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Jetstorm

Transformers
by yo go re

In addition to new toys of off-screen movie characters, Hasbro also tossed out some Cybertron repaints. That's how we got Elita-One, after all. These repaints generally ended up as store exclusives, like TRU's Jetstorm.

Jetstorm believes that if he has to get in a fight, he might as well fight dirty. He's spent ages perfecting his fighting style, studying all the cheapest places to blast or stab another robot. He's not the strongest or most dangerous fighter among the Decepticons, but most Autobots would rather go up against anyone else. When Jetstorm fights, he fights to win at all costs, so he does everything he can to hurt his opponent as bad as possible. Even when he loses, it's very rare that his enemies don't go away with shattered optics or limbs damaged beyond repair.

Jetstorm is a repaint of Cybertron Jetfire/Sky Shadow, giving fans a third chance to pick up this mold if they've managed to miss it this far. But is this a worthwhile re-release, or a boring lump that's taking shelf space from more deserving figures? Let's take a look.

The figure's vehicle form is (very) loosely inspired by the Antonov An-225 Mriya, a Russian cargo plane. There's only one An-225 in service, which makes this kind of a poor choice for a disguise: you want to blend into the crowd, not stand out. The An-225 is also the world's largest and heaviest plane - technically the famous Spruce Goose is slightly taller and wider, but it only flew once, so screw it. The An-225, on the other hand, flies all over the world and still can't keep up with demand, so they're making a second one.

According to Hasbro designer Joe Kyde, this toy was inspired by the AC-130 Spectre gunship that appears in the movie at the end of the fight with Scoponok. That's kind of a stretch. For one thing, the AC-130 has prop engines, not jets, and the paint scheme didn't look a thing like this - the movie plane was the typical grey, not white with a big red stripe down the side.

The plane's wingspan is more than 10½" wide, and the entire thing is nearly 11" long. Since this mold originated with Cybertron, it has an action feature activated by a Cyber Planet Key. The tail of the plane flips over the fuselage and a double-barreled gun pops up when you insert the key. Pressing on the rear engines activates lights and sounds.

Jetstorm's transformation conversion holds no surprises - look at the toy, and you can imagine how it's done - but it has a classic simplicity that makes for a decent toy. The robot stands 7½" tall, and is pretty substantially back-heavy, thanks to the electronics contained in the kibble back there; luckily, he's got extra-wide feet for better balance. He has a translucent red visor, but it's not actually light-piped.

The robot's middle is startlingly hollow. There's a big gap right behind his chest that looks like it should get sealed up, but no dice. Articulation is enough to get Jetstorm into some good action poses, and all the joints are tough enough to support the weight. He moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees and toes. The missile launchers under the wings can be detached to become handheld weapons, and two little artillery batteries pop out of his waistal area.

If you don't have a version of this mold yet, then Jetstorm is worth buying. If you do own one, well, you know what to expect. You like the new colors? Go to town, then. One cool undocumented feature, though, that may help you decide to add this one to your collection? The real Antonov An-225 Mriya was specifically designed to transport the Buran space shuttle: Classics Astrotrain can be attached to Jetstorm in much the same way; just flip up the panel in front of the robot's head, and the shuttle's front wheels fit snugly in place. It wasn't intentional, just a design fluke, but it's still really damn cool, isn't it?


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