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Transformers Masterpiece
Wheeljack Review

I’m on a streak – four reviews on time. I want to go for five, but I’m not in the best place to write a toy review right now (I’ll explain that later). I needed to get away from MOTU & controversy, so I thought I’d skip to a toy line that never gets very much traction here at IAT: Transformers. If you’re reading this, I made it!

I’m not sure why Transformers doesn’t get as much attention at IAT. I think it’s because there’s not a lot of crossover between the 6” collecting world and the TF world. I love both, but as I’ve gotten back into toy collecting, I do have to admit that Transformers really wants to be a in a monogamous collecting relationship. It’s an expensive hobby, both officially and unofficially. Unofficially, you can drop an entire MOTUC subscription worth of figures to build one 14” tall bot. Officially, you can make out better with some nice $10-15 retail pieces from Hasbro – or you can really go for broke trying to collect Takara’s Masterpiece line.

I’ve tried being patient and waiting for Hasbro to do their import thing. But it hasn’t worked out for me – I saw one MP-10 Optimus Prime. No Grimlocks. No Soundwaves. I still haven’t even seen Prowl stateside. So I opt to pay out for Takara’s work. I do so excitedly. Takara can have my money for that upcoming Ultra Magnus. I easily get drawn into silly repaints just cause they’re cool (Do I need Marlboro Wheeljack? Maybe?). And every time I’ve imported one – the Lamborghinis, the Fairladies, the Primes, the Cassette Players, and the Cassettes – I’ve been amazingly satisfied. Until now.

Maybe framing it like that sounds like it’s not worth the money spent. I have to point out that it’s not that. I’m terrible with money. I kinda resent needing it. And after all the bases are covered, I’m woefully wasteful with it (I’m a downright recovering spendaholic). So, no, it’s not that Wheeljack isn’t worth the $60-80 – heck, maybe none of these MP cars are, but it’s not about that with Wheeljack. It’s something else.

By the specs, Wheeljack should rock as hard as the previous releases. His alt mode is gorgeous. A fantastic update to the vintage diaclone and a great representation of the original Lancia Stratos, including the Alitalia markings. I’ve been waffling on picking up his moldmate, Exhaust, in a few months and if anything will put me over – it’s the alt mode and how it will look great with another race car design. It’s also well executed as a toy – the wheels roll freely, none of the transformation drags or catches, it really works like a car toy should.

When transformed to his bot mode though, an ineffable feeling sits in. The figure is thankfully going for the cartoon model and ignoring the monkey-armed vintage toy. I appreciate that. And it isn’t the transformation itself that confounds me, it’s actually rather slick. Each time an MP comes out, I remember and worry about those old RID days (Afterburner! Ugh!), but the MP designers keep it amazingly simple. Like past releases, it’s easy and rather intuitive. I have a hard time getting the “wings” into position, but that’s partially due to my own fear of breaking them and perhaps being overly delicate. Other than that, I had it down in one try and enjoy switching it back & forth. Continue to Page 2…

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38 comments to Transformers Masterpiece
Wheeljack Review

  • Takara are really on a good streak with their MP figures. If only they would go back and make a decent Megatron.

  • Scott

    I think Wheeljack’s head causes most of the awkward look for me. It’s too small in proportion to his hands and body, and feels like it isn’t in the right position between his back and chest.

  • Paul

    You know, I’m actually on the same page as you. I quite like the figure, but something about the bot mode seems just a littly bit off. I think it might be his chest. I think the canopy might be a bit too long. I’m not really sure what it is either, though. I like the alt mode, the transformation is pretty cool, and the robot has every detail that I could dream of, but there’s something that just is….off slightly.

    • It’s really odd. I do like him and I’ll happily continue the line, but he’s just not quite right. I could see it being the torso for sure too. Too weird.

  • Mysterious Stranger

    Anyone else getting a broken image link on the last picture of the first page?

  • Great review, pics, and comics as always. “That’s how they looked in the 1980s!” Outstanding.

    I see what you mean about little details of the robot mode looking a bit off, but I’m still eagerly looking forward to this guy. Us mad scientists have to stick together, after all.

  • Adam

    You’re not the only person who’s knocked the unpainted white plastic for looking cheap. Your Tim Gunn reference caused me to imagine a lightly-inebriated Michael Kors pointing out the pins and declaring, “He looks like a HOOKER…!” And then Nina Garcia says something about the taste level.

    You’re at the hospital?! ZOMG, fingers crossed / congratulations?

  • Brainlock

    This car mode looks great, but I never have liked his color scheme or bot mode. His monkey arms and moon boots behind the (wind)shield chest just never did anything for me. I think the first version I had was the Action Master, and even then, I found him boring. I did pick up the Generations version a little while back, but I never really did anything with him other than stick him on the shelf with the rest.

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    Meanwhile, I hope everything goes smoothly for the Mrs and your new flesh custom! 😉

  • Okay, this is driving me nuts. There’s a reference in the review (last paragraph of page 1) to RiD Afterburner. I can’t for the life of me remember an Afterburner in the RiD line, and Google isn’t any help on this one.

    • J. Lee

      May mean Car Robots Speedbreaker aka Sideburn in RiD. He was a bit of a challenge.

      • Speedbreaker/Sideburn was awesome. I actually own that mold 4 times over (original blue, red Super mode, and then the Roulette and Shadow Striker BotCon exclusives).

        I guess his transformation was a bit fidgety for the time, but things seem to have only gotten worse with some of the recent lines.

        • I did indeed mean Sideburn, thanks for the pick-up J!

          He looks awesome – in both modes – but I just never liked moving him from one to the other much. And some TF lines have definitely not seen an improvement – I don’t buy those! 🙂

  • J. Lee

    Well never had Wheeljack back in the day but wanted. Then he was shown dead, gray and holy 🙁 yeah you can guess how that felt. I owned the Generations one but just didn’t feel right. If it wasn’t for the pricepoint I would be all over the MP line as my own TF collection as I have been buying generations for a cuz.

    The light piping would have put this over the top indeed. I do see the head as a bit tiny but can over look that. I still wait to see a Jazz MP and well gotta put a side fund for just that.

    • I had the vintage Wheeljack and he was a pretty cool toy, especially his car mode.

    • Didn’t collect TransFormers as a kid; I only had two, and both of those were gifts. Considering how the old Wheeljack looked in robot mode, that’s probably a good thing. Now we need a Slicer repaint of this mould.

      And an MP Jazz? Heck, yeah! They could get a good Stepper / Ricochet repaint out of him, too. Sign me up!

      • His robot mode was not the best. Aside from move his arms up and down that was about it. In fact very few of the Transformers I had matched my expectations of them. They always looked so cool on the box art but when you opened them they were always pretty small and just bricks and you were lucky if their arms moved. I always preferred figures of MOTU, Bravstarr and Thundercats etc to Transformers.
        MP Jazz would definitely interest me. Of the original cars from the first series all I had was Jazz, Wheeljack and Inferno. It will be interesting to see how they do Sunstreaker as they can get a couple re-colours out of him as well.

        • I was always just fascinated that a robot was in there somewhere. lol

          My favorite was always Tracks. He was stylish in both modes.

          • I always remember seeing Tracks one night in a shop and he cost £14, but I couldn’t decide between him and The New Adventures of He-Man Starship Eternia that was on sale for £15. I didn’t get either of them.

    • I’m eagerly awaiting Jazz!

  • I guess I’m one of those people that really doesn’t have nay major nitpick about MP Wheeljack. Maybe because he’s one of my most favorite characters that I sadly never had as a kid but wanted.

    An MP Jazz would be sweet, but I would kill for a MP Sunstreaker to complete the ‘Lambo brothers’. That or an MP Ironhide and Ratchet. I wann see Takara tackle making them actually look like their cartoon counterparts.

    • The good thing is that they really are nitpicks. He is so easy to love, particularly more so when you’re a big WJ fan.

      And, hell yes for Sunstreaker!

  • Rosicrucian

    You missed the easter egg! He’s got a face under his mask, if you unscrew his head!

  • Bandalero

    I think I know what it is – his thighs! They are skinny! Compare his thighs to the others in bot-mode, it makes him look lanky like you mentioned. They needed to beef up the middle-section I think to make him look more solid.

  • Ebon

    I LOVE HIM!!!!! LOVE HIM!!!