Cliffbee.com: Jawbreaker Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Jawbreaker
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Close-Combat Specialist
Alternate Mode: Hyena

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Jawbreaker for the purpose of this review.



HYENA MODE
Height: 10cm Length: 21cm Width: 8cm

   A midnight blue and metallic mid blue hyena with chrome on his shoulders, upper forelegs, along the ridge of his back and the ridge of the head. Jawbreaker's two blues are quite well mixed - as you'd expect of a Transmetal II. The midnight blue is a little more prominent than the mid blue, although there is some mid blue painted around the neck, accompanied by amber spots on his back. The chrome is red, but there's a gradient to yellow on the ridges and the top of his shoulders. The foreclaws are painted brick red (on mid blue paws) while the hindclaws are unpainted (indigo). The eyes are fluorescent red and the teeth in his mouth a weird glowing yellow. The colour scheme is okay since the three main colours work well together, but the bright colours on the head and the red foreclaws - which don't match the red chrome well - jumble things a bit. I appreciate the effort that has gone into this paint job, but still would have preferred slightly smarter paint choices.

   As with all Transmetal IIs, Jawbreaker has a high level of sculpted detailing. There's sculpted fur, lots of blades on his tail and legs, jagged edges here and there and even a couple of hoses. For the most part this works, but the huge blades on his legs get in the way of his poseability, so I would have preferred them to be a little less prominent. The sculpt is highly asymmetrical, a signature feature of this subline, and while you tend to notice all the blades and jagged edges, if you take a close look, there's considerable effort in ensuring asymmetry here.

   The poseability is quite limited, mainly because of those blades, but also because he fits together awkwardly. The neck is ball jointed while his shoulders rotate and both the elbows and wrists are hinged - the effective poseability of the front legs is hampered by blade/claws both on front and behind the wrists. The hips are ball jointed while the knees and ankles are ball jointed. The hindlegs aren't as restricted, but with the front legs unable to get into walking poses, the hindlegs aren't that much use. The mouth and tail are fixed in place.

   The bodyshape here is awkward because everything fits together quite loosely. There are gaps on the body visible from most angles, and the various pieces that for the body don't really line up to one another. He has a hunchback, which doesn't help. You can see the design evolution of Beast Machines here - in a bad way. The forelegs are the arms and the hindlegs legs of the robot mode. While he's not on the "stand up and reveal head" level of say, BM Snarl, there's a distinct lack of creativity evident.

   Jawbreaker does have an action gimmick here which is at once impressive and misplaced. There's a plunger on his back, pushing it forward causes the chromed ridge on his back to spin backwards. It's basically a circular saw, complete with a serrated edge. It works well, but why does he need it on his back?

   A detailed but ultimately unfocused beast mode. There's a clear emphasis on sculpt here, which is fine, but then there's a lack of focus on the basics. The gappy body and well sculpted blades hindering the poseability hold him back. The gimmick is nice, but it just doesn't work in this context. The hyena mode displays well, but doesn't play or pose so well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove and set aside his tail. Swing back the foreclaws. Lift up the rump panel, unclip the left shoulder and split the body, swinging out to the sides. Swing up the robot chest and flip out the head. Straighten the legs, swing up his beast forelimbs and rotate the arms into place. Attach the tail in his left hand as a sword, of sorts.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 12cm Width: 10cm

   A twotone blue robot with the chrome relegated to his (considerable) kibble. There's more mid blue now, with the upper arms, thighs and feet being the main midnight blue areas, along with much of the right forearm. There's some brick red paint on his chest and face while the eyes are yellow. The twotone blue is a little sparse now, and his chest really needs some chrome. But it's not an ugly colour scheme.

   This robot mode reads like a textbook on how to not use beast kibble. The entire back and head of the beast forms his right forearm, and while the open jaws could make a decent hand, the fact that you're staring at the undecorated underside of the back as a forearm makes the entire section look bad. The forearm is _much_ longer than the left side, and a lot wider. Kibble with a head trying to be a hand, rather than clever use of the head as a hand. The forelimbs on his shoulders really do not stow - they float there, and with most of his chrome on these pieces, they don't blend into the background - instead drawing your attention to them. As I said, Jawbreaker really needs some chrome on his chest. The chest itself is well sculpted, and of course asymmetrical, along with most of this robot mode, but the kibble dominates, visually. The head is a well sculpted dog-like affair with a cyborg half, the feet are the (huge) hindclaws.

   The gimmick is now on his right forearm, but it's _underneath_ so again it's not all that much use. Okay it would be pretty handy in close combat, but doesn't display well when the arm has so much non-arm crap on it to begin with. The sword is a more effective display weapon, since his tail has three blades on it.

   The poseability is better than the hyena mode, and the kibble largely manages to stay out of the way. The shoulders, left elbow and hips are ball jointed. The head and waist turn while his right elbows, knees and ankles are ball jointed. The right elbow is useless since there's so much non-arm around it, and his ankles are no use thanks to the blades behind them. Those blades are heelspurs and with the large feet, he has no trouble standing despite the weight of his right arm.

   This robot mode is a victim of a poor transformation, more than anything else. The right arm and the placement of the chrome really hurt, and the legs to legs isn't too impressive. Perhaps the biggest problem here is the end location of the chrome as visible kibble, since the robot ends up looking like something of a poor cousin. The sculpt is excellent, but Jawbreaker still looks awkward.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of although the mould was repainted in the Transformers Universe line as Frostbite.

OVERALL

   An ambitious toy in some ways, but I can't help feeling the designer focused on the wrong aspects here. Yes, the sculpt is awesome, the gradients on his chrome are nice and the circular saw is a great idea. But the transformation is terrible in execution since it gives us a gappy beast mode and a robot mode with all the wrong kibble. The poseability is bad in both modes, largely because the blades which are a theme of this figure are poorly placed. Had the chromed pieces been used better in robot mode and the blades placed better, this would have been a good figure despite some other flaws. As it is, Jawbreaker's biggest assets are the chrome and sculpt - but there are lots of other Transmetal IIs which can offer those - 4.5/10

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