“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos;”
~Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Wheeljack has most likely never read Frankenstein, and would probably not much care to be compared to the titular Doctor. The comparison really isn’t far off the mark, though. In episode 17, “Autobot Spike”, Wheeljack even assists in the creation of the Autobots very own rendition of Frankenstein’s monster. Throughout his career as the Autobot’s mad scientist… I mean, “Mechanical Engineer”, he has created just as many gadgets that have injured himself as he has weapons that can be safely used in the fight against the Decepticons. However, the ones that work, work really well,
“…their deadly effectiveness has earned him the respect of friends and enemies alike.”
Even with this, though, he’s not your standard science nerd.
“He is also the Autobot most adept at driving while in his automobile mode and has pulled off tricks that Hollywood stunt drivers haven’t even dreamed of yet. He fully enjoys showing off when the opportunity presents itself.”
Additionally, he’s one of the only 1984 Autobots capable of flight in robot mode. In other words, he’s not completely useless once you take him out of his lab. It’s this that has earned him his spot as my favourite Autobot.
I have always been partial to the scientist-types, but I am especially partial to a stunt-driving speed demon scientist that also has a shoulder mounted multi-type shell launcher capable of also firing “a shrapnel-needle shell, which explodes into millions of hair-thin filaments that can pierce even the strongest armor”. That just sounds mean. Wheeljack is also one of the few Transformers I can specifically recall buying as a kid.
Naturally, this status made him a must-find once his Generations release was announced. He did give me a little bit of a scare, as he was amongst “the final three”, along with Thundercracker and Warpath. He was elusive, but finally, he was mine.
This toy is amazing. Even though he is a retool of the previously released Reveal the Shield Tracks, you can put the two robots right next to each other and not immediately know it.
Then Wheeljack uses Tracks’ gun as his own shoulder-mounted shell launcher. The change in weaponry combined with Wheeljack’s remolded wings and reversed leg transformation make them distinctly different. All of this detailing topped off with a brand-new headsculpt also ensures that Wheeljack is distinctly Wheeljack.
Being a toy-centric collector, I am a little sad he didn’t come with two shell launchers, but the single one is consistent with a majority of his fictional appearances. That being said, I will most likely steal Tracks’ gun and put it on Wheeljack as a second shoulder launcher.
G1 Wheeljack’s alt-mode is a Lancia Stratos Turbo, specifically the Turbo 5 design used for closed track endurance racing. Another part of Generations Wheeljack’s remolding is that his alt mode has added ground effects in the front and a spoiler in the back to better resemble his G1 incarnation. Of course, he has lost his racing sponsorship stickers in the interest of avoiding licensing issues.
For whatever reason, the ‘bot above was not named Wheeljack in Energon. However, he was named Wheeljack in the Japanese version of Energon, called Transformers: Super Link. Whatever the logic behind calling him Downshift here, he will always be Energon Wheeljack to me.
Which then leads us to this guy.
This is the Decepticon Slicer from Botcon 2010’s G2: Redux line. So what is he doing in a post about Wheeljack? First, as Slicer he is a meta-homage to Wheeljack because the original Slicer was a redeco of Action Master Wheeljack and now he is a redeco of Energon Wheeljack.
However, the real reason he is here is because he is not just an homage to Wheeljack, he’s also simultaneously Wheeljack himself! I know what you’re thinking, “Y U no make sense?”
Take a closer look at the Autobot symbol molded into his breastplate.
Notice how it’s purple? Those clever, clever folks at the Transformers Collectors Club actually managed to release this guy as the Decepticon Slicer and the evil Shattered Glass Autobot Wheeljack at the same time.
Energon Wheeljack has an autobot symbol in the spark crystal in one of his wheels.
Slicer replaces this with a Decepticon spark crystal and painted Decepticon symbols on his doors.
To further strengthen this connection, they even included an epilogue to the 2010 Botcon Timelines comic in which Shattered Glass Wheeljack, pretending to be G2: Redux Slicer from the future, fools Slicer into handing over some valuable Forestonite. Yeah, Slicer is not too bright.
Of course, being based on an Energon toy, both he and Energon Wheeljack have the ability to Powerlink, so you can actually make a Frankenstein-ish (like how I brought the post full circle like that?) amalgamation of Energon not-officially-Wheeljack and Botcon sort-of-official-ish-Wheeljack