Series: Generation 1
Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Car
Height: 2.5cm Length: 6.5cm Width: 3.5cm
A rounded light orange car with a darker orange front and some darker orange on the side fenders, Wheelie has a grey wrap-around window and grey tyres. There's a prominent rubsign on the front, along with an indent. The idea is good, but the colour scheme ends up looking rather disjointed thanks to the grey panel in the middle of the windshield, surrounded by a lighter grey paint.
Mismatched grey aside, Wheelie is quite faithful to the car mode introduced in Transformers: The Movie. The front wheels are smaller than the rear wheels, there are moulded doorhandles on the side fenders and taillights on the back. The shape is consistent with the animated version, also. Unlike most Transformers, the characters introduced in the movie were designed as animated forms first and then engineered from there - which is why I'm using the movie as a benchmark here.
There's not a lot of play value here - the wheels roll which about all you're going to get from a Minicar. Rubber tyres would have been nice - the other Minicars with smooth tyres sport rubberised tyres - but I suspect they were going for the whole grey thing. If only the grey plastic of the tyres and panel matched the painted fringe of the window - this is a movie accurate car but the grey really hurts Wheelie's car mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold down the legs underneath then swing then down into place - there's a compound waist hinge. Fold the back of the car down to form his back, swing down the arms and flip up the panel to reveal his head.
Height: 9cm Width: 3.5cm
Again orange and grey, Wheelie has a light orange torso, light orange arms, dark orange hands, legs and a dark orange head. The light grey fringe of the windshield now surrounds his head and the flip up grey panel sits awkwardly above his head. The colours are again fairly movie accurate, although the layout has been drastically simplified, with the head, hands and legs lacking the grey of animated Wheelie. The colour layout here is quite good in itself, mind you.
Colour layout is about the only highlight here. The bodyshape is awful - Wheelie's head sits on the front of the torso, while his shoulderjoints are _behind_ the chest, giving him a severe hunchback. The fliptop panel above his head looks ridiculous while his arms are long and ungainly things. The hands are simple lumps stamped on the inside - which is worse than most Minicars.
Wheelie has a fairly complex facial sculpt for a Minicar, although it's overshadowed by the grey panel floating above it. A complete lack of paint doesn't help matters at all. The rubsign sits rather prominently on the groin, and I don't like it being so prominent in this mode.
Wheelie is slightly more poseable than most Minicars - the arms swing while the feet and hips are independently hinged. None of this is much use, mind you - he looks gimpy no matter what pose you put him in.
As you've probably guessed I don't think much of this mode. Wheelie was packaged in this mode, too, and was a major pegwarmer as a result. Not only is it a crappy robot mode, it's not very movie-accurate - I get the feeling to toy designer concentrated on the vehicle mode when it came to trying to match the animation concept.
Originally released in 1986, Wheelie was recently reissued in a pack with Kup - the reissue has a grey face (thanks to RiddlerJ for pointing this out).
Wheelie is probably the most hated Transformer character of all time (only his human friend, Daniel, is hated more), so it's almost fitting that this toy blows. The car mode is okay, although it lacks the realism of most of the Minicars (which aren't exactly realistic themselves). The robot mode is a horrible orange hunchback thing which seems to have been sacrificed for the car mode. The only reasons you'd want to get Wheelie are to complete the Minicar set or the movie cast. He hasn't really appreciated in price, so if you're attempting those feats, grab him, but otherwise, this is about the only cartoon character from G1 I actively recommend against - 2/10