Transformers Prime Dark Energon Defender Wheeljack Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Bigbadtoystore, Deluxe, Generation One, Prime, Dark Energon

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: December 2012
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: Bigbadtoystore, Toys R Us Asia
Accessories: Swords x 2


Dark Energon Summary and official pictures above from Bigbadtoystore:
Each of these translucent figures is the result of exposure to Dark Energon, which twists the mind and powers the body, eventually corrupting and destroying the user. With the Decepticons trying to use the Dark Energon to take over earth, Optimus Prime and the other Autobots are forced to expose themselves to it, so that they are able to take on the Decepticons on their own terms. Will they be able to defeat Megatron and his crew in time for Ratchet to reverse the process, flush the Dark Energon from their systems and save them from a horrid fate?

WheeljackIn late 2012, online retailer "Bigbadtoystore" released a set of exclusive Deluxe sized figures, all redecos of existing "Transformers Prime" figures. Set in an "off screen" storyline from the cartoon, the Decepticons get their hands on some Dark Energon and power up, causing their appearance to change. The Autobots have to stop them, but they're also exposed. The result are figures that (for the most part) use translucent colors in new color schemes. One of the "Defender" Autobots in the assortment is Wheeljack, based on the "Robots in Disguise" Wheeljack sculpt. Check out that review for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
For the uninitiated, Wheeljack's new colors may seem odd. For a Transformer who is green, red and white to go to blue, red and grey may seem strange. However, these colors are actually a homage to a Generation One character known as Slicer. Back in the Generation One "Action Masters" era, several classic characters such as Wheeljack appeared in the line. Later, several figures such as Wheeljack were repainted into new characters. In the case of Wheeljack, he was repainted into a Decepticon named Slicer, whose colors were primarily blue, red and grey! Years later, the character would appear again (sort of) as "Slice", a Botcon 2010 exclusive figure. The influence of this obscure Transformer from the past now carries over into "Transformers Prime"!

Wheeljack is primarily cast in translucent blue plastic, with the windows cast in translucent red. The rear spoiler and wheels are grey while the top of the cabin section and his swords are black. The colors work really nice together and instantly make him a striking redeco. This is a vehicle mode that truly stands on the strength of its base colors. There aren't a ton of paint decos in this form, but what decos there are look great. The hood section has two triangular red shapes with thick, black outlines, echoing a similar design on G1 Slicer and Botcon 2010 Slice. The top of the cabin section has metallic blue paint on the edges of the black plastic, which looks fantastic right up against the red windows. On each door is an orange shield with a silver and red Autobot symbol on top, representing the "badge" that the "Defender" Autobots wear. It offers a nice, bright spot against the darker plastic on the figure. I was glad to see some solid colored plastic on this figure as it offers some visual "grounding" among all the translucent parts. Overall, this is one awesome homage that can also stand on its own as a cool looking figure.

The sword weapons included with the figure attach nicely to the tabs beneath the front of the car. When you attach the swords, another color gets featured in the form of gold on the blades. This is also a homage to the original Slicer, who used copper as part of his color scheme. I really love the way using his accessories helps bring all the homage colors together. Overall Wheeljack looks great in this form.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the swords and set them aside for now.
  2. Holding the figure firmly, carefully swing out each half of the vehicle, splitting it at the middle point of the windshield.
  3. Swing the cabin section of the vehicle up on its central hinge.
  4. Split the front end of the vehicle.
  5. On each half of the vehicles front end, swing the black robot foot pieces out by rotating the sections they are attached to forward.
  6. Push the sections with the front wheel wells up.
  7. Swing the sections with the front wheel wells back.
  8. Swing each robot foot up.
  9. Rotate the legs at the point where the hip joint meets the thighs so the feet point forward.
  10. At the knees are thin pieces of knee armor, swing those forward a bit.
  11. Swing the top section of the vehicle forward and push the panel behind it up to reveal the robot head.
  12. Swing the arm sections up.
  13. Align the panels that connect to the arms to the small tabs on the chest piece.
  14. Swing the chest piece down, attaching the tabs from the last step to the appropriate slots on the arm connection pieces. The tab at the bottom of the chest piece should attach to its corresponding slot above the robot waist.
  15. Swing the armor on each shoulder back.
  16. On each forearm, pull out the inner part of the forearm with the hands attached to it, rotate it back then push it back into place to bring the hands forward.
  17. Behind the head is a piece stucking up, split that in half, rotating each half out half way.
  18. Each sword can be placed into one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
The "Slicer" homage fest continues in this mode. The color layout actually borrows two of the key color designs from G1 Slicer. The first is the head, where copper colored paint is used to paint the mouthplate and his "ears". His eyes are translucent red while the rest of the head is grey. Except for the spot of red on his central crest, this is almost exactly the same color layout as G1 slicer's head, and it looks great. The other layout detail carried over from G1 Slicer are the three sided details on his legs with the red in the middle and black borders on the edges. G1 Slicer also had a similar detail on his legs.

The rest of the color layout uses the same theme, but the placement is unique to this figure. Most of his arms and lower legs are translucent blue. Metallic grey is used on parts like his head, feet, thighs and part of the torso. The eyes are translucent red plastic, utilizing the "light piping" feature on the back of his head. The metallic blue paint from the top of the vehicle mode now appears on the chest, and there's a bit of red paint on the inner thighs. Copper is also found on his forearms. Overall, there's little question as to who this figure is paying homage to and he manages to look imposing thanks in part to the sculpt and his mean looking face design.

All of Wheeljack's joints are nice and tight, a relief since this is technically the fourth run of this sculpt (count: Wheeljack, Dead End, Arms Micron Wheeljack and now this) so it's good to see the tooling is holding up nicely. He can hold his weapons without a problem too. In terms of play value, he's every bit as awesome as the first "Transformers Prime" Wheeljack!

Final Thoughts:
Defender Wheeljack is a fantastic redeco concept and execution. He looks great in both modes and for fans "in the know" he serves as a brilliant homage to a relatively obscure character. I love the choice of colors used as well, especially the metallic paint and plastics. A great exclusive overall, highly recommended!