Transformers Animated Wreck-Gar Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Transformers Animated


Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: March 2009
Price Point: $21.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Image from Hasbrotoyshop.com


Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
WRECK-GAR means well. All he really wants to do is help folks in need. Unfortunately, he’s a terrible judge of character, and happily helps anyone who asks without thinking about what he’s doing. He has accidentally robbed a few banks, and blasted an AUTOBOT here and there. His Spark is in the right place anyway. Now that he’s clear on the difference between the AUTOBOTS and the DECEPTICONS, misunderstandings like that should happen less often.

Roll into TRANSFORMERS excitement with this robot-to-vehicle figure based on the rookie character from the TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED television series. Twist and turn this mechanical-looking DECEPTICON from robot mode to garbage truck vehicle mode – and back again! Featuring moving lifting-forks and weapon storage in vehicle mode, this WRECK-GAR figure is ready for all of your TRANSFORMERS missions.

There are a ton of times when I think about how amazing of a time it is to be a classic G1 Transformers fan in this day and age. Despite the flurry of new material coming out, so much of it has its grounding in classic material that it makes an old fan like me feel great. One of the things that does this is seeing a figure made that pays homage to a character I never thought I'd see again. Wreck-Gar is one such character. Originally introduced in the 1986 animated movie, this character had a quirk of taking all his speech patterns from television and leading a race of Transformers on Junkion, a world composed of garbage. He transformed into a motorcycle, which I had thought would lend himself to being remade over and over, but it took until 2009 for Wreck-Gar to appear in toy form again in "Transformers Animated".

Vehicle Mode:
Long, long ago when Go-Bots had not yet been incorporated into the Transformers brand, they incorporated many vehicle forms that Transformers had not at that point in history. One of them was a garbage truck named Fly Trap. As a kid, I always found this funny and cute, but I never thought Hasbro would go ahead and make one. In retrospect, Wreck-Gar was the perfect character to make into the first Transformers garbage truck!

Wreck-Gar measures a little over five and a half inches long and three inches wide. The vehicle is broken up into three primary parts. The front end is the cab section. The container on the rear section makes up most of the body of the vehicle. Wreck-Gar is a front loader truck, so he has dual arms that can swing up and then down, with the blades passing the front section of the cab. The vehicle rolls on six wheels, which surprised me considering how often Transformers vehicles nowadays only have about four rolling wheels with some "fake" wheels in between.

For the most part, Wreck-Gar is accurate to the vehicle portrayed in the animated series. The front end is a very boxy cab section with a raised top section. He has headlights that are broken up into two larger ones and two smaller ones underneath. His windshield is a wide strip and the side windows are roughly "L" shaped. One slight difference between the animated model and the toy is the front grille section. On the animated model it is drawn as a series of horizontal lines, but in the figure the layers of horizontal strips are slightly off at angles, which I love and gives the figure a bit more character. The sides of the vehicle have four indentations, replicating the look of the animated vehicle form. The loader arms are broken up into three sections. The top one has circle designs on the side leading to the shorter middle piece that connects to the blades at the end. The primary difference between the toy and the animated model is the rear section which is an open pit of garbage in the cartoon, but here it is a solid piece.

While a simple design, there are plenty of details on Wreck-Gar. The front headlights all have verticel line details and there are the aforementioned irregular grille pieces. He also has two smaller lights towards the bottom of the cab section that match the design of the larger headlights. The rear of the vehicle has three rear lights lined up vertically on either side and horizontal lights towards the bottom. The rear most section has a series of square designs above a series of horizontal lines. I'm glad the designers worked as much detail as they could into the design when so much of the cab and container section are basically just smooth/flat surfaces. It gives more of a feel of a vehicle that can function in a world (albeit a super cartoony one).

Wreck-Gar is cast in orange, silver, grey, black and red plastic. The front section is cast in orange with the wheels and parts of his loader arms cast in black. The rear container section is dark silver, asi is the section around his headlights and grille. The loader blades and part of the underside of the truck are cast in dark red. His front headlights are painted neon yellow while the lights in the rear are painted red. The top section of his loader arms are painted a beige color except where the sculpted hydraulic details are sculpted. The truck windows are painted black as is the grille. The rear section of the truck is also black and contrasts nicely against the dark silver that makes up the container. The indented portions of the cotnainer are painted dark grey, giving a nice contrast to the back of the vehicle. It is important to note that this color scheme pays homage to the original Wreck-Gar who also had the colors of black, red, orange and grey/silver incorporated into both his figure and animated model. I love homages that do their best to pay careful attention to the source character down to the colors. It is also an unusual color scheme (there aren't that many orange/black/silver/grey Transformers floating around out there) so it's refreshing to see.

Each of Wreck-Gar's arms can swing up independently. Push the black tabs on them back and the front ends of the loader arms extend upward. You can also turn the blades to make them weapons. Pushing the tab on the top of the vehicle reveals his blade weapons, which I suppose one could imagine him using in this mode if he rams into an enemy while driving in reverse, but I'm reaching a bit with that one I know.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Remove both of Wreck-Gar's blade weapons.
  2. Flip the vehicle around and pull the robot's lower arms out to the sides a bit to detach them from the main body of the vehicle mode.
  3. Swing the robot head up to give you a better grip on the grille section of the vehicle and pull up to reveal most of the robot mode.
  4. Straighten out the robot body.
  5. Swing the robot arms forward and straighten them out.
  6. Swing out each half of his robot feet.
  7. Swing in each front wheel in the cab section so they wind up behind the windshield.
  8. Swing the cab section into the container section.
  9. Swing the rear container section up onto Wreck-Gar's back.
  10. There is an indentation on the black hinge joint that snaps against the tab on the back of the neck piece.
  11. On each weapon, swing out the black peg and attach them to each arm in the hole at the center of the higher wheel.

Robot Mode:
I am constantly astonished by how well Hasbro managed to design the Animated toys to look so much like their animated counterparts despite the exaggerated style, and Wreck-Gar is no exception. His basic shape matches that of the cartoon model perfectly. His garbage container section is on his back, the front grille section of the vehicle is on his chest and he has huge armored shoulders with big, rounded forearms. His legs are skinny at the waist but then widen as you get to the feet. However, structure is one thing, but the devil is in the details!

Perhaps one of the most defining characteristics of Wreck-Gar in 1986 was his tendency to "talk TV", culling together various snippets of TV shows and commercials to speak. He then took pop culture association to another level by being very prominant during a sequence where "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Dare to be stupid" played. These two elements (including his appearance in the G1 cartoon) blended into one with the design of this robot's head. The outer "helmet" shape of his head is shaped like a classic, portable TV complete with an antenna, handle and even dials on the sides. His face has a mustache and beard similar to the G1 cartoon model, but the smirk sculpted onto it is definitely reminscent of "Weird Al", who also voiced Wreck-Gar in the show! For this head sculpt alone I love this figure, but there's more to it than just that.

Most of Wreck-Gar's robot mode are just smooth surfaces, so I admire what detail there is. This includes the design of his blades which look like they have a mechanical base that contains blades made of energy (they blades are translucent blue plastic). His fingers are sculpted with individual finger segments and his shoulder armor has huge flat head screws sculpted onto them, alluding to the "junk" like nature of the character. There are smaller details such as notches on hsis waist and a raised line indicating two layers of armor on his upper legs. Most importantly, this sculpt is show accurate and I love it.

Much more of Wreck-Gar's orange color shows here on his chest, head, waist and lower legs. His lower arms and parts of his upper legs are silver. Black is used for smaller parts such as his knee joints and the front of his feet. Paint decos are done in various colors including silver, orange, black and beige. The colors are distributed nicely, with orange set against the silver forearms, black against the orange lower legs and beige on the face. A bit of red is used for the side of the head where he has raised vent-like structures. Despite not having the same vehicle mode as his G1 predecessor, there is no mistaking who this character is meant to represent!

Wreck-Gar has eighteen points of articulation. This includes the ability for his fingers to swing out to form an open palm type position and four points of articulation in each leg. His blade weapons can be snapped together to form a larger one as well. I was originally worried that having the blades connected to wheels would mean they'd just spin around and droop down, but they don't, instead they lock in nicely and point in whatever direction you aim them at.

Final Thoughts:
Transformers don't get much more amusing than this. It is a joy seeing a fun toy that takes a homage to the highest level. So believe it or not, but I'm highly recommending a Transformer that becomes a garbage truck. There, I said it and I'm proud of it!