Transformers Jazz
Transformers Jazz
Transformers Jazz
Transformers Jazz

Three years after dying like a bitch in the 2007 film the movie-verse incarnation of Jazz made his way back into the toyline as part of the Hunt for the Decepticons-themed segment of the post-Revenge of the Fallen series. This wasn't just some desperate recolour though, but a brand new figure for the Human Alliance sub-series.

I'd only ever previously briefly owned one HA figure, Skids (well, and technically Arcee or Chromia or whichever the bike that came with him was). While the engineering interested me the limited range of the series (price reasons basically limit HA to the car-sized and smaller characters) didn't, especially as everyone involved (apart from the human figures) had other toys out. However upon finding Jazz reduced to £19.99 in Toys R Us, I was unable to resist his silvery charms.


In vehicle mode, Jazz is about the same rough length and width as a decent-sized Voyager like Ratchet or Ironhide. In fact by my rough calculations his Pontiac Solstice mode is about 1/25 or 1/26 scale, perhaps an inch or so out from being in scale with the Alternators range, though it would probably fool the eye. It's not miles off in terms of details either - the car has a nice silver deco, not quite as eye-catching as the painted silver Premium Jazz but a fair improvement on the standard Deluxe. While the days of rubber tyres are sadly gone thanks to the economic recession there are plenty of nice details - clear headlights, four clear blue plastic windows (even if the rear one is compromised by the mechanics of the figure it's an improvement on a sticker), lots of sculpted detail and - thanks to the simple main colour scheme freeing up budget - some nice paint applications including silver wheel rims and a red triangle that makes a fair scaled-down approximation of the Pontiac badge.

The doors open in a realistic fashion, revealing a stylised interior - there's a steering wheel while the seats and dashboard are clearly made up of bits of the robot mode. This brings us onto the Human Alliance functions of the figure. Jazz comes with a motorcycle and a Captain Lennox figure. The bike is loosely modelled on the one used by Lennox when Blackout is killed in the first film, though that one didn't have a silver half-crescent on either side. I wonder what those could be for? Anyway, the Lennox figure manages to look absolutely nothing like the character in question - between the size of the figure (just under two inches tall) and licensing concerns obviously a direct render of Josh Duhamel's rugged features would be an unrealistic expectation, but getting his hair colour right and slapping a uniform on him that the character actually wore (the webbing looks about right in terms of moulding, but Lennox wore all-khaki rather than grey with black) should have been easy. Those two black dots for eyes are pretty spooky too. Lennox can either ride the motorcycle or sit inside Jazz - the problem is that the figure seems to be to a completely different scale to the car mode. Lennox is the equivalent of four-and-half foot by my estimation, giving him the relative build of an eight-year old. This basically annihilates any chance of driver and car interacting in any halfway believable way. Plus Lennox and Jazz - did they even speak to each other in the film? Best guess is they were holding Lennox back in case any plans for a HA Ironhide came to fruition, and when there was no sign of that happening just slung him out with whoever was left.


These problems are largely negated by Jazz though. First of all there's an excellent transformation. The Human Alliance range was purposefully designed to place play value over screen accuracy; in the case of Jazz this translates to a rethought transformation, and this isn't just a scaled-up, tricked-out Deluxe figure. Actually getting it started can be tricky - the boot/roof part has to be pulled out of being locked very securely in position, and feels like it's under a lot of strain (it's hard to resist the instinct to pull on the car's spoiler at this point too), but after that it's intuitive and fairly innovative, including a novel solution to how to render the robot's chest. Jazz isn't hugely accurate to his CGI model but is probably closer than the original Deluxe, and gets most of the noticeable parts right - only the long, slender legs really stand out as different, aside from the more obvious car parts on the arms and the roof and bonnet on the back. Once again Jazz is large, the same height as an Alternator and only about a head shorter than the Movie Leader figures. Sadly, this does mean that if you're a scale junkie like myself he won't line up well with other live-action figures (well, except the other HA toys - the robots are all in respectable scale with each other and thus similarly oversized compared to their human companions).

However Jazz has a lot going for him. He's very detailed and highly articulated, with nice big solid feet for balance. Even the awkward-looking elbows work better than expected. Only the neck (which can only rotate) and the lack of a waist joint spoil the party. There are some nice touches, though, like the ball-jointed parts which flip up to represent deformed parts of the car mode. More disturbingly, Jazz has a retractable visor - this is accurate to the CGI model, but without it he looks like his optics are missing and the effect is a little unsettling. As for his Human Alliance features, the motorcycle can (unsurprisingly, given its' adornments) turn into the cannon Jazz uses in the film, though sadly in toy form it has half a motorbike hanging off it and attaching the thing involves folding his hand away. It can carry a spring-loaded missile, though as per usual I leave it empty. The rest of the features are designed to interact with the Lennox figure - he can sit on top of the launcher; he can sit on a seat on Jazz's shoulder and man a long thin gun (which looks more like an air-to-air refuelling rig) which folds out from Jazz's back, or he can go behind either shin and pose behind a pair of stubby twin guns. All of this looks rather silly. Of course, the weaponry can be deployed without Lennox, simply giving Jazz a small arsenal of additional weaponry.


While the Human Alliance gimmick falls rather flat (though I can see the play value for younger collectors) the Jazz figure itself more than makes up for any shortcomings elsewhere in the package. What's best is that the HA features don't cause any real compromises to the larger figure and can be fairly easily ignored. So what you're left with - should you desire - is a highly-detailed, well-articulated and fairly accurate Jazz figure, which isn't a bad thing at all.