I (rightfully at times) get on Hasbro for the nickel and dime release strategy of releasing a half-measure version of a figure before releasing the one we wanted all along. In the case of the Studio Series Wheelie, I’m not so sure of my stance.
Clearly, he was thrown in as a bonus accessory for the already impressive Studio Series Grimlock, but it would have been nice to get a transforming Wheelie all the same.
Hasbro rectified that with the release of a standalone Studio Series Wheelie that has articulation updates as well as his transformation mode. And for under $10, I’m far less likely to complain. Let’s see how the diminutive sing song Autobot turned out.
Packaging: The Studio Series presentation is a lot cleaner than the Legacy branding thanks to more streamlined colors and character focused artwork. While the box is small, it’s still not big enough to fully see Wheelie. This plastic-free packaging seems to hold the integrity of the box better for smaller figures like Wheelie.
The top features a big wide image of Wheelie — helpful when peering through the shelves — and side portraits. The bright blues and red contrast nicely with the black base color. I’d gotten spoiled with the minor write-up of each of the Studio Series figures.
Wheelie doesn’t have much personalization thanks to the various languages crammed on the back, but we do see his robot and alt modes.
Likeness: The previous Wheelie looked fine even though he was largely stuck in a riding piggyback style on Grimlock so he couldn’t stand upright. This figure naturally has more substance to accommodate the transformation.
Wheelie is slender and definitely isn’t bulky like some of his fellow Autobots.
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Alt Mode: Wheelie transformed into a futuristic car similar to what was the rage back around I, Robot.
It’s compact and designed more for speed than taking a full-scale assault from the Decepticons. Everything comes together smoothly in the alt mode although his hood should be slightly more extended and flatter.
Transformation: Despite his size, Wheelie does make you do a little work with his transformation, which takes 12 relatively simple steps.
Scale: Wheelie was never portrayed as particularly tall even during the inconsistent third and fourth seasons of the cartoon. He’s smaller than the standard minibots.
Paint: It really felt like Hasbro has another Wheelie release in mind given this paintjob. The previous version was more accurate to Wheelie’s Transformers The Movie appearance. Wheelie’s arms should have the same creamsicle orange in the interior portions.
Additionally, there should be some grey around his crotch area although that midsection piece has been eliminated with the articulation setup.
The paint that is here looks good and is applied cleanly with just minor issues specifically some overspray of the creamsicle orange on the left shoulder. Again, the lack of plastic window opens the figures up transport damage and avoidable scraping with the paintjob.
Articulation: Wheelie’s articulation is fun as he can move smoothly and hit some exciting poses. This is a welcome improvement to the slingshot version with Grimlock.
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: Wheelie comes with his slingshot, a reuse from the previous figure, which is fine since I don’t remember him using a blaster in the cartoon.
Worth it? I grabbed Wheelie for $8.99. That’s a more than fair price for a Transformer in 2022.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
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