"Generations" JD Red Knight Toy Review

02/21/21

General Information:
Release Date: December 29, 2018
Price Point: $59.99 After market price via (via SirToys)
Retailer: JD Exclusive
Accessories: None

JD.com is a major online retailer in China. In 2018 they teamed up with Hasbro to celebrate the release of the Bumblebee movie with an exclusive figure sold through their site: JD Red Knight! The character was originally introduced in 2017 in China, but in 2018 they went full bore with the figure and three shorts featuring JD Red Knight teaming up with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee against the Decepticons. You can see all three shorts below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

This figure was also announced on the JD corporate blog. The figure is a retool and redeco of Age of Extinction Galvatron. This review will focus on the changes made the toy for this release.

Packaging:
JD Red Knight is packaged in a box that echoes the designs of the Cyber Battalion figures. The box has a black border on the bottom and right side with a red, vertical Transformers logo. Above that is a Generations logo. Interestingly enough there is no call out for any of the Transformers movies. The artwork on the packaging shows JD Red Knight in a battle situation being fired on by enemies flying through the air. The back features more of a black border and a grey/white grid background. The figure is shown in both modes calling out a 15 step transformation. The tag line for the character says "When the AUTOBOTS need backup, this bot delivers.", a fun play on the character being a homage to JD's delivery trucks. Inside the figure is set on a cardboard tray. There are no accessories.

Robot Mode:
JD Knight features two new parts in this mode. First, the head is a different sculpt than Galvatron's. The shape is somewhat similar, but instead of protrusions flaring out in the middle and top JD Red Knight has panels that angle back and wrap around the back of his head. He also has an interesting face design with thin eyes and what looks like protective armor layered on top of the cheeks all the way to the nose. Under that is a visible mouth.

The other piece is the torso panel in front. At first glance it looks like the same one found on Galvatron because they share a similar outline. However, the details are very different. They utilize the same style as Galvatron's with very organic looking shapes and even mechanical details layered on tube like details. The most distinctive design is the chest which has what looks like the truck's grille stretched out and the letters "JD" in the center. I really appreciated the designers maintaining the style of the live action films but giving the figure a distinctive design.

The rest of the figure uses the same parts as Galvatron, but with such significant sculpt changes JD Red Knight manages to look like a completely different character. It also helps that his deco is dramatically different.

JD Red Knight is made up of red and black plastic. Black paint is used to fill in details such as the fists, shoulders, neck and knees. The letters "JD" are painted silver, which helps them stand out. The red/black/silver color combination is one of my absolute favorites on any robot or mecha action figure so I absolutely love these colors on this figure.

All twenty three points of articulation on this figure are still nice and tight. The ratchet joints still make a satisfying "click" when you move them. Unfortunately the decision was made to not include Galvatron's missile launcher. I speculate this may have been in part a choice by JD not wanting any character representing them to be heavily armed. If you watch the videos above, you will note that Bumblebee and Optimus do not pull out their signature weapons. Megatron meanwhile does fire missiles, suggesting weaponry is mainly for the "bad guys". Again, this is just speculation. All that said, you can use Galvatron's weapon with this figure.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms.
  2. Make sure the shoulder armor is down.
  3. Swing the forearms up against the upper arms.
  4. Swing the back section down.
  5. Swing the back panel out.
  6. You should now be able to see the grille of the truck mode, pull it up.
  7. Push the top of the truck cab down, helping to hold the cabin section together.
  8. Swing the robot head back.
  9. Swing each of the arms up.
  10. Swing the cab section down, and swing down each of the front wheels wells.
  11. Swing each of the heel pieces on the feet in.
  12. Rotate the lower legs so the wheels face outward.
  13. Swing each of the robot feet up against the front of the lower legs.
  14. Push the heel sections of the robot feet together, they should interlock.
  15. Swing the panels over the rear wheels forward and lock them into place against the front section.

Vehicle Mode:
Much to my surprise, there is no retooling in vehicle mode. JD has many different trucks in its fleet, and it surprised me that they did not use this as an opportunity to retool the truck cab section to match one of the vehicles in their fleet. I'm guessing JD and Hasbro decided it was not worth the retool costs given that the robot mode already has significant retooling.

In terms of colors this vehicle mode is true to the rea life JD trucks, which are primarily red in color. Black and silver paint are used for detailing and the JD logo is found on the doors. It is a beautiful deco and very striking. It also heavily contrasts with the sculpt's original colors.

Final Thoughts:
This figure falls firmly into the realm of weird one off exclusives. Given its relatively obscure nature and cost I would only recommend this figure to collectors who are into such oddball figures.

Pros:

  • Excellent retooling that makes this figure look like its own distinct character instead of just a Galvatron redeco.
  • Beautiful deco.
  • Fills a very niche spot in your collection like the Swerve Chevrolet Aveo give away figure from over a decade ago.

Cons:

  • Does not include the missile launcher and missile from the original release.
  • I would have liked to see some retooling in vehicle mode (but I admit that's a lot to ask of such a limited exclusive).