Cliffbee.com: Beast Wars Jetstorm Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Jetstorm
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Sky Patrol
Alternate Mode: Dragonfly



DRAGONFLY MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 16cm Width: 19cm

   A striking black dragonfly with transparent green wings, pearled blue eyes and fluorescent red highlights, including the mouthparts and legs. All three main colours contrast with each other, without clashing, giving Jetstorm an aposematic colour scheme. There's some transparent green on his long tail, including missiles stowed on either side, a trigger on top and two small protrusions at the back. Rounding out the colours we have some solid green on the stowed launchers and a button between them.

   There's good play value here, for an insect that doesn't have great poseability potential. All four wings can lift up and down and swing back and forward, allowing fairly realistic mid-flight wing positions. The mouthparts are on restricted ball joints while the six legs can wiggle up and down. Jetstorm pretty much sits on his belly, but then the legs touch the since ground and he doesn't have a tendency to fall back under the weight of his tail I'm quite happy for him to sit on his belly. The belly itself is the robot legs, which are slightly visible as kibble but they don't detract from the dragonfly at all.

   The trigger on top controls a water-shooting gimmick, sliding it forward will release a stream of water from his mouth, or if there's no water, it'll push the air out of the internal bladder, and if he's immersed, releasing it will draw water into that bladder. While I don't care for water shooting gimmicks, I do appreciate that the bladder is hidden inside the tail, and shooting out of the mouth is cool, even if dragonflies aren't really known for their venom. The second gimmick interests me more - if you press the green button on top, the two missile launchers deploy on either side, and can be fired independently through red buttons on top. The missiles will fire maybe half a metre, and while they do have habit of popping out while stowed, the gimmick is well otherwise engineered well.

   The sculpt is pretty good - the eyes are compound eyes and the tail is segmented, while the legs are actually transparent green plastic with red paint on top (fading to green underneath), showing that care was taken in designing this dragonfly. As a side note, if you open the mouthparts right up, you'll see the robot face, which is a little odd, but menacing at the same time. The wings have veins and the missiles are segmented to match his tail.

   When you consider how well integrated the two gimmicks are, this is a pretty successful insect mode. The wings move very well and the re's not much kibble from either the robot mode or the gimmicks. The sculpt is nice and the colours striking yet not gaudy. The water shooting gimmick doesn't grab me, but it does what it set out to so I'm not complaining. The missile launchers also achieve their aim and bring more to the toy as a display piece, rounding out a beast mode that overachieves for a deluxe toy.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Making sure the launchers are stowed, unclip the legs underneath and the eyes from either side of the robot head, swing all four limbs out. Fold down the robot head, deploy the robot chest (the section that holds the front pair of wings), rotate the chest into place and swing the wings up so that the tips are pointing up and back. Lift out the groin, clip it under the chest to form the torso. Position the arms and legs, flip up the feet and swing the insect legs out to the side of his boots.

   This is a pretty involved transformation for a deluxe (heck, it beats a lot of megas), and both modes are fairly stable. And when you consider how little intrusive kibble there is, someone put care into designing this puppy.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 13cm

   There's a lot more of that solid green now - the robot is basically a mix of red and green with black forearms (the insect "cheeks"), a black head and a black tail (the beast tail) hanging out the back an at angle of about 30. There are four white "teeth" around his mouth, which is the nozzle, while the eyes are transparent green and lightpipe fairly well. The fading-to-green insect legs sit on the outside of his red boots, which fade to black - a nice touch. While there's a lot of red here, the colours again work. The front set of wings emanate from his hips and swing up over his shoulders while the rear set stick out from his upper arms, giving him a wingspan of 13cm (and are also the tallest part of the robot). The three colours again work, and with more of the solid green in this mode, Jetstorm looks like he could be playing football for Venezia (who wear orange, black and green). The colours are a lot brighter now, since there's less black, but again they work well enough.

   The tail hangs out the back and contains the water shooting mechanism, with the missile launchers again tucked away on the sides. The water shooting gimmick still works now, although you have to dunk most of the toy in water to fill the launcher. It fires out of the mouth again, which is clever engineering, really. The missile launchers can deploy, but the sit on the outsides of his forearms pointing skyward, which isn't so useful. I really wish that the launchers could at least pivot, if not detach and become handheld weaponry.

   Considering that Jetstorm is built around the water shooter, he's fairly poseable. The hips and shoulders are ball jointed while the elbows, knees and ankles are all hinged. There are rotators below the shoulders _and_ above the elbows, allowing for arm poseability whilst making sure you can get the wings out of the way. There are rotators below the hips and another at the base of the head, which can lift up and down. The head can only move a few degrees side to side, mind you, since there's a hose running through it, but I appreciate that they bothered to put the joint in. The tail does get in the way of some poses but acts as a stabilising third legs for a lot as well, while the claws formed from the dragonfly mouthparts are poseable.

   With good poseability, a good lightpipe and an effective watershooter that's built in, this is a decent robot mode. It's not as good as his beast mode, mind you - the launchers are all but useless and some handheld weaponry would have made a big difference. Considering how much they fit into the beast mode and transformation, I'm not complaining - but these aspects do hold his robot mode back.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although the mould was recoloured as Tonbot for Beast Wars Second in Japan.

OVERALL

   Jetstorm has a great dragonfly mode and an ambitious and complex transformation that _works_. The colours are good without being great and the play value is good, but the robot mode is held back a little by the integrated gimmicks and the transformation. Integrated gimmicks were a common feature of the later original Beast Wars line, and Jetstorm is one of the better examples of this. If you like the Beast Wars line, I'd definitely recommend him - the robot mode may not be perfect but the overall package is good - 8.5/10

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