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Series: War for Cybertron: Earthrise
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Deluxe
Year: 2020

Prelude: Much like it was with Siege Hound, I initially wasn’t interested in a new version of Wheeljack. I had a perfectly good Wheeljack at home in the form of Generations Wheeljack. Then I was walking the toy aisles, Earthrise Wheeljack was there, and what can I say? I was tempted. So here is Earthrise Wheeljack. Can he repeat the feat of Siege Hound and beat out his Generations predecessor? We’ll see. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: At first glance it is immediately apparent: this is Wheeljack, the G1 Autobots’ mad engineer, looking almost exactly as he did in the cartoon. Seeing as Hasbro is currently on a trend to have the G1-based toys looking as if they stepped right out of the animation, that’s hardly surprising. Wheeljack has the slightly boxy G1 look down pat, no complaints on that front. He is easily recognizable as the character, no complaints there, either.

A few nitpicks worth mentioning, though: one, his shoulder wings are awefully short. Both the Generations figure, as well as the original G1 toy had longer ones, as did the cartoon character. The reason is, of course, that the figure’s shoulder wings are the halves of the car spoiler, not separate parts, but still: a little short. Another thing that’s short: the shoulder-mounted missile launcher, which is tiny even when compared to that of the much smaller G1 figure. It’s also Wheeljack’s sole weapon, whereas the other versions (and the cartoon character) usually carried a second gun in hand. Finally, while also a Deluxe class toy, Earthrise Wheeljack is a good deal smaller than the Deluxe Generations figure, but that’s a general trend.

Apart from those nitpicks, though, Earthrise Wheeljack is a very good figure. Very nicely articulated, looking good, and the iconic head with the ear pieces is there, too. The only thing I don’t really like is that his fists have small parts of the car’s side on them, it always makes it look (at least from certain angles) as if he has no hands. So to sum it up: a very good Wheeljack in robot mode with but a few minor issues.

Alternate Mode: Naturally Wheeljack still transforms into a sports car. It looks very similar to his original G1 altmode, the Lancia Stratos (Group 5 racing version), with only a few minor differences. The car looks a bit more modern in general styling than the old 80s race car, but that’s pretty much it. The sponsor decals were changed to include multiple Transformers-related references (Velocitron Racing, Iacon Modulators, etc.). Here, too, the Earthrise version is somewhat in the middle between the sizes of the smaller G1 toy and the bigger Generations version, though the differences are far smaller here.

Not really much to complain about here. There is a minor difference in color between some of the panels making up the side of the car, but that’s pretty much it. The gun / shoulder missile can be mounted on top of the car. The one thing this car cannot do in comparison to the other two versions is a flight mode. The wings, which can fold out from underneath for the other two, are the rear spoiler here, so no flying car. Just a minor thing, though, and probably not something that anyone will really miss. So overall: a very good car mode with only very, very minor issues.

Remarks: Wheeljack is one of the most prominent characters in the Transformers franchise, originally voiced by the late, great Chris Latta. He was also, together with Bumblebee, the very first Transformer to appear on-screen in the opening of the G1 cartoon’s pilot. In fact that scene with him and Bee was recreated for the recent Netflix War for Cybertron series. Netfix Wheeljack is less an engineer and scientist and more a warrior / computer jockey, but he was still one of the central characters of the series’ first season.

So we come to the final question: will Earthrise Wheeljack replace Generations Wheeljack on my toy shelf? Well, probably not in this case. Not because of the figure as such, mind you, but simply due to personal preference. I am still more a fan of the original Generations series’ trend of reimagining the G1 characters instead of slavishly recreating their cartoon look, so I think I will stay with Generations Jacky. That should not take anything away from this figure here, though. Earthrise Wheeljack is a very good figure with only a few small things against him and well worth getting for every fan of the G1 character.

Rating: A-

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