Transformers Prime (Robots in Disguise) Wheeljack figure review
The show Transformers Prime has people either loving it or hating it. But no matter how Transformers fans disagree about the show we all can agree on one thing: we got some neat toys out of it. From the first official release of the main line (called Robots in Disguise by some retailers oddly enough) comes none other than Wheeljack. He's less of a scientist and more of a samurai/swordsman this time but it works for the Prime universe.
Wheeljack's sculpt is nicely done having a stocky appearance as his shoulders protrude higher than his head. While he's solid all the way around there's less finesse in the way his body segments match up than what we saw with the First Editions. The forearms look a little thin but it's nothing major. His head sculpt is a thing of beauty with a stern look. His ball jointed hands are large, detailed, and would look great on a voyager custom. They have ball posts on the end and remove easily too, perfect fodder parts.
Articulation in the legs is great with full sitting motion and ball ankles. He has no waist but doesn't suffer any from it. Wheel's ball jointed head can look almost straight up. It's only when we get to the arms that we run into problems. Wheeljack has fold-down arms that lack a bicep joint, but partially make up for that with a pivot shoulder. This means he can only cross his arms if his shoulders are at maximum angle and doesn't have full 90 deg elbow unless the upper joint is moved too. For a bot that uses swords, arm articulation should have been a priority.
Wheeljack's bright white, solid plastic is much better than the white plastic of other Transformers like Jazz or Drift. Paint app are crisp and well applied. Transformation is simple but interesting. His dual-hinged upper torso joint works great to raise/hide his head. The legs rotate, drop down, and the lower sections spin to lock in well. But when all is said and done he's missing all the points of motion/separate sections held together by metal pins that Arcee, Starscream, and the other First Editions have. It's almost like they came from two separate lines.
Wheeljack stands just a bit shorter than normal Deluxes but fakes height with his back fins. These only spin to open into a 'V' and aren't posable up or down. He comes with two swords which can be plugged into his alt mode under the bumper, stored underneath, on his back, or pegged on the car sides. They're nicely sculpted and work well for his overall design. However the front card art shows him with his arm-cannon out like Cliffjumper but neither figures have them. Only first edition Cliffjumper has swing-out blasters.
Alt mode is a seek sports car and tabs together sturdily. That's partially because of the fold-up arms that have no swivels lock in tightly against his body. The overall design of the car is great but without the swords in the front there are two blocky gaps under the front end that look a little out of place. The rear end of the car is missing where a bumper/lower trunk would be, instead just his folded shoulders sitting there out in the open. Huh, maybe he lost that in battle.
So what's the verdict? Wheeljack is a nice transformer, make no mistake. He's similar to a Universe or Generations. But when matched up against his First Edition friends he unfortunately falls short in design and articulation. He has nowhere near the number of parts or moving sections the others do. Wheeljack makes for a great swordsman-bot and the lack of all those moving parts means he would be easy to paint up for a custom ninja type character. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has him in stock and he can be found everywhere that sells Transformers, tho he's being snatched up quick.