A few weeks back I hit the mother lode of Transformers: Prime figures at Ross and I’m still making my way through them. I think Wheeljack here is the second to the last that I have yet to feature. I did pick up an extra Vehicon, which I couldn’t resist for $5.99, but I already looked at the Vehicon quite a while ago so there’s no need to revisit him. Tonight, I have
to go out with friends and get shitfaced a social obligation, so let’s get right to the good stuff…
It’s quite possible that this will be the last time we look at the Transformers: Prime Deluxe packaging here on FigureFan Zero. I liked it a lot. While I never would have guessed that a white card could have conveyed the Transformers brand all that well, Hasbro knew what they were doing here because they’re very attractive cards. Every time I walked into the toy aisle and saw the pegs full of this packaging, my eyes would be drawn to them… and then I would wish they weren’t all goddamn Bumblebees. Wheeljack’s character art is ok, but nothing exceptional. The back of the card shows some shots of the toy and has Wheeljack’s little bio blurb. As with all the Deluxes that I picked up at Ross, this figure comes with an episode of the series on DVD and they have all been the same one: “Loose Cannons.” Still, the DVD can easily be re-purposed into something useful.
I will admit, that it’s an appropriate episode to include with this figure since it was the one which introduced Wheeljack to the show. I didn’t care much for his character in Prime. I would rather they wrote Wheeljack as some kind of eccentric science nerd hanging out with Ratchet than be a former Wrecker ass-kicker. Nevertheless, there’s enough of a G1 homage in the design to make me want the figure. Anyway, Wheeljack comes carded in his vehicle mode, and that is where we will start!
Hells yeah! That’s an awesome car mode. Wheeljack’s alt form is a dead sexy sports car with curves in all the right places. He locks together well and rolls along great. My only complaint here is it almost looks as if Wheeljack is missing his front bumper. The reason is so that you can attach his twin swords to the front of the car, which I’ll admit is a cool gimmick. You can also attach his swords to the peg holes on the back sides of the car. They don’t seem like they would be very effective weapons when pegged back there, but they do look cool there. I’m also happy to report that the plastic here feels so much better than some of the other TF: Prime Deluxes in my collection.
Wheeljack’s deco shows just how far these TF:Prime Deluxes have come since Bumblebee. The bare white plastic looks great as do the crisp red and green paint apps. He’s also got a clear blue tinted windshield. Even his tail lights are painted, which may sound like a simple thing, but it’s practically a high-end perk when it comes to these TF: Prime Deluxes. Everything about this car mode really evokes the G1 character to me.
Transforming Wheeljack is pretty straight forward, although there are a few clever things going on with his arms and legs. It actually took me a few moments to figure out how to do his lower legs and once I realized what was going on I had one of those great “gee whiz” moments when you discover how the engineering works for the first time.
In robot mode, the G1 Wheeljack homage continues along quite well. The head sculpt is the Wheeljack I know and love only with a little bit of a stylized twist. In the cartoon he has a regular mouth and a face plate for battle and I’m very glad that Hasbro sculpted the figure with the face plate deployed. The curvy car panels look great on his arms and legs and I’m digging the addition of the two panels that rise up from behind his head. Yeah, his proportions are a little off, he’s got a case of the monkey arms, and the windshield kibble hanging off his arms is a little awkward, but the figure still looks great. Wheeljack can hold his swords in both hands.
Wheeljack is some kind of bad-ass Wrecker, so you’d expect him to have decent articulation and his figure delivers. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips, and ankles. The arms have hinges just below the shoulder and again at the elbows. The wrists have both swivels and hinges. The knees have ratcheting hinges.
The deco in robot mode is more or less the same as his car mode. Again, the base white plastic looks great, as does the red and green paint apps. I was a little upset that he didn’t come with a faction symbol. I know that Hasbro has left them out of some other recent figures while they’re present on the package figure shots. In this case, however, he doesn’t have any on the package pics and I’m thinking there’s some reason in the series that he doesn’t have one? Either way, I dipped into my file of repro labels and gave him an Autobot insignia anyway.
Wheeljack is a great figure and everything about him shows how far the TF: Prime line has come since the beginning. There’s nothing about this toy that feels it was a victim of Hasbro’s cost-cutting cutbacks. The plastic looks and feels great, the paint apps are good, and the engineering is clever and delivers a satisfying transformation. He feels like the quality of figure we used to get a few years back before all this “holy shit, plastic is expensive” nonsense. If you’re a fan of the show or just love G1 Wheeljack, I think there’s something to love about this figure for everyone. The joke is for every five visits I make to Ross, I probably only find something worthwhile a couple of times. But, if Wheeljack hadn’t turned up there I probably never would have owned him and that makes me want to keep checking. At least there’s a Five Guys Hamburgers next door, so it’s never a wasted trip.