Call me late to the party, but I finally got around to picking up the big daddy of Hasbro’s Thrilling Thirty: Leader Class Jetfire. I held off on buying this guy because I was planning on getting the Takara version, but with my toy expenses running as high as they have been lately that just never happened. Plus, I did a lot of rationalizing about how much I still dig the Classics Jetfire and maybe I didn’t really need another. Then all it took was for me to see Hasbro’s version on clearance for me to say, “Aw, slag it!” and buy him. Coincidently it just happens to be Transformers Thursday, so let’s take a look!
Ah, the Generations packaging, how I miss you! With that deliciously vintage grid pattern and familiar Transformers logo, I think this has been the pinnacle of Hasbro’s changeable robot packaging and I mourn the fact that they dumped it for the current crop. But hey, I don’t save these boxes anyway so what do I care? Jetfire comes boxed in his robot mode and all geared up with his guns and armor. The red chrome! It’s already burning my eyes!!!
It’s the back of the box that makes me cry foul on you, Hasbro. You’ll note the non-chromed armor and guns and the extra black paint apps on these pieces too. I know that all of these boxes point out that the actual product may vary from what’s pictured, but this is a pretty big leap between what’s pictured and what we got. It’s also what made me hold out for so long in favor of the more expensive Takara version until that pesky notion of fiscal responsibility got the better of me. Anyway, let’s start off with his alt mode, and to be more specific, his stripped down jet mode.
God, this is a great looking toy and a gorgeous recreation of the original G1 Jetfire’s jet mode. Little changes include a much pointier (and sexier) nose cone, and the addition of the tail wings. The cockpit is tinted blue and you get double stripes on the wings, where if I recall correctly the original only had the single stripes. Ah, but some things never change and the huge Autobot emblem is still crisply printed right on the nose cone in front of the cockpit. The primary wings can be angled back and there are three sets of landing gear for the jet to rest on. Of course, as with the original toy, you can load the jet mode up with the extra pieces to make a super armored mode…
Aaaand, here’s where Jetfire starts to stumble a little. The extra pieces consist of the booster assembly, which snaps onto the back of the aircraft, and two pairs of guns: One, which attaches under the wings, and the others that go over the rear landing gear. You can also attach his rifle under the nose cone, but I think that just looks silly. The pieces are all a lot simpler than what we got with the original toy, but I think they work really well, or at least they would if they weren’t all blinged out. Much has been made about Hasbro’s decision to use red chrome on these parts and I’m not going to beat a dead horse any further, other then to say I really don’t approve and I’m not sure why. Usually it’s just this kind of thing that makes the Takara version more desirable, but here it’s the other way around. I just don’t think it was appropriate and it makes an otherwise amazing looking jet mode look rather cheap.
Transforming Jetfire into his robot mode also results in both a stripped down robot and the armored up version. I have to say that I absolutely adore the basic robot mode. I honestly didn’t think this guy was going to replace my Classics Jetfire (other than for scale purposes) but I fell in love with this figure the first time I got him out of the box. He’s a really nice compromise between IDW and Sunbow versions of the character and he scales beautifully with most of my Classics and Generations figures. There are a few minor gripes, which I’ll get to in a second, but even so, this is the Jetfire figure that I’ve been waiting decades for.
From behind, it’s evident that there’s a lot of cheating going on with the transformation. I get it that it bugs a lot of people, but in this case I think the ends justify the means. I don’t think the cockpit hanging down the back looks bad at all. It’s a perfectly valid and stylish place to store that jet kibble and it’s quite unobtrusive. On the other hand just by being there and so visible, it advertises the way the engineering cheats. Again, if that’s what I need to sacrifice in order to get a more Sunbow accurate chest, I’m cool with that and I love the way they took the opportunity to put in all those sculpted components and an Autobot symbol inside the cockpit. I can’t see how they could have pulled that off with a legit transformation. This isn’t a case of Hasbro being lazy with the engineering, but rather just wanting to deliver an animated or comic style robot mode that never had to bend a knee to the harsh mistress of toy design.
The head sculpt is also fantastic. I dig the way the helmet frames his face and his noble expression just nails the character for me. Of course, you also get the option to put on the battle mask, which is included as a nod to the Macross head on the original toy. I’m not usually a fan of this sort of thing. I don’t think I ever displayed my Classics Jetfire with his battle mask, but I have to admit that this mask looks totally badass. It simply clips right over the face and it gives him a mouthplate, vibrant blue visor and even the antenna from the original toy.
Loading Jetfire up with his armor consists of mounting the booster package to his back, the smaller guns to his wrists and the larger ones to the sides of his legs. In theory it all looks good, and serves to cover up those unfinished looking areas on the outsides of his legs and arms. if only it weren’t for all that blasted red chrome. Honestly, I’ve usually preferred my Jetfire toys to be displayed without the extra bits, and that’s how I’ll be displaying this guy. Although, I have to admit, I do really like those arm guns.
The articulation here is pretty solid and thanks to some nice ratchets, he can hold his own weight, which admittedly isn’t all that much, and a lot of great poses. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels at the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and hinges in both the knees and the ankles. I think the Third Party stuff is really starting to spoil me because I really miss having ball joints or lateral rockers in the ankles, especially on a guy this big. There’s no torso articulation, but the neck is ball jointed.
In addition to all those extra bits, Jetfire also comes with a rifle and this is one of the bigger sticking points with me and this figure. I’ve always considered the gun that came with the original toy to be something iconic to the character and what we got here is just a fairly generic looking missile launcher, which also happens to be cast in the same awful red chrome. Blah!
Shitty red chrome or no, I absolutely love this figure, and I’m genuinely surprised at how I immediately accepted it as a replacement for my beloved Classics Jetfire. Plus, as a Leader Class figure, he really fits nicely into my Classics shelves. Well, he doesn’t actually fit on any of those shelves, but I mean he scales well with the likes of Classics Prime and all those Deluxes. That’s a claim that Classics Jetfire couldn’t really boast. To think that I almost passed this guy up is absolutely insane to me, although I can’t fault the outcome because I did manage to get him at the very appealing price of $35. I’d still easily recommend the Takara version over this one in a heartbeat, and if Transformers were all I collected, I probably would have gone for that one myself. It would have been a worthy investment, because everything else about this figure is so beautifully done. I’ll also be happily revisiting a remold of this figure next month when I look at Leader Class Thundercracker, a figure that I am very excited to get as he will likely wind up being my Masterpiece Scale version of that character.