Alternate Mode: Sports Car
Height: 4cm Length: 13cm Width: 6.5cm
A white curvy sports car with red and green patterns on the hood, roof and doors, Wheeljack takes his colours from his G1 namesake. He has a transparent blue wrap around window, although it's difficult to see through. His tyres are black with silver painted hubcaps while the engine cowling behind the roof is dark grey. His taillights are red are yellow, rounding out a fairly simple but effective colour scheme. The G1 tribute is very strong & obvious here; from the lines of the vehicle to the red & green detailing.
This is a sleek sports car and while it's not a Lancia, it really does feel a lot like G1 Wheeljack. The biggest difference is that there's no racing number here. The spoiler is quite similar although narrower. The sculpt is fairly stylised although still has some detailing such as headlight seams and side mirrors. There are awkward gaps at the front underneath his hood (essentially where the grille should be); a relic of his transformation, but unusual in modern Transformers.
There's some play value here, which is mostly formulaic. The wheels roll of course and the silver & grey sword can attach in two places. The most conventional - and better looking - option is to plug them into holes on the rear fenders, so they sit just above the rear wheels. This is more of a storage option as they don't protrude at all, but still looks like he's armed and ready to go. The other is to plug them into notches inside those gaps on the front - effectively making Wheeljack a sports car with tusks. It's distinctive & unusual, and gives them more use as weapons, but looks really weird.
Despite the gaps at the front this is a good car mode. The detailing isn't fantastic but the tribute works well & he looks good. The weapons have some use and the vehicle mode is nice and sleek.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Remove and set aside the swords. Split the front and pull the halves underneath as legs. Rotate the insides of the hood halves 180° rotate the outer halves inwards, slide up to form his boots, fold up his feet & pivot his shins. Grasp the rear fenders & pull out to form his shoulders, which will also split the windshield. Swing down the roof and pivot the head into position. Pivot the winglets behind his head into position, swing up the shoulders. Pull the windshield halves inwards, rotate to move his hands into position & push them back out. Give Wheeljack his swords and you're done.
Height: 15cm Width: 9.5cm
A white robot with sone dark grey elements such as his feet and hands, Wheeljack has a silver face with the distinct ears & mouthplate seen on his G1 namesake. There's some red & green on his chest and shins but it's far less prominent now. This is actually a somewhat bland colour scheme, although it's not underdone - he's just predominantly white with little colour. Having said that the mix of white, grey & silver works well. The G1 tribute is fairly strong despite the relative lack of the red & green elements here.
Aside from the face - which strongly evokes G1 Wheeljack, there isn't all that much that stands out visually here. The shoulders actually have a cool trick here; the fenders are actually on top of his shoulders (the arms essentially fold down while the fenders stay in place during transformation), but this doesn't add much visually. The shins work well & also remind of his G1 namesake. There are kneespikes which tend to look like they're just part of his thighs; they're unable to protrude much. While these features are all subtle, they're enough to make sure Wheeljack looks good even if he's fairly understated.
Wheeljack doesn't get much play value - just his swords and poseability. Having said that the poseability is very good. His head, shoulders, wrists, hips and ankles are ball jointed, although the head and ankles are somewhat restricted. His elbows and knees are hinged (neither feature rotators but there are rotators in his thigh to allow more leg motion). The waist is fixed and elbow rotators would be nice, but the ball jointed wrists make up for his elbows anyway. His swords fits into either hand - or can plug into the shoulders if you prefer, although the holes are for vehicle mode. They don't do anything more than sit in his hands, but he's poseable enough that they provide a bunch of cool swashbuckling poses. In my opinion that beats out another silly sound gimmick.
A well designed but understated robot mode. There's nothing fancy here but it's a great robot mode. The head is a good modern update of the Wheeljack concept - it's complimented by the red & green elements too. The poseability & swords combine to give Wheeljack some useful play value without resorting to anything gimmicky. The colour scheme is quite neutral overall but still works rather well.
Takara's version features a few shades changes, an extra weapon and posts on the spoiler. A limited release repaint was done in transparent blue.
I'll admit that part of the appeal of this toy for me is the strong G1 tribute; but Wheeljack has two well designed modes, a clever transformation & a muted but well thought out colour scheme. The G1 tribute here is pronounced but means the toy has a focussed design. His play value is by the numbers but well executed - the swords really enhance the robot mode in a simple way. His vehicle mode is sleek and while the gaps under his hood are a flaw, they're a fairly minor one. Recommended if you have any interest in the Prime line or are a fan of Wheeljack in general - 9/10