"Generations" War for Cybertron: Earthrise Wheeljack Toy Review

Generations

War for Cybertron: Earthrise

General Information:
Release Date: January 2020
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster/rocket launcher (non-working)

Wheeljack

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com and Hasbro Pulse:
The inquisitive Autobot mechanical engineer, Wheeljack, converts into classic G1 car mode in 18 steps and comes with a weapon accessory.

Includes Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Earthrise Deluxe Wheeljack figure, 1 accessory, and instructions.

  • The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark
  • This ecosystem of collectible figures allows fans to build out epic space battle scenes, featuring figures that can convert into Modular Battle Station modes and connect together to expand the battlefield (each sold separately, subject to availability)
  • Wheeljack figure converts into classic G1 car mode in 18 steps and comes with a weapon accessory
  • Every pack includes a piece of the Transformers Universe map and a red decoder to unlock the map's hidden paths! Collect other Earthrise figures to piece together the full map! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)
  • Figure scale: 5.5 inches
  • Ages 8 and up

Wheeljack was one of the original members of the Ark crew along with the likes of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. He was an inventor who often created devices that sounded great on paper but sometimes backfired in practice. He was heavily featured in the first two seasons of the G1 cartoon. Over the years, the character appeared in other incarnations inspired by the G1 version. Past figures representing this character include:

This figure is a brand new sculpt created just for Earthrise, making it the first "G1-esque" non-Masterpiece Wheeljack figure to have an original sculpt in years.

Packaging:
Earthrise packaging is the same basic shape as Siege boxes. They feature one flat side and one angled side with a window in the middle. Like the Siege boxes the boxes feature a red Transformers logo set vertically to one side with the Generations logo above it. Under the window is the Earthrise logo with the War for Cybertron Trilogy logo beneath it. Off to the left is the name "Wheeljack" with his rank symbol above it. The other side of the box features the character's artwork. Wheeljack's artwork features him holding his weapon in his hand standing on the battlefield.

The back of the box shows Wheeljack in both of his modes. The transformation is listed as having 18 steps. As a cosell, Soundbarrier is shown attached to Wheeljack as a shield. The packaging has one more fun feature. Inside the packaging is a translucent red "decoder", inspired by the red plastic strips that were included with G1 toys for several years. Run this decoder over the cardboard insert inside the box and you will see part of a space map featuring the Transformers colony of Antilla, which was a doomed colony featured in the G1 cartoon.

Accessories:
Wheeljack includes a non-functional rocket launcher. The launcher's design is based on the launchers included with the original G1 Wheeljack action figure. They have a similar boxy shape with a circle on the side. A rocket is sculpted into the front, but does not launch. This piece is cast in the same off-white plastic as Wheeljack himself, but it is painted gunmetal grey. The launcher has a 5mm peg so Wheeljack can hold it in either fist. It also has a tab that connects to slots on either side of his head, a callback to G1 Wheeljack whose launchers wound up in the same general area.

Robot Mode:
Whenever a new line launches, there are questions about where size classes stand in terms of the heights and sheer amount of plastic used to create these figures. We are definitely far from the heyday of heavy Deluxe Class figures and chonky Voyager Class figures, but fear not, if you were cool with the scale and weights of Siege figures, Earthrise will not disappoint. Wheeljack stands at about 5.5 inches (about 13.97 centimeters) and he weighs in at 2.7 ounces. In comparison Siege Prowl is 2.5 ounces and Mirage is 2.7 ounces so the weights are comparable.

Wheeljack's basic design is partly based on the G1 animation model. Key details include the distinct head sculpt featuring "ears" sticking out the sides of the head, a round mouthplate and three panels sticking up form the top of the head. On his back is a pair of "wings" and his has big, chunky arms. His legs are also very angular with the front of the vehicle mode forming his feet. The panel on his torso has a distinct curve at the chest (but the rest is rectangular). That said, there are a lot more sculpted details on this figure than you will find on the animation model (which had lots of rectangular and simplified design elements). Overall the sculpt is instantly recognizable as Wheeljack and it looks great.

Wheeljack is made up of off-white, black and smokey grey plastic. The off-white makes up most of the figure with black on smaller parts like the forearms and thighs. The smokey grey plastic shows itself on the panel that makes up the torso. There is an impressive amount of paint detail on this figure. Silver is used for detailing on the head and wings. Red and white are found on the chest while green, red and black are used on the legs. There is actually a ton more detail visible on the sides of the arms and legs, but I'll focus on those in the vehicle mode review. Wheeljack looks great and true to the character.

There are twenty two points of articulation on this figure. This includes five points on each arm and leg and waist articulation. And yes, the feet may look "locked" in place but they do have an ankle tilt! As mentioned above, the weapon can fit in either hand or connect to the slots flanking the head. he also has two 5mm ports on the sides of both arms, allowing you to attach additional weapons. On top of that he has a 5mm port on his back and one under each foot. This is great as it allows for a variety of ways to attach Weaponizer or Modulator parts. On top of all this, he has three small pegs to accommodate Blast Effects. One on the right forearm, another on the left shoulder and one on the left leg. There is plenty of play value with this figure and it's great!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the launcher and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Rotate the "wings" together to form the spoiler.
  4. Swing the chest panel down.
  5. Push the head down into the chest.
  6. Swing the arms up to the sides.
  7. Rotate the lower body around.
  8. Point each foot down, then swing it inward.
  9. Swing each leg out to the sides.
  10. Swing up the curved, smokey grey pieces.
  11. Swing the lower legs up over the thighs.
  12. Swing the arms back, pushing the shoulders together to form the rear of the car.
  13. Rotate the forearms up, then swing them forward to complete the sides of the vehicle.
  14. The weapon can be attached to the top of the car.

Vehicle Mode:
The original Wheeljack transformed into a Lancia Stratos Turbo. This vehicle mode is not a licensed car, but it does evoke the Lancia Stratos in that the vehicle mode looks sleek with an indented front section and an oval shaped cabin section leading to a spoiler in the back. The back window is covered with a louver similar to the original Lancia Stratos Turbo. In a fun bit of homage detail, the hood section has a series of small vertical lines running from one side to the other. These call back to a series of horizontal lines on the Lancia Stratos.

The deco on this mode is where this mode really shines. I mean, the sculpt is great and all but wow, the designers did an amazing job here. First, green and red is used extensively on the front top and back of the vehicle. These colors are directly inspired by the Lancia Stratos Turbo, but of course the pattern is different to avoid trademark issues. Another "Lancia Stratos" based touch: the sides of the wheels are painted red, another distinctive color feature of the Lancia Stratos! But wait, there's more! The sides of the vehicle and the spoiler have a ton of "sponsor logos" on them which are all sorts of fun. Here's a rundown:

  • The spoiler has the word "Aerobolt" on it with the name "Cybertron" under it written in Japanese. Aerobolt is the bird-based Mini-Con partner to Optimus Prime in Robots in Disguise.
  • on the top of each side is the term "Wheeljack" Invenzione modulator. The word "Invenzione" is Italian for "Invention", something Wheeljack was known for creating.
  • Towards the left is the term Iacon modulator, with Iacon referring to the Autobot City from G1.
  • There is a four leaf clover with the word "Lucky" written in green,
  • Under the "Lucky" word is W Motors, then under that is Autobot Tracks the under that is Rally X Cybertron Con. I would not be surprised if the mention of Tracks is a hint at a future figure!
  • Underneath the words above is a checkered flag.
  • Towards the bottom on the left side is the word protihex, a reference to the Cybertronian city-state introduced in the Dreamwave Comics.
  • In the middle are the numbers "638" (instead of the "539" on G1 Wheeljack).
  • Under the "638" is the term Velocitron Racing 1984, a reference to the Cybertronian colony and the year Transformers started.
  • Towards the bottom are the words Praxus and Cybertron Con. Praxus is another Cybertronian City-State.
  • Towards the right is a star with the word ricochet under it twice. This is likely a reference to the Autobot Ricochet.
  • The word Cybertron is written in red on the side (under the red and green lines).
  • Towards the top edge of the door is an Autobot symbol in red and the name Swerve (the 'S' is capitalized) referring to the fan favorite Mini-Bot.

In short, this deco is spectacular. I love the idea of Cybertronian "sponsor logos" and the homages to the real life Lancia Stratos vehicle are excellent.

Unlike some vehicles modes in the Siege line, there are no 5mm ports on the sides to attach extra weapons. However, there are 5mm ports in the back. If you attach certain parts they can wrap around on top or to the sides to form extra weaponry. There is a 5mm port on top to attach another weapon.

Final Thoughts:
Wheeljack is a fantastic figure. He looks great in both modes and serves as a fun homage to G1 Wheeljack. His deco is spectacular, especially in vehicle mode. The only let down is that he needs another rocket launcher to attach to his other shoulder or perhaps a launcher that looks more like the one from the G1 cartoon. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Fantastic sculpt in both modes.
  • Good play value including a fun and intuitive transformation.
  • Awesome deco.

Cons:

  • The figure could definitely use another weapon.
  • Some fans may want different proportions (like, longer wings on his back for instance).