Transformers Animated Autobot Jazz Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Transformers Animated


Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: July 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Exhaust pipes/double-energy chucks x 2

Images:

*Image from Hasbrotoyshop.com

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
AUTOBOT JAZZ has studied Earth culture since he first became aware of it. He loves everything about it – the music, the movies, the vehicles, and – of course – the style. He’s usually a pretty chill guy, being a cyber-ninja and all, but he can barely contain his excitement at finally getting to check out Earth and give his new vehicle mode a spin. His excitement won’t make him forget his duty, however. He is a master of hand-to-hand combat, with the fastest fists on CYBERTRON.

Join this mighty AUTOBOT ally in pursuit of the AllSpark! In sleek sports car vehicle mode, this fearless AUTOBOT JAZZ figure is ready for battle. When it’s time to call in the toughest of troops, convert the vehicle to robot mode – the vehicle’s exhaust pipes convert to double-energy chucks in robot mode!

Jazz (or "Autobot Jazz" if you prefer) is a curious character. For years he was largely ignored. While Prowl has received incarnations ad nauseum, Jazz has only popped up here and there in various Transformers lines. Then 2007 rolled around and Jazz became one of the feature players in the live action "Transformers" movie and the character was suddenly a Transformers staple again, appearing as a Universe Legends figure and now in "Animated" as a member of the famed "Elite Guard".

Vehicle Mode:
Jazz's vehicle mode is a really interesting one. It is meant to represent an Earth mode and it is described as a "sleek sports car" which evokes thoughts of modern day cars such as a Lamborgini or Porsche (G1 Jazz's vehicle form). Instead, this sleek vehicle looks positively retro. The front end is perhaps, the most modern looking part, with a very rounded edge to it and raised, oval headlights. However, the small covers over the top of the headlights evoke the feel of cars such as the 1957 Ford Thunderbird. The small cones sticking out from underneath the fender are reminscent of similar details on the 1954 Chevrolet Bel-Air. Adding to the retro look of the car are the rear fins, which double as the sections where the cone shaped rear lights stick out. The pointed sideview mirrors are also a sleek, yet retro touch and the exhaust pipes running along the sides give a hint of a customized street racing car. Overall, the look of this vehicle is powerful, fast and stylish with a classic touch - just the type of form one would expect a stylish Autobot like Jazz to take on as his own.

I'm a big fan of small details, and perhaps that's one of the reasons I enjoyed the aesthetic of the 2007 movie. I am glad to see that despite it's very flat, "animated series" look, the "Animated" figures themselves actually have quite a bit of detail. The wheels on this car have an insane amount of corss hatching detail and small details on the wheel tracks themselves. His rear lights are set against a flat surface with several horizontal lines running across. Add in the requisite door lines/handles details and Jazz has a good bit of detail that does not detract from his animated appearance.

The deco is what really makes this vehicle mode a great G1 Jazz homage. The primary plastic colors are off white, black, translucent blue with two shades of metallic grey. Most of the vehicle is white, just like the original Jazz. The sideview mirrors and exhaust pipe sections are divided between the darker metallic grey and the lighter one. The wheels are cast in black. Black paint is used for the windows while metallic grey is used for the sections in the back with the rear lights. Red is used for all four rear lights, contrasting very nicely with the dark metallic grey. Silver is used for the wheel covers and a metallic light grey is used on the front bumper. His headlights (and two smaller lights underneath) are cast in translucent blue. Finally, the detail that bonds him strongly to G1 Jazz is his hood design, a tri-striped design with two blue lines on either side of a central red line. Underneath that is the Autobot "Elite Guard" symbol. This deco pattern is simple, yet that is exactly how it should be to pay proper homage to the original Jazz while comforming to Animated's more simple and streamlined aesthetic.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the exhaust pipes from either side and split them in the middle.
  2. Flip the car over and extend the robot arms forward.
  3. Swing back the rear section of the car.
  4. Swing out the robot feet from the car's rear sections.
  5. Swing the robot arms out to the sides at angles.
  6. Swing up the small, triangular black panel below the robot head.
  7. Swing down the robot chest.
  8. Rotate the arms around so they face the right direction.
  9. Rotate the door panels around.
  10. Swing the robot hands out.
  11. Place the chucks into each hand by sliding the narrow parts in first, and then sliding them in to lock them in place.

Robot Mode:
While the character of Jazz has always been portrayed as a smooth operator, his toys rarely reflect this. The original G1 figure was rather bulky and other incarnations such as his Spychanger form or Pretender form faired no better. The difficulty seemed to be finding a way to take a bulky front end of a car and a rather bulky back end and somehow turn it into a sleek, posable figure. For the first time since perhaps, Alternators Meister we now have an example of a very sleek looking Jazz in both vehicle and robot mode.

What strikes me most about Jazz upon transforming him is how lean and long he looks. Everything in this form evokes a sense of a lithe, quick warrior. His head is a clear riff on the G1 Jazz head, with a visor eye, mouth, chin piece and horizontal lines on either side of the face. However, the designers took it a step further and if you look carefully, you'll note that the "ears" and the portion around them on the head resemble earphones! His face is quite long, and that extends down to his arms, mid-section and legs, all of which give him an impressive height of about six inches. By having a bulk of the car mode go into the legs, it gives him height and the necesity of collapsing the arms underneath the front of the vehicle makes them rather thin and long. His waist and upper legs are also super thin compared to the rest of the body, which allows him to fit in with the "Animated" aesthetic and look thin at the same time.

There is a very smart use of details from the vehicle mode here. Between the cone shapes on his chest, the sideview mirrors (now over his shoulders) and the rear lights from the vehicle mode, he has points angling in different directions, giving him a very dynamic feel. This is also enhanced by the somewhat organic shapes and angles on his arms. I also love the way his hands are sculpted in a "C" shape rather than being just flat open palmed or a closed fist. It looks a lot more dynamic, as if we are catching Jazz in mid-action.

Just as the vehicle mode is mostly white, the same can be said for this form. Black only appears on his upper arms and for some details on his waist, upper legs and head area. This black is critical as it helps to break the monotony of the wh ite without being gawdy. There are also nice arrow/line designs on his waist area, that are painted red, contrasting nicely against the black color.

Each pair of chucks can be held in one of this hands. I love the way the chucks can fit onto the slots on his arms. Not only is this a nice way to store the weapons in both forms, but it looks really awesome at the same time. I also love the way the chuck holders on his arms can angle up and down independent of the door panels.

Jazz has fourteen points of articulation in this form. This includes four points of articulation on each leg and ball joints on his shoulders and legs allowing for a wide range of movement.

Final Thoughts:
Jazz is a fantastic reinterpretation of G1 Jazz. Everything about the figure screams "sleek, stylish and cool" and that's exactly what Jazz should always be. Highly recommended!