Armada Toy Reviews: Wheeljack

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Armada, Decepticon

Armada

General Information:
Release Year: July 2003
Retailer: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Target etc.)
Price: $10.99 (depending on retailer)
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Wind Sheer Mini-Con

Wheeljack is one of the names plucked from Generation One to serve for a new character in Armada. This time around however, Wheeljack is not an Autobot, but rather a Decepticon. Okay, sort of. In the Armada television show, it is explained that Wheeljack was an Autobot a long time ago.

Wind Sheer

Vehicle Mode:
Wind Sheer is a stealth bomber in vehicle mode. The closest real life one I found on the Air Force web site is the F-117, but that one has two tail fins, not just one central one. As with most stealth bomber Transformers, they always wind up being a bit thicker looking than the real one, thanks to the robot parts that are generally stowed underneath. Wind Sheer is no different, but the parts are hardly obtrusive.

He is definitely shaped correctly (from the top view at least) with the sharp point at the front, wings sweeping back in a triangular pattern. Each wing has a Mini-Con symbol sculpted into it. Since the robot arms tuck under the wings, the designers made the ends look like thrusters of additional engines, which is a neat touch. Wind Sheer's Powerlinx point is underneath the cockpit section.

Not surprisingly, Wind Sheer shares his colors with Wheeljack. He is mostly gray and yellow. The red used on the nosecond and the wings is the same red used on Wheeljack's headlights. The metallic purple on the cockpit windows are the same used on Wheeljack's windshield. Color wise, he blends perfectly with Wheeljack.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the robot legs down and turn the lower legs around.
  2. Straighten out the yellow feet.
  3. Fold the cockpit down to reveal the robot head.

Robot Mode:
Much of Wind Sheer's robot bits are from the vehicle mode, so you won't see many new details. There is the robot face, which is molded in white plastic with the eyes and mouth plate painted red. The arms are interesting, each having three clawed hands which vaguely remind this reviewer of the "Spark Extraction" machines used in Beast Machines.

Wind Sheer has six points of articulation. This is if you include his wings being able to fold back, allowing his arms to swing out to the sides.

Wind Sheer is a neat little Mini-Con. Not amazing or anything, but his articulation is good and he looks neat in both modes.

Wheeljack

Vehicle Mode:
Wheeljack's vehicle mode is a sports car. The design is very sleek and curved. The front section is very nicely sculpted, giving the car layers instead of being one static shell of a vehicle. On the very front of the car, there are grid like details that are inside a bevelled part of the fender section. On the hood of the car, we see a large molded Autobot symbol that has a tear through it. Through this tear we see mechanical parts underneath. What's excellent is that these details aren't all one one flat surface. The gash actually has some depth to it, and it looks fantastic.

The rest of the car looks cool too. The rear has a spoiler which has vents at the center while the hubcaps have a neat star pattern on them. The car is low riding, evoking images of sleek, super expensive sports cars.

Wheeljack is primarily dark gray with yellow details. The windows are metallic light purple while the top/rear sectino of the car is white. The top of the car is flattened out a bit to allow a Mini-Con (specifically Wind Sheer) to connect to the central Powerlinx point on the top. When you attach Wind Sheer the doors swing up revealing missile launchers in each door. The missiles are launched by pressing the yellow trigger on the white side of each door. The neat design touch here is the missile that the doors can fire. When it is in the launcher, it
forms a yellow line detail on the door. So Wheeljack can be armed and dangerous and look good at the same time! Seriously, it's a neat design touch that adds some depth to the vehicle.

On the rear spoiler are two dead Powerlinx points. They're fairly close together, but not so much that you can't get two Mini-Cons on there at the same time. What's neat is that they're sculpted on top of parts that look like some type of vent/thruster component, adding to Wheeljack's powerful sportscar
appearance.

Both the Autobot symbol on the hood and the rear tail lights are painted red. The small Decepticon symbol on the hood is painted purple. It's kind of neat that despite its small size, the tiny Decepticon symbol is also sculpted. Other small details add a lot to the sculpt. On the left side is the gas tank cover, the headlights are sculpted into the front of the car and the lower portion of the rear of the car has small rear lights sculpted in as well.

Wheeljack's vehicle mode is a really nice looking one, with some very cool details.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Attach a Mini-Con to the active Powerlinx point so the doors flip up.
  2. Slide the sides of the car's rear section out to the sides, and then
    flip them forward and lock them into place to form the robot legs.
  3. Flip out the yellow and white parts on the robot legs to form the feet.
  4. Swing the robot arms forward and out to the sides, then swing them up.
  5. Slide the section with the doors on it down.
  6. Swing the section with the car hood down and attach it to the main body
    via the peg on the body and the hole at the center of the hood's underside.
  7. Take each missile and place it into Wheeljack's hands, or you can keep
    them stored in the launchers.

Robot Mode:
Some may take this as a negative comment, and I promise you that's not what it is at all: Wheeljack has a very "Generation One-ish" feel to him. I actually mean that in a nostalgic, neato sort of way. His whole appearance is somewhat simple, yet he's filled with so much detail that he looks awesome. Wheeljack's structure is a very tried and true Transformers schema: car hood as the chest, front wheels attached to arms, rear of vehicle as the lower legs. Yet, it's this simplicity which kind of makes him welcome in Armada, a line where some fairly experimental transformations/designs have been used, some with success, some less so.

Wheeljack's sculpt reminds me a bit of G1 Sideswipe. His head has similar features including a crest like piece at the center above the face and the horns protruding at the top. His hood becomes his chest flat down instead of pointing forward (such as Red Alert. His lower legs are made of the rear of the car, albeit they are the top side and not the underside. Also, like some of the G1 cars, his doors sort of form "wings" on his back. The similarities pretty much end there however.

Wheeljack has more detailing in robot mode than he did in car mode. Starting with his head, he has a lot of ridges, lines and shapes that come together to form one grim looking expression. On either side of his head, on the yellow hinge that connects the main body of the toy to the hood of the car, you'll find two machine guns sculpted into either side of Wheeljack's head. His shoulders come out in circular levels, each increasingly larger, and each having a nice amount of line detail. His upper and lower arms have cool detailing as well that could be anything from arm mounted lasers to exhaust piples. His right arm has a large Decepticon symbol sculpted onto it and painted purple, which looks great in contrast to the white of the arm. Wheeljack's upper legs have much more detail than I expected, with varying shapes ranging from circles to "V" shapes to rectangles and wires. Even his feet, which are two rather flat pieces of plastic, have what look like pistons sculpted into them. Also check out the sides of his lower legs, there you'll find red parts which look like some sort of
control panel. Visually, Wheeljack looks fantastic in robot mode.

Wheeljack has thirteen points of articulation in robot mode. Due to the transformation scheme, waist articulation was sacrificed, and for some reason, only his right hand/wrist is able to twist. The right is one solid lower arm piece. His head cannot turn, which is unfortunate, but understandeable considering the head really has nowhere to go even if it could turn since the hing that it rests on would block movement.

Wheeljack has a Powerlinx point on both legs in this form, which allows you to attach a variety of Mini-Con and still have him look good. It's a shame he didn't come with guns (although good ol' beat down sticks are always fun,

and in the show he uses one of his sticks as a blaster weapon). However, that's where Mini-Cons like Prowl or the Requiem Blaster come in, of course.

Wheeljack is one awesome toy. A lot of thought went into his sculpt and it shows. Highly recommended.