"Generations" Studio Series Autobot Jazz Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generations, Movie (2007)

Studio Series

General Information:
Release Date: July 2018
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Weapon

Autobot Jazz

Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Reach past the big screen and build the ultimate Transformers collection with Studio Series figures. Each figure in the Studio Series lineup is inspired by an iconic movie scene and designed with a cinematic blend of movie-inspired specs and details. Access the Transformers movie universe with this Transformers Studio Series 10 Deluxe Class Movie 1 Autobot Jazz figure.

Intricate Conversion and Accessory
This Studio Series 10 Deluxe Class Movie 1 Autobot Jazz figure brings the movie action from the Mission City Battle scene to new dimensions. The figure converts between robot and vehicle modes in 19 steps and comes with a high-impact weapon accessory inspired by the movie. Remove the backdrop included in pack to showcase Autobot Jazz in the Mission City Battle scene.

Smooth Autobot Lieutenant
In the climactic Mission City Battle scene from Transformers Movie 1, Autobot Jazz brings every unit of power in his frame to protect the human and Autobot forces at his back. He bravely executes his duty as first lieutenant of Optimus Prime when Decepticons converge on the city to secure a hard-won Autobot victory.

2017 was a milestone in Transformers history. The live action movie series was now ten years old meaning an entire generation of fans had grown up in an era where they had a live action Transformers theatrical film every other year to watch. In 2018 Hasbro launched the "Studio Series", a "Generations"-esque line of figured focused on the live action movies. The series boasted toys that were made in rough scale with each other using the CAD files from Paramount Pictures as the basis for the design. Part of the idea was also to fill in gaps in previous lines by making characters who had not appeared in the line previously.

The first Transformers live action movie focused on using Autobots with names that long time fans would recognize. One of these was Jazz (aka "Autobot Jazz" for trademark reasons). This led to many versions of the character being made in toy form including a Deluxe Class figure, a Target exclusive figure and a "Legends" (aka Legion) Class figure. Perhaps the most screen accurate version of the character was the "Human Alliance" version but that is hard to find at a cheap price nowadays. With the release of the "Studio Series" Jazz, fans now have a chance to purchase a screen accurate version of the character.

Packaging:
The Deluxe Studio Series figures are packaged in boxes similar in size to the boxes used for "The Last Knight". The boxes are vertical rectangles with a large window in the front. Instead of the lighter colors of "The Last Knight" boxes, this box takes a more "Generations" style approach, using a black background and a vertical "Transformers" logo to the right. Above that is the "Generations" logo. Reflecting the new, unified approach to the Transformers toy line both Hasbro and Takara Tomy's logos appear on the front of the packaging. Towards the lower part of the box is the logo for the specific film the character comes from. To the left is new package art with blue borders. The packaging also has package art on the side and a large collector number designated to each figure. In Bumblebee's case he is number 1. The idea is that you can line up all these figures on a shelf to show off the collection numbers. It's a neat idea and has kept me from tossing out the box so far.

The back of the packaging shows Jazz in both modes along with the logo for "Transformers". It also describes his transformation as having 19 steps. Towards the bottom it shows you how you can take the cardboard insert from the inside of the packaging and use it as a display base and background for the figure. In Jazz's case, he comes with a background with showing the final battle in the first live action film. Next to that are the cosells for this figure: Lockdown, Bumblebee and Stinger. Below that is all the requisite legal information for the figure.

Robot Mode:
It is no secret that Transformers Deluxe Class figures have shrunk over the years. The Deluxes of say, the "Armada Trilogy" era tend to be larger and chunkier than modern day ones. However, Hasbro has tried to hold the line on the size height-wise (keeping Deluxes at roughly 5 inches/12.7 centimeters tall). Still, even by those standards Jazz here is small. The main reason for this is one of scale. "Studio Series" is making an attempt to (roughly) have characters across the line scale with each other. Clearly this is not 100% possible (otherwise Grimlock should have been somewhere between a Supreme and Titan Class figure). However the designers are trying and that means some characters in the same scale wind up being smaller than others. Such is the case with Jazz. He does stand at roughly 5 inches tall (think somewhere between a 3 3/4" and 6" Star Wars Black Series figure) but due to his design, he is not particularly bulky or wide. I bring this up first because when people think "Deluxe", this is not the size they think of. It just barely makes the category size-wise and fans should be aware of what they are buying.

On that note, let's talk about what's good! Jazz has a beautiful sculpt based off the movie's CG model. Jazz incorporates some G1 stylings in this form including the front of the car forming the chest and the general shape of his head (which includes "horns" on top and visor eyes). The sculpt also has a lot of mechanical details around the neck area (basically the top of the chest/shoulder section), the vehicle mode headlights on his shoulders and distinctive mechanical and line details on the legs. From the standpoint of screen accuracy, this figure definitely nails the design beautifully.

While he looks mostly silver, there are actually three main plastic colors used here: silver, dark grey and translucent blue. Lots of silver paint is used to even out the colors from piece to piece and it works really well. From a distance you would think his upper arms are cast in silver, but they are actually translucent blue with a layer of silver paint over them. Red paint is used on the Pontiac symbol on his chest. Dark grey paint is used on the chest with metallic blue on the headlights. The lower legs have a light gold color on the front. A bit of black paint is found on the sides of the arms. While this figure may not look like it has a lot of paint, there is actually quite a bit on the figure.

There are nineteen points of articulation on this figure, which is pretty impressive nowadays. Due to the transformation scheme, there is no waist articulation, but he has an outward ankle tilt and five points on each arm. Jazz's hands represent two different designs. The right hand features his fingers extended (looking kind of like a weird claw hand) while the left has the "fingers" curved in such a way that there is a 5mm port. This allows Jazz to hold his weapon which looks like a blaster connected to a shield with crescent shaped panels on either side. This weapon has a 5mm peg and fits nice and tight in the left hand.

What's that you say? You want to have Jazz hold the weapon in his right hand? Well, you're in luck, fellow fan! Swing either hand in and you will reveal a rectangular piece that the weapon can attach to! This also plays into the fantasy of the hand "transforming" into the weapon! I was really happy to see this extra feature included. It is simple, yet very effective.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon (if attached) and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. On each forearm, swing the hands in.
  4. Push each forearm up against the upper arms, aligning the panels on the sides.
  5. Pull the center of the chest out, rotate it around, then push it back in.
  6. Push the robot head down.
  7. Swing the arms back.
  8. Lift up the back panel and swing the rear panel of the vehicle mode back.
  9. Holding the chest, gently pull the lower body down, separating it from the chest piece.
  10. Rotate the section with the chest and arms around.
  11. Rotate the arms so they are pointing back towards the rear of the vehicle.
  12. Swing the front panels on each lower leg down.
  13. Swing the lower legs up, with the front panels going over the thighs and hip sections.
  14. Swing the legs back, and snap the mid-body section in.
  15. Push the arms into the sides.
  16. The weapon can tab into the middle of the spoiler section.

Vehicle Mode:
Jazz's vehicle mode is a Pontiac Solstice, a car that ceased production almost ten years ago. However at the time of the 2007 movie it was a very sporty roadster for one to be driving around in. For those curious, the actual car used in the movie is still on the market for sale. Like the real life vehicle, this car mode features a sporty looking exterior with signature "teardrop' shaped headlights, a distinctive Pontiac brand grille in front, vents on the sides and a distinctive spoiler in the back. The wheels spokes going out in five directions on the sides and round lights mounted under the headlights. The Solstice had a very distinctive appearance and this figure does a great job of replicating many of its details.

The main issue that fans will have with this figure is not the sculpt, but rather the various panels that come together to form the vehicle form. Quite simply, the various panels that should tab into each other to form a consistent "vehicle shell" do not hold together very well and tend to separate. You can see these gaps formed in the photos I posted in this review. Despite much pushing together of panels and adjusting of robot bits, those gaps just kept forming so I thought it best to photograph them for posterity. Every time I had pushed all the panels together to the point where I thought they looked good, the gentlest shifting or movement of the figure would cause the gaps to form once again. Now, it is possible to get the panels aligned well on one side, but then the other side will likely show some gaps. This was rather frustrating because other than that, the vehicle actually looks really nice.

The vehicle mode shows off the same colors as the robot mode, but now we get a lot more translucent blue plastic in the mix thanks to the windows and headlights. Silver paint is used on some of the panels forming the "shell" of the vehicle and black is used on smaller bits like the vents on the sides. Red paint is found on the Pontiac symbol and the rear lights (which I was very happy about since they are often left unpainted nowadays). From a deco standpoint the vehicle looks fantastic.

Jazz's weapon can attach to the spoiler, but with the weapon barrels pointed up it winds up looking like some type of weird radar dish.

Final Thoughts:
"Studio Series" Jazz is a bit of a toss up. I love the robot mode and the vehicle mode looks great - so long as you keep the panels together (as much as you can anyhow). Some fans will be turned off by the size of the figure. Personally I think it is great, but it does really stretch the price point a bit so I would recommend trying to get it on sale if you can. Recommended with some reservations.

Pros:

  • Good sculpt in both modes.
  • Screen accurate design.
  • Unique weapon.
  • The Solstice is a cool vehicle mode.
  • Good deco.
  • Good articulation.

Cons:

  • Vehicle mode panels do not fit together well, causing gaps between panels.
  • The size of the figure may turn some fans off. It is quite small for a "Deluxe" Class figure.