Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Wheeljack Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Beast Hunters, Deluxe, Generation One, Prime, Wreckers

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters

General Information:
Release Date: December 2012
Price Point: $15.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: "Falcon" Spear weapon/launcher, Disc

Images:

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics from the Amazon.com:
This tough-as-nails outer space adventurer is newly equipped with enhanced beast-hunting gear! Decepticons beware, because this Wheeljack figure is just the Autobot to take any of them on! His beast-hunting gear includes a disc-launching Falcon spear that launches major destruction at the Decepticons! When the battle calls for speed, convert him to sports car mode. Keep converting him back and forth so his Decepticon enemies can’t keep up! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Text from instructions:
Falcon Spear

  • Molecule-thin edge can cut through almost anything.
  • Absorbs energy from enemy weapons, then fires a disc shaped energy pulse.
  • Boosters in the shaft allow Wheeljack to make rocket-assisted jumps.

"Tales of the Beast Hunters" Chapter 4, Continued from Chapter 3 Deluxe Lazerback (Sold Separately)

Wheeljack is willing to admit that he didn't think much of the idea that some kind of ancient Cybertronian arsenal was hidden in this solar system's asteroid belt. But now that the pitted, timeworn hulk of what is obviously a very old starship fills his viewscreen, he's got to say he's impressed. What's more, his sensors detect vast reserves of power in the old ship's hold. When he and Bumblebee go aboard, neither of them is surprised when they find dozens of crates filled with strange weapons. Unfortunately, they are surprised when they turn to begin loading their ship, only to find Megatron and Predaking blocking their way.

Continued in Chapter 5 Voyager Optimus Prime (sold separately)


WheeljackAt the end of second season of "Transformers Prime", the Autobots were scattered, in hiding form the Decepticons. One of them was Wheeljack, the Wrecker. Now in the first wave of "Beast Hunters" he's back armored up and wielding new weaponry. This figure is a significant retool and redeco of "Robots in Disguise" Wheeljack. This base sculpt was also used to create Dead End and "Dark Energon" Wheeljack. It's probably worth your while to check out those reviews for my general thoughts on the figure. This review will cover the changes made to the figure for this release.

Robot Mode:
Most of the time when I say "retool" that means a weapon or head is swapped out, maybe even an arm or leg, but it's very rare when I say "retool" and almost the entire figure has been changed! Wheeljack features a significant amount of changes to the sculpt. Here's the list:

  • The head sculpt is different than the previous one. It may not look like it from a distance, but look up close and you'll see subtle changes. For instance, the top of the crest is now filled in instead of being open, and on the bottom of the "helmet" section there are two points coming up over his chin that resemble fangs.
  • His back piece has been significantly altered. The back panel now features several raised spikes in the center, evoking a spine like design. These lay on top of layers of armor panels sculpted into the piece. Connected to that are two hinged pieces that resemble his old "wings" in the back, but this time out he really does have wings on his back! Each features two segments and extend down past his waist in back.
  • The shoulder armor has been changed to have more layers of detail, each extending the armor outward a bit. These details are sleek and look almost like the edges of feathers/blades on the sides.
  • The elbow and forearm pieces both feature similar changes: namely the addition of thin, blade shaped "feather" like pieces to go with the "bird" motif that he and Bumblebee share.
  • The armor in the front of his lower legs now has more layers to it, featuring a bevel towards the bottom, then another. On the sides are more "feather/blade" details. The pieces that the feet are connected to share similar features but those will be more obvious in vehicle mode.

I keep using the terms "feather" and "blades" because I want to emphasize that aside from his back, much of the newly added details on this figure are meant to be inspired by a bird (or Falcon in this case). Many people have been worried that there would just be spikes all over these figures without much thought to a motif, but indeed there's definitely an animalistic element being added on to the figure. It's not for everyone however. If you prefer your Transformers to be "clean" and "smooth" without too many greebles hanging off of them, then this figure will probably turn you off on sight. However, if you are into layers of detail and having a "beast" inspired design on a robot, then this might just be the kind of look you'd enjoy.

My own opinion? I really dig this look. I'm all for adding greebles so long as there is some type of theme keeping them cohesive, and Wheeljack's "bird" theme is not only cohesive within the figure itself, but it also is consistent with Bumblebee's "bird" designs. Since the conceit is that their power ups are from the same mysterious source, it makes sense that they could take on similar features. In Wheeljack's case however I find his features more severe and dangerous looking than Bumblebee's. While he no longer has his signature "Katana" style blades anymore, it looks like he could have a melee battle using just his own body and slice up enemies using just his arms and legs!

While his sculpt has changed significantly, Wheeljack's general color scheme has not. He is still made up of mostly white plastic, with some black translucent grey, green, gold and red-orange parts. There are two types of white plastic here howeve.r There are solid white pieces such as his shoulder armor, chest and thighs, and then there are parts made of a white plastic with a dark, smoke color "swirled" into it. The effect looks like it could be battle damage or even perhaps some mysterious energy coursing through his body (as I speculated about similar details on Bumblebee. Either way, it looks really cool. There's actually green plastic on the lower legs, but you'll have to turn the figure around to see it since much of it is hidden by the white panels. The black parts are where you'd expect including the head, fists, feet and waist. The translucent parts show up on his forearms, but become more prominent in vehicle form. His weapon is a brand new piece, made up of gold, red-orange and white plastic. Similar colors are used for his back and wings. The back panel and wings are red-orange while the smaller wings sticking up on the back are gold. The orange has a similar "swirl" pattern in it as the white plastic on the legs, giving it consistency with other parts on the figure.

Wheeljack reuses a lot of the paint colors form his first incarnation, but distributes them quite differently. Paint colors on this figure include red, green, silver, gold and light blue. The red and green are the signature "Wheeljack" colors here. You'll find red and green lines on his arms and chest, but green is also used to paint the "feather/blades" on his lower legs while red is used to paint the smaller "blades" on the back of his legs and an Autobot symbol on his chest (something the first release lacked). Gold paint is used on his shoulders, forearms, knees and head. The silver is used for his face and the eyes are painted light blue. I'm happy to see small touches like the eyes since that color isn't used anywhere else on the figure.

All the joints on Wheeljack are still nice and tight, consistent with the other iterations of this sculpt that I own. In terms of functionality, he gets some added bits to fiddle with thanks to the wings on his back. The wings are on higed pieces which themselves are on hinged arms, allowing you to deploy the wings in various ways. You can swing them out to the sides like a bird, you can turn them on their hinges and push the gold base pieces together etc. I find these a fascinating extension of the smaller "wings" Wheeljack had in the first version of the character. In between the gold sections is a 5mm hole to allow for weapon storage.

Wheeljack's weapon is the "Falcon Spear", and it's aptly named. The spear has two grips on the handle, one on each side to allow him to hold it in both hands. The gold section makes up the handle and launching mechanism for the disc. The red-orange section (with more color swirls) is where the disc sits. The red-orange piece is arrow shaped, with blade like designs on the sides and a claw like piece inside (cast in gold). Insert the disc, push the spear handle up and the disc launches a surprising distance. The disc itself is interesting as it is hinged, allowing you to put it around the neck (or body part of your choosing) of another Transformer. What I like about this weapon is its ability to be a "triple purpose" device. It can be a melee weapon, a projectile launcher or a "control collar" tool. The weapon has a peg on the red-orange section, allowing you to fold up the spear handle in half and have Wheeljack carry the spear as a more traditional blaster weapon.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Point each foot down.
  3. Rotate each section with the feet attached around.
  4. Swing the panel from the front of the lower legs around, then slide it down. On each leg connect the two sections together.
  5. Connect the two sections formed in the last step together.
  6. Gently pull each of the forearm pieces with the fists attached out, then rotate it around and push it back in.
  7. Swing the forearm and elbow section up and push them together, then against the shoulder armor.
  8. Rotate the arms so they are pointing upward, then swing them up on their hinges.
  9. Pull the chest panel out and extend the bottom of it forward, attaching the tab at the end to the corresponding hole in the front section of the vehicle.
  10. Swing the gold sections from the "wings" together and press them into the middle of the cabin cover piece.
  11. Swing the arms forward and press them against the sides of the vehicle to complete the transformation.
  12. The weapon can be attached to the top of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Wheeljack's vehicle form consolidates all his parts and completes the "bird" motif from the robot mode. The blades/panels on the front end of the vehicle now look like short wings sweeping back dramatically. The blades from his forearms point the other way, evoking the look of claws (their proximity to the bottom of the vehicle helps this imagery) and the angled panels over the rear wheel wells combine with the "wings" from the robot mode to look like tail feathers. Even his "spine" like details from the robot mode wind up on what would be the back of a bird. If you have the weapon attached to the top, the bird motif is compnlete with the front of the weapon shaped like a bird's head. This overall look is fantastic and really brings together the "beast" and "machine" elements of this character's new incarnation together nicely.

Color-wise, there aren't any big surprises here. The standard "Wheeljack colors" of green, white and red play a big part and the translucent windows now take center stage. You also get a better look at the green and gold paint on the edges of the armor over the rear wheel well. In an uncommon use of paint, the sides of the wheels have been painted silver. The dark swirls on the white plastic really feature prominently in the front, giving proper attention to this unusual detail. You can see a bit more of this type of color if you swing the wings out to the sides. Doing this not only exposes more of the dark swirls (now on the red-orange plastic of the wings) but it also makes the car look even more bird-like!

The top of this vehicle is the only connection point for weapons. You can swap out his spear weapon for any 5mm pegged weapon.

Final Thoughts:
Wheeljack is a fantastic looking figure in both modes. He carries the bird motif beautifully in both modes and I like his rather unusual weapon. The "swirl" coloring effect on the plastic is beautiful too. Now, I'll be the first to admit this figure is not ideal for everyone (then again, what is?). It has a lot of "out there" styling and the greebles will turn some people off. In my book however it's awesome. Recommended!