Jazz was one of my first Transformers figures. It’s hard to convey exactly how exciting Transformers were for kids back in the 80s. It felt so groundbreaking and then to get a great cartoon to go along with it? Kid heaven.
For whatever reason, Takara Tomy has not released a Transformers Masterpiece Jazz figure opening the door for me to start this transition to the far more affordable Transformers Studio Series line from Hasbro. I can almost hear Scatman Crothers as I check this figure out.
Packaging: The Studio Series goes for the basic black and red that’s very similar to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line and the previous norm for the Star Wars The Black Series color scheme.
I like the drawing of Jazz used as it captures his personality nicely. I do wish there could have been a screenshot from Transformers: The Movie. We do get pictures of both Jazz’s robot and vehicle modes.
There’s very little personalization with this series with a sentence explaining the time period of this figure.
Likeness: It isn’t to use a cartoon as a the base for a fully functional figure that still maintains most of the aesthetics of the property. That was always the issue with the original G1 figures. In most cases they had very little resemblance to the cartoon models.
Hasbro and Takara Tomy have really mastered this art over the last few decades and Jazz shows just far it’s come. This is pretty much as on model from Transformers The Movie as I could imagine.
Alt Mode: Jazz’s car mode looks very clean. Naturally there’s a lot of paneling that wouldn’t be on actual car, but for the most part the conversion looks solid and conveys that Porsche visual very well.
Scale: There was basically five scales for the G1 Autobots. There were the minibots like Bumblebee and Cliffjumper; the standard size guys like Sideswipe, Prowl and Mirage; the slightly larger guys like Ratchet, Ironhide and Hoist; Optimus Prime in his own standalone height and the largest guys like Jetfire and the Dinobots.
He’s relatively small in a general sense if you’re used to figures on the six-inch scale. This balances out with the larger figures. I wish Cliffjumper and Bumblebee were easier to track down for latecomers to the line to see how they scale with him.
Transformation: Jazz’s transformation isn’t too tough to basically figure out on my own. The instructions aren’t nearly as helpful in making sense of the not so obvious spots.
There’s 20 steps to change him to the car and I think after a few times it will feel like second nature to transform him without guidance.
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Paint: I was able to choose between three Jazz figures on the stands so I could be especially picky. None of them were 100% perfect, but such is life for a mass retail figure. Honestly none had egregious problems, just a minor problem here or there. On my figure that’s a slight overspray of some white paint on the left leg shin area.
I had more paint preference issues than anything else. His blue stripe on the top chest portion doesn’t extend all the way to the neck like it was on the cartoon and even the package art. That was an odd miss.
Jazz was No. 4 in the cartoon, but Internet legend has it that potential NASCAR copyright issues prompted Hasbro to change him up to No. 14. Not a huge deal, but good to know there is a likely reason for the number change.
Articulation: I was pretty impressed with Jazz’s range of motion. He’s able to hit a number of poses and hold them without much trouble.
For longtime collectors the great thing with the Masterpiece figures was the ability to transform figures and have them actually pose even close to how they moved on the cartoon. That carries over to the Studio Series for a fraction of the price.
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: Jazz comes with his trademark blaster. It’s pretty spot-on to the cartoon model although one side looks somewhat unfinished.
It can plug onto the roof of Jazz’s car mode if you want to mix it up a little.
In keeping with the theme of this series, Jazz comes with a themed backdrop from the movie. In his case it’s from Moonbase One’s destruction. It’s not necessarily to scale, but the effort is appreciated as a bonus.
Worth it? I got Jazz for $20, which is a great value for such a well executed Transformers figure in 2021.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Jazz has somehow managed to miss the Masterpiece treatment, but this Studio Series is an excellent representation of Prime’s second-in-command and it’s hard to complain about the price.