The new Autobot Jazz comes from a video game called Fall of Cybertron and that means he will probably be abbreviated as "FOC Jazz" which, oddly, is pretty much the theme of this review. After the superb late-2010 Reveal the Shield Special Ops Jazz, a clever, well-sculpted, sizable toy, this one is a disappointment. About the same size as a large Revenge of the Fallen-era Scout-class toy, the tiny and light Jazz can't help but seem inferior to to. The 2010-2011 Generations line. Perhaps that series was too big and too good, rising costs in China and Hasbro's desire to keep costs down on deluxes resulted in the smallest batch of "deluxe" class toys yet, and I daresay Jazz suffers the most. This unlegendary toy is best reserved for hardcore fans and Jazz freaks.
If you are on the fence, do not buy this toy. I don't yet regret buying him (that requires breakage or a transformation that doesn't quite work) but he comes close. A few tabs which hold him together in car mode seem like it's forced, it seems the tolerances are off or I may be too stupid to understand how it works. Even when everything seems to align, placing the arms to the "doors" of his vehicle mode feels like I'm going to be breaking something shortly. Due to this, and a thinner, airier plastic, this does not feel like a good value.
A friend of the site also pointed out that this figure's construction is quite the departure form other recent releases. Jazz has very few metal parts-- there aren't many screws or metal pins, things snap together and even the wheels snap into place rather than use a rivet or axel or other means of connection. Being so light on deco and feeling completely unlike most other Transformers, particularly at this price point, this might be an experimental or transitional piece. Hasbro and Takara seem to be trying their best to reduce their costs, hopefully in an effort to bring the price down in the future. It wouldn't surprise me if this toy were developed as a $10 retail item, but Hasbro saw the results and said "let's just raise the price for now and the new toys later won't suffer as much." I'm hoping.
At about 5-inches tall, the figure is packaged in robot mode because he, like Optimus Prime, has a wholly unremarkable vehicle mode. The Cybertronian Race Car just barely hits 4-inches long, and there's no heft to it. Sections of Jazz' limbs are hollow, which only adds to the overall feeling of Cheepnis. A glossy finish, perhaps a different shade of not-white would have helped make it seem like a meatier purchase. It's so impossibly light, I had to weigh it-- Jazz is about 60 grams, while FOC Optimus is about 73 grams. As a basis of comparison, Transformers Prime Cyberverse Optimus Prime is about 40 grams. It feels and looks so light that it must be super-fast, but unfortunately it isn't. His transformation results in some undercarriage junk dragging on the ground, plus his wheels do not spin particularly freely. Rather than rivets or axels, we get snap-in wheels.
As a car, it's also overly complicated. The vehicle (and the robot mode) is covered in panel lines, which remove any illusion of this being a sleek vehicle. Sure, it's added sculpted detail, but it looks sort of like veins are popping out all over the car and as cars go, it's just not pretty. Transformation is fairly simple, except that the pieces don't quite fit together. The legs don't quite tuck in under the car. The arms don't quite fit into the doors. The automorph function which aligns the head under the body doesn't go all the way, leaving a small panel jutting out a bit. Also, there are numerous, excessive tabs and slots that must be aligned just-so in a way which repeated play may wear down over time. This is a toy you buy to display, not play with.
In 2013, this figure will be remolded into Sideswipe next year. Like Galvatron, I almost want an apology from Hasbro. The figure's shape looks acceptable, though-- there are false wheels in his ankles, but his arms feel gorilla-like and more appropriate to a Decepticon. The chest is huge, and the head is covered in nasty little lines which feel leftover from some of the worst illustrations of the early 2000s. With 15 points of articulation, this fan-favorite character manages to mix up a ton of elements which fans ask for and spit out a product that doesn't seem fun for kids or adult collectors.
Every now and again Hasbro will just release a figure that is kind of a turkey. There are things to like about it, but there are enough frustrating bits that bring this one so close to being a fun and simple toy that it's a wonder this one made it out. I eagerly await word of a Japanese release that fixes these issues. Honestly, if the transformation process were smoother I'd probably put this in the same category of his sibling Optimus Prime. The key difference is he transforms smoothly, and Jazz does not.
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