Deluxe-class Autobot Jolt
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
"With the All Spark gone, we cannot return life to our planet. And Fate has yielded its reward: a new world to call home. We live among its people- hiding in plain sight, but watching over them in secret. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to all Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We are here, we are waiting."
--epilogue from “Transformers” (2007)
With those words, a beacon was sent, alerting the cosmos to our presence in a way we never imagined. Some Autobots responded, but more Decepticons- learning of the death of Megatron- came to seek revenge, to take the throne of their faction for themselves, or simply to see that their leader was truly gone and wonder what would happen next. Two years after the All Spark Cube was destroyed, the Autobots have sought asylum in the United States, and they work closely with its government to form N.E.S.T. (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) to cooperate in tracking down arrant Decepticons hiding on Earth and keep the human race unawares amidst growing conspiracies. But with increasing alien activity across the world, it is suspected that the Autobots themselves may be encouraging Decepticons to come to Earth by their very presence here, and the relationship is beginning to become strained. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky has gone to college, but on his first day he begins uncontrollably spouting gibberish like his great-grandfather over a hundred years earlier. It is discovered that he now retains, deep in his mind, the full knowledge of the destroyed All Spark Cube! Learning of this, the Decepticons steal the last shard of the All Spark, and rebuild Megatron. Teleporting himself to another dimension, Megatron consults with his master- an ancient and evil traitor known as The Fallen, who is the leader of all Decepticons. The Fallen plans to harvest Earth’s Sun for Energon at the cost of destroying the planet as he would have thousands of years ago were he not driven off by the Dynasty of Primes- the original leaders of Cybertron. But to do this, The Fallen must recover the long-lost Matrix of Leadership from the secret Tomb of the Primes- which Sam now holds the only key to finding- to activate the Solar Harvester. And the last surviving descendant of the Dynasty- Optimus Prime- is the only one who can stop The Fallen now…
This is usually where I put the character bio & summary, so that you have a little more feeling about them and can connect to why this toy/model/figure exists. But I must explain why I am not doing it this time…
In 2007, the Writer’s Guild of America was approaching the end of its contract with Hollywood, and there were threats that they would go on strike if certain demands were not met. Unfortunately, this came at the worst time for “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” because the story and script were being planned then. Returning writers Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman and newcomer Ehren Kruger were very crunched for time as they wrote the film. Indeed, the final product that was seen on the screen was based on material that was from before the strike, when all three were obligated to walk away from their jobs. However, director Michael Bay felt he had enough to work with to begin pre-production, and began making the film. The WGA strike lasted 3 months.
The three writers had intended for Jolt to be more fleshed out before the strike, but he was a last-minute addition to the story, and at that point they were committed with what they had done because changes were legally not possible once the strike began. While he was seen for mere seconds in not even a handful of scenes in the movie, TakaraTomy (the Japanese company that actually designs & builds the toys) had molds for him which were abandoned and then abruptly picked-up again later when Jolt was confirmed.
Because of the last-minute effort to get Jolt into the movie as sparingly as he was, there was not a chance for other merchandise- prequel comics and books, video games, etc.- to establish the character beyond what little was seen of him in the movie. (He doesn’t even speak, though he plays the crucial role of merging Jetfire’s parts onto Optimus Prime’s body to upgrade him for the climactic battle.) Thus, through only fan speculation and Hasbro’s own efforts is there is there anything at all for a back-story on Autobot Jolt.
Some fans assume that, because he followed Ratchet’s instructions, Jolt may be a medic-in-training. Hasbro’s profile, however, suggests he intentionally acts crazy to distract & put Decepticons off-balance so that he can surprise them with his close-range electro-whips. Careful observation of the film shows him shooting a machine gun, but this is not recreated for the toy. His three-fingered hands also shoot blue sparks as he’s preparing to fight, but it may be him channeling the power from his retractable whips. Hasbro also says that he chose his vehicle mode- the prototype all-electric Chevrolet Volt- because he liked the idea that it was eco-friendly. (Well, technically the 5-seat Volt will get an unprecedented +200mpg, but it uses gasoline only to recharge its batteries. So classifying it as either a hybrid or all-electric is being debated by the American auto industry.)
The main gimmick for all of the fully-transformable figures from the 2007 “Transformers” toy line was Automorph Technology™: as one part of the toy was being moved, another section would activate and move by itself via internal gears, springs, and levers. (Usually this applied only going in one direction for transformation but not the other.) For the 2009 “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen” toy line, the Automorph feature has been replaced with Mech Alive, which is not involved in transforming the toys. Rather it is a gimmick that functions only in robot mode to better imitate, in some fashion, the intricate movements and mechanics of the immensely-more complex CGI character(s).
Some figures are being reissued from the 2007 line since no significant changes were made to the character in that time-span, and will still include their original Automorph feature, but not the newer Mech Alive feature because they were manufactured two years previously.
Since this is a brand new toy which was not released in 2007, the “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen” Deluxe-class Autobot Jolt has the Mech Alive feature, but not an Automorph Technology feature.
There is a surprisingly-high amount of articulation in his shoulders (strictly due to how he transforms) beyond the standard ball-&-socket joint, and he has a functional waist joint (tied to his Mech Alive gimmick, see below) as well!
Jolt’s electro-whips are stored on the insides of his forearms. They can be manually opened/closed by you, or you can use the small pegged wheels on his wrists to open/close them.
Mech Alive is a special feature included in almost all transformable figures from “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”. In robot mode, specific parts of the figure’s body can be animated beyond simply posing it- panels shift, gears spin, and in some cases there is light-and sound tied in. This brings out a new level of detail to try matching-up against the immensely-complex designs of the computer-generated characters seen in the movie.
For the Deluxe-class Autobot Jolt toy, it has one Mech Alive feature:
- His chest is transparent, and there is a small column of gray gears inside the center. When his waist turns to either side, the geared column will spin accordingly.
Unfortunately, because of the darkness of the blue plastic, I am not able to photograph this feature. (And, truthfully, it actually is hard to see in-person as well; something that I've heard a lot of others complain about as well.)
There are two sections of Jolt’s robot form that I intentionally changed from how they appear in the instructions; these seem to be areas that a lot of fans change as well, so what I’m doing is really no different. The first is the front of his feet- while the instructions say to turn the bumpers vertically, the tab on the right one makes it stick higher in the air than the left. Keeping them both horizontal also stabilizes him more, and allows for better posing articulation than otherwise. And the other is the pointed panels on his back that make up part of his car doors- the instructions say to just let them hang down like wings, but that greatly interferes with posing, and in the movie they aren’t like that either (they look more like sparse wings on the CGI model). So, I twisted them around until they pointed backwards.
I don’t quite understand why it is that Trans-fans seem to bag on this figure so much… perhaps because he was such a late addition to the film and got so little exposure as a result? That was mostly my reason- I thought it was Sideswipe who put Jetfire’s parts on Optimus! (With so much going on in the film towards the end, is it any wonder I got him mixed up…?) In fact, I had to be convinced that not only was it a different character, but that this toy was worth my time and money. I spent a good share of time looking at other reviewers- both random and established- to see that it actually wasn’t all that bad. And you know what? Aside from having smallish hooks for his whips, no head articulation, and a slightly-uncertain backpack-kibble arrangement, this toy is no better or worse than most of the other Deluxe-class figures. I’d even go so far as to say it’s easily on par-or-better with the Deluxe-class twins, triple Arcee drones, and Sideswipe. Yeah, the Mech Alive gear inside his chest is really hard to see because of the choice of coloring, but tying it into a practical waist joint was a blessing in disguise. For that matter, all surface details are up to standard (including the whips), and articulation lacks only in the neck, which is quite impressive for a Deluxe-class figure! (Ironically, he does have light-piping in his eyes, but that obviously will never work because of that structure behind his head.) The shoulders are pretty awesome because they have two axis of rotation in addition to the standard ball-and-socket joint… how many non-collector-targeted Transformers can you think of that have that!? If anything is lacking, I would say paint apps in robot mode, specifically on the front of both the upper and lower torso. (On the toy his brake lights are above his ankles, but in the movie they’re on his crotch. Additionally, he has the headlights in on his chest, while the toy just has unpainted circles there, and the front bumpers are right where they’re supposed to be behind his shoulders.) I thought the extra electric neon-blue was distracting away from the whips and made him feel more like the AllSpark Power repaints from 2007, but I suppose it was to emphasize the extra energy he had flowing through him. (As mentioned earlier, his hands show arcs of current as he’s preparing for battle in the movie, so this makes some sense.) His vehicle mode is very clean, with the only really difficult part of his transformation being how to reintegrate his arms together into the roof of the car.
For a character who got so little screen-time, and also seems to get the cold shoulder more-often-than-not from Trans-fans, I think that the Deluxe-class Autobot Jolt figure is both very solid & articulate, and definitely worth picking up!
|Posted 18 December, 2009 - 04:15 by EVA_Unit_4A|