Toys / Toy Collecting / Transformers

Robots in Disguise Wheeljack

By Hervé St-Louis
January 6, 2013 - 11:26

Wheeljack is one of the first Autobots introduced in the Transformers television series and the comic book in 1984. In fact, Wheeljack was the first Autobot seen in the animated series. Back then he was an inventor whose weapons always exploded on him. The nutty professor came back in the third Transformers’ live action film in 2011 where he was summarily executed. However, it seems that the crazy Autobot was popular enough to warrant an early appearance and several guest spots in the new Transformers Prime 3D animated series produced by Hasbro. Of course, his appearances have warranted him a new action figure.

The main difference with the Wheeljack from Transformers Prime and the toy are the character’s shoulders. In the 3D animated series, Wheeljack’s shoulders reveal the back wheels of his car mode. The orientation of his shoulders is reversed as a toy and I haven’t found a way to make them make them match the look of the television series. Another difference is the face plate that Wheeljack has grafted on his face permanently in the toy. While this matches the iconic look of Wheejack from past interpretation, it doesn’t match the current look on television. But I’m not really against the permanent faceplate as it screams Wheeljack to me. One issue with Wheeljack is that he does not sport his Autobot insignia anywhere on his body.

Unlike Cliffjumper’s round and bubbly figure, Wheeljack’s sculpt is angular with many sharp edges (that are safe enough for smaller kids). It fits in remarkably well with the two swords he sports. In the past, Wheeljack’s underbelly revealed a windshield which was round although his early alternative mode as a Lancia Stratos rally car showed both rounded and angular shapes. The designers of the current Wheeljack did not use a real car model for his alternative mode. His car mode is reminiscent of the Lancia Stratos though. It even sports the traditional racing green and red colours Wheeljack had borrowed from the Lancia.

Again, as with other Transformers Prime action figures, Hasbro’s sculptors have become better at integrating actual alternative mode body parts to robot modes, minimizing the robot inside a shell look that was popular on the 2000s as Transformers toys were better articulated. It still gives Wheeljack a lot of bulk and parts floating around, but gives him a more dynamic look. One issue I have with Wheeljack’s sculpt is that he feels like a hunchback with his head dug inside his chest cavity.

The base plastic used for Wheeljack is white with grey parts for joints and smaller body parts. These grey parts could have used some highlights too. They look generic and boring. However, Wheeljack’s white armour does have the traditional red and green colours all over.

Wheeljack in scale with other Transformers Prime action figures like Cliffjumper but also looks good next to older Transformers Classic toys such as Prowl, Sunstreaker and Hound. He is a but taller than Cliffjumper which is fine by me. He seems about the same size as the Transformer Classic Wheeljack from a few years ago but with more streamline shape and much less bulk.

Wheeljack stands up quite well thanks to his flat feet with ball joints in the ankles. One can pose him in many ways and he will still keep hi balance, although some of his joints in the hips are already loose. Wheeljack has many articulations at the knees, shoulders, hips and more. His transformation was easy without instructions however, how to adjust his calves wasn’t as intuitive.

Wheeljack is solid enough and should withstand rough play by kids although his angular parts are rounded up a bit, I wouldn’t suggest throwing the action figure at someone. An eye could be poked. Parents may want to be aware of the risk. White plastic turns yellow in the sun, so avoid exposing Wheeljack to direct sunlight if you’re a collector and want to preserve him in pristine shape for years.

Wheeljack was packaged on a cardboard with artwork, personality blurb and statistics covered in a clear plastic bubble. Hi cost me about $18 Canadian although he was marked up as less in the United States. The toy should be available in most stores right now. There have been several recent Wheeljack toys in the last few years. The Transformers Classic was a recast of the Tracks action figure. I don’t generally like the Transformers movies action figures, so the Wheeljack from Transformers Prime is my favourite iteration on the character and a great addition, if like me, you’re trying to assemble a Generation One army slowly.

Rating: 9 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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