Transformers Animated Jetfire and Jetstorm / Safeguard Toy Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Beast Machines, Combiner / Gestalt, Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: December 2008
Price Point: $20.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

Jetfire Images:

Jetstorm Images:

*Text and Images from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Created using the most advanced techniques known to AUTOBOT science, JETSTORM and JETFIRE were cloned from tech recovered from STARSCREAM. Brought online in a secret laboratory deep beneath the surface of CYBERTRON, they are the first AUTOBOTS created specifically to battle the DECEPTICONS. Though they are young, they are extremely intelligent, working their way through Elite Guard Boot Camp in record time. Together, they are potentially the most powerful AUTOBOTS of all time, especially when they combine into their SAFEGUARD form.

Convert these two AUTOBOT characters from robot mode to vehicle mode and back again. Then, combine them to form your own SAFEGUARD figure! Then, read all about the early life of the newest AUTOBOT heroes as it’s revealed in this exclusive comic. See all the incredible details of the creation and training of the most advanced warriors ever to fight alongside the AUTOBOT Elite Guard. Learn the secret origin of JETFIRE and JETSTORM, as they discover how to use their power to combine into the mighty SAFEGUARD for the eradication of the DECEPTICON threat!

Figures come with comic book.

"Transformers Animated" not only pays homage to many of the characters from the Transformers universe, but also many of the concepts the original series introduced such as Headmasters and (in a way) Pretenders. However, one concept that was not explored in the show's initial season was the combiner. Fans thought the introduction of he Constructicons may have kicked off this homage, but instead fans had to wait for the introduction of two new Autobots: Jetfire and Jetstorm who could combine into the larger Transformer known as Safeguard.

Jetstorm and Jetfire also play off another Transformers theme introduced in G1 - the concept of Autobot "brothers". To reflect this, the two use the same basic sculpt, with some minor changes. I will first review Jetfire, then focus on changes made to the figure to create Jetstorm. After that will follow their combined forms, both vehicle and robot.

The two pack includes a comic book written by series writer Marty Isenberg. The comic shows the origins of Jetfire and Jetstorm, showing them rising up from two young Autobot "twins" who were the result of a "split protoform" to their membership as part of the Autobot Elite Guard. I'll do a full review of this comic book for the comic book section soon.

Jetfire Review

Robot Mode:
Many of the characters in "Animated" are new interpretations of characters from previous Transformers shows and even the movies. Characters like Swindle and Grimlock clearly draw design elements from their G1 counterparts, so I was very surprised to see that Animated Jetfire does not draw influence from his G1 predecessor. Indeed, his design is fairly unique in the line to him and his twin brother, Jetstorm. His overall shape is not particularly distinctive. He does not have parts flaring out anywhere, or super huge limbs or weapons sticking out all over the place. Instead, he has a very normal looking body form with a head, chest, two thin arms, relatively thin thighs and sleek looking lower legs. On his hips are armor pieces that act as hip armor.

The distinctive features on Jetfire are the smaller details. This is important since Jetstorm is essentially a retool/redeco of this sculpt. Having the two look exactly alike (and turning into the same vehicle modes) would not make for a very exciting pair of characters, but his details manage to distinguish the two very well. First, the head sculpt definitely takes the word "fire" in the character's name literally. The top of the head is sculpted as if it is flaming. Right under that are goggle details over his forehead. His actual face has large eyes and a snarky smirk angling to the left cheek. Appropriately, he has a chin strap, enhancing the appearance of him wearing a helmet like a pilot. His chest also has a nice five sided horizontal design with details etchedinto the center. His other very distinctive details are panels of flames on his arms and legs, each with several grooves and curves representing flames (again with the "fire" part of his name being brought to the forefront). These detail elements really enhance the look of the robot and keep it from looking ultra generic.

Jetfire is cast in orange, grey, translucent yellow and translucent orange plastic. The grey and orange make up most of his parts including his arms, legs and head. The colors are spread out on the figure, alternating from part to part (for instance, his foot is orange, which leads to a grey lower leg which leads to an orange upper leg). The translucent yellow is used for the panel on his chest as well as the section at the center of his body. The translucent orange plastic is used for the flame details on his head, arms and legs which looks fantastic. Paint details are done in black, brown and grey. Grey is used for detailing or smaller parts such as his face and shoulders. The brown paint is used on details towards the edges of the figure. This includes his goggles and chin strap as well as the front of his feet. Brown was a good choice to set against the brighter colors of this figure, and it harkens to thoughts of a World War II brown bomber jacket. Black is used on the upper legs and the translucent yellow section that forms his mid-body area. It's really well done. Until I turned the figure a bit I thought this part was actually cast in black. I think it would have been really easy to take this figure and make it a G1 Jetfire homage by making him red, white, silver and black, bu tin a way I'm thankful. it's nice to see Animated can put characters into distinctive color schemes all their own even if their pedigree dates back to G1 in some vague way.

There are a whopping twenty three points of articulation on this figure. Much of this can be attributed to the need for lots of joints to be able to transform into his jet form and half of the Autobot Safeguard. Still, it's quite impressive and I was surprised as I counted up the points since he doesnt look that articulated at first (I figured thirteen to fourteen points or so). The section that surprised me most was the head. Most of the time the robot heads of Transformers are placed on a ball joint, allowing for a fair bit of posability. In this case the head is on a swivel and hinge, allowing the head to turn from side to side and look up and down. But thanks to the transformation scheme, you can also tilt the neck back as if he were looking at something very high up. Add to this four points of articulation in each arm and six in each leg (I'm including his flames) and this is one posable figure!

Usually when a figure has one or two gimmicks, something has to get sacrificed. The same goes for Jetfire. Basically, other than transforming into a jet and becoming half of Safeguard, he has no other features. No weaponry, no action gimmicks - nothing. In my realm of expectation, this is about right. The way i see it, between the flame details on his arms and the flames that can swing out on his legs, your imagination can fill in a lot of the details as to what "powers" this Autobot has (indeed, the animated program never shows them using anything but their bodies as weapons, no guns or melee weapons). Still, I can see this being a disappointment to some who expect a bit more bang for their buck. My take on this is that its ability to act as a combiner is perhaps the biggest selling point (aside from its good sculpt, articulation and colors).

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the foot and heel pieces down.
  2. Push each of the lower legs up into the upper legs.
  3. Swing the cockpit panel on the back up.
  4. Rotate each fist so it lines up with the forearms to create an even plane.
  5. Swing each arm back on the orange hinge piece.
  6. Rotate the arm sections around on the grey hinged piece.
  7. Straighten the arms out so they point forward.
  8. Connect the two forearm sections together, then connect the tabs on the back of each forearm to the cockpit cover piece.
  9. Swing the chest panel up.
  10. Swing each of the legs up on the translucent orange hinge sections.

Vehicle Mode:
As I look at Jetfire's vehicle mode, I can see hints of his G1 animated counterpart's influence. This is mostly focused in the front of the vehicle, where the nose cone is angular with right angles instead of the more traditional curves. The very front end angles downward and the cockpit section is squared off. These are features that were found on Jetfire's G1 animated incarnation known as Skyfire, whose form and name were changed due to trademark issues.

The rest of Jetfire's form is a bit more unique however. The idea seems to have been to make a very sleek and compact looking jet, giving it a sense of speed even when just sitting still. The section behind the cockpit has two small fins pointed straight back while there are vents on either side of the cockpit area. His hip armor splays out to the sides a bit, looking like some type of aerodynamic braking system. The translucent orange flames from his robot mode carry over as details that angle backward in this form. The smaller flames from the arms are at the front of the vehicle and the larger flames from the legs are now on the sides. Swing them out and the result are wings that look like they're made from fire - which is a dramatic effect I like a lot. In addition to the wings swinging out, you can also open the cockpit to see the robot head inside.

There are no color surprises here. Most of the vheicle form is grey with orange plastic showing most prominantly on the vents and the mid-section of the vehicle. The cockpit is translucent yellow with brown outlines. Orange paint is found on the ends of the vehicle at the nosecone and tail. On the sides of the hip armor are tampographs of the Autobot Elite Guard symbol, indicating this young bot's special status among the Autobot forces.

Jetstorm Review

Jetstorm is Jetfire's twin brother, but he's not exactly identical. There are some differences between the two. Drawing upon the analogy of hot and cold, Jetfire represents hot while Jetstorm represents the cold which informs his design. At the same time, he is a homage no to a G1 Autobot or a Beast Wars Maximal, but rather a Beast Machines Vehicon!

Robot Mode:
The Jetstorm figure uses the same basic sculpt as jetfire. However, four critical parts have been redone as all new parts. The most significant is the head design. Like his Beast Machines namesake, his head design has a helmet with a "chin strap" type design that runs down the sides of the head, coming to a sharp point at the chin. His eyes are thin, angular visor eyes. He even has stripes etched into the top portion of his head and raised details on the sides of his head that harken back to similar details on Beast Machines Jetstorm. Where the head design differs is the mouth area. Instead of a mouthplate design, he has a nose and mouth set in an upward turned smirk. Instead of raising up to the left like Jetfire, his raises to the right. It's a great head design that both pays homage to his Beast Machines predecessor while also being distinctive in its own right.

The other parts which have been redone are the "flames" on the arms and legs. Instead of flames, Jetstorm's designs look like thin sheets of ice with sharp edges and crystalline lines. No worries parents, the edges are not sharp at all, but they certainly look like it. I really like the designs on these parts as they look similar to Jetfire's, but when you put the two figures side by side, you'll see they are very different.

Jetstorm's colors are (for the most part) a one to one swap of Jetfire's colors with the exception of the head. He is primarily cast in dark blue, light blue and translucent blue plastic. The dark blue makes up his chest, parts of the shoulder hinges, forearms, fists, lower legs and feet. The light blue is used on his upper arms, hip armor and upper legs. His head, the center of the body and his "ice blades" are translucent blue. Paint details are done up in dark blue, metallic silver, light blue and metallic yellow. The dark blue paint matches the dark blue plastic and is used on the head and arms. The metallic silver is used on the face portion of the head. The light blue is used on the head, where it colors the "chinstrap" piece. Metallic yellow replaces the brown paint on Jetfire, coloring much of the same parts including the lower parts of his chest and the edges of his hip armor. Black is used as well, in the same place as Jetfire. These colors are all based on Beast Machines Jetstorm, and they look fantastic. He's instantly recognizable as a homage to the Vehicon, and I appreciate the use of metallic yellow instead of a flat yellow.

Vehicle Mode:
Like the robot mode, Jetstorm's vehicle mode carries over almost the same color pattern as Jetfire's. The primary difference is that most of the base plastic color here is dark blue, with only light blue found here and there on the hip armor and the bits of the robot arms sticking out underneath the cockpit. The metallic yellow color replaces the brown on Jetfire, creating the same pattern with the nose cone and rear section painted yellow as well as the edges of the cockpit and line details on the top of the vehicle. Like Jetfire, Jetstorm has Elite Guard tampographs on the sides.

The main design changes you'll find in this mode are the ice blades on the front and sides of the vehicle. Like the flames on Jetfire, they look rather dramatic and the translucent blue color works very well against the dark blue.

Combined Vehicle Mode

Two jets combining into one vehicle is not a new concept in the Transformers universe. In G1, the two Decepticon Powermasters Dreadwind and Darkwing combined in vehicle mode to form a super vehicle. Like those two, Jetstorm and Jetfire can combine into a single vehicle as well.

Transformation to Combined Vehicle Mode:

  1. Start with both vehicles in vehicle mode (see Jetfire's review).
  2. Line up the bottom of the jets to each other. On the chest panels and nosecones you'll see tabs and corresponding holes, press the two together.

Truth be told, I consider this form a bit of a "bonus" mode in addition to a "because we say so" mode. It really does just look like two jets lying on top of each other. No additional parts are deployed or revealed, which is a bit disappointing. What you can do however is turn his legs out at angles, making his wings splay out in an X pattern, making him look like "Animated"'s answer to Star Wars' X-Wing fighter. That's about the extent of this not-so-terribly-exciting mode.

Safeguard Review

The main feature of Jetfire and Jetstorm is their ability to combine into a single entity. In his introductory episode of "Animated", Safeguard appeared but really didn't do a whole lot or say anything that distinguished him much. Still, with a different name he is clearly a totally separate entity which is cool as it introduces the whole 'combiner' feature as it was intended in G1 into the "Animated" universe.

Jetfire transformation into Safeguard:

  1. Start with Jetfire in robot mode.
  2. Swing the robot arms out on the grey hinge on the back panel.
  3. Swing the panel the robot head rests on forward.
  4. Swing out half of Safeguard's head.
  5. Swing the left leg along with the translucent yellow waist/hip piece out to the side.
  6. Swing Jetfire's head down behind the chest and snap the panel back into place.
  7. Rotate the left leg around so it faces the same direction as the half of Safeguard's head.
  8. Swing the right leg up on its hinge so it goes under the hip armor, forming the shoulder.
  9. Point the right toe forward, forming the robot fist.
  10. Position Jetfire's arms so the fists line up with the forearms and they angle up and down respectively.
  11. Be sure the cockpit panel is swung back.

Jetstorm transformation into Safeguard:

  1. Start with Jetstorm in robot mode.
  2. Swing each arm back.
  3. Swing the panel with the head attached forward.
  4. Swing out the half of Safeguard's head.
  5. Swing out the right hip/waist/leg section.
  6. Swing Jetstorm's head back and snap the panel back into place.
  7. Rotate the hip/waist piece around and then turn the leg so it is facing forward.
  8. Swing the left leg up on its hinge so it goes under the hip armor, forming the shoulder.
  9. Point the left toe forward and swing in the heel piece from the robot foot.
  10. Position Jetstorm's arms so the fists line up with the forearms and they angle up and down respectively.
  11. Be sure the cockpit panel is swung back.

Use the tabs and holes on each of the figures and connect the two halves together.

Safeguard is one of the most unique Transformers combiners to come out in some time. Individually the colors of Jetstorm and Jetfire make perfect sense, but combined together it looks rather odd. What keeps the robot looking like something other than a weird nightmare is the fact that both his halves are symmetrical. He has a good combination of bulk and sleekness. The bulk comes from the look of his rather powerful looking fists and wide chest. The sleekness comes from the smooth lines that make up most of his parts and the way his hip and shoulder armor angle downward and upward respectively. I think it's a neat detail having Jetstorm and Jetfire's arms splaying out at angles in the back. It gives him a more dynamic appearance and they look almost like stabilizers on a flight pack mounted on his back.

The two main newly revealed details are the fist details on his arms and his robot head. The head is interesting, harking back to the DC Comics villain Two Face, whose face is half "normal" and half deformed. In this case both halves of the head design are sleek, with the helmet section angling upwards and sleek, triangular eyes set in a determined look. The fists are large and each finger is sculpted with deep lines individually, with a thumb set over his four other fingers.

There are no color surprises here. The halves of Safeguard's head match the colors of the respective robots, with Jetfire's half being orange with a yellow eye and brown stripe. Jetstorm's half is blue with a blue eye and yellow stripe. Both sides have mouth areas painted silver, bringing the two halves together visually.

Safeguard has sixteen points of articulation in this form, not including the Jetfire and Jetstorm arms in the back. This was more than I expected, but it makes sense since each individual figure has so many points of articulation by itself. The head and waist of course have no articulation, so it's all focused in the arms and legs (four points each). You can also swing out the flame/ice pieces on the arms and legs as weapons.

Safeguard is a fascinating combiner. He is very different than many others created in the Transformers line and he is far more articulated than most combiners. He also has a unique look that definitely captures the eye, and while one half of him may be a homage to a past character, his combined form is unique and fun, something that "Animated" needs to keep itself from seeming like it relies too much on G1 for design cues.

Final Thoughts:
Fellow fan Sabrblade noted a couple things that I missed on my first pass. First, the "half-former" has been done once before, with Energon Omega Supreme. Also, Jetstorm's "power" is wind, though I stand by my assertion that as represented in this figure it looks more like ice.

Overall, I like this set a lot but I'm a big fan of "Animated" and I appreciate how this set manages to pay homage go G1 while doing its own thing at the same time. That said, I can see how spending this much money on two sculpts that are virtually identical with no accessories may be a stretch for some people. I think if the robots had weapons or accessories of some sort (even missiles) I would have given this a higher rating. Recommended with reservations.