Transformers Prime Cliffjumper Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Prime

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: October 2011 in Asia, North American release TBD
Price Point: $11.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

"Transformers Prime" debuted in 2011 as the first fully CGI animated Transformers television show in years. While other shows had blended traditional animation and CGI, this as the first to harken back to the days of "Beast Wars" and "Beast Machines". This show introduced a storyline heavily influenced by the live action movies, and thus the designs of the characters had very "movie like" sensibilities to them.

Among the first series of "First Edition" Autobots is Cliffjumper. For those who haven't seen the show, you'll probably want to skip this paragraph to avoid spoilers. There was much to do about this character as it's been a while since Cliffjumper was featured on a Transformers show, and on top of that he was voiced by celebrity actor/wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Everyone thought he would be a major player in the series - only to have him get killed and resurrected as a "Terrorcon". So, let's not focus on that shall we? Honestly, it cheeses me off a bit and I prefer to focus on the coolness of this figure.

Packaging:
Each of the Deluxe "Transformers Prime" action figures are in bubbles on a card. The cards have a dark blue background with a lightning pattern reflecting the look of a lot of the promotional materials from "Prime". The front has CGI artwork of the character from the show. The artwork is huge, much larger than most artwork that has been used on recent packaging. Along the left side are the words "First Edition", indicating this is among the first series of "Transformers Prime" action figures.

The back features photography of the toy itself and shows what else is available. Contained inside the packaging is a cardboard stand that looks like a cliffside with Autobot and Decepticon logos. This also mirrors promotional images from "Transformers Prime" that showed key characters standing on a cliff. This is certainly some dark but striking looking packaging.

Vehicle Mode:
For the first time in ages, Cliffjumper is not a redeco of Bumblebee or any other character. This Cliffjumper is an original sculpt all his own, and given his limited appearances on the television show, I was super happy to see that a figure of him was even made. Unlike Bumblebee, who's vehicle mode is a non-licensed take on the Chevrolet Camaro, Cliffjumper is an old style vehicle that looks like a combination of the Plymouth Barracuda and a 1970's Dodge Challenger. The back end comes from the Barracuda while the front comes from the Challenger. The Challenger's front end is reflectecd in the dual headlights and a grille that comes to a vertical point in the center. The rear section has the Barracuda's distinctive angle that moves up the back, creating a higher back end than front end. Together, these designs work beautifully to recreate the feel of the classic 70's cars.

Being a rather smooth and sleek looking vehicle, there isn't a ton of complex machinery sculpted into the body of the vehicle. Instead, it is mostly smooth panels with some nicely sculpted details on critical portions of the vehicle including the hubcaps, the rear of the vehicle, an Autobot symbol on the left side and Cliffjumper's distinctive "horn" that is mounted right at the front of the vehicle. Enhancing the look of power to the vehicle are two exhaust pipes on either side of the vehicle angling upward near the rear wheel well. This is in addition to the two dual exhaust pipes sculpted in the back of the vehicle. Good thing Cliffjumper runs on Energon and not gas!

Functionally, Cliffjumper rolls on four wheels and that's it. I point this out because while I dig the use of weaponry a la Mech Tech Transformers, it's also nice to have Transformers that are sometimes just pure "vehicle to robot" toys and Cliffjumper represents that. Of course, he looks cool while he's at it!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the car over and pull out the side panels that form the front wheel wells and the car doors.
  2. Swing the hood piece up.
  3. Rotate the panels from step one around.
  4. The parts you just rotated are on a hinge piece, straighten that out so the robot mode thighs align with these panels.
  5. Swing the robot feet up.
  6. Push the window pieces on each car door section in.
  7. Swing the car door panels up to form the robot legs.
  8. Swing the trunk door panels up.
  9. Split the rear half of the vehicle and swing them out to the sides.
  10. Swing the robot forearms out.
  11. On each forearm, swing the panel with the rear wheel wells on them down.
  12. Swing the robot head up.
  13. Swing out the red waist piece.
  14. Rotate the top half of the robot around.
  15. Split the front panel of his torso so there's a thin line showing the parts underneath.
  16. Swing up the waist piece, the small tab will help keep the torso panels apart.
  17. Swing the hood panel up against the back.
  18. On the hood section, there are two triangular pieces behind the grille, swing them in so the section with the "horns" can swing up.
  19. Push the pieces on the sides of the hood panel with the headlights forward so the headlights wind up aligned with the waist panel.

Robot Mode:
Cliffjumper has always been portrayed as a tough guy. In Generation One, he was one of the first Autobots to outright attack a Decepticon. However, in G1 his form was rather diminutive due in part to his toy being a "Mini-Bot". In "Prime", an effort was clearly made to keep the attitude but give him a body to match it. Take a look at his official profile to see a picture. His form is pretty bulky and I will say right off the bat that this is one thing which simply wouldn't have been possible at this price point. If you're going from a sleek vehicle form to a robot, any bulk you achieve in the robot mode is impressive and that's what we have here, a good compromise between the CGI model and what can be produced at the Deluxe price point. Personally this doesn't bother me at all.

I must confess to being extremely impressed by Cliffjumper's fidelity to his CGI model (bulk aside). His head sculpt has the "horned helmet" look, as if he were wearing something right out an ancient empire. His chest as the "split" down the middle with the waist panel and headlights forming a piece that wraps around it. His arms are actually pretty bulky, being made up of most of the rear of the vehicle, and that's really the bulk I think that's needed to convey his power. The designers even tried to simulate the hooked elements on his shoulder by making the trunk panels pointed at an angle. His hip and thigh sections are designed very closely to the CGI model with the hip area having two vertical sections with rows of horizontal lines in them while his thighs have a rounded shape. His lower legs aren't quite as accurate being more rectangular than round in shape, but the designers did manage to get his feet sculpted with the same design as his animated counterpart, albeit in a smaller size proportionally speaking. A couple of smaller design touches are found on the torso section on either side of his neck as well as the panels behind his split chest panels. Each of these feature mechanical details such as tubes or machinery and I love touches like this that suggest "more than meets the eye" (oh yes I did) in robot mode.

In this mode Cliffjumper still shows off plenty of red plastic, but black and silver parts also show up as well. They mostly make up joins such as his shoulder joints or elbow joints, but what they do is help break up the potential monotony of just having red over and over again. I'm especially happy that soft silver plastic is used for the horns on his head in this mode, allowing them to look just as sharp here as they look on the animation model. A bit of translucent blue plastic is used here, not just on his chest but also for light piping on the eyes.

There aren't a lot of paint applications in this mode, but he really doesn't need them since the CGI model isn't exactly choc full of different colors. The few decos that are there definitely add something to the visual appeal of the figure including the curved parts of his forearms being painted black and his face being painted silver. Overall, the deco on this figure looks great and it closely resembles the CGI model to boot.

Cliffjumper has nineteen points of articulation in robot mode. This includes six points of articulation on each arm. Technically if you swing back the sections with the headlights on them you could also use his waist articulation. By now you may be wondering just where his weapons are, and for that we look at the forearms. Each forearm has a panel on it formed from the rear wheel wells of the vehicle mode. Swing those panels up and the push the fists in and a triple barreled weapon will swing out in its place. Snap the wheel well panel back in place and now the arm has "transformed" into a weapon! While many people nowadays may see arms transforming into weapons as something to be associated with the movie universe, but Transformers have been converting their hands into weapons since the days of G1, and it's nice to see such a tradition continued in "Prime". While his arms can transform into weapons, Cliffjumper's fists are designed to be able to hold standard 5mm peg weapons such as Energon weapons or Mech Tech weapons.

Final Thoughts:
Cliffjumper is a fantastic representation of the character in action figure form. Both his modes look great and he has a rather unconventional transformation. I enjoy the detail on this figure and the ability of both his arms to transform into weapons. Highly recommended!