Of all the various third party companies producing unofficial Transformers toys, Ocular Max has proven itself to be one of the most exciting over the last few years or so. With ambitious projects such as their Assaultus team making a big splash alongside toys such as Stellarus Prominon and the excellent Saltus, there’s a reason I find myself looking forward to whatever they cook up next.
So it’s been interesting for me to go back and take another gander at one of their earlier projects, albeit with a bit of a twist. Jaguar was the first release in their so-called ‘REmix’ line, bringing to life the Decepticon cassettes in ultra-detailed form and to scale with real-world cassette tapes, and was a toy I enjoyed quite a bit when it was first released back in 2016. Of course, the jaguar in question here is everyone’s favourite Decepticon kitty cat, Ravage!
It’s had a few re-releases in the years since, although now it’s back, back, back again with a brand new colour scheme in the form of Jaguar Cel. The second part of that title presumably refers to ‘cel animation’, as it’s being touted as an altogether more cartoon accurate release, although I honestly don’t know if that was immediately obvious to me when I saw photos of it.
Instead of a striking black, here instead we have a generally lighter set of tones and an almost greenish hue on the main body. I think the idea is to represent the slightly greyish desaturated blacks as they’re seen in the animation, but I must confess it’s a bit of an odd result and if anything it ends up looking like a bizarre camouflaged repaint homage to some obscure source rather than an attempt to peel Ravage off the screen. However, I do like it a lot more in hand than I first thought I might!
As for the alternate mode, it’s roughly (but not exactly) the right size and shape it needs to be to pass as a real cassette, although given the cartoony nature of the main form, a lot of the details that would be required in order to really sell this thing are notably absent. You’re mainly informed of what this is meant to be by those two circles in the middle and one can only think that this could look pretty spectacular with a load of tampos, but then I guess that’s not really the point of this release, is it?
The other thing to mention here is the size. Yes, the idea of scaling with a real-world cassette is fun, but then it does mean there’s no way for it to interact with the likes of Masterpiece Soundwave (or any other iteration of the character, for that matter) as it’s flippin’ huge by comparison! Still, it’s a fun curio and I do enjoy the plastic cassette box packaging and folding instructional insert all committing to the bit, too.
Really though, the main draw here is always going to be that jaguar mode, isn’t it? In this case, Ocular Max has even sweetened the pot by including a fairly sizeable cage accessory in homage to the G1 cartoon’s second episode, where Ravage is captured and kept prisoner by Hound & Mirage. It’s a very easy-to-assemble affair and comes flat-packed as six separate pieces that just need tabbing together.
As for Jaguar himself, the transformation to beast mode remains as clever as ever, producing a remarkably faithful result out of the rectangular alternate form! I’m a particular fan of the way the halves of the body rotate to fill out his frame a little, and how the neck comes together as a consequence. It’s not a difficult conversion, by any means, and shows that Ocular Max has a real handle on simple but effective engineering when they put their minds to it.
It’s also, dare I say it, still the best representation of Ravage’s original design in toy form in many ways. It’s not hard to see how they’ve captured him from a look perspective, to start with. That is the ferocious feline we all know and love, and no mistake!
The proportions and overall grace of the design seal the deal here too. All too often I find that big cat modes have some degree of compromise to make them work as transforming toys, but not in this case. Ocular Max has clearly put a lot of thought into what will make this as lithe and poseable a figure as possible, and it’s appreciated.
All of the joints move in pretty much exactly the way you would want them to for Jaguar to achieve any number of natural-looking poses, to the point where it just feels like a very fluid toy on the whole. I particularly like how you can fan the legs out at an angle and make it work with a spot of ankle tilt. There are also some very welcome touches that allow you to add a touch of personality to the proceedings, including a subtle head tilt and of course that opening mouth.
The finish also looks good in this case, with a piercing set of red eyes and some nice paint on the mouth and teeth all adding a welcome pop of colour. Jaguar Cel looks and feels quality on the whole.
So what of that colour scheme, eh? Well… I’m getting used to it, I suppose! I still can’t quite understand why he’s green (at least to my eyes!) but as I say, it does work better in hand than I imagined it might. I’m not sure it’s entirely ‘cartoon Ravage’ but it’s still nice enough in its own right, so that’s something I suppose.
Jaguar himself remains as enjoyable as ever then, but what of the main difference with this release – the cage accessory? I’ll admit that in my case, it was the main inspiration for wanting to check this release out, as I’m an absolute sucker for these sorts of gimmicks.
First thing to say is that whilst it assembles easily enough, I did find that the bottom piece on my copy is ever-so-slightly bent out of the box, so doesn’t quite sit flush on a flat surface. Annoying, but hopefully something I can correct with a bit of care in due course.
Other than that, there are one of two tiny scuffs on it here or there but to be fair, I don’t mind that as if anything, it adds to the idea of Ravage scratching at it to try and get free! The silver finish does look nice and sparkly and catches the light well, too.
It’s then the perfect size and shape to house Jaguar in, and I love the way you can position him looking all forlorn with his head poking through the bars. Almost makes you feel sad for the little blighter, eh?
There’s also a tiny key accessory that comes on a small ring to represent the one Hound uses to lock Ravage away in the cartoon. It’s the perfect size for MP Hound to wield on his finger.
I know some people will think these kinds of cartoon homages go a bit too far on occasion but I have to say, this one really is a lot of fun! The whole scene with Ravage and Hound is so memorable that it’s just wonderful to see it faithfully recreated here.
There’s more though, as there’s then a little accessory that pegs into Jaguar’s forearm and replicates the built-in arm gimmick he uses in the cartoon to grab the keys when they’re dropped on the floor. Again, this piece is absolutely tiny but works well here.
Oh, and the keys even fit the lock on the cage, so that’s kind of neat! They don’t actually lock it or anything, in case you were wondering!
Then you can fold down one side of the cage to free Jaguar should you wish, just as it happens in the cartoon. Clearly whoever designed this had a bit of a laugh with it.
Overall then, it might be just a simple cage accessory and quite easy to overlook but I still found Ocular Max’s signature attention to detail all over this release.
Jaguar as a figure is well worth checking out anyway but with the addition of the cage and the other little bits that go with it, there’s a lot to be said about this package and how much enjoyment can be found within, especially if you have MP Hound to go along with it!
The colour scheme may be a little strange but I think everything else going on more than makes up for it, and honestly, I’m just happy to have this design back in my collection again after some time – I’d almost forgotten just how good it is!
Arguably the size of it is a bit of an oddity to me too, in that Jaguar appears just the right size with some Masterpiece toys and way too big with others. I’ve always felt he looks a bit too big versus his master, MP Soundwave, for example, and I think that’s ultimately a result of Ocular Max wanting to achieve the realistic cassette size for the alternate mode.
Regardless though, the design itself is just so nice that I’m very willing to overlook such a thing these days. Is he big? Yes. Is he green? Yes. Is he worth picking up? Absolutely.
After all, I started off thinking that I wasn’t going to worry too much about these Ocular Max REmix cassettes and, well, look at where I am now, eh? Caged in.
WHAT’S HOT? Jaguar is a great design and the addition of the new cage and other accessories is just fantastic.
WHAT’S NOT? The green colour is a bit of a weird one!