Hasbro Transformers Studio Series Autobot Jazz Hasbro, 2021
Day #2,299: May 4, 2021
Autobot Jazz Transformers - Studio Series 86 #01
Transformers Studio Series Deluxe Class Toy
Item No.: Asst. E0702 No. F0709 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Blaster, backdrop Action Feature:Transforms from car to robot Retail:$29.99 Availability: January 2021 Other: Pretty good!
Every few years, law requires new takes on Autobot Jazz. We've yet to have a Masterpiece Edition and we've never had Alternators, but we got a pretty good "Classics" Reveal the Shield release in addition to combiner limb Jazz, video game Jazz, and other odds and ends. Depending on your desires, this may be the best - if what you want is the animation model silhouette, this may well be the best one you're going to see for a while. (Or ever, as fans age into their 40s and 50s.)
I didn't have a Jazz as a kid, but if I had this 5 1/4-inch robot in 1984 it's entirely possible I would never have had a reason to come back to Transformers as an adult. This is the cartoon character as an action figure that just happens to be able to turn into a pretty good not-quite-Porsche 935 Turbo. I'm not a car guy so I can't look at it and tell you why it's different enough to not be a licensed vehicle, but I see nothing on the box so I assume it's not. The figure does a good job bringing many - but not all - cues from the toy since it's the cartoon model. The only place I felt came up short was in front of the neck, the hood's blue stripe doesn't go all the way up to his head. That's it. Otherwise it's probably as good as $19.99 could possibly get you until toy technology (or innovation) changes how this kind of thing is made.
Autobot Jazz has about 20 meaningful points of articulation, meaning this robot is on par with the War for Cybertron Trilogy toys you've been hopefully buying. Since he's meant to be from 1986's Transformers: The Movie, he doesn't add things like 5mm holes in the shoulders for bonus weapons - but he does have a 5mm hole in each foot, and another on the back. Which is also the roof of the car. He has no problems holding the blaster in his hands, and the relatively simple paint job captures the animation cel look quite nicely. If anything it might be slightly better in spots as the Autobot chest symbol has some white around it so it doesn't look like a muddy mess. He's got the red stripe, he's got the blue lights, you'll see the sculpted stripes around the forearms, and of course you'll notice a complete lack of battle damage and sculpted weirdness. Compared to Siege, Jazz seems to be designed by someone playing from a different playbook and is all the better for it. I would not have minded 5mm holes in the shoulders, though - I don't think the black shadows would look bad on black plastic.
I don't understand why he only has one accessory, or why it has white 5mm pegs on the sides. The blaster was designed to mount on the roof, so there's no reason to have it mounted sideways. It looks great and has a 3mm tip, so if you want to display it with C.O.M.B.A.T. effects you can. I do not recommend it - silver plastic sometimes reacts badly to other plastics, and there have already been issues with paint and those gummy blast nubbins.
I needed the instructions. Studio Series Jazz does a lot of by-the-book things to change to his car mode, but there's one bit I've not seen before. The silver piece above the waist and below the chest has to swivel around to the back in order to get him in car mode - it's a clever way to shift around mass. It's fun.
The car lacks all of the rally marks from the original toy's stickers, so ToyHax and the like will have a field day with this one. The original rally number "4" is now "14," a nod to the numbering of his original Diaclone toy. You could also scrape off the "1" if it really bugs you. The wheels have nice silver caps, but the car itself just feels so plain compared to other releases - it's accurate to the cartoon, though. Hasbro did an excellent job, even including clear windows.
I know people swore Reveal the Shield Jazz was as good as the character could get - and admittedly, it's a nice design. But it's huge, and the spring-loaded shins always bugged me, and the transformation wasn't super fun. I think this one is way better, or at least it meets my needs a lot better and fits in with the rest of the recent toys. If you see this figure, I assume you've already made the purchase. This may well be the last Jazz you'll ever buy... until the Masterpiece Edition that never comes out.
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