Cliffbee.com: Safeguard Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Safeguard
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Gestalt comprising Jetfire & Jetstorm





SINGLE JET MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 17cm Width: 12.5cm

   Both Jetfire & Jetstorm have the same vehicle mode, in differing colours. So I'll depart from my usual format and cover the colours last. The two are actually mirror images of one another, although this is not apparent in vehicle mode.

   The jets are slender and lithe, with angular noses and canopies, while they lack clear tails, instead the robot legs hang out the back as sort of thrusters. There are transparent wings extending outwards from the thrusters, and while the promo photos suggest only extending these for the combined jet mode, I'd recommend extending them here anyway - since they're the only wings these jets have. There are transparent winglets hanging off the sides of the nose, and they compliment these main wings well. The rear half, being fairly obviously robot legs, is a little disappointing, but does the job - just. Both jets carry red stamped Autobot logos on either side, superimposed over red chevrons (I guess to invoke a look of rank).

   There's no play value here. The wings can swing in or out, as mentioned, but I don't count that. There aren't any wheels underneath since the jets have to fuse for the combined jet mode. I would have preferred undercarriage to the combined jet mode we get here - but I'll come back to that.

   Jetfire is mainly light grey with orange highlights and some brown here and there. The colours don't really line up with the name, but there have been a variety of Jetfires down the years - most seem to be dominated by white or light grey and Jetfire fits in there. I'm not sure why the designer went for orange instead of red - which would fit the name better - but I don't mind the end result. His transparent pieces - canopy & wings - are transparent orange. The transparent wing pieces are slightly different shapes - Jetfire's are flame-themed while Jetstorm's are ice-themed.

   Jetstorm is royal blue with some gold painted details and the odd baby blue here and there. The gold and baby blue don't quite line up to Jetfire's orange and brown, which is nice - although the general effect is pretty similar. The colours here _do_ match Jetstorm - Beast Machines Jetstorm, anyway. The transparent elements are mid blue, giving him an overarching blue feel. Again the end result works, and I prefer these colours slightly, although both colour schemes work.

   These aren't the greatest jet modes by any standard, but they're passable. The rear ends are a little messy but do enough to sell these as fantasy jets. The lack of play value is a little annoying - mainly because I would have liked some sort of wheels underneath, but as supporting acts for the combining robots, I can deal with these jet modes.

COMBINED JET MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 17cm Width: 12.5cm

   The combined jet mode is nothing more than Jetfire on top of an upturned Jetstorm. They clip together rather crudely, and the end result looks very crude. Aside from the obvious disparity in colours the lower half just doesn't look like an undercarriage. You're meant to extend the wings now, and the two sets of wings don't really work. While the individual jet modes aren't fantastic, they do what they have to - but this awkward fusion fails.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing away the wings, unclip the legs, extend and rotate so that the feet are at the bottom. Swing the hips down in to position and flip out the heelspurs. Fold down the chestplate, split the nose and pivot the shoulders into position - which is actually somewhat complex. Rotate the hands, fold the canopy onto the back and you're done.

ROBOT MODES
Height: 3.5cm Length: 11.5cm Width: 7cm

   Again these are largely the same, so I'll cover the colours later. The head sculpts are also different - and I'll cover those with the colours. Again the two are actually mirror images of one another, and this is not apparent here.

   The robot shape is fairly lanky although unlike many Animated figures, the bodyshape isn't especially stylised - the lines are gentle but not terribly curved while there are no extreme proportions here. The faces are clearly based on animation, although only Jetfire's is really "cute" - Jetstorm's could easily work in other Transformers lines. The hands are the nosetips and have an odd shape as a result. They're open fists and lack holes - there are no weapons in this pack. I should mention that the comic bundled in the pack highlights their weapons as fire (Jetfire) and wind (Jetstorm) generation, so I guess they don't need handheld weapons. Both have transparent panels on their chest and working lightpipes in their eyes.

   Poseability is great considering that this pair reconfigure as a combined robot. Certainly the poseability here is way ahead of the standard seen in combining Energon toys. The necks and shoulders are ball jointed while the elbows, knees and hips all moves in two planes - the hips only move so far to the side, however. The wrists rotate while the feet and heelspurs can fold down. The waists are fixed. The hip guards pop off much easier than I'd like - which can happen during transformation - and are harder to get _on_ than they are to remove, which is annoying. Aside from these panels, I'm impressed with the jointing here.

   Jetfire is again mainly light grey, with orange i thighs, ankles, upper arms, hip guards and an orange head with a light grey face and transparent orange eyes. His feet are brown while his groin is black. The transparent chestplate is yellow - not orange - for some reason. He has an uneven smile, a rounded head and brown goggles on his forehead. The crown of his head is a transparent orange flame sculpted affair.

   Jetstorm is mainly royal blue with baby blue thighs, hip guards, and upper arms. His face is silver while his eyes are a single transparent blue strip. His head is very angular with a triangular face ending in a pointy chin. His ankles are gold along with stripes on his forehead. His groin is black while the chestplate is transparent blue.

   I don't really prefer either robot mode over the other - both colour schemes work well. I like the fact that the heads are different, which really gives the pair some personality. The robot modes themselves are good, with nice proportions and good poseability - which is great in the context of this pack. The hip guards are annoying but otherwise I have no real complaints here. The lack of weaponry doesn't really bother me, but some may consider it a negative.

TRANSFORMATION TO COMBINED ROBOT MODE

   As you might guess, the transformation is mirrored on the two components. I'll describe Jetfire. Split the groin and lift the left leg up to the side. Unclip his shoulders and swing the arms back. Fold his head forward, lift out the half-head concealed within his chest, swing the individual head into this cavity and swing back the panel it attaches to. Rotate the left leg and groin half, swing up so that the inside of the groin is flush with the line of his shoulders - this plane will attach to the corresponding surface on Jetstorm. Rotate and extend the lower leg. The right leg pivots down to form an arm, with the foot folding down as a sort of wrist guard and the heelspur folding away. The right half of Jetfire's groin folds up and forms the shoulderblade. Do the same to Jetstorm - in mirror - and clip them together. There are clips in the head, chest and groin so Safeguard is secure. The set of component arms behind the head become wings of sorts while the lower pair attached to his kidneys (well, if Transformers had kidneys) become... kibble. You can fold them up flush against his back.



SAFEGUARD ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 17.5cm

   A light grey, royal blue, orange and baby blue robot with black on his groin and shoulderblades, Safeguard has brown and gold highlights. The right half is grey and orange while the left is blue. It's very apparent that he is the fusion of Jetfire and Jetstorm, since the colours split right down the centreline. As gaudy as that may sound, it actually works quite well - rather than being an awkward mash of colours, he just looks like a fusion of two good colour schemes. His chest carries the transparent plates of his components - yellow on the right and blue on the left, and the eyes are similarly different coloured (orange and blue), albeit without lightpipes. The mouth is silver and symmetrical although the head itself is asymmetrical. The right half is more rounded than the left half - in keeping with the rounded lines of Jetfire's head vs angular lines of Jetstorm's head.

   The bodyshape here is pretty good, although not perfect. His legs are fairly lanky but work well, as does the torso, despite slightly wide shoulderblades. His arms are big - the forearms are boots and are bigger than you'd expect - which is why the boots which become legs in this mode extend further. There are sculpted fists on the "heels" of his forearms, and they're surprisingly quite well defined, ensuring that the arms do indeed look like arms despite their bulk (something Energon did a poor job of, overall).

   The kibble is fairly well contained, really. The arms which sit above and behind his shoulders can easily be moved into position as wings, the other pair can sit at right angles flush against the canopies folded up against his back. None of this kibble is a significant drawback, which I'm very happy about. The hip guards from hip guards and shoulderpads here, giving Safeguard Autobot logos on top of either shoulder and on each hip.

   The poseability is better than you'd probably expect from a figure of this nature. His head and waist are of course fixed. His elbows, hips and knees all move in two planes, with a little bit of restriction in his hips. The shoulders can only swing out to the sides. Safeguard is a little back heavy, so he's essentially limited to relaxed poses rather than dynamic poses, but he's well ahead of the bricks Energon combined to give us. His fists are closed, again there are no handheld weapons.

   A rewarding fusion of two robots, Safeguard's centreline split is his defining feature thanks to the contrasting colours on either side. He looks pretty good as a fusion thanks to this distinct split, and for the most part his proportions are good. The weak spot in his proportions is the large forearms, but they _do_ look like forearms, something Energon had a lot of trouble with. The poseability is admirable, although again there are no weapons.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of.

OVERALL

   The concept isn't actually new - The Multiforce started things off back in 1989, and Energon fused a lot of robots a few years prior to this, but Safeguard takes the fusion of two robots into one to a new level. While I won't fault the Multiforce so much - the toy technology back then doesn't compare - Safeguard leaves Energon sobbing on the floor like a defeated boxer. The poseability of both Safeguard and his two components is excellent, the fusion feels quite natural - aside from the deliberately distinct colours - and there's relatively little kibble. Unlike Energon, he's dispensed with gimmicks, which is a good thing when you think back to epic fails like Energon Ironhide, instead focussing on the combination. The individual robot modes are solid, the vehicle modes passable if not spectacular. The combined vehicle mode is instantly forgettable, but then neither the Multiforce or Energon even tried that. While the concept itself isn't novel, there's evolution here compared to Victory's effort, and the shortcomings of Energon's powerlinxing have been dispensed with. Recommended both on the strength of the execution and the engineering which gives us three good figures - 8/10

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