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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

J is for Jazz

The Winning Toy

"Jazz loves Earth culture. Always looking to learn more. His knowledge of Earth makes him the indispensable right-hand man to Optimus Prime. Takes most dangerous missions. Very cool, very stylish, very competent. Equipped with photon rifle, flamethrower, full-spectrum beacon, 180db stereo speakers. Creates dazzling, disorienting sound and sound shows. Versatile, clever, daring, but prone to be distracted."

Toyline: 1984 Transformers Line (2008 Encore Reissue for my version)

Generation: Generation One

Size Class: Autobot Car (about Scout Class)

Faction: Autobot

Function: Special Ops. Agent

Quote: "Do it with style or don't bother doing it."

Strength: 5

Intelligence: 9

Speed: 7

Endurance: 7

Rank: 8

Courage: 9

Firepower: 5

Skill: 10

Before I begin the actual review, I just have to mention that my version is the Encore Meister figure, which is just an updated version of the original Jazz figure.

Robot Mode

Okay, Jazz's body (like all G1 figures) is very basic, he has very limited articulation in his arms. The upper arm is connected to the shoulder by a pivot joint, which enables full mobility. The upper arm is connected to the shoulder by a hinge, as is the lower arm to the upper arm. Jazz's wrist is connected to the lower arm via a pivot joint, which enables his hand to rotate fully as well.

Jazz's hand is able to hold his own weapon, and a few others from the original toyline, but can't hold any of the more recent "standard sized" weapons. His hand is also sculpted with fingers and even a thumb for aesthetic reasons only

Jazz's legs are unable to be repositioned in any way, except that the silver things on the bottom of his legs can be splayed out to make him have large feet instead of small ones (as he should have)

Jazz's head consists of a black helmet with a chevron on the forehead, and 2 "ears" on the sides. He also have "vent cheeks" that are connected to the ears as well. Jazz's face is completely silver with a molded mouth, chin, nose and visor on it (the visor is painted blue in the Encore version that I have)

Jazz's robot mode has white on the outside and upper legs, lower arms, and upper torso. He has black on the inner/lower legs, his pelvis/groin, upper arms and hands. His feet and lower torso are metallic silver. Jazz has a dark blue, light blue and red striped paint scheme on various parts of his body, including the sides of his feet and down the middle of the chest.

Jazz's door wings can be displayed outwards (like with Prowl) or then can be folded inwards/removed to look more like his actual character model from the comic/cartoon

Jazz also comes with a sticker sheet that can be applied to Jazz's body to make him look more interesting (as with almost every G1 figure from the early days)

Alternate Mode

Jazz's vehicle mode is mostly white Porsche 935 Turbo with a dark blue/light blue/red stripe going down the middle, and along the side (going over his rear wheel and down the bottom of the doors).

Jazz has perfectly clear windows for the windscreen, back window and the rear side windows (not the front side windows though). However there's nothing to see inside the car, so all you can actually see is some robot mode parts which ruins the illusion of the toy honestly (as with most G1 figures again)

Jazz has an over-sized immobile spoiler on the back, a set of blue head lights on the front, and exhaust system on the back, some sculpted ventilation shafts and fuel intakes and other minor details as well which is all just for decoration

Jazz's wheel's have black rubber tires with friction marks on them (which can be removed if so desired). Jazz also has silver hubcaps in the wheels, which actually do look nice. As with most older toys of realistic vehicles, the wheels can be spun around fully. Jazz's doors are also able to open, but again don't open up to reveal anything, just some robot chest.

Jazz has the number 4 painted onto his hood and side doors (his racing number) and a symbol on his doors that originally showed his Martini sponsorship on it, but in my version instead reads "Meister" (his Japanese name) This mode also has several stickers visible that pretty much all relate to his Japanese name, with an "Agent Meister" sticker being on his spoiler in 3 places and on the top of his windscreen, and the word "Meister" just in front of his Autobot insignia as well. Another sticker also gives him a grill for the front of his car as well making him a little bit more realistic


Jazz has had quite a lucky lifespan to be honest, being one of the original characters in the comic and TV series, he had quite a lot of appearances, and as the second in command of the Autobots as well in quite a few of those issues/episodes (unlike his co-commander Prowl who was largely forgotten about in the TV series) I mean the fellow even survived the events of the animated movie, which had a VERY high mortality rate for the early characters, although this was mostly negated when Scatman Crothers died before Season 3 began, meaning that Jazz was never heard from again, except in a background shot etc. (though he did appear in the Japanese exclusive Headmasters series again)

Jazz seemed to be taking off a few years from Beast Wars to Cybertron as he never appeared or was homaged in any of those series' (except a small cameo in Beast Wars set when the Ark crashed into Earth) and as such, he received no new toys (bar reissues of his G1 toy and a Universe Spychanger). Despite is decline in use in the TV series' and toylines, Jazz was featured in the official G1 based comics from Dreamwave and IDW in this interim (with Jazz continuing to be a main character in IDW to this day). Jazz was also given a toy in the Alternators line, but under is Japanese name, Meister, for trademark reasons, whilst in Japan a red variant was made, which was later renamed/re-purposed as Zoom-Zoom. Other toys for Jazz would be renamed as Autobot Jazz for Trademark reasons as well.

In 2007 Jazz was included in the line-up for the first Live Action movie, in which he was killed off by Megatron and many fan boys cried. Because of his inclusion in the film, Jazz was obviously given some new toys and appearances in the associated media (games, comics, novels etc) this even included a G1 coloured version of his new character design. Also (oddly) despite his death in the first film, Jazz was even given a couple of post-humus toys in the Revenge of the Fallen toyline which included a Human Alliance toy.

Jazz was given another new character in Transformers Animated, where he was made a Cyber Ninja Elite Guardsman, who seemed to emulate his G1 self quite a lot (he loves Earth, became good friends with Optimus and Prowl etc). This Jazz was also later repainted into a mostly silvery-grey version called Freeway Jazz, which emulates Bluestreak/SIlverstreak from G1 as well. This version of Jazz also emulates his Special Ops background by being both a trained Ninja,and Guardsman

Jazz was also included as a main character in the War for Cybertron series of Games, and the Exodus novel as well, being a good friend to Optimus Prime and is a Cultural Investigator (fitting his original character's bio as well)

Jazz's most recent toys from the Classics-like series have been redesigns for his vehicle mode, but his robot modes have been pretty true to the G1 version that I've reviewed here. Jazz also received a Botcon toy for the Shattered Glass series, which actually looks like his G1 form really rather than a redesign like most others got.

Is he cool?

To be honest, I've had a hard time trying to figure out how Jazz's G1 toy can be cool, I don't deny that he's a cool character, but that's not what this toy review is for, this is about the toy. I get the feeling that most people voted for this Jazz (instead of the more recent and better looking RTS Jazz) is from a blind sense of nostalgia, since the RTS version is still the same character, but a different, and more interesting version of him.

Jazz's robot mode does stand out from quite a few other original G1 toys as it actually looks like the character model for Jazz from the cartoon and comic (unlike Ironhide or Ratchet for example). Everything else about this figure though is pretty much standard amongst his wave mates, he has a fairly realistic alternate mode (though he does have some very visible seems etc for transformation) and he also features a rub sign on his chest/car hood (again, just like most other early transformers)

Jazz comes with 2 black weapons that combine into a back-mounted rocket launcher, 3 silver missiles (which can be loaded into the launcher one by one, and a silver gun that Jazz can hold in either hand.

Overall, whilst he's not a bad figure (hence why I bought him) I would say that you'd probably be better off buying one of his more recent toys as opposed to this one, especially for play value, since this one is quite limited in that area (unless you just like making the car go "vroom vroom" along a sofa arm) I mean really, the RTS version is the same character, looks similar enough to this one, and is also compatible to newer weapons and is more in scale with other modern figures. So really, only get this figure if you're a completest, or just like having the figures for a collection and not to play with

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