"Generations" Cliffjumper Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: December 2010
Price Point: $12.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster

*Images and text below archived from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Even before the war, CLIFFJUMPER was constantly spoiling for a fight. The DECEPTICONS just gave him an excuse. He’s been bending fenders and smashing heads for years now, and the fun never stops. Despite his short temper, he gets along well with the other AUTOBOTS, who appreciate his eagerness to take the first shot in every battle.

Turn the tables on enemy forces when you throw this warrior into the fight! Your CLIFFJUMPER figure is dedicated to destroying any opponent and deploying blades will help you two get the job done. If the “hand-to-hand” robot action turns into a chase, convert your fighter into Cybertronian racer vehicle mode and send him speeding off to rule the “streets”! Ages 5 and up.

In the Generation One era, several Transformers sculpts very similar to each other in terms of overall design and transformation scheme. Two of these were Bumblebee and Cliffjumper, who both shared the same basic design, but had very different parts on their feet, chest and head, making them distinctive figures. Over the years, as G1 characters have received updates the two would be tied again, but in recent time Cliffjumper was basically treated as nothing but a redeco of Bumblebee. This was even true in the movie toy line!

Years later, things have changed with the release of War for Cybertron Cliffjumper in the "Generations" line, he is finally both a redeco and retool of a Bumblebee figure, specifically Cybertronian Bumblebee. Even better, he's relatively easy to find, unlike Animated Cliffjumper who did have a new head, but was relatively difficult to find in some areas. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out Cybertronian Bumblebee's review for details on the sculpt including notes on the figures' rather demanding transformation scheme.

Robot Mode:
Looking over Cliffjumper's deco, I have to admit it is very misleading at first glance. Initially it's easy to dismiss the decos as just a one to one exchange of colors with Bumblebee, but a closer look and you'll actually see the deco is different in very small ways, with the head sculpt being the most important element in this mode, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Before reviewing this figure, I actually spent a bit of time wondering "Why do I seem to like this figure so much more than Bumblebee?" and I realized it truly is purely based on two things: first the head sculpt and second the color scheme. Perhaps it's because we've been flooded with yellow Bumblebee goodness since 2007 with his many incarnations, or perhaps it is because red is one of my favorite colors, I'm not sure. All I know is upon first look, Cliffjumper has much more visual impact than Bumblebee, even though the two are basically the same toy.

Cliffjumper pretty much takes a one to one replacement approach with the plastic colors. The yellow parts on Bumblebee are now red on Cliffjumper and the dark grey parts on Bumblebee are also metallic dark grey, but the shades seem slightly different with Cliffjumper looking a bit lighter. The translucent red color on Bumblebee has been replaced with translucent orange. Taken as a whole, the colors contrast very nicely and the red chosen is a deep, metallic red which really looks fantastic.

When you get to the color scheme, the replacements are pretty much one to one. The pink "L" shapes on Bumblebee's chest are yellow on Fliffjumper. The triangular details on his forearms and his knees have silver paint on them. Silver is also used for the Autobot symbol on his chest. The area between his legs has a patch of metallic dark grey on them (matching the dark grey plastic color). This is one of the differences as Bumblebee used silver on all these parts, but Cliffjuper doesn't. On his shoulders he has black details like Bumblebee, but there is no neon colored line running through them. Also, the area on the panel in front of the head is not painted at all, whereas on Bumblebee it was painted black. Another interesting note involves the panels on his ankles. On Bumblebee they were painted gold to add some metallic feel to the figure, but here they are just a flat red paint instead. Given that most of the plastic on the figure is already metallic in color, this works out just fine and actually offers up some nice balance.

Okay, so let's get to the key part of this figure: the head sculpt. Cliffjumper has a different head sculpt than Bumblebee (finally!) and it's a fantastic one, worthy of the "Classics/Universe 2.0" era of Transformers. Cliffjumper's head design is actually not too dissimilar from Bumblebee's. There's a helmet portion with horns sticking out the sides, a crest in the center and a face. However, Cliffjumper's head is more narrow and it gives him a slightly more mature look than Bumblebee's more wide and youthful looking face. The helmet portion carries over details of the character that have existed since Generation One including ridges on the sides. The face is rather smooth, but has some designs off to the sides along with a chin piece under the mouth. Overall it's a fantastic head sculpt. The head itself is cast in red plastic. His eyes are dark grey plastic. I was surprised the translucent orange wasn't used there instead or that the eyes weren't painted blue, but that's hardly a deal breaker. The face and the middle area of his crest are painted silver. Surprisingly, the designers saw fit to paint the sides of his helmet section, specifically inside the aforementioned ridges. There you'll find metallic dark grey paint, matching the color found on the section between his legs.

All of Cliffjumper's joints are tight and I have no problems posing him or having him hold his weapon. His weapon also still stores in the back panel without any problems. The blade weapons swing out and lock into place just fine as well.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Stow the blaster away as you would in robot mode.
  2. Push each foot down and around so it faces back.
  3. Swing out each of the red panels covering the ankles.
  4. Swing the red panel around so the red side is now pressed against the inner ankle.
  5. Swing the robot foot up so it is now set against the red panel.
  6. Extend each of the wheels on his legs out to the sides.
  7. Push the lower legs up.
  8. Swing each leg out to the sides from the hips, then swing the lower legs in to press the robot feet together.
  9. Pull the rear shell piece on the back of the robot back.
  10. Underneath the curved part of the shell piece, there's a curved bit of plastic cast in red, painted in black on top, push that down.
  11. Push the front of the panel the robot head rests on to move the robot head into the chest compartment.
  12. Swing the shell back and lift up the larger curved part, forming the top of the vehicle in the process.
  13. Swing the robot arms back.
  14. Rotate the forearms so the wheels are facing out to the sides.
  15. Swing the forearms forward to form the front wheels.
  16. Move the shell piece down.
  17. Swing the robot legs back to form the rear wheels.

Vehicle Mode:
Like the robot mode, most of the vehicle mode color scheme is a one to one color swap with just enough variation to make him distinct and interesting. Most of the color on this form is red, thanks in part to his dominant plastic color but also to red paint on panels such as the translucent dark grey panels on the sides. The same parts that are painted black on Bumblebee are black here, including the top of the cabin section and. The pink lines from Bumblebee have been replaced with yellow, which works perfectly against the darker colors of red and grey. The sides of the wheels are cast in translucent orange plastic, but the circle of paint on them is a metallic red color, making the plastic look more red than orange. It's quite sparkly and looks really nice.

Perhaps the biggest difference in the paint deco is found towards the back of the vehicle on both sides. There you'll find the curved section leading to the back painted black with vertical yellow lines. This area was left unpainted on Bumblebee, but here the sculpted details get highlighted nicely. What I also dig about this detail being emphasized is that it harkens back to the ridged designs on the robot head, and it offers continuity between the sides and rear of the vehicle, very nicely done.

Final Thoughts:
I will say without hesitation that I like Generations Cliffjumper more than Bumblebee, mostly on the merits of the strong color scheme and being a Cliffjumper figure that actually has a Cliffjumper head! However, the nagging transformation scheme is still a pain and my comments about the Bumblebee sculpt still stand. I do recommend this figure, but it could have been better.

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