Sunday, 15 July 2012

FOC Jazz, Oh dear…

Focjazzhead
The prospect of another pre-Earth Transformers game has me salivating in excitement.  The prospect of TOYS with Cybertronian modes from that game, Fall Of Cybertron is just too damn exciting.  I now have Jazz, Optimus and Shockwave.

Sadly I was sorely disappointed with old Jazz here, which sucks, because I like Jazz and I like his vehicle mode here.  Let’s have a closer look.


Jazz (1)Jazz (2)
The box is a standard blister package.  It looks nice and has lots of room from the great artwork.  That is because Jazz is noticeably small.  I managed to avoid seeing how small the Prime deluxes were, but looking at the FOC ones, I was a bit shocked.  Certainly not as small as the next size class down, but definitely a drop from the deluxes of the past.

I was pleased to see on the back, the return of the statistics as a graph!  OH YEAH! That’s what I am talking about.  There is a small blurb for his bio and it’s not anything exceptional.  Having said that, it doesn’t make me cringe when I read it either, which is becoming rarer and rarer.  Overall, nice packaging.
Vehicle mode

Jazz (4)Jazz (3)Jazz (6)Jazz (5)

A sleek sexy space racer.  The pistol can be mounted on the top of the car, or there are also a couple of ports on either side towards the back.  One for each side.  It’s very nice looking but there is a large gap if you look from behind.  From the front it looks very good!

Jazz (7)Jazz (8)

From the top, it looks pretty cool.  There are some exhaust ports on the top by the back of the car which break it up nicely.

Jazz (9)Jazz (14)

Other weapons can be mounted on the top.  More than Optimus can hold that’s for sure.

Jazz (10)
Jazz (11)Jazz (12)

Now onto some of the bits that irritate me a bit.

Probably the most annoying thing about the vehicle mode is that it is very, erm, holey.  Yep, lots of gaps in this little guy.  On the sides, there is a VERY obvious hinge that really ruins the aerodynamics of the car.  As well as that, it looks like there are parts that are supposed to lock together, but there is nothing there for them.  And gaps between panels that form the roof and the sides.  If only they melded better, it would make a much more solid car and would look much better.
Jazz (13)

The underneath of the car manages to cover most robot bits by using the legs.  However for some reason, I am unable to make a smooth connection for the legs and back of the car.  Which appears to be due to the robot head, as it seems to be meant to fit between the feet but it doesn’t quite make it.  Oddly though, there is a huge gap underneath where the cockpit is, but the head isn’t able to fold in there.  WHAT?  If it were, it would be completely out of the way of the feet.

Jazz (15)Jazz (16)
The gap is just next to the head in the second picture, exactly where the gun hole is.  Why…..

I do like the red on the wheels though.

Transformation is relatively simple, but the instructions are pretty useless at time.  I was trying to follow them and there was this one step, that just seemed to be completely useless.  At the time.  turns out it should probably have been a bit further on.  I gave up on the instructions at that time and moved on without.  It is easy enough.
Robot Mode

Robot mode is interesting.  It is a good rendition of the game version of Jazz, but has some glaring deficiencies.
Jazz (17)Jazz (18)Jazz (19)

As far as I can tell, there is nowhere to stow his weapon when not in use.  Speaking of the weapon, as far as I am aware on the game Jazz is a stealth characters with a grappling hook and possibly sniper rifle.  So why doesn't his gun look like either?  Unless it is a Bat-grapple…  Add to that the fact that the hand is at a funky angle and it looks a little bit off.  And it’s small.

Jazz (25)Jazz (26)


The most obvious flaw in this figure is the HUGE gap around his head.  His head is attached to a little panel that is solid enough, rather amazingly the whole area is pretty solid, but it just doesn’t connect with anything.

Jazz (20)Jazz (21)

The sculpting of the head is pretty good with typical Jazz trademark features, such as the visor, crest and ear pieces.  His mouth looks like he is pursing his lips, or has a significant under-bite.  What I actually found very interesting though was that they included light piping in his visor!  They used a very dark blue, and his visor is usually black/blue in colour, so I didn’t think it would work, but it is possible to get the light through it.

Jazz (29)Jazz (30)Jazz (32)Jazz (33)

There is almost an obscene amount of sculpted detail on the body, which I can understand, it’s probably a way to break up the all the white plastic.

Jazz (21)Jazz (23)Jazz (22)

Jazz has a lot of joints on him, but is strangely hard to pose.  Ball jointed hips, wrists and shoulders.  His knees, elbows and ankles have some sort of cheap ratcheting action going on.  Part of the joint has a lot of little knobbly bits on it and the corresponding socket has one, which allows the joint to flick through part at certain areas.  On top of that, there is a swivel joint above the knee, which can only turn on 45 degrees per turn…  It’s all a bit weird, as a ball joint would probably have sufficed for Jazz.  On a larger heavier figure, I guess it would have been a good way to have cheap ratcheted legs, but for Jazz, it just kind of gets in the way.  What I find rather frustrating is despite him having fake wheels on the ankles which are meant to bend back and therefore have those knobbly bits, they can't bend forwards at all yet they are nice and round. It only would have the smallest amount of effort, but it would have aided the figure greatly!

Jazz (27)Jazz (28)

So here are my tries at action poses.  Attack and standing.  Hmmmm.

Jazz (34)Jazz (35)


And him hanging tough with Optimus.

Jazz (37)

In the end, I was pretty disappointed with Jazz.  The limits of the weird joints affect his poses and lack of a waist due to transformation makes him terribly static in robot mode, the gaping hole under his neck is just plain wrong and the placement of his hands are too far over one side.  The gaps in the vehicle and bulge of that hinge really detract from his look to me and the issue I had with the head getting in the way of the feet in vehicle mode, when there is an obviously large gap available (although there might be a trick to it…) really make him feel like a cheap toy.

Which I can pretty much guarantee he won’t be when locally released.  It’s a size drop and a quality drop, but unlikely to be a price drop. 

I have heard others stating that they think Optimus is the worst of the initial three, but I prefer him to Jazz.  Although I don’t really think that’s a complement…

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