I can’t tell you how difficult it’s been to score any of the newer Transformers in the Generations lineup. Forget about Reveal The Shield, those never even turned up in my area. There was a time when Transformers were the only toys I collected that I could actually find on the pegs anymore, but it seems like that hasn’t been the case for most of 2011. I’ve managed to pick up Kup and Scourge, but what about Perceptor? G2 Optimus Prime? Jazz and Tracks? Grapple? or Wreck-Gar? I did get Wheeljack, Thundercracker and Warpath last week, but that’s only because I pre-ordered them online and paid a bit of a premium to get them. There was no way I was missing out on Thundercracker and Warpath. But today we’ll start with Wheeljack, and he’s no slouch either.
Starting off with his alt mode, Wheeljack is a really nice homage to his original G1 version. As mentioned, I don’t yet own Tracks, but it’s really hard to believe this toy is a repaint/slight remold of that figure. You’ll hear me say that again before this review is over. No, Wheeljack doesn’t look anything like a corvette. The tools clip onto the sides of the car as exhaust pipes and look pretty good in place. I love the transparent windshield and the green and red striping is perfect. I’m still going to worry about the white plastic yellowing over time, but I guess that’s unavoidable. Oh yes, and no f’ugly rubsigns, thank god, just a nice clean Autobot insignia right on his roof. Beautiful! The sculpting on the front bumper is pretty nice, but the tail end of the car looks like it could have used a little more something. Maybe a few more paint apps would have helped.
Transforming Wheeljack isn’t too hard, although there’s some auto-transforming that takes place in the torso, which can be a bit tricky the first time you do it. Once you’re done you get a beautiful homage to the original Wheeljack’s bot mode. Again, this figure came from Tracks? Really? The only place where I find it obvious is in the design of the shoulders, and you can fiddle about with the tires to get a different look if you want. The head sculpt is very good, but then since we’ve seen quite a few good Wheeljack inspired headsculpts over the years, it’s nothing to get too excited about. Those of you who own Tracks will notice that Wheeljack’s leg construction is a bit different and creates stubbier legs to better replicate the G1 toy’s lower body issues. Of course, if you don’t already own Tracks, there’s a good chance you’re going to break your new Wheeljack figure, as the instructions show the Tracks leg construction and instruct you to pull on your figure’s legs until they extend outward a lot more than this remold is capable of. Thankfully I had a heads up from a friend and avoided ripping my new figure apart. It’s interesting how Tracks’ wings become similar to the two wings that G1 Wheeljack had on his shoulders in robot mode. Not quite perfect, but not bad. Hasbro really planned out everything with this guy.
Besides being tools that he can hold in his hands, you can also attach Wheeljack’s exhaust pipes to his back and turn them into shoulder mounted weapons. He also comes with a missile launcher (non-firing) that can either be mounted on his shoulder, if you want to go with the more Gee Wan look, or held in his hand like a gun.
Honestly, Wheeljack wasn’t one of the new Transformers I was most excited about getting. That’s probably because Energon Downshift has stood in as my Classics/ Universe/ Generations Wheeljack quite nicely. And also probably because he was eclipsed by the sheer joy of finally completing my updated Seekers. Still, now that I have Wheeljack in hand, he’s really quite a nice figure, and the fact that Hasbro was able to create him and Tracks from essentially the same mold is a pretty incredible bit of planning and designwork. He’s a great figure and well worth hunting down, even if you have to pay a couple of extra bucks to get him.