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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Knightdramon's review of: Wheeljack

Name: Wheeljack
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Tactical Diversion
Sub-Group: NA

Autobots, Autobots, Autobots. When will Takara realise that two factions made up the Transformers cartoon, not one. The Binaltech line was originally intended as an Autobot only toyline, but the plan changed and Sunstreaker turned to Dead End.

Ever since, it's almost definite that the second release of a mould is going to be a Destron. Yes, almost. Because breaking the mould [besides Streak-Smokescreen] is Wheeljack, everybody's favourite engineer!

Back in G1, Wheeljack was the scientist\engineer of Optimus Prime's crew. He was featured prominently in the cartoon, as almost half of the episodes had a "Wheeljack invented something and the Decepticons stole it for their own profit" theme. Wheeljack also invented and gave life to the Dinobots in a joint attempt with Ratchet.

Unfortunately, Wheeljack was killed off-screen in the movie [a lame attempt by Hasbro to clear space for new toys]. The BT story takes place a few months earlier, where a time travelling BW Ravage reveals Wheeljack his fate. Driven almost crazy, he upgrades himself in a BT body and plans on upgrading all the Autobots that will die later. Cool twist, but Breakdown would be just as nice...

Packaging:
Fourteen releases into the line, Takara has chosen to keep the same design. A fairly small box with windows on four sides, utilising a picture of the toy as boxart. The box is mainly silver, with a rather large black line running accross the bottom, featuring Transformers logos, the Ford logo and other things.

On the bottom is a co-cell of Grimlock, Wheeljack's mould brother. Even though he was released half a year ago, he is in stock everywhere, meaning you can complete your collection easier. The back of the box is cleverly divided in 2 sections: One black tiled surface where there are pics of the car mode [including the "steering" wheels] and one with a fuzzy gray background [like on tv, when you don't have a signal] with pics of robot mode. It's essential to mention that Wheeljack's face isn't coloured as pictured, probably because some parts are a result of the blue on his hood reflecting.

Included is the instruction booklet [with extremely nice pictures of both modes, a detailed transformation sequence, concept drawing, story section and an article on the car featured], the car stand, this time in black with Wheeljack's name in blue, and various accessories. The fantastic manga drawing on his character's card is decorating one side, while the other has more info on Wheeljack and pictures of him.

The packaging takes 8 out of 10 because there's just not enough space for all those weapons underneath the stand, and as a result, the C. card and booklet are bent.

Vehicle Mode:
Wheeljack was a white racing car with red\green stripes back in G1, so it's only natural he keeps some characteristics in his latest reincarnation. Wheeljack makes a striking appearance as a Ford Mustang GT Street tuning. It's basically the same car as Grimlock, but with a white deco with blue stripes and a bigger spoiler. His outer front lights are also sealed.

The white used for Wheeljack is different than Meister's in that it's...a yellow-ish tone of white. It doesn't look bad or cheap, it's just different. The blue stripes are a navy blue type, and they contrast really well with the white. The sides of the car have blue stripes with the Mustang word etched in white over them.

Takara continues the trend using rubber tires [with no words inscribed on them]. This time the hubcaps are painted silver and not chromed as with Grimlock. The rear plate has an Autobot symbol and the word WHLJCK. The GT insription is wrapped in a silver circle under a red brake light on the back of the trunk, under the black spoiler.

The interior of the car is nice and complete [even with a gear stick] and has blue seats. Like a model kit car, Wheeljack's hood opens to reveal a chromed engine, both doors open, reflective mirrors are present, front wheels turn in unison [although not via the steering wheel] and the trunk opens.

However, it seems that Takara has omitted some quality control tests for Wheeljack [or at least mine]. Various white parts [mostly the die-cast metal parts] are scrapped badly, the rear spoiler parts do not connect as one is shorter and finally, the front wheels have been assembled on really loosely. Nothing is perfect, but most of these faults are really eye catching and that's a bad thing.

Finally, the die-cast metal parts of the outer shell include: entire front part minus the hood, both doors and the entire rear part excluding the windows and trunk cover.

Overall, we're getting a pretty nifty car in this line. This deco is nicer than Grimlock's and the offerings are fantastic if we take into mind that it's a Transformer and not a model car.

Robot Mode:
Many have commented on the Mustangs having a difficult and painful transformation, but I beg to differ. The only tricky part is getting the hood and head positioned correctly, and that can be done without too much hassle. Very few [to none] die cast parts come in contact, so paint chipping is not an issue.

Wheeljack has no transformation advantage when compared to his mould brother, Grimlock, but rather a disadvantage. Grimlock's head, whilst impressive, is actually well-sized. Wheeljack's head has the horns on the sides and kibble on the back, so getting it over the hood may pose a problem if this is your first time transforming him.

Wheeljack features more or less the same colour scheme from vehicle mode, with black and silver added. The white and blue on his chest blend really well with the black\blue on the waist before meeting up with more white and blue, creating a fantastic combination that's quite appealing to the eye.

The Mustang mold rivals the RX-8s in terms of articulation. There are four points of articulation on each leg, focused on ankle articulation (in my opinion, the single most important point when posing), knee articulation and at the point where the leg connects to the waist. For extra articulation capabilities, you can open the panels at the back of Wheeljack's calf and have him kneel down.

As with almost all binaltechs, he has waist articulation but I wouldn't use that too much. In order to transform, the waist is separated in three layers. The lowest one has the legs attached, the middle on has the car's bottom and the upper one supports the torso. With my experience from transmetal Megatron, I can foresee one layer breaking with too much use. Binaltechs are very sturdy but don't overdo it, ok?

The kibble is reduced to just the car floor and the windshield, but they don't obstruct any movement at the back. Actually, you can store his sword on the car bottom if you want him to go gun-crazy.

What makes the mustang bot mode impressive is without a doubt the combination of the broad chest panel and the wings on the shoulders. Formed by the car's doors, they strike an imposing figure. Unfortunately, rotating the arm causes that wing to move as well. He's not that awesome looking when he has one pointy wing on one shoulder and another flat one shoulder.

With Overdrive, Wheeljack [and Grimlock] feature the best arm articulation. Each arm has five points of articulation, excluding the fingers [bonded together]. This allows for many remarkable poses. The arms are able to move forward, stretch to the sides, bend at the elbow [both vertically and horizontally] and move at the wrist.

This mould is not shy of weapons. The characteristic chromed Mustang gun is included [this time with a flat grey handle] and the sword, this time painted blue. Unlike Grimlock's, which is painted in a bright orange tone on the outer circle but paler as you move to the core, Wheeljack's sword is clear on the outside and a very vivid blue on the core. Helps to differenciate the two characters even more.

Last but not least, the head is simply put, perfect. It's remoulded from the Alternators version to have a more believable neck, and it's painted silver. It's actually five protrusions on the helmet (three painted silver) along with two very futuristic 'ears' on the sides. The ears and the main crest have sculpted details. What I like about this head the most is that unlike the cartoon and comic G1 Wheeljack, very little of the nose is shown. The eyes are also painted in a lighter blue than the stripes. Fantastic representation of the character.

But lately, no BT is perfect. Complaints I've gathered for this mould are: very loose right wrist that pops out immediately and loose chest screws. Coupled with the complaints about the vehicle mode, it really makes you think what's the deal with Takara lately.

Overall, Wheeljack represents a more stylish, less brutish Mustang. It doesn't seem as bulky as Grimlock due to the stylish head. Wheeljack is highly articulated, well armed and can transform to a very nice car. What more could you ask? Surely it's not an accurate representation of the character overall, but it suffices. Recommended.

Transformation: 9 - Fairly intuitive, fairly complex, but not frustrating. Removing both doors when reverting back to vehicle mode is advised.
Durability: 6 - Paint already chipped, extremely loose right wrist? Could be mine alone. To give you an idea of how sturdy this mode is, my Grimlock would get 10.
Fun: 10 - Extremely poseable, could pass as a model scale care. Displays well along with gundams or other TFs.
Price: 8 - 35 euros won't hurt your finances if you only buy Binaltechs. Couple that with 15-20 euros shipping and you'll see it's quite reasonable.
Summary: 10 - If we ignore all the problems. Fantastic car mode, fully articulated stylish robot and don't forget that it's Wheeljack [this is aimed to old fans]. With all the problems, it drops to 7. 35 euros is too much to pay to receive a sub par quality product.

 
 
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