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TF Views • View topic - o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Some cartoon with big chins and a little girl that got beloved by fans and taken off TV to make way for a different show on another network. Yeah, that's fair.

o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby onslaught86 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:24 am

Hoo boy, been a while since I reviewed toys. I fail at keeping on top of things. Here's something to make up for some lost time. It'll be split into two parts, one for the toys and one for the comic.

o86 reviews the Animated Entertainment Pack

Backstory:

I have a terrible habit of loving things I initially hate. Cruellock, Universe Ironhide, other crap I can't remember (And obviously don't like 'that' much).. We first heard of the Jetfire and Jetstorm combiner set aaages ago via rumours, then confirmation at BotCon, along with a description of them: One design, two figures, fire vs. ice theme, combine into a larger jet and a larger robot. Right.

First pics showed up, they sucked. Mistransformed, appeared to turn into sleds and have no hands. Derik Wyatt, Animated character designer, said the toys did not suck. I hoped he was right, and found myself looking forward to them. It's a Jetstorm homage, I'm a sucker for Vehicons. So, they showed up here today, and I splurged. Weirdly cheaper than the Battle Begins Prime vs. Megs set - and better, I'll take a brand new comic story than a recycled DVD anyday.

Now, this set is a mixed bag, with some very strong plusses - and also some hurtful minuses. I predict they will be Dom's cup of tea, and definitely not JT's. I think these will be citied in arguments for years to come, they're milestone figures in several ways. They utilise the 'mould reuse' concept of Energon, reducing costs, but integrate merge parts, come as a giftset, and are the first non-exclusive TF set to feature an exclusive TF comic.

Do they suck? Do they not? Do they have wheels? Read on!

Capsule, because I ramble:

- Individual vehicle modes are iffy, somewhat better combined
- Transformation's surprisingly clever
- Individual robot modes are neat, dynamic and well-articulated
- Nice headsculpts, cool fire vs. ice theme
- No merge parts, interesting tricks in combination
- Buy them, they're cool
- Alas, they have no wheels

..Well, read on anyway.

Vehicle mode:

Jetfire and Jetstorm share the same basic design, each with cosmetic differences. Jetfire is orange and off-white with burgundy paint apps, Jetstorm is dark blue with gold. Jetfire has more colour variation, splitting several sprues into different colours, including translucent yellow innards that differ in shade from the yellow-orange used for his flame parts. Jetstorm is more subdued and unified. I'll note here that Jetfire would've felt more appropriately Jetfirey in red rather than orange, and it would've been less garish.

Pure fantasy jets, the twins resemble a cross between Valkyries and X-Wings in design, having the squared Star Wars feel wih a Valkyrie profile. To be blunt, these jet modes kinda suck. They have big robot limbs sticking out the back, with fists and feet on the end. Sadly no thrusters, which would have helped. The wings are tiny and translucent, with Jetfire's sporting a flame theme and Jetstorm one of ice. Nice touch, yet they're not very wingy. Feels like a much better effort could have been made to hide the limbs, these vehicle modes are clearly not the toys' focal points.

That said, they're not entirely without merit. The cockpits open, a nifty undocumented feature, and the robot heads are actually inside the cockpits, I appreciate that sort of touch as it adds more personality.

Stability is dubious. There are pods on the sides that peg onto the 'knees' of the back sections, otherwise the whole rear of the jets tends to hold together on friction alone. They're not floppy, though I fear they may be over time. The robot chest panels form the bottom of the jets, held up via friction rather than pegs, and droop some. More and larger clips, plus ratcheting joints, could have aided them here.

Paint apps are neat, with stripes on top, painted nose tips, and Elite Guard Autobot symbols on the side pods. Simplistic and minimalist, as per the Animated aesthetic.

Yeah, these modes are not the best, hence the twins being packed in robot mode. However, they have a redeeming feature - combination. When they were first announced, I actually only expected vehicle mode combination, ala Dreadwind and Darkwing.
Essentially, you turn one of the two jets over, and peg the other to the bottom of it, they each have corresponding slots and pegs. Holding together well is a plus here, as the pegs towards the nose clip in solidly. It's more or less what it sounds like, a jet with another jet stuck on the bottom, yet it fills them out some, and the wings can be angled X-Wing stylee for bonus points. Almost more of an ease-of-transport mode, but I find this neater than the individual jets.

And no, they don't have wheels. Moving on.

Toransuform!

Surprisingly enough, for such "Because we said so" jet modes, the transform to robot is complex and not immediately intuitive. Animated seems good for that, I like that the designers get to flex their muscles, considering how simplistic the actual end designs are.

Lots of swivelling and pegging here. The wings collapse, the back sections shift and extend into legs. Nosecones split into arms, cockpit folds back, chest shield flips down, arms contort. Heelspurs flip cleverly out of the large fists for the combined mode.

Of note is the interesting way the hips are assembled. Also note that the legs are not supposed to fully extend for robot mode, they extend further when they combine to make Safeguard taller. The internals are made of translucent plastic, be wary of this, translucent plastics get brittle over time.
As the figures are packaged in robot mode, you'll initially be going the other way. It's not very intuitive because the jets don't look very much like jets, but once you've used pictures for reference it's straightforward. More complex than you'd think, and I welcome this.

Robot mode:

As per usual with Animated, these are kibbleless, cleverly-designed robots. Small for Deluxes, a little taller than Movie Jazz, who just happened to be next to them at the time. Extending the limbs brings in more light blue as a secondary colour for Jetstorm, and much more Safety Orange for Jetfire.
Slim and athletic-looking, they now sport translucent fire/ice on their forearms and shins, making for a neat effect, New chest panels are revealed, pentagonal translucent panels that recall Shockwave to some extent (Or more accurately, Energon's Shockblast).

Biggest features of note in robot mode are the heads, as each has a unique headsculpt that defines the robot mode. Jetstorm's is clearly inspired by his Beast Machines incarnation, with gold stripes on his forehead, a blue optic panel, and smirking mouth. Small Jetstorm ears are sculpted on the sides of his head, a shame transformation wouldn't permit larger ones.

Jetfire, on the other hand, has a whole new head that does not seem to draw from Jetfires past. Instead, he has aviator goggles on his forehead, and flaming Human Torch style hair. Interesting interpretation. Naturally, as a wanky fanboy, I'd rather he had a kickass G1 Jetfire helmet and was red instead of orange, but them's the breaks, and this is a good headsculpt and fresh design for TF. I'd wager Marvel Crossovers Human Torch would make a good Animated Jetfire.
Each has appropriately coloured lightpiping, though Jetstorm's is somewhat blocked by a screw.

They're no slouch on articulation. Each shoulder is a ball-joint with a wide range of motion, though the shoulders can come unpegged at times. Bicep swivels, elbows, wrists. Necks swivel 'and' have the ability to look straight up for flying poses, Hips, mid-thigh, knees, and some side-to-side ankle motion for stability, keen. No waist, impossible with transformation as it is.
Here I'll delve into the hip setup. As noted when they were first revealed, the hips are not connected to the crotch as normal, instead to the hip armour on the sides of the hips. This is really quite uncommon, and I can't remember seeing it before. Thankfully the hips are solid and don't flop around, they just look a little odd if moved out to the sides.

The hands, and they do have hands, are sculpted in partly open poses. I'd hope those early fears have been put to rest by now, tho'.
In general terms, they're pretty dynamic for display, and have a lot of personality. My preference is for Jetstorm over Jetfire, thanks to the colours and headsculpt. They don't have any weapons, though, which does hurt some, as a lack of weapons means a lack of display options. They'd be bland as Deluxes on their own, but work as the two pack thanks to their combinations. Speaking of..

Gattai!

As mentioned above, I'd thought these would be vehicle mode only combiners after the first reports, so the robot combination did surprise. Not least because this is an original idea for TF. They bear some similarity to the Symmetrical Docking of Gao Gai Gar, yet add their own flavour.

Each figure splits, containing one half of the combined form's head inside their torso, and contort to join where the regular robot mode's head was. One leg on each becomes an arm, the other leg remaining a leg and extending as mentioned before.
For a different mental image, imagine Energon's Powerlinking, but sideways, and with a new combined head. So, er, much better than that was. Heh.

There are no merge parts, they're entirely self-contained. This is a great, great thing, since it shows the evolution of TF engineering. I was severely disappointed that the Energestalts failed at this after Tripredacus, Magnaboss, JRX, and Build King did it without merge parts. Especially gaudy translucent ones. So this is very welcome, and I give them big points for it.

Very fiddly arranging the small robot arms on the back of the super robot, as they don't obviously 'go' anywhere. I've found the best and most stable position to be in a sort of dragonfly wing setup, though they can also be pegged together and draped down the super robot's back as a cape, which is pretty cool. Careful not to pop the body halves apart when messing with this.

Super Robot:

Safeguard (Ehhn name, whatchagonnado. I'd have preferred Firestorm) is roughly Mega-sized, perhaps a little shorter. Jetfire forms his right side, and Jetstorm his left. Fairly stocky, big wide chest with the twins' translucent chestplates opposite each other. The combined head is half orange and half blue, and actually asymmetrical - Jetfire's side is more rounded with a dome ear, while Jetstorm's is pointier and has a mini Jetstorm ear. Jetfire's side lightpipes yellow, while Jetstorm's lightpipes blue, a cool touch.

The fists from the jet modes now form actual fists, big chunky ones. They look odd as they're out of proportion, his arms are rather too long. This is alright, as they're not long enough to make him a gorilla, and give him a Go-Go-Go-Bots style chunkiness that works in context. Do still wish they had thrusters, as now he has robot feet on his wrists.
Articulation changes here. Thanks to the head setup, there's no neck. The shoulders are now the twin robot hips, so you can choose to move them to the sides or out front, much like the combined forms of Energon's Ironhide and Jetfire. Thankfully, transformation joints let them move to the sides anyway, so there's a good range there - shoulder, bicep swivel, elbows, plus the same leg articulation as before. The ankles come in handy for balance here.
Wings can flip out now for nifty forearm and knee blades.

This is probably my favourite of their modes. Not just because I'm a big gestalt fan, but because it's innovative and well-implemented. This is a lot like Energon's Mega Dinobot done better.

The super robot legs can also form arms, thanks to the gang-moulding of parts. This doesn't really serve any purpose, except to have him form with four arms and wings. It's neat!

Overall:

We've got lackluster vehicle modes that combine decently, clever transformations into well-articulated robot modes with lots of personality. The Jetstorm homage is very cool, and Jetfire treads brand new ground. The combination does this too, resulting in a gestalt with good articulation and no merge parts. The fire and ice theme is welcome too. I really rather like this set, despite initial misgivings. Definitely recommended for fans of gestalts, Jetstorm, and tricksy transformations.

But wait! There's more! Tune in tomorrow for thoughts on the included comic: It's good enough to justify a second review.
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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby Dominic » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:58 pm

Posting to subscribe to this thread. Glad to hear the combination is more graceful than some recent attempts, (and some recent transforms).

Dom
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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby Onslaught Six » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:11 pm

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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby onslaught86 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:01 pm

Nnnnot quite the same, ClaRod's hips still swivel in their pods on his actual crotch. It's much closer to ClAstrotrain and ClaFire.
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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby JediTricks » Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:34 pm

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See, that one's a camcorder, that one's a camera, that one's a phone, and they're doing "Speak no evil, See no evil, Hear no evil", get it?
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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby onslaught86 » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:09 pm

Ack, I appear to have LOST the comic in the post-christmas madness, which royally sucks as it's rather good.

I'll just outline the essentials here.

The comic is written by Marty Isenberg and Hasbro's Eric Siebenaler. This is noteworthy because, for one, Eric writes a good comic. For two, he designed these toys. Unless I'm very much mistaken, this marks the first time the designer has directly written the fiction for TFs they designed, techspecs and influence aside. This is a far cry from the days of Energon, when the designers intended for certain things to happen (Wingsaber to wield the Energon Saber), only to be told it wasn't on the cards. The twins are the characters they were intended to be. This is very pleasing.

Character-wise, they don't really harken back to Jetfires or Jetstorms past. It took me a while to twig to the oddly-written dialogue for the twins, but then it clicked - they have European accents, and are most definitely intended to be a nod to the circus acrobat troup stereotype - flying twins, as it were. I love it. There's some excellent lines in there too, including fun banter with Jazz. If I had the comic on hand, I'd post some. Ack.

SPOILERS AHEAD ONE ONE ONE.

Summary: It's a rather Protoform X-style story, in which the Elite Guard return from Earth with schematics stolen from Starscream during his brief period as a prisoner. Ultra Magnus commissions a top secret experiment - Perceptor and Wheeljack will create flying Autobots to combat the new Decepticon threat.
Jetfire and Jetstorm, brothers manning an Energon refinery, manage to blow the whole thing up while mocking each other. Perceptor and Wheeljack turn them, Robocop style, into their toy forms. They train with Sentinel Prime, who names them amusingly, followed by kung-fu with Jazz, and a simulated battle against Starscream. True to form, Starscream's coded self runs amok, and the brothers discover their elemental and combination powers while fending him off.

END SPOILERS DOT DOT DOT.

A simple origin story, but a remarkably good one, highlighted by great dialogue and their directly being the characters the designers intended them to be. This is full-size, not a pack-in standard. I'm remarkably impressed, given how lacklustre the DVD offerings have been in times past. Bring on more packs like this.
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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby Dominic » Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:07 am

Sold!

Dom
-likely picking this one up.
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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby donosaur » Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:38 am

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.........................................................................................................................................................(\.....(.....) )
......................................................................................................................................................... \ \../../hh hh
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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby onslaught86 » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:22 pm

Well, it's suggested at one point that they reinstate the Omega Program, which Magnus says is far too drastic. So I'm assuming they have a whole fleet of Omega Sentinels and don't want to drag them out of whatever gigantic space closet they're hiding them in the back of. Also, Magnus is referenced as a rank here too, yay!
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Re: o86's thoughts on Jetfire, Jetstorm, and pack-in comic

Postby BWprowl » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:58 am

Just picked these guys up today, and I'm loving them. The hip armor has an annoying habit of popping off, but they're otherwise solid little toys. I really like how SuperRobotty Safeguard is, with the extra limbs forming the big X shape on his back. Also appreciate how solidly they combine together. I haven't read the comic yet, but I'll likely post my thoughts when I do.
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