Cliffbee.com: Shattered Glass Jazz Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Jazz
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Evil Autobot
Alternate Mode: Sports Car



CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A rounded black white car with smoky transparent windows and silver hubcaps, Jazz is a repaint of Crosswise with G1 Jazz stylings. There are red and blue stripes running along the sides, down the hood and down the roof. There are black number 4s on either door and a white one in the stripe on his hood. The headlights are yellow flanked by black patches and the taillights are red. In place of the "Martini" badges on the original, Jazz sports "MASSACRE", including a prominent "MASSACRE RACING" at the top of the the windshield. There are purple Evil Autobot logos on either side of the black spoiler. The colours are awfully similar to those of the original Jazz - to the point where this feels more like a regular universe Jazz. Sadly the doors and roof are painted a normal white while the plastic at the front and rear of this car are very milky, dull, white - they don't come close to matching.

   The engineblock and spoiler are actually detachable, so if you prefer a flat back section you can have one. The detachable section becomes a missile launcher in robot mode, and the smoky transparent missile plugs in the back here, creating a sort of afterburner effect.

   Jazz comes with a smoky Planet Key that plugs into the back of the car, stamped with a purple Autobot logo. When you push it right in two missilepods flip out from either side of the engineblock. The springs are really powerful and the missilepods hit the painted roof quite hard, which is a little worrying. They do look rather cool, however, with four silver missile tips each. I like how the add-on launcher piece allows clearance for his key gimmick to work. As with most later Cybertron moulds, Jazz can hold his key without the gimmick activating.

   A pretty good car mode overall, which is heavily based on the Bugatti Veyron (thanks to FortMax Reed for this info). The colours and painted details are okay, but really this is more "Jazz" and "Evil Jazz". I know that switching to black wouldn't have worked (since it'd just end up looking like Stepper _and_ Crosswise), but they probably should have switched the red stripes to purple. There are "KILL TO WIN" taglines on the front fenders, but neither these or the massacre paint details are prominent enough to anchor the theme. The badly mismatched whites are disappointing. His gimmick is simple yet effective, at least.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unfold everything, basically. Jazz is a classic shellformer, to an extent we haven't really seen since Side Burn. The front of the car becomes the chest while the arms, head and legs are all stowed underneath the shell, which ends up on his arms and back. The missile launcher becomes a handheld weapon, obviously.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 12.5cm

   A white robot with black feet, thighs, hands and upper arms, Jazz has the stripes and headlights on his chest - which is the front of the vehicle. The head is black with a silver face and blue eyestrip, and I'm happy to report that the head has been resculpted to be very much Jazz. Crosswise's lightpipe has been obliterated but the head is a good enough character match that there's no net loss. The windows are on his arms, with the doors on the shoulders while the roof and windshield form a shield on his left forearm. The Evil Autobot logo is relegated to his weapon - reinforcing the failure of this toy to depart from the heroic version of the character concept. Visually this mode works well - the painted white is less prominent so the mismatch isn't as obvious, but there's very little here to tell us that this is an evil Jazz (indeed, only the "KILL TO WIN" lettering is visible).

   On the one hand, this robot mode really looks like something out of G1, and this is certainly appropriate for the character used on this retool. On the other hand, the transformation is something from 1999-2001, with a whole bunch of car panels. The front of the car as a chest, the doors on his shoulders, the face and front tyres on the outsides of his ankles are all reminiscent of G1 while the rear fenders hanging off his back and the shield on his arm are elements you'd expect of Car Robots. Most of the elements here work visually, with the exception of the fenders hanging off his back - although they don't really stand out. If you prefer, you can swing the fenders forward to act as hip-mounted cannons. I'm not quite sold on this look, although the tips have small bumps (for locking into car mode) that look something like gun tips.

   The key gimmick is available here, with the slot rather unfortunately located - if you tell Jazz to stick it, you'll be referring to his Planet Key. Anyway, the missilepods now deploy over his shoulders, and look good on either side of his head. Again they deploy forcefully thanks to the strong springs, at least they now hit unpainted plastic. The missile launcher works reasonably well as a handheld weapon - so long as the flame-shaped missile is inserted - it looks weird otherwise, since without the missile it's not much more than a spoiler on a stick.

   Jazz has pretty good poseability, with ball joints in his shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. The arm joints really need to be ball jointed to allow him to contort and fit everything back into the car - but I'm not complaining. The feet and heelspurs are hinged - both the feet and heelspurs can swing up and down, while the fenders hanging off the back act as stabilising legs, giving Jazz a ridiculous range of stable dynamic poses. The head turns and hinges back and forth, although the latter is quite limited. Other than the fixed waist and wrists there's not really much more we could ask here.

   A good robot mode despite the shellformer panels hanging off him, Jazz uses most of the panels fairly well. He's very poseable and the key gimmick works well even if the slot's location is dubious. The G1 feel of this mould helps the tribute, even if that tribute fails to capture the alternate universe theme of this BotCon set. The missilepods on his shoulders enhance the G1 fee, and the gimmick that puts them there is a good one.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although as Jazz was available exclusively at BotCon 2008, he was likely limited to a single production run, making variants unlikely. As mentioned he is a repaint and retool of Cybertron Crosswise, sharing the new head mould with the Ricochet toy from the same convention.

OVERALL

   While Crosswise is a typical shellformer in many ways, he does it fairly well. As with most shellformers, he's very poseable, and the range of poses in robot mode is excellent. The main downside to his transformation is probably the main flaw shellformers suffer from - cramming everything back underneath all the panels properly can be tricky. The key gimmick works really well and his robot mode looks great and strongly reminds of G1, which works well in the case of this repaint. Having said all that, between the badly mismatched whites on the car mode and the underdone "evil" elements, this repaint falls short of most BotCon toys, and most of the Shattered Glass repaints. Frankly, Ricochet does a much better job. As a convention exclusive, you're likely to pay handsomely for Jazz, and I'm not sure he's worth it if you're not after the entire set. It's still a decent mould, but this repaint isn't up to the standard we'd hope - 7/10

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