Monday, December 9, 2013

Pre-rub Wheeljack

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.
But most importantly, Wheeljack is responsible (in the cartoon at least) for the creation of some of the most popular Transformers ever - the Dinobots.

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.
Wheeljack actually did more than I thought in the IDW series.  Looking at his TFWiki profile, Wheeljack was apparently involved from just about the beginning.  I just don't remember him doing anything of much up until Robots in Disguise; maybe it's because all of the major league science stuff was being done by Jetfire and the Technobots.  Or maybe it's because I have a faulty memory.  Still, when I think of Wheeljack in an IDW comic, I think of Prowl shooting him in the head.  Which is kind of unfair, but it's still true.

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.
It's hard to imagine that I went 29 years without at least seeing a Wheeljack, but there it is.  The kids that I knew who were into Transformers seemed to just have what I had.  Whatever the case, he's now in my possession.

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
Comparing the two pictures, it's obvious that Takara left out quite a few of the sponsor decals on ol' Wheeljack.  Looking at the real car, I can't help but wish that Takara would squeeze out one more GT-R figure so they could do Wheeljack.  Maybe the Masterpiece figure will have all of the sponsors?  I doubt it, since he'll be cartoon accurate.  Where was I?

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.

Mad scientist?
 Speaking of transforming, here is Wheeljack in robot mode.  He's shorter than I imagined.  I knew he wouldn't be tall, judging from every other 1984 car that I've ever owned, but man.  He's not as short as Hound, he's actually about average height for a 1984 Autobot.  I think that the length of his arms coupled with the fact that his legs actually don't really show make Wheeljack seem shorter than he actually is.  As you can see, Wheeljack also has two ginormous cannons that mount on his shoulders.  In the cartoon, he was only ever shown with one shoulder mounted launcher.

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


  1. I've never seen that real world image of the car Wheeljack is based on...nice. Love the red wheels. Too bad Takara didn't take that route. I seriously can't wait to see what his Masterpiece toy will look like.

    1. I still don't think that the Lancia is a real car. Just look at it, it looks like something out of a cartoon. As for MP Wheeljack, man I cannot wait to see the preview images. I already have him preordered, but I still can't wait to see what he looks like.