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"Rust in Peace" Cliffjumper

Transformers: Prime
by yo go re

Last year when the Transformers Prime First Edition toys were coming out, I had a plan: skip FE Cliffjumper in favor of the mass release, and get the "Terrorcon" Cliffjumper in order to not repeat molds. Then the First Edition line went belly-up, the Terrorcon version got cancelled worldwide, and I was out of luck. Until SDCC!

His frame shattered and his Spark destroyed, the once proud Autobot warrior Cliffjumper lay broken on the floor of a Decepticon base, doomed to rust and ruin. But then, with diabolical cruelty, Megatron devised a fate worse than deactivation for the brave Autobot. Plunging a shard of Dark Energon deep into his wrecked body, the Decepticon leader returned Cliffjumper to an agonizing semblance of life, turning the brave soldier into a mindless monster bent only on destruction.

Welp, spoilers! Hope you already knew how the first few episodes of Prime went, or else that just blew the reveal. Of course, when you're selling a zombie version of a main character, it's kind of unavoidable.

While most of this figure's mold is identical to the First Edition figure, the head is new. To fully convey his undead nature, Cliffjumper has a torn-up face and one of his horns is cracked off. The right side of his face is shredded, making the mouth and eye larger on that side than on the other - just like when a zombie has skin ripped away to expose his eye socket and teeth.

The robot itself looks very strong. He doesn't quite have the bulk that CJ had in the cartoon, but the designers certainly tried. The forearms and shoulders in particular are huge, and his chest is broad and square. Amazingly, most of the car kibble in this mode is actually made from pieces of car, rather than being sculpted for appearances: for instance, his chest really is the roof of the vehicle, and the front bumper wraps around his waist in the most clever manner! The only things that end up being faked are the hooks on his shoulders and the tires on the backs of his thighs. His lower legs are very blocky, but his feet still look like hooves.

Cliffjumper gets a ton of articulation, and a lot of it is balljoints, which is why you can get him in such a good "shambling zombie" pose (as seen at the top of the page). He doesn't include any weapons, but his hands flip around to become cannons, just like on the show. Neat! The set also includes some exclusive accessories: a large shard of Dark Energon crystal, and a smaller shard with energy trails crackling out of it. The large one is just a showpiece - the small one, though, is meant to fit on the figure's chest, demonstrating the way he was brought back to life.

It's interesting to compare and contrast the conversion process between this figure and the standard version: for instance, on both of them the sides of the car fold in half to form limbs, but on this one it's the legs and over there it was arms. Consequently, the arms are in the trunk here, while on the previous release, it was the feet. So basically, the engineering has some similarities, but none of it is a direct copy.

This Cliffjumper's red is slightly darker than the "live" version, and he's been given several paint apps to create battle damage or wounds or whatever you want to consider them. There are (painted) holes in the roof, trunk, hood, driver's side fenders and passenger's side door, plus a silver spiderweb of cracked glass on the windshield. It's just a shame they couldn't find a way to "crack" the cow horns on the hood, to match the ones on his head. The First Edition mold is larger than the one you can buy in stores, and doesn't have any ports for plug-in weapons.

Cliffjumper's packaging is awesome! Before the show, Hasbro touted the fact that Cliffjumper would come in a clamshell designed to look like his own zombified head, and indeed he does. The figure rests in a tray beneath a thin cardboard frame, but when you turn it around, you get his head. It's a lot like last year's Swamp Thing, honestly. Anyway, the decoration on the head is very nice, with translucent purple for his wounds, silver on the horns and face, and a dark red for the rest. Then there is a faint silver drybrushing to create scrapes, and a few painted shadows on the edges. It's great. But it's not all.

What Hasbro failed to mention before the show was the box this fancy shell would come in. It's a much plainer affair, just folded cardboard, but it's printed to look like Cliffjumper's damaged chest. So take the head out of the box, close the lid, and drop the head on top of the shoulders, and you have an entire bust. How awesome is that!

As we said in the Bruticus review, Cliffjumper was a fairly slow seller. Why? Well, partially because the First Edition mold had already been released (in very limited numbers) and a "Terrorcon" variant had already been released in Japan... but also because at their panel, Hasbro announced that Toys Я Us would be importing a bunch of otherwise-missing toys... including Terrorcon Cliffjumper. This exact figure, just in normal packaging and without the Dark Energon pieces. So really, you could buy him at SDCC, or wait a few months and save a few dollars. The toy is good either way, so you just have to decide if the fancy packaging and the extra accessories matter to you or not.

-- 08/21/12


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