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Numbat's Review: Jolt

Name: Jolt
Function: Revenge of the Fallen Plot-hole filler, now redundant
Subgroup: Dark of the Moon Mechtech Deluxe Class

Jolt does not know the meaning of the word “calm.” His body pulses with more energy than an Energon reactor in a Cybertronian summer. The high-ranking Autobots have attempted to teach Jolt patience and restraint but he has yet to learn. Loyal to the end, Jolt fights on the front line of any skirmish with the Decepticons.

In the 1980s, the G1 Transformers were all about energy saving, the environment, the overuse of fossil fuels etc... Sadly, this theme, which is far more relevant in the modern day, seems to have been lost from Michael Bay’s live action Transformers films where the Autobots are glorious multi-million dollar all-singing all-dancing all-fighting all-noble advertisements for some of the least fuel efficient vehicles available for purchase by the general public – in fact, the first movie (TFTM) had nothing but gas-guzzling Autobot alternate modes. Revenge of the Fallen (ROTF) went a small way to address this by the inclusion of the Twins, which both became supermini compact fuel efficient cars (with Mudflap being a real favourite of mine, going against the grain as a Chevy Trax concept supermini fuel efficient 4x4! Shame it never saw commercial production...) and the real (yet unsung) star of the show – Jolt! While Jolt was a late addition to the Autobot cast for ROTF, he filled an important plot-hole (however poorly) by providing the energy necessary to combine Optimus Prime with Jetfire’s component parts. More importantly, though, he also served as a counterbalance to his Autobot compatriots by advertising the Chevrolet Volt – an amazingly fuel efficient car that can run off electricity for small urban journeys or generate its own with an extremely efficient petrol generator giving up to 100 miles per gallon – yes 100mpg!

Jolt was also given a Deluxe Class figure late-on in the ROTF toy series, which I was thoroughly impressed by despite the distinct lack of paint applications in robot mode. He was nice and simple, and gave a pretty awesome displayable Transformer toy in either mode. However, he was a bit chunky compared to Jolt’s CGI model which was quite elegant and delicate, taking a lot of its cues from Japanese mecha designs, but I was satisfied with it.

Roll on Dark of the Moon (DOTM), and Deluxe Jolt is again included in the lineup – this time at the beginning and receiving a brand new mould. Still a Chevy Volt, but now he's grey instead of blue with various other new features, he looked very much as if he could be a member of the Wreckers, and his bio certainly makes him out to be a wildcard. Alas, as it transpires he was not included in the actual film (a real shame, as he could have at the very least provided cannon fodder for the Decepticons – if you’re gonna kill an Autobot, you may as well do it onscreen! Indeed all of the more fuel efficient Autobots were dropped from the roster for DOTM, replaced by more typically fuel guzzling vehicles – although Que’s Mercedes-Benz E550 isn’t too bad compared to the rest...), and quite why he received a new mould (or warranted inclusion at all!) I really don’t know. However, he did look rather snazzy, so I picked him up (courtesy of Clay).

How does he measure up compared with his ROTF counterpart? In short, DOTM Deluxe Jolt surpasses ROTF Deluxe Jolt in every way bar two – read on if you haven’t guessed both shortcomings already, or if you just fancy hearing how great this unexpected figure is!

Alternate Mode:

Right, we’ve already established the Jolt transforms into a Chevy Volt, and unusually fuel efficient vehicle for a Transformer. We’ve also established that, instead of being the metallic navy blue colour he is in ROTF, DOTM Deluxe Jolt transforms into a largely dull grey Volt, although it does have a black bonnet and roof with a metal reinforced panel effect, that leaves him looking like a Wrecker wannabe. Jolt is also blessed with lines of Allspark blue on his windscreen and side windows. While this seems quite random, it does at least break up the dull monotony of the mode, made worse by the smoky clear windows and front lights. There is a high level of moulded detail, surpassing that of the ROTF version (for instance DOTM Jolt has a fuel cap!), but sadly only the Chevy insignia on the front and rear lights are picked out with paint (the former in gold and the latter in red). Notably absent is the ‘VOLT’ on the rear of the ROTF figure however. The wheels are well detailed too, although lack any paint to pick out the alloys – the whole piece is simply cast in black.

Some parts of the body on the sides have been painted in silver, which does stand out when the light hits it - I can only imagine this is because the Volt is supposed to be a silver car but was cast in drab grey as a cost-saving measure.

Fortunately the Mechtech ports in the roof are hidden by springloaded hatches moulded the mat the metal plating on the roof. Unfortunately, though, that effort is largely negated by the fact these are moulded in light grey and contrast with the black of the roof... So, top marks for the idea, shame it was so poorly executed at the last minute! A lick of black paint would have made all the difference.

The DOTM figures are being slated for their small size in comparison to the TFTM and ROTF lines. In the case of DOTM Jolt, he is notably smaller in Chevy Volt mode (although less-so in robot mode as we’ll see shortly). DOTM Jolt measures 5 ½” (14cm) in length in Volt mode putting him in at 1/32 scale, whereas the ROTF figure measures 6” (just over 15cm) and is 1/30 scale. While this in itself is not a massive size difference, the relative proportions mean that ROTF Jolt is a much chunkier Volt than his DOTM successor.

It is a shame that Jolt did not appear in his new form in DOTM – he would have looked great alongside the Wreckers, and if nothing else would have provided some cannon fodder for a battle sequence somewhere. It seems such a waste to have him (and the Twins presumably) killed offscreen between ROTF and DOTM. As such, the change in car design with the armoured panels and new paintjob, while in line with the DOTM reinforced weaponised look, does not make any sense. It’s therefore a pity that the toy has these armoured panels and isn’t blue. While I understand the risk of confusion with kids and parents if there are two blue Autobot cars in a single wave of figures, there is no reason Jolt could not have been released in a wave lacking the blue Autobots. Also, the dull grey is just such a poor colour choice for what is a nicely moulded figure...

Still, DOTM Jolt does offer a Volt mode more detailed than the ROTF version, despite its smaller size, and fits in nicely alongside other DOTM Deluxe figures – you could easily imagine this is how Jolt would have looked, were he included in DOTM.

Robot Mode:

ROTF Jolt was a breath of fresh air in his respective line as he offered a relatively straightforward transformation. Thankfully, DOTM Jolt also has a simple transformation, which is quite fun. However, I struggled to get the car front to slot back together properly when reversing the transformation and still find this a little fiddly. However, this is a small concession for a design which gives a far more CGI accurate and detailed Jolt than his less fiddly predecessor. One thing’s for sure – the robot mode compacts incredibly into the small car mode, and there is absolutely no wasted space, unlike in the ROTF figure where there are huge empty gaps underneath the car mode.

Measuring 5” (13cm) to the top of his crest, DOTM Jolt stands around 1/3” shorter than ROTF Jolt – which isn’t really a significant difference at all. Despite many people complaining that the DOTM figures are much smaller than their TFTM and ROTF counterparts, I have found the difference in size to be minimal and sporadic.

As already mentioned, DOTM Jolt’s robot mode is much more CGI accurate than the ROTF version. He’s a lot more elegant, with better detail – particularly in his feet, legs, arms and wings. Whereas ROTF Jolt had kibble that fortunately vaguely resembles his robot mode’s wings more by luck or as an afterthought, DOTM Jolt’s wings have been carefully designed and look like angular dragonfly wings. His feet are made from the front of the car, rather than the rear as in the ROTF toy (and look more film accurate, although I am fairly certain the feet are actually made from the rear of the car) and his legs are delicate and insectile, which looks great with his wings. His arms have no kibble, and have the three fingered claws of his movie counterpart, unlike the two fingered pincers of the ROTF figure hidden on kibbletastic arms. Sadly, though, the DOTM version of Jolt does not possess the character’s trademark electrowhips, although the mechanism is moulded on the underside of each arm at least, and picked out in Allspark blue.

Sadly, DOTM Jolt is largely grey, rather than blue, with areas of black (false tires on the knees, and panels on the feet and chest, plus the Autobot insignia on his stomach), flashes of Allspark blue (which I think work nicely on both Jolt figures, given they are supercharged with electricity) and flashes of red on the chest. The head, upper chest, arms and calves are actually moulded in a slightly beige grey that contrasts with the cold light grey of the car bodywork, but I personally think the figure would have looked a little better had these pieces been moulded in the same grey as the car body, or a more contrasting colour. His upper legs are actually made up by a third of the windscreen each, and look rather cool, following on nicely from the abdomen armour panels which are at a similar angle.

Jolt’s head is a brand new mould, and it’s equally detailed as the ROTF version – I couldn’t really say one were better than the other. However, the DOTM version is undeniably duller – with the eyes picked out in Allspark blue, part of the mouth in black, and the rest left as beige grey. Some metallic paint would not have gone amiss here, to bring out those details that are lost in a sea of grey.

DOTM Jolt is nicely articulated and capable of many dynamic poses, with 17 points of meaningful articulation – plus his wings can be positioned (the two on each side can be jointly moved inwards or outwards, while the lower wings are on individual pivot joints – although a little more wing articulation would have been appreciated). The only piece of articulation that his ROTF figure has over him is the waist, which is lacking articulation in the DOTM version due to the transformation design (although I think this could have been worked in looking at the piece in question). However, there is no way for the arms to be secured in place at the shoulders, so there is a tendency for these to work their way away from Jolt’s body, which looks rather odd.

It should also be noted that with Jolt’s elegance, he has a lot of narrow parts which feel like they could snap if you’re not careful.

Of course, with this being the DOTM Mechtech line, the figure is packaged with a large Mechtech weapon (which has contributed to the downsizing of some of the figures). Jolt is no exception, and comes with a gun-thing that transforms into a bigger gun-thing, cast largely in black with some Allspark blue components. It’s certainly not among the worst of the Mechtech weapon offerings thusfar, but it is just a pointless addition as far as I am concerned – it’s fortunate that Jolt is not pock-marked with Mechtech ports like some of the other figures in the line. That said, these weapons no doubt add great play value for kids, so are a great inclusion from that perspective. The weapon can be attached to his arms or stored on his back, but it cannot be locked into transformed mode, unlike the Voyager Class and Leader Class Mechtech weapons.

All in all, I think DOTM Jolt is a massive improvement on the ROTF mould, although both are good fun. It’s just such a shame that DOTM Jolt was not coloured blue, or, alternatively, that the new colourscheme and reinforced bodywork was not explained by the film (which would have been a far preferable solution). I’m sure the mould could have been included in a different wave to avoid conflict with the other blue Autobots (Topspin and Que), if the concern over confusion with kids and parents is such a big deal...

So, recommendations? Well, in all honesty I would recommend going for DOTM Deluxe Jolt over ROTF Deluxe Jolt, if the colour isn’t totally make-or-break for you. DOTM Jolt is a better figure, and is a lot more CGI accurate in robot mode than the ROTF version – despite the colour. Regardless of who he is meant to be (and he does look an awful lot like his namesake!), DOTM Jolt is a really great Transformer figure.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 7 – DOTM Jolt has a relatively simple, but fun, transformation that gives a very CGI accurate robot mode. However, reversing the transformation can be a little fiddly at the front of the car, and the arms do not lock into place securely in robot mode.
Durability: 7 – Jolt seems durable enough, but I worry that his wings may snap, or that the connecting piece of his torso may break... He really is very elegant, but with this comes a fear of things snapping...
Fun: 7 – Jolt is good fun, and has two great modes. However, he is a non-entity and lacks his trademark electrowhips without which he has no purpose in the live action films.
Aesthetics: 6 – While the Volt mode would benefit from some paint to better hide the Mechtech ports, both modes display well. The more armoured Volt mode looks great alongside the Wreckers, while the robot mode is a really gorgeous design. Just a shame about the greyness...
Articulation: 7 – DOTM Jolt has a decent level of meaningful articulation allowing for dynamic poses, although a little more wing articulation would have been nice.
Value/Price: 6 – DOTM Deluxe Class figures have jumped up in price (as have other Classes), and while Jolt is a good figure, he struggles to be above average in terms of value for money at the inflated £12.99 - £14.99 shelf prices.
Overall: 7 – DOTM Deluxe Jolt is largely an improvement over his ROTF counterpart, failing only in colour and lack of electrowhips. Moreover, he is a neat Transformer, though. That said, he is a non-entity, and the dull colour also detracts. Were he cast in blue, I think he’d jump a point. As he is, he is certainly above average but not an essential component to a liveaction film Transformers collection.
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