#2668: Autobot Jazz

AUTOBOT JAZZ

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Autobot Jazz tries to escape Moonbase One before Unicron devours it, but he doesn’t make it and is swallowed up by the Planet Eater.”

2021 marks the 35th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie hitting theaters, and in an effort to celebrate it, Hasbro’s going totally crazy and releasing….cartoon based figures in their Studio Series line?  What!?!  Okay, it’s not really that crazy of a concept when you get right down to it.  Studio Series is a line of figures dedicated to getting as close to screen-accurate recreations of the characters from the Transformers movies as possible; it’s honestly not that crazy a concept that they might want to devote at least a little bit of the line to the actual first theatrical Transformers movie, especially in a year where the main line, Kingdom, isn’t looking to be *quite* as G1 heavy as the main line for the last two years.  So, Studio Series is effectively picking up where Earthrise left off, and giving us some more updates of classic G1 characters in this new cohesive style that Hasbro’s been working on crafting the last few years.  Kicking things off is perhaps the most prominent of the original ‘bots still missing from this new style, that guy with the oh-so-hard-to-copyright-name, Jazz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Jazz is part of the Deluxe-class component for the Transformers: The Movie-inspired selection of Studio Series figures.  He is officially the first of the set, numbered 86-01 (they have re-started the numbering for these guys, and are using 86, the year the movie was released, as their prefix).  Though officially slated for a March 2021 release, these guys have hit a few places on the earlier side.  Of all of the figures in this 86-inspired line-up, Jazz is notable for being the only of the original Autobots present.  It’s fitting, since he’s one of three of the originals to make it through the film alive, though his role is certainly not as plot relevant as some of the others included here.  Of course, I’m hardly going to argue with getting a new Jazz.  We haven’t gotten one since Power of the Primes, and I’d honestly rather not talk about that one.  In his robot mode, this guy stands just shy of 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 20 practical points of articulation.  Jazz is an all-new mold, patterned on his G1 animation design, of course.  The most notable thing about that is that it means he lacks the door wing kibble that most G1-inspired Jazzes have included.  I’m not really that major one way or the other on whether or not he’s got them, but it’s cool that they went specifically animation-styled for this one.  Beyond that little detail, he’s just a generally nice recreation of the design on the cartoon.  It’s a clean looking design to be sure, which certainly fits the character.  No Siege greebliness to be found here.  I wasn’t quite as bothered by that as some people, but I will admit I do really like the clean lines on this guy.  In particular, I’m very fond of the head sculpt, which does quite a respectable job of getting Jazz’s signature design down.  He doesn’t really get many of the 5mm ports that the main lines have been getting, which means he’s not quite as customizable, but on the flip side, it continues his overall cleaner appearance.

Jazz’s alt-mode is pretty much the same as his original G1 counterpart, where he turned into a Porsche 935 racing car.  This one is essentially that, though he’s specifically based on the animation version of that car, meaning it’s not *quite* a Porshe.  Presumably, this means that he didn’t require licensing, which is a slight shift for Studio Series, but not entirely unheard of, especially given that the rest of Jazz’s compatriots in this line-up have completely made up alt-modes.  This one looks pretty good, and his transformation’s not quite as fiddly as Studio Series stuff tends to be, so I on the whole rather preferred it to a lot of the others I’ve messed with.  I did find it a little tricky to get his chest and head properly oriented upon returning him to robot mode, but it’s not too rough.  It holds together pretty well, and generally looks pretty good, too.  Jazz is packed with is usual Photon Rifle, which he can either hand-wield in his robot mode, or mount to the top of of his car mode.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jazz is definitely on my short list of favorite Transformers.  He’s not quite at Soundwave or Ultra Magnus levels, or anything, but I definitely like him, and was very much waiting for him to get some sort of update in this modern era of Transformers figures.  It’s been a long wait, but I was very happy to hear he’d be in this assortment, and he’s certainly the one I was most looking forward to personally.  He’s a strong release, and certainly the best Jazz I own, though perhaps that’s not saying a lot.  Still, he’s really cool, and that works for me.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2007: Autobot Jazz

AUTOBOT JAZZ

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

Autobot Jazz brings all he’s got to defeat the Decepticons”

Sometimes, the time is really right.  For review #2007, I’m jumping back to the year 2007.  2007 was a weird time.  We had two Marvel movies, which isn’t that odd these days, but they were neither one an MCU entry (because the MCU didn’t exist yet).  But before Marvel could re-brand their film franchises, another one was just starting up.  That July saw the release of the first of the oft-reviled Michael Bay Transformers films.  I was never a huge Transformers fan, but I was still in the audience opening weekend, and I still came out…less than satisfied.  In fact, I think a good argument could be made that the film scared me off the franchise for a bit.  Needless to say, I generally avoid Bay-inspired figures, though I’ve made my first exception for the subject of today’s review, one of my personal favorite Autobots, the aptly named Autobot Jazz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Jazz is a Deluxe Class offering from Hasbro’s Transformers: Studio Series, where he is numbered figure 10, and hit shelves in July of last year.  Given his demise during the first film, Jazz has been less lucky with releases since the original 2007 line.  This figure marks his first domestic release since all the way back in 2010, which is a pretty big deal.  In his Robot mode, the figure stands a little over 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 19 practical points of articulation.  Size-wise, he’s just a little bit taller than Bumblebee.  Given the scaling and price-point, Jazz is a fairly respectable recreation of his robot mode from the movie.  Not all of the details match up 100%, but the general proportions are there, and the robot specific parts are pretty much spot on.  It’s really the remaining elements of the car form that are slightly throwing off the look, and mostly limited to the arms.  Ultimately, it’s just down to needing a little bit of compromise to actually make things work at this scale and in order to maintain transformability.  While Jazz’s original alt mode was a Porsche, for the 2007 movie, it was changed to a Pontiac Solstice, which is still a reasonably sporty model, though it’s decidedly less distinctive.  Whatever the case, this figure maintains its accuracy by giving him the proper alt mode.  The transformation between the two forms is a little less tricky than the Bumblebee, but still a little more fiddly than the Siege figures I’ve been getting.  Overall, though, it was less frustrating than I was anticipating.  The end result is a pretty decent little car, though, like Bumblebee, he’s got a tendency to pop apart at the seams from time to time.  But, as is the usual case, I was more in this one for the robot mode.  Jazz is packed with his crescent cannon, which he can either hold in his left hand, or his hands can flip into the forearm to allow it to attach directly to the wrist.  It’s a nice little feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jazz was an impulse buy.  Well, he was as close to an impulse buy as I ever really get.  I saw him at Walmart on my way home from work and passed.  Later that same evening, I was out to dinner with Super Awesome Fiancee, and passed by the Walmart again, at which point I caved and went back for him.  Though I’ve never really cared for most of the Bay film designs, Jazz is one of the few I didn’t hate, and his death in the film was perhaps one of my biggest complaints about it.  This guy makes for a pretty decent toy, and I’m glad I went back for him.

#1489: Cybertron Advisor Meister

CYBERTRON ADVISOR MEISTER

TRANSFORMERS: ENCORE (TOMY)

“08 Cybertron Advisor Meister

Function: Cybertron Advisor Assistant to Convoy

Transformation: Racing Car

Ability: Has a high performance stereo speaker system and is able to confuse enemies with light and sound displays.

Character: A skilled Cybertron warrior who loves Earth’s culture; knowledgeable and competent at undertaking dangerous missions.”

And behold, my stock of Transformers reviews grows exponentially!  Now I’ll have reviewed *three* of them!  As I’ve mentioned once or twice before on this site, Transformers generally aren’t on my collecting radar, and never really have been.  I’m moderately familiar with some parts of the franchise, though, and I do have a few characters that I’ll buy in toy form.  My all time favorite is Soundwave, but on the Autobots side of things, I’m also a pretty big fan of Jazz.  But wait…doesn’t the title say Cybertron Advisor Meister?  It does.  I’ll get to that in a second.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cybertron Advisor Meister was released in 2008 as part of TOMY’s Transformers: Encore line.  In case you hadn’t yet caught on, Meister is Jazz’s name in Japan, and this is a Japanese release.  In fact, it’s a re-release, or a slight retooling anyway, of the original Jazz/Meister from the ‘80s.  In his robotic form, Meister stands about 5 inches tall and has 8 workable points of articulation, all in his arms.  His sculpt is okay for what it is, which is an old style Transformer.  This is back in the days when the priority was placed on the vehicle form, and less on the robot form, so he looks a little goofy to be sure.  There are a lot of cool little details, though, especially on the car parts of the sculpt.  I also quite like the head, which was the newest piece of the figure.  In his car form, Meister’s a race car, and he’s about 4 inches long and two inches wide, with four moving wheels.  My figure is missing his doors, but otherwise it’s a rather convincing transformation.  The paint work is actually pretty decent.  Mostly basic blacks, whites, and silvers, with a helping of vac metalicizing thrown in for good measure.  There’s some tampography on the fine details of the car, such as his number, Autobots symbol and the like.  It’s all quite clean, and a definite step above the decals seen on other releases.  Meister included a silver blaster, as well as shoulder mountable cannon (missing from mine).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always rather liked Jazz, but I’ve never had a proper toy of him.  I found this one at a 2nd Avenue of all places, in a bag with a bunch of die cast cars, for like $2.  I figured he was one of the Hasbro re-releases and was a little surprised to find out he was a foreign release.  It’s odd to me that something like this ended up at a 2nd Avenue, and I have the wonder what the story is behind that.  He’s missing a few pieces, but looks good enough in robot mode and I’m happy to have a Jazz for the shelf.

*I realized while writing this review that I’m a total dingus who left the foot pieces down for all of the photos.  Silly Ethan.  I’ll try to reshoot those when I can.