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Human Alliance Jazz

Transformers
by yo go re

What's the only thing better than the fact that the Transformers Human Alliance figures are introducing the second movie's characters to the Alternators scale? The fact that they're also going back to do the same thing for characters from the first movie.

Against the massed forces of the Decepticons, it will take every bit of power and ingenuity Autobot Jazz and Captain Lennox have to win. Though the two soldiers have only just met, they are both experienced fighters, used to working in synch with others. They easily team up to focus all their fire on a single, huge Decepticon, and bring him crashing down.

No, no they don't. Lennox teamed up with Ironhide to bring down a single, huge Decepticon while Jazz was getting his carcass ripped in two by Megatron. It seems the only reason they included that stuff in the bio is because the backdrop behind the figures in the packaging is the same tarted up shot of Scranton, PA, seen on the Final Stand battle pack, so Brawl is looming down the street by the old Fidelity bank.

The Human Alliance releases are all about perfectly re-creating the movie designs, and the movie designs are all fully licensed vehicles. It's like Alternators come back to life at last! The scale isn't exactly the same, but it's close enough for government work.

Jazz's altmode is a Pontiac Solstice, which isn't actully too different from the original's Porsche: it's sleek, curvy, has a lot more hood than body, and there's a spoiler on the back; yeah, that's really all it takes. The car is silver, with blue windows and clear headlights, but for some reason the tail lights are painted solid red.

The interior of the car isn't detailed as accurately as the Alternators' are, but it's close to the real thing. The steering wheel and glove compartment may be accurate, but the seats are almost pure kibble. I'm also pretty sure that the Solstice doesn't have guns under the floormats, but I haven't seen what Top Gear had to say about the car, so I can't say for sure.

Converting Jazz rates a Level 4 on Hasbro's mysterious scale. It's easy enough to get the hang of, and honestly the toughest part is getting him started: you have to pop up the trunk and the hood (the boot and the bonnet for those of you who living in some undeveloped third-world hellhole), but each fits so tightly into the body of the car that you have to work a nail file or something in there to free them. Like the rest of his HA bretheren, the top bits of the car end up as some heavy-duty kibble on his back, but it's certainly better than Sideswipe's giant mess.

So far all the Human Alliance figures have had some sort of play feature in their head-al area, and Jazz follows suit. Flip down the lever on the back of his rabbit-shaped head, and his G1-referencing visor retracts automatically into the space where his brain should be. Clever! Even better, flip the lever up, and the visor slides back out seamlessly. The top of the head is actually a hinge with a spring to keep it shut, so you don't have to worry about fiddling with it after shifting his eyewear.

Like the Skids set, this set includes a little bike. Unlike the Skids set, this bike doesn't turn into a robot. Instead, it changes into the shielded blaster he had in the movie. Hey, better that than the non-existent "sword" they kept trying to give him, right? It's a simple process to change the bike to a gun, but is that really a point against it? No. The gun plugs into the arm, which is appropriate: like most movie TFs, he just morphed his limbs into weapons as needed.

This wouldn't be a Human Alliance release if Jazz didn't have a human to ally with [tell that to Barricade --ed.], and like the bio said, his is Captain William Lennox. Lennox was played by Josh Duhamel, who before Transformers was only famous for being on the show Las Vegas, which is really stretching the definition of the word "famous." Now he's married to the chick from the Black Eyed Peas, so he's got that going for him.

Lennox stands 2⅜" tall, and moves at the head, shoulders, hips and knees. He doesn't have the torso joint the other HA figures have - maybe because his body armor was too thick? He's had a (mispainted) figures in one of the Screen Battles sets, and he's had a Robot Heroes figure, but this is the only one with articulation. And a giant car he can ride.

As usual, the little human figure can ride in various spots on the robot so he doesn't have to try to keep up on foot. There's the cannon, of course, since it's made from the bike and the seat is right there, but he can also man a fold-out gun on Jazz's shoulder. The most ridiculous spot, though, is in one of the seats from the car: see, they end up on the robot's shins; imagine him sitting there when Jazz decides to run! He'd be shaken to jelly within five steps!

Human Alliance Jazz came out at the same time as the "Hunt for the Decepticons" and "Generations" lines, but the odds are you probably haven't seen him in person yet. Why? Because yet again Hasbro's paired the cool new figure with another damn re-release of Bumblebee. Every freaking time! Of course, what would you rather have happen: Jazz is rare, or he clogs the shelves like Skids and Mikaela? This is a beautiful figure, with better proportions than any of the previous versions of the character, but he's a pain to find, so good luck.

-- 11/30/10


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