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Jetfire - Generation One/IDW - Generations Leader Figure

Height: 22cm head height, overall 24cm tall without boosters. 30cm tall with boosters.

Articulation: 20 total points - double-joint neck; 4 points each arm: double-jointed shoulder, upper arm swivel, hinge elbow; 5 points each leg: Universal joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, hinged ankle.

Colors: Molded white, red, transparent blue and black. Painted red, black, blue, and silver. Vacuum metalized parts with red overspray.

Accessories: Photon Blaster with Missile, Armor consisting of 2 forearm pieces, 2 leg pieces, booster backpack, and battle mask.

Release Data: Release date of September 2014, at a suggested retail price of US$44.99.

Author: RAC

Jetfire is ancient and powerful, but he would prefer to stay hidden in the background rather than on the front lines. He is a peaceful robot at heart, preferring the stately, ordered excitement of science to the frenzy of battle. But the reckless ambition of the Decepticons and the senseless violence of the war sickened him, so he left Cybertron to go into hiding. He slumbered in peace for years. Reawakened by the arrival of the war on Earth, he decided once again to enter the fight - this time on the side of the Autobots, and this time to end it for good, whatever the cost.

In the G1 cartoon Skyfire was a scientific colleague of Starscream's- because backstabbing will take you so far in the realm of science! -but I don't think he was ever specifically a Decepticon. The bio dances around it, but the fact that he's rejoining the fight, this time as an Autobot, is kind of a big implication. Or maybe it's just me!

Jetfire has a long and complicated history. He was originally a Macross Valkyrie whose presence in the Transformers line may have prevented his classic Takatoku/Bandai mold from being used in the US version of Macross' toyline. Then he was changed to Skyfire for the cartoon- possibly to avoid much legal wrangling, possibly at Takara's request since they didn't want a competitor's toy design in the cartoon they were airing in Japan. Whatever the reason, the existence of the Skyfire character model has been both boon and headache for Hasbro in the years since. The Valkyrie design is licensed for the USA by a company that is famous for producing primarily lawsuits in the years since its show aired. So both the Voyager-class Classics version of eight years ago and this version are primarily based on Skyfire, with nods of varying degrees to the Valkyrie design.


Robot Mode

Considering Skyfire was a giant in the cartoon, the decision to make Jetfire a Leader-class figure is a welcome choice. The Classics version of the character is, like the rest of the Classics line, an interpretation of the character more than a straight-up representation. But this version of Jetfire, sans armor, is almost entirely Floro Dery's Skyfire design, down to the little vents and decorative spots on the torso. The biggest differences are the chest vents being more angular to make him less boxy, and his backpack being significantly different and a bit larger. He also has a Gundam-type chin protrusion (borrowed from Don Figueroa's version of Jetfire, as was one of the accessories). But these are all minor things and do not detract from the likeness at all. He's got a relatively smooth, trusting face with Peter Weller cheekbones- which also matches the original art pretty well. If there's a sin to the toy, it's that it has a fake cockpit on the torso and the real cockpit on the back. But in this case there's a very good reason for that which I'll get to later on. There's some nice detailing underneath it, which I sure hope isn't any crucial part of his anatomy.

The head swivels and tilts on separate joints, with Jetfire able to swivel his head in a full circle and tilt his head pretty far back. There's a very slight downwards range from a neutral position, but he'll probably still be looking over the heads of most of your other Autobots unless he crouches. The shoulders swivel as much as the backpack wings will allow- you can swing the arm straight out to the side to get them farther, but with those big wings sticking out, there's really not much point. That lateral movement is accomplished by cutaway joints so as to not have to work around the big cylindrical shoulders Jetfire sports. I really like that design decision; the Classics figure just put circles on top of mostly square shoulder armor, but this both preserves the look of the arm and gives a great range at the shoulders. The one issue is that the arms like to pull off of the transformation joint, as they're attached by a very shallow tab. The gently-ratcheting shoulder swivel works against that tab, sadly- but there's a second tab behind the shoulder that also helps secure the piece, so make sure it's attached. It'll still pull loose, but not as often. There's an upper arm swivel and it works fine. The elbows also ratchet- they're far stiffer than the shoulders -and are a single hinge. They're offset slightly, however, so their range is decent for a single-hinged elbow, flexing to about a 45 degree angle. There's no wrist joint, which is a little bit disappointing on a Leader class figure, but since Jetfire isn't exactly a swordsman or anything it's less crucial than it otherwise would be. I'm not thrilled with how the outside of the forearms are hollow, but at least there's a way to cover that.

There's no waist joint as the transformation precludes it. Even if he'd had one, the backpack would've blocked any significant ability to turn, so it's not a great loss. The hips ratchet along both axes and are good and strong. Neither the forward nor lateral hip range is quite good enough for Jetfire to do a split, but there should be plenty of room for dynamic poses. There's a thigh swivel that functions fine, and like the elbows the single-hinge knees flex to a slightly tighter angle than the average of 90 degrees. They also have very firm ratchets; he should have no difficulty holding up the weight of that big backpack. The feet are angled, meaning the legs need to be out to the side slightly when the figure is at rest, which is fine with me. They're double-hinged for transformation, but you can use them to help in some poses. The joints are softer than most others on the toy but still firm enough to hold a pose. And his feet are plenty big, so balance is not generally a problem.


Transformation

As a connoisseur of Jet Transformers or a person who was paying attention to what the robot mode looks like, it will probably not surprise you in the least to discover that the bulk of the transformation is achieved by unfolding the jet on the back. However the robot does get rearranged and integrated into the body more than many such designs. For one thing, the back-jet is upside-down, which is why the angle of the wings on Jetfire's back doesn't make him look like a butterfly (or possibly a moth) like the Classics version did. From there, the arms swing up and meet in the middle with the shoulder cylinders becoming more engines, the torso swings down to become the air intakes for the jet (another good reason to make them more angular), and the legs swivel 180 degrees, hip blocks and all, to become reasonably convincing housings for the engines. It's pretty clean as this body type goes, no obvious robot parts visible from any angle except the bottom. Everything tabs down securely as well- though it's tough to see where all the tabs are unless you're looking for them, so it may be a couple times through before you have everything locked in place properly. Not that it undermines the jet mode much to miss a couple tabs here and there. The most important step is making sure the hip blocks are aligned properly. The scariest part is a very stiff joint on the torso that always feels like I'm about to snap it off if I push hard enough to transform it.

And now, the question that I'm sure is on all our minds: Can it Gerwalk? And the answer, sadly, is: no, not really. You can get close, but due to the jet pointing downwards on the back everything looks all wrong. The red parts of the legs face inwards and the thumbs face outwards. And the range of the hips at this angle doesn't help either. You can approximate it, but it's not really a strong enough approximation for me.


Vehicle Mode

It's a good deco, for starts- very obviously G1 Jetfire while being of a type with the modernized deco on the Classics Seeker figures. ...you'll notice I said Jetfire here, and that's one of the interesting things about this toy: while the robot mode is very much Skyfire, this is totally Jetfire. The TF Wiki identifies Jetfire as a hybrid between an F-22 Raptor and an F-14 Tomcat, but other than the intakes being part of the fuselage I'm seeing a lot more of the F-14 here. What it is very deliberately dancing around looking like is a VF-1 Valkyrie from Super Dimension Fortress Macross, with all the shapes of the jet made to evoke that design while being, obviously, a different jet. Hammering this home is the red and black "collar" area of Jetfire's G1 deco not being represented, as that is the most Macross-derived part of the original figure's color scheme. The shape of the red pattern on the nose is also meant to evoke the small white pods on the Valkyrie's nose that are, of course, no longer there. In a nice nod to the red-on-red Autobot emblem sticker on the original toy, the emblem is just a silver outline tampographed onto the red part of the nose. But overall, if I were to design a Third Party Valkyrie specifically intended to thumb its nose at the overzealous US rights-holders of Macross, it would end up looking very much like this.

Another interesting point of comparison is that the jet mode is almost precisely the same length as the Takatoku Valkyrie mold. The landing gears on the back end are permanently deployed, while the one on the nose flips down. While you may not be too concerned with how your jet toy rolls, it rolls fairly smoothly. And the two-seat cockpit opens, despite there being no Transformers figures ever made which are small enough to sit in there! However- bearing in mind that Takara and Tomy are now part of the same company, it may not be a coincidence that Zoids pilots fit almost perfectly. This also makes Jetfire one of the few Transformers to have something close to a discernible scale, as the pilots are 1/72 scale. (Though they're the same basic length the original Jetfire toy- a one-seater -was technically 1/55th scale.)


Accessories

As did the original toy, Jetfire comes with a set of armor based on the upgrade known in Macross as the "Super Valkyrie" package. This consists of a booster backpack, a set of arm-guns and a set of leg-boosters (which now have guns where the original was merely a set of small thrusters for a manuverability upgrade; very popular in early 80s mecha anime!). The parts all fit very securely. One sad thing though: the back boosters do not have hidden cannons like the Classics version- and you're so close to being able to use those. The tabs used to hold up the new boosters are similar to those used on Classics Jetfire but are thinner. They're even spaced identically- Argh! While the new boosters don't do anything but boost, they look pretty sharp and even rotate so you can transform Jetfire without even removing them. Matter of fact, you don't have to remove any of Jetfire's armor to transform him. The leg parts even have slots to expose the landing gears. If you want chrome parts that close to the surface you're rolling Jetfire across, be my guest! Though clearance so far seems adequate so as long as it's not plush carpet you'll probably be pretty well okay.

Inspired by Dreamwave's War Within Jetfire(as was the Classics version), the figure also has a battle mask which converts Jetfire's visage to a simple visor slit and faceplate. Huh, that also sounds familiar... Tying the whole ensemble together is Jetfire's photon rifle, which resembles neither the VF-1's gunpod nor Skyfire's weapon. The plainish gun launches a missile, and has a pair of sockets and a set of guiderails on either side. Jetfire's faceplate can store on there when not in use, though it looks a bit silly. But since all the other add-ons have 5mm sockets as well, you can put guns on the boosters, or guns on the guns. Sadly there's not quite enough clearance to make a Super Visor Blaster

All of Jetfire's add-on armor is vac-metal red. If you don't like the look, it all comes off, luckily. I don't mind it too much since it's distributed evenly and it's slightly less randomized in the Henkei style than some of our other recent chrome applications. Sadly it is already flaking in places, and was when I took it out of the box. Well, the red is- the silver's fine. But the plastic underneath the silver is red too, so if you don't feel like shelling out for the Takara version which doesn't have the vac-metal bits, you have options.


Closing Remarks

As much as I like Classics Jetfire, this new Generations figure's combination of fidelity to and divergence from the two source designs is great. It's a very appealing toy, and even if you don't dig the chrome there's plenty here to like. I prefer the proportions here to Kronos, the third party pass on Skyfire as well, and the articulation that is here is executed without issue. The things I wish were done differently are all minor and optional things at most, like swappable backpacks between this and an 8 year-old toy (so close). Leader Jetfire is Very Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale. As I've said with other recent Leader-class figures: if the chrome really bugs you, knock that down a notch. But the chrome comes off- one way or another.



ReviewerRAC  
DateOctober 2nd 2014  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  
Reads11591
LinkGenerations Leader Jetfire Gallery  


Generations Leader Jetfire Gallery Image Gallery


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