Cliffbee.com: Pretender Jazz Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Jazz
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Special Operations / Saboteur
Alternate Mode: Porsche 935

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Jazz, making this review possible (I have since acquired Jazz).



PORSCHE MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 9.5cm Width: 4cm

   A white Porsche similar to the original Jazz, with less detail. The windows are painted black and the tyres are black plastic, both represent regressions compared to the original. The blue and red central stripe is still here, there's a sticker on the front bearing the headlights and grille. There are stickers on the doors carrying both his number 4 and the pinstripes, along with small "Martini" style stickers, with small indeterminate text (it doesn't say Martini). Much of the moulded detail - although not all of it - is carried over, making this a fairly faithful revisiting of the character.

   I can deal with the switch from clear plastic windows and loss of rubberised tyres - by this stage in G1 no Transformer used them, but I'm more annoyed at other shortcuts. I would have like to see a moulded grille on the front and I'l particularly annoyed at the solid spoiler on the back - surely a gap underneath the wing itself would have been easy enough to engineer. The back end is a flat white surface as a result - a sticker for taillights (at the very least) would have been nice. Another aspect that bothers me is the sticker quality - they have a tendency to peel back. On a minor note, blue windows would have suited Jazz better than black.

   There's pretty much no play value here - Jazz rolls badly on his plastic tyres and his handgun can plug into a hole on top of the roof.

   A simplification of the original, like the other Classic Pretenders. While Jazz started with a far more realistic and detailed alt mode than the other Autobots, he ends up with a fairly cheep feeling car mode. OK, so it's not horrible, and looks more realistic than most Pretenders from the previous year, I can help but feeling that Jazz has been sold short here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Extend the rear to form his boots, pull out the doors to form arms, fold down the hood to form his chest, revealing the head. Stand Jazz up and give him his handgun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 9cm Width: 5cm

   Again largely white, Jazz now has black arms, boots and a black groin. His head is blue with a white face. The front of the car forms his chest, similar to that of the original (although it protrudes a lot further here). The detailing here is quite low - from the unpainted and scantily sculpted boots to the unpainted eyes. This colour scheme feels very much incomplete. And what's with the blue head? I can understand the loss of chrome - in fact that doesn't bother me anyway, but I really wish the designer had put some more effort into the aesthetics here - Jazz feels half finished. The colours themselves work well enough, but in this case we end up with what feels like a development prototype.

   Poseability here is actually fairly good, relatively speaking. The arms swing and lift out to the sides. With a single solid piece for his boots and a chest that sticks out further than his raised arm, Jazz still feels really static. The face is nestled inside the chest, which only compounds this. The solid back of the car - now the foot of the figure - makes sure Jazz is nice and stable, which is a plus I guess (albeit at a cost). The handgun can fit in either hand, and I'd recommend placing in the hand if you want to raise it, so his reach clears the chest.

   A very disappointing robot mode, the attention to detail here is appalling, especially compared to the original. The poseability is decent, but is rendered useless thanks to the poor bodyshape. The colour scheme is lazy, which rounds out a robot mode that I really don't care for.

The Pretender Shell

   A Caucasian humanoid with brown hair and eyes with light blue armour. There are actually two shades of blue armour here while the arms are white with a third, darker, shade of blue on the elbows. The feet and belt are painted midnight blue (that's four blades, if you must know). The helmet is white with a red eyevisor. The colour scheme is quite nice but at the same time the light colours are somehow generic.

   There aren't really distinguishing features compared to most human Pretender shells. The helmet sports an antennae over the left ear, and the belt is actually moulded rather than a separate piece - but that's about it for personality here. The gun is a fairly generic black affair, the shoulders swing and that's about all there is here.

   While this is by no means a bad Pretender shell, Jazz's shell is uninteresting. The colours are quite nice but there's nothing to really help this stand out amongst all the other humanoid shells - the colours actually compound this since they're very sedate.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. The inner robot was sold on its own in K-Mart USA as a store exclusive.

OVERALL

   A fairly disappointing set all told. The car mode is simple and while for the most part it is true to the original, there are a couple of shortcuts that hold it back. The robot mode is very underdone, to the point that it feels like it's still in development. The shell is probably the highlight, since it has a nice colour scheme. Having said that the shell isn't really exciting - or indeed very distinct. My least favourite of the Classic Pretenders - 4.5/10

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