"Generations" War for Cybertron: Earthrise Cliffjumper Toy Review

in 2020, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Generations, Mini-Bot, War for Cybertron: Earthrise

Generations

War for Cybertron: Earthrise

General Information:
Release Date: January 2020
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Cannon barrel halves x 2, Cannon base, Cannon legs/Skis x 2

Cliffjumper

Official images and text below in italics are from BigBadToyStore and Hasbro Pulse:
The impulsive Autobot warrior, Cliffjumper, converts into classic G1 car mode in 18 steps and comes with a weapon accessory. Also includes ski attachments to change to ski vehicle mode.

Includes Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Earthrise Deluxe Cliffjumper figure, 1 accessory, and instructions.

  • The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark
  • This ecosystem of collectible figures allows fans to build out epic space battle scenes, featuring figures that can convert into Modular Battle Station modes and connect together to expand the battlefield (each sold separately, subject to availability)
  • Cliffjumper figure converts into classic G1 car mode in 18 steps and comes with a weapon accessory. Also comes with ski attachments to change to ski vehicle mode
  • Every pack includes a piece of the Transformers Universe map and a red decoder to unlock the map's hidden paths!
  • Collect other Earthrise figures to piece together the full map! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)
    Figure scale: 5.5 inches. Ages 8 and up

Cliffjumper was one of Optimus Prime's original crew members onboard the Ark. The character was kind of ignored for many years after G1, but in time he popped up in various continuities including:

This figure is notable in that it is one of the few times that Cliffjumper is a completely new figure instead of being a redeco/retool of a Bumblebee figure.

Packaging:
Earthrise packaging is the same basic shape as Siege boxes. They feature one flat side and one angled side with a window in the middle. Like the Siege boxes the boxes feature a red Transformers logo set vertically to one side with the Generations logo above it. Under the window is the Earthrise logo with the War for Cybertron Trilogy logo beneath it. Off to the left is the name "Cliffjumper" with his rank symbol above it. The other side of the box features the character's artwork. Cliffjumper's artwork features him aiming his giant cannon.

The back of the box shows Cliffjumper in both of his modes. The transformation is listed as having 18 steps. Interestingly, there are no cosells. The packaging has one more fun feature. Inside the packaging is a translucent red "decoder", inspired by the red plastic strips that were included with G1 toys for several years. Run this decoder over the cardboard insert inside the box and you will see part of a space map featuring the "Dead Universe". Part of me cannot help but wonder if this is a reference to the deaths of other versions of Cliffjumper in Transformers: Prime and the Bumblebee Movie.

Accessories:
Cliffjumper includes a pile of accessories, partly to make up for the relatively small size of the figure. His main accessory is a giant cannon based on the one he used in "More than Meets the Eye". Like that cannon, this weapon has a long barrel and small fins at the back. It also features small legs to rest the front on. The cannon is cast in black plastic and the length of the barrel is painted silver. The back piece has silver details on the sides. The weapon looks fantastic and really does evoke Cliffjumper's G1 weapon. Part of me can't believe we actually have an official accessory of this weapon!

But wait, there's more! The cannon can be broken down into several components. Here's a rundown:

  • The barrel of the cannon splits into two blasters, each with its own 5mm peg so Cliffjumper can hold them separately. Even better? These also form the boosters that appear on the sides of his vehicle mode in its "ski mode". You can attach Blast Effects to these weapons to make them look like they are firing.
  • The back of the cannon forms...some type of device that can connect to Cliffjumper via a tab fitting into a slot on his arms. I say let our imagination roam on this one. This could be a weapon or maybe a "shield generator".
  • The legs that the end of the cannon rest on form the skis on his front wheels in vehicle mode.

On top of all that, the back of of the vehicle mode detaches and can be used as a shield in robot mode. This piece is red plastic with black and silver paint. Some fans have not been happy about this since this makes an already small figure a "partsformer". I think that is an exaggeration. One part detaching does not make an entire figure a "partsformer" (that distinction belongs more to figures like Weaponizers and Modulators). Also, this piece serves a function in robot mode and should the figure be given a retool (which I am guessing it totally is) this makes it much easier to create a different vehicle mode out of the basic design of the figure.

Robot Mode:
There has been much talk about Cliffjumper's size and his designation as a Deluxe Class figure. The figure stands under 4 inches (about 10.16 centimeters) tall and about 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters) from shoulder to shoulder. That makes it larger than your typical Legends Class figure, but smaller than your typical Deluxe Class figure. Even with his accessories, it may seem odd that this figure was shoehorned into a wave of Deluxe figures.

I think the best way to look at this figure is not so much as a standalone toy, but a toy created alongside three other figures (Hoist, Ironworks and Wheeljack). Sometimes cost and materials are distributed across a wave, so not every figure is necesarily the same size or uses the same exact amount of materials. In the case of this wave, Hoist weighs in at 3.2 ounces while Wheeljack is 2.7 (the same as Mirage) and Cliffjumper weighs in at 2.0 ounces. With this spread, you can see how the materials were distributed across the wave. This is hardly a new practice. The Ironhide/Ratchet/Crosshairs figure weighs in around 3.5 to 3.7 ounces while other Siege Deluxes came in around 2.5-7. This is just continuing what has already been done previously (and in other toy lines to boot).

Okay, enough about sizes and plastic in ounces. Let's get to the actual figure! Cliffjumper borrows a lot of design elements from his G1 counterpart. The cabin section of the vehicle becomes his torso, the front of the vehicle becomes his legs and feet and his arms have a blocky design. The "back pack" formed by the rear of the vehicle mode winds up giving him a "Throttlebot-esque" appearance, but since it can be popped off, you can make the figure look more like G1 Cliffjumper. Of course, the most G1 feature is the head sculpt, which looks like it jumped straight out of the G1 cartoon featuring an oval helmet section, horns on top and horizontal lines running down the sides of the helmet. There are some small details that come from G1 Cliffjumper including some notches on each of the thighs that call back to similar details on the G1 Cliffjumper toy. His feet are also rather blocky since they are formed from the front of the vehicle mode.

Cliffjumper is made up of red, black and translucent blue plastic. The red and black make up a lot of the body and translucent blue makes up the entire torso plate in front. Paint colors on this figure include red, black and silver. The red is used fairly extensively while the black and silver are used on smaller areas. There is no light piping on the head, so the eyes are painted light blue to match up to his G1 animated counterpart. The red color is a fairly deep and darker one than you would soo on the animation model, but it definitely fits the character.

There are twenty two points of articulation on this figure, which definitely places him way above a typical Legends Class in terms of engineering and the sheer number of parts. The articulation includes five points in each arm and leg and even waist articulation. There are seven 5mm ports on this figure which you can use to attach extra weapons. This includes two on the bottom of his feet, two on the lower legs, two on the forearms and one on the back. The port on the back is revealed by detaching the "back pack" (aka the rear of the vehicle mode). This allows for some weapon storage as well. Continuing with the feature started in Siege, there is a small peg on the right shoulder and another on the left leg allowing you to attach Blast Effects.

As an aside, I am going to say now that I would not be shocked if this figure was later used as the basis for a Bumblebee retool, a Throttlebot or both. The way the middle of each arm is designed really calls out a Bumblebee retool and the removable "back pack" could easily be used to create different rear vehicle sections for the various Throttlebots. I hope I am right!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if attached and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Detach the "back pack" piece and set it aside for now.
  4. Swing the torso plate forward, swing out the panel with the Autobot symbol on it then swing the torso plate back into place.
  5. Rotate the lower body around.
  6. Rotate the arms around at the elbows.
  7. Swing the arms up at the elbows, then swing them up at the shoulders so it looks like the arms are punching into the air.
  8. Swing the upper body forward.
  9. Swing the arms together, using the tabs on the shoulders to help clip them into place.
  10. Swing the back panel on each foot out.
  11. Rotate the red panels on the feet up.
  12. Swing the front wheels out to the sides.
  13. Push in the panels from the robot feet to complete the front and sides of the vehicle. You will have to do a bit of careful adjustment to make sure all the tabs are in place and the panels line up.
  14. Take the "back pack" piece and swing in the black peg, then slide the red pegs into the robot fists to form the back of the vehicle.

There is more functionality with the vehicle that I will go into below. This section just covers the basic transformation from one form to another.

Vehicle Mode:
The original Cliffjumper transformed into a "Penny Racer" version of a Porsche 924. However, this time out Cliffjumper's vehicle mode seems to be more based on the Mitsubishi Starion, a very retro looking car that was in production from 1982 to 1989, falling right into the time frame that Earthrise is set in. Here are some of the similarities between the Mitsubishi and this vehicle mode:

  • The overall shape of the car is similar with a flat front end that angles down towards the grille and a back section features a spoiler that wraps around the base of the rear window.
  • The rear window wraps around to the sides. If you look at it from the sides the rear window appears to have a triangular shape.
  • Like the Mitsubishi Cliffjumper also features a thin grille strip in front along with a rectangular headlight section. The headlights are sculpted into the hood as the "pop up" kind.
  • The spokes on the sides of the wheels feature five sides with an indentation in the middle, just like the real life Mitsubishi.

There are a couple of distinct differences between this vehicle and the Mitsubishi. The hood has an air intake in the middle that is not found on the real life Mitsubishi Starion. Also to the right of the air intake is an indented pattern on the hood that comes right from G1 Cliffjumper's design! I both love and appreciate this little homage to the original Cliffjumper.

This mode mostly shows off red (both plastic and painted parts). The sides of the wheels are painted silver (yay!) and the front and back sections also have black and silver details. The hood has a huge Autobot symbol in the middle, which looks great but makes me wonder why there is no Autobot symbol on Cliffjumper in robot mode. Overall the deco on this vehicle mode looks great!

With the cannon fully assembled, rotate the front half so the peg is sideways to the right. Attach each of the leg/ski pieces to the slots on the sides of the cannon. Attach the cannon to the top of the car. In relation to the vehicle, the cannon looks like insane overkill but it's fun!

Now, if you want to turn Cliffjumper into his "water ski mode" as seen in "Dinobot Island: Part 2" then start by taking apart the cannon. Attach the skis to the slots next to each front wheel. Take the black piece from the cannon and swing out each half. Attach that piece to the underside of the vehicle with the peg in front pointing forward. There are small tabs on the back piece that slot into the tabs inserted into the robot fists. Now connect the halves of the cannon barrel to the tabs near the rear wheels. You use the slots on the pegs to attach them. I love how goofy this mode is and it really does have an "80's cartoon" feel to it. It also represents an official Transformers product calling back to a fairly obscure but fun moment in Transformers history.

Final Thoughts:
Cliffjumper is a fantastic toy. He looks good in both modes and his "extra" functionality in vehicle mode is super fun. The main thing that works against the figure is the size and weight. It is hard to say that this figure is as much of a value as Hoist given the sheer amount of plastic used on each figure. With that said, I happily paid $20 USD for this figure, but I can totally understand if some fans may want to wait until it goes on sale.

Pros:

  • Excellent sculpt that calls back to G1 Cliffjumper very well while doing something new with the design.
  • Fantastic vehicle mode that has a fun and retro design.
  • Lots of play value.
  • The accessories help call back to two key moments for the character in the G1 cartoon.

Cons:

  • Some fans will scoff at paying the same price for this figure as they have for other, heavier figures in the line.
  • The proportions in robot mode are a bit goofy, with large feet and relatively small arms.