Ah, Armada Wheeljack. Don’t expect this to be a long one, this figure isn’t much. As a kid I remember this was one of my most coveted figures, just because the scarred Autobot insignia was so cool and his vehicle mode was equally awesome. When I actually got him though, color me disappointed when he turned out to be little more than a brick.
His stance in robot mode makes me cringe a little. Whenever I do these standard shots, I always try to make the subjects look lean, imposing, non-brick-like. But with Wheeljack this is literally the best I could get out of him.
Wheeljack’s only two weapons are some over-long and very thin Twinkies. They double as missiles in his vehicle form, but here they honestly look pretty silly when Jackie can’t really do much with them.
The arms are articulated at really strange points, mostly for the sake of the transformation. They only bend outwards below the wheel shoulders, making for a really awkward look when posed, and there’s no head or torso articulation to speak of.
The head honestly really bugs me. I hate how it’s wedged in between his chest/neck area, pretty much indistinguishable among the rest of his torso. As I mentioned, it also doesn’t even sport a swivel joint to turn it. Not that he’d be able to see past his massive hood anyway.
I did mention that I found the slashed Autobot insignia on the hood really cool as a child though, and I still do. The detail that’s painted impeccably gold beneath is actually really well done. The background behind such a bold mark like this is initially what drew me to Wheeljack. All the other Transformers are either Autobot or Decepticon, but here we have one that wears the mark of both, albeit with one fiercely crossed out.
Something strange though – Wheeljack’s right wrist can turn and rotate on a swivel joint, but his left arm and hand are all molded together in one piece. Why this is, I’ll never understand, since it doesn’t affect transformation at all. I can’t imagine Hasbro and Takara really slashed production costs by omitting one rotating wrist.
Wheeljack’s knees are an interesting point to bring up. Most Armada figures don’t actually have knees, but Wheeljack seems to be a special case in that he has something in between. His legs are obviously meant to lock in a rod-shape for robot-mode, but the fact that his lower legs are capable of folding backwards over his thighs technically gives him knee movement.
However, the joint that does the folding is actually completely loose, not meant to actually hold the lower leg up or anything. Therefore, it’s possible to pose him with a knee bent, but the balance will be extremely precarious, as the bent leg will basically be a floppy hunk of plastic with no actual support.
To sum this situation up in simpler terms, Senior Design Director Aaron Archer from Hasbro was once asked why Wheeljack was privileged enough to have knees where most other Transformers didn’t. His reply apparently was, “Wheeljack has knees?”
Wheeljack’s Mini-Con partner, Wind Sheer.
Wind Sheer is a sturdier Mini-Con than most, with a distinctively bird-like body shape.
He transforms into a small jet of unknown origin, though everything does fit together really well on this little guy. The kibble isn’t really noticeable here; it almost looks like nothing more than a small toy plane.
Wheeljack himself transforms into a super-car of unknown make. I have to admit, I’m pretty fond of his vehicle form here. It just looks cool and sleek, with the slashed Autobot logo standing out on the hood.
The paint apps stand out especially well here, with the little details like the gold in his forward grille and the red on the taillights being impeccably done. The yellow on the spoiler is a bit scratched up, unfortunately, from chidlhood play.
Wheeljack’s only Mini-Con gimmick is activated by placing Wind Sheer on the roof of his vehicle form, releasing the gull-wing doors and giving access to the triggers for the missiles stored within. It’s technically a feature required by transformation, so I personally think it’s a pretty dull feature, but something of worthy note is that Wheeljack’s roof is shaped in a way that pretty much only Wind Sheer will be able to fit in there and activate the gimmick.
And that’s really it for Wheeljack; there wasn’t much to talk about. Sadly, his toy is vastly outshone by his animation counterpart. This figure itself is extremely dated by now; we haven’t quite gotten to the point where toys can actually pull off what their animated counterparts can do on-screen yet. Thankfully, as is a redeeming feature in the Armada line, Wheeljack does feature an aesthetically pleasing vehicle form and spot-on paint apps to make up for what is a pretty disappointing biped form.