I've been eyeing the new Fall of Cybertron-based Deluxe Class Transformers since we first got wind of them a couple of months ago. Wave 1 looked extremely promising in the solicitation photos provided by Hasbro, but early word that they'd shrunk significantly since the last Transformers: Generations batch put a damper on things, especially since they're still at the same price point of the previous Deluxe Class figures (Php 700.00).
Still, I couldn't help but sign up and get a batch. Having been absent on the distribution day, one of the guys at Cybertron Philippines was kind enough to help those that missed out with some of the leftovers. Though they reportedly made it to shelves, I wasn't able to see them in the wild. It looks like the Transformers: Prime line is still he one to beat at the toy store.
The packaging on the new Transformers: Generations: Fall of Cybertron (that's a mouthful) figures is pretty bold-looking. Not only is it a deep red in color, but the portrait artwork takes up a huge chunk of the real estate up front, with a nice, legible Transformers logo in silver.
The toy is packaged in it's robot mode, and the plastic bubble has an area large enough so that you can plainly see any defects that might be apparent in the figure (not that there are many from what I've heard). There's a paper insert that sports the faction insignia (in Jazz' case, Autobot), the Fall of Cybertron logo, the character's name, and an image of the character's vehicle mode's computer model.
It's a graphically concise presentation that is still pretty arresting, and one of the best I've seen this year.
Jazz is still one of my favorite Autobots, and I've got to say that this is a unique take on the character. The robot looks far more butch than the previous Deluxe figures I've bought of Jazz, with broader shoulders and a squatter neck. He looks kind of like he's wearing American football shoulder pads.
The thing that bothers me the most about the figure though isn't the hollow interior of the robot, but the goofy looking head that they've sculpted for him. He was always the cool dude with the shades. Now he kind of looks like the creepy dude wearing sunglasses indoors so you can't see him staring. I really hate the pucker they've given him in this new incarnation.
Otherwise, I think the sculpting is pretty awesome. One thing that struck me is that they've integrated the vehicle's exhaust pipes into the design. When he's in robot mode they're situated on his back so they look as if they're jump jets.
Articulation on the Fall of Cybertron Jazz is a little touchy. He's got some nice joints, some are even ratcheted, but they're kind of limited.
His knees for instance, only go about 45 degrees. Now by the standards of way-back-when, that's a lot. But seeing how many of the more recent Transformers are consistently working ball joints into their designs, it feels somewhat wanting. His ankles are kind of annoying, too. They don't go all the way around the pivot, so you can get good range one way, but none the other. Plus it's only one axis there so posing requires some work with a stand.
I'm really hating the arms, though. They joints there are all of the breakaway variety. They are constantly falling off during the transformation sequence. I also don't like how the fists don't swing all the way out to align with the forearms. They kind of just flop there and stop.
Color is another thing I'm not digging.
For some reason, he's got less black in his design than all the previous Jazz toys I've encountered. Instead of black, he's got a kind of dull, plastic-ky blue. It makes him look rather weak, kind of effeminate in a way. I'm seriously thinking about painting those parts over to see how he looks in black and white.
Despite the flaws of the robot mode, I really like the way the vehicle mode turned out. Jazz turns into some hopped up, Cybertronion street racer, with a row of jets down the backside of his roof, and some sweet looking grid racing tires. There's no transparent windscreen either, making it look even more like something out of TRON.
To help the illusion along, there are even canals all over the skin of the car, etched into the mold that look like circuit pathways. If I had the skill, I'd re-paint this entire toy and light those things up with some cool blue airbrushing and some white drawn down the middle of each of those crevices.
Like the robot mode, the car mode is noticeably smaller than the other Deluxe Class figures from the Generations: G1 and Transformers: Animated lines. He's about the same length as the old G1 Jazz.
Still, with a fine transformation sequence, a nice, tight design that folds up well, and a killer vehicle mode, the toy does look good next to it's predecessors.
So while Fall of Cybertron Jazz has it's problems, I don't feel that I wasted my Php 700.00 (about $15.50 US). It's a passable robot mode with some good articulation, and a very nice vehicle mode with weapon storage. I'd say that puts this one above average.
There are some things to consider for the more fastidious collectors. There's the aforementioned scale issues. The new Deluxe figure really are smaller than the older models, which can bug a person. Then there's the fact that they used cheaper materials than before, with the plastics looking more transparent and feeling weaker: softer. There's no longer any nice transparent plastic, either. It's all one type of material.
But it looks as if they did put a lot of effort into both design and execution of the toy, even if they've had to cut back on materials and paint. I think this one is really going to fall on whether or not you like the look of the new Jazz. Personally, I do like it, but kind of wish they'd made one that looked like the model from War for Cybertron.
See what I mean about the blacks? Bad-ass.