Name: Wheeljack (Rampage in the Micron line)
Alternate Mode: Sports Car
Note: This is a collaboration with Goktimus Prime (visit him at Planet Sabretron). He supplied the Armada Wheeljack, I have Rampage from the Micron line. This is a comparative review of both, although Wheeljack is the toy pictured.
Height: 5cm Length: 15cm Width: 7cm
A grey sports car with yellow detailing with a white engine cover (on the rear of the car). Rampage is black, with blue detailing (not as prevalent as Wheeljack's yellow), and with only part of the engine cover done in white.
Wheeljack has yellow stripes down the sides of the bonnet and covering the struts of the rear spoiler. Rampage has slimmer (blue) stripes in both locations, as well as blue added to the bottom of the doors. Rampage got the better deal here, not only because of the blue, but because of the black. The abundance of yellow on Wheeljack is a little overwhelming, but it still looks nice. Both have metallic painted windows, purple on Wheeljack and blue on Rampage. The blue looks better, mainly since it fits better than the purple with yellow.
Both have an Autobot symbol on the hood with a big slash cut into it (since he left the Autobots). The slash reveals either silver (Rampage) or gold (Wheeljack) mechanics underneath, and underneath the Autobot symbol is a smaller Decepticon symbol. Neither silver nor gold is better or worse, but Wheeljack's Autobot symbol is painted all over in red, whereas only the raised parts of the insignia are red on Rampage, which looks a lot better (and is something Takara tends to do, Hasbro only sometimes).
He has red taillights, and twin hardpoints on the spoiler. On the front, the headlights are pop-up, hence unpainted, the front has air intake grills, blue on rampage and gold on Wheeljack. Both work within their colour schemes.
There's good sculpting detail in this mode - including a fuel cap on the left hand side, rear wing mirrors, moulded headlights and the mech details revealed within the Autobot symbol. He has grooves on the engine cover (extending forward onto the roof), and tread on the tyres, which are plastic (the same colours as the main body, both have gold hubcaps).
The play value in this toy is good - the wheels turn although the front hubcaps don't actually spin which is a little weird (but this is because they house the pins inside the robot shoulders). He has a Minicon gimmick attached to the hardpoint on his roof - plugging in Wind Sheer (or Hawk in Rampage's case) will open the doors - which pop up to form a winged car mode. The edges of these wings are gold on Wheeljack and blue on Rampage. These edges house the missile launchers, which shoot yellow missiles (that look like crochet hooks). The launchers shoot fairly well, the fact they can shoot across the room is cool, unless they fire behind the cupboard, of course. It's about a metre, when they come to a stop.
This attachment point is clearly designed for Wind Sheer/Hawk - the space is custom designed for him, and there's just enough clearance for the doors to swing over his wings. The downside of this is that not all Minicons are going to work, but then he looks kina cool on there anyway.
When the wings are deployed, there's a fair bit of (mainly yellow and white) mechanical detail - which is mostly robot bits, but there's a Decepticon symbol on the right side which is clearly for this mode since it's upside down when he's in robot mode. On both versions only the raised sections of the insignia are painted, the white base plastic of the grooves is unpainted. There's sculpted detail on front of the rear wheel bays, which is unpainted on Rampage but is a blood red on Wheeljack. Goktimus prefers the red, dirge is neutral, but certainly neither looks bad.
Probably the only noteworthy flaw in car mode is the that when the wings are deployed, the rear section flops down (since the tab holding it in place is assisted by the fact the doors hold it firmly when down). It's a problem with both versions, although slightly worse with Wheeljack.
All things considered, this is a good car mode. As with all Armada toys, it's not a specific car model, but it looks like it _could_ be. The colours are nice in both versions, although Rampage is a clear winner, and is closer to the show version of this character (Wheeljack is closer to the comic incarnation). The play value is good for a car, the wheels spin and the flying car mode is pretty cool. He has a G1 feel, and is almost reminiscent of M.A.S.K. with the attack mode. Ok, maybe a car with a tiny stealth bomber on it's roof is a little strange, but there are far worse combinations in Armada, so we can let that go.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Firstly you have to pop up the doors - which is reminiscent of the G1 Powermasters in the way you have to attach the Minicon (formerly the Nebulan) to activate the transformation. Next fold the back section down, separate the legs (slide them apart), and fold them down. They lock into the knees quite solidly. Flip out the feet and heelspurs, unplug and swing the arms down. At this stage it almost looks like a Gerwalk mode. Slide the shoulders out, slide back the roof and fold it down onto his back. Fold the bonnet down to form the chest, the head cones with it, the shoulder struts have to fold forward for it to lock into place (there's a pin on the spine that attaches to the underside of the bonnet to keep this mode together). You can put his missiles in his hands as pseudo-clubs, even if they do look like oversized drumsticks.
Height: 16cm Width: 9cm
The dominant grey/black of the vehicle mode is still the most prevalent colour here, but there's an awful lot of ivory white introduced into this mode. The chest and lower legs are grey/black, the groin, thighs, feet, shoulders, head and forearms are white, and the elbows and shoulder struts are yellow. The yellow and white plastics are identical on both versions.
He has a gold face, with a painted black crest and grey/black antennae. Rampage looks better here since the blacks match. The face detailing is fantastic, Wheeljack has grey painted eyes, Rampage blue, both well within their colour schemes, although the blue does look nicer.
The car bonnet is now the chest - giving Wheeljack a grey and yellow chest and Rampage a black chest with blue detailing. Basically Wheeljack has thick yellow stripes running down the sides of his chest while Rampage has slender blue ones tapering diagonally inwards from his shoulders. Rampage again looks better, the yellow on Wheeljack's chest is too overwhelming - Goktimus is reminded of a liquorice allsort. For some odd reason, Wheeljack has black painted detail on his groin, whereas Rampage's groin is unpainted. the paint could look better, although the black and grey combo is a little weird.
The shins on Wheeljack are painted white and unpainted on Rampage. Wheeljack has yellow paint on his knees (the spoiler), which is blue on Rampage, which less paint. Neither is really superior here. There's some light grey paint on Rampage's thighs not present on Wheeljack's. It's easy to miss and makes no real difference, but it's nice to see Takara added it.
The shoulders and hips are swivel joints, the knees have double joints, effectively giving him a fair bit of poseability. While a lot of the joints are for the transformation, they do give him some poseability, and his feet and heelspurs make a lot of poses possible. The right hand swivel, the left does not. His elbows swing, and he has an additional set of joints above the elbows which allow him to flap his arms out to the sides. There are more poseable Armada toys, but this is a pretty good effort. Probably the only downsides are the fact that his lower legs are hollow, which can look bad in some poses, and the lack of real knee hinges. He does have hinges, but they lock into place, unlocking them means the legs will flop around - they're for the transformation, not the robot mode. The head doesn't turn, being the same piece as the chest.
Aside from poseability, you can swing the canopy up to form a missile rack over his head, and shoot the missiles. It points up and forward, rather than directly forward. It's an unintended feature, but it works quite well. Oh and you can allow him to wield his crochet hooks.
As with the car mode, this toy has a high level of detail in the sculpting - there's actually more detail than the car mode (since the car is a sports car). The newly exposed robot parts have great mechanical sculpting, including the head, arms, thighs, feet and the inside of the wings. These details are even slightly asymmetrical, although it's subtle and easy to miss - but this subtlety is a good thing.
This is a very good robot mode. The aesthetics of both version work well, although Rampage looks better since the black contrasts more with the white than grey does, and because he has less yellow splashed on his chest. The detailing of the sculpt and the play value work in it's favour. The only real downside is the relative lack of articulation, but it's still pretty good.
Name: Wind Sheer/Hawk
Alternate Mode: Stealth Jet
Height: 2.5cm Length: 6cm Width: 5cm
Essentially a black or grey jet with red painted on the nose and along the front surfaces of the wings, as well as some yellow and white exposed (parts of the robot mode). The only difference between the two versions is the black vs grey - both have metallic purple painted windows. There's Minicon insignia on the wings. There's a single stabiliser fin, not a twin set in a V shape, as on real stealth planes. There's a fair bit of undercarriage rubbish, but the robot arms look like turbines so the impact is lessened somewhat.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold the robot legs down and rotate them 180°, flip up the feet. Fold the nose down to form the chest, the head is the connecting piece on the joint and reveals itself when you do this. The wings shoulder be horizontal, fold the arms down to his sides (or close to down, depending on pose).
Height: 5.5cm, Width: 5cm
Still largely grey/black with yellow thighs, feet and arms, as well as some yellow on his shoulder blades. His head is white with a red face. The torso is a wedge shape, being half a stealth jet, and he has a red groin. The thighs are proportionally short, but he has ball jointed knees which largely make up for this. His hands are three pronged claws on a radial axis, reminiscent of BM's Vehicon Spark Extractors. The hips swing, as do the shoulders, but his arms barely move more than 5° forward. You can cheat by swinging the wings down, however. He's pretty poseable for a Minicon, and the heelspurs mean he has meaningful articulation.
Not the best Minicon ever, but Wind Sheer/Hawk is still a nice addition to this set. Neither is necessarily better, although obviously they are painted to match the toy they come with.
Well, the toy variants covered extensively here. There are significant differences to the colour schemes, although the overall look is similar on both.
Both Wheeljack and Rampage are good toys, although Rampage is better of the two, with a better colour scheme and more attention to detail in the paint job. Either way, the level of sculpting of this mould is exceptional. Wind Sheer/Hawk is a solid Minicon, and a worthwhile addition, unlike some companion Minicons which are little more than baggage. Either way, this is a toy we definitely recommend. Get the Japanese version if you can, but by no means avoid the American one, either - 8.5/10