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Transformers – GDO Deluxe Wheelie

By all accounts, there is no reason anyone should be interested in this figure. I’ve mentioned previously that these GDO figures don’t really make a ton of sense as far as repaints go, but this one really takes the cake among an assortment of repaints that make little sense. It’s Wheelie on a body originally created to be used for Jazz. The issue here isn’t that Jazz’s mold is so singular (even though it kinda is) that it shouldn’t be used for any other character. The issue is this mold makes no sense for this character, for Wheelie. When this figure was first announced as an exclusive for the Asian market, my initial reaction was a quick “What the …???” followed by an even quicker “They can keep THAT one!” I hated the very idea, and when it was announced that he was coming to Toys R Us stores as an exclusive, I was bound and determined to keep on hating him. But then I read a review by David Willis, and I suddenly had to have it. And now that I finally tracked down one (apparently he’s one-per-case?), I’ve come to really like him a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

The thing about Wheelie is he occupies a unique position in the Transformers universe (at least as far as G1 goes). He’s a little kid, basically, and his mannerisms and his size have always reflected this idea. He was introduced in 1986’s Transformers: The Movie (the original animated movie), and he seemed to divide fans more than any other character. Many people hated him, and still do. He speaks in rhymes in this annoying-as-can-be, high-pitched voice that drove people nuts. He rode around on Grimlock’s back and had a slingshot he used to take down bad guys. All he was missing was a skateboard or roller skates or a robo-lollipop in order to emphasize the idea that he was a “kid” even more. He was corny and fans had every reason to react negatively to him. But still, I couldn’t help but be sorta partial toward him.

His bio suggests he’s still a little kid, but I’m just gonna go ahead and ignore that.

It was his alt mode. See, in 1986 the future was still pretty cool, and the movie was set in 2005, a year so impossibly far in the future that I couldn’t even conceive of what life would be like (little did I know). Wheelie’s alt mode was this slick and super stylized little roadster and exactly what I could picture myself driving in 2005, so I was on board. I liked Wheelie and made sure he was among the first of the movie figures that I got that year. Then in ’09 an updated version of Wheelie was released in the Legends line, which was wicked hard to find, and it was pretty perfect as far as updates go in that very small scale. There was even a slingshot! Sure, it was painted on to his shoulder and he couldn’t hold it, but it was there! AND he could sit on Masterpiece Grimlock’s shoulders perfectly. Surely, I would never need another Wheelie. Surely.

What I like about this new rendition of Wheelie are the possibilities that open up. I mean, it is a good figure on its own merits because the Jazz mold is among the best to come around in recent years and it’s going to serve any character well, but that’s not really what I mean. It raises the question “Do Transformers grow up?'” Is that what this Wheelie is? A future version of the character in his adolescence, or even in his adulthood? The slingshot’s presence suggests adolescence, so I’ll run with that. His cardback, however, describes the character as we were introduced to him in the movie, but the actual figure suggests otherwise.

With Universe Wheelie
Alt mode comparison

Now, the idea of Transformers aging certainly isn’t new. Alpha Trion and Kup were always portrayed as “old men,” and Hot Rod seemingly aged about ten years when he accepted the Matrix and became Rodimus Prime, but, if you choose to look at it this way, this is the first time we’ve seen a character actually age in the toy line. I mean, chances are this really is just a lazy repaint and I’m reading way too much into this (I tend to do that), but this idea lends an important element of legitimacy to the figure that, let’s face it, it really needs. And it raises so many questions about Wheelie’s development: has his personality changed? Does he still rhyme? What is his place now among the Autobots? Is he a Wrecker? Etc. etc. etc. I love it. I love the chance to basically create the character as I’d like him to be before a movie, comic, or cartoon tells me what he’s supposed to be like.

Slingshot!

The mold is awesome, as we’ve already seen courtesy of Jazz, but Wheelie’s colors really make it pop. The orange and grey look good on this mold and I’m thrilled he actually has a slingshot he can actually hold. It makes him so much fun to pose for no good reason, really. He can’t pull off any poses Jazz can’t, but there’s something about the slingshot that makes me want to pick him up and play with him much more than I ever did with Jazz.

With United Jazz

His alt mode hits all the notes it should, and, again, it definitely benefits from the mold that’s being used. It looks nice and sharp. The grill could use a bit of detailing, but that’s really my only crit.

Since he does share this body with Jazz, he also comes equipped with the speakers that extend from his car doors/wings. It’s difficult to imagine what purpose they’d serve in Wheelie’s case. Maybe he uses them to broadcast his rhymes so all can hear? Who knows. They’ll stay concealed on my shelf.

If you’re looking for a Wheelie to add to your collection to serve as a “default” Wheelie, I can’t recommend this one. Try to hunt down the Legends class figure instead; it’s much more true to what the character actually is. But I can recommend this version if you’re like me and it kick starts your imagination with the possibilities of it being a “grown up” Wheelie. The more I play around with him, I find I like to think of him as “the last Autobot standing,” or something to that effect. His survival skills have kept him alive during the final great war with the Decepticons, and he’s now the lone hunter avenging his fallen comrades. The idea is preposterous, but I love it.

With a few of his friends. All growns up!
Kid, my back. Ow.

Be aware that, like all the GDO figures, he is a Toys R Us exclusive, and there have been reports of his being a shortpacked exclusive. I was able to place an order for him on the site using the “Email me when available” feature, so unless you get lucky and actually find him in a Toys R Us store, then that may be your best bet too.

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11 thoughts on “Transformers – GDO Deluxe Wheelie

  1. And as of nov 16. 2012 ive owned one.
    Funny thing is, i just saw him alone on a shelf with other tf toys,
    tried to as the salesclerk about its and was suprised to hear that he
    was just one in the whole display and stock line.
    Glad ive bought him.

  2. Great review! I’m really happy with this version of Wheelie. I’m not a big fan of mini-bots so his size doesn’t bother me and like you stated its fun to come up with your own version of the character’s history.

    If you haven’t done it already, I recommend reading IDW’s “Transformers Spotlight: Wheelie”, you may be surprised at the interpretation. It’s a fun book!

  3. Jesse — That’s “Delicate Warrior.” iGear was the distributor and I believe some dude made them by hand. I really like it a lot. Both modes are dead on. BBTS was stocking her for a while, but I’m not sure if they still are. I got her direct from iGear two years ago.

    Ebon — All of these are hard to find. I had to get Wheelie and Swerve from the TrU site and a local tfw2005 boardie hooked me up with Springer. I hope TrU decides to stock these better soon.

  4. Didn’t want, but now I want. I can’t find regular release TFs in my god forsaken town let alone these.

  5. Snowman, you are WAY too kind, but I appreciate it. And the transformations for these typically aren’t that bad; it’s the Alternators and some of the Masterpieces that you have to look out for. 😉

  6. Canonball, these review pics of yours lately have been fan-freakin-tastic. I haven’t bought a Transformer since 1985 (Dinobot Swoop), but I’m really tempted to track this one down. Hopefully his transformation is beginner-friendly, I’ve heard some of these guys can be a bit difficult.

  7. That makes sense, David. Thanks. I had read a while ago that he was shortpacked, and since I’ve never been able to actually find him in a store, I was under the impression that story held true.

  8. Wheelie was one-per-case in Asia, but he’s two-per-case in North America. However, he’s proven popular enough that he’s the hardest to find anyway.

  9. Didn’t read the whole article, but I’m glad you came around on the figure. I wasn’t sure at first either, but he really is awesome.

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