Friday, June 9, 2023

Wheeljack (Jungle Mission 3 pack)

Wheeljack has been the subject of much controversy in the Transformers fan world lately. Mostly because he doesn't traditionally look like Wheeljack. Normally that's not much of a surprise with movie designs, it's just that he looked so perfect last time. However, all that aside... I like the design.With his suspenders and big glasses, he looks like Steve Urkel. Someone I'd associate with gadgets. With Wheeljack's TV repair van alt mode, it works. I've always associated Wheeljack with that guy who's always making something in his garage. Every neighborhood has one. The local Doc Brown type who drives around a motorcycle made from a lawn mower engine duck taped to an old bicycle. That's Wheeljack to me, and this fits. So, I'm ok with it. 

This toy comes from the Jungle Mission 3 pack that's exclusive to Target stores in the states under the Buzzworthy Bumblebee line. As part of the mainline Rise of the Beasts toy line that is separate from the Studio Series in a move that feel at this point serves only to confuse the average consumer. Yes, the movie is a big deal this summer... but there's multiple versions of the same guy on the shelves and in some instances at the same price class. Studio Series is meant to be a fancier, more pretty toy line for collectors... but ultimately it's another version of the same guy in the same area at Target. I understand capitalizing on the movie hype, but I can't help to feel like it's bordering on potential saturation.

Not to mention, so far, the mainline has been cooler toys. At this point, I don't feel like the Studio Series version of this Wheeljack can compete. This is a great figure. Fortunately it's exclusive to a retailer in a kinda expensive boxed set. I got mine on sale for 50$, which was a good deal considering deluxe figures cost around $22 and you get three in the box. The set is normally around $70. While that still works out to be the cost of three with tax... it's a big upfront cost when economic times are tough. Stretching buying the 3 out individually would be a lot easier for most, or buying it on sale like I did. I could have bought it full retail, but it just felt irresponsible. Come on companies, do better.

The toy itself is pretty great. I REALLY like it. In robot mode Wheeljack is stocky and pleasantly sturdy. He turns into a van, you'd expect that. He's a nerd that can kick your ass. Wheeljack has a laser rifle that I think looks great. He turns into this kinda clunky old van and then whips out a neato space laser gun. It's a nice clashing of styles. Kinda like classic Star Wars, everything is run down and busted except for the guns. Considering how many battles the get into a day... I kinda understand. Wheeljack is also very pleasantly articulated. I'm sure others will point out he doesn't have some point of articulation he doesn't have (his pant's don't crease or something), but it never felt lacking too me. 

Transformation is fairly easy. I say fairly because there's a few spots you'll have to get everything just right or it won't all fit together. That's a regular sticking point in modern Transformers I've noticed. I'm not an engineer, but my theory is somewhere between the CAD model design and probably a rushed production schedule, a looking over is missed and that's a shame. It just feels like a little extra QC could go a long way. I'm not even the type to complain about big companies, so when I take the point in doing so... it's obviously hitting the unacceptable level. I feel like I'm complaining a lot here, which I don't want to do because as I've said, I really like this figure. When the only negative thing you can say about a toy has nothing to do with the actual toy. I love Hasbro's products, but the company themselves... *sigh*

I really like Wheeljack's colors. The white and copper look great. It looks used and a little faded. The only thing that would have been more perfect would be a fender painted only in primer and a few repaired spots. Work vehicles take a beating and Wheeljack seems to be the type that would use a lot of Bondo. I really dig this toy. I know my complaints about the business end have taken a lot of space in this post but that's literally the only negative thing to say. I wasn't looking for anything negative to say either, it's just unavoidable. Hell, the big complaint is that his design was changed and that too is at the corporate level. Dammit companies, get your shit together.

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