"Generations" Power of the Primes Autobot Jazz Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Generations, Power of the Primes

Generations

Power of the Primes

Autobot Jazz General Information:
Release Date: November 2017
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster, Prime Armor, Prime Armor cover

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The Autobots and Decepticons use Prime Masters to wield the godlike powers of the most legendary bots in the universe: the Primes. Prime Masters carry the spark of a Prime, allowing them to share a Prime's godlike ability with other bots. How will the improvisational special ops agent Autobot Jazz wield this epic power? Anything is possible and everything is at stake when the Power of the Primes is unleashed!

Transformers Generations Power of the Primes Deluxe Class figures are 5.5-inch-scale figures that come with a Prime Armor accessory. Insert a Prime Master figure (each sold separately) into the accessory, attach it to the figure's chest, and imagine Autobot Jazz wields the power of a Prime.

Figure Specs:

  • Deluxe Class Autobot Jazz
  • Modes: robot, sports car
  • Converts in 18 steps
  • Includes Prime Armor accessory, blaster accessory, and collector card
  • Works with Prime Master figures (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.)
  • Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Autobot Jazz is one of the original Transformers introduced in 1984. He was a member of Optimus Prime's crew and was onboard the Ark when it crashed into Earth. He became prominent in the animated series partly for being the character who was cool and a lieutenant who helped wrangle the Autobots in early episodes. Over the years, Jazz has popped up again and again in many forms in the Transformers toy line. Check out some of the versions of Jazz that have come out over the years:

This figure is a brand new sculpt designed just for "Power of the Primes". It is the first one intended to represent a "G1" Jazz in quite some time.

Deco Controversy
Soon after the release of this figure, it was discovered by some intrepid fans that Jazz's deco included some Cybertronian glyphs. When translated into English, they spelled out "MAGA", which is the acronym for the 2016 United States Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again". This is not a political web site, so I will not go into my feelings on the specific acronym. However what I will say is that in my opinion, I do not want politics and my Transformers toys mixing (unless it's Cybertronian politics of course). Transformers are intended for fantasy and escape, and I personally always feel like things get dragged down when real life mashes into them too much.

Note: Gizmodo picked up on this story when it first happened. Hasbro quickly responded with the following statement:

It was brought to our attention that a graphic appears on one of our Transformers figures that, when translated from Cybertonian letters to English, spells out MAGA. We investigated the issue, and discovered that one of our vendors inserted this as part of the design without authorization. We are addressing this with the vendor.

We do not intend for our products to carry political messages, and apologize to anyone who was offended by this message.

So there you have it. A rogue vendor added this detail and it inadvertently passed approvals to get into the production stage. There has been no definitive word on a variation of Jazz, but if I were to hazard a guess I would say if another production run is done by Hasbro, this deco point will be changed. I also imagine the Takara Tomy version of Jazz might excise it altogether. Let's move on to the review, shall we?

Packaging:
The Deluxe Class figures for "Power of the Primes" are packaged in a blister bubble glued to a card. The card continues the current trend of having a red Transformers logo set vertically on the right side (if you are facing the card) with the "Generations" logo above it. Most of the card is covered in character artwork. In Jazz's case his artwork shows him in robot mode charging ahead in battle, blaster pointed forward. The figure is in robot mode inside the bubble with the accessories to the side. The insert inside the bubble has the "Power of the Primes" logo on it with the character's name. The back of the packaging shows Jazz in his various modes including having the Prime Armor attached. On the right side it shows the Prime Armor attached with Micronus inside the Armor. There is a cosell showing Liege Maximo and Vector Prime.

The "Power of the Primes" figures from Legends Class up come with collectors cards. However, unlike the "Titans Return" cards which featured tech spec stats, these focus on what ability the character gets if they connect to a specific Prime Master Spark. This means there are twelve (maybe thirteen?) potential card variations per character (one for each Prime)! In my copy of the Autobot Jazz figure I received the "Liege Maximo Jazz card which indicates he is a smooth talker.

Accessories:
Jazz includes a small blaster weapon. It bears some vague resemblance to his G1 weapon including having rectangular parts in the back with some machinery detail and a (relatively) long barrel that widens towards the front and then narrows again at the end. This piece is cast in white plastic with silver paint on every part except the 5mm peg.

The other accessory is the Prime Armor. Underneath the headlights are rectangular areas with a series of horizontal lines inside. These areas have indentations that match up to the tabs on the Prime Armor. Remove the clear panel in the middle of the armor and you can attach a Titan or Prime Master. The sculpt for this accessory is designed to look like a rocket pack. There are machinery details in the middle and towards the bottom are two thrusters. Indeed, the Prime Armor winds up looking extra chunky if you attach it to the front of the robot mode (it attaches via the tabs on the thumbs connecting to the corresponding vertical grooves on the chest). Instead, I prefer using the 5mm peg on it to attach it to Jazz's lower back where it can look like he is using it to fly.

This accessory also forms a fist for the Combiner limb mode. Unfortunately it has two thumb pieces and neither can tuck away, so as a hand it looks a bit odd. If this design is similar to the Dinobot "hands", it should also be able to connect to a foot piece to form a heel for extra stability (presumably, Jazz is meant to combine with the rumored Voyager Class Elita-1 figure who has not yet hit mass release at the time of this writing). This piece is cast in black plastic with no paint applications. The panel on top is clear plastic.

Robot Mode:
Several Autobots in the original "Generation One" Ark crew used the same base design to transform from a vehicle to a robot. In general the front of the vehicle would become the robot mode chest, the back of the car would become the legs and the car doors formed "wings" in the back. Jazz was no exception. However once the character was translated into a comic book/animation model the designers modified his look so his "wings" were gone and they eliminated his shoulder mounted missile launcher. The end result was a much sleeker looking robot form than the more chunky looking G1 toy. It is this form that this new version of Jazz is based on.

There are some detail differences in the design of the chest due to the licensing issues with using Jazz's G1 Porsche 911 vehicle mode. Instead the designers created a sleek, curved front end of a car with a thin grille section to approximate the look of G1 Jazz without crossing the "licensing line". That said, a lot of the sculpt mirrors elements of G1 Jazz's design. These include:

  • The head has a very distinct design including a crest in front flanked by two "antennae" set at angles. The eyes are V shaped visor eyes with a thin face underneath and a large chin piece.
  • While different in design, the basic shape of the chest is similar to G1 Jazz, especially the way the chest slopes downward towards the front.
  • The shoulders are blocky with wheels on the back (a callback to the G1 toy).
  • The forearms have notches on the sides similar to bands that ran around G1 Jazz's forearms.
  • The area in the middle of the hip section has a raised section with a series of horizontal lines. This is a homage to the G1 action figure and animation model.
  • The front of the thighs have two notches in front, which is a pretty tiny homage detail. I'm impressed by this one because it is so small.
  • The knees have rectangular armor over them with small notches inside.
  • The lower legs have thin, raised panels running horizontally based on sculpted designs on G1 Jazz.

Overall this robot mode is instantly identifiable as Jazz. I think it looks great. He looks sleek, imposing and pays great homage to G1 Jazz.

Jazz is mostly cast in white, with some black and clear plastic parts. The headlights on his chest are translucent blue. Interestingly the head appears to be cast (or heavily painted) in gunmetal grey. His eyes are painted light blue. The center of his chest has blue paint with a tampographed Autobot symbol over it. The edge of the chest piece has red paint on it. This is right from the G1 Jazz deco and it looks great. Black paint is used on several parts such as the shoulders, hips and lower legs. He also has white and silver paint on the lower legs, matching his appearance up with G1 Jazz. I do have to call out one deco point that I think the designers should have painted in: the fists. The forearms and fists are both white. Painting the fists black would have called back to G1 Jazz and broken up the white color.

There are thirteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three on each arm and four on each leg. He also has head and waist articulation. Sadly, while the fists are separate pieces from the forearms, the panel under them prevents them from being able to turn. Each fist has a 5mm port, allowing him to hold his blaster and Prime Armor. He also has 5mm ports on the sides of the forearms. As mentioned above, the Prime Armor can attach to the front of his chest and the 5mm port on his back. The port on the back is pretty far down (basically right at the hips) so it does look a bit weird putting it there. Of course if you rotate the armor around it looks more like a back pack, but then the thrusters wind up pointing up instead, which is also a bit weird. I wish there had been a different port higher up or that you could have moved the port up somehow.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. On each leg, swing the inner half (the pieces with the spoiler halves) out.
  4. Push the lower legs up, with the thighs pushing into the empty space in the lower leg section.
  5. Push the halves of the lower legs together.
  6. Swing the chest up.
  7. Push the head in.
  8. There is a folded panel with the number 4 on it, swing that up and fold it out to cover the gap on the chest piece.
  9. Rotate the arms back and swing it in to form the sides of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
The G1 Jazz toy was based on a real life Porsche 935. Due to licensing issues they could not do the same for this figure but interestingly the designers did decide to use the Porsche 962 for inspiration instead. Like that vehicle, this is vehicle has a low profile with a curved front end that levels out on top. The cabin section looks more like bubble than your traditional vehicle. There is a large spoiler in the back. The tires are sculpted without lots of grooves and lines. Instead they are smooth and rounded at the edges, similar to some real life race cars. I do find it funny that the designers found a different Porsche to base this vehicle on while not having to go crazy with trademark issues.

There are some neat, smaller details on this figure. The top of the cabin section has a raised vent. Behind that are oval shapes indicating an engine-like design. Interestingly enough, this calls back to "Fall of Cybertron" Jazz who has an engine around that same area in vehicle mode. There are also some cool line details etched into the windows on top of the cabin section. Look inside the L shaped headlight areas and you'll see two circular bulbs inside. Overall the vehicle mode sculpt looks very cool.

This mode mostly shows off white plastic. The entire top part is clear plastic with paint on it, so be careful or you might scrape some of the paint off by accident. The wheels are cast in black while the headlights are translucent light blue. In a surprising reference to the Porsche 935 there are blue, red and light blue lines going from the front to the middle. This has the same pattern as G1 Jazz. This is surprising since this is a key aspect of the Porsche 935's detailing but I'll trust Hasbro legal on this one. The other parts of the top section are painted white. There is also a large number 4 on the middle of the hood. This was the same number G1 Jazz had on his hood.

The G1 inspired detailing continues on the sides of the vehicle. There you will find a semi-circle with the words "Autobot Jazz" over it. This particular detail appears to be a riff on the "Martini" logo on the sides of the original Porsche 935 G1 Jazz was based on. The number 4 is printed in large print and next to that is the aforementioned Autobot symbol with the "MAGA" Cybertronian symbols. Under that is a black bar with the word "Energon" in it. I do like the idea of "sponsor" style detailing on the sides and from a purely aesthetic perspective it looks great.

There are three 5mm ports on the top of the vehicle, one on top and two on the side sections. You can also attach the Prime Armor on using the 5mm port. The Prime Armor actually looks very cool on top, as if it is an extra engine added on to give Jazz a boost in vehicle mode. Pop the clear panel off the Prime Armor and you can have a Prime Master (or Titan Master) sit inside. Even better? There are four Titan Master pegs in the back allowing you to have a few extra passengers hitch a ride with Jazz! This is one of my favorite points of functionality and I am happy that it does not ruin the aesthetics of the vehicle.

Transformation to Leg Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Swing the sides of the vehicle out.
  2. Hold the front half of the vehicle and swing it up, then down.
  3. Swing the arms back in.
  4. There are tiny tabs on the ends of the forearms. Push these into the small slots near the spoiler halves.
  5. Swing the Combiner connector piece up.
  6. Attach a foot piece to the bottom of the leg.

*Note: The Prime Armor accessory included with Jazz does not transform into a foot. It only becomes a fist. For the photos in this review I borrowed a Combiner Wars hand/foot/weapon piece since the torso piece Jazz would connect to (presumably Elita-1) has not yet been widely released.

Leg Mode:
In "Combiner Wars" there were plenty of sleek cars turning into limbs. The basic design usually had the front end of the car folding down to make room for the Combiner connection point. This design however takes an extra step which is interesting. Instead of just having the front of the vehicle swing down, the entire cabin section goes down with it to form the front of the leg. This does a great job of adding some thickness to the limb, something some of the "Combiner Wars" legs lacked. It also gives it a more stable appearance.

The connection piece is the same design as those used for "Combiner Wars" figures so you can connect this figure to any Voyager Class figure from that line. The knee can bend and the leg can twist inward or outward. The articulation points are ratchet joints so they hold nice and steady.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Swing the sides of the vehicle out.
  2. Push the front half of the vehicle down a bit.
  3. Split the rear halves of the vehicle in the middle.
  4. Swing the top panels (with the spoiler halves) towards the middle.
  5. Pull the legs out, extending them like you are forming the robot legs. Close the panels.
  6. Push the front half of the vehicle down.
  7. Push the arms in.
  8. Swing the Combiner connection piece out.
  9. Attach the fist to the end.
  10. Rotate the lower body/legs. Move them to the right to form a right arm or to the left to form a left arm.

Arm Mode:
The arm mode basically looks like the car mode sprouted a forearm, but it looks really sleek. Unlike some "Combiner Wars" limbs where robot and car parts wound up dangling or sticking out to the sides. This looks much more sleek and refined. The only potential issue is that the front of the vehicle is a bit too close to the shoulder connection point to allow a full range of articulation. It will wind up blocking the articulation a bit.

If you want to attach extra weapons to this arm, you can connect three on the upper arm (five if you count the two 5mm ports on the bottom of the vehicle mode). Of course the fist can also hold a weapon.

Final Thoughts:
Jazz is a popular character, but sadly he is the one that fans seemed least excited about in this assortment. I think some of this may have to do with the fact that a vastly superior Jazz figure was released many years ago so people inevitably compare any Jazz figure that came out afterward to that one. While I understand the motivation, it is very unfair to modern day Jazz figures. The economics of creating Transformers figures is quite different nowadays and even if they just did a straight up redeco and reissue of "Reveal the Shield" Jazz he would probably wind up costing over $20 USD. Plus it would not have the combining feature (though your mileage will vary on that of course). I believe some fans are also a bit exhausted with the general idea of a rectangular vehicle that becomes a robot and a "Combiner Wars" limb due to all the retools and redecos that came out of "Combiner Wars" but I cannot say I count myself among them.

Overall I think this is a good modern day version of the character. It pays homage to a lot of his original design elements and it looks great in both of its main modes. If you already have "Reveal the Shield" Jazz and you're happy with it, you can safely stick with that version. However if you need a modern day Deluxe version of Jazz in your collection (and you don't want to pay after market prices on older ones) this is a good alternative.

Pros:

  • Robot and vehicle mode sculpts have plenty of details calling back to G1 Jazz.
  • The deco comes very close to the G1 deco (especially the large stripe down the middle).
  • Good articulation and Prime/Titan Master functionality is great.

Cons:

  • The painted parts of the cabin section could scrape easily, be careful.
  • The arm mode interferes a bit with the shoulder articulation when combined with a Voyager Class torso.