Fire in the Sky

JetfireJETFIRE. Such a unique toy and character in Transformers history. The first Autobot jet. Scientist and air guardian. The only toy licensed from the Robotech line and — when initially released — the tallest Transformer thus far. The whole thing with the licensing issues that morphed the character's cartoon name into Skyfire and genericized his animation model... Jetfire!

But in truth, whenever I think of Jetfire my first thoughts are of my grandfather. I only had the toy a year or two when I somehow broke the ratcheting in his right arm. Gun in hand, you could raise his arm to fire on the enemy in the sky, but as soon as you let go it would fall, briefly swinging pendulum-like before resting limply at his side. At my grandfather's workbench, he and I dissected and reassembled the injured shoulder, and though we could not fix the ratcheting for lack of the right parts, we were able to give it enough traction so that the Autobot scientist could keep the limb aloft.

Several years ago I actually picked up a couple of junker Jetfires and managed to finally fix that arm ratchet, as well as replace the antennae that had been whitened with stress bends and swap some sun-yellowed armor for whiter plates. Still, I sentimentally maintained as much of my original Jetfire as I reasonably could. If he was still alive, I would have snapped a pic and sent it to my grandfather, but he'd been in the ground some 20 years.

Someone sent in a wonderful new transparency scan of Jetfire's box art, which has been expertly cleaned up by Ginraii. (Thanks once again, G!) Because this artwork was unfortunately omitted from the Legacy book, presumably due to the aforementioned licensing issues, I uploaded a slightly larger-than-usual version of the image than I usually do. Enjoy!


Comments
A treasure to touch up. Remember staring at this one for hours in my local toy store growing up. Always top shelf and therefor never attainable. Maybe one day.
» Posted 7.09.2015 8:29:52 by Ginraii
Jetfire is the heart and soul of "Transformers," next to Optimus Prime. :)
» Posted 7.20.2015 0:15:30 by Philip Gipson
Philip, that's an unusually strong compliment for Jetfire considering that he was in only about 8 episodes of the original cartoon and, after his introduction storyline, played an increasingly nominal role in the original comic. What makes you feel like he's Soulman #2?
» Posted 7.20.2015 8:50:38 by Botch the Crab - WEBMASTER
I feel that the character of Jetfire, in any "Transformers" media (including G1), is someone who can never be trifled with. He's got the spark of a true warrior, and he's somebody who'll never back down from doing what's right. ;)
» Posted 7.20.2015 9:05:46 by Philip Gipson
I like thinking of Skyfire and Jetfire as separate characters.

A head shorter than a combiner... or maybe a torso, but tall enough that he is imposing compared to Megatron or Optimus Prime.
» Posted 7.21.2015 14:33:55 by Blue Spider [Website]
Well, his tech specs do rank him as high as Optimus (even a little higher if you squint real close). Just sayin'! ;P
» Posted 7.24.2015 19:33:15 by Tresob
Jetfire had a bigger role in the UK comics. My favourite story is the Christmas special, where he's crippled by doubt and self-loathing and goes to Buster for advice. It's a sweet little tale!

I think it's funny that some people think the licensing issue / disparity between Jetfire's toy and animation model is enough that they should be considered separate characters. No-one seems to care that, say, Ironhide's toy looks nothing like the cartoon, or that Shockwave and Sky Lynx were licensed from other companies.

Repairing Transformers is a funny old business. How many parts can be replaced before it's not your cherished childhood toy anymore...? Is it worth killing another and harvesting its organs so that yours can live a fuller life...?
» Posted 7.25.2015 12:44:59 by Adam [Website]
I'm not saying they should be.

I just like both names and I like both character models and saying that they are one character means one character/model gets left out.

But if they are both separate characters we get to have our cake and eat it too.

The only thing I have to say about Ironhide/Ratchet's toy design is that it's ugly and unfortunate and I wish they made a Masterpiece over a decade ago after the character model.

(and on the separate note I'm not sure Transformers can be repaired. The really cool toys are not being sold by the tv show and the toys modeled after the fiction that reaches the largest audience is comparatively lame).... so I mostly just like sorting out the science fiction in my head.
» Posted 7.28.2015 14:34:09 by Blue Spider [Website]
NICE!
» Posted 11.18.2015 23:05:59 by Ryan [Website]
Wonderful scan and story. One of my favourite characters. Mainly because of the UK comics as well.
» Posted 12.20.2015 22:15:44 by Prial
Thanks!
I have bittersweet memories of Jetfire. I only owned a Jetfire for a duration of about 45 minutes in the summer of 1987. I got the last one from TRU, but unfortunately, upon opening the box, the shoulder was broken DOA - so my parents had to return it. I got to pick a replacement Transformer ; headmaster Hardhead. He was good, but he couldn't really soothe my aching Jetfire disappointment.

The funny thing is, throughout the years I got to appreciate the Skyfire (cartoon) design more and more. Of course, Hasbro never made a true animation model accurate Skyfire. The CHUG Jetfires so far, have been a hodge-podge style mix. So I was very pleased to pick up a 3rd party not-Skyfire in 2015 who will fit nicely alongside CHUG figures and the upcoming Titans Return figures.
» Posted 4.06.2016 1:00:32 by knoted
Jetfire's finest moment for me was Target:2006. He showed proper grit and even leadership qualities in the absence of Prime, stood up to Magnus, gave Galvatron and his cronies some serious attitude even after taking a pasting, and just commanded a lot of respect. I was a big fan and remember thinking "future leader"? At the time anyway! That Jetfire never really showed up again though. Guess they'd sold enough toys by then! And even with the different character model, the toy looks fantastic amongst the G1s. Glad they kept the name on that toy and the comics. I just don't like the name Skyfire at all. Boom!
» Posted 4.18.2016 13:09:16 by Benry
My brother and I each owned one of these Jetfires. We both wanted one for about a year and then when Christmas came we each got one. If we had not gotten them that Christmas, then I don't think we would have gotten them at all because I could not find them in stores the month after Christmas. We were huge Robotech and Transformer fans. I ended up creating some home-made decals to turn my Jetfire into the Skull-One fighter from Robotech (complete with changing his "eye strip" from red to green). My brother kept his Jetfire as-is -- so we had one of each. I never got around to changing the red battle armor into the metallic grey seen in Robotech since it would have taken a full-on painting.

Besides Jetfire, the original Optimus Prime (which my brother owned) and Jazz (which I owned) were my favorites.
» Posted 11.17.2016 16:04:08 by BarryC
My brother and I each owned one of these Jetfires. We both wanted one for about a year and then when Christmas came we each got one. If we had not gotten them that Christmas, then I don't think we would have gotten them at all because I could not find them in stores the month after Christmas. We were huge Robotech and Transformer fans. I ended up creating some home-made decals to turn my Jetfire into the Skull-One fighter from Robotech (complete with changing his "eye strip" from red to green). My brother kept his Jetfire as-is -- so we had one of each. I never got around to changing the red battle armor into the metallic grey seen in Robotech since it would have taken a full-on painting.

Besides Jetfire, the original Optimus Prime (which my brother owned) and Jazz (which I owned) were my favorites.
» Posted 11.17.2016 16:04:36 by BarryC
Cool story man. I can certainly relate. I have a feeling that you & I are about the same group. I say that because I have been bumping into a lot of guys that were born in the mid-80’s… but didn’t start collecting or played with the G1’s until the late 90’s to the early 2000’s. With the fact that I grew up with the 80’s G.I. Joe, Gobots, vintage Star Wars, & G1 Transformers… that took up a good chuck of my childhood. Your story kind of reminds me of my own past. Most of the G1 collection that I have are figures that I put together by part-swapping things off of junkers to make a nice figure. Gobots were my introduction to transforming robots (next to Voltron), but my 1st 3 Transformers were Prowl, Jazz, & Bumblebee. Something that my dad bought for me. I remember that I had to wait either 2 or 3 weeks to get them… which for an 8-9 year old to wait that long was murder… but I have fond memories of those figures. That & the fact that I remember my father spending 2 ½ hours standing in line at Consumer Merchandise… a mail order catalog company that since has long been out of business… to get me those figures. I have never forgotten that. Though over time all 3 of them died from wear & tear, I never totally got rid of them. A limb or piece might have gotten lost… but I kept a large portion of all 3 of them. And when I was going through my repair & restoring phase, I managed to get all the parts needed to make them look fresh out if the box. I don’t play with them anymore… but I proudly have them on display in a case that I have. I just wanted to repeat this store because I have them standing next to a G1 Sunstreaker that I have from my Oma (German for grandma) that she gave me many years ago. She is no longer with us… been gone more recently than your grandfather… but someone who I considered to be very special. So I just wanted to share my story as well when I look at certain figures, there are memories attached to them. Cool tale man.
» Posted 1.03.2017 22:40:05 by Derrick
Thanks for sharing, Derrick! And yeah, Jetfire isn't the only G1 figure I've fixed by cannibalizing junkers.
» Posted 1.04.2017 10:43:46 by Botch the Crab - WEBMASTER



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