Revenge of the Fallen Autobot Wheelie Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Movie (2007), Revenge of the Fallen

Revenge of the Fallen

General Information:
Release Date: October 2009
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
AUTOBOT WHEELIE never really wanted to be a DECEPTICON. It’s just that, when people start yelling at him, he tends to do whatever they say. He’s easily startled, and simple to scare. His tiny size makes him an ideal spy, and even though he doesn’t like or agree with the DECEPTICONS, they scare him so much he doesn’t know what to do except obey

Get ready to roll out with this AUTOBOT double dealer! This detailed AUTOBOT WHEELIE figure features an insignia that changes from AUTOBOT to DECEPTICON symbol—depending on which forces he’s working for! Convert him to a rough-and-tumble RC truck in vehicle mode. The battle is on and this little warrior is ready—are you?

The first time I saw Wheelie was in a clip put out before the release of "Revenge of the Fallen", specifically in the scene where he tries to steal the Allspark fragment from Mikaela. In that scene all we saw was a foul mouthed, trash talking Decepticon. I was pleased to see however that there was more to Wheelie than that in the movie. He went from a Decepticon who thought he had no choice but to follow blindly to an Autobot who chose the right side for his own reasons. Putting aside the potty humor that practically undermined all character development he had, I found Wheelie one of the better characters introduced in "Revenge of the Fallen". I had originally thought he would warrant no more than a Scout class so it was cool to see a deluxe scale figure of the character made.

Robot Mode:
Unlike his G1 counterpart, this Wheelie is a design that has its place firmly in the live action movie aesthetic. He's not cute and stretches the term "humanoid" in appearance. He is only a menial worker drone, so he was not built for combat by any stretch of the imagination. His form is one that is designed with a distinct lack of weaponry. He has a "Johnny Five" style head, with the eyes set against horizontal panels with his nose and mouth set on a vertical piece under it, creating a "T" shaped head. His main body is not blocky in any way. He has panels everywhere, but the wheels from his vehicle mode make up the bulk of his torso's mass. Instead of regular five fingered hands, many of the Transformers in the movie universe have claws or different numbers of fingers. In Wheelie's case, he has claws, with one thumb and two fingers. His legs are angled backwards, a feature that appears a lot in the movie Transformers, and instead of normal feet, he is shown in the movie rolling on wheels from his vehicle mode, something that is replicated here.

In terms of movie accuracy, Wheelie is a good approximation of the movie design. His eyes have raised lines inside that simulate the ones found on the CGI model. Right above each eyeball is an eye brow, a prominant feature in the movie design. His mouth isn't your typical mouth with lips that are seen on many Transformers. Instead it is open with big, jagged and sharp looking teeth showing. The CGI model had many more teeth than this figure, but the three large teeth on the upper row in particular get across his nasty look quite well. Many of the other details from the movie design can be found here including the complicated pattern of tubes and metal that make up his arms and triangular pieces that look like a collar near his neck. His legs have panels from the vehicle mode over the thighs, with the mid and lower legs showing more of the machinery from the robot form, including springs around the knee level, a detail that was quite prominant in the CGI model.

Wheelie is cast in silver, blue and dark grey plastic. The blu comes from the panels of the vehicle mode, which make up a significant portion of his body including the head, most of the torso and panels on his waist and legs. The silver is also distributed widely throughout his body including his mouth, arms, hips and lower legs. The dark grey plastic is used to cast the wheels from the vehicle mode, which are prominant features in this form as well. Paint details are done up in silver, blue, orange, red and purple. Silver is found on the sides of each wheel from the vehicle mode, most prominant on his feet. You'll also find silver on the hinges underneath the vehicle mode wheels that connect to his arms. Blue paint is found on the face, where it fills in panel details on his upper and lower jaw. His eyes are painted orange, which is a bit movie inaccurate since they were quite red in the film, but I partly chalk this up to potential changes in the CGI model down the line after this toy design was finalized. Red and purple you might imagine are used for his symbols. That's right, symbols, plural. On his chest is a mechanism that allows you to "switch" his allegiance. Turn it one way and you see a red Autobot symbol, turn it the other and there's a purple Decepticon symbol.

There are a stunning thirty four points of articulation in this figure, making him one of the most articulated Transformers I can ever recall reviewing. Granted, many are hinge joints on the arms and legs, so his range of motion is not as high as you might thin, but it still allows you to manipulate a lot of parts. In particular I am impressed that each of his fingers can be moved as well as the hinges near his wrists. Also, thanks to his transformation scheme you can move parts such as his eye panels and his mouth panel. I was initially worried that Wheelie would not stand well since he is on wheeled feet, but have no fear, there are L shaped heel pieces on each ankle that allow you to stand and pose him without a problem.

I really like this robot mode, and the idea that he is a tiny Transformer to begin with makes the scale quite appropriate. Sure the scale works out where a "real" Wheelie would be more of a Supreme Class figure on the Transformers scale, but I doubt we're going to ever get that so this is a nice substitute.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Rotate the two eye panels against each other.
  2. Swing the fingers and thumbs together.
  3. Swing the forearms up against the upper arms.
  4. Swing each half of the chest panels together to form the cabin of the vehicle.
  5. Swing the robot arms back.
  6. Move the vehicle's cabin forward.
  7. Swing up the robot head section and push the blue panels in to form the back of the vehicle.
  8. Swing the heel pieces up.
  9. Rotate the vehicle's front cage guard pieces so they're horizontal.
  10. Swing the legs back and tuck them into the underside of the vehicle, using the clips on the knee joints to connect to the rest of the figure.
  11. Push the two halves of the front of the vehicle together, with the headlight panels overlapping the clear plastic piece that you use to turn the symbol in robot mode.
  12. Connect to two halves of the front cage together.

Vehicle Mode:
Wheelie is fairly unique in that his vehicle form is not meant to represent a human scaled vehicle but rather a toy (making him a toy of a toy...heh). Specifically he is supposed to be a remote controlled monster truck. At first glance it would be easy to think that the designers nailed Wheelie's design from the movie really well. His narrow frame and large wheels seem to match the vehicle mode seen in the movie. However, I think it is fair to say that at best, Wheelie is a good approximation of the R/C truck seen in "Revenge of the Fallen". The basic shape is correct, but there are some differences including:

  • The row of lights on top of the figure only has four lights whereas the CGI model from the movie has five.
  • The headlights on the front of this vehicle are round, but they are rectangular on the CGI model.
  • Wheelie's CGI model has a cage that covers the middle of the vehicle's front section and curves downward, the figure just has a cage that runs across in a horizontal line with lights sculpted inside. These lights are not present on the CGI model.
  • While Wheelie's tires tuck under the frame of the vehicle in the figure, on the CGI model they stick out to the sides much more.
  • Each side view mirror is just a tab sticking out of the cabin on the figure while the CGI model shows the sideview mirrors mounted on dual posts.

Now, I'm hardly going to give the figure a bad review just because it is not 100% accurate to its CGI model. Indeed, if I didn't have the movie on DVD to compare to the figure by looking at screen captures, I would have missed a lot of these differences. Most likely, the designers were trying to avoid licensing issues since Wheelie's vehicle mode represents a toy of a real life Ford truck. What details are here are nicely sculpted including the aforementioned cage in front with the lights inside. While his front grille is not the same as the one in the movie, it does have some nice details including round headlights and a grille pattern that reminds me of those found on Jeep vehicles, complete with vertical lines that end in rounded edges. I also like the way the robot mode springs from the legs show a bit here, looking like extra suspension in this form. Still, I believe it is important to point out these differences in case you think you're going to get a movie accurate vehicle form.

The only new plastic color to show up in this form is translucent plastic with a smokey film color over it. This is used to represent his windshield and side windows. The top of the vehicle is mostly blue, with some silver parts attached and the lower section is mostly silver and dark grey (composed of the robot parts and the wheels respectively). Paint applications are rather minor. Matching the blue lights used in the movie, the row of lights mounted on the top of the vehicle and the headlights are painted metallic blue. Here, the spare fuel tanks on the sides of the vehicle are more prominant and painted silver. The paint deco is a bit disappointing. While I can understand the sculpt differences, the CGI model had some details such as small lines on the side of the vehicle and a license plate, none of which are reflected here but could have been done as paint applications or tampographs.

All four wheels roll nicely on this vehicle, and with their segmented design they probably have more traction than your average Transformers vehicle. The back section is notably hollowed out, and part of me wonders if we're in for a redeco down the road that incorporates a sensor system of radar dishes and other mechanical bits just like he used in the movie.

Final Thoughts:
Wheelie is a good figure, but I think had he been more accurate to the movie in vehicle form I'd be more enthusiastic about it. Still, between the sculpting and his amazing number of articulation points in robot mode, this figure is a nice piece of work. He borderlines on only "mildly recommended" to me, but I think that would be doing the figure a disservice if I made that my final evaluation. I'd say get him if you enjoyed the character or really like the idea of a Transformer transforming into a toy truck. Other than that, there are other, far superior figures in the line to spend your money on.