Cliffbee.com: Final Battle Jazz Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Jazz
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Pontiac Solstice Sports Car



SPORTS CAR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A silver Pontiac Solstice sports car with transparent blue windows and black wheels, this "Final Battle" Jazz looks surprisingly intact - at least as a car. He's also very similar to the original Movie Jazz. The silver plastic is a slightly lighter shade, the blue on his windows is a notably lighter shade and there are a few minor paint applications have been dropped - notably silver rings on his tyres. The lighter silver still has a primer feel to it, like the original. The headlights are painted metallic blue, the foglights metallic yellow while the taillights and crest on the hood are bright red, the grille is painted black. The foglights are painted better this time around, but overall this colour scheme is really about the same as the original.

   The general level of detail here is good - the air intakes on his front fenders, grille lattice, door seams, doorhandles and side mirrors are testament to that. The front is a little squarer than it should be, but overall Jazz is a pretty realistic Pontiac. Some of his seams are more visible than I'd like - there are a couple of notches on the bonnet which stand out far more than they should - but otherwise this is a well sculpted car mode.

   As seems to be the trend with Movie Autobots, Jazz doesn't have much play value in this mode. The wheels turn but no doors open - the spoiler can lift up and down, but this isn't really play value. Jazz does get a new weapon - and it's about ten times better than the poor sword-gun of the last toy. Instead he has a crescent-cannon similar to the one he wielded in the film. It's a long grey cannon with a transparent blue missile at the front, fringed by a crescent shaped blast-cover. Unlike the "sword", it works well - and sports one of the best transparent missiles I've seen on a Transformer. This weapon is actually quite versatile, but I'll come back to that in a moment. Like the original weapon, there's no way to store this weapon - it'd be too large to stow anyway - but I don't mind since it's just a great weapon.

   The seams are still fairly obvious, the shade still feels slightly underdone and Jazz has lost some details compared to the original. But the gun is so much better that it's an improvement overall. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from swapping the weaponry - aside from the fact you need to have both toys. Anyway, this is the stronger of Final Battle Jazz's two modes, but in terms of the retooling, the robot mode is the real show. years.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove and set aside his weapon - if you haven't already. Lift up the rear, extend and rotate the legs, flip out his boots and heelspurs, rotate down the false tyres on the his ankles. Fold up his waist and clip underneath the engine section, pull the front fenders out to either side. Fold down the roof, which sets of an automorph - Jazz's head lifts up and the grille section pops forward, away from the foglights, slightly. The fenders rotate around to form his arms, with the halves of his bonnet folding under the fenders to form his forearms, while the hand flip out from underneath the bonnet. The backplate detaches to form a shield of sorts.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 10cm

   A silver robot with extensive black highlights and a big blue eyepiece (which allows for a kickass lightpipe). The grille sits on his chest while the fenders are his forearms. There's a black Autobot logo visible on Jazz's waist. Much has been made of the fact that the head is "Not Jazz" - which doesn't particularly bother me. It is worth noting that while the mouthplate and large antennae don't fit the name, the eyepiece is very close that of the G1 cartoon Jazz. The colour scheme here is quite nice, the black and silver (well, grey) combine really well.

   Okay. There's extensive remoulding here, and the Autobot logo on his groin used to be white. The legs have extensive, asymmetrical, battle damage, which is painted black and mid blue. The knees have copped a _lot_ of damage, the thighs some, the right ear a lot, and that's it. The torso and arms are untouched, which is a little unnatural. The main reason for this is so that vehicle mode is unblemished.

   The legs are complex, detailed and chunky, the torso looks nice and despite the controversy about it's visual elements, the head is nice enough. The chunky legs are a little unusual, but they're well designed - even if the false tyres don't quite latch onto the pegs designed to keep them in place (the stiffness of joints overcomes this). The torso is well formed, the grille works on his chest. The arms have been improved - and they were the big failure on the original toy. The front panels (fenders) and rear panels (hood) now stay in place, and while they still don't connect to each other, shortened hinges in between allow them to stay in place rather than sliding around, which also means the hands line up to his forearms. The notches on his hood now sit on the inside of his arms, and while they still get in the way of his arm poseability a little, the added stability reduces this problem.

   Jazz's play value is also improved since the redesigned arms hold the redesigned gun better. Sure, the gun still clips into holes underneath the panels, but you no longer have to ruin the forearms to achieve this. It also helps that the gun is a lot cooler and it's attachment is a designed well (especially compared to the last effort. You can clip it into the inside of his right forearm - as the missile launching crescent-cannon - or plug it onto the outside of his left arm and fold out an extension, forming a huge grey gun (with a blue flame out the back!). The shield formed from the backplate of the car is a good idea, but it's designed to only attach to the tyre on his left shoulder, which is a little limiting. You can also leave the shield on his back which I'd probably recommend. The missile launcher is a bit too easy to activate, and it's _powerful_ - I've had to chase it down about three times whilst writing this review.

   Jazz's poseability is fairly disappointing. The head turns, the shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides, although the notches get in the way of the arms a little. His elbows are hinged and his hips swing and lift out sideways while the knees have hinges and rotators. His feet and heelspurs both fold down - the poseability is reasonable but not fantastic. Jazz's range of cool poses is wider than on the original thanks to a much better weapon and improved arms.

   The arms are better, although the concept itself still doesn't really work so well. They don't ruin the robot mode, however, which is a vast improvement over the original. The weapon is a _lot_ better and while it has to work within the limitations of his arms, Jazz actually has a weapon that's more than an afterthought now. Personally I don't like the battle damage here, but that's not to say it's badly executed (unlike the crappy paint job pretending to be battle damage on 1970s Bumblebee). The effort that has gone into the battle damage is actually quite impressive, at the very least.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, this is a significant retooling of the original movie Jazz.

OVERALL

   Despite the battle damage, this is a _much_ better figure than the original. I get the feeling that Hasbro put this toy out to give us a Jazz that doesn't suck - and I'll give them credit for going to the trouble. He's still not an awesome toy, but he's respectable. The poseability is okay, the car mode is quite nice and the weapon is awesome. The battle damage is pretty good, and while the colours are very similar, there's enough revision there that it's worth considering if you have the original. I actually purchased this figure so I can swap over the forearm hinges and weaponry onto my original Movie Jazz, and I'm going to go do that now! If you want the movie character, get this toy over the other one, even if you don't fancy the battle damage - 6.5/10

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