Armada Toy Reviews: Jetfire

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Armada, Autobot

Armada

General Information:
Price Point: Giga-con
Retailer: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart etc.)
Release Date: January 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 4 (Expert)
Accessories: Comettor Mini-Con figure, Missiles x 2, Gun

Pictures:

Sounds (in mp3 format):

Few Transformers command as much wide eyed wonder from older and younger fans universally as much as Jetfire. Originally, Generation One Jetfire was a "borrowed" mold from Bandai of a Veritech, see in the popular Robotech series. Since the mold belongs to Bandai, a competing company of Takara (the owners of the Transformers), it is unlikely that fans will see a reissue of Jetfire any time soon. However, the name has lived on in different forms in the Transformers line, the latest being Armada Jetfire.

Comettor Review

Vehicle Mode:
Comettor is a lunar exploration vehicle in vehicle mode. He is mostly blue and red, with some gray for the tires. Detail wise, it's what one would expect from such a mode. At the front (where the Mini-Con symbol is) is a chair for a passenger. The tires are shaped to look like large tires made to grip terrain well. A satellite system appears on the back of the vehicle mode, attached to that is a big cannon, sure to ward off enemies.

Comettor's Powerlinx point is on the bottom of the vehicle at the center. Comettor has a bit of an undocumented purpose. When you form the Requiem Blaster with the Space Team, you can connect Comettor to them. Hasbro has confirmed that this was completely by design down to Comettor's color scheme.

Poor Comettor also serves another function: Jetfire's front landing gear. To form this, just swing the four tires section mid way (as if you were transforming him to robot mode and just stopped). Then his Powerlinx point attaches to the black Powerlinx point underneat the cockpit. I can only say that I really feel bad for any Transformer meant to serve as landing gear for another!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the satellite dish portion back to reveal the robot head.
  2. Swing the rear four wheels forward and straighten them out (these serve as his legs and feet).
  3. Rotate the upper body around and straighten out the arms.

Robot Mode:
Rolling along on four wheels instead of feet and having no hands, Comettor is one unique looking 'bot in robot mode. He doesn't really have hands since one arm is just the satellite receivers and the other is the cannon, but considering his quirky body structure, it somehow looks right. His visor eyes are painted silver but the rest of him is the same color scheme as his vehicle mode, red, blue and grey.

Comettor is one interesting looking bot who looks like he could have come out of a classic sci fi B movie, and that bit of quirkiness just makes him that much more appealing.

Jetfire Review

Vehicle Mode:
Jetfire is a futuristic space shuttle in vehicle mode. In some ways, it looks like Hasbro took design cues from the shuttles used in the 1998 movie "Armageddon". Jetfire has much more "tech" on him than the standard space shuttle. The front nose is a bit more strealmlined, there are extra boosters on the back (along with extra wings, but we'll get to those later). The wings have more angles and have lasers mounted on them (with missiles underneath).

What's great is that Hasbro didn't just use a lot of big parts slapped on the basic shuttle design, they actually took time to include quite a bit of detail. A sculpted Autobot symbol graces the top of the cockpit. The tops of his wings have a lot of etched in details including small "mini thrusters". His grey boosters towards the back have vents and line detailing that really enhances the look of the toy. Flip the shuttle over and you'll see even the underside of the wings has quite a bit of detail including tiles, mechanical looking parts. It would have been easier to leave out such detail since this is the underside, but it's nice to see it there.

Jetfire's deco is simple and quite reminscent of the G1 character he's named after. He is mostly off white and shades of grey with some red and black line details. The front of the nose area has some orange spray painting, simulating the "burn" of the shuttle as it enters an
atmosphere, this is one of my favorite touches. The Autobot symbol is painted red with a yellow border. The three main thrusters in the back are translucent red plastic.

Open up Jetfire's shuttle bay and on one side you'll find a panel with amazing detail. These sculpted details feature everything from star charts, to planets to maps of continents. This is one of the most impressive details on this toy and it's really great to see such detail included on something in the interior of the vehicle mode.

Jetfire has three primary Powerlinx points in this mode. One on each wing and one on the center thruster. Attach a Mini-Con to the points on his wings and they drop the missiles mounted underneath. Attach a Mini-Con to the Powerlinx point in the middle and two extra wings flip out, adding to Jetfire's "sci fi" look.

All of Jetfire's sound effects are concentrated in the middle thruster section. Press the center fin back and you will hear a laser sound effect. When a Mini-Con is attached, the laser sound effect is
significantly slower. Press the fin forward and you here a countdown followed by a launching noise and several beeps. The thruster glows in concert with the sounds, blinking fast with the laser noises and lift off, then going slower during the beeps.

Jetfire's shuttle mode is an awesome looking vehicle, and a space shuttle with offensive firepower is easiy drafted into any child (or fan's) pretend battles.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the white piece with the wheels towards the rear of the shuttle (on the underside).
  2. Swing the wings up on their hinges.
  3. Spread the light gray booster sections in the back apart. Detach the black booster section in the center.
  4. Flip the remaining translucent boosters down, then flip the entire section (which includes the robot feet) up.
  5. Pull each lower leg section down to reveal the upper legs.
  6. Rotate the wings up and then swing them back.
  7. Swing out the arms to the sides and extend them.
  8. Swing the cockpit section down and flip out the panels at the top to form the robot chest.
  9. Swing the robot head up.
  10. The booster you removed at the beginning acts as Jetfire's gun, place it in one of his hands.
  11. The white piece with the small black wheels section can be attached to Jetfire's arm as a shield.

Robot Mode:
Jetfire follows a rather different aesthetic than much of the Transformers line in this mode. One of the first things you will notice is that he is very wide. When most people think "Jetfire" they think of a sleek Macross Valkyrie or even the Generation 2 Cyberjet. But this time, Jetfire is a rather bulky bot. His chest and main body are rather wide since it is made up of his cockpit and some plastic on the sides to boot. His legs are also chunky as are his feet. If you can't get past this look, then you've already lost most of your reason to buy this toy.

For the rest of us, Jetfire's robot mode is actually a pretty neat piece of toy engineering. Jetfire has fifteen points of articulation including his arms which each have five each. His knees bend and he can turn his legs to the side.

Jetfire has some neat detail in this form as well. His face is a different take on the "mouthplate face" design, which some have likened to Gundams (I sorta see it). The panels you open to form his chest reveal two circles on each side (missile launchers? lasers?) and the panels themselves have a nice design pattern in them and angle upwards and out a bit. Jetfire's arms have some cool detailing including some "X"'s indicating either storage compartments or armored parts. His feet are big and look like a pair of Cybertronian space boots.

Jetfire three Powerlinx points on the main body and one on his weapon. Two are located on his wings, but since you don't want to go launching the missiles in this mode, the wings have slots where you can store the missiles without launching them right next to the regular slots. His left arm has another dead Powerlinx point and on his right arm you can attach any Mini-Cons with pegs such as the Requiem Blaster or Overrun.

Jetfire adds a welcome splash of brighter colors in this mode. The sections above his feet are painted red. His head is half translucent red plastic with a gold mouthplate. The panels on his chest are painted light gold and red while a bit of gold and red can be found on his arms. This is just enough color that doesn't overwhelm the toy overall.

Jetfire is one cool looking toy in robot mode. The wide sort of stubby look is a bit odd at first, but once you play with the toy a bit you discover it is quite nicely done.

Transformation to Jet Convoy/Optimus (from shuttle mode)

  1. Detach the white piece with the wheels towards the rear of the shuttle (on the underside).
  2. Swing the wings up on their hinges.
  3. Spread the light gray booster sections in the back apart. Detach the black booster section in the center.
  4. Flip the remaining translucent boosters down, then flip the entire section (which includes the robot feet) up.
  5. Swing the wings up on the hinges attached to the main body, and then swing them forward a bit on the hinge that is attached directly to the wings.
  6. Lift the center cockpit section up a bit and then push it down.
  7. Swing the left and right cockpit parts to the sides. Swing the black piece on the right side back.
  8. Rotate the black pieces on the knees up so they cover the two holes right above them.
  9. With Super Optimus Prime's cab in the "Super Optimus Prime" mode, attach the rectangular holes to the
    red tabs on Jetfire. This will also work with Final Battle Optimus Prime.
  10. Take the white landing gear piece and place it on Optimus' chest.

Jet Convoy/Optimus:
When first introduced in the cartoon series, Optimus Prime and Jetfire combined and formed "Jet Convoy", later they changed the name to "Jet Optimus", and fans generally use both names interchangeably although arguably Jet Optimus is probably the correct name since "Convoy" is the Japanese name for Optimus Prime and the translation was probably just done improperly.

Jet Optimus is quite an impressive looking toy. While Jetfire may look a bit squat in robot mode, he serves as a pair of legs (or "pants" as many fans have put it) very well since he's basically streamlined in half-shuttle mode. What's neat is that both Optimus Primes work well color-wise with Jetfire. The original Optimus Prime looks great as his red contrasts with the grey and white of Jetfire while the Final Battle Prime's gray and smokey blue blend with Jetfire's greys.

Although it may be my G1 deluded mind, Jet Optimus' chest piece (Jetfire's shield) bears a resemblance to the Godbomber chest armor from "Masterforce". It has "windows" (albeit angledd) and two circles above each (which look like truck lights). This may be coincidence, but a nice one for sure.

Most of the movement you get out of this toy is from the Optimus section of the body. Basically you have about nine points of articulation here, although to be honest, bat this guy around too much and the two parts do disconnect fairly easily. This combined form is more of a bonus than anything else - although it's a very cool looking bonus.

Jetfire is an awesome toy. He does suffer a bit on the aesthetic side in robot mode, but it's obvious the designers were trying to include a good amount of detail in this toy. Plus, knowing that Jet Optimus and the upcoming Overload combine as well makes this toy an interesting part of a trio. Recommended.