By the end of the 2008/2009 Universe toyline most of the Autobot cars imported from the Diaclone toy range in 1984/5 has had new versions made of them. Those outstanding were Trailbreaker, Wheeljack, Hoist (but the Movie version is a pretty good substitute) , Grapple, Skids, Tracks, Red Alert (who had been done as part of the Henkei line) and Jazz. When Generations was announced we expected a number of these to be produced, and Red Alert showed up quite promptly. Jazz and Tracks were shown but in a surprising move they've ended up not as Generations, but as a parallel line called Reveal The Shield, which is the latest extension to the 2009 Movie Line. Reveal The Shield reintroduces the rubsigns seen on earlier Transformer toys, but this time die cut round the symbol and missing the grey border.
Jazz's vehicle mode is pretty similar to the original. Obviously the Martini stickers have now gone, but the other differences include a smaller spoiler mounted further forward and new clear blue headlights mounted above the round headlights seen on the original. A broad dark blue stripe runs down the centre of the car, with a thinner red stripe in the middle. The combined effect of these produces a face with the stripe as a nose, the headlights as eyes, unpainted grill as a mouth and the round lights as dimples on the cheeks, Or have I been watching Roary the Racing Car too much? A white number 4 is painted over the stripe on the bonnet and black 4s are on each of the opening doors. The front and side windows, part of the doors, are moulded in clear blue plastic. When the doors are opened his special feature is revealed: attached to the inside of each door is a speaker. Now apparently Jazz uses speakers in car mode in a cartoon episode, but I being a comic and toy fan did not know this, and didn't like the look of them. Fortunately they can be tucked away in the car and extended when you want them. It's important to note how they're stored: The speaker faces downwards and points points forward, with the shorter edge against the door and mounted on two tabs. The arm that attaches the speaker runs over the top of it, with it's ball joint facing down and the clip attaching it to the door bellow the arm. Any other way and the door won't close right, so it's fortunate that the instructions show you this in some detail. To deploy the speaker unlatch it from the open door and bend back. Rotate the middle of the window so the speaker is on the opposite side of the door. Close the door and position the speaker. Now in the course of this you'll have probably noticed the speaker is attached to the door by the now familiar clip & bar gimmick. So the speakers can in fact be removed and plenty of other weapons from your no doubt sizeable stockpile of clip & bar armaments can replace them. I think he looks rather good with Tomahawk's missile launchers but your mileage may vary. I'm wishing I had a Recon Ironhide so I could try all of his weapons!
Transform: Open the doors - it doesn't matter if the speakers are deployed or not. Remove the gun from under the front bonnet. Fold the arms down from along the sides of the car to pointing underneath, then swing them out to the sides rotating the wheels up and making sure they're folded as far out as they can. This opens a hole in the bonnet where the four was so that you can fold the front of the car forward 90 degrees raising the head through the bonnet. Move the roof of the car forward from the rear and fold onto the robot's back. Fold the rear of the car up, fold the robot feet out from underneath, then fold the rear of the car towards the spoiler. Straighten the legs out, separate and pose. Fold the doors back, fold the arm back then swing it down to the side and fold the doors back forward. Place the gun is his hand.
Jazz's robot mode is as you'd expect if you've seen the original toy albeit enlarged to deluxe size - you sometimes forget how small the old Diaclone car toys are and Jazz feels a lot bigger and beefier than the original. Head sculpt is dead on and complete with a clear dark blue lightpipe. The head is mounted on a ball joint as are the shoulders. The bicep turns, the elbow bends twice and the wrists are ball jointed. The waist turns, there's a thigh swivel, a double bending knee and poseable ankle joint. The only real oddity here is the missing shoulder mounted missile launcher, but a rummage in your clip & bar weapons should render an adequate substitute.
Undeployed the speakers can still be sat behind the doors, but they can be folded forwards as per the vehicle mode. Personally I think that this looks very silly and would happily not have them there so was very happy when I found out they were removable. But I was overjoyed when I found out what you can do with them now, no not throw them in the bin! Each speaker attaches to the side of his gun and can be folded forwards, pegging into the sides of the barrel turning Jazz's gun into a larger double barrelled gun with slanted front, similar to what you may have seen in a 1990s comic. It looks fab, but assembly can be a little tricky with the bars on the side of the gun being an exact match for the clip width and the ball joints on the back of the speakers being prone to popping off!
Good stuff, lots of fun and even the bit I was worried about, the speakers, turned out OK and to have a use.
Jazz has some pretty obvious repaints. The original Jazz was repainted as
Stepper, so that's an obvious choice simply swapping the black & white round and adding a firebird to the bonnet. As a bonus, there's already a Targetmaster available for him. Stepper's Targetmaster Nebulon was also used as Cyclonus' Targetmaster Nightstick. Cyclonus with Nightstick has already been done as a Universe toy so take the Nightstick Targetmaster, rename him & include him with the repaint. Loose the speakers, and maybe the gun, replacing the speakers with a 5mm peg hole cup attached to a 3mm clip allowing Nebulon to be hung out the window or mounted on Stepper's shoulder.
There's a Shattered Glass Botcon Jazz from 2008, which is a repaint of Cybertron Crosswise/Galaxy Force Autovolt itself pretty close in colour to Stepper. There's two additional repaints of this mould: In red as Ricochet and in purple as Jolt. By an odd coincidence Alternator Meister(Jazz) is repainted in red as Zoom-zoom (that's got to be a fan name!) and in purple as Shockblast. So Stepper plus a red version and a purple version it is! I'll lay money on the last two turning up as Botcon repaints but am hopeful we'll see Stepper in the main line or Tomy's Transformers United.
And of course the Movie Jazz appears in silver so there's another version.