KO BT/Alt Wheeljack and Grimlock

Discussion in 'Transformers Feedback & Reviews' started by deejemon, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. deejemon

    deejemon Active Member

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    I bought Wheeljack and Grimlock a while ago, but only recently got around to opening them. Not because of any MISBphobia - I just never got around to it. Apologies for the length; I'm knocking out both at the same time.

    (Click here for a few more images.)


    Packaging
    Let me get this out of the way first and say that the way these were packed by the eBay seller was absolutely abysmal. The boxes are a new style for the KOs, using the same basic BT shape, but adding a flap to the top. Naturally, the obvious way to ship them would be to top-and-tail them - turn one upside down and flip it over the top of the other like Tetris pieces. No. What the seller did was make them face each other, then fold and crease the flaps forward, place a big chunk'o tape across the flaps and the tops of the boxes, and another across the bottoms. To say nothing of how chewed up the boxes themselves are (the pics show them exactly as I received them). Anyway...

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    Ever since Smokescreen KO came out, these figures all seem to be designated as "Tactical Diversion", or "Diversionary Tactician", and the same is true of both Grimlock and Wheeljack. The box artwork seems to be the usual BT simulation, with the flap affording more space for larger images on the back. A number of the photos seem to be "borrowed" from the real BT series.

    There's a recurring theme with these two figures, where some of the labelling, naming and images are interchanged or shared, such as the bio excerpt on the back which in both cases is Wheeljack's, Grimlock artwork appearing behind some images of Wheeljack, and Grimlock being supplied with Wheeljack's display stand. This, and several elements of the figures, suggests that Grimlock was done as a lazy repaint of Wheeljack.

    While previous KOs have started to de-emphasize the Binaltech "inspiration", these two actually do say "Transformers" and "Binaltech" multiple times across the box, including the front and back panels. Still, they have deliberately avoided using the Autobot insignia, instead using an all-new one which seems to be based on Wheeljack's head design, but without the "ears". There are still blue ovals adorning the boxes and the display stand, but they wisely elected to replace "Ford" with "Transform Car".

    Strangely, the windows on each end of Wheeljack's box are hollow - there's no plastic there at all, so you can poke your finger through to the bubble inside. Meanwhile Grimlock's doesn't have any windows on the ends - there's photos filling the usual portholes.

    [​IMG]

    Some gems from the text on the box:
    "Transformers: Newest Car Edition"
    "Vehicle-man Tactical Rescuer"
    "Front Body: The headlights equipped by tin-foil show the courage of the braver" (I am not kidding)
    "Side Body: The side body can adjust air flow, and the hamper, which stops the air flowing into the car base, emphasize the whole sense of low"

    In addition to the stand is the instruction sheet, which is styled like the BT booklet, but simply folds out concertina-style, with instructions titled "The Way to Transmutate the Grimlock", or "The Way to Transmutate the Jack". Yes, Jack.

    Of course, what would a BT knockoff be without a BT character card knockoff? They each get a card. Or should I say cards, because there are two with each - one card has the front of the BT card, the other has the back. The reverse side of each is plain grey cardboard.

    All in all, weird. Would have been nice to have the boxes in decent shape. However, the figure is the most important thing here.


    Wheeljack and Grimlock: Vehicle Mode
    Regardless of what the BT-styled box might make you think, both of these figures are all plastic. There is no diecast at all. These are effectively Alternators knockoffs, but with Binaltech styling, thanks to the vacuum metalicised (?) plastic, and the use of BT decos, such as on Wheeljack's arms. Kiss Players Wheeljack and Grimlock, if you will. (Maybe not.)

    Obviously both are packaged in vehicle mode, and an initial look at them suggests some nasty alignment problems, due to the roof not being connected up to the rear section correctly. However they both connect back together easily, so seems to just be a packaging mistake.

    They're both pretty good likenesses; the coloring is consistent with the original figures; the doors, trunk and hood open as you'd expect, although they can be a bit floppy, especially the insert in the hood that fills the slot where the robot head goes. The plastic feels a bit more brittle, particularly on Grimlock, mostly in the hood and trunk, and the clear plastic seems to be cheap, as it has a "frosted" look to it. Grimlock's hood has a dark mark on it already which seems to be paint wear, showing the black plastic underneath, and some of his grille's black details are slightly worn. Look a little closer at Grimlock and you start to notice more Wheeljack-isms; Grimlock has the same large spoiler as his mold-buddy, instead of the smaller one found on the original Grimlocks, and also has Wheeljack's wheels.

    Although the GT badge on the bootlid is replicated in the mold, it has been painted over with the main body color, presumably to help them avoid getting sued. Similarly, the Mustang on the grille seems to be a reinterpretation rather than a direct copy (looks like a cross between a giraffe and a dinosaur), however the MUSTANG labels on the doors are present. Neither figure has their name on the license plate, indeed both are mostly blank except for the new faction symbol.

    Alignment is mostly okay all around, however on both figures, the front end is jacked up, which seems to be due to a production error with the arms (see later). It is not helped by the fact that the robot mode head is face-down rather than face-up, which causes the post it's attached to not to sit flush, so the engine can't be in the bay with the hood closed. Hopefully fixing the arms (see later) and transforming it correctly will fix all this.


    Wheeljack and Grimlock: Robot Mode
    Transformation steps are the same as the original figures. Initially it's not any more difficult, and indeed seems a little easier, such as allowing the waist section with the floorplate attached to twist to the back without twisting the torso or legs. On the other hand, on both figures, separating the windscreen/roof assembly from the hood was much more difficult and felt more ready to snap. Fortunately, neither did, and should hopefully be loose enough now that it's been separated once.

    I can usually transform the genuine figures without popping off the doors, and the same tricks worked for the KOs - I haven't popped a door off either of them.

    And this is where things get messy with these figures. When transforming the Mustang molds, there are three super important steps:

    1. You need to get the two joins at his armpits correct; both pins should be side-by-side, not one above the other
    2. You need to lock the shoulders into the front wheel arches
    3. You need to slot the top of the torso together with the engine bay in the chest

    It appears that the shoulders are set slightly too far apart, making it difficult to hook the shoulder struts into the wheel arches. That, and some weirdness going on in the hood section makes it harder to get the chest and torso to slot together. However, it can be done, just have to concentrate on getting the shoulders sorted first, then hold everything in place to sort out the chest. Regardless of how difficult the real figures are to transform, these two were even more of a challenge. I was pleased to see that they do come together with a little force/work/patience, as there are some figures with alignment issues that just cannot be solved. The chest and torso link is clearly under some pressure, so can pop out easily, but this can be avoided with a little care when handling.

    The most severe issue in robot mode was that both Wheeljack and Grimlock came with their forearms (complete with hands) swapped over. However, some quick surgery with a screwdriver should fix this, and should also resolve the jacked up vehicle mode front end issue.

    [​IMG]

    Further up the arm, the new Wheeljack-inspired not-Autobot symbol adorns both shoulders of both figures.

    Wheeljack's head looks pretty neat. It's very shiny, and includes the black goatee that appears on the BT and Alt artwork but isn't on either toy, which in a way makes it more accurate than it should be. People will argue about whether his head should be shiny, but the goatee makes it for me.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Grimlock on the other hand... I don't know where they got his head from. The coloring of the paint mask is (mostly) correct, but the molding is completely foreign and looks quite insectoid. There are elements of the head that suggest that it might have been an attempt to resculpt Grimlock's head out of Wheeljack's.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Articulation-wise, these guys seem to be about on par with their genuine counterparts. One of the most critical factors in the Mustangs' ability to stand correctly is the correct folding, articulation and angling of the car seats, and this has thankfully been replicated successfully. The ball joint in the hips moves easily, but not too loosely, allowing a similar range of poses as the original figures. One of Grimlock's legs did pop off during transformation, but popped back in easily. Of course, arm and elbow articulation and weapon holding is screwed up until you fix the forearms.

    [​IMG]

    The engine guns are a good match for the BT ones, with a shiny finish to them. They do feel slightly lighter though, suggesting a lower grade of plastic. They also come with swords of course, however while Wheeljack's is a good match, Grimlock's sword has the colors inverted; orange at the core, clear around the edges. It looks okay, but re-inforces my Grimlock-is-an-afterthought theory.


    Overall
    The boxes, cards and instructions are quite simply funny. They're wrong and they're strange. With Binaltech, they're the icing on the cake. On KOs, they're the chutney on the cake.

    If you're looking for (or expecting) metal, you'll need to look elsewhere. Why they're all plastic when previous BT KOs haven't been, I don't know.

    It would have been so easy to get the Mustang mold wrong. There's numerous places where the figure could have been ruined, by even subtly getting the molding wrong, and I even fully expected them to. Simpler molds have been replicated much worse, so it's surprising how well these two actually came together. The arm swap seems to be a simple production mistake and should be easily rectifiable (I just haven't gotten around to it), but otherwise the quality seems to be reasonable, and the mold issues aren't insurmountable.

    Wheeljack is the pick of the two, as he more faithfully recreates the original, and seems to be where most of the attention was focussed. If you can get past the head, Grimlock fans might be pleased to see him get an upgrade from a boring old garden variety Mustang into the Street Tuning version. If you have a Grimlock junker with an intact head, you might be able to put together a Grimlock that won't scare little children. Any more than normal, at any rate.

    Once again, you won't get away with trying to pass off either of these as the genuine article, but on their own merits, they're pretty cool. They're certainly suitable for kitbashing, if nothing else. I seem to be repeating myself from my Laserwave review (I actually didn't open these until after I posted that review), but they're definitely one of the better quality KOs. It is a pity they're not diecast though...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2008
  2. TCracker

    TCracker おもちゃは今とても暑いです

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    Another awesome review! It was informative and well though out. I have bought stuffs from Ks_lee before, but never saw this under his ebay listings, are these from him too?
     
  3. REDLINE

    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

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    that looks like the G2 symbol.
     
  4. REDLINE

    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

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    certainly not a bad symbol. thanks for the closeup.
     
  5. Lucs

    Lucs This Guy!

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    Great review I was wondering about these guys

    These things are sold at www.agesthreeandup.com for 17.99 but I think they are out right now. Oh and they have a KO Prowl coming out soon with what looks like the correct head
     
  6. Knightdramon

    Knightdramon Hasbro LIES to the US

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    Nice review and seeing my old Wheeljack (that's him, right?) was rewarding enough!
     
  7. smkspy

    smkspy is one nice fucking kitty

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    One thing about these guys, if your buying to swap out parts with originals there is size differences between originals and kos.

    For instance, I swapped Wheeljack's original blue crotch for the KO grimlock crotch, but now WJ's bottom car panel won't attach to tab on his ass. The tab on the KO is just slightly smaller than the tab on the original. Also, I found some difficulties trying to secure the feet tightly because of screw size differences.
     
  8. Roanstalker

    Roanstalker Great Baan Gaan fan

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    That proves it! Grimlock and Wheeljack are Braves from Cybertron! And they combine to form Grimjack Kaiser!!!
     
  9. ease

    ease HIPHOPTIMUS PRIME

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    Ebay:
    Thanks for the review. Just ordered one (Grimlock) from A3U. I'm gonna throw some Reprolabels on him to spruce him up,when i get him.
     
  10. nightboomfer

    nightboomfer Señor Member

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    Is A3u still selling these? If so, hello Alternators Barricade!
     
  11. zephon

    zephon Well-Known Member

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    The windshield of my KO Wheeljack cracked as I was transforming him from car to robot mode. The pegs were in too tight in the hole and I couldn't find any leverage aside from the windshield. It's made of very thin and brittle plastic so crack it went!
     
  12. zephon

    zephon Well-Known Member

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    Yep, the arms were switched as well. I didn't bother with the screws -- I just popped them off their ball-joints and swapped them!
     

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