side because of the folded legs. Looking at the transformation gimmick here, it's perhaps the most minimalist design for this scale in my opinion, but at the same time, it's extremely well done. ^^ The jet mode is extremely compact in that sense, because the entire main body of the robot mode is made up of just the jet's body. The wings which contributed to a large portion of the jet mode's look remain intact and unchanged before and after transformation.

I really like some of the smaller details worked into the transformation gimmick as well. The little fins on the calves, the extra joint that allows the wings to be tilted upward and the forehead crest are all very nifty features. ^^ I always feel that they are bonus features since they aren't super essential to the overall transformation. No other joints or components require them to work in order for the next transformation step to proceed, so their inclusion is not exactly needed. For that, I'm extra grateful that those features are included instead. ^^ They really add a lot of details to the overall figure.

Best of all, I feel that certain transformation features helps to reinforce Starscream's personality on this action figure, which is really amazing if you think about it. ^^ I'll save that benefit till the next posting though. ^^

More images of Starscream in robot mode next. ^^

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