Cliffjumper's review: the-Arker Cliffjumpor
Cliffjumper (I call Alternators Shockblast "Shockwave" and ROTF Dirtboss "a Scrapper", go figure... I'm also not typing Clifjumpor all through the review)
"Strike first, strike fast, strike hard."
Cliffjumper's original toy looking very much like Bumblebee has doomed the character to a life as a recolour grunt, with red Bumblebees taking the name in Classics, the first Movie line (at both Legends and Deluxe pricepoints), Alternity and probably some other lines. Step in fan site The Arker, who produced a not-even-semi-official retool of the first Concept Camaro with a G1-inspired head. I picked this thing up surprisingly cheap from ebay (something like a tenner before shipping) instead of getting the first Movie Deluxe, which seems to be commanding more than a thoughtless recolour should on the second-hand market.
Cliffjumper is based on the first Concept Camaro Deluxe. Instead of the black/silver pattern on both Bumblebee and the official Cliffjumper, the car mode is just a bare red all over, and a couple of shades darker than than the real thing too. This works surprisingly well, both in terms of being striking in its' own right and contrasting that bit more with Bumblebee. The actual physical car is entirely unchanged, being the same "alright for a new car but still pretty bland in the grand scheme of things" deal.
Sadly, either a manufacturing error or overly stiff parts mean the arms don't quite go flush to the body, causing a couple of ugly gapes between the bonnet and the wings - they probably wouldn't even get that close if it wasn't for the construction of the car, meaning the doors can peg closed and the hinges stop any stressing taking place. Otherwise the quality is very good - decent plastic, and a surprisingly good set of paint apps (including 'CAMARO
' in tiny gold lettering in the same place as on the Premium Bumblebee), all crisply done - though the silver rear lights are a bit mad.
Transforming the figure can be a bit frustrating - the tightness in the shoulder parts means the Automorph can be rather stiff. It's a complex mechanism to copy, so this is perhaps understandable, if not actually excusable. That said, the thing's sturdily made - there's no sign of stress marks after a week's regular transformation, and no feeling anything's actually going to break.
One thing I do like about the Concept mould being used for this figure is there's a lot of wiggle-room in the robot mode configuration... By leaving the chest as a 'solid' car front, swivelling the doors around so they go flat down the back and rotating the elbows so the roof goes down the outside of the arms it's actually possible to change the look of the upper robot a fair bit, even if it doesn't totally disguise the origins.
Of course, the biggest change is the new head sculpt. Sadly, this isn't brilliant. You can tell who it is easily enough, and it sits surprisingly well on top of a figure designed for the live action philosophy. But it's just a little bit slapdash, and always seems to be craning up slightly. It's a noble try, but doesn't quite come off. Aside from Cliffjumper's face and eyes, paint applications are limited - the blue crotch and painted toes from Bumblebee are retained, while there are a couple of red dabs on the waist (as like the Premium Bumblebee), and that's it. The robot mode parts are moulded in dark grey, unlike the black of the original Bumblebee. It's darker than the Premium or ROTF versions are, too.
Weaponry-wise, Cliffjumper comes with the transforming hand-cannon of the 2007 figure - not a bad choice, really. The ROTF built-in weapon seemed to bugger up the transformation of the back half of the car, and while the first version isn't 100% accurate, it is at least removable. Plus the two different modes for the thing means on the shelf Cliffjumper can have another point to define him from Bumblebee. Articulation is in the same range as Bumblebee - decent, with largely good balance.
7 - the robot mode is pretty good, if not as great as it could be, and the parts layout means you can modify the robot mode easily to look less like Bumblebee. The shoulder problem means the car mode is not so good, though.
5 - the original Concept transformation is worth a 7, being slick and well-executed; I'm docking this one two points for the aforementioned stiffness, though those marvellous legs still work fine.
7 - for an unofficial figure, this is very well made, though I've been handling him very gently for much the same reason.
8 - unlike every official version since 1984, this does look like a Cliffjumper. Once you've got him in robot mode he's fun and dynamic, and acheives the bonus of managing to look alright when displayed with both Movie and Universe figures.
6 - while he's cheap compared to many limited-run fan items, Cliffjumper is still more expensive than the definitive Bumblebee version of this mould. When you consider that most Movie figures are slightly overpriced anyway, he doesn't give particularly good value for money. However, the price does compare pretty well with genuine Movie Cliffjumpers.
6 - An interesting variation, but only really worth hunting down if you want a Movie Cliffjumper and don't already have the official one. It is
nice to have a Cliffjumper that isn't exactly like a Bumblebee apart from its' colour scheme, but even then this isn't a 100% original toy.