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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Knightdramon's review of: Jetfire

Name: Jetfire
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Air Guardian
"Victory lies in the conquest of unknown mysteries”

Jetfire was once famous across the face of Cybertron. As a great scientist and explorer, he was the first to journey to the black depths of deep space, and the only one to ever face and defeat the Star Pirates of the Blot Nebula. It was because of his status as a hero that his sudden disappearance was greeted with worldwide dismay. He was discovered millions of years later, frozen within the Arctic glacier on Earth, and rose immediately to the challenge presented by the Decepticons. He is among the mightiest and bravest of the Autobots, diving into battle without a moments' hesitation, the stuttering roar of his particle beam repeaters drowning out all other sounds.

I admit it, this time Hasbro actually wrote a nice bio. According to the tech specs, Jetfire is really a formidable force coming second to only Prime and Megatron. Personally, I never viewed Jetfire as strong (the G1 cartoon didn't help) and his Stormbringer appearance didn't make matters any better.

This particular toy version of Jetfire was later copy-pasted into the pages of IDW's Stormbringer mini-series. Artist Don Figueroa apparently had a sneak peek at the sculpt of the toy and implemented the design to the awesome mini-series.

The original Jetfire figure was actually a Macross (Robotech) figure, namely Hikaru's version of VF-1S. While the Classics design updates that particular valkyrie, it also draws elements from the more recent VF-0S. In other words, Jetfire is a very cheap alternative to those two figures, which go nearly ten times his asking price. It should be noted that G1 Jetfire was actually called as such only in the comic books and toy-he was known as Skyfire in the cartoon. This was probably made for trademark issues. I've even read about cases of Jet being called Optimus in comics in some countries.

Jet Mode
Jetfire measures 21 cms from boosters to nose, 4.5 cms from wheels to main body (8.5 with the backpack) and has a wingspan of 19 cms with the wings folded into the normal configuration (red on body matches with the red on the wings). All in all he makes a pretty cool jet that's not too large neither too small.

Jetfire's primary colour is white with red and black thrown into the mix. The white is not creamy\yellow, it's more like Alt Wheeljack's. A nicely saturated tone of red is used for the patterns on the wings and tailfins. Black is used for small bits on the main body and the nosecone. The cockpit is cast in clear blue.

The sculpting on this figure is even better than Optimus Prime's. Panel lines detailing bolts, ridges and patterns are evident on the main body of the jet and continue on to the wings and nose. With a marker for panel lines (black or gray) and having a few spare minutes, one can create one amazing display piece out of this affordable figure. Kudos to Hasbro.

While the jet mode is very cool, one only has to look underneath to expose the robot within. The arms are very prominent and the waist piece (where the nosecone attaches) is also present.

With the fast pack (term taken directly from Macross), Jetfire gains in bulk and loses much of the white present. The fast pack is mainly red with black running stripes on the cannons and hints of white on the back. The boosters are cast in black. The cannons that attach under the arms are cast in black with red painting on the sides. The fast pack attaches on the tail section of Jetfire and fits in securely due to the connection joints-it won't fall off even if you hold the jet upside-down. Taking the fast pack out requires caution-the plastic is durable and all, but if a joint breaks into the socket, it won't be a pretty sight. The arm cannons secure in via a similar joint, but it's much easier and less hard on the joints to take them out.

Jetfire is blessed with an amazing alternate mode (that wasn't depicted at all in the comics) that takes cues from Macross jets of the past and present. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Robot Mode
The transformation sequence isn't very hard to get the hang of (it helps if the fastpack is not attached) and at the end, you're rewarded with a very cool bot. At head height, Jetfire is a bit over 17 cms tall, reaching 20 by counting the wings.

The only new colour present is some silver on the robot's face. Jetfire looks a lot less plain at the moment since some of the deco patterns of the jet mode all end up at the chest, adorning it with red, black, white and the blue of the cockpit. Black is also used for the area in front of the head, with seven small rectangular holes in formation sculpted on it, very reminiscent of Roy's VF-0S in Macross Zero. The wings can be displayed in a small variety of positions, but by the comic (and box) they're supposed to be upright, the tailfins pointing down, creating a butterfly effect. The arms are long and bulky, same with the legs and main body. The only disproportioned part of the figure is the main robot head, which is a bit too narrow for the body it's sitting on top of. This has to do with the fact that the head has to fit inside a helmet that's more in proportion with the body.

Articulation is plentiful but prohibiting. Each leg has five points of articulation, namely the adjustable ankles, the knee joint, rotation below the knee joint, swiveling at the hip and lateral movement at the hip-waist. If you have Energon Prowl, it's an almost identical leg design. The waist has no articulation due to the transformation process (there'd be no way for the wings to be stable and the cockpit to lock into place). Each arm has another five points of articulation, including full shoulder rotation, arms extending to the side, 90 degree elbow joint, full rotation just below the joint and full wrist rotation. The head rests on a ball joint, but because the joint is at the back of the head, he cannot look down. The points of articulation stop count at 21, but I dare to say he's not poseable. The arms are not really a problem, but the legs can't get into a decent pose due to the way his joints are arranged. Since the hip joint is a bit lower than it's supposed to be, he's not getting enough weight\gravity support to hold most of the poses, and because his feet aren't really supporting and can't tilt to the sides, he's got stability issues.

It's not until Jetfire enters super mode that he really shines. Granted, he looks a bit chubby from the sides, but that's really the bulk of the helmet and fast pack connected onto an already bulky torso. For comic fanatics, this is the armour he had on in Stormbringer #1 on his expedition on Cybertron. The arm cannons have spring loaded clear blue missiles but the fast pack has no "live" ammo. Instead, it houses two additional cannons with a scope that can be either pointing up or over his shoulders. The gimmick of the fast pack is that by pulling the tallest red part back, the black cannons are freed and point forward. They cannot be kept retracted while over Jet's shoulders, because the holster is still on the back.

The helmet is an update of VF-1S Hikaru's version. It takes cues from that version's (G1 Jetfire for non-macross fans) but adds an angular chin and four yellow indentations, two on either side. The "horns" pack quite a distance from the helmet, due to the need of being present on the jet mode's cockpit. They are, however, fully adjustable and double as blasters (another macross homage). The fast pack is a smaller version of the ones included with other valkyries, and the arm cannons are also another homage. The twin black riffle that Jetfire has can be separated and fits into the hand slots when he's in jet mode.

Overall, Jetfire works as a triple homage to fans of all ages. He's an homage to the original Jetfire, pays great tribute to Shoji Kawamori's Macross series and harks to Stormbringer for newcomers/younger fans. Both modes are rather fun, a lacking in articulation made up for with the fast pack accessory, and for Macross fans, he can easily be repainted to Roy's, Max's and Hayato's valkyries, earning one the Skull Squadron for about the cost of ONE of those jets. Highly recommended to Stormbringer and Macross fans.

Transformation: 7. Same as Prime's perhaps even easier because there's no twisting around parts.
Durability: 8. The figure is stocky and durable, but if the fast pack breaks a connecting joint inside Jetfire, I don't know if you'll be able to fix it.
Fun: 9. Very cool figure, lots of accessories so you don't get bored, and if you grow tired of one mode, switch to the other!
Price: 10. I can't believe how affordable he is. Asking price is really low compared to what you get.
Overall: 10. Maybe it's because I'm a macross fan, maybe it's because I loved Stormbringer or maybe because he's simply one of the best in the classics line. Only thing that's missing is a display base and you're set.

 
 
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