Bot Shots Jazz Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Bot Shots, Generation One

Bot Shots

General Information:
Release Date: September 2012
fPrice Point: $3.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images with asterisks and text below in italics are from the Official Transformers web site:
Crash and bash your way to victory in the TRANSFORMERS BOT SHOTS Battle Game! Will your AUTOBOT JAZZ vehicle convert to robot mode and make you the winner? Find out when you crash your vehicles together! Crash and bash your way to BOT SHOTS victory!

Choose your AUTOBOT JAZZ vehicle’s power, then crash into battle with your opponent. Two ways to win when you crash your vehicles together! If your vehicle converts to robot mode when your opponent’s doesn’t, you’re the winner! If both of your vehicles convert, the vehicle with the highest power wins! Blaster beats Fist, Fist beats Sword and Sword beats Blaster. If neither vehicle converts, crash them all over again!

Includes vehicle. Series 1 B014 AUTOBOT JAZZ. Ages 5 and up.

JazzBot Shots are a game based expression of the Transformers brand that focuses on interactive game play between figures. Previous attempts at this such as "Attacktix" had relied on missile firing mechanisms and point systems as the primary elements of the gaming system. Bot Shots are much more action oriented and factor the transformation of the toy into the play pattern (which Attacktix did not).

In general, all Bot Shots figures have a vehicle mode and robot mode. The transformation is triggered by "bashing" the front of the vehicle into another Bash Bot (or a wall, book...any solid surface really) causing a spring loaded feature to activate and transform the figure. This generally means revealing the robot head, arms angled out to the sides and feet along with robot mode details.

The key to the game system is a three sided hinged mechanism built into the chest. On each side is a sticker with one of three icons: a fist, a sword and a blaster - each representing a different type of combat. Presumably without your opponent seeing your selection, you turn the panel on the chest and then crash the two Bot Shots together and when the robot mode is revealed each player will know what "weapon" the other chose. The way the game works:

  • Blaster beats fist
  • Fist beats sword
  • Sword beats blaster

In the case of two Bot Shots getting the same icon each icon has a number on it indicating that character's level of that skill. Whoever has the higher number wins. It's a simple and fun system clearly developed for kids who enjoy a game element to their action figures (such as lines like Bakugan).

Given the sheer number of Bumblebees, Optimus Primes and Megatrons used in this toy line so far, it's somewhat of a relief when you see someone other than those characters on the toy store shelf. Such is the case with Autobot Jazz, Optimus Prime's trusty right hand man who featured quite prominantly in the Generation One television series (and appeared in a couple other shows after that in various incarnations). Of course, most kids will remember him as a character from the first live action Transformers film. Either way, it's cool to see him included in this toy line as an original sculpt.

Robot Mode:
One look at Jazz's robot mode and I knew I was seeing some Generation One love here. His robot mode is heavily based on his Generation One animation model. The most obvious detail is the head design, which incorporates design elements from the original Jazz including a helmet section with a central crest and horns sticking out the sides at angles. His eyes are "visor" eyes and his mouth is set in a bit of a grin, calling back to the character's cool attitude in the original television show. Traditionally, the front of Jazz's vehicle mode would form his chest, but here it winds up on his back so the designers sculpted his chest to simulate the look of that part including a grille in the middle, "headlights" near his shoulder joints and a curved section that resembles the front of his car mode. The rest of his parts are a bit generic including the legs, which have nicely sculpted details, but frankly could belong to anyone.

Jazz is mostly cast in white plastic with a few black parts (mostly the wheels). This mode uses silver and black paint to provide detailing. The silver is used on his face and eyes as well as the "headlight" details on his torso. The black paint is used on his lower legs and the helmet section of his head, all appropriate places to put the color if paying homage to G1 Jazz.

There is no articulation to really discuss and Bot Shots don't come with any accessories. The main fun in this figure is in the "crashing" play pattern and seeing how many of your friends you can defeat! For those curious, Starscream's scores break down as follows:

  • Blaster: 370
  • Fist: 555
  • Sword: 695

I was a bit surprised that Jazz's score weren't a bit higher. In general the character's battle prowess is meant to be pretty high, so his average ratings were a bit of a surprise. Don't get me wrong, 695 on the sword isn't anything to ignore, it's a tad low for the little guy, but it's a good set of ratings

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the car hood on the back over the robot head, this will also cause the arms to swing in.
  2. Swing the robot feet up against the underside of the car.

I've had no issues with Jazz's transformation. It goes back and forth smoothly without issue.

Vehicle Mode:
Generation One Jazz transformed into a Porche, but given the limitations of current trademark laws his Bot Shots incarnation nis more of a sports car with Porche like influences, mostly in the front which is curved and has a grille in the center flanked by two round headlights reminscent of the G1 character. I was very thankful to see that this was an original vehicle mode sculpt. Sure it looks kind of like Mirage or Bumblebee being a curved sporty car, but it is very much its own design down to the shape of the wheel wells and spoiler.

Where this figure fails a bit is the deco. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of paint on the armor (which is mostly white with black wheels). The windows are all painted silver and there is a wide stripe of deco going from the front to the back of the vehicle down the center. There's even a "4" formed on the hood from not painting that section and there are two smaller black 4's on the doors, paying homage to the number found on G1 Jazz. The main issue I have is with the big blue stripe. I would have preferred red lines on the sides leading to the blue line, similar to the stickers on G1 Jazz. The instructions even depict Jazz like this in drawings, making me wonder if this was the way the car was going to be painted but a last minute change prevented it from happening. It doesn't look bad, I just think it could've been better.

Final Thoughts:
I'm a bit conflicted on this one and believe it or not only mildly recommend it. The robot mode sculpt is great, but his stats are disappointing and the vehicle mode deco definitely needs work. Here's hoping for a much cooler redeco (yeah, I just said that).