Got to blast free, if we can !
Back in the day Jazz was the only 1984 issue Autobot car I had, from the 11 Autobot cars if I can clarify, I’m not including the Mini-Bots here. I purchased him using saved pocket money in the summer of 1985 from an Argos store in Truro, Cornwall. To say I was happy with my purchase is an understatement as Jazz was definitely my favoured Autobot car. I say car and not character mainly because I was still kind of influenced by an older love of toy vehicles, what kid born in the early 70’s did not grow up with this first of loves. And what a love it was to have for that 1976 Martini Racing Porsche 935 Turbo.
Like most Transformers collectors I’d been chomping at the bit for a Masterpiece representation of this beloved of characters and now finally we have him here from Maketoys … other brands will be available soon.
Packaging & Accessories
Maketoys presents Downbeat in a very nice compact box, pretty much on a par with Takara for quality and feel, I’d also go on to say that maybe Maketoys took a little inspiration from them when designing. No artwork here but is adorned with multiple toy images both front and rear with silver and white text on a matt black background. I like it but still feels a little too busy for me, I continue to appreciate the more simplistic minimal approach.
Opening the box up and we have the familiar two part button press plastic clam shell with Downbeat housed in vehicle mode along with some of his accessories, his instructions and weapons are contained in a separate baggie. As usual for Maketoys, no collectors card is provided but it’s not a great loss for me although I know that they are quite popular with a lot of collectors.
Bullet pointing the provided accessories;
- Two alternate face sculpts, one smiling the other with horror
- Two purple speakers
- Two waist mounting speakers
- Grappling winch attachment
- Shoulder mounted rocket launcher
- Hand gun
Downbeats Porsche guise is very nice … “just don’t look at it from the rear” !
I know, there has been some commenting (mostly negative) about this part of the car mode but the way I see it there is always going to be a pay off somewhere along the road for a transforming figure.
I have no issue with it to be honest, sure it’s not very pleasing to the eye but why dwell or focus on the negative.
The vehicle mode lends itself more to the animation model than the actual toy predecessor, it bears a more simplistic deco which can, if desired, be tooled up with available repro-labels. The simplicity follows through to the detailing, whilst not bereft of it, it does have just enough to keep it on the right side of being just bland.
Nice minimal paint applications to areas of the bodywork and wheels, a smoked translucent plastic to the windscreen and headlights (translucent amber to the rear lights) finished off with rubber tyres, to which he rolls upon very well.
Downbeats vehicle mode looks sleek (and sexy import, with turbo handling … sorry, couldn’t help myself), solid and not out of place mixed amongst his official brethren. Plastic is of good quality if feeling a little sharp, minimal panel gaps though they are there but mainly to the rear section in my example here in hand. There is some weight to it but nothing like with the product from say MMC or Fans Toys, which is down to a lesser die-cast content.
Overall a very good likeness to the animation model, the original toy and the real world vehicle it’s inspired by.
I am beginning to think I maybe getting old because the past few figures I’ve reviewed I have had issues when transforming them. Terraegis, Artifex (review to come after this one), Willis, Sovereign and now Downbeat seem to baffle and flummox me a points with devious complexity. Maybe it’s a 3rd Party thing as I cannot recall having such issues with Takara’s stuff, I’ll take 5 minutes and try one or two out just to be sure.
Downbeat does have a fiddly transformation sequence, the main culprit is the lower leg section where there are some tab issues that contribute to this. A quick search on You Tube and an instructional video can be viewed which provides a more comprehensive guide than the enclosed instructions do.
All that fiddling around soon pays off and we are left with why we are her; a masterpiece style Jazz. Believe me this is Jazz in all his coolness, Maketoys have nailed his look well and truly. He is proportionally accurate and scales well with the other MP Autobots both official and 3rd party.
The minimal paint application carries through to this mode, details remain low key and certainly would benefit from the application of some repro-labels should you want a more toy accurate look. Downbeat has some die-cast content, this is located in the torso and the thighs however I feel some could have been placed in the feet to allow better balancing as it can feel top heavy at times.
There are some very minor blemishes noticeable such as the odd sprue mark here and there but the real stick out eyesore is the swirl marks in the grey plastic of the shins and feet.
Articulation wise Downbeat is not lacking, double joints to the knees and elbows, twist & pivot to the upper legs, twist & pivot ankles, abdo crunch & waist twist and pivot & twist shoulder and upper arms. Twist joint at the wrist for the hands with fused fingers on a pin to allow opening and finally the head on a ball joint. With all this articulation Downbeat can be posed accordingly, some great ones can be achieved with some maybe needing additional support due to the aforementioned top heavy-ness.
Downbeat is my second figure from Maketoys, my first being MTRM-07 Visualizers which I liked very much but cannot say I was truly blown away by. Sure, it did fill my requirement for an MP style Reflector but there was something about them I just could not put my finger on … and still can’t if I’m honest.
However sat here with Downbeat I have none of that, no pause or apprehension, he’s all I would require from a masterpiece Jazz. The quality and engineering on show here is on par with others such as Fans Toys & Mastermind Creations and I would go onto say that he just edges Takara when compared to the likes of MP Prowl et al.
Closing out with bullet points again;
- Scales well with other MP style Autobot cars
- Enough detail to satisfy both ‘toon and toy appreciators
- Good paint applications, no blemishes or overspray
- Die-cast content
- Lots of articulation
- Nice selection of accessories
- Sharp feeling plastic can give the impression of being brittle
- Minor sprue marks
- Awkward transformation; but gets better with practice
- Swirl marks in grey plastic
- Some panel gaps in vehicle mode
- Rear end can seem unsightly
If you have not decided as yet on your MP style Jazz of choice then you won’t go far wrong in choosing Maketoys Downbeat. Pro’s & Con’s aside this representation is for me the definitive one, it encapsulates all that I remember feeling towards the original G1 figure all those years ago in that summer of 1985.
“Well guys, what’s next ? I’m up for anything except demolition derbyin”. Jazz, The Autobot Run.
Thanks to Kapow Toys Ltd, figures reviewed are available online via their website.
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