Cliffbee.com: J-Five Toy Review

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Name: J-Five (or J-5, although in Japanese the seven is written as a word, not as 5), Rail Spike for the US release
Series: Car Robots (Robots in Disguise)
Allegiance: Cybertron
Sub Group: Car Robots Trainbot
Function: Autobot Sonic Rail Patrol
Vehicular Mode: Bullet Train Engine Carriage




TRAIN MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 23.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A long white bullet train engine car with a tapering point nose, J-Five has mid blue stripe starting at his nose and running along top top all the way to the kibble at the back. The sides have blacks stripes featuring transparent windows while the cockpit window at the front is also transparent. The transparent plastic has a slight green tinge and if you look carefully you'll notice that about three quarters of the white here is painted over green and only about a quarter is actually white plastic. On either side just underneath the cockpit, J-Five has the words "500 CYBERTRON" in blue.

   J-Five's sculpting is fairly good, with doors at the front and back of the passenger saloon, bogies underneath and even cooling vents in front of the rear bogey. The kibble at the back is mainly his gun, in the form of a bit white block that houses batteries. Still, they've tried to fit it in by adding a coupler at the back, which is nice.

   In terms of play value, all eight wheels roll while you can attach J-Seven and J-Four to the coupler at the back and to the front (thanks to a small hole under the nose). I'm happy with this play value - the coupling is about as far as I'd expect a train's play value to go. There is a joint in the middle of the toy (his robot hips) which sags a little, although it's easy enough to place him flat on the table - it only really sags when you lift him up.

   Other than the kibble on the back, I have no real complaints here. It's a real train model with good detailing and colours and the coupling makes him fun if you have the other trainbots. It's not quite as cool as J-Seven's train mode, but is still a good train mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the weapon from the back of the train, extend the rear to form his legs and split them. Open the nose out to the sides which will release the cockpit and cause his head to pop up. Fold the cockpit underneath the train to form his chestplate and rotate the head. Rotate the boots, flip out the feet and fold down the wheels to form heelspurs. Rotate the nose-halves to form shoulderpads and swing down the wheels to form forearms. Rotate his forearms and place his gun in either hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15.5cm Width: 18.5cm

   J-Five is now more blue than white, with white really only prominent on his arms and face, along with some elements on waist and boots. The toy is fairly boxy for the most part, which is natural for a robot that doubles as a train. J-Five has giant shoulderpads on either side, tapering to points - the nose-halves. He's actually wider than he is tall, and the insides these pieces are left unpainted, so the shoulderpads are vaguely green with blue behind them. The only real divergence from the blue, white and green is the red used on his eyes. This colour scheme is perhaps the dullest of this trio, but it still works.

   J-Five's detailing is again pretty good. The shoulderpads are sculpted with mech detailing, to the extent that the details are different on either side. The arms are one of the few sections that don't play any part in the train mode, and have detailed robot sculpting. The head forms a sort of helmet shape, while his face has eyes a nose and a mouth, although the mouth becomes a little lost on the milky white plastic of his head.

   I can't complain about the articulation at all. The shoulderpads rotate and the elbows are double ball jointed, giving J-Five great arm movement. The head turns, the hips are ball jointed with armour panels that easily lift up to allow sideways movement. The knees have both hinges and swivels and the heelspurs from from the rear bogey are long and can swing down, giving J-Five great stability in a variety of poses.

   The gun is basically a white block with a transparent green barrel, and looks like a laser rifle or something along that line. There's a blue button on top which activates a red LED behind the green pipe, which works well in the dark but tends to be overwhelmed by the ambient light otherwise - as happens with LED light trying to diffuse through plastic.

   While the colours are maybe a little uninteresting, this is a pretty good looking robot mode with great poseability and a decent weapon. Considering this guy forms a realistic train _and_ the top of a poseable gestalt, it's impressive that this robot mode has no notable flaws.

VARIATIONS

Released in RiD with grey windows under the name "Rail Spike". Rail Spike's gun doesn't quite fit in underneath the train mode properly.

OVERALL

   Two good modes and realistic train mode make for a very good toy, and as an added bonus he's part of a good gestalt. It's a shame really that the Transformers series since Car Robots haven't featured realistic modes, because J-Five is a great example of what's possible with a little effort. Not quite as nice as J-Seven but better than J-Four, and worthwhile even on his own - 8/10

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