Alternator Meister / Jazz
By Hervé St-Louis
October 18, 2006 - 00:18
Jazz is the stylish Autobot special operations’ agent whose motto is "Do it with style or don't bother doing it." one of the most popular Transformers, character, his Transformers’ Alternator car mode was used to launch the 2003 campaign for Mazda’s RX8 sports car. Although, traditionally a Porsche 935, Meister, as he is named in the Alternators’ line is now a Mazda car not really meant for racing. Due to trademark issues, Hasbro is calling the character Meister, which is the name given to the character by the Japanese toy manufacturer Takara, who does the original designs of Transformers’ toys.
Traditionally, Jazz is a white car with a low level front in car mode. The Mazda RX8 is not as close to the ground as the old Porsche 935. All the racing decals that adorned earlier Jazz toys are absent, leaving collectors with a totally white car, lacking some styling. The head’s design is almost the same as the cartoon version of Jazz. The front bumper, wheels on the shoulder design, makes Jazz one of the few Alternators to be almost similar to his original appearance. That’s a great thing. Really, if it isn’t broken, why fix it?
Robot Mode Sculpt
Several design elements are reminiscent of the older Jazz. For example, on each of his thighs, Jazz has small squares encrusted which reminds collectors of the two holes he had just above his knees, in the old toys. Missing are the stripes on his forearms, which were a particular design element of the old character.
As an Autobot, Jazz looks good. Unlike other Alternators who look bulky and pack appendages all over their bodies, Jazz’s shape is simple and doesn’t offer any opening or weaknesses in the armour that a smart Decepticons could take advantage of. Jazz’s feet seem inverted when compared to his classic look. His rear bumper is in the front, while his calves, which are quite similar to the metal strips that protected his tibias, in the classic look are facing backward. Although it’s possible to switch these, they will become bulky as the wheels would be in the interior of his legs, instead of on the side.
Car Mode Sculpt
The car mode is not as exciting as the robot mode. The Mazda RX8 looks boxy, unlike a Porsche. Also, due to the higher use of actual car parts for the robot mode, there are many cuts on the car’s fuselage. Several parts such as the front and back doors, and the rear of the car don’t cuddle up into a smooth surface. It’s easy to tell that there is more than meets the eyes, when you look at the car. That’s not great.
The second time I transformed the car, it took me 50 minutes. That’s almost as long as the first time. The problem is mostly due to the abdominal part which is the folded floor of the car. In order to put transform it properly, you must first unsnap part of the waist which holds all of that area tightly in robot mode. The second problem was the legs. You have to twist the waist once, then twist the thighs and then twist the feet too. If you don’t, the legs won’t fit in the rear of the bumper. Finally, it’s easier to transform the arms back under the hood and pin them with the steering mechanism, if you remove them completely from the robot and put them back after. The front doors tend to fall off easily too.
Having no decals, except for his Autobot tattoos, Jazz looks bland. I would suggest ordering custom-made labels mimicking the classic Jazz design from Reprolabels. That will make your Jazz action figure look nicer although I am not familiar with their service, so I cannot vouch for them. Most of Jazz’s body is cast in the original plastic colours except for some small painted details on his thighs, his legs, his head and his car plate.
Jazz is somewhat shorter than other Alternators, although you can increase his height if you pull the two pads on the interior of his feet. That will also stabilize him as, he will not rest on his wheels for support.
Speaking of support, Jazz just like his classic toy rests on his wheels when in robot mode. Part of me enjoys this because of the authenticity. However, part of me doesn’t like that very much because it makes the car unstable. It’s possible for the action figure to rest for long period of time, weeks even on his wheels, but he could easily fall on his back. Adjusting his feet to counter balance his weight can help.
Jazz is one of the best articulated Alternators in the sense that the articulation is at logical places and height, like the knees, the hips the shoulders. He can easily be posed in an action posture. However, be careful of his arms at the shoulder joints. They fall off easily. Although his head can rotate, you’ll have to pull it back a bit so its motion is not limited by the armour of his torso.
The all white version of Jazz causes a long term problem for collector. The more sun he gets, the more his frame will yellow. In fact, Jazz’s rear bumpers, thighs, arms and the lid on top of his head are all in a darker plastic that is quite anxious to turn yellow. Protect this figure from direct sun exposure at all cost. The Red version of Jazz doesn’t have this problem. I wish Hasbro had used the same type of white plastic for all of the car, to keep the look intact.
Jazz’s gun transforms into a muffler or something that looks similar.
Jazz comes in a large package glued on a cardboard box making the toy look bigger than it really is. Don’t be fooled by Hasbro. There’s nothing inside the box. He does come with some transformation instructions, which or course are cryptic and useless.
Jazz, costs anywhere from $USD19.99 to $USD40 and more. It depends on the store where one purchases the figure. Larger retail chain may have better prices than smaller stores. The red version of Jazz, called Zoom Zoom by many collectors, may be more expensive. If you ask a store for this action figure, please remember to use the name Meister, as opposed to Jazz.
The white version of Jazz was released in early August. The original red version was sold in 2004 and has probably sold out. Jazz should not be difficult to locate and may be easily restocked by stores for the next year or so. But don’t wait too long before buying this action figure. So far, Hasbro has only released older Alternators as new repainted variants of characters not available before.
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