Review by Optimal III
The third-party scene continues to be glorious. And "Masterpiece" is a big part of why. So Maketoys joining the MP fray with RE:Master isn't surprising. What is surprising is that in 2017, their 9th figure in the line is only the 2nd 3P Jazz to come to market. But that's okay. He was worth the wait. Shoutout to TF One Sixth for helping me get him.
Downbeat comes in a slick black box, similar in size to the official MP cars. Four of six sides are layered with images in the foreground and background, showing him off in different ways. The back & bottom sport actual photos of him and his accessories. The most prominent text up front is silver foil.
Additional contents include two sets of instructions, one color and one not.
In alt mode, Downbeat is equally recognizable as the Autobot Jazz and a Porsche 935 turbo, albeit a very clean one without all the sponsor logos.
I've handled many toys over the years that I've had good things to say about. But Downbeat is on the shortlist of toys I'd describe as pristine, maybe even beautiful. The differing shades of blue may seem like a major error, but some 935 units, including the #4, sport that look. Maketoys just exaggerated the difference.
Mine is prone to the gap you see on the rear end, but a gentle squeeze fixes it every time. That's the only visual blemish.
Compared to MP-14+, he fits in perfectly.
Most of the surface details are present, with the lights, grill, vents, and rims especially standing out. Even the side mirrors are painted. The rubber tires are a nice touch.
And though it may be coincidence, robot mode is very well hidden. Up top, you must look through the front windshield to spy the head. Down below, hands are the only visible humanoid anatomy.
The one gimmick in alt mode is the ability to peg these speakers onto the rear-end, giving Downbeat his kicking sound system.
The instructions are good, easy to follow even. It's just wild that Downbeat can be stuck in between modes, ala "Desertion of the Dinobots". Transforming the upper body is similar to the MP Z cars, which makes sense since that part is the same with the G1 toys. The lower body is trickier and may take a few tries. I actually forgot a step during the photo session, which is why I took some extra pics after detailing him.
The result is a hip, happening robot that's amazing to behold, both under the bright lights and in more natural settings. The car details are the same, but the robot mode parts hold up their end of the bargain. What paint is present is well applied. The swirling plastic comprising the feet & shins compliment the metallic upper legs & mid-section (which are the die-case parts). The chest reveal is very cool, complete with faux Autobot symbol. And the clincher is his eye-visor, which is the perfect reflective shade of blue. Legit, he has the coolest eye piece I think I've ever seen on a toy.
His profile holds up, no matter which way you look at him.
That said, I did mention his legs are a little tricky. It took me so long to get them right the first time, I forgot to pull out the shells that adorn the outer front sides of his feet. That's their purpose, which is why they're fairly hidden in alt mode.
You might think his leg articulation would be impeded by all the moving parts, but you'd be wrong. His articulation isn't impeded anywhere in fact, and he's on par with any MP figure you can think of. Maybe even better. His ankles tilt in all four directions, his heels bend, and he has double-jointed knees & elbows. His hips are literally balls on clicky ratchets. He has a waist swivel & ab crunch. His shoulders are hinge/swivel combos, he has bicep & wrist swivels, and he has open/close grip hands.
His head is the only weak point. It sits on a ball and tilts everywhere, but doesn't lock into his chest. Rather, it rests in a groove. If you try to tilt it up without pushing down, you may lift the whole piece.
Red Alert questions the presence of a gas station circa 1985 on a black plain in the middle of nowhere, but Downbeat says it's all tranquilo.
For gimmicks & gear, Downbeat comes with two alternate faces. One is smirking and the other is yelling/shocked. Some have complained the smirk is too big, but I don't care. I'm just glad both have the same awesome visor.
To change faces, simply push the helmet forward and lift it up. Reverse to firmly set it back in place.
One of the line-wide traits of RE:Master is that every figure has a throwback to its G1 toy inspiration. In Downbeat's case, his doors can be deployed like wings ala the original Jazz toy. Just tilt the back plate outward to bring them out, and angle as you see fit.
The same purple speakers used for alt mode can also be pegged into the back of his shoulders. In addition, he has two more speakers that can be mounted on his side skirts.
He's got a gun that's spot-on to Jazz's photon rifle. As usual, there's a tab on each side of the grip, for plugging it into either hand. I like the sculpt, especially the barrel, but wish it was painted, or at least made with a different plastic. As is, it's the same swirly material used for his feet & shins.
Like all the '84 Autobot cars, he also has a missile launcher. It mounts above his right shoulder, is secure, and has good vertical range of motion.
And lastly, he has Jazz's signature grappling hook. It was probably just memorable because he used it so much in "More than Meets the Eye", but it became signature when Fall of Cyberton was released, in which it was his special ability. It can be held or tabbed into either hand, and is functional. I didn't measure, but it extends well over 12-inches.
I can't put my finger on it, but Maketoys did something special that's intangible in this one. Downbeat hits all the right notes for a Masterpiece-style G1 Jazz toy. He exudes fun & cool. And he looks so amazing while doing it. The closest thing to a complaint I have is that his deco in both modes is a little light. But, if G1 animated is the look you seek, that honestly fits. Also, in a first, Reprolabels produced a label set for him before he was even released! That should give you an idea of how anticipated he was. He's style personified, which I think applies to all the RE:Master line. Bottom line, if you're willing to spend $$ on any toy that can be considered a "Masterpiece" or high end, he's a gem & a must.
Also, if you'd rather have a non-G1 Jazz figure, Generation Toys has an IDW-style Jazz (J4zz) to scratch that itch. To close, I've got a few more pics of Downbeat with labels and his legs properly transformed.
|Posted 18 August, 2017 - 14:36 by Optimal III