I’m not the biggest fan of the Movie designs, something I’ve repeatedly mentioned on this blog. However, early prototype pics of Shockwave from the 3rd movie (Dark of the Moon, or DOTM) have begun to surface. I gotta say, this Shockwave looks pretty damn cool. I’m liking this look and the toy is shaping up nicely. Check out the pics.
Based on these pics I can’t tell if this is a Voyager or Deluxe, but he looks pretty cool regardless. His colors, head design, arm cannon, and the tube connecting the cannon, these are all terrific homages to G1. If the final production toy looks anything like this, I’m buying one for sure.
On a related note, I recently picked up a brand new Alternator Shockblast, who we all know is really Shockwave. I got him relatively cheap on Ebay. I could have got this at $20 when he was first released, but I waited too long and before I knew it they stopped making Alternators. I’m glad I was able to secure a brand new one now in the $30 range.
Go Shockwave! Transform and Roll Out!
Happy New Year! This is the first post for 2011. And as the first order of business, I’m going to review Special Ops Jazz from the Reveal the Shield line of TFs.
Jazz has always had a special place in my passion for Transformers. I have loved the character ever since G1. He’s one of Prime’s go-to guys. His alt mode is a Porsche. He’s got crazy sounds and light shows to disorient bumbling Decepticons. He’s got above average combat skills. He’s resourceful. And last but not least, he’s just too damn cool. He completes his missions with so much flair and pizazz you can’t help but like him. Oh, and his G1 toy ain’t too shabby either. Of all the Diaclone cars, G1 Jazz is among the best molds, along with the toys for Smokescreen and Sideswipe. I think his G1 toys still holds up well today. As a kid, I would sometimes pretend I’m a Transformer. Very often Jazz would be my character of choice.
When rumors first broke of a new Jazz mold that will be released to fit into the Classics universe, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I waited a good portion of last year for news of this to materialize, and finally towards the end of 2010, we got Special Ops Jazz in the Reveal the Shield line. And it’s about damn time too. Most other non-special-team TFs from the first 2 seasons have been re-made in some form in the CHUG line. Jazz is such a recognizable character that he really should have been one of the first. But, better late than never I always say.
I documented my purchase of Jazz in this post. He comes with those famous rub-signs that all true TransFans should be familiar with. I think that’s suppose to be the gimmick of the “Reveal the Shield” line. Hasbro could not secure the rights to use the name Jazz, so they had to call him Special Ops Jazz, after his G1 function of Special Operations. I like this better than the lame Autobot Jazz or the Japanese name of Meister.
First lets take a look at the car mode.
In alt mode, this is vintage Jazz. Hasbro did not get licensing rights to Porsche, but they have came up with an alt mode that resembles the Porsche in always every way without actually being a Porsche. This is an alt mode worthy of Jazz with its sleek and sexy body outlines. The colors are a pure homage to the G1 figure. The white overall color scheme, with the blue and red racing stripes and the number 4, is unmistakably G1 Jazz. Below I have 2 pics of this Jazz with the G1 figure side by side. That’s an actual G1 folks, not a re-issue!
As far as construction goes, I see no issues with Special Ops Jazz. All the pieces come together quite well to form one cohesive unit. The car is balanced on a flat surface and it rolls well despite the plastic tires. I kinda wish that the tires are rubber like the G1 figure, but Hasbro seemed to stop doing that for $10 figures long time ago. The gun (not pictured in alt mode) sticks right underneath the hood, so you don’t have to worry about if there’s a place for it. The gun needs to be transformed to be able to fit, but the mechanism is simple yet robust. The storage mechanism here is way better than the one used for the CHUG Prowl/Smokescreen/Silverstreak mold. In that mold, the gun attachment is weak, and is constantly falling off the car. This is not an issue with Jazz. The gun sticks well when properly tucked.
To please us G1 fans, Hasbro implemented Jazz’s famous G1 speakers into the figure. In alt mode, you open the doors and flip out the speakers, if you want to simulate Jazz blasting music or noise like he does in the G1 cartoon. Very very cool!
The rub sign is located on the roof of the car. These rub signs used to be square with the shape of the insignia centered in the middle. For the Reveal the Shield figures, the signs are modified so that the shape of the sticker is the shape of the symbol. Not sure that I like this approach, but it’s just a personal preference and does not affect how I like this figure one way or the other.
Now about the gripes. The most obvious one is the lack of paint or detail in the back of the alt mode. Many fans other than myself have pointed this out. See for yourself.
I think Hasbro could have at least painted the rear windows here, so it doesn’t look so plain. Maybe add some color to the tail lights, or paint the rear bumper red like the front bumper. Or maybe color the tailpipes silver, like his face (more on this later). While we’re at it, I think the rims could have been painted silver too, like Reveal the Shield Tracks (a review for this figure will come later).
The overall paint job on Jazz is only mediocre in my opinion. While what’s there is adequate, Jazz does look kinda plastic-y, if you get what I mean. Since he’s white, he looks unpainted. Its kinda like putting together a car model that is already white, and then you only apply the stickers for the racing stripes. That’s how Jazz looks in alt mode. On my figure I also detect slight paint splatters.
The above pic has Special Ops Jazz with Animated Jazz and Alternator Jazz. Special Ops is about the same size as Animated in alt mode.
But other than these weaknesses I mentioned, the alt mode still gets high marks. The shape of the car looks good, and functionally there is nothing wrong. Now let’s look at the robot mode.
Take a look at the above pic, and I dare say this is the most G1-like Jazz Hasbro has ever made. Everything about his appearance is a G1 homage. I already mentioned the colors, and in robot mode it’s really no different. The shape of his chest, legs, arms, wings, his face and head, they all scream G1. Of course this is 25+ years later, and with the toy technology we have today, Hasbro has managed to produce a Jazz robot mode that looks both like the G1 toy and the G1 cartoon. Before this figure, the most G1-like Jazz produced would be the Binaltech/Alternator version. While that’s a great figure, his legs looked very different from G1, and he’s only white (assuming you don’t use custom Repro Decals). Special Ops Jazz is the definitive G1 update. I’m especially impressed by the shape and look of his feet and shins. This design is pure G1.
Transformation from car to robot is nothing we haven’t seen before. That should be obvious by looking at the robot mode and seeing where all the car parts go. The only major difference between this and G1 is the arms. G1 has the arms fold rectangularly under the hood, while Special Ops Jazz folds them to the side by the doors. It seems as if Hasbro simply took the G1 mold and updated it with 2010 toy technology. I think in this case it’s really not a bad thing. The G1 transformation is tried and true, and don’t fix it if it ain’t broken, I always say.
The biggest knock against G1 figures is articulation, or lack of it. G1 Jazz is no exception. Special Ops Jazz addresses that and then some. This figure is capable of a wide array poses. I won’t describe it. Just look at the pics.
The gun can be held in either hand. I guess I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t include a missile launcher like his G1 self, but I’ll get over it. And just like the car mode, the speakers can fold out over the doors/wings.
As far as construction, I see no issues with the figure. The joints are just right, not too loose and not too tight. This means he can hold his poses well. Jazz is also nicely balanced. He’s not front or back heavy, and in my opinion he’s got just the right amount of kibble. He stands easily on 2 legs, even if you choose to do action poses. Transformation difficulty is just about right too. He’s complex enough to be regarded as a real Transformer, but simple enough to be fun.
Below is a shot of the back in case you’re wondering.
As for size comparison, below is shot next to Generations Dirge. Everyone should know the size of CHUG Seekers by now so its a good standard to use. Jazz in robot form is pretty tall for a deluxe.
Unfortunately there are weaknesses in the robot mode as well, and once again it has to do with the paint. I think his paint job in robot mode is better than the alt mode, simply because he’s got other bits on him other than the white, so he doesn’t look so plastic-ish. However, some gray plastic bits really stand out, like the abdomen, shins, and feet. If Hasbro painted these silver like his face, they would look so much better. Oh, I should point out that the paint job used on the forearms look really good. They are plastic, but the paint makes it look die-cast. Bravo!
One other gripe that other fans have is that his chest doesn’t lock in place in robot mode. This means if you want to raise his arms, his chest will go back up. While I do consider this a minor issue, as a G1-er, I instinctively hold down his chest if I want to move the arms because in G1 the chest/hood didn’t lock either. So if you’re like me, you may not see this as a big deal.
The pics below show off Special Ops Jazz with Jazz from various other TF lines in robot mode.
That very last pic above, that’s Pretender Jazz if any of you are wondering. That’s right, Jazz was made a Pretender late in G1. Pretender Jazz is without a doubt the worst Jazz ever made. Even worse than Movie deluxe Jazz, and that’s saying a lot. But Pretender Jazz is not something you will see often so I put him in these pics for pure awe factor. In case you’re wondering just how bad he really is, check out this review below (not by me).
There you have it, my review of Reveal the Shield Special Ops Jazz. I pointed out a few gripes and they’re mostly paint issues, but overall he’s still highly recommended. This Jazz is definitely in my top 2 of all Jazz ever made. I have a hard time deciding which Jazz I like better, this one or the Binaltech/Alternator. Do not hesitate to get one if you see one in the stores. He’s still pretty rare right now. I had to get mine from HasbroToyShop.com.
“Do it with style or don’t bother doing it!” Transform and Roll Out!