Finally after 29 years, I got my grubby little hands on Wheeljack! I've been looking for just the right specimen to show itself before I committed to a purchase. He had to be clean with tight joints and most of all - I had to be confident that he wasn't a knock-off. Stupid knock-offs. Anyway, after what seemed like a life-long search, I have him!
Wheeljack has always been a favorite of mine. There are a few reasons for this. The panels on the side of his face light up when he speaks, at least in the cartoon.
The Dinobots are Wheeljack's legacy, as well as the only thing that he created that actually worked. Just about everything else manufactured by Wheeljack kind of blew up or didn't work. It was kind of his deal.
Things fared a little differently in the comics. Thanks to the hard work and keen intellect that only Wheeljack possessed, the Autobots were able to add the 1985 assortment of cars to their ranks. Wheeljack also designed the Aerialbots and their combined form of Superion. After that, he was pretty much just a background guy. Sure, he tried to talk some people into overthrowing Grimlock's leadership, but that was really about it. The most interesting thing he did after this was make a funny face when he realized that a destroyed Optimus Prime was still alive after his fight with Unicron.
|Seriously, I love Andrew Wildman. tfwiki.net|
Anyway, let's get on to the actual figure. Until Wheeljack showed up on my doorstep, I had never seen one in person. My first and, up to this point, only Wheeljack was the Action Master version that I know longer own.
Wheeljack's alt-mode is that of a Lancia Stratos Turbo, an Italian car that I would have told you was made up if you had asked me about it when I was a kid.
|Seriously, it looks fake|
|This is a toy, not the real car|
This specimen is pretty white, which is a relief. I'm always worried about buying any figures that are white due to yellowing and just plain old dirt issues. There's nothing worse that getting a figure and having to do a waay too thorough cleaning just to get rid of smudges and the like. This is a pre-rubsign version, which means he's early in the run. I didn't save the picture, but Wheeljack is stamped "Takara Co. Ltd. 1980, 1982 Japan", which makes me very happy. I think that this is currently the earliest Transformer release that I own.
The decals aren't in the best of shape, but that's a matter of some reprolabels. As you can see, they were applied haphazardly by the original owner. I'm assuming that the original owner was 8 or 9 when they applied the decals, but I can never be sure. There is also a bit of chipping on the front of the car mode, but that's something I can overlook. Amazingly, the only die-cast on Wheeljack is at the front of the car. For some reason, I was expecting it to be at the back which doesn't make sense once you transform him.
Articulation on Wheeljack is limited to his arms moving up and down and, thanks to his transformation scheme, his head can turn left and right. The panels on the sides of his face, sadly, do not light up. How awesome would that have been?
With the addition of Wheeljack to my collection, I now have every Autobot car released from 1984-85. There are still the rest of the Omnibots and the Deluxe Autobots to get, but as far as the subcategory "Autobot Cars", that box is completely filled. And I must say, that makes me happy. It's nice to get subgroups complete. Also, I now have every 1984-released figure now. Onward, to finishing 1985! I'll leave you with a picture of Wheeljack with his Brigade.
|Charge of the Wheeljack Brigade|