Height: 13cm to top of head
Articulation: 19 total points - ball-joint neck; 4 points each arm: double-jointed shoulder, upper arm swivel, hinge elbow; 5 points each leg: Universal joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, hinged foot.
Colors: Molded orange, medium grey, light grey, plus colorless clear; Painted medium grey, black, orange, white, metallic blue.
Accessories: Assault rifles x2, missiles x2
Release Data: Released in the United States in September of 2014 at a retail price of US$14.99
The desire for a Jhiaxus toy has been a thing ...well, probably since the G2 comics were new. It's not too surprising that Jhiaxus would be on the list for the 30th anniversary figures. After all, besides being a major character in G2 (and reappearing in a similar but far more brief role in Regeneration One), Jhiaxus has been on and off a significant presence in IDW's Transformers continuity. The problem is, Generations Jhiaxus isn't the first Jhiaxus toy, and well, maybe whoever was looking up the character background to work out the deco sheet didn't quite know what source to draw from...
Jhiaxus longs to end the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons. Not for peace, but because he views their battle as a stain upon the universe. To him, they're a bunch of obsolete models who should be replaced by superior beings able to rise above the urges of war.
Jhiaxus is in the wrong colors. I mean, obviously. Since in the first Transformers Universe line a toy was released as Jhiaxus and was orange, black, and grey, that's what they found first in the archives when plotting out deco for this Jhiaxus. So despite being a tie in to IDW, who uses a G2 influenced Jhiaxus design, we're left with an orange and grey figure. All things being equal, I have trouble finding fault with things that are orange, unless it is that they are not orange enough, but Jhiaxus is very orange, to the Safety- degree that usually stands as the ultimate expression of orange to me. Except I don't want an orange Jhiaxus, I want one that at least acknowledges the coloring of the original and IDW interpretations, given that an exact color layout match would probably be impossible on a retail budget level. In some instances I wouldn't be super bothered about it, but the thing is, they went to so much labor otherwise to get this to be Jhiaxus, and the colors are spoiling it.
Compared to Armada Starscream, Jhiaxus has a lot of new parts. Let's start with what's shared between them. The legs and feet are the same, the arms, the inner parts of the torso, and the cannon unit are shared. This also means Jhiaxus retains the ability to attach Mini-Cons to the forearms and cannons. Replaced are the upper chest, including the jet nose and cockpit canopy, the tail planes on the legs, the wings, and of course the head. While a lot remains the same between uses of the body, it's no small amount of changes, and those changes really affect the visual identity of the toy. The new chest is made to resemble the shapes of Jhiaxus's torso in the IDW comics, although adapted for a more upright stance instead of the hunch IDW Jhiaxus is fixed in to. The wings don't have much importance to this mode, but are molded with ribs to give the vague batwing styling Jhiaxus tended to exhibit in G2. Though my preference is to fold the wings so they don't contribute to the robot mode's silhouette. The nose of the jet folds more and tucks in to the body to distinguish the body shape from Starscream, although from the front the lower torso ends up looking unnaturally thin and kind of empty. But the big deal is the head, because this is a very Jhiaxus head. It takes after IDW more than G2, with a bit more of a skull shape to the face. But it's unmistakable. And it's colored to have an orange helmet and white face, and looking at it being so close but so far off just makes me sad. And unfortunately outside of perhaps some Club or convention exclusive, it's unlikely we'll ever get a chance to see this version of this toy in the colors the design is looking for.
Functionally, Jhiaxus works just like Starscream did. The bigger wings may provide more of a hindrance to backward movement of the arms than was the case on Starscream, but that will of course depend on the particular orientation you choose for the wings. Jhiaxus's torso seems to lock together more solidly than Starscream's, but it's not clear to me if this is because of the different parts, or if its a symptom of an overall tighter parts fit. I've noticed on all the major joints that they're considerably stiffer than the previous instance of this mold. It's not to a detrimental extent, but it's gone a bit far past just a smooth firmness, and it does take a bit more effort to move some things. Along the same line, Jhiaxus seems to have a stronger firing launcher unit because it seems like the grey plastic used to build pressure up for launch is stiffer. It took a considerable amount of push to get the missiles to finally launch, and they traveled a significant distance when they did. And they were quite hard to reload afterward. This could come down to individual variation, as assembly differences might also affect this performance, but I suspect it won't be an uncommon thing.
Jhiaxus has a decent amount of paint. Some for color correction against
parts that have to be molded the same color as a neighbor, such as the fists
being gray paint over orange plastic. Mostly the paint comes in the form of
grey stripes and other similar detailing. One of the strangest uses is in
painting dark grey panels over medium grey plastic on the cannon assembly. The
way it's done makes it difficult to distinguish at a distance as it looks like
just shadowed surfaces. In fact, for the most part what the paint does would
probably happen naturally anyway just for how light falls across these parts. I
wonder if this is a collision between design revisions, where either the
plastic color of the cannons was meant to be different, more distinct from the
paint, or vice versa. It's easy to call some paint applications a waste when
they don't fall within our taste or expectations for a toy's deco, but I think
this is more on the objective end of the scale. Why this paint in this
Owing to the tighter parts fit, I found it difficult to unfold the torso
when going to jet mode. That difficulty aside, it otherwise runs as smoothly as
on Starscream. Depending what you do with the wings, such as twists and turns
to get them folded out of sight in robot mode, you might have a little extra
work in getting them to lay back down, but if not, it's the same process of leg
folding and flattening the body out. Simple, but effective!
Jhiaxus is less different from Starscream in vehicle mode, since the wings are only a little changed aside from having a larger surface area. Because part of the wing surface is on the shoulders it sort of dictates the angle of the wings. So with a similar rearward sweep the outline of the jet stays pretty close to Starscream. And the cannons being unchanged between the two and hiding the differences in the chest parts eliminates the next biggest difference between the toys. The nose and canopy are pretty different, being shorter for one and Jhiaxus having a plated armor appearance to the canopy rather than going for the look of a transparency.
The landing gear is another set of shared pieces between Starscream and Jhiaxus, and in this case the forward wheel is very difficult to pull out. Again, a result of having a tighter fit to the parts over all. I've found the most comfortable way to do this is to fold the black nosecone section down, which will bring the landing gear with it, but the strut should stay extended when you fold the nose back up. There isn't another good way to get leverage against that part that will be effective against the stiffness of the joint.
Once again, I have difficulty complaining about things being orange, and
this is a very orange aircraft. But because of that, I can't see it as being
Jhiaxus at all. Beyond that, it's lacking in contrast a bit. The tail planes
are a glossy black, and the nose is black, but everything else that's not
orange is a light or medium grey with about the same visual quality as the
orange. To explain more clearly, if you took this toy and reduced it to
greyscale, the orange parts and grey parts would end up looking very similar.
I'm not in favor of this color scheme being played as this character, but this
being what it is, it need very much for some of the grey paint to be replaced
with additional black. Especially on the cannons where I already made note of
the grey paint being very difficult to distinguish from the surrounding
plastic. Whether as Jhiaxus or not, this deco has problems that need
Starscream's folding swords are replaced with a pair of small rifles. While not sized according to the principles of the 90's, design features like prominent ammo clips and big scopes are present to tie this back to the G2 origins. These peg under the wings, and a channel to the side of the peg hole accepts part of the gun's sculpting to stabilize the guns and keep them pointing forward. The guns have pretty generic detailing, appropriate to the theme and just enough to give them a complicated appearance. There's even some detailing at the base of the barrel interior, deep enough that it's very difficult to see at all and even more difficult to capture in photography. Besides the vaguely turbine-shaped bit at the base, the inner surface of the barrel has grooves to represent rifling, as sometimes manages to make an appearance in Transformer weaponry. These guns are also generic enough that they could be assigned to any other 5mm compatible Transformer you might have on hand that you think these would suit better.
Just the fact that it's orange is going to be a significant issue for a lot of people. Few clamor for an update of Universe Jhiaxus, whether or not that may represent G2 Jhiaxus. Given that this was intended to depict IDW's Jhiaxus as much or more than G2, it's a pretty serious blunder. This is a fine instance of this base mold, and it seems at least as strong in this use as it was as Starscream earlier this year.
But man, I just can't recommend this. Not unless you're up for a major custom paint job to correct for the existing deco. I have my doubts whether Jhiaxus means enough to Japanese fans for Takara to even bother with it, so our options in this case are sadly limited. Jhiaxus Could Have Been Better just by picking the right colors for the character, because nothing else is seriously wrong with this. The colors are just gonna kill this from the perspective of the general fans. But, maybe if kids get a chance to see this in stores, the bright colors will appeal to them and they won't be burdened by knowing what it "should" look like.
The comic certainly wouldn't tell them much. Jhiaxus, despite having a distinct "toy ad" sequence during Dark Cybertron does not include that issue. And in fact, Jhiaxus is figure 18 of series 2 and comes with Dark Cybertron part 10, while Windblade, who is figure 19 in this series includes part 8. It's another not-great showing for the Dark Cybertron pack-in plan, I'm afraid...
|Date||September 24th 2014|
|Score||(4 out of 10)|
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