Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Galaxy Force Jackshot

I think I've mentioned before that one of my favourite aspects of the Cybertron/Galaxy Force line is its tendency to reference older toylines - predominantly G1, but also RiD and Beast Wars - in its model designs and, to a lesser extent, some of the characters. Jackshot, here, is where it got really weird, though... Because Jackshot seems to me referencing both G1... and The X-Men...

Vehicle Mode:
There's no getting away from it, this alternate mode looks like a homage to Brawn. OK, it's more of a Humvee variant than a Land Rover, but the colour scheme and the spare tyre on the roof still make Jackshot a dead ringer for Generation 1's demolitions expert.

It's a very compact alternate mode (or 'small', to put it bluntly) but, being of the smallest size class of the Galaxy Force range (other than Legends), that's to be expected. It doesn't have any fancy features like opening doors and, while the key slot is accessible in vehicle mode, the gimmick it activates is not.

The paint job is fairly sparse, but well-used. The bulk of this model is molded in the same dark military green, but that's broken up by having all the front lights painted (including the pair mounted on the roof) all the windows painted in a metallic red, and some gold linework running from the bonnet all the way down the sides. Also, the 'steps' beneath the doors are picked out in silver. There's no paintwork on the back at all, but the visible portions of the arms could almost pass for a pair of yellow lights. The claws are a bit obvious, folded up around the rear bumper, but since they serve as an extra fastening to keep his arms in place, that's forgiveable.

There is one oddity with this mold, though - the spare tyre on the roof is far too small to be a replacement for any of the car's wheels...
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Robot Mode:
I do sometimes wonder if this guy was the inspiration behind the Marvel TransFormers Crossovers because, let's face it, this is Wolverine. The 'mask', the claws... hell, even the boots with ginormous protrusions from the knee are deeply reminiscent of the angry mutant's yellow-and-blue uniform.

Lots more colour becomes visible in this mode - predominantly the sandy yellow of the legs and forearms, but there's also more black (upper arms, chest, head) and silver (dotted about everywhere), with a couple of splashes of red on the chest. The head features excellent light-piped eyes (though red would traditionally be a more usual colour for a Decepticon), a gold crown, and a splash of silver on his face. All things considered, a very slight difference in the distribution of colour, and this really would look like TransFormers Wolverine.

Jackshot looks rather odd with such tiny thighs and such huge shins... but that's not the only disproportionate thing about him - behind his shoulders, about a third of his vehicle mode's length juts out of his back. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem, but the hip joints on mine are ridiculously limp. He can hold a pose, but just look at him the wrong way, and he'll topple over backward.

The main problem for posing is the way the arms are jointed - sure, the shoulders are on ball joints, but the ball joints are attached to his door-wings. They rotate outward well enough, but forward movement is severely limited and, of course, there's no backward movement at all. Furthermore, this elbows are hinged at a really weird angle - great for making 'scratchy' Wolverine-like poses... but not much good for anything else.

While the key gimmick was inaccessible in vehicle mode, it's fully functional in robot mode - push the key in the back, and a huge transparent red missile shoots out of his chest, leaving a gaping chasm. For the most part, Jackshot looks better with the missile in place, but it's a tough call over which is worse - the way the back looks with the tail end of the missile sticking out when it's plugged in, or the way the chest looks after it's been fired.
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Another way Jackshot reminds me of Brawn is his transformation - obviously it's not identical but the way the sides of the vehicle swing out to reveal arms and the front of the vehicle swings down to form the legs is vaguely similar... And it's only slightly more complex a transformation than the G1 Mini Autobot... it's really only the more contemporary poseablility that separates them.

I'm not sure what size class this would really be. I've labelled it a Deluxe, but it's little bigger than the average Energon/Superlink Scout, and most of the Cybertron/Galaxy Force Deluxes were much bigger than this. I guess he's just one of those strange 'in between' sizes that seem to come out once in a while. In many ways, it's good that Hasbro and Takara Tomy have started to standardise their size classes, because carrying on with the somewhat arbitrary classifications they had during the Unicron Trilogy would have ended up causing them some real problems with the current price points.

Jackshot got a bit of a raw deal, all things considered - this tiny vehicle and its awkward robot mode aren't the most satisfying toys, and his 'upgraded' form - Ligerjack (aka Leobreaker, in Cybertron) - was easily the most disappointing of the Animatros/Beast Planet molds, only really coming into its own when it was repainted as the BotCon exlcusive Razorclaw.

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