A new Jetfire was needed, a Skyfire even. Classics Jetfire was a wonderful figure with a lovely headsculpt, but next to Hasbro's Generations leader class Jetfire of 2014, he paled. Having said that, every recent toy that has tried to homage Jetfire/Skyfire has had some failing that could act as dealbreaker. DacaToys' Kronos was riddled with tales of horrific QC, Generations leader Jetfire was hollow and lacked articulation in places you'd expect a leader toy to have it and sported horrific chrome armour, FansToys' Skyfire doesn't exist yet, so for some of us the G1 Jetfire still served as the benchmark for this character. Along come Takara Tomy in 2015 with Transformers Legends LG07 Jetfire, still carrying the faults of the Hasbro toy but with some cosmetic differences, most importantly losing the gaudy flaky chrome of the Hasbro release.
Packaging Jetfire in jet mode immediately elevates this release above the Hasbro Generations effort in my opinion, and you can see what a gift to the figure it is to have lost the chrome. Like the Classics release before him, this mould has both a cartoon accurate Skyfire head sculpt and a Macross-style Valkyrie helmet with the appropriate antennae and eyeband with no discernible robot mouth. Other features include snap on armour like the vintage 1/55 Super Valkyrie Variable fighters, armour that can be attached in many configurations. There's also an opening canopy and variable wings.
There's no history lesson here. Jeremy "Ginrai" Kaufmann has already provided a definitive look at this figure here. There's even a gorgeous image containing a ton of screenshots where Skyfire is shown in many G1 episodes with a canopy on the underside of the jet, much as this leader Jetfire has. So it wasn't just a cheap faux-chest solution, it has historical significance. That was impressive, both from the designers and Jeremy.
I was sceptical about this toy from the very beginning. I want a Skyfire to be perfect and my eggs were firmly in the FansToys basket. Looks were never an issue, Hasbro and Takara have made Jetfire beautiful again. On first handling the lightness and hollowness of the figure were truly disappointing. The transformation seemed awkward too and as I went through the motions I was telling my friends how much of a shame it was. But I kept transforming it. And by the fifth time I was sold. That, by the way, is the story of our car journey to Auto Assembly.
I still didn't buy a leader Jetfire, and at AA it was the newest thing. Just a little bit too much money for a toy that looked perfect but wasn't. I love Jetfire deeply, and the G1 Matsushiro Jetfire I have is the mintiest vintage G1 TF I own now, to say nothing of the fleet of 1/55 vintage and reissue Macross Valkyries I have these days. The original 1/55 mould could be the most impressive transforming toy in history, even moreso for its time. Maybe that also explains why I like the Macross style helmet on leader Jetfire so much more than I thought I would, despite the Skyfire head sculpt being one of the finest Hasbro have ever created. The helmet is so perfectly styled and sculpted that it runs the Skyfire head very close. Closer than I could have imagined.
Anyway, I didn't buy it. But walking into Orbital Comics about 2 months ago and seeing the Japanese version in the flesh, being quoted an enormously reasonable price and seeing how good this thing looked without the chrome...change of heart. I'm still bummed that he has no wrist articulation, waist articulation or any heft or weight to speak of, but the rest is actually perfect. A transformation that grows on you hugely, and two breathtaking modes. That robot mode is just jaw dropping. The head sculpts are arguably the best I've seen on an official - or unofficial - toy. I think only the angular cut of the feet which hugely limit his dynamic posability bother me now. I think I've been spoilt, I expected a leader class figure to have ankle tilts.
When I took some of the images for this piece - a long time ago I might add - I wasn't rotating the backpack or properly transforming the feet, so I guess the image at the start of this post represents the best representation of what this toy can do and how tidy he can look. So much flak I sent his way for wearing a plane on his back during pre-production, but it is not even close to an issue in hand.
I still find the hand gun goofy, the missile dangerous, and the feet a pain. But I can live with the lack of waist and wrist articulation, I can live with the hollowness (I'm not buying fillers). This is a stunning transformer which benefitted enormously from a handful of cosmetic changes over the Hasbro release, including the stripe all the way across his chest and the red trim on his ankles. Witness Jetfire, king of the Valkyries...
It's really some testament to this toy that I've placed all my Macross Valkyries on sale, willing to let them go forever, but Legends Jetfire hasn't made it to the sales list. A toy with so many flaws and barely worthy of the term 'Leader class', an expensive toy and possibly a fragile one looking at how much some of the plastic bends during transformation. That's how good he looks.
All the best