Transformers Masterpiece
Wheeljack Review

Once in robot mode, there is a lot to like. The parts all transform in the right ways to get the animation model right. The head sculpt is vintage goodness. And the articulation is pretty good too – the legs can be hard to pose, but nearly every joint you want on a 6” figure is available here in one form or the other: there either are or essentially are ball-joints at the neck, shoulders, hips, ankles, and kinda sorta the wrists doe to the transformation, elbows & knees are hinged, and the biceps, thighs, waist, and wrists all swivel. A 6” line would call that hyper articulated.

So what’s wrong? Well, it must be one of those eye of the beholder things because he just doesn’t look right to me. It’s cruddy because he’s been generally well received and I just can’t seem to join in, at least not completely. Is it that he looks a little lanky to me? Maybe. Is it because his hip assembly, while cartoon accurate (& therefore sacrosanct?), looks like an unfinished Gundam? I know Tim Gunn wouldn’t approve of those metal pins showing, but maybe that’s being too picky? I’m just not sure.

One thing I know I don’t like is the finish. It’s not as noticeable in car mode, but in his bot mode the white plastic looks like… plastic. Normally, that’s not a bad thing, but all the other car MPs so far have featured a nice glossy finish for a more realistic look. Maybe the Stratos is a flat finished car, but it inadvertently gives Wheeljack a more Hasbro/toy feel instead of that fully painted precedent the previous six cars set.

This version of Wheeljack included two accessories: a gun and a missile launcher. Oh, technically, he also includes two sets of his side mirrors as they’re removable and aren’t attached in package, but I don’t think those count. The gun is a nice looking G1 piece and perfectly doubles as an exhaust pipe. The shoulder launcher is also nicely sculpted, but it has some oddities like how close it sits to the head in bot mode and how the missile is separate but can’t really be sent flying. There’s no inner mechanism or even enough friction to flick it out like a Lego one. I know I’m an adult, but I don’t care! In vehicle mode, it does that awesome 80s thing where it plugs into the roof and looks simultaneously badass and out of place.

Overall, I’m still going to call this one good. I’ve feel like I’ve certainly got some valid nitpicks like the hard to move wings and the lack of a truly spectacular finish, but it’s more that he just doesn’t look quite right that bugs me. I look at him and I know it’s just not as right as the ones that came before even though I’m not sure what would fix it. That aside, he’s well received so I’ll join that particularly bandwagon until I figure it out, if I ever do. The alt mode looks sharp, the bot mode is thankfully on model to the show, and the articulation and easy transformation make for a fun toy. That’s a tough combo to beat.

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38 thoughts on “Transformers Masterpiece
Wheeljack Review

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

  2. 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.

    1. Now that you mention it, the head does seem a bit small! And how sad that they didn’t do some sort of light-piping for on the sides of his head so he could “talk”

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.


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

  8. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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! 🙂

  9. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

          1. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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!

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

  12. 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.

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