Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 1, September 1984 / Issue 80, July 1991
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 31, October 19th 1985 / Issue 289, September 29th 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 1 (Season 1 #1), September 17th 1984 / The Transformers: The Movie, August 8th 1986
First Toy Appearance - 1984
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - Hasbro
Toyline - Generations
- Added a large Autobot symbol to the roof
- Added small Autobot symbols to the side windows and front spoiler
- Added various racing decals
I always recall when I saw the first signs of the Transformers cartoon going down the pan because Wheeljack's head stopped lighting up in synch with his speech. That was an interesting characteristic of Wheeljack which set him apart from his other Autobots, and the fact he had one of the best rally cars of all time as his alt mode made him a firm favourite. He was another character mercilessly dispatched in the movie and you didn't even get to see a glorious death on screen - just his lifeless cadaver being dragged off. Thankfully, Hasbro have now bought him back to life and given him an alt mode almost as cool as the original...
Appearance (Robot Mode) 9/10
Wheeljack is a very clever retool of Tracks, who is just all kinds of awesome in robot mode. Wheeljack has one of my favourite headsculpts so he should get a 10 for his appearance right? Well, no. Because Wheeljack's legs are transformed from the front of the bonnet, rather than the rear, and for some reason this makes him a bit stumpy. A real shame because his big chunky feet are great. He just needs a bit more height to make a perfect 10, because everything else is in place. He is versatile too - his shoulder pegged-weapons can be used as spanners (thanks to the C-clips) and his handgun can be shoulder-mounted, giving the appearance of a rocket launcher. The White colour scheme with accents of red and green really 'pop' and I have further augmented this with various racing decals.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 10/10
It may just be me but I really don't think that this car can be improved upon. That's not strictly true, because I saw fit to put a humungous Autobot symbol on his roof, and smaller symbols on his side windows and front spoiler. Oh, and a whole bunch of decals which make the car resemble the original much more closely. Wheeljack now has his numbers back, yay! But the paintjob is perfect, I love the classic red and green lines, and for once, all the paint seems to be aligned. Also, the shoulder weapons look like exhausts of some sort and integrate with the car very well. I could look at this car all day. It is also one of the least obvious cars that transform too, because the panel gaps aren't that far removed from those a real car would have.
The roof is raised and that allows the front end to pulled out and apart to form the legs, with the bumper forming the 'toes'. The wheels are cleverly moved into position to create extra heel support. The arms unfold from the rear, and then comes the dreaded automorph which worries me slightly, because the arms and head are both slid into position by the roof, which feels a bit flimsy for me.
Nice long feet coupled with multiple points of articulation make this guy a pleasure to pose, but he looks a bit squat in some poses, owing to his stumpy legs. He has a ball-jointed head and waist swivel. He has ball-jointed shoulders, bicep swivel, double-jointed elbows and wrist swivel too. His legs also are well articulated with ball-jointed hips, thigh swivel, knee joints and moveable 'toes' and 'heels'.
This mould feels well thought out and put together. My only concern is the automorph feature, as I worry about the stress put on the roof. I also have a habit of trying to 'extend' the legs beyond what they can, because I feel they are unnecessarily short! I can imagine a willful child pulling the legs right off.
Overall - 42/50
Wheeljack has ended up with as perfect a vehicle mode you are ever likely to see from Hasbro. And he looks pretty cool as a 'bot too. Lucky Wheeljack then! Thankfully, the same version of this mould has been used twice more, albeit with a different head, to great effect! I would recommend that if you have even a passing interest in G1 Transformers, then this should be one of the very first figures that you purchase.