Maketoys Downbeat – Jazz
Finally, a Masterpiece worthy Jazz joins his Autobot brothers. Maketoys Downbeat is a great figure, with a few flaws, that allows me to add one of my favorite Autobots to my Masterpiece collection.
His vehicle mode seems to be pretty faithful to the G1 cartoon version, but I think Generation Toy and Transform Mission have Maketoys beat on sculpting vehicle modes. Downbeat has far more panel lines and gaps in its form than J4ZZ, Carnage, or Disorder. The undercarriage has recognizable robot hands and legs. His robot feet are positioned awkwardly and kind of ruin the rear facade. His face is clearly visible through the front windshield. But then, we’re not really here for a model car. I know Jazz is a white Porsche, but some metallic flecks in the white paint would have gone a long way. That being said, the various paint applications of the numbers and racing stripes are neatly applied. The rims are nicely decked out in silver and metallic gold. The side view mirrors are hard plastic so some care should be taken to avoid breaking them off. He rolls very well on rubber tires, but his undercarriage comes perilously close to the ground. I don’t think there is storage for any of his accessories except for the purple speakers.
Transformation is not too bad. I like how his doors fold away into his backpack. The upper body is pretty easy, but the lower legs gave me a little trouble. Both rear windshield sections popped off, but that actually helped in tabbing them into place. They previously kept untabbing from the sides of the shins. Going back to vehicle mode was also pretty straight forward. Unlike Gundog, there is not a multitude of tabs to line up.
Downbeat looks amazing in robot mode. He almost looks like he stepped out of the cartoon. I love his head sculpt and the metallic blue eye visor. Fortunately, there is no panel behind his head like on Gundog. His abs and thighs are Die-cast. There are a couple of minor missteps though. He is rather hollow looking from the sides and why would you paint the spot for the Autobot symbol in red?
His head is on a balljoint. You get a little downward motion, but none upward unless you engage the armature his head rests on, breaking the sculpt. His shoulders are on swivels and hinges. They can raise outward and upward quite a bit, but do not butterfly. He has double-jointed elbows that can get to little more than 90 degrees in both directions. His knees are also double-jointed and can get to about 90 degrees. His thumbs are fixed and the rest of his fingers are single-pinned and articulate as one unit. He swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. His waist swivel is hindered by his hip skirts unless you engage his ab crunch. Fortunately, his ab crunch is much tighter than Gundog’s. Unfortunately, playing with his ab crunch sometimes disengages the tabs on his chest, causing a red panel to flop down a bit. His hips are on ratcheted universals. The first click of his A-stance is pretty wide and the rear parts of his legs get in each other’s way when using his straight-at-attention stance. His ankles have rockers and tilts, with separate hinges for his heel spurs.
His accessories include a rifle, a shoulder launcher, two pairs of speakers, two alternate faces, and a grapple. The rifle and shoulder launcher are simply colored plastic. It’s a shame neither have a lick of paint. There is decent line work on both. The rifle uses a Masterpiece-style tab that works pretty well. The shoulder launcher clips onto his back, but I’m leery of scratching the paint. One pair of speakers is purple with some silver and white paint. They plug onto his shoulders or his tail lights and stay on pretty securely. The other speakers are black and plug onto his hips. One alternate face has a smirk and the other has a look of shock or anger. They both have that nice metallic blue visor. The grapple is white with a working winch. The string unfurls about 15.5 inches. It’s a fun little accessory.
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Downbeat will go onto my Masterpiece shelf. If that other Jazz ever gets released, I’ll of course reevaluate. Like Gundog, this is a great and fun figure with a few flaws. The accessories are great and perfect for scene reenactments. Maketoys is one of my favorite third party companies and Downbeat definitely continues to build on that cache of good will. I can’t wait for more. Only need three more figures to complete the Season 1 Autobot cast.