Cliffbee.com: G1 Movie Jazz Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Jazz
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Pontiac Solstice Sports Car



SPORTS CAR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A white Pontiac Solstice sports car with colourless transparent windows and black wheels, Jazz is a repaint of the character we saw in the film in the colours of G1 Jazz, hence the fan description of "G1" for a movie toy. It's a nice tie-in considering that the movie character looks nothing like its G1 namesake. There's a blue stripe running down the centre with a red line in the middle and some light blue stripes on either side - taken from the G1 toy, although on this toy it extends further back - going all the way to the back (although the spoiler lacks the stripe). There's a while (unpainted) "4" in the middle of the stripe, on the hood along with large blue "4"s on the doors with "Jazz" in logos than resemble the "Martini" logos of the original. His headlights are painted silver and the taillights blue while the hubcaps are painted silver. There are light blue foglights and the lower edge of the front bumper is red. Whilst this colour scheme is nothing like what we saw in the film, I prefer it to the movie accurate toy, which was done in a rather dull grey plastic. The blue paint used is a shade or two brighter than I'd like, but it still works, because it links the two Jazz concepts together nicely.

   The general level of detail here is good - the air intakes on his front fenders, grille lattice, door seams, doorhandles and side mirrors are testament to that. The front is a little squarer than it should be, but overall Jazz is a pretty realistic Pontiac (well, aside from the colours used, of course). The seam issues on the hood aren't as much of an issue on this repaint, since the stripe distracts you from the notches - the issue is still there but it doesn't dominate visually. The sculpt is generally good, but slightly more successful thanks to the paint job.

   As is common with Movie Autobots, Jazz doesn't have much play value in this mode. The wheels turn but no doors open - the spoiler can lift up and down, but this isn't really play value. Jazz's "sword" can attach to the spoiler, giving him a ranged weapon. I say that because it's a sword in name only - it's a white gun with a collapsable black harpoon sticking out the front. This gun does look cool riding over the top of the roof, although I'm somewhat disappointed that this weapon cannot be stowed in car mode - it either sits on the spoiler or is left aside completely.

   The two main issues I had with the original have been addressed here. Gone is the primer grey plastic, and the stripe helps the disjointed hood immensely. The colour scheme will no doubt please G1 fans, and while I do appreciate the tribute, I'm happier with what it does for the mould itself. The mounted gun is cool and the sculpt is good, so this is a good car mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove and set aside his weapon - if you haven't already. Lift up the rear, extend and rotate the legs, flip out his boots and heelspurs, rotate down the false tyres on the his ankles. Fold up his waist and clip underneath the engine section, pull the front fenders out to either side. Fold down the roof, which sets of an automorph - Jazz's head lifts up and the grille section pops forward, away from the foglights, slightly. The fenders rotate around to form his arms, with the halves of his bonnet folding under the fenders to form his forearms, while the hand flip out from underneath the bonnet. The backplate detaches to form a shield of sorts.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 10cm

   A white robot with black feet, knees, hands, groin and head, Jazz again emulates the original G1 Jazz quite well. The top of his torso is black but the front is the front of the car, as in G1, and the waist has been painted silver - along with his face. There's a red Autobot logo stamped on his groin and his eyes are a single transparent blue piece of plastic which makes for a very effective lightpipe. The head sculpt itself isn't terribly Jazz-like, but the colours here really bring a G1 feel to it. Again I prefer these colours, because white beats primer grey anytime. The elements added to suit the tribute (silver waist, blue eyes) are well thought out, and I appreciate the fact that they kept the transparent blue on his eyes despite the switch of plastics on the windows.

   The legs are complex, detailed and chunky, the torso looks nice and the head is nice enough. The arms are still fairly bad, although they do improve on the original. The front panels (fenders) and rear panels (hood) cannot connect to each other - instead they float around on the double hinged joint between them. The hands attach to the rear panels, but they don't float as on the original, since the connecting piece between the hinges has been shortened allowing the arms to stabilise. They're not perfect - far from it - but they work a _lot_ better than on the movie version. The hood notches now sit on the inside of the back panels, and get in the way of the arms swinging, which hasn't been rectified. The upper arms aren't so bad - they do sit too far forward relative to the shoulder attachment points, but are close enough to flush with his chest. This figure represents a transitional retooling, since the improved forearms are also a feature of Final Battle Jazz.

   Jazz's play value is stunted. The gun can clip under the fenders, which basically means you have to open the rear panels right back - so to hold his gun, Jazz has to lose his hands. The shield formed from the backplate of the car is a good idea, but it's designed to only attach to the tyre on his left shoulder, which is a little limiting (and doesn't showcase the shield at all). The gun can attach to either shoulder tyre, but its weight will cause them to sag. The gun's best option is to attach to the shield on his left shoulder - it can clip over the spoiler or has a hinge of sorts, allowing it to attach to the transformation hinge on the front of the shield (where it attaches to the roof of the car). For all the bad design flaws of this toy, I really like the hinge on the gun - it's thoughtful and works just as the designer intended. You can also leave the shield on his back, attach the gun to the spoiler and lift it over his head if you feel inclined. The shield might not be the best idea, but combined with the gun, it makes for a decent weapon. I would have liked to see the improved weapon of Final Battle Jazz here, but hey, the improved forearms make this a _lot_ better.

   I'd also like point out to whoever at Hasbro decided that this thing is a "sword", swords do not have handles at right angles, and are never shoulder mounted. No matter, it's a cool harpoon gun, and is actually quite versatile in robot mode, so long as it stays out of Jazz's hands.

   Jazz's poseability is fairly disappointing. The head turns, the shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides, although the notches get in the way of the arms swinging, as mentioned. His elbows are hinged, but any movement will likely bring the unstable forearms out of shape. Jazz's hips swing and lift out sideways while the knees have hinges and rotators. His feet and heelspurs both fold down - the leg poseability is quite good, but the arm motion is bad. Jazz's range of cool poses ends up quite limited since you're probably going to leave the ranged weapon as a side-cannon and the arms can't really do much.

   A significant improvement over the original, although it doesn't represent the Jazz we saw in the cinemas. The forearms make a huge difference and the shift away from that horrible grey also helps. The lightpipe is awesome, the poseability is limited (and still hampered by the overambitious arm design) but this robot mode is a lot more satisfying than the movie coloured version.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although as mentioned he is a retool of the Movie character, and there's the later Final Battle Jazz retool.

OVERALL

   This is my favourite version of this mould despite the loss of movie colours. The arms are a big improvement over the original and while the gun isn't anywhere near as cool as that of Final Battle Jazz, the battle damage on that toy doesn't do it for me personally - G1 Jazz displays better. The painted stripe on his hood and the more natural white plastic solve the car mode's problems (something Final Battle Jazz doesn't quite manage. The G1 tribute is very well done and while his poseability is still somewhat hampered, from a pure toy standpoint, this is arguably the best of the three movie Jazz toys. It's no substitute for a movie-coloured toy, so I wouldn't recommend getting this version alone, but I would recommend it nonetheless (assuming you can get it at a decent price, TRU here in Australia doubled the price on this "exclusive" toy!) - 7/10

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