Transformers Animated Activators Cliffjumper Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Transformers Animated


Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: February 2009
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

Activators are a sub-line of Transformers aimed at providing simpler transformations with a fully functional and posable Transformers figure. Activator transformations are primarily accomplished through the pressing of a switch or tab and manipulation of a few extra parts. Such transformations are much akin to the early "spring loaded transformations" used in many Beast Wars Transformers figures.

While he was not a prominant character in the "Transformers Animated" series, Cliffjumper did appear in several key episodes that revolved around the intrigue caused by the Autobot Longarm. Cliffjumper is a redeco and retool of the Activators Bumblebee. I know my dear readers may be kind of sick of me reviewing this sculpt since I've also reviewed it when it was released as Patrol Bumblebee and more recently Battlefield Bumblebee. This release predates Battlefield Bumblebee, but it was rather sparsely released in the US compared to its mass release in Europe. I owe my friend and fellow fans Phil Zeman and Dave Van Domelen a huge debt of gratitude for keeping their optics open and picking up Cliffjumper for me (so I can have one in package and one to review). Check out the previous reviews I mentioned for details on the figure itself, this review will focus on the changes made for this release.

Robot Mode:
It is interesting to note before diving into this review that Cliffjumper did not appear exactly in this form in the animated series. His appearances showed him in his Cybertronian form, where he shared a body form with Wasp and Bumblebee. That being said, it makes perfect sense to have given him the same body as Bumblebee for an "Earth" based form. This basically means that this is more of an interpretation of the character rather than portraying him exactly as he appeared in the television series.

Cliffjumper's head design is straight from the animated series. His head is similar in design to Bumblebee's, but whereas 'bee's is more of an insect inspired design, Cliffjumper's seems more akin to that of a bull, The horns on the side of his head curve up in a bull-like fashion while the part of his helmet that comes down over his face as a rather wide nose looks almost like the wide nose of a bull. Given his strong headed personality and temper, this really matches up with the design nicely. Like Bumblebee, Cliffjumper has his mouth curled to the left, giving him a very serious and determined look. Many of the design elements come straight from the G1 Cliffjumper head design including the aforementioned horns, the section on the top of the helmet that curves and points downward and several ridges running along the sides of the helmet section. In both height and width, this head design is larger than Bumblebee's. Due to this fact, he can't quite look straight ahead. Instead, the head is constantly looking at a slight upward angle. You can move the head on a ball joint to look to the sides and up, but he can't look down in the same way Activators Bumblebee can. Overall I'm very happy with this head sculpt and I'm happy to see the designers didn't try to downplay the exaggerated aspects of the animated design.

I was very happy to see that Cliffjumper's plastic color swap outs are not a simple matter of replacing Bumblebee's yellow with red. While that is the primary plastic swap, there's more to it than that. A comment regading the red - while most animated looks at Cliffjumper give him a rather vibrant red appearance, the original Cliffjumper toy was a much more subdued red color and this figure reflects that, something I was very pleased to see. The parts that are black on Bumblebee are black here too - with some exceptions. The shoulder hinges, the shoulders, waist, elbow joints and the knee pieces are all cast in grey plastic, offering up some diversity on the figure color-wise.

Paint applications are done in metallic silver (with a tinge of blue color), black, silver, grey, light blue, dark blue and a pearl white color. It's really cool to see so many different colors used on an Activators class figure. The metallic blue-silver color is used to paint the windows on his torso. Black is found on his feet and on his chest where it forms a prominant Autobot symbol. A bit of black also outlines his eyes and face on the head, which is really nice and helps tighten up the color design. Silver is found on his feet and on the face. The grey paint color matches the grey plastic on his shoulders. It is found on his head, where it paints details on the sides and the top of the helmet section. Light blue is - you guessed it - used to paint the eyes. Dark blue can be found on the siren on his chest, replacing the red on Bumblebee's siren. The pearl white paint is found on his feet on the strips representing the vehicle mode's headlights. I really like this color scheme and I'm happy to see that it differs in pattern from Bumblebee's. In particular the black outlines on his head and the grey paint apps on the head really look fantastic.

All of Cliffjumper's joints are tight, which isn't too surprising seeing as how Battlefield Bumblebee isn't all floppy and he came out after this figure. No articulation is lost either since the new head sculpt is on a ball joint just like Bumblebee's.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the robot feet forward and press them together in the middle.
  2. Straighten out each arm so the door panels line up.
  3. Swing the vehicle panel on his back up and lock it into place with the door panels.

Vehicle Mode:
Most of the vehicle mode's paint applications are seen in the robot mode, so there are no surprises here. Perhaps the one that now draws your eye the most are the rear lights, now painted yellow instead of the red on Bumblebee. Gone is the single racing stripe going down the driver side of the car. However, in its place is silver deco in the diamond shaped design between the headlights, giving Cliffjumper a different look than Bumblebee. The wheels are still cast in black and painted silver on the sides, but that color combination works almost universally on all car-based vehicle modes so they look cool.

You'd think that I'd miss the racing stripe, but not really. I think the vehicle mode looks great even without it. The paint decos contrast really nicely against the red color and it looks totally distinct from Bumblebee.

Final Thoughts:
If you want to sell me on a redeco, make it a homage to a classic character, give it a retooled part and then give it a deco distinctive from its predecessor figure and you've got me. Cliffjumper has all three of these qualities and looks cool on its own to boot. Highly recommended!