Although there’d be some cool additions in subsequent seasons, nothing could top Transformers’ first year. This was some of the more defining cartoons of my childhood and they hold up pretty well. The concept was amazing to me and I loved all the characters. Wheeljack was an easy one to love. He was the brainy one whose well-meaning efforts always ended up causing more problems for Prime and the others. Every so often he’d come up with an awesome idea like making Dinobots so it was all good.
Playing through Transformers Devastation was a nice reminder of how great Wheeljack is as a character. And that I’d had the Takara Masterpiece figure patiently waiting on me to review.
Packaging: The Transformers Masterpiece packaging line is not game-changing. It shows what the figure should look like in its various modes, how it scales with other figures and the accessories. All very helpful illustrations.
Still, I wish the setup provided a window so we could actually see the figure. Given the crossover appeal of these figures, an English bio would be nice as well, but I get why it’s not included.
Likeness: Takara Tomy continues to masterfully capture that vintage 80s look with 2015 design implementation. The result looks great and Wheeljack seems like he just rolled out of The Ark ready for action.
It’s hard to decide which is the more impressive as I really like the vehicle mode as well. The rear view mirrors come packaged so you’ll need to put them on. I’m just glad I don’t have to put on a ton of stickers.
Scale: I’m loving the various scales of the figures. Wheeljack is taller than fellow regular size cars like Sideswipe and Prowl, but shorter than Ironhide and Optimus Prime.
Paint: As one of the four race car Autobots from the original set, Wheeljack is pretty colorful with his sleek white, red and green color scheme. The paint scheme isn’t overly complex, but the line work could have been tricky with bleeding of the red and green onto the white. Fortunately no issues there.
I would have liked a lighter blue for the eyes to give that spark of life look. They’re hard to make out in the dark grey section. Unlike the cartoon version, his joint areas are painted black instead of grey. Black is more striking, but I wonder if grey would have looked better. With the white pieces molded in white plastic there’s not the kind of sheen you’ve seen in other figures. Compare the white on Prowl to Wheeljack and you’ll notice the difference.
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Ease of Transformation: For some of the Takara Tomy Transformers, I’ve had to diligently pore over the instructions 5-6 times before dutifully watching YouTube videos on the transformation. Part of that is simply the result of not wanting to break an $80 figure. And in other cases, it’s a more complex transformation than I envisioned.
Wheeljack was the first Masterpiece figure whose transformation made sense every step of the way. I didn’t even need the instructions and he was a lot of fun to see come together.
Articulation: Wheeljack has some of the more fluid movement of most of my Masterpiece figures. I love how the aesthetics don’t come at the expense of having a fully functional action figure. Unlike my Prowl there’s no loose joints and he can tightly hold his pistol. Thanks to his big foot platforms, he’s stable enough to hit some deep poses and support himself well.
- ball jointed shoulders
Accessories: I never feel like I’m getting cheated with this line thanks to sensible accessory inclusions. He doesn’t have an overwhelming amount with his pistol and shoulder cannon. The missile plugs in, but does not shoot out.
Worth it? Wheeljack clocks in at around $75. I never feel like I’m not getting what I pay for with this line. Sure, it’s not as budget friendly as the line you’ll find at retail, but it delivers.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Where to find it? You’re not going to find these at Toys R Us or Target, which is another factor in the cost, but you can order him and most of the Masterpiece line from Amazon.com or find a good deal on eBay.