Thursday, 2 April 2015

Review: Transformers Legends Jetfire

There are only two Transformers I can remember getting in the 80s. The first is Pretender Jazz. I got him for Christmas from my cousin and was slightly perplexed as I didn't realise they were still making Transformers. Time moves differently as a kid, so it may well have been only a few months since I'd got a Transformer before that, but I'd obviously moved on to something else, toy-wise (if not comic-wise, but that's another story).

Now that I think about it, I do have a vague memory of opening up Optimus Prime. I can remember lifting the pieces out of the box, the feel and slight squeak as the toy popped out of the polystyrene, but that's about it. But Prime wasn't the second robot I was referring to when I began this piece, that was Jetfire, which I remember much more clearly.

It was another Christmas present (it had to be, Jetfire was big and therefore expensive). I remember ripping off the wrapping paper and opening him up, but the most vivid memory is the pain caused every time I pulled the switch to open up the wheels and they flung open at great force and smashed into my fingers.

I was never a huge fan of the Transformers cartoon, much preferring the comic. A lot of this can probably be traced to the fact that ITV insisted on splitting up each episode and spreading it over an entire week. Due to this I very rarely managed to see an entire episode. In what is becoming something of a recurring number, I can remember only two - the very first and the one that introduced Jetfire.

Of course he was called 'Skyfire' in the show, but only having seen it once until the arrival of DVD, he was always Jetfire to me. It was an amazing episode and I can remember being extremely sad when he (spoiler!) crashed into the ice.

The first (proper) update of Jetfire came a number of years ago now and in many ways it was perfect. But, as I say, it was a number of years ago now and Hasbro has released another...

When Hasbro first revealed the new Leader-class Jetfire, I was impressed. Hell, wasn't everyone? There was a teeny, tiny problem though. For some reason Hasbro had decided to coat all the red bits in a shiny red chrome. To be blunt, this looked terrible, and there was no obvious reason why Hasbro had done it. Unlike Takara releases, Hasbro hardly ever used chrome parts on their Transformers, so why start now on this toy which really didn't need it?

And thus I decided to wait for the chrome-free Japanese version.

I'm very glad I did. It's a thousand times better.

Despite a bunch of legal complications around Jetfire and the original toy, Has-Tak have pulled off an impressive homage to the original figure. It definitely looks close enough to the original to be recognisable as the character.

Of course the character has always had two similar but quite distinct looks. I refer to the animated 'Skyfire' and toy 'Jetfire'. The old(ish) Voyager-sized Classics figure referenced this by having the toy have a face mask to mimic both versions of the head and this gimmick has transferred to the new character as well. There is an issue with the new Jetfire having 'toon blue eyes, as opposed to toy red, but that's a debate for another time.

The toy looks fantastic in both modes, as well as being highly articulated. The transformation too, on the whole, is great and a lot of fun to carry out. There is, however, one pants-wettingly worrying step when you do feel that you're about to snap off part of the plastic, but, for now at least, this snap has just remained a worry and not carried over into reality.

Jetfire was a serious contender for my toy of the year in 2014 (yeah, it's taken a while to get the review up) and well worth buying for kids and adults alike. The Japanese chrome-less version is vastly superior and with the price identical to the Hasbro one, you've really no excuse not to get it.

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