"Robots in Disguise" (2015) Autobot Drift & Jetstorm Toy Review
Release Date: August 2015
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Jetstorm Mini-Con, Shoulder armor x 2, Helmet, Swords x 2, Shields x 2, Back Armor
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Get a dynamic duo of Mini-Con fighters with these awesome Autobot Drift and Jetstorm figures! Your Jetstorm figure is a small but mighty fighter who converts in 1 step from covert mode to warrior mode with a terrifying sword attack. But his Autobot Drift buddy is a Mini-Con Deployer who can launch Jetstorm into battle whether he’s in robot mode or sports car mode! With these Autobot fighters working together, Decepticons don’t stand a chance!
The character of Drift was originally introduced as a "guest star" Autobot on "Robots in Disguise" but he would eventually come to Earth and join team Bumblebee. This unique Autobot has the ability to launch Mini-Cons from his arms who then transform to help him out in a fight. This figure is meant to play off that feature, though in this case there is a launcher built into the figure instead of using the arms. This is not a redeco and/or retool of the Warrior Class Drift figure. This figure is a completely new sculpt. This set includes the Mini-Con Jetstorm, one of Drift's two students along with several pieces of armor and weaponry.
Drift and Jetstorm are packaged in a box and set side by side. Drift is in robot mode to one side while Jetstorm is attached to an Autobot symbol shaped tree that has all his weapons and armor attached to it. His packaging features artwork on top that emphasizes the Mini-Con attached to an arm. On the side is a reuse of the artwork from the Warrior Class figure. Jetstorm also has artwork on the box based on his animated appearance. The back of the packaging shows both figures and emphasizes the launching capability of the figure. Below that is the requisite legal information in multiple languages. There's definitely a lot of eye candy on the box and it emphasizes the Deployer action feature nicely.
Jetstorm comes attached to a tree of parts with the outer edge shaped like the Autobot symbol. Each piece snaps off the tree easily, no knives or anything required. The figure itself pops right off the tree.
Jetstorm is based on the character from the TV show, and they share a lot of design features. This includes a short, thick appearance which gets emphasized by how out of proportion the head is to the legs in the robot mode. The head design has the high central crest and "horns" seen on the TV show. He also has large shoulder armor and armor around the hip area. There's definitely a lot more sculpted detail on this figure than you'll see on the TV show model, and he's more angular in some spots like the shoulder armor and forearms than the more rounded TV show model.
Where this figure and the TV show model really differ are colors. Jetstorm is cast in black and silver plastic. Black makes up the torso, shoulder armor and legs while silver makes up the rest. Gold paint is used on the head along with light blue for the eyes. The center of the torso has a scannable Autobot symbol that unlocks the character in the "Robots in Disguise" mobile app.
With just these colors, I really get a G1 Rewind vibe off the character - but he's actually missing a key color from the TV show character: red. Red is a pretty prominent color on the TV show model for Jetstorm, so I was surprised to see it completely absent from this figure. It doesn't look bad mind you, but this was an unexpected omission. Note: the Japanese version of Jetstorm appears to have red deco based on promo pictures so at least there will be a more "accurate" version of him out there on the market.
Jetstorm has no articulation. Instead his main play feature comes from his accessories and transformation. The accessories include a mix of armor and weaponry. These are all cast in translucent orange plastic. These include:
- A helmet with large antennae and a high crest that remind me of G1 Scorponok.
- Two pieces of shoulder armor with raised sections on top that almost look like insect feet.
- Two shields that attach the sides of his arm.
- A back pack that looks like his swords attached to his back.
- Two swords designed to look like the blades have flames on them. Jetstorm can hold these by the sword handles or attach them to his forearms using the "Z" shaped attachment points on the sides of the swords. These weapons can also be used by the Deployer Drift figure by attaching them to the sides of his arms.
These accessories are fun and really do add a nice splash of color to the figure. I also like the use of translucent colors since it gives them the look of being formed out of energy (sort of like the Energon weapons from "Energon").
To transform Jetstorm, just push the robot feet up and the figure auto-transforms into its disc mode. The disk has "blades" on the sides, so he's kind of like a saw weapon in this form. The auto transform feature is neat, and you can attach some of his armor pieces in this mode (such as the shoulder and back armor).
From a sculpting standpoint, this figure has all of the requisite design elements you'd expect of Drift. His overall form is based on samurai armor from ancient Japan. His head looks like it has a helmet on and he has his characteristic mustache and beard. His shoulder armor is appropriately huge and the torso has an "X" shaped layer of armor over it. Around the hips are pieces of armor and his legs have knee armor complete with the four small notches set at angles. Interestingly, his hands have two distinct designs. The left hand is set in an open position while the right hand is designed to look like he is pointing. This is to add to the fantasy of him launching his Mini-Cons. When you launch the Mini-Con, the arm also moves up so it looks like he is pointing ahead. This is a neat design element and one I didn't expect.
Drift is cast in orange, gunmetal grey and black plastic. The orange makes up parts like the shoulder armor and the back of his legs. The gunmetal is more heavily used. You'll find it on the torso, the hips, arms and legs. The black is used for smaller parts like his wheels (which are visible in the forearms in this mode). A significant amount of orange paint is used on this figure to fill in detailing. You'll find it on the head, chest, lower legs and feet. The face is painted silver and metallic blue is used for his eyes. Red is used for the crest and horns on the head as well as line details on the lower legs. A bit of grey is used on the outline of his shoulder armor. The colors on this figure look good, but he definitely needed a couple more color applications especially on the hip/waist area where the armor is left completely unpainted.
From a functional standpoint, it is important to keep in mind that this figure is essentially built around the Deployer feature - so there's not a whole lot of articulation to speak of. Indeed, there are only two: the arms. His left hand is sculpted to accommodate 5mm peg weapons, though the wheel on his forearm gets in the way of certain weapons properly attaching. I find melee weapons are the best choice to attach to that hand.
The "Deployer" feature involves a launcher that is set on the back of the right arm. There is a tab on his back that you push down to activate the feature. When you press down, the right arm moves up and the launcher swings down and forward. There is a spring mechanism in the launcher that sends any Mini-Con inserted into the slot launching forward. I have to admit it's a pretty impressive feature as it sent my Mini-Cons launching a couple of feet! Text really doesn't do this feature justice so I recommend you check out the video below from Toy Fair 2015 which demonstrates this feature on Fracture and Drift.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Swing the panel down from the back of each lower leg.
- Push the robot feet down to begin forming the cabin section of the vehicle.
- Rotate the launcher around, then swing it up and rotate it again so it goes over the robot head.
- Swing the panels from the legs over the back of the robot mode.
- Swing the shoulder armor panels up and connect them to the panels from the lower legs using the tabs and corresonding slots.
- Attach the robot forearms to the sides of the vehicle by using the tabs from the lower legs and the corresponding slots on the forearms.
Keeping in mind that this figure is largely built around the Deployer feature, it's no surprise that this vehicle mode is a bit more of a loose interpretation of the one seen in the TV show than say, the Warrior Class figure. The one big design concession is the big opening in the front of the vehicle where you insert Mini-Cons to launch. To their credit, the designers kept certain details like the horn details in the middle ane headlights on the sides. To me it looks like Drift has slid panels open in the front to reveal the launcher and we're seeing him at a moment when he's about to launch a Mini-Con.
Another interesting design deviation involves the wheel wells. Instead of having exposed wheels like the TV show model, this Drift has covered wheel wells giving the vehicle a slightly more Cybertronian/alien appearance. Sure it's not "show accurate", but I actually like the way it looks.
This mode shows off a lot of gunmetal grey plastic, but there is some orange in the front. Orange paint is used to paint in the frame around the cabin section as well as some details on the sides. The orange and red stripes from the robot legs now wind up on the top of the vehicle. I do wish there were some other details such as Autobot symbols on the front wheel wells and red on the "horns" sculpted into the hood. The front end of this mode is definitely in need of more color detailing.
The launcher winds up in the front of the vehicle, so you can slide in a Mini-Con in weapon form. Once it clicks into place, you can pull the trigger on the left side to launch the Mini-Con. I did this a few times and now and then the mechanism would stick a bit, so I would manually remove the Mini-Con and reset the mechanism. Between the robot mode and vehicle mode I'd say I used the mechanism about ten times during the course of this review and it still functions.
If you already have the Warrior Class Drift figure, you're probably going to wind up skipping over this version of the character. While I find the Deployer mechanism fun it's not for everyone. What you get out of this figure is a neat action feature and a relatively simple transformation. Keep that in mind as you decide whether or not to add this figure to your collection.