Opinion - Scorsese and Coppola Vs. the MCU: Are we focusing on the wrong argument?
October 25, 2019
Nuking The Cat
Last Refuge of the Sensible Nerd
Toy Review - Transformers Generations Jetfire
October 15, 2014
Hey, remember when I used to do toy reviews on here?
Well, if so, congrats. I finally got off my butt to do one…mainly inspired by the question “Can you tell me which of the new Transformers don’t suck?”
With movie designs flooding the toy aisles, for the most part, it not only seems
like a legitimate question, but also a difficult one to answer. Although outnumbered, Hasbro has continued to produce their Generations line, drawing influences from the past 30 years of Transformers (though mostly focused on Generation 1), in slight parallel to the movie stuff and the Transformers Prime stuff prior to that. These Generations toys run from the small Legends class (which are tiny, fun and go really well with either the newest version of Metroplex or if you feel like digging up those old G1 cities), the usual Deluxe class (blister board with figure and comic) and the boxed Voyager class. Today’s review is of the first Leader Class Generations figure…and who better to start the line off with than Jetfire?
For those of you that, like me, jumped onto these figures back when they were called Classics (then Universe and now Generations), you know this isn’t the first Jetfire we’ve gotten. That Jetfire, for its time, was very welcome. It tried hard to pay homage to both the Macross Valkyrie toy version and the adapted “We don’t want to get sued by Harmony Gold” cartoon version. And maybe it was in that attempt that it made its stumbles. It certainly wasn’t a bad toy…the backpack/thrusters unleashing giant cannons was awesome and this was the first attempt to have a head that could be both from the Valkyrie and from Skyfire. But the helmet wasn’t the best approach (the size of it helped to contribute to the feeling that Jetfire was short and stocky). Sure, if you fiddled with it a bit, you could rig up a Gerwalk mode, but this was mostly achieved through some wonky joint placement in the design. The armor and the gun were both less than stellar as well (aside from the aforementioned backpack).
But that’s the old one! We’re here to talk about the new one. Well, like the old Classics version, this new Jetfire is not without his flaws. The good news is that they haven’t repeated any of the old ones!
The first thing you notice is the height of the figure. Jetfire towers over the other C/U/G figures. And he should. Old-school Jetfire towered over your G1 collection and Skyfire towered over the other ‘bots in the cartoon. Plus, let’s face it, he turns into a jet surrounded by a bunch of guys that transform into cars, provided that the law of conservation of mass remains in place (not always a given in the Transformers universe!) he should scale much larger than his compatriots.
The second thing? For being so tall, he’s AWFULLY light. And while it doesn’t reach “I feel like I’m gonna break this damn thing” levels, it does feel…well…cheap. Hasbro started this back in their Transformers Prime toys…but it’s really been noticeable in the recent Generations and Movie 4 toys. I get the motivation to use less plastic with the cost of both labor and materials going up. But when you rotate the figure around and start seeing honeycombed arms or legs…well, that just ruins the illusion. Thankfully, Jetfire, being, gasp, a jet, doesn’t have one of the more glaring areas where this sort of thing becomes apparent: car wheels.
Let’s next take a look at the armor. First, the positive: there’s not a lot of it so
you shouldn’t lose anything (unlike the original!), it looks cool and they solved the whole helmet issue mentioned above by having the more Valkyrie-like look be a mask instead…and it’s a mask that works great. The bad? Well, it’s a biggie. All the armor (save for the mask) has been covered in vac-metal. They’ve foiled it. Sigh…which means we can look forward to Jetfire developing the Transformers equivalent of dandruff any time now. This has also been a trend with Hasbro lately. The current movie toys are all adorned with foil too. Now, granted, some of my older foiled toys (Beast Wars Transmetals) are holding up okay…but my Beast Machines Jetstorm…well…last time I looked in on him, can’t say he was looking too good. Hell, part of me wants to make a joke about Cosmic Rust. On the bright side, the plastic underneath is also red, so when the eventual flaking does come, it’s not going to be such a big deal. And heck, I’ll even defend the use of foil on the movie stuff…it’s meant to appeal to kids and what does that better than “ooooh…shiny!” But for the collector-oriented Generations line? No, no, no. Bad idea. And to help hasten the coming of the flakiness, the armor pieces fit together with the gun (also foiled) to form a ‘supergun’ sort of thing. Insert facepalm here.
The transformation is simple and yet does require a bit of thought. Some of the pieces do require a bit of pull…and given that cheap feeling…well, I’ll just say caution is advised, although so far mine has held up pretty well with no signs of plastic stress and such. I’ve read some internet reviews that blast this for being the same old ‘bot bits riding under a jet’ transformation, but seriously…there’s only so much these guys can do. Besides, if you do the top of your jet right, you’re not looking at the junk underneath.
And boy did they get it right. This is a sleek update to the original design based
on the F-14 Tomcat, naturally with the huge scramjet thrusters on the back. Of course, you can remove those and put the tailfins up to recreate that F-14 image, and yes, the wings do sweep in and out…though they’re more like the wings on an F-15 (fat/wide triangular) as opposed to those of the F-14 (thin/narrow triangular), but having that variability is a great harkening back to the original (Classics had it too though, to be fair). The landing gear wheels actually feel like the most expensive parts of the toy! They work as one would expect prior to the aforementioned Hasbro cost-cutting measures, the wheels do indeed roll and roll rather well…although only the landing gear on the nose can be stowed away.
So, would I recommend this to my friend that posed the initial quandary? Yes, with one hesitation…that being that if he doesn’t like this one, he might want to walk away from collecting any of the new stuff from here on out. I can’t see these cost-cutting measures going away any time soon. But the toy looks great in both modes and has a quick, fun transformation. Sure, the armor and guns will eventually flake, but there are internet videos that can walk you through how to just take it off, and, as I said, since the underlying plastic is red anyway, it’s not that great of a deal. The only reason it rubs me the wrong way is that the money used on the foil could’ve been used to filling in some of those honeycombs. And one last thing I forgot to mention that definitely warrants a recommendation; many of Jetfire’s joints have good strong ratchets. So while most of the pics you’ll see attached to this review are pretty on the vanilla side (cut me some slack, had a lot of other crap to do that day!), those ratchets will hold pretty much any pose you put him in. I was able to grab him for $45…and while I don’t feel that bad about it, well, for that amount of money, I shouldn’t be saying that the toy feels cheap. That’s probably the only negative I’d allow to influence your decision process. But if the cash is no issue, I can’t see any reason to not grab this guy up!