Series: Generation 1 Never do what your enemy expects you to do!
Categories: Autobot Car
Wheeljack is the mad scientist of the Autobots. Always inventing new weapons and gadgets. Most adept at driving while in car mode. Likes to show off his stunts. Flying range of 800 miles using solid-fuel rockets in his arms. Shoots magnetic inducer, shrapnel-needle and gyro-inhibitor shells from his shoulder cannons. He is his own worst enemy. Often injured while experimenting with new weapons.
As one of the original 1984 Transformers, Wheeljack’s robot mode is somewhat subservient to his vehicle mode. His posability is restricted to his upper body, where he can swivel his shoulders and bend his elbows sideways. He’s one of the few early G1 Transformers capable of turning his head, though that’s a transformation requirement in his case. So dynamic poses are not happening here, though he is actually among the more agile of the 1984 crowd.
Wheeljack’s look is very close to that of his animated counterpart, though the proportions are a bit off. While Wheeljack was always a stocky robot, his toy counterpart is almost as broad as he’s tall, with long and muscular, almost ape-like arms hanging all the way past his (hypothetical) knees. Toy Wheeljack is more heavily armed than his TV counterpart, too, carrying two shoulder-mounted missile launchers instead of the single one seen on TV. Side note, though: the metal shoulder parts where Wheeljack’s missile launcher attach to are the same thickness as the c-bars used for the current clip-on weapons seen on Generations and RTS figures. So G1 Wheeljack can actually clip the weapon of Generations Wheeljack
to his shoulder if he likes to.
What else is there to say? I had this robot here as a kid, so there’s some nostalgia involved for me. For his time, he’s a very decent robot with no real flaws except those shared by pretty much all of his compatriots of the time. A very nice early G1 robot.
The emphasis of the early G1 Transformers was a realistic vehicle mode, so it’s no surprise that Wheeljack looks just fabulous here. He’s a white Lancia Stratos, specifically the Group 5 Stratos, the racing version of the car, decked out with sponsor stickers from the Italian airline Alitalia (though the spelling was changed to “Alitalla”, probably for licensing reasons). And while I haven’t seen the actual car for comparison, I can say that the disguise aspect works really well here. There is no trace of the robot mode to be seen and the car even has something of an interior, though it’s just a single seat in the center for a Diaclone driver figure. Very nicely done.
In the cartoon Wheeljack was one of the few flight-capable Autobots (inconsistent handling of Autobot flight capability in general left aside) and he could fly in car mode, too. The back wings from his robot mode are underneath the car here and can flip out to the sides, along with the doors (if you want, though it looks better with just the wings in my opinion). Doesn’t exactly make the car an aerodynamic flying machine, but it’s a nice little bonus touch. So all in all, absolutely nothing wrong with this very pretty car.
Seeing as I just wrote a brief history of the Wheeljack character for my Generations Wheeljack review, I’ll just copy and paste: “To me Wheeljack was one of the most memorable characters from the G1 cartoon. The Autobots’ resident mad scientist created, among other things, the Dinobots, the Immobilizer ray, the counter to Dr. Arkeville’s hypno chip, better brains for the Dinobots, and, in the Marvel UK comics, an impenetrable defense system for the Autobot base (which the Autobots then had to defeat because Wheeljack turned it on when everybody was outside). He is also the very first Autobot to ever appear on TV, as he’s in the opening scene of the G1 pilot episode “More than Meets the Eye”. Sadly he was among the casualties of the 1986 Transformers movie, his body lying lifeless next to that of Windcharger. In the Japanese cartoon continuity (which doesn’t include the Movie) he lived on, though, to make cameo appearances in the Headmasters and Victory series.”
The Wheeljack toy started out as the Diaclone Lancia Stratos Turbo figure. It has apparently also shared the fate of Mirage
in that its mold has been lost or destroyed, so there will be no reissues of this figure in the foreseeable future. Apart from the European Classics reissue from 1990, there are no further versions of this figure in existence.
All things said, Wheeljack is a good representative of the early G1 figures. Great vehicle mode, a good-looking but limited robot mode, and no real flaws except for the constraints of his time. To me, he’s the penultimate step to completing my original G1 Ark crew, so he’s definitely worth getting. Recommended to all my fellow G1 fanatics.