Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cliffjumper (Robots in Disguise)

When the Transformers: Prime toys first hit my local Target a few months back, I’d thought I’d give the line a try -- being a hardcore TF fan, after all -- and decided to pick up a deluxe class figure.  Of the available offerings, I narrowed my choices down to the Prime versions of Cliffjumper and Wheeljack.  I ultimately went with Cliff because I had acquired the Generations Wheeljack not long before and, hey, The Rock voiced the character in the series.

Before even getting into the finer details of this particular figure, note that two factors make the Robots in Disguise subline less appealing than past Transformers deluxe assortments. Firstly, these figures are regularly retailing for about $15, a noted increase from just a few years back when 10 bucks was been the norm (and had been for over a decade). Secondly, these figures are noticeably smaller in robot mode than what buyers are typically used to for this scale. Those two factors can make it hard for buyers to rationalize picking up some Robots in Disguise deluxes on a whim.

Cliffjumper here is a decent -- albeit not spectacular -- figure. In vehicle mode, Cliff is a red muscle car that’s pretty close in scale to that of the Generation One Autobots, interestingly enough. In robot mode, it becomes another example of one of my Transformers design pet peeves -- that is, when that mode is sculpted to create the illusion that certain vehicle mode pieces move into certain places, instead of actually making the toy convert properly to replicate the characters’ look (this is usually done to make a TF resemble its animation model more). Unlike the hard-to-find First Edition Cliffjumper which utilizes a more accurate transformation scheme, this toy is mainly concerned with matching the character’s look in the cartoon. With Prime Cliffjumper, the car hood is supposed to become his chest, but on this figure a fake hood is sculpted onto the torso while the real hood flips behind the toy’s back. Very little of the car mode carries over to the robot mode; the main exception is the car doors, which ingenuously fold up to become the figure’s forearms. Unfortunately, unlike in the cartoon (and on the “First Edition” toy), the arms don’t house the character’s guns. Instead, Cliff here comes with an engine block mace, which can fit in either hand or can be affixed to the car mode roof or rear right side panel.

If you’re looking for the Prime Cliffjumper toy that matches his look in the series the most, then the Robots in Disguise figure is the one to get. However, I found it underwhelming. Yeah, the vehicle is nicely done, but the designers’ dedication to matching the animation model takes a lot of fun out of the conversion process for me. Aside from the arms, the car mode pieces flip on the figures back and rotate on the shin sides, and that’s it. The fact that it’s comparatively tiny to past Transformers deluxes also makes the Robots in Disguise Cliff a hard purchase to swallow. Too bad that the First Edition Prime figures are so rare, as that line’s version of the character looks like the cooler toy.


  1. I think he looks pretty solid.

  2. Yeah smaller, but I think more intricate in their design, which is fun.

  3. Wow, I didn't even realize you still had publication permission here AJ.