Energon Toy Reviews: Jetfire

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Combiner / Gestalt, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Date: December 2003
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $19.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Missile, Missile launcher

Images:

Sounds:

With Energon set ten years after Armada, some characters from Armada returned in new forms for an all new adventure. One of these is the high flying Autobot Jetfire. While he no longer combines with Optimus Prime, he does merge with fellow Autobot Ironhide via the "Spark of Combination".

Vehicle Mode:
Jetfire's new vehicle mode appears to be an update on his Armada form. He's still a space shuttle, but instead of one that bears resemblance to current day real life space shuttles, this one looks more futuristic.

Like his Armada counterpart, Jetfire is rather bulky, but still manages to be streamlined at the same time. The top portion of the shuttle is really sleek, with a thin cockpit section that looks fantastic. I especially like the thin strip of translucent plastic that serves as the cockpit window, it is a small detail that adds a lot to the overal appearance of the ship.

The middle to the back of the top section seems to be a conglomeration of engines and vents. Towards the front are vents facting forward. In the middle are vents on the top, and at the rear are two of Jetfire's four rocket boosters. Interestingly, the boosters are on ball joints so the can shift position as if
helping Jetfire move in different directions, a nice touch. On the left side, towards the middle is the Autobot "Spark Crystal" connected to a piece with some mechanical details. The central fin at the back has some nicely sculpted lines in it on both sides, and an Autobot symbol molded into the plastic on the left side.

The bottom portion of the shuttle is the big portion, but although it is rather chunky, the way it is designed gives it a sleek look. Two vents in the front are small and slowly angle outward towards the back, giving the section continuity that helps it look better than it would have had the front just moved to the back in one big straight line. Unlike his Armada counterpart, Energon Jetfire's wings are small, but here they have weapons sculpted into the ends, making him a bit more formidable in this mode. The boosters at the rear of the lower section are larger than those on the top section, but they're also on ball joints.

Jetfire's color scheme is primarily white, dark gray and dark red. The top portion is mostly white and dark gray. The lower portion is primarily dark red. The dark red looks really nice since it's a metallic flake plastic.

Some small details feature other colors such as orange on the wings, blue on the vents at the top of the vehicle and black designs on the cockpit section. The Autobot symbol on the central fin is painted red (and not a big blob of red, the gaps such as the "eyes" are left white). The mechanical details near the Spark Crystal are painted gold. Having so many small touches along with the primary colors helps give the toy a lot more character and looks great. It's also interesting to note that Jetfire shares many colors with fellow Autobot Skyblast. It's almost like the two are part of the same fleet, with Jetfire being a larger warship and Skyblast being a smaller fighter.

Jetfire has a few play features that help enhance the toy. The missile launcher attaches to the underside of the cockpit section. When you press the red trigger on the top of the cockpit, it pushes down on the missile launcher and launches the missile. On either side of the cockpit, the sections that sweep forward each have Mini-Con pegs on them. On the underside of the toy there are claws that can be deployed, but oddly, you pretty much have to push the sides of the vehicle out a bit to get the claws to "lock" in place properly. Pressing the button on the underside of the vehicle makes the claws to close.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the missile launcher.
  2. Flip the wings down.
  3. Swing the lower, larger boosters down.
  4. Swing the sides of the vehicle out to the sides, then back to form the robot legs.
  5. Rotate the side portions so the boosters face out to the sides.
  6. The robot feet are on dark gray hinges. Fold the hinges into the lower leg and fold the feet so they point forward.
  7. Split the top portion of the vehicle mode, and swing the halves out to the sides to form the robot arms.
  8. Rotate the arms forward so the blue details face you and snap them into place with the tabs on the central body.
  9. Swivel the gray, shoulder pieces so the halves of the central fin face up.
  10. Swing out the panels on the lower arms to the sides and swivel the boosters into the lower arms to reveal the fists. Close the panels.
  11. Swing the fin halves back and down (although personally I prefer them up).
  12. Swing the cockpit section back.
  13. Swing the robot head piece forward.
  14. Place the weapon into Jetfire's fist.

Robot Mode:
Whereas Generation One Jetfire (and indeed, Generation 2 Jetfire) were both sleek, relatively thin looking jets and robots, it seems Jetfire is doomed to spend his existence as a rather chunky looking robot from now on. Jetfire is wide, and it's not just his shoulder armor that makes him look like that. His chest, waist and lower legs are all huge - but then his head is somewhat regular sized, so it winds up looking tiny compared to the rest of him.

See, the design elements themselves aren't bad. He has a nice, sleek head with a central crest and a translucent orange visor over his eyes, a design cue reminscent of Armada Jetfire. The elongated shoulder armor isn't bad either, and having the wings on his legs and boosters to the side actually looks kind of cool. But things are just too big, and I ascribe some of this to the fact that he has to combine with Ironhide and still look porportional, although I personally think the designers did a better job balancing out Ironhide's proportions.

The same colors you see in vehicle mode carry over here, even to newly revealed parts. The parts which connect the main body to the arms have metallic blue paint on them, as do the upper legs. The waist has silver and orange details painted on and the mouthplate on the face is silver as well.

By pushing down on Jetfire's head, you press a small button that activates the classic G1 transformation sound, but it's sped up a bit. You can also still use the claw gimmick in this mode (in fact it works better here).

Jetfire has twelve points of articulation in this form, focused in the arms and legs. Thanks to the transformation, this articulation allows both his arms and legs to move out to the sides as well as back and forth.

Powerlinx Modes:
Jetfire is one of the many Autobots released in Energon that can combine with another Autobot via the "Spark of Combination". So far, only Jetfire and Ironhide have been made in this price point/figure size to combine with each other. It is possible to take a deluxe sized toy such as Inferno and powerlink him with Jetfire, but the sizes don't really work and what you wind up with is a very oddly proportioned robot. When you combine Jetfire with another Transformer, the connection of the clips makes a "connection sound" which is pretty neat.

Transformation to Upper Body Section (starting in robot mode):

  1. Flip open the panels on the lower arms and swing the fists into the lower arms. Close the panels.
  2. Swing the entire arm piece back, including the white piece with the metallic blue details on them. Rotate them so the
    metallic blue details face downward.
  3. Lift the robot head up, and swivel the entire back piece around so the robot head is looking down.
  4. Split the hips and swing them out to the sides.
  5. Swing the robot head down.
  6. Swivel the lower arms (which are the legs of the robot mode) around.
  7. Straighten out the robot feet so the fists fold into the part that would normally be the lower leg.
  8. Flip the cockpit section up so it is behind Jetfire's head.

Transformation to Lower Body Section (starting in robot mode):

  1. Flip open the panels on the lower arms and swing the fists into the lower arms. Close the panels.
  2. Swing the entire arm piece back, including the white piece with the metallic blue details on them. Rotate them so the metallic blue details face downward.
  3. Flip the head up and back.
  4. Extend the leg size be pulling the robot feet down so that it rests on the gray parts that connect it to the lower legs.
  5. Rotate the back piece and point the engine thrusters down.

In his upper body form, Jetfire looks quite formidable. Here the chunkiness of the robot mode works to his advantage as the arms look like the robotic equivalent of huge, muscle bound arms. The waist/hip pieces acting as the shoulders works out really well.

Unfortunately, all is not perfect with this form. While you can technically have the cockpit swung back, it doesn't work if you have him Powerlinked to Ironhide, whose kibble just gets in the way. The consolation prize for this is the fact that you can connect weapons to the holes on the sides of the cockpit section, giving Powerlinx Jetfire some added firepower. The other thing which is kind of odd looking are the big sections that stick out in front of the fists. Unfortunately, it was pretty unavoidable to have these pieces in the way since you need them as part of the vehicle and robot modes. However, since the fists are so "pushed back", it would have been nice if they were given some paint apps (maybe white or silver) to distinguish them more from the rest of the arm.

Jetfire works a lot better as a lower body. The trick of extending the leg size by basically making the ankle joint longer is a nice one. When combined with Ironhide, he looks "right" in this mode, the extra width behind everything is no longer a problem visually.

Jetfire is a toy filled with cool ideas, and a nice vehicle mode design. The mode that suffers the most is the robot mode, and unfortunately that's usually the mode that counts the most when it comes to Transformers. Only completists or people who want every character on the show should invest in this. Everyone else may want to check out a friend's before buying one to be sure it's for you.