Beast Machines Transformers Toy Review: Jetstorm (Ultra)

in 2000, Action Figure Review, Beast Machines, Vehicon

Beast Machines Transformers

Jet Mode  |  Robot ModeHover Mode  |  Jet Mode (neck and missile launcher turned)

Name: Jetstorm
Function: Aerodrone General
Motto: "Cruelty is perhaps, the most enjoyable sin."

A high-tech flying Vehicon, Jetstorm is a fast-talking hotshot with a mean attitude and a twisted sense of humor. Spends as much time taunting
his opponents as blasting them. Loves his job as General of the aerodrones and is fiercely competitive with his fellow Vehicon Generals. Glowing eyes are equipped with powerful radar for scanning and tracking Maximals. His pulse missile system is thought-guided and deadly to the core. Quickest of the Vehicons, Jetstorm is despised by all who know him.

Strength: 9.4 Intelligence: 8.8  Speed: 9.9  Endurance: 9.3
Rank: 9.5 Courage: 9.2 Firepower: 9.7 Skill: 9.6

At Botcon 1999, one of the promised features of the Beast Machines toy line was to introduce characters in more than one price point. This would allow fans, collectors and kids alike to pick and choose which version of the character they prefer to buy, the cheaper or more expensive versions. Other toy lines have used this strategy with success including Power Rangers and Batman. Ultra Jetstorm is one of the first Beast Machines Transformers entries into this type of strategy.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle mode, Jetstorm is a Cybertronian jet. This is in fact the toy that the television show version of Jetstorm was based on, not the deluxe. The jet mode's proportions and overall design are much like the television show's CGI model, being more streamlined and angular than the deluxe version.

In vehicle mode, Jetstorm is mostly dark blue. Most of the dark blue on the central section of the main body of the vehicle is vacume metallized dark blue. Certain parts such as the trim on his nosecone, part of his vehicle "neck" and landing gear are grey. Yellow, red and orange are used liberally on the jet body for detailing. The central section with vacume metallized parts uses stickers instead with the same colors. Translucent red was used for key sections such as the cockpit "eyes", missiles and parts of the central body. His Spark crystal is located in the center of the main body. Flip up the dark grey panel and the Spark is revealed!

As with any Transformer with a jet mode, there are inevitably parts which stick out or act as "robot mode kibble". Jetstorm does suffer from this, but to a very small degree. Whereas the television show CGI model shows Jetstorm as a very flat jet, the underside of this jet does show the robot legs and he has missiles (which resemble mechanical sharks), one under each wing. Much to the toy designer's credit however, this does not subtract a lot from the overal appearance of the vehicle. Along more functional lines, having Jetstorm's robot legs tucked under the jet also gives one something to hold on to while simulating "flight" for Jetstorm - remember, these are toys and meant to be played with!

Jetstorm's poseability is related to his action feature in vehicle mode. Press the bright orange tab in the center rear of the vehicle to raise the rear section of the jet. This will also activate a lighting system. The translucent red parts of the missile launcher, the missiles and the "eyes" on the nosecone all light up when this feature is activated. For those curious, just look at the missile pack's rear section to find the panel to replace batteries if you need to. It uses two 1.5 volt batteries. *Note: if you leave the missile pack up for a while, don't worry about burning out your batteries, the light automatically turns off after a few minutes. You can reactive it by pushing the missile pack back down and then springing it up again.

Aside from pretty lights, the missile pack serves an additional function - a missile launcher and targetting system! Swivel the missile pack from side to side to aim at Maximals and then press the grey tabls in the back to fire the missiles! Also, as you aim the missile pack from side to side, you will notice the neck and nosecone turn from side to side too! Fans of the Beast Machines television show will recognize this as a feature the character utilizes on the show a lot. With this action feature, Jetstorm actually has four points of articulation in vehicle mode. Three rest in the neck and nosecone area, and the missile pack is the other.

Finally, Jetstorm also has the two aforementioned missiles. These can be removed and used as "probes". Each missile has translucent orange plastic for the "eyes" of the missile, and each missile actually has a point of articulation! The detailing on these missiles is also very nice, complete with white teeth! At the middle the missile has a hinge which allows it to aim itself at targets.

Jetstorm's jet mode is very nicely detailed and a beautiful piece. Add to that its "show accuracy" and this is one Vehicon with a cool vehicle mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Begin Jetstorm's transformation by removing the two missiles from under his wings and the two missiles from the missile pack (for safety/sanity reasons). Detach the two robot legs from the rear of the jet and swing them out. Before swinging them down completely, rotate them at the orange pivot point. Then swing them down completely. Rotate the legs around, and swing back the nosecone of the jet mode. Straighten out the robot feet. Now separate the wings from the main body. Now fold back the rear bright orange section. Flip up the back section that connects to the arms. Split open the ends of the wing/arm sections to reveal his claws/hands. Flip forward the two grey panels on the vacume metallized blue rear section of the jet to reveal the robot head. Fold those two pieces forward so they create the robot chest. Now fold the grey pieces connecting the bright orange section to the robot arms forward. Connect the tabs with the grooves on the grey parts on the upper body. Swing back the jet wings and fold the robot head forward. Finally, replace the translucent red missiles and the shark missiles can either be placed in his claw/hands or they can be mounted onto his upper legs to the sides. Jetstorm is now in robot mode!

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Jetstorm stands at a fairly impressive 26.5 centimeters (estimated, including the height of his "fins" on the robot head). Jetstorm is not all height however, he also has bulk. His upper body is fairly bulky due to the missile pack. However, in this case bulky does not mean ugly. His robot head, the rear jet fins and the wings on his robot arms all work together to create a very elegant and sleek appearance.

Some nice details become obvious in this mode. First, Jetstorm's robot face is much closer in design to that of the television show CGI model. It is smooth and robotic looking, without the "breathing mask" on the deluxe version. Also, some gold and red detailing can be found on his robot arms. This adds to an ecclectic, but nice looking set of colors.

In robot mode, Jetstorm has seventeen meaningful points of articulation. This includes eight points of articulation for the legs and four for each arm. His color scheme has carried over from the jet mode for the most part. His robot legs are a combination of dark blue, grey, silver and yellow. You can still launch his missiles by pressing the grey tabs on the back portion of the missile pack.

Jetstorm's robot mode is nice, but a few things prevent it from being a truly great robot mode:

  • It would have been nice to have weapons other than his missiles, possibly something that mounts on his arm.
  • Jetstorm's arms are a bit stubby and barely reach beyond his chest. When his arms are down, this appears fine, but move them up, and it looks like
    he's desperately trying to reach something in front of him.
  • The plastic used on the grey pieces which make up his arms and the rails which his arms connect to the main body is pretty flimsy, and the tabs on
    his arms have a tendency to fall out of the rail. Some type of locking mechanism for the tabs would have helped a great deal.

On the plus side, this is the most show accurate version of Jetstorm we will get. He does have the sleek look of his animated counterpart, and it is easy to see how his robot face was stylized for the CGI model. Also, with the twin cannons on his shoulders and the two "shark" missiles at his side, he does look quite formidable as an opponent.

Transformation to Hover Mode:
Start with Jetstorm in robot mode. Swing down the nosecone of the jet mode so that it aligns with his legs. Turn his legs to the side, and fold down the two halves of his feet. Now connect the two legs, using the peg in hole system on the robot feet. The jet nosecone will fit in between the two legs. Now swing the blue parts of the lower legs out to reveal his thrusters. Jetstorm is now in hover mode.

Hover Mode:
Much of what was said about the robot mode can be said here. However, losing all poseability in the leg area, Jetstorm now only has nine points of articulation. The detailing on the hover mode's "combined legs" is well done. The blue to purple metallic paint on his thrusters give the appearance that the thruster is in use. Around the knee area are details that resemble screws and high tech detailing. Overall, a nice alternative to the robot mode.

Jetstorm shows a positive movement towards more show accurate toys. However, it should be kept in mind that the toys are created first, and the television show second. That means this was how Jetstorm was meant to look like before he was stylized for the television show. In many ways, the toy has benefits of nice action features, detailing and a well thought out color scheme. Recommended. B+