Thursday, 5 December 2013

Generations Fall of Cybertron Jazz and Sideswipe Review

deluxe jazz and sideswipe

The Generations line for a while pretty much seemed to turn into the Fall of Cybertron toyline. Hasbro obviously wanted to make figures based on the designs from the game, but did not believe them strong enough to support their own toyline - which is a pretty fair assumption.

I loved the game, not just because it was Transformers, but because it was a really good shooter. So I was happy to see they were making toys based upon it. Sadly, they were not great, suffering from being small, spindly, hollow and cheap feeling.

Its a shame, as the game designs looked great - but a lot of them were not translated into toy form very well. Jazz and Sideswipe are a case in point, where the in game models looked awesome and chunky, whilst the toys failed to match it and they look a bit different.

These two share the same mold, and as I got them at the same time I decided to just review them both together. There are a few big differences, which we will talk about, but there Sideswipe is mostly the Jazz figure with a few bits of remolding.

I will say now, they are not bad figures - but they are not great.

Jazz's paint colours, due to him being a pearly white, were really hard to get to show up on camera properly. I am getting a cheap camera light tent set up for Christmas, but in the meantime I had to make do with using the flash on the camera - sorry about that!

Vehicle Mode

These are the modes the toy designers were most successful in recreating. Both alt modes look very faithful to their in game model, which in Sideswipes case is kinda surprising.

Whilst he is a retool, most of the pieces have been completely remolded so he ends up looking very different. You can see the front end and top of the car are completely different to Jazz and its only the side panels that are the same.

both deluxes in alt mode

From the front they look entirely different and it shows a real effort on Hasbro's part to differentiate the two.

Jazz is a Pearl white, and something about it looks off, whilst the other parts of him (except for his wheels) are almost exclusively blue. It is a very nice contrast, and they colours do work well together, but the white feels slightly off. Its hard to say why, but maybe its too bright?

Sideswipe on the other hand is a very nice shade of red, with white, silver and black paint covering his alt mode to add a bit of variation. Its a really nice colour scheme and strongly replicates the original design.

vehicle modes

One of the Fall of Cybertron game series most iconic features, is the glowing colours that appear all over the characters. Whilst the toys have a lot of the detail molded in, Jazz in particular suffers from a lack of paint apps and so does not replicate that at all

He has some blue paint, and the vents on the back are painted grey, but without the extra paint apps it looks a bit bland. Some of these can be added by reprolabels, but it would have looked so much nicer with just a few extra paint apps.

Sideswipe, does not really suffer so badly from this and is an almost perfect recreation of the game model. One of my favourite things, and this is really odd, is there is a really nice black paint job on a grill section on rear top end. It almost looks like part of a Autobot symbol, and its a different shade to the other black paint apps on the figure.

sideswipes enormouse cannon in alt mode

Moving away from paint apps, the car modes are both incredibly solid. Everything folds away under the cars, and you cannot see any robot parts. All the pieces tab in nicely, and lock together making for very good car modes - they even roll smoothly.
The one complaint, aside from lack of paint applications, is that they are very small. Transformers have been shrinking for a while, but these do feel very tiny and lightweight in your hand.

Both figures also come with weapons that can attach to the vehicle modes, and they go from one extreme of the scale to the other.

Jazz comes with a tiny little handheld pistol, that slots into the top of the car mode. It looks okay, but it does take away from the smooth, sleek look of the mode. However, you could imagine Jazz zipping around in the game, and that pistol pops out the top and fires away at fleeing enemies - so its a good look.

Sideswipe, comes with a gigantic gun that can also attach but as you can see in the picture above - it looks ridiculous.

Its nice that you can attach them if you want, but just like the Masterpiece cars, it looks daft.

Whilst further up, I did say none of the robot parts are visible in this mode - that is not true for the back.

The way they are formed, from folding the arms up, means you can see the hands. Its not a big deal though, and at least in Jazz's case it gives you an extra option for weapon storage.

On reflection, I do think the car modes are the best for both figures.

Robot Mode
sideswipe enormous gun

Transformation is pretty simple, nicely so. There's no real complicated bits, and it takes only a few seconds to switch between the modes.

This is a really good thing, in an age where figures can be almost too complicated for kids (and myself, go on, I will admit it). An overly long and complex transformation can rob a toy of its fun factor, in my opinion, particularly if your target market is children.

The transformation on these is great in that regard, and it is intuitive.

You pull out the side panels of the car to form the arms, pull the legs down and rotate the feet on a nice strong ratchet joints, fold the chest down and fold the back...umm back.

Actually, that last part is not quite as simple as I am making it sound. You have to fold the chest and back out of the way of each other, and it can feel very weird the first couple of times you do it. Also, the chest does lock, but it may take a while to figure it out as its not immediately obvious.

foc deluxe jazz

His weapon in robot mode looks tiny, this is where it struggles a little. Its nicely sculpted, but its far too small. Its almost as if it came out the wrong size, so they had loads of plastic left over and decided they use it making Sideswipes gun massive.

Jazz's robot mode has all the things his game model does, but without the chunk or stockiness. So his legs in particular come off badly. They look so thin, and the feet are tiny, with fake wheels to keep the design of the game.

There is even more blue in this mode, which I guess takes more from his Pretender and Action Master incarnations than his original (which replaced the blue with black)

The blue does look nice, but the head would have looked better in black I think. Not least just to add a bit of contrast away from all that white and blue.

His face is painted silver, and there is a lot of detailing there, which makes him look a little scary. The visor is a clear blue, and the light piping effect looks brilliant when light hits it.

jazz vs dirge

Due to his skinny legs and massive chest, his proportions look off. You can get him in some good poses to counter it, but it still shows through.

He does have great poseability, and is highly articulated, with everything you would expect in a deluxe Transformer.

Unless you expect waist swivel, then you are out of luck, but its not really a problem as he has ball jointed hips.

The shoulders do swing out on that blue peg, and it strikes me as odd. You have to snap them out, rather than them moving freely - I am not sure why this is, or what the blue pegs are meant to achieve. It does however help his arms stay out straight, so maybe its for stability - it is certainly a loose figure in places.

foc sideswipe and gun

Sideswipe I will jump straight to the dumbest thing - his weapon. It is ridiculously big, so much so that just in case you did not think it was big enough in car mode - the barrel extends to make it bigger (bwahah!)

The gun being big is not really a problem, as it looks great. The design, sculpting, paint apps and everything about it is wonderful and it truly looks awesome - a piece on the side even spins round. There are a couple of different pegs to give you different options which is also nice.

However, it is far too big for this figure to hold. The weight makes his arms usually flop down, and he really cannot hold it up well.

Its crazy big.

But it has finally given me the perfect weapon for Voyager class Dreadwing.

But back to Sideswipe, his legs are exactly the same as Jazz, meaning they look very skinny. This is made worse with Sideswipe as his chest is bigger than Jazz's - so the proportions look strange.

deluxe foc jazzz and sideswipe

His chest is something that really differentiates from the game. In the game, it seems to be made of the windscreen, whilst in toy form, due to being a remold of Jazz, its made up from the hood of the car.

The figure still looks good with it, but it is the clearest area where it deviates from the original. One area it is different from Jazz though, is the back of the figure. The way the back forms on Jazz, it pegs into his backside making him quite solid. On Sideswipe, due to the all the remolding, it doesn't peg anywhere and just sort of sits there. So the robot mode does not hold together quite as well as Jazz's does.

Sideswipe also has a brand new head sculpt which looks thoroughly like Sideswipe. What is strange, is that the eyes are not painted, and look as if they were intended to be light piped originally - so they end up looking very dead. But otherwise its a very nice sculpt, and you have no hesitation in recognising it as Sideswipe.
Ultimately, they are decent figures. For all my complaints listed above they are actually fun toys, and look good in alt mode and alright in robot mode.

Its just a shame when you compare them to their game models, that they don't quite match up to it. But that goes for most, if not all of the Fall of Cybertron figures, and you sense its more to do with the battle against rising manufacturing costs than anything else.

As much as I have spent the majority of the review pointing out the flaws on both figures, I do actually really like them, and I would recommend them if you can pick them up cheaply.

Oh go on then, one last Surfin' Jazz picture...

fall of cybertron surfing jazz

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