Transformers Report: Alternators Wheeljack

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Wheeljack

Wheeljack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for the third and last of the Alternators. Wheeljack is the Autobots’ inventor. And he’s good at his job if the machine doesn’t blow up or something. Basically he’s a mad scientist for the forces of good. His original vehicle mode in the G1 days was based on the Lancia Stratos Turbo‘s “Group 5 Statos” race car. No, I don’t know what that means outside of knowing what a race car is.

It won’t be obvious why until the very end of the review but this was the last Alternator I ever picked up. This was the figure where I decided that this line just wasn’t making me happy, which is odd considering this is not the one I’ll be taking out of my collection. That part will be immediately obvious.

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Transformers Report: Alternators Side Swipe

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Sideswipe (Transformers)

Sideswipe (Transformers) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the original toyline Sideswipe was a Lamborghini Countach. Originally Hasbro & Takara couldn’t get that license for Tracks’ actual vehicle mode so they opted for something close, the Dodge Viper, model SRT-10 according to the instructions for his Japanese counterpart, Lambor (which kind of messes up his name in Japan). Then they were able to get a license and just shoved Sideswipe into this car, which would later be retooled for his brother Sunstreaker and the Decepticon Dead End. Also for some reason the name is written as two words, “Side Swipe”. I’m guessing that’s a license issue too. Sideswipe is one of the first group of Autobots so it makes sense that he would get a toy, although how one from the second group got one first I couldn’t tell you. Oddly this is the second Alternators figure released, and you’d think that considering how long they had to take in order to get such intricate figures out there they would start with the more popular characters first. Instead Alternators went backwards.

I also did something different with the photos. Instead of the photo box I opted to use those Block City toys to build a sort of warehouse inspired backdrop. I was inspired by some toy review videos who use “chain base” backgrounds but I can’t afford that and I can build things of my own. This is sort of a prototype design, not the final version, so advice is welcome. I think I need a more stable base so I don’t get the huge cracks when putting it together, so that one I noticed. I also want a second set of windows in the next design. With that, let’s get on with the review.

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Transformers Report: Alternators Smokescreen

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Mikko Hirvonen driving his Subaru Impreza WRC ...

Mikko Hirvonen driving his Subaru Impreza WRC during the shakedown of the 2004 Cyprus Rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back during my review of Alternity Bumblebee I mentioned the Binaltech/Alternators line. This toyline was intended for collectors to the point that they resemble model toy cars from their size to real working doors and molded interiors. However, the line wasn’t as popular as Takara and Hasbro wanted, plus there were licensing issues, including two different branches of Honda disagreeing about whether or not they wanted their representative carrying weapons (Honda US didn’t like it, Honda Japan didn’t mind). Ultimately the line failed. Japan’s Binaltech had a storyline that continued into Alternity but Alternators had no such story. Alternity probably wasn’t launched in the US and elsewhere after the hassles of Alternators.

One interesting choice is the character chosen for the first toy, Smokescreen. While he had his fans, appearing in later early G1 as the third repaint of Prowl and Bluestreak, he doesn’t carry the impact of those other two. That doesn’t make him a good or bad toy so let’s look at this thing.

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