When last we left Transformers Prime Cliffjumper (in a post from almost a year and a half ago) he had proven that sometimes being the “Lone Wolf Hero” type doesn’t pay off and looked like this,
At the time, I commented that “they haven’t released any info about toys for Transformers: Prime yet but if we don’t get a toy of that, it’ll be a crime.” This was in reference to the artwork from the cartoon of the original, still living Cliffjumper not the zombified horror pictured above. Since then we’ve seen three Cliffjumper releases with a planned fourth coming out of San Diego Comic Con. What I never imagined back then would be that not only would we get the living version of Cliffjumper, but that we would also get two different versions of the undead remains of Cliffjumper. Furthermore, I would never have imagined that I would feel compelled to shell out for the Takara release of zombie Cliffjumper when we are getting our own Hasbro release here as the aforementioned SDCC exclusive.
Now, I’ve said before that each of these Arms Micron Mini-cons has gotten better and better. Then Jida happened,
Oof. Kill that thing with fire. What is this, the 1980’s? The bulging back legs, the lack of articulation in the legs themselves; just a very, very bad attempt by the designer. It’s a good thing I bought the Takara release of Zombie Cliffjumper for the actual Zombie Cliffjumper. With most of the other Takara releases, I have endured the agony of stickers, a rather long shipping time, and sometimes somewhat unsightly added ports because of the awesome little Mini-con. For the AM-08 “Terrorcon Cliffjumper” release it definitely wasn’t to get my hands on Jida.
Heck, I don’t actually know what that is supposed to be. Is that a club with two chainsaws attached? What the heck is a chainsaw club? How is that a useful weapon for anybody, let alone a zombie? Just a disaster in the making, and that’s completely without addressing how/why a Decepticon aligned Mini-con is working with the reanimated corpse of an Autobot. Also, why is his name “Jida” (jee-da), from the Japanese pronunciation of “Cheetah”? He’s not evenly vaguely cheetah-like. He also has unexplained hinging on his sides. Though I’m sure it’s for some combined weapon mode with the other Decepticon Arms Microns, I instead have given him a “Mini-con Skin Rug” mode.
From bad robot mode — how hard is it to make a to nonsensical weapon alt mode and beyond, Jida is certainly not doing the Arms Micron line proud. What Takara did very, very right with this release was to come completely out of left field with translucent plastic for Cliffjumper. Translucent purple.
But, wait, you say, Cliffjumper is red, why translucent purple? Well, maybe not. If you have seen Transformers Prime — specifically how Cliffjumper ended up a zombie to begin with — there’s a good chance you already know the answer to this question. This represents Cliffjumper at his dark energon-y worst. One of my favourites scenes from the first season was Optimus Prime and Ratchet facing down Megatron’s army of dark energon-fueled undead Transformers. Also, zombie Cliffjumper’s non-translucent pieces are done in a wonderful dark reddish brow reminiscent of the colour of rust. Hasbro’s upcoming SDCC release of zombie Cliffjumper in the “Rust in Peace” packaging goes with the original red coloration.
“Need backup?” -Arcee
“Do I ever need backup?” -Cliffjumper
Famous last words indeed. Unlike most deaths in Transformers fiction, Cliffjumper’s was well done and meaningful ; its impact is still being felt even now, well into the second season. Cliffjumper was far too headstrong and sure of himself; a common problem among Transformers but one that rarely in the TV show results in such immediate, fatal consequences. For toys, Cliffjumper was at the heart of the whole First Edition release disaster. Next to Optimus Prime and Bulkhead, Cliffjumper was the one that I saw the most complaints about regarding how much vastly better the First Edition mold was over the Robots in Disguise release. Some went so far as to say such idiotic thing as “next to each other, RiD Cliffjumper looks like a knock-off.” Granted this was usually comments made from viewing poorly shot photos uploaded to a forum, but now having both molds in hand, I can say that is utter nonsense.
Comparing the two, assuming “cartoon accuracy” is the measuring stick, each has equal improvements over the other.
I’m not planning on doing this for any of the other First Edition to Robots in Disguise releases, but here’s my full breakdown comparison starting with the shoulders.
The upper arms and shoulders are better on the Robots in Disguise release, even with the odd choice to paint the wrong part red. The section with the circle should be the part painted red.
The First Edition’s shoulders jut too far above the head to be cartoon accurate. As for the lower arms, this clearly goes to the First Edition release.
The Robots in Disguise release’s forearms are hollow rectangles where the First Edition’s are more solid looking and curved in detail, closer to the cartoon model’s. Also, the First Edition walks away with this one by providing Cliffjumper’s signature ion cannons that rotate out from his hands. The Robots in Disguise release’s weapon is a hammer/gun thing.
The lower legs, however, are the direct opposite situation of the forearms.
In this case, the Robots in Disguise release are curved with properly red feet, once you turn them completely around this very clear advantage becomes a lessened when you see they are openly hollow. The First Editions are just rectangles, from any angle and end in completely black feet for some reason.
As far the chest is concerned, it starts out looking almost like a tie leaning slightly more to the Robots in Disguise side.
They both look pretty cartoon accurate with the Robots in Disguise side looking a more compact and rounded than the First Edition. However, this is due to “cheating”. Where the First Edition uses the true roof of the alt mode, the Robots in Disguise just uses a separate piece made to look like Cliffjumper’s chest. Additionally, the transformation of the First Edition actually incorporates the headlights, bringing them under and forward to form part of the torso. Here again the Robots in Disguise mold cheats, ending up with preset headlights on his stomach while the alt mode’s actual headlights end up on his upper arms. Two roofs and two sets of headlights on the Robots in Disguise release means I have to give this one to the First Edition mold despite the slightly better looking Robots in Disguise torso. As far as the headsculpt, this is an even match as far as I am concerned. The First Edition mold’s head (or what’s left of it on zombie Cliffjumper at least) seems to have all the same detail of the Robots in Disguise.
If I was forced to go one way or the other, it looks like the First Edition mold has slightly larger horns, so I would go with that. Speaking of horns, the bullhorns from Cliffjumper’s alt mode end up on both mold’s backs but despite having the entire hood, roof, back window, and trunk hanging off his back, the Robot’s in Disguise mold’s back folds up and tucks the alt mode horns away. The First Edition leaves them like some sort of odd tail on Cliffjumper’s rear end.
Somehow the Robots in Disguise manages to come out on top when looking at the back sections. The alt modes are both great as Cliffjumper but truth be told, it would have been difficult to screw this one up. Definitely could have done without the weapon mounting hole in the roof of the Robots in Disguise release.
So there’s just as many advantages as disadvantages to each. With no clear winner, it looks like we’ll have to turn to a good ol’ fashioned grudge match to decide the winner. Unfortunately for zombie Cliffjumper, in a one-on-one match, still operating higher-level brain functions and a hammer will beat shambling, groaning, and biting any day.
Anyway, this still remains my favourite way to get around having two molds of the same character. Having Takara then go the extra step of giving me a dark energon infused, translucent version is just icing on the cake.