Cliffbee.com: Binaltech Wheeljack Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Grimlock
Series: Binaltech
Allegiance: Wheeljack
Function: Tactical Diversion
Alternate Mode: Ford Mustang GT Street Tuning



MUSTANG MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 19.5cm Width: 6cm

   A very realistic metallic white Mustang, Wheeljack has twin blue racing stripes down the length of the car and smaller blue stripes along the bottom of the doors (featuring the word "Mustang" in white). It's not the green and red detailing of his Lancia days, but it's a similar theme and Wheeljack seems the obvious choice for this type of paint job. He's a repaint of Grimlock (cartoon fans will see an irony in that), a silver factory version of the Mustang GT. The most significant mould changes in this mode are different hubcaps and a higher, more obvious spoiler, which stands out in black more than Grimlock's silver spoiler.

   Wheeljack has all the standard features of a Binaltech vehicle - chromed hubcaps and rubber tyres, chromed rear vision mirrors, moulded wipers and door-handles, transparent red taillights, transparent orange indicators and even clear reverse lights within his taillights. The headlights are solid black which is a regression in terms of detail - but it makes sense on a racing vehicle ("street" tuning is a nice way of saying racing modifications). His grille is the traditional Mustang grille, complete with the horse logo and distinctive headlight array - the sports lights are transparent. The windows are clear plastic while the door windows are wound down, as is usually (but not always) the case in Binaltech.

   This is a very stylish sports car - as the Mustangs have always been. The siler mags, distinctive grille, large spoiler, twin chromed mufflers, "GT" logo on the back all help make for a stylish vehicle mode. I'm not sure that style is a quality usually associated with Grimlock, but it does make for a visually appealing toy. I've always like the Mustangs mind you, so maybe I'm biased but I do feel they've usually placed more emphasis on visual impact than many American cars.

   The excellent detailing is continued inside this vehicle. Open one of the doors and you'll see a steering wheel (left hand drive), stickshift, handbrake, stereo, odometers etc. and of course moulded seats. The seats are blue and don't really stand out inside a black cockpit, but they fit into the overall colour scheme. The steering wheel can tilt up and down and _actually turns_. The front wheels turn, simulating a rack-and-pinion, although they're not linked to the steering wheel. There's a white license plate on his rear bumper which sports an Autobot logo and the letters "WHLJCK".

   As mentioned, the steering wheel turns and the doors open. As you'd expect, the boot opens and the bonnet lifts to reveal a chromed engine block - complete with the Mustang horse insignia!. As on Meister and Tracks, Wheeljack has brakediscs that remain stationary while his wheels spin, which are done in silver and have moulded callipers.

   Up until this point the Binaltech seem to be constantly improving and outgoing earlier moulds, and unfortunately this mould is a slight regression from Meister and Tracks. The front section doesn't quite line up to the front of his doors, which tend to droop a little. There's nothing clipping the forearms into the front of the car, so they tend to split and sag under the weight of the car (I'd imagine this is less of a problem for the lighter Alternators version). The overall look is still great, the forearms hurt his ability to roll but doesn't impact much visually.

   Despite the minor flaws, this is still a very good car mode. The style and character are a great match and the I really like racing stripes, making this visually one of my favourite Binaltech concepts. The mould isn't the best of the line, but with this paint job Wheeljack is one of the more striking toys in the line.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not going to bother trying to explain everything involved in what is a very complex transformation. The headlight rack becomes his chest ala Jazz, the rear window becomes his boots and the rear end his kneecaps. The doors become wings, his arms fold out from within the engine bay. The engine block becomes his handgun and there's a blue sword tucked underneath the car.

   The shoulder transformation is awkward and counterintuitive, especially getting back to car mode. While grappling with the shoulders I find that the doors tend to pop off, which is very annoying, and is a problem that was just as evident on Grimlock. In fact the doors on mine are far worse than those of Grimlock. You're almost better just removing the doors and reattaching at the end, for the sake of your blood pressure. The head is a little tricker to transform, since his ears stick out further than Grimlock's - you have less space through which to push it.

   This is the most fidgety of the Binaltech toys yet. While I wouldn't call him the most difficult Transformer (Big Convoy/Nemesis Prime wins that tag), he's the most frustrating.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 17.5cm
exact height depends on pose, width is his wingspan

   As you'd expect, the white is dominant, with the blue stripes running down the middle of the robot. The groin and feet are blue plastic while there's black on his waist, thighs, fists and upper arms. His head is black with a silver face, which is completely different to Grimlock's. The face is based on his cartoon face, with eyes above the mouthplate, rather than the simpler facial strip of the original toy. It's readily identifiable as Wheeljack, who's always had one of the more distinctive faces of G1. The colours are a departure from those of his G1 robot mode, with grey on his forearms and the blue replacing red and green, but he's still clearly Wheeljack. The colour scheme itself is quite attractive, I actually prefer it to Grimlock's colour scheme, the cool colours really combine well here.

   While not all Binaltechs make full use of the vehicular features in robot mode, Wheeljack certainly does. The front of the car is his chest, the front wheels are on the outsides of his forearms, the boots are his rear windows, the feet the car seats and the kneecaps are his rear bumper and lights. The wings above his shoulders are the car's doors, and work well for Wheeljack despite being designed for Grimlock. They're configured differently to the door-wings on previous Binaltechs, and while the transformation is annoying I'll give points for innovation. The Mustang grille and headlights on his chest make for a great central feature. The kneecaps are huge, to the point where they partially obscure the thighs and the wheels on his forearms look a little weird since they sit on posts rather than being flush.

   There are stamped Autobot logos on either shoulder, the forearms have moulded pistons - which are painted blue this time around (Grimlock's are unpainted). The floor of the vehicular cabin hangs off the back like an armour skirt - although it's really just kibble. The roof and windshield also sit on his back, but they're behind the chest while this plate is fairly conspicuously behind the waist and groin. The kneecaps look strange and worked better for the brute force of Grimlock than the engineer Wheeljack. The boots work quite well mind you, and the car seat feet are clever.There are springs visible inside his boots, which are purely for show, rather than functionality.

   As is to expected, this is a poseable robot mode. The head is ball jointed and the waist and groin both rotate. The shoulders rotate and swing out to the sides while his elbows have both ball joints and sideways swivels. The wrists are ball jointed while his index fingers are jointed, the other three fingers jointed as one. His hips are ball joints with rotators directly below them to help the hinged knees. The ankles are ball jointed, while the feet and heelspurs are hinged. The feet themselves are the backs of his seats while the heelspurs are the bases of the seats. I'm really impressed by the way the feet were done. Not only does it show great creativity, but they've pulled it off without making it look silly.

   While the hinged knees are a slight negative, the rotators in his hips make up for this and the poseable feet make leg poseability a strong point. All told, the poseability here is great, which compliments the weapons. The sword is a transparent blue affair, and while on Grimlock the outside of the sword was orange and the inside colourless, Wheeljack's is colours at the core with colourless edge, giving the weaponry a different feel without a retooling. The gun is simply that of Grimlock, which I won't complain about - it's not like the Lancia came with a handgun anyway.

   While the colour scheme is great, the poseability terrific and the weaponry versatile, the kneecaps bug me a little and the Transformation is downright annoying, so I prefer the car mode. Of course, if you simply leave him in robot mode the Transformation is not an issue, but the robot mode suits Grimlock better so I'm planning to leave Wheeljack in his fantastic Mustang mode next to robot mode Grimlock.

VARIATIONS

   None I know of. The plastic Alternators version is unreleased at the time of this review.

OVERALL

   They've done a great job of remoulding the head, making the robot mode works surprisingly well as Wheeljack. The colour scheme in robot mode is great and I love the paint job to bits. The transformation really drags Wheeljack down - he's a still great display piece and the robot mode's play value is great, but this is really a Transformer that I don't want to transform. I'm not sure I'd recommend both him _and_ Grimlock, unless you like the characters or dig Mustangs as I do, but I certainly wouldn't recommend against grabbing both if you can afford to - 8.5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.