Wheeljack & Windsheer - Armada - Figures


Vehicle mode: A sleek looking jet plane. Although some of the joints are easily spotted, there isn't much showing that seems out of place. You can't even see his head at all when in vehicle mode, which is definitely an achievement to have in a mini-con design. The colors are nicely distributed, with him being mostly black, but with some yellow parts and red detailing. These colors match Wheeljack's well, especially in their vehicle modes where their distribution of colors is very close to one another. This makes Windsheer really look like he belongs with Wheeljack, especially when powerlinked, which is definitely a big plus.

Robot mode: Quite a complex transformation for a mini-con, though nothing too complex in general. He looks good in this mode as well, a little bulky, but also still somehow retaining a very sleek look to this form. His arms are interesting, as they end in claws rather than fists. It definitely sticks out as something different about this robot. His articulation is okay, with his legs on ball joints, and his arms being able to move up and down a bit. Nothing too special in terms of posability, but for a mini-con it's certainly not bad. The colors are distributed about the same as in vehicle mode, and work just as well in general. His arms are the most bland part of him in this mode, being just one solid yellow color from rhe shoulders down. He could have possibly used some slight detailing on the arms, to make them seem a little better in terms of coloring and detail. But overall he's a good looking mini-con, and certainly one of the best that I've seen packaged with a larger Transformer.


Vehicle mode: A sleek looking sportscar. It kind of seems like some sort of cross between a DeLorean and a Lamborghini. I don't think it's modelled after any specific car model in real life, but it certainly seems like something that could be a real car. In any case, it's a really cool looking design overall. The color scheme is nicely done, with the car mainly being black, but with some prominent dark yellow detailing, and a few red spots as well. The windshield looks like it's mirrored, with a shiny silver/magenta effect that looks pretty neat. The back of the car features a spoiler, molded onto the car's body in sort of a race car fashion, making this car not only look stylish, but powerfully fast as well. Another thing worth mentioning are the wheels. Although they are actually plastic, you really wouldn't guess it by looking at them. They really look very convincingly like molded rubber, and only by touching them can you really tell that they're not. That level of impressive detailing is done throughout the car's design in general as well, and it really does a nice job of adding to its visual quality.

He has three powerlink posts in this mode, one active link on the top of the car, and two dead links on the rear spoiler. The spoiler links at the back are pretty close together, so I don't think there are many mini-cons that could actually be paired up together on the posts here. They're kind of pointless links anyway though, and there doesn't seem to be any good reason to use them except simply for storing a min-con there. The active link is molded to fit Windsheer perfectly, and when you attach him (or another mini-con that fits), Wheeljack's doors swing out vertically upward. In this "attack mode", you can fire two missiles from the ends of the doors with the press of a button on the underside of them. It's kind of a neat gimmick, but there's nothing really too exceptionally exciting about it.

Robot mode: Wheeljack's transformation isn't too complex, but has more to it than you might think. I thought that he would basically transform in pretty much the same way as the G1 Sideswipe / Red Alert model, since he looks so much like that mold, which had a very simplistic transformation. But while there are some similarities in the process, Wheeljack's transformation is actually significantly different in quite a few ways, and slightly more complex. But in the end, he certainly bears a strong resemblance to that G1 model in robot mode, including the car hood forming the chest plate, and a head with a very similar looking sculpt. His color scheme changes from almost exclusively black in car mode, to actually having more white than black on him in this mode. Black portions are still significantly present though, as are about the same amount of yellow and red detailing as his car mode. The two dead powerlink posts are now on his knees, which ironically seems like an even more pointless place to be putting mini-cons than on the spoiler (couldn't they find any better places to put these dead links??). His active powerlink post is now on his back, so you can't even really see a mini-con if you put it there. The active post does nothing in robot mode anyway though, because the doors have to already be raised (which is what this powerlink does) in order to transform him in the first place. Which brings up this as an issue that should be addressed. It seems strange to require activating this powerlink post to transform him at all. I think it would have worked out better if they could have somehow made the doors pop up from the press of an independant (ie. not a powerlink) button, and have the attachment of a mini-con just be required for firing the missiles. Instead, we get it the other way around, where the minicon is required to raise the doors, and then the missiles can be fired without involving the mini-con, which just seems very backwards to me.

In terms of detail, he looks pretty good. There's a lot of subtle detail etched into his robotic parts, even more so than he has as a car. He looks very mecahnical in nature, with things like gears, wires, and other mechanical stuff being visible all along most of the white parts. As for articulation, he's not too bad, but there's nothing too exceptional in this area. His arms have a couple of points of articulation each, as do his legs, which is sufficient for any basic posing you want him to be doing, but not enough to really be too overly impressive. It certainly provides at least an adequately functional robot mode though. Just to put it into perspective, if you compared him to most G1 toys, his articulation is definitely above average, but if you compare him to RiD toys, then it's pretty well below average.

The missiles from the doors of the vehicle mode can be held in his fists. I'm not sure exactly what they're supposed to be in this way, but they sort of resemble baton-like weapons. They really aren't very menacing though, and don't really look too good as weapons also because they're just one solid color (yellow), with very little detailing. It would have been better if they could have somehow modeled these things to look like more obvious weapons of some sort, like maybe swords. Or perhaps just have them used as the car's missiles, and given him a separate gun to hold in robot form instead.

Overall: Wheeljack is a really nice figure, one that I think most people will agree is one of the best of the Armada lineup. He looks really good in both vehicle and robot mode, which is something that a lot of Armada figures can't make claim to either one of. And his mini-con is also very nicely done, with a good looking vehicle mode and robot mode as well. Add in the fact that they both sport fantastic looking color schemes that are perfectly coordinated with one another, and you've got one nice looking duo here. There are a few minor gripes about Wheeljack, including the missiles being kind of a cheap excuse for hand-held weapons, and how requiring his functional mini-con powerlink post to be activated in order to transform can be a little annoying. But any flaws to be found here are mostly minor and pretty insignificant to the general quality of this set as a whole, and Wheeljack and Windsheer still easily stand out as one of the best offerings of the Armada line-up overall.

DateOctober 17th 2003  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  

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