Saturday, 12 May 2012

TransFormers (Movie) Cliffjumper

One of the strangest things to happen in recent years is the transformation of Cliffjumper from a character in his own right, with his own alternate mode, to a mere repaint of Bumblebee - even weirder when you consider that, aside from his Classics release in 2006, Bumblebee was entirely ignored in favour of some variation on Hot Rod/Hot Shot/Side Burn between the later days of G1 and TF Animated back in 2007. Sometimes, Cliffjumper is lucky enough to get his own head mold...

...This is not one of those times.

Vehicle Mode:
So, yes, it's the 2008 Camaro Concept all over again. Weirdly, it's only when you see the mold in Cliffjumper's traditional red that you start to see how the movie character who became Bumblebee was originally conceived as Hot Rod. Consider the personality change (G1's Bumblebee was a stealthy spy, the movie's was a headstrong brawler), and a fiery red muscle car fits Hot Rod far better than a yellow one suits Bumblebee.

While it lacks Hot Rod's traditional flame decoration on the bonnet, he has two black-outlined silver stripes on the bonnet, which definitely isn't Cliffjumper. If anything, it's reminiscent of Takara Tomy's 2006 Kiss Players Hot Rodimus. Other than that, and the obvious use of red paint to cover up the transparent blue on the doors and rear window, the only additional paintwork is the silver on his wheels and exhaust pipes. Since he's molded in red plastic, the rear indicator lights were left unpainted... Not exactly the most fabulous paint job ever, even for a repaint.
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Robot Mode:
You know, the more I look at this mold in red, the distribution of colour, the more I see Hot Rod - even the helmet design, and even down to the battle mask - with a different face, could have been Hot Rod rather than Bumblebee. As it stands, since this model features the very first version of the Bumblebee head, it's not exactly pretty or accurate but, I'd imagine, this is the face conceived for Bumblebee, and Hot Rod would have been different.

Robot Mode brings a bit more colour to the party - as well as the dark-grey-substituting-for-metallic plastic, there are touches of silver and - unaccountably - that vile 'Allspark Blue' that turned up on far too many repaints in the first movie's toyline.

Cliffjumper's weapon is a straight colour-change on Bumblebee's transforming arm cannon/battle blade so, aside from the colour, there's nothing significantly new or different about this toy.
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The whole 'Bumblebee/Cliffjumper Common Body, Different Colour' thing was bad enough with the Classics release. For it to happen with the movie line was just daft. Then again, it wasn't until Revenge of the Fallen's toyline that new heads for repaints-as-new-characters became common. It may well be that the production budget for the toys from the first movie didn't support new heads... but, if that's the case, it begs the question "why bother?", particularly with a fringe character like Cliffjumper.

What's quite funny about this use of the mold as Cliffjumper rather than Hot Rod is that the 'muscle car' format suits the former, and has since been adopted for his brief appearance in TransFormers Prime. Meanwhile, the '76 Camaro would have been an appropriate choice for Hot Rod. Stranger still, having made the choice to repaint Bumblebee as Cliffjumper, Hasbro never released another in the later movie lines.

You may have noticed from the photos that I did a bit of repainting on this model - improving the face with a bit of copper paint, and touching up a few key points with some red (which, sadly, doesn't match the comparatively washed out red of the plastic). I even had to paint the 'toe' pieces, since Hasbro left them bare (a trend which continued with most of the later iterations of Bumblebee). Since I wasn't overly impressed with this repaint, I didn't feel the need to put too much effort into improving its paintwork.

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