"Generations Selects" Exhaust Toy Review

04/21/21

General Information
Release Date: December 2020
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Shared Exclusive (BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Hasbro Pulse etc.)
Accessories: Spoiler halves x 2, Blaster

Official images and text in italics are from Hasbro Pulse
This special edition Decepticon Exhaust figure portrays the Decepticon-turned-bounty-hunting mercenary from the War for Cybertron streaming series. This figure does not have the traditional Autobot or Decepticon logo, but wears his mercenary logo as seen in the show. The Exhaust figure converts to sportscar mode in 18 steps and comes equipped with a blaster accessory that can be held in his hand or mounted on roof of his vehicle mode.

Includes Generations Selects Deluxe Class Decepticon Exhaust figure, weapon accessory, and instructions.

  • Generations Selects is a fan-dedicated line of figures featuring special edition characters that can’t be found in the main line
  • This special edition Decepticon Exhaust figure portrays the Decepticon-turned-bounty-hunting mercenary from the War for Cybertron streaming series
  • This Exhaust figure does not have the traditional Autobot or Decepticon logo, but wears his mercenary logo as seen in the show
  • Figure comes equipped with a blaster accessory that can be held in his hand or mounted on roof of his vehicle mode.
  • Figure converts to sportscar mode in 18 steps
  • Figure scale: 5.5 inches
  • Ages 8 and up
  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

When the Transformers line was released outside of Canada in 1984, it utilized the base sculpt of toys that had been released under the Diaclone and Microman lines by Takara. When the Diaclone and Microman offerings of that era were distilled, we got the familiar "original cast" of Autobots and Decepticons many fans grew up with including Optimus Prime, Megatron, the Seekers and Bumblebee. However, in the process, several redecos and retools of those Diaclone sculpts were left behind and never made part of the 80's toy line. Over the years however fans grew more knowledgeable about these "lost" figures and over the course of the decades some of those figures wound up being retroactively integrated into Transformers lore. One of these characters is Exhaust, whose origins are rooted in the "Marlboro Wheeljack" sculpt, a figure that had the same body as G1 Wheeljack with a different head sculpt. Now history has repeated itself as Earthrise Wheeljack has been given a new head and new deco and released as the Mercenary (former Decepticon) Exhaust! This review will focus on the changes made to the Wheeljack figure for this release.

Packaging & Accessories:
Exhaust is packaged in the standard Generations Selects cardboard brown box. The front has a large sticker on it that both identifies the contents (with legal information galore) and keeps the box sealed. The figure itself sits in a plastic tray with the instructions underneath. It is held down by rubber ties.

This figure includes the same accessories as Wheeljack. I know the spoiler halves are not technically accessories, but they do pop off and have 5mm ports so I can imagine fans using them as mini-shields or weapons or something. Both are cast in white plastic with red deco on them. The one meant to be on the right side of the vehicle says "Exhuast" (sic) on it while the other side says "Bandit".

The other accessory is his blaster, which is based off the design of the rocket launchers included with the original Wheeljack figure in G1. This piece is just one solid piece with a 5mm peg, but it does retain the basic shape of that G1 weapon. This piece is also white plastic with black painted on most of the weapon, leaving only the "rocket" end white.

Robot Mode:
Exhaust features a brand new head sculpt and it is a beautiful one. From a distance the head looks very Wheeljack-esque, with "ears" sticking out the sides and so on. However on closer inspection you'll see the head actually has more dramatic angles to it. The eyes have a V shaped plate over them, the "ears" on the sides come up at angles. There is a small mouth piece too instead of the face plate that Wheeljack has, and he has a very traditional crest on the top of the head. This is based on the Diaclone "Marlboro" figure's head sculpt and it looks fantastic. The rest of the figure features no more tooling changes to the Wheeljack body.

This figure is made up of white, black and smokey translucent plastic. The black and white are the main colors with the translucent plastic on the torso. He features several red paint applications on the chest and legs. Perhaps the most disctinctive deco point is the silver Mercenary symbol on his chest. This faction was introduced in the Netflix War for Cybertron animated series with their own distinct symbol, and it is cool to see that symbol in use on the toys. The various "sponsor" logos from the vehicle mode show clearly in this mode too, but I'll discuss them more below. Overall, the figure looks great but there are issues.

Whenever a set of tooling is repeatedly used there is expected wear and tear. Usually that results in a redeco and/or retool that will have odd Q/C issues or loose joints. That is the issue here, but it is an odd one because frankly, this is only the second use of this body tooling. There is no way the tooling should be worn down already, but this figure is floppy. Like, I pick him up with two fingers, shake him and his arms and legs thrash back and forth. The figure can stand and pose with his own weapon, but as soon as I tried to get it to hold a Battlemaster up, the arm kept sinking down. If I tried to pose him in certain ways he would just fall over. It is very possible this is just a problem with my figure, but even if so it is very unfortunate.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the rocket 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:
For those curious, the term "Marlboro Wheeljack" originates from the Diaclone variant of the figure that would become G1 Wheeljack had a paint job on it based on the colors of its sponsor Marlboro. However, it is not particularly kid friendly to use a cigarette company's logo as the foundation of a toy deco nowadays so this figure uses the red and white colors used by the Marlboro brand, but the pattern is totally different. The paint color on the cabin section is also a bit darker than the red on the rest of the figure (but the difference does not look bad). That said, the designers did maintain the "598" number on the doors that were on the original Diaclone figure. I am glad they found a way to compromise between paying homage to the original figure and making it appropriate for younger fans.

Other details are "sponsor" logos including "Exhaust" on the door and Japanese writing that translates to "Decepticon". I really love the way this mode looks.

Final Thoughts:
I am so conflicted on Exhaust. I love the new head sculpt, I love the deco and he looks stellar in vehicle mode. Unfortunately the floppy joints in robot mode are a real issue. I would say if you get him, be sure to check out the joints and articulation ASAP in case you need to exchange it from the place you purchased it from. If you can get a copy with solid joints then it is definitely recommended. My experience is mixed at best.

Pros:

  • Excellent new head sculpt.
  • Fun new deco (love the "sponsor" logos!).
  • Pays homage to a very rare Diaclone figure.

Cons:

  • Joints are terribly loose on my copy.