Sunday, December 29, 2019

Toy Review: Transformers Generations War for Cybertron Siege Jetfire (Commander)

Review:  #530
Name:  Jetfire
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Autobot
Line:  Generations - War for Cybertron:  Siege
Year of Release:  2019
Size Class:  Commander
Mold Status:  new


As the only Commander sized figure in the Siege line, Jetfire is somewhat of a special edition figure.  Thus he comes in a windowless box with a fantastic bit of artwork on the front.

The pack is a bit more standard with stock photos.


Jetfire transforms into a white and red jet.  The fast pack is unfortunately permanently attached.

The thrusters are only on the fast pack whereas below them are the robot feet.

In something that we haven't seen in a while, Jetfire has three flip down landing gear, complete with separate rotating wheels to allow the jet mode to roll on flat surfaces.

One of the main gimmicks here is that there are 5mm posts on the underside that allows figures to grab a hold of to simulate what happened in the original G1 cartoon.

All the extra bits that transform Jetfire into his toy-inspired form peg together into one giant lump.  He also comes with two fire effect pieces (that is comprised of three separate pieces each, for a total of six).

The big piece peg on top of the fast pack, while the two effect parts peg onto the thrusters.

The effects pieces looks great and really give a sense of speed for this chunky figure.

While you cannot open the cockpit, you can fit two Titan Masters or Prime Masters  on the fast pack but some fiddling might to required to open the panel to place them in.

Jetfire is a massive figure.  Officially classified in the "Commander" size class, this is a step above a Leader figure and he is really heavy to boot.

On the whole, this is a solid jet mode.  However, it is a bit chunky, the permanent fast pack makes it too blocky for a jet.


For such a big figure, Jetfire isn't too hard to transform between the modes.  The trickiest part is how the arms unfold from the fuselage of the jet out to peg with the chest panel.  The legs just extend and the elbows takes a few twists to get it out the way it should be.  The wings are fairly interesting in how there are a few small panels that fold upon each other to be more compact.  To be fair, for such a big and hefty figure, a complicated transformation is the last thing it needs and so it works well here, if a bit uninspiring.


The core robot mode, based on the cartoon appearance ("Skyfire"), looks good but a lot of the red has not disappeared leading to a fairly bland robot.

The backpack is huge, and this is with it being compacted during transformation.  The designer could have done more to be honest since the whole piece is hollow anyway.

The headsculpt is good and the figure contains lightpiping!  Although the gap for the light to go through is tiny it's still an awesome gimmick when it works.

Again, in terms of size, Jetfire is huge, towering over other Leader and Voyager classed figures.

There are a few gimmicks, all of which are non-obtrusive.  One of the main ones involving the insignia on his chest.  Normally, he has an Autobot insignia.

However, it can flip to reveal the Decepticon insignia.  This gimmick is also accessible in jet mode.

Poseability is great, he has all the joints that you would want.

The hands open, the wrists rotate and he has ankle tilts too.

The figure is heavy though and most of the mass is on the upper body.  Just something to take note of when posing.

This is a neat design and not something we have really seen before.  The 5mm peg is within his hand which is used to hold weapons.

However, open up the hand and the 5mm slot will fold away in the palm of his hand, this is pretty neat.

Jetfire's weapon is a double-barreled gun.

He can hold the gun in either hand.  A side effect of the 5mm slot gimmick is that it "wiggles"and doesn't feel as secure as a normal fist.

Most of the joints are ratchets which are required to keep the figure stable.

You can peg various effects parts onto the end of the weapon which is pretty cool.

A strong robot mode but that is not all.


To get Jetfire into his toy-inspired from, you can break extras into multiple pieces:  mask, chest piece and eight guns.

Pegging the pieces are easy, the only piece that's somewhat unclear from the instructions are the long guns that peg onto his backpack.  They don't use the 5mm pegs, rather they use the grooves of the weapon.

There aren't any structural changes to the robot mode, it's all cosmetic.

The mask fits right over the face.  It's a little bit disappointing that this head doesn't have antennae.

If you're not using the effects parts, they can remain pegged onto the thrusters.

One of the neat things is how you can split the effects parts up into its smaller components and give it to other figures in the line to use.

All of the additions are in the upper body:  guns on his backpack and the tip of his wings, a new chest plate, a new head, and gauntlets.

All of the pieces are able to use the effects parts, whether that be using the 3mm or 5mm slots.

The gun is now split into two, thinner, guns, but still looks equally good.

Due to transformation, the hands are on a panel on a hinge joints.  The panel isn't doesn't click in too hard and thus can detach easily while posing.

The addition of more black and red on the chestplate helps break up the bland white, but there is still too much white.

Nevertheless, this is a solid robot mode and the mode that the designer focused on.


Jetfire is a solid figure.  It doesn't do anything new and can be somewhat bland in certain aspects.  However, the heft is impressive and he will look large and imposing on your shelf.  For the price, which is not too much more than a Leader, Jetfire is worthwhile.


For other Transformers reviews have a look at this page.

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Book Review: Land of Black Gold

Review:  #888
Title:  Land of Black Gold
Series:  The Adventures of Tintin – 15th book
Author:  Herge.
Comments:  Land of Black Gold is perhaps Tintin’s most clever and exciting adventure yet.  The Black Gold in the title refers to the petrol used in vehicles and thanks to some sort of odd phenomenon where the petrol used it forcing vehicle engines to explode, Tintin investigates the cause.  The number of sheer coincidences is reduced compared to previous adventures, or at least, they don’t seem too farfetched.  Perhaps the best aspect is how great the humor works, with plenty of visual gags involving a myriad of characters.  The running gags are what makes it so enjoyable.  The final third is where all the action and excitement takes place, making it hard to put down.
Rating:  6/10

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Mummy Returns (2001)

The Mummy Returns is a sequel to the first film and all the cast returns, including the antagonists.  If you thought that Imhotep was gone for good then he will make for a surprising comeback.  The film starts off strong, with a good premise involving that of the Scorpion King.  Unfortunately, after the first thirty minutes or so, the pacing drops the ball and the film becomes a slog.  It feels like a bloated 2 hours that they could have distilled to a 1.5 hour experience.  This is because there are a lot of dialogue scenes which doesn't add to the story or atmosphere at all.  The film also has a heavy reliance on CGI, at a time where CGI wasn't that great, so it has not aged well.  Considering the first film was a bit more restrained, it makes The Mummy Returns feel cheap.  Unfortunately, the antagonists feel underdeveloped and underutilized, although one of the final scenes is somewhat sad considering the amount of effort that Imhotep goes into to do, only to be betrayed.  While it's not a terrible film, it's a very mediocre one.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Girls und Panzer (2012-2013)

Girls und Panzer is a 12 episode anime that's part of a media franchise comprising of an anime, numerous OVAs, manga, light novels and a film series.  The premise is literally the title - being girls and tanks.  The anime is set in a world where tanks are used in sports-like activities with official matches between high schools that students participate in.  The students take it as a club or elective, forming into groups, maintaining their tanks and then duking it out against others in mock warfare.

As expected, this type of tank warfare is pretty dangerous.  This is something that the anime doesn't address properly, we know that while the ammos aren't blanks, they aren't as dangerous as the real thing either.  The tanks automatically raise a white flag once they are too damaged.  Despite that, flipping over in uneven terrain or dropping into the river and being trapped is something that is shown to have been possible and actually quite common.  It just feels too risky for high school students to participate in...

The anime follows Nishizumi Miho, who recently transferred to a new school with the sole aim of not wanting to participate in the tank warfare anymore.  Unfortunately for her, the school revives the activity and Miho is effectively forced into it.  We learn that she's hiding something in her past, and this is probably because she is a prodigy, or her siblings are.  The plot dedicates a significant portion to Miho and her new friends.  Some of the characters have uninspiring personalities but can eventually grow on you.

There is a cliched reason for why the school suddenly revived the tank warfare activity.  It was hinted throughout the first half of the anime it was done in such an obvious way that the reveal does not have any impact.  Despite all the characters being novices at first, the anime doesn't dwell too long on this and just throws them into the deep end.  This benefits the anime because with a limited amount of episodes, the last thing we needed was a long set up as they learn.  The characters are thrust into the situation and forced to adapt, including how to operate the tanks, effective formation and working together as a team.

The color schemes start off being ridiculous but as the characters learn from their mistakes, it becomes a lot more practical.  Also, any time the tanks are shown onscreen, it uses pretty obvious CGI and it clashes strongly with the animation of pretty much everything else.  The world of Girls und Panzer is somewhat weird when it is revealed where the characters are living at the end of the first episode.  It's quite impractical but then again, in this world, driving around in tanks and destroying actual buildings is a sport.  Perhaps the most surprising is that despite the cute depiction of the characters, the actual tank warfare is quite interesting.  It layers on some strategy and presents varied situations which Miho must overcome as the commander of her team.  It helps that they're always against an opponent that has the upper advantage and it is up to her to help find a way to overcome that.

There are a few moments where the protagonists are blatantly being favored.  They would have super accurate shots disabling the enemy tanks while the shots being fired at them will all miss or graze.  For every two to three that they disable, they will then get hit once.  It's a bit hard to believe at time but when the battle heats up, it makes up for it with its exciting and suspenseful moments.  There seems to be a trend that their strategies succeed because their opponents give them some reprieve, whether it is through naivety or some sort of honor system and not go all out with their numbers.

It can be hard to take seriously during the more melodramatic moments, to the point where you might end up chuckling even though that may not have been the animators' intentions.  With only 12 episodes to play around with and a whole tournament to get through, needless to say that their progression is quick, which helps with the upped pacing.  Although the midpoint is where it starts to skip some of the rounds in order to focus more on the characters and day to day stuff, which is hit and miss.

Despite some cheesy scenes that focused on friendship themes and the niceness of all the characters, it manages to keep its action moments exciting.  The final battle with all the stakes really highlights some of the unorthodox strategies that Miho employs, and it just feels fun with how reckless some of those strategies were.  There are a bunch of short OVAs that came with the blu-ray releases.  Each one expands upon the world or a particular scene, and are quite fun to watch in their own right.  However, the longer OVA focused on a battle that the main episodes skipped.  Although you know the conclusion and who will will, it was still a great episode with interesting tactics and likable characters.

Overall, Girls und Panzer is surprisingly good, which is not what you would expect based on the visuals alone.  While the characters are drawn to be overly cute, with a lack of screentime involving male characters, and a heavy theme on friendship, the tank battles are fun to watch.  There are numerous tense moments which helps make this a very enjoyable anime.


For other anime reviews, have a look at this page.
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