TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE
I’m getting the urge to start this review off with a comment about how this site could do with some more Robotech reviews, but…that’s not entirely the right call for this particular review. And, if you’re wondering to yourself “Ethan, why are you bringing up Robotech in a Transformers review?”, then allow me to explain. Today’s focus is the latest iteration of Jetfire, a 1985 addition to Transformers, who was notable for being a repurposed Macross VF-1S toy for his original release. Though repurposing pre-existing toys was the vintage Transformers line’s jam, Jetfire was the odd man out in that his original toy wasn’t produced by Takara, and therefore Takara, as Hasbro’s Japanese equivalent, were less inclined to support this particular release. For the purposes of the cartoon, Jetfire had to go through a pretty rigorous set of design changes, and even got a new name, Skyfire. Since then, every subsequent release has somewhat walked the thin line between vintage toy accuracy and cartoon accuracy. This one just continues that trend, albeit with some caveats.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Jetfire is the debut of a new size-class of Transformers in the Siege line, dubbed the Commander Class. Classically, Jetfire’s been a Leader Class release, but with the slight change-up of the gimmick behind the Leader Class figures, Jetfire needed to be a larger-scale figure, necessitating a new size-point, between the Leaders and the Titans. In robot mode, the figure stands about 11 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 practical points of articulation. Jetfire is a big, solid figure. Definitely the most solid of the Siege figures so far. Like a good number of the figures in the line, Jetfire has more than just the two looks. Right out of the box, he’s in his stripped down robot form which is designed as a fairly straight adaptation of the Skyfire design from the show. It’s a pretty solid recreation of that design, and thereby more of a departure from his Verictech roots. He has an actual face, as he does in the show, which isn’t so much my speed, but it’s accurate, and a nice option for the figure. The hands are posable, but unlike prior figures to use such hands, where issues holding weapons can be a problem, this figure is designed with a folding 5mm port. Thanks to this, when his hands are open, the port is gone, but when they’re closed, he can properly hold his accessories. It’s a great feature, and I hope they get more use out of it. Speaking of the hands, they’re also the source of my only real issue with the figure, namely how his hands connect to the forearms. To facilitate transformation, they fold out, and they have a tendency to pop out when trying to pull of routine posing with the hands, which can be slightly annoying. Jetfire has another sort of new feature has to do with his insignia. Though an Autobot by all official counts, Jetfire’s backstory frequently paints him as a reformed or at least otherwise former Decepticon, and this figure has a flippable insignia to note this change. Again, I don’t ever see myself displaying that Decepticon symbol, but the option being there is really great. Jetfire’s second mode serves to homage his vintage counterpart, via some additional armored parts. He gets a faceplate, chestplate, and some wrist mounted guns. While they don’t perfectly recreate the Veritech design (because there’s likely all sorts of potential legal issues regarding such a thing), it keeps enough common elements to get the point across. While I can take or leave the chest piece, the faceplate’s definitely my preferred appearance for him, and I love how seamlessly it fits into place on the figure.
As his name suggests, Jetfire’s primary alt-mode is a fighter jet. It’s easily the most complex transformation sequence I’ve encountered on one of these guys (which makes sense, since the one transforming Veritech I encountered was quite similar), and it’s the sort of thing that you’ll probably need to actually sit down and dedicate some time to doing properly. He is definitely not a “swap back and forth on a whim” sort of figure. That being said, as involved as the process may be, I didn’t find it frustrating or particularly difficult, which is a definite plus in my book. The final product is a pretty straight recreation of his alt-mode from the cartoon, which works out pretty well, at least with the whole Cybertron setting. Perhaps the coolest aspect of the alt-mode is that the cockpit is properly scaled to hold a Titan Master as its pilot, as Doombox has so kindly illustrated here. Jetfire is packed with a large rifle, which can split into two, as well as two sizable effects pieces, which can each split into three. There’s a lot of multipurposing with the accessories here.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Robotech and Transformers are both rather new additions to my cultural lexicon, but I was still quite excited to find out about Jetfire being added to this line. While larger scale Veritechs are a little outside of my price range, Jetfire offered me a similar experience at a much more bearable price point. Jetfire came in alongside a whole slew of other stuff, but was still the very first figure I pulled out of the box after getting home. There’s a lot going on with this figure, and it’s pretty much all awesome. He’s got little minor flaws here and there (the hands being the only prominent one for me), but boy is he a lot of fun, and boy is he a great presence on the shelf. I like him a lot.