Generations Autobot Jazz Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Generations

Generations

General Information:
Release Date: July 2012
Price Point: $14.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster

Images:

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from the Official Transformers Web Site:
The battle between AUTOBOT and DECEPTICON is never over, and this AUTOBOT JAZZ figure is the next generation of awesome TRANSFORMERS action! Your AUTOBOT JAZZ figure comes armed with his special ops skills and a blaster pistol that will make any DECEPTICON think twice about taking him on. But when he needs to be on the move for dangerous missions, convert him to speedy Cybertronian racer mode! Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his DECEPTICON enemies try to dish out! Figure converts from robot mode to vehicle mode and back! Includes blaster pistol accessory! Cybertronian racer mode!

Figure comes with accessory. Series 01 002 AUTOBOT JAZZ. Ages 5 and up.

Jazz2012's big "Transformers" multimedia event was not a movie, but rather a video game. Following up on the success of "War for Cybertron", High Moon Studios was due to release "Fall of Cybertron" in August of 2012 so a large portion of the "Generations" toy line became dedicated to characters and designs from the game itself. Though he was part of the "War for Cybertron" universe, this is the first time Autobot Jazz is being made into an action figure based on his appearance in the video game.

This particular wave of "Generations" figures also marks a significant change in the "Transformers" toy line. The Deluxe Class figures of this line are notably smaller than their counterparts from previous years and the price point has gone up, averaging $12.99-14.99 depending on where you go instead of the more traditional $9-12.99. The reality is that this is a reflection of the current economic climate around the world. I hope to see a time when the size of figures in this class increase again (but I'm not holding my breath).

Robot Mode:
The last significant release of the Autobot Jazz character was his Reveal the Shield incarnation. Made in what were literally different economic times and with homages to G1 Jazz in mind, that sculpt was more complicated and had more accessories than this one. However, like my "Fall of Cybertron" Optimus Prime review, my goal here is to review this figure on its own merits, not by comparing it entirely to previous releases. At the same time, it is worth noting that to some, this Jazz will have a lot less "bang for your buck" than Special Ops Jazz did.

In terms of scale, Jazz's robot mode winds up being a bit bigger than Optimus Prime's, which surprised me quite a bit. However, I realized after doing some figure comparisons to other Deluxe figures from previous years that if they had shrunk Jazz any more, he would have basically been a Commander/Scout Class figure. In essence, I would say Jazz is more in scale with previous Generations figures than Optimus Prime. For the purposes of this figure, that's a good thing since the "shrinkage" of the Deluxe scale has been the subject of much chatter among fans.

Okay, enough of those downer notes. Is this figure worth your time? I would say yes. While nowhere near as complex as his "Reveal the Shield" predecessor, he still looks fantastic. It's easy to see that most of this sculpt is based on G1 Jazz, with touches reflecting the video game design aesthetic of the "Fall of Cybertron" universe. His basic body frame is totally based on his G1 form including his head sculpt with its high crest and visor eyes, the front of the vehicle forming the chest and wheels from his vehicle mode winding up on his ankle area. The head sculpt in particular is very nicely done, with all the G1 elements mentioned above along with vents on the sides and stylized flaps on the sides of his head that resemble flattened horns. Even his weapon is partly based on a G1 element: the rocket launcher that G1 Jazz carried. The barrel of his weapon holds a strong resemblance to the missile included with that rocket launcher. Neat.

The more modern design elements come into play with his mechanical details. All over this figure are bits of design that point to a complicated machine such as the machinery on the front part of his chest (in what would be the vehicle mode's grille), the tubes and details around his neck and the rockets on his back, a detail carried directly over from the video game's CGI model. Even his face has some extra details in the form of lines around his mouth area (where traditionally the face would be left smooth). These details help elevate the design from potentially looking plain to looking cool.

Autobot Jazz is cast primarily in white plastic with a "pearl" shine on it, but other parts are made of metallic blue and grey plastic. The blue and grey parts are distributed nicely throughout the body, with blue found on his shoulders, hands, head and chest while the grey is used for the wheel details on his arms and legs as well as his weapon. Paint applications are somewhat limited, which seems to be common now for the toy line. Red, silver, black and metallic blue are the colors used to provide paint details. The red is used for outline details on the wheels and an Autobot symbol on his chest. You'll find silver on his face while his eyes are painted black. The most heavily used color is metallic blue, which is used to paint key parts such as his "helmet" on the head, his knees and the sides of his ankles. Given that his primary color is white, Jazz winds up looking a tiny bit plain, but it should be noted that if you compare him to the screen capture of the figure he actually looks about right. Indeed, the screen capture indicates the CGI model is even a bit more plain looking if you minus all the "grit" and "damage details". Given the source material, I think Jazz looks really cool (but I wouldn't say no to a more G1 themed redeco in the future).

There are seventeen points of articulation on Autobot Jazz in this mode. This includes five in each arm and three in each leg. His shoulders, wrists and hips are set on ball joints, allowing for a good range of motion. To give him further motion, his shoulder is actually connected to a separate piece, allowing it to swing out on a hinge to the sides in a lateral movement. Jazz includes one blaster weapon, but he has the ability to hold three more. Each fist accomodates a standard 5mm peg weapon, but he also has holes on the sides of his forearms that can fit these weapons as well. My only note of caution here relates to the shoulder joints. The right side shoulder joint on my Jazz is rather loose, to the point where if I shake the figure back and forth the arm goes flopping around with it. It can still be posed, but I'd check your figures carefully just in case. Jazz's weapon appears to have been designed with some cross functionality in mind. The sides of his blaster have holes towards the back that can accomodate the weapons included with Legion Class figures. This is a neat and unexpected feature.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the blaster if attached.
  2. Straighten out the robot arms.
  3. Rotate the forearms around.
  4. Pull the chest piece down, then swing the upper body (arms and all) up so it's flat.
  5. Swing the robot arms back on the panels that attach them to the main body via a hinge.
  6. Connect the forearms to the panels, a small tab on the forearms goes on top of these panels.
  7. Swing the arm sections back, connecting them to the main body of the vehicle using the tabs on the sides.
  8. Swing each robot fist in to form the rear of the vehicle.
  9. The weapon can be attached to the hole on the top of the vehicle or the ones on the sides.

Vehicle:
When audiences were introduced to Autobot Jazz in 1984, he was a sleek Porche, and his Cybertronian form even had "Porche-like" elements to it. However, this "new" interpretation of his Cybertronian form beats that one by a mile. To borrow a phrase, this vehicle doesn't look like it was built, it looks like it was poured. With smooth lines that start at the front and work their way to the curved, rear spoiler this is one super sleek looking vehicle worthy of Jazz! It's also really faithful to the video game's CGI model including distinctive tube shaped headlights in the front, mechanical details visible on the sides, the shape of the wheels and the six thrusters on the top of the vehicle, which now look like part of some gigantic engine.

In this form, a lot more color is thrown into the mix so the white doesn't quite dominate the figure as much. In particular, the metallic blue, plastic and silver colors all have a strong showing here. The metallic blue is now seen on the front of the vehicle, the sides and on the spoiler. Black and silver plastic work together to form the section in the back that resembles an engine and a bit more silver is found on the sides. The red Autobot symbol in front and on the wheels help provide the illusion of glowing lights on the vehicle, elevating it a notch. I think it's fair to say I like the vehicle mode deco more than the robot mode - and that's quite unusual!

There are three connection points on the vehicle for weaponry: the middle of the vehicle and the sides over the rear wheel wells. He rolls on all four wheels fine even though his frame is quite low to the ground.

Final Thoughts:
I do like this Autobot Jazz figure and among the current crop of figures on shelves he definitely stands out visually. In terms of play value, he's very basic and not quite as impressive as Special Ops Jazz. If you're expecting a figure like that, skip this one. If you want a basic Transformer with a cool transform and some really nice deco and detailing, then this is the figure for you.