Transformers Jetfire
Transformers Jetfire
Transformers Jetfire
Transformers Jetfire
Transformers Optimus Prime & Jetfire
Transformers Optimus Prime & Jetfire

Jetfire was a new addition to the cast for Revenge of the Fallen and Mark Ryan's (intentionally) hammy performance certainly livened up the duller middle section of the film. The character was an ex-Decepticon, though the modicum of suspense the film went for with this was already tenuous due to the toy being packed as an Autobot.

Jetfire was the Leader-figure-that-isn't-a-leader for the line, taking the slot from Brawl. There were also Fast Action Battlers, Legends, Robot Replicas and all that kind of toss, but we'll try and keep this interesting, yeh? The Leader one is the 'proper' one and can also combine with Optimus Prime - the Legends class figures can technically also do this, but the process more involves sticking Jetfire's vehicle mode onto the back of Prime's robot mode and lying to yourself.


The Revenge of the Fallen toyline saw a greater range of vehicle modes (obviously ignoring the random Cybertron nonsense roped in for the first film). The Seekers especially gave the designers an excuse to try out a couple of different things. Only Jetfire made it onscreen, but this does mean we get a great big toy of the lovely SR-71 Blackbird. Because Jetfire is massive. He's longer (but flatter) than any other Leader Class figure; sadly, the SR-71 is bloody massive, so scale-wise he's miles off any of the others in his assortment. Jetfire has two problems more in line with his size. That is, they're big problems. Smooth segue, right? One is that the jet mode just doesn't hang together very well - the main jet body is made up of several large panels that have a habit of slipping apart slightly, meaning whacking great cracks all over. The big engines especially have a habit of popping out of place.

The other is that Jetfire's robot mode is underneath the thing. You can get away with this sort of thing a bit more on cars and the like but Jetfire supposedly transforms into a flat, sleek jet. That the thing is raised an inch and a half off the ground makes this one more obvious. On the one hand, you've got to sympathise with the engineering bods as there's basically no way to compact the necessary robot parts into such a flat vehicle - Hell, Bandai couldn't manage it so what chance do the HasTak goons have? However the arms stretching up all the way under the nose is perhaps a little shoddy- though it's neat the way the robot hands hold the front wheel in place and the nose-mounted rotary gun can be removed easily enough, but it's still a little slipshod. On the plus side, the matt finish on the black is nice and a pleasing contrast to the rest of the line, while the paint applications are nice and subtle - Shame about the Decepticon logos, but that's the price of the line being aimed at children. Well, children younger than me.


Transforming Jetfire is a bit tricky - not as complex as Optimus Prime but quite a bit more frustrating. There seem to be relatively few moving parts - it largely involves pulling the legs out, bringing the arms into place and flipping the head down - all while folding the Blackbird shell away. Only the tops of the shoulders and the outside of the arms actually have visible alt mode features - the head and knees feature dummy parts that are hidden (well, sort of) in Blackbird mode. There's something a bit cheap about the sequence and the belt for the combined mode gets in the way the whole time. Bah. Jetfire actually does a reasonable job in capturing the feel of the CG model - he's not quite as hunched or decrepit, a secondary colour of dark blue makes him more colourful and the head is smaller, but somehow the overall look shines through,

In toy terms Jetfire is entertainingly different. He has a permanent stoop, which is a nice touch, and the landing gear cane is great - of course, this was a notable element of the CG model but it's nice that it works so well on the toy. He also has surprisingly good poseability - the bent legs and big feet give Jetfire good balance, while the arms are light and don't throw him off. This means Jetfire can either rant at the heavens or rant at small things close to his feet which basically covers the character's movements in the film. He doesn't actually need the cane for support either and can use it to hit people over the head. While his jet mode is a scale headache, the robot mode is a bit better, working well with many of the Voyager figures. Like most Leader figures, Jetfire does have an electronic gimmick - pulling down a button on his chest which moves and lights up the head and activates a small sound sample. Sadly, This sound sample has a broad Scottish accent that sounds nothing like the character in the film - a bit of a disappointment after the Peter Cullen clip on Optimus Prime.


In the film, Jetfire didn't so much combine with Optimus Prime as die and then have his parts welded to the Autobot leader. The toy actually replicates this rather well without having to actually smash Jetfire to bits and 'kill' him each time. Jetfire forms more of a backpack and armour kit for Optimus - strangely reminiscent of a Gobots Power Suit, actually. The former's robot mode basically flattens out and latches around Prime with the bulk of him half-heartedly hidden behind the latter, and only the fuselage parts on the shoulders and wings/engines around the back particularly notable - though the interconnecting feet add another inch or so in height. Oh, and one of the panels folds and forms a cannon for Prime that looks great from a couple of angles and like a folded piece of plastic from most other directions.

It's a shame the jet engines can't move up onto the shoulders to provide the afterburners so visible in the film - though it's worth noting that while the instructions' take on the connecting only do half the job, and some tweaking makes for a more solid and accurate final result. From the front the powered-up figure looks rather good but a sideways view blows it - the bulk of Jetfire is present as two big blocks on Prime's back and, fatally, legs. There's enough going on around Prime's thighs to distract from this but it's undeniably there. This arrangement also robs the legs of any significant movement (it's all you can do to stand the thing up straight) while the shoulder adornments restrict the arms. Only the forearms and the head are unrestricted. The combined form looks impressive, but there's little to it beyond being a statue.


If Optimus Prime's new figure matched Brawl from the first line, Jetfire is more the equivalent of Megatron. He's not bad but after seeing what's possible with the Leader Class, he is slightly underwhelming. Despite the parts underneath, the Blackbird is big and detailed enough to pass muster while the robot does capture Jetfire's personality despite its' failings. The combined mode is fun enough to form and does look impressive even if there's not much to do, but Jetfire doesn't really justify his size or price-tag.