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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
Alternate Mode:
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Clay's review: Premium Jazz

Name: Jazz (Premium series)
Function: First Lieutenant
Scale: 1/28

Note: I've included more pictures than normal to help show what details have been added compared to the original release. I never bought the original version so I can't compare the two releases first-hand, but it seems the main difference is that Premium Jazz has painted turn signals, a painted-on rear window, and various extra highlights on the robot mode in addition to a somewhat more metallic shade of gray for the entire toy.

Alternate mode:

Jazz's alternate mode is a Pontiac Soltice, which is a tiny sports car for people with mid-life crises. The car is a respectable replica for a toy its size, aside from the noticeable cracks where the robot emerges. The thing rolls well enough, so it suffices simply as a toy car.

The only detriment to the car mode falls on the wheel rims. The gray paint on mine was applied haphazardly, resulting in either not enough or too much paint. Having perused the three dozen original Jazzes at the local store, this seems to be a problem for any release of the toy, not just premium. However, all of the other paint applications are just spiffy, so I assume the problem lies with carefully masking off such a tiny, round area to paint at an industrial production pace. The wheel rims are the only part of the toy that made me scratch my head and think, "that's not right." The two simplest solutions are to either check the toy in the store before you buy it (if multiple Jazzes are in stock), or to use a small amount of rubbing alcohol to clean up sloppy rims if you've already paid money (be careful not to spill any, though; it'll strip off other paint as well).

Robot mode:

I've really come to like the robot mode. The poor thing doesn't flatter itself in pictures, but in person, it charms. Jazz lacks a torso; he has his chest sutured directly to his waist. While odd, this quirk doesn't seem to ruin the figure: I think the rabbit ears balance it out. Jazz ends up looking... cute. He also only has hands in the most literal sense: unlike most other figures that have large fists molded with holes in them to hold guns, Jazz has little claws that flip out from the front of the car (which doubles over to create a hollow forearm). It looks better in person (and is quite fun to transform to and fro) than it sounds, or than the pictures imply.

Jazz's real selling point comes with the many ways that he can use his weapon. Jazz comes with a telescoping 'sword,' although it looks much more like a rifle. While this weapon was not in the movie that I could tell, it was apparently part of an early concept that did end up in one of the video games. The weapon, whatever its origins, is pretty neat, though. Jazz's forearms open and the rifle is placed on an interior socket. Since you can retract the hand, Jazz's rifle works just like Bumblebee's transforming gun arm, even if "cheating" in the same way (although Jazz cheats more: his rifle clips onto the spoiler of the car!). But, Jazz has a few more tricks: the rear of the car can be taken off the back and mounted on the shoulder as a shield, or on the gun itself to make a lance. Alternatively, you can also leave the shield mounted on the shoulder and then attach the rifle to that. I think these different options make the figure worthwhile, even if the proportions are a bit odd.

Transformation: 7. Jazz is pretty well thought out. He's not terribly complex, but he is satisfying to fiddle with as opposed to frustrating.
Durability: 7. Jazz seems pretty solid, but the forearms could break easily if stepped on.
Fun: 10. I really like the weapons combinations.
Price: X. Depends. I think the retail price of $10 is perfectly acceptable, but the Premium Deluxe figures may be somewhat hard to find since most physical stores seem thoroughly stocked up and won't be ordering more. Be conservative if you purchase online.
Overall: 8. I really like Jazz much more than I thought I would. He's not the best deluxe of the Movie line by any means, but the combination of him being in the film and having so many play options makes him a winner for me.
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