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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

We've already reviewed one Legends Class Wheelie, we might as well review the other.

Wheelie never really wanted to be a Decepticon. It's just that, when people start yelling at him, he tends to do whatever they say. He's easily startled, and simple to scare. His tiny size makes him an ideal spy, and even though he doesn't like or agree with the Decepticons, they scare him so much he doesn't know what to do except obey.

When it was announced that Transformers 2 would have a "Wheelie," fans were... less than enthused. After all, his previous incarnation was universally loathed. But, hey, he was an undersized putz with an annoying personality and a horrible way of speaking - there's nothing saying the movie characters have to be direct updates of their G1 counterparts, right? Right?

Wheelie is in the same category as Scalpel and the twins, that being "stupid ethnic stereotypes." His particular quirk is that he's a wannabe gangster with a Brooklyn-Italian accent who's obsessed with Frank Sinatra, so why isn't the Italian American Anti-Defamation League up in arms about him? A robot is somehow not as offensive as Tony Soprano? Lies! Lies and slander!

There was also a Deluxe Class Wheelie available, but given his altmode, he was closer to being in scale with the Real Gear Robots than with the other characters. As a Legends Class figure, this Wheelie stands a scant 3" tall and has a hinged head and neck, balljointed elbows and swivel/hinge hips. He has a small Autobot logo on his chest - unlike the larger version, you can't reverse it.

Wheelie's conversion is a bit more complex than usual for a figure this small: tuck the head back down, rotate the heels and push them together, fold the legs up, pull down the shoulders and twist the arms away under the body. In the film, Wheelie was an R/C truck - a modified Ford F-350 with all kinds of extra nerdy add-ons. The toy is obviously genericized, so Hasbro didn't have to pay any licensing rights.

Being a blue monster truck, Wheelie looks like a palm-sized Bigfoot - which purely by coincidence, also makes him look like the G1 Minibot Mudslinger. There are many details missing, and a lot of kibble on the back, but as a simple little toy, it's a decent representation.

If you want to get technical, Legends Wheelie isn't really any more in-scale than Deluxe Wheelie: you remember in the movie when he starts humping Mikaela's leg? He came up just about to her knee. Since the robot mode here is 3" tall, he'd need a 9"-12" scale figure to have the proper human-to-robot ratio. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with toylines, the later series ship in smaller numbers, so while you can still find any number of early Legends Class movie toys, Wheelie is quite elusive. He's an okay buy at normal retail prices (ie, the $5 range), but if you have to go much higher than that, don't bother.

-- 05/25/10

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