Sunday, 5 October 2014

Transformers Generations Jetfire Review

Transformers Generations Jetfire Review

Before nude pictures of celebrities were being leaked onto the Internet, a similar fate befell Hasbro's then unannounced Generations Jetfire.

As you would expect, the Internet oooh'd and ahhh'd with admiration, and it became one of the most hotly anticipated figures in living memory.

There were a couple of reasons for this, first among them was that it was the first leader class figure we had seen in a few years. Second, and most importantly it was a brand new Jetfire figure that was based on his cartoon robot mode, and toy jet mode.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat???!!!! Mind blown.

In the original Transformers cartoon, Jetfire was called Skyfire and was found by the Decepticons buried in ice. Freed from his prison, he joined them due to his old friend Starscream (what could possibly go wrong), but soon realised his error and became essentially a giant Taxi for the Autobots.

His animation model was completely made up, and based on the toy that was released as Jetfire, and was a Robotech/Macross toy that Hasbro licensed to fill out the line.

Not confusing at all.

So now this new Jetfire is here, and I finally managed to get my hands on it despite it not being released in the UK (thanks again Hasbro UK!), did the toy live up to all that promise?

Hit the button to find out

Jet Mode
Transformers Generations Jetfire without weapons
Jetfire's jet mode is a beautiful homage to the VF 1 Valkyrie from the Macross line, which the original Jetfire was.

When Hasbro licensed the original toy from Bandai, they basically kept it exactly the same whilst throwing on some Autobot logos to let you know it was a Transformer.

The VF 1 itself was a fictional jet heavily based on the F-14 fighter jet. Hasbro obviously could not just recreated the original toy, as I would imagine Bandai would not be too happy so they modernised the jet and took their influences more from the F-22 Raptor, but with the moving wings of the F-14 as it is one of Jetfires iconic features.

Whilst we are here, to my eyes I also think it is really reminiscent of a GI:JOE Sky Striker jet, which is great.

But that may just be the brilliant bright white on the toy more than anything else.

generations jetfire vs g1 transformers
This is a very big jet toy, which is precisely what you would expect from a leader class toy.
It not only feels big, solid and with a lot of mass but it is actually pretty long too.

The wings obviously swing out just like the VF-1, to make it even bigger if you wish. The tail fins are also adjustable, but only the vertical ones. The side ones are permanently fixed sideways to stick out the sides, and don't move for transformation to robot mode as they are just part of one large piece of plastic.

Oh, and yes the cockpit does open with a detailed little cockpit that is too small for any figures to fit inside. But it can open which is a great touch, and follows on from what they did with Whirl.

Transformers Generations Jetfire boosters
Being as it is Jetfire, of course he comes with quite a few accessories that bolt on to his jet mode to strongly evoke that Macross style.

Evoke, or scream "look, it's Macross!!!!!!!!".

To start with, you have the fast pack that bolts on to the top of the jet using two plastic pegs. If you have ever had any experience with the older Classics Jetfire, you will know exactly what to expect.
The pegs slot into the holes, and hold on tightly and....there is not really anything else to say on that as that is exactly what they do.

The fastpack itself is obviously styled after the VF-1's, but has been changed to avoid copying it - most probably to avoid a lawsuit.
Transformers Generations skyfire

Gone are the flat, chunky booster jets, replaced by something that does look a bit more Alien in design, with more detail (despite the chrome doing its best to hind it by blinding you with its shininess).

Whilst it has hard to fault them, I think the G1 version looks better. The boosters on the old Jetfire looked more like humans had designed them, and lent themselves more to that futuristic 80's human jet that made Jetfire.

Unlike the Classics toy, the boosters don't have any features to speak of. That toys boosters could extend allowing black guns to flip out. I am not a fan of action gimmicks on Transformers, but that was one that really worked well.

Transformers Generations leader jetfire undercarriage
As a leader class figure, with a high price point, you expect a little more than you get from the boosters, but that is a theme of this figure that we will cover at greater length later on.

As well as the fast pack, Jetfire comes with leg and arm armour, that act as extra guns on the underside of the vehicle.

They do just peg on, but when you attach them you can feel them clip into place securely.

As extra weapons they work nicely, and because they are on the underside they don't stick out or look like extras the designers came up with but could not work into the jet.

So points to them for mimicking G1 Jetfire with these add on's.

Just like the fast packs, these are covered in shiny chrome which is already flaking away on mine. I am not a fan of chrome any way as it is distracting, but also because it is not very sturdy and has a knack for flaking off. #Grumble

generations jetfire gun
One big bonuses of these add on parts is that they help cover up all the robot parts hanging off the bottom of the jet.
It is quite astonishing that 30 years later, and Hasbro can still not hide robot parts under a jet as well that VF-1 Valkyrie did it.

Whilst it does not look that bad, unless you are someone who spends a lot of time looking at the underside of your toys, again we are talking about a Leader class figure which you expect to have a bit more of a premium feels. This extends to the landing gear, where both the rear wheels are molded onto the sides of the legs - but do not fold away. So Jetfire permanently has his rear wheels deployed. That should have been done much better, and on a modern figure at this price point the wheels should fold in. If they can take the time to make the cockpit open, then landing gear that hides away is a minimum requirement.

jetfire transformers leader back
Also on the underside, you can see the fake chest cockpit for the robot mode. It does not look that bad though, as it does not look like the jet cockpit at all. So in a way, it feels more like it echoes the gun pod/head on the VF-1.

The final accessory is Jetfires gun, and the only place to peg it in is under the nosecone. As you can see in the picture- this looks ridiculous.

The fast pack should have had a peg hole in the middle, to mount the gun too, or there could have been a peg hole in the middle of the undercarriage to store it there.

Having it stick out from the front, and that being it's only option feels like an oversight.

generations jetfire cockpit
I am hoping a 3rd party takes on the challenge of giving us better looking, chromeless, armour pieces and weapons.
I am sure they will as they make every other obscure add on, so an onslaught of Jetfire upgrades has got to be on the cards

Despite a few complaints, Jetfire has a fantastic jet mode. It all locks together, and as a massive toy it is a lot of fun to pretend to fly about and make sound effects.

The paint job on the nosecone is lifted from the original, whilst the wings come from the classics version, and that plays into this figure being mish mash of many versions of the character.

Robot Mode
Transformers Generations leader Jetfire Review
Transforming Jetfire is mostly a fun, painless task, but I do mean mostly.

There is a strong homage to VF-1's transformation pattern (if you look at the underside, all the pieces end up in the same places) but with a few twists.

It is the chest area which can be a bit scary, as the column it attaches to has a hinge for the waist, and that accordions out, but it is tight and feels like the plastic may snap.

The legs fold out sideways, and I love the way the hips rotate. Jetfire's arms then fold outwards and once you have the chest folded out the shoulders peg into it, and slots on the back of the wings. You then fold the back of the jet up, and it is job done.

Congratulations - you now have a G1 Skyfire figure.

Transformers Generations Jetfire g1 leader class
The transformation may not involve much, but you have to double take because the robot you end up with is so vastly different to the jet that you only just seconds ago were pretending to fly around and make whooshing noises.

The whole concept of The Transformers, is that you get two toys in one - and nothing personifies that quite like this figure.

Jetfire is stunning to look at, and I still can't get over how well Hasbro have adapted the Skyfire cartoon model.

I know some people are unhappy with the fake chest but personally I love it. Ever since I was a child, I have wanted a toy of Skyfire from the cartoon and despite kids in the playground at school claiming to have one - there has never truly been one.
generations jetfire back

Almost all of the cues from the animation model have been lovingly recreated here. The squared off cockpit chest, with little bit missing. The Red on the waist, and Red line on the upper chest.
One thing that could have been improved is the Autobot logo, which loses most of its details for being a Red piece behind tinted clear blue plastic. You can see the shape, but without pulling it close, you cannot make out the details.

It is also a very clean robot mode, with the only jet kibble being the jet nose cone hanging off Jetfires back.

Whilst it does look weird with him having two cockpits, it does not take away from the figure as it is so well done.

One thing I really love, and most people will probably not get this, is the legs stand completely flush. There is a current trend to give every character giant knee pad spikes, which I am not big on. Yes, Jetfire does have the knee spike, but if you stand him straight, the sit flush with the thighs and blend right in.

transformers generation jetfire head
Another thing that does slightly bug me about modern Transformers, is that they all come with giant pointy chins. Who came up with that, and why is it a thing?

Jetfire is no exception to this, but luckily he has such a brilliant head sculpt that I can forgive the daft pointy beard.

But please stop doing it soon guys, pleeaaaasse.

His face is without doubt the best interpretation of Skyfire we have ever had. I always thought the Classics toy was close, but looking at it now it is actually quite a bit different.

Generations Jetfire on the other hand scores a goal with its head sculpt as it as close to perfect (stupid chin aside) as you could get.

Hasbro have wisely resisted the urge to go nuts with hyper detailing, and have done a wonderful job with the face sculpt. It just looks so much like Skyfire. There is light piping, but his backpack blocks it so it is not really of any use.

hasbro generations jetfire arm
One of the very things I dislike about the robot mode are the hollow outsides of the arms. I know we are used to seeing it on the inside of the arms, but it is massively jarring to find it on the outside.

Once again we return to this being a Leader class figure, and as such this kind of cost cutting should not be a thing. I can understand the peg hole for attaching the armour, but why have the rest of it hollow? It spoils the beautiful clean look that the robot mode has.
So now someone needs to design arm covers, for a problem that this figure should never have had.

You can also see it on the inside of the biceps, and also inner thighs. Maybe I am spoilt by 3rd party and Takara Masterpiece figures covering the gaps, but I really dislike it on Hasbro figures and it makes them look cheap.

Transformers Generations Jetfire battle mask
As seems to be the trend with Jetfire toys, he comes with an optional face plate that homages his G1 look. To my eyes, I think it also takes it cues from Transformers Animated Jetstorm, who combined with Jetfire.

I love the bright blue visor, which is not something you identify with Jetfire as it is normally Red.

It is nice to have the option, but I prefer the more G1 styled face. Character and personality just comes through the normal face more, but the face plate is still a nice extra and is much better than I thought it would be.

Attaching it is easy, you just slide it on and it clips into place. This is quite a bit different from the Classics toy which had a big helmet.

The face plate does store in jet mode by staying on his head, so it is not an extra piece you have to put to the side.

Transformers Generations Jetfire guns
All of the accessories Jetfire comes with snap on in this mode. As a matter of fact, other than the gun, you can transform the figure without removing any of the pieces if you wish and they don't get in the way either.

To counter my previous complaint of the arms being too gappy, there are armour pieces that cover them to mimic the original Jetfire toy.

These become arm guns, because with Jetfire being a Scientist he definitely needs enough weapons to blow up the moon.

The leg armour attaches and is much less successful. They end up looking like lase cannons pointing upwards and so not really useful. I would have preferred it if they had just left the cannon tops off.
One positive to them, is that they do cover the landing gear which even this far into the review I am still staggered that they did not design to fold up and store away.

Transformers Generations Jetfire gun mask
Jetfire's big gun, obviously is much more at home in robot mode.

It is a large Red rifle, and sadly yes - the chrome is peeling off of it. It also has peg holes on the sides, which give you the option of attaching the armour pieces if you so desire.
Maybe that is a use for the leg guns?

There are toys thin edges that stick out of the top of the gun, that allow you to slide the face mask on to store it.

It does look strange to see Jetfire's face on his gun, but at least it is an extra option if you want it.

generation jetfire vs classic jetfire
Hasbro has recently been using friction based missile launchers with their weapons, but have gone back to the trusty spring loaded approach for Jetfire.

There is a black missile, but the trigger is so sensitive I have put the missile back in the box.

Honestly, last week I was sat here browsing the web, and I nudged the table and the missile fired.

Maybe Toy Story was right?

What I do find interesting about the gun, is that whilst so much of the figure goes to great pains to homage the original character design - the gun does not. It is a completely made up design, which looks fine, but is probably an area third parties are lining up relieve our wallets of some money for.

Transformers Generations Jetfire Review
Earlier on, I mentioned the fast pack does not have any action features, which is technically not true. It does rotate, and I believe the default setting is to have the boosters stick up much higher.
So you got me on a technicality.

This is the way he is shown in the artwork, and also in IDW's comics but personally I prefer it rotated the other way so it hides away and is more subtle.

I am not sure why the pylons need to stand up, Jetfire would never be able to get through any doors.

There is a lot of articulation in Jetfire, and to my relief none of it is hindered. After Skids, and a couple of other recent figures I was a bit worried that something would be messed up here.
But my fears were unfounded as Jetfire has great articulation and lends himself to a lot of posing thanks to nice tight joints.
The ankles are also hinged so facilitate your posing whims by moving into positions to keep him upright - even drunk. Due to his size and weight though, you might find yourself a tad limited in what you can do.

Transformers Generations Jetfire arm guns
One fantastic touch, is the shoulder joint just for aesthetic purposes. Usually the plastic is cut out to give the shoulders freedom to swing outwards and you can see the gap.
But here even though the shoulders swing out, when the arm is straightened there is a bit of plastic which completely covers the hole and makes it flush.
It looks awesome, and I hope it is something we see more going forward with other figures.

The joints are all ratcheted too. but only the legs and elbows have really strong ratchets whilst the shoulders have softer ratchets.

I appreciate that sound bad but in practice is for the best because it takes a lot of the force of the shoulders and stops them from unplugging when you rotate them.

Transformers Generations Jetfire rifle
The quality control on my figure is also really good. All the joints are tight, the paint is well applied and there is nothing wrong at all.

The plastic does feel quite light, and it is not a heavy figure (which is odd for a leader class figure) but it is hard to fault it beyond the chrome flaking.

Since getting this figure, I have been really pleased and it feels like an itch has been scratched to finally have a decent cartoon style Skyfire. It is the perfect size for a Classics collection, but probably too small for an MP shelf (though that is still where mine will be going).

The strange thing, this almost feels like Hasbros attempt at doing a Masterpiece figure with the robot mode being so Skyfire, and the jet mode strongly homaging the original toy.

If they keep this up, then I am fully sold as this sort of figure is exactly what I want in the Generations line. I lean more to Masterpiece, but I still love the Generations line and toys like this just serve to keep me into the line.

It is not a figure for everybody, with its fake chest, but it is the perfect figure for me and is so far my favourite toy of this year. It is not without its problems, it really does not feel premium enough for a Leader class figure, but it is an excellent toy.

Now Takara please release an actual Masterpiece Skyfire...

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  1. Hi there, I am having serious difficulties transforming him back from jet to robot mode because his "crotch" gets stuck. I need pliers to take out it every time. Is there a natural way to transform him back?

  2. I am not sure, mine can be awkward and a bit terrifying that something may snap - but it does not get stuck?