I picked Masterpiece Starscream up from Rosemead WM this morning, last one in stock.

The packaging, somehow I missed just opening the top flap and disassembled a lot of uselessness before realizing it wasn't that difficult. D'oh! The pose is a little stiff thanks to the trays, twisties, and clearbands, but it's not that difficult to free him. Robot mode looks good, real G1 cred in these colors but the sculpt and detailing is Masterpiece all the way. The issues that looked like they were on the Takara version are here as well - long face, kibble, long torso - but he's got a lot of positives going on to outweigh that. I was expecting the hips to be a little more movable and hands a little more useful (and less fragile-feeling) but otherwise articulation is slick - the big hip kibble does get in the way a bit tho'. The stand is nice in bot mode, and I'm glad they threw his name on there, the Japanese release looks empty without it. The stand in bot mode accommodates his alt-mode missiles, and in vehicle mode accommodates the null-ray cannons instead (if you don't leave them on, of course); underneath there's storage for the clear stand arm and the clip for the Megatron accessory from 20th Prime (no storage for lil Dr. Arkeville tho', but you can leave him in the pilot chair which folds away in bot mode).

Transformation has a lot of steps but doesn't feel as convoluted as 20th Prime's crazy torso. The instructions leave out a few little elements like clips in the way and move-that-piece-first, but generally do a good job going robot to alt, no alt-to-robot at all though, luckily it's not too hard to reverse them. I don't really get what the flip-up crotchpiece is though, that makes no sense - I guess it's supposed to be flipped down in bot mode, but they didn't. The instructions also completely neglect the panels over the engines flipping up, not much detail underneath but still...

Alt mode is very nice, thought I haven't gotten the center part to completely align, it still looks quite slick and the G1 colors make him pop. It's great to have a Starscream without undercarriage trash finally. The opening airbrake is a cool feature, as is the front landing gear - the rear landing gear is alright, I'm glad it seals up, but it's pretty basic and not that reliable. Starscream's crown is painted as an emblem under the cockpit, very nifty.

Both modes are fairly solid. Paint weathering isn't as crazy as the initial pics had it, some of the parts are a little clean but most are just right. The base color is essentially white instead of gray, but it works. The big Decepticon logos on the wings are cool, but in bot mode they're upside-down. Overall, a cool customer, and you can't leave him unplayed-with.