Vault Review: Transformers Prime
Wheeljack & Dead End

I’m trying to catch up on some of my 2012 reviews before the end of the year, so today I’m doing two Transformers Prime figures in one review.  Dead End and Wheeljack End may share the same body, but their unique head designs and paint apps make them very distinct figures.

I picked up Wheeljack near the beginning of the year as a test figure for the Transformers Prime line.  I had bought a few of the First Release figures and really enjoyed both their physical designs and engineering.  It took a while for me to stick my toe into the regular Prime line pool, mostly because I felt like these new figures were a bit too simplified.

Figures like Wheeljack helped me move past this feeling.  His transformation was still pretty simple, but it didn’t feel thrown together or forced.  I also liked the figures overall design.  The figure’s frame lends itself to having the arms and legs bent slightly.  This gives a definite wiry fighter look to a fairly small statured character.  The vehicle mode was also pretty fun with its sleek Cybertronian racecar look.

Even though I liked Wheeljack’s figure, I never expected to buy another version of this mold.  Then Hasbro announced Dead End.  As a character, I really didn’t care anything about Dead End.  He’s just one of a billion other Transformers that I couldn’t pick out of a lineup from any other series.  My story and this review would have just ended here if Hasbro didn’t lock onto one of my biggest toy weaknesses.

I love garishly ugly toys.  There’s just something about figures with fantastic neon colors that are expected to fit in seamlessly with the rest of a normal toy line.  Maybe it’s because they’re the underdogs of the paint app, but I can’t get enough of figures like “Halloween” Skeletor, various Kenner Batmen, and now the Transformers Prime Dead End.

Wheeljack consists of a sleek ice-cream white body with alternating gray parts that are only exposed in robot mode.  These areas are highlighted with just a few red and green stripe designs.  It’s a very simple look that gives the character a reserved tone.

Dead End is the exact screaming opposite, which works out pretty well considering he’s a Decepticon.  It’s difficult to even decide where to start on this guy.  His underlying body is made up of dark grays and blacks, but these colors are easily overlooked because of the blindingly neon yellows, oranges, and greens that seem to be fighting each other for the most eye attention. Continue to page 2…

20 thoughts on “Vault Review: Transformers Prime
Wheeljack & Dead End

  1. Speaking as a mad scientist and fencing enthusiast, I have a soft spot for similar characters, and have become a bit of a Wheeljack fan, so this version was a must-get for me, since it combines mad scientist and swords in one guy. Love the design in both robot and car modes, very poseable and fun.

    Speaking as a manic-depressive, I also have a soft spot for the character of Dead End (the mopey G1 version, anyway), who always found a way to make everyone feel even worse. I’m not too fond of this version, though; it’s too bright and vital-looking. Considering the swords, if they’d released him as Banzai-tron, I would’ve gone for it. He just doesn’t look emo enough to be Dead End, in my mind.

    I’m not averse to garish toys per se, so long as the wild colour scheme is in keeping with the character. But Batman can’t skulk around in the darkness very well if he’s wearing a white suit with fluorescent yellow lightning bolts on it. And for every Neon Grappling Jet-Pack Laser Ninja Batman that Kenner released, I kept thinking: “There’s a spot in that case that could’ve gone to a criminally-underproduced villain.”

  2. you know, I have both of these, but it took me a minute to remember I had Wheeljack. I know I bought him mainly for nostalgia reasons, even tho I didn’t have the G1 version. I think I had the 4″ version that didn’t transform from early 90s, tho?

    Dead End I could have easily passed by if I was told “he’s just an ugly repaint”, but seeing him in person sells it. It’s something about that paint scheme that sounds garish on paper, but WORKS in person.

    btw, who is that teal car at top of p2?

    1. That looks like Rumble or Frenzy, can’t remember which one it is.

      Great review, now I’m almost tempted to go grab Dead End. I really like this Wheeljack as his body really does lend itself to the matching blades.

  3. Never owning a Wheeljack I went for generations Wheeljack and did dig him. This review and the new TF fan has me looking but dunno if he has seen Prime. I haven’t seen it yet. This mold looks fun in bith just to me Dead End being a stunticon of old it would be neat if the others of the group get made that they had a secret combiner form you only find out about after you get Motor Master.

    1. They did make Breakdown (though I think at this point he’s Japan-exclusive, because Hasbro has no idea how to handle their toylines), but he’s not a thing like his G1 version. He’s a Voyager (or whatever they’re calling that size class now) humvee-like truck, so he probably wouldn’t make a good Menasor limb.

      1. More Takara’s fault than Hasbro. Takara apparently made him in a financial no-Man’s land where he was too expensive to release at one price point but not expensive enough to release at another.

      2. isn’t Knockout a Stunitcon, too? I saw a refresher case today that had him and Wheeljack in it.

        oh, and BBTS has “Dark Energon” versions of Wheeljack (!), OP, Megs, others.
        Starscream looks like Skywarp and Megs almost makes me want to like him enough to buy. almost.

    2. Takara are actually releasing their OWN redeco of Wheeljack as a different former Stunticon, this time Wildrider. Remarkably, considering it’s Takara, it’s not just a thirty-second hackjob G1 Colors Directly On A New Mold deal, and he’s much closer to the original than Dead End while still looking quite nice. So that’s 2/3 of the way to an extremely ungainly Menasor (and Motormaster and Drag Strip have both made WFc/FOC appearances!).

  4. Fun review! I always love your pics.

    Though Wheeljack has always been one of my favorite Transformers, I’m not crazy about this one. Though I do love the his alt-mode, I’m not crazy about his bot mode. His arms seem way too long, and the fact that his shoulders are so high up, it makes him look very simian to me.

  5. I bought Wheeljack here only because I wanted to complete the on-screen team, and, like a few of the TF Prime toys, I kind of regret it. The squat little hunchback look does nothing for me.

  6. Like most of my Transformers purchases, I’ve been cherry picking the prime figures, focusing only on characters or designs that catch my fancy. So far that’s just meant that I have amassed a five Vehicon battalion (I’m a sucker for army builders and black and purple color schemes so I never stood a chance).

    Dead End was one of the few must haves for me both because I love the color scheme and because the Revenge of the Fallen Dead End figures were literally the figures that got me interested in Transformers. A vampiric/cannabilistic Decepticon just seemed super cool to me.

  7. I found myself surprised how much I liked Wheeljack, given he doesn’t have my beloved bicep swivels. His overall likeness and good articulation regardless add up to one of my favorites in the line. I dig the faceplated head, but bought an extra Jacky to accommodate Dr. Wu’s 3rd party mouthed head.

    As for Dead End, he’s so crazy he works. These Transformers with raging, open-mouthed heads always remind me of the Ice Cream Phantoms from old Scooby Doo cartoons:

    I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that gets that feeling, but there you go.

  8. First picture at the top of the second page, who is the blue car?

    Nice review! I’ve been tempted by Wheeljack, he’s one of my favorite TF’s. He hasn’t been given much love as of late, other than a repaint back in one of thos compared to the mainstays like Bumblebee, Ironhide, or Ratchet, so its nice to see him get included in Prime and get a figure.

    Dead End is both hideous and glorious at the same time. He jumps out at me, sort of like a 200x MOTU Disco Skeletor.

  9. i bet your a fan of python patrol. dead end looks normal compared to the python patrol crimson guard.

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