Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 1, September 1984 / Issue 80, July 1991
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 9, January 12th 1985 / Issue 289, September 29th 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 1 (Season 1 #1), September 17th 1984 / Episode 91 (Season 3 #26), November 18th 1986
First Toy Appearance - 1984
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AKA 'Special Ops Jazz'
Manufacturer - Hasbro
Toyline - Transformers 2010
- Added a large Autobot symbol to the roof, to cover the rubsign
- Added Autobot symbols to his shoulders
- Added some 'Martini' stickers to the doors and rear bumper
Jazz was the jive-talkin' black Transformer from the original cartoon, voiced capably by Scatman Crothers, one of many notable actors to be involved in the franchise over the years. He was a tad more prosaic in the comics, but still very much a favourite of mine. He was a trusted Lieutenant to Optimus Prime, and occasionally acted as his second-in-command. He was one of the few 1984 Autobots who escaped the movie unscathed, although he was still never really seen again after that. He had a Porsche alt mode, which was enough to endear him to me. Let's hope that this important character has been given the reverence he deserves.
Appearance (Robot Mode) 9/10
Jazz is one of the most iconic transformers from the early years, and if anyone deserves a decent update, it is him. Fortunately, this is just what he has been given. He looks awesome as a robot, he really does. He even has pop-up speakers which I think were used in one cartoon episode for about 20 seconds. His headsculpt is superb, his proportions are just right - everything. Well, nearly everything. You see, I'm really not a fan of the off-white plastic used for the majority of his body, it just lacks luster and looks cheap.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 8/10
What is a nicely-realised rip-off of a Porsche 911 (how did you get away with it, Hasbro?) is marred again by the poor plastic, and also the lack of paint apps for the rear windshield, the exhaust, well, everything to the rear of the car, really. It's as if all the budget was spent on the iconic stripe running down the middle of the car. I have augmented the detail somewhat with some well-placed 'Martini' stickers to replicate the original (although the original stickers said 'Martinii') and plonked a massive Autobot symbol on the roof. Why not, eh?
Transforming Jazz is fiddly, but mostly fun. I love the way that there is a trapdoor in the bonnet which splits open for the head. There are also some cool 'automorph' gimmicks in use on the head, and the legs. I'm not a fan of detaching the rear of the roof from the rear windscreen area, though, as freeing up the roof tabs can be difficult to master. The lower legs can also be challenging, but nothing too major.
It would probably be easier to list the articulation Jazz didn't have, but I will endeavor to list it all. His head is on a ball-joint, and he has waist swivel. His shoulders are on ball-joints (but may be impeded slightly by the wheels above them), he has bicep swivel, double joints in the elbows, and wrist swivel. His hips are also ball-jointed, and he has thigh swivel and double-jointed knees. His feet can rock back and forth. He also has a very considered centre of balance so can pose as the day is long.
I always worry about the dreaded Automorph features, particularly when the plastic feels rather flimsy. I can imagine kids stripping gears in no time. Also, those tabs in the roof being hard to disengage will end in tears one day.
Overall - 41/50
I would have loved to see this mould, had it been produced with the quality of plastic seen in some other 'classicsverse' figures, before the recession ruined everything. And maybe a few more paint apps. As it is, Jazz is still one of my favourite Transformers. It's just a shame that Scatman Crothers isn't around to see him in all his glory.