Last weekend I mentioned I got a whole bunch of robots. Well, the sellers of each shipped them super quick, and Wheeljack arrived on Thur and Cliffjumper and the SV-51 on Fri. I work full time so that meant I picked up all 3 Sat morning at the post office. Handing the PO 3 pick-up slips at the same time was a total trip.
Last night I took out Cliffjumper from its shipping box. I already knew how these are boxed since I have the Alternity Primes. I guess I just wanted to see how CJ looks.
The Alternities are fairly small (about standard TF deluxe size) and I like the fact that Takara is using a box of the appropriate size. I hate it when a huge box is used to package a small figure (I’m not just referring to TFs here). It’s misleading to the buyer, it takes up too much space, and it increases shipping cost. However, I’m not a fan of these clear hard plastic boxes. They dent and crack easy, and there’s just no substitute for the charm of a traditional cardboard box. My understanding is that these are the cheapest boxes to produce, and the way they look certainly reflects that fact.
I never opened an Alternity figure before. I had intended to keep CJ in the box too. My premium Transformers usually remains unopened. I like to keep them mint, and at the same time I like to see them go up in value, kinda like an investment. However the box for CJ is already dinged. Take a look at the lower left corner in the pic above. The future value of this piece already took a hit. I could’ve returned this to the seller, but I don’t need the extra hassles and I really wanted to open an Alternity, and so I went ahead and opened CJ.
After taking the figure out, I’m even less impressed with the box. The whole thing just screams cheap. But I’ll stop ranting about the box now, and just show you this one last pic of the back of the box before I move on to the figure itself.
The first thing you’ll notice about CJ in alt mode is his nice paint job. I guess the best way to describe it is a metallic deep cherry red. G1 purists might complain about this b/c CJ has always been the standard red, but I applaud Takara’s decision to go with this alternate red. This shade goes very well with this mold when you see it in person. He’s definitely got a nice reflective tint in the colors that goes very well the die cast exteriors. Speaking of which, the die cast parts gives this figure more weight and it certainly feels nicer than a lot of the cheap plastic crap that Hasbro produces.
In alt mode he’s got rubber tires. He rolls very well on a flat surface. Cliffjumper is a Suzuki Swift (SX4 Crossover in the US) in the Alternity line and the toy designers captured the look of the car extremely well.
All 4 doors on the unit (5 if you count the rear hatch) opens up like the real Swift. When you look inside you can see the seats, even the rear seats. There’s way more interior details here than your typical TF. The steering wheel is located on the right side of the vehicle. This is a Japanese model for sure.
The hood also opens to reveal where the engine is housed. In this pic below, both the hood and the engine cover is lifted up to expose the engine. Keep in mind that the engine becomes his weapons.
Here are some size comparison shots. He’s only a tad bigger than Classics Bumblebee.
Overall, I’m very happy with the alt mode. For a figure of this size, I find no weaknesses at all. He looks nice, got plenty of detail, feels solid, and just exudes quality. Now let’s take a look at the robot mode.
The first thing you’ll notice here is the very G1 accurate head mold. I’ve ranted about this before and I’ll do it again: it sucks that CJ is almost always an exact repaint of Bumblebee. Well not this time. Takara loves you and they gave Cliffjumper a different head mold from the Bee figure, and they’ve done an excellent job in replicating the G1 design. I dare say this is the best looking Cliffjumper head they’ve ever made. Takara most definitely wins points here.
In robot mode, CJ is significantly taller than Classics Bumblebee. I think part of the reason is that the CJ figure’s legs extends out farther. CJ’s transformation is a little bit complex the first time you try it, but if you’re used to transforming Binaltechs, this should not be new for you. The legs are a little hard to figure out if you’re simply reading the instructions b/c there are so many moving pieces there. I suggest you watch Peaugh’s video of Cliffjumper if you are having trouble transforming him. The upper body is not too bad in terms of the complexity, but that’s not to say it’s simple by any means. He does have this automorph feature; when you pull the legs down, the front windshield goes up towards the chest area. This feature works fairly well when you go from car to robot, but in reverse it can be hard to get it to work. You just have to be patient and keep trying until you get it.
As I’ve said before, the engine comes apart and becomes two guns for him. The handle flips out and they insert easily into either hand. These guns look kinda generic, but it is in fact how his guns looked in the G1 cartoon. Cliffjumper’s G1 figure did not come with weapons and his guns are simply something conjured up by the cartoon designers. It’s nice to see the toy designers of this figure pay homage to that look and give us real guns that CJ can use.
CJ has awesome articulation. The arms can be positioned in a variety of ways. In the legs, he’s got good pivots in the knees and in the feet. The head is on a ball joint and can be turned all over. The only place missing articulation is in the waist, but I’m not really complaining here. The figure is also nicely balanced. I was very impressed with how easily I can make him stand on his legs, considering there’s so much articulation there. CJ is very solid in his construction and certainly hold his poses well.
My first gripe about this figure is the “chunkiness” that other fans have complained about. I suppose these pics really add that extra 10 pounds, but in person the chest area doesn’t look much better. There is quite a bit of bulk there, and I wish the toy designers added some extra mechanism to reduce that extra mass.
CJ: “Jazz, we’re not getting away!”
Jazz: “Well duh… you’re too heavy. Too much energon again?!”
My only other gripe about this figure, and all Alternities in general, is the cost. I paid $47 for CJ, most dealers ask $50+. The figure is simply too small to justify the cost. Only the most hardcore TransFans like myself would even consider paying this. Sure, he’s got a decent level of die cast parts, but still. Binaltechs were much larger (more than twice the size) and they were die cast too, and their cost was about the same.
But overall, I highly recommend Alternity Cliffjumper. If you are a TransFan deeply affected by G1 values, this figure will not disappoint. We have a figure even Casey Kasem would be proud. The price and the chest bulk are concerns, but he’s got way too many positives that easily overshadow his shortcomings. Not only that, if you’re a fan of G1 Diaclone car figures, you owe if to yourself to check out the Alternities. As I was messing with CJ today, I could not help but feel brought back to the mid 80s when I was playing with those figures. Alternities are much more complex than Diaclones, but they are about the same size, they are constructed out of quality materials such as die cast metal and the rubber tires, and they place a heavy emphasis on accurate alt modes. Some TransFans have suggested that Binaltechs are a continuation of those values, a second coming to the golden days of TFs, if you will. But I think with Alternities that’s even more true. Alternities are the very embodiment of the TF spirit that the Diaclones stood for. Again, price is a factor, and I question the choice of turning the alt modes of some characters into sports cars that never were. But this is as close to G1 as we’re ever gonna get without going backwards, and I would love to see this line continued for many more years.
Prime: “Cliffjumper, commence countdown.”
CJ: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Transform and Roll Out!”