Saturday 28 January 2017

Masterpiece Wheeljack MP-20

Profile (Translated from the Trading Card)
MP-20 Cybertron Mechanical Engineer / Wheeljack
Function: Mechanical Engineer
Motto: "Never do what your enemy expects you to do."
Wheeljack is a cheerful mad scientist; he is also an excellent engineer who is always immersed in creating new and fantastic inventions at the base. Sometimes however he gets injured when his experiments go wrong. He is an expert driver and boasts skills which rival Hollywood stunt drivers. In robot mode he can fly at a maximum speed of 515km/h allowing him to cover a distance of 1300km.
STR...6; INT...6; SPD...7; END...9; RNK...5; CRG...2; FBL...9; SKL...7

Other Resources:


Figure King January 2014 edition

With the merger between Takara and Tomy in 2006 we were finally able to receive reissues of both Omega Supreme and Sky Lynx in the Encore series in 2008 - this also marked their first release domestically in Japan. Masterpiece Wheeljack was also made possible due to the merger. Tomy had been producing licenced diecast car toys under the Tomica brand since 1970 and their relationship with car manufacturers made it possible to agree a deal with Italian car manufacturer Fiat Automobiles to release the Lancia Stratos model in the Masterpiece line. 

In December 2013, the January 2014 edition of Figure King Magazine was released and inside was a silhouette of the next Masterpiece, Wheeljack. On the 31st December 2013, developer Shogo Hasui released a further silhouette on his Twitter account followed up by the full photograph posted on the 14th January 2014. The full prototype had been revealed by Taghobby on the 9th January but Shogo Hasui's photographs gave us an unobscured look. 

Later on in January Amazon Japan posted prototype photographs with an additional accessory, the Hypno-Chip Disruptor which came free with Amazon orders. In March Amazon Japan also posted the first colour photographs of MP-20.

Released in September 2014, the first thing that stands out about the MP-20 Wheeljack is the attention to detail in the vehicle mode. The sleek white and green design of the Lancia Stratos Turbo is replicated perfectly and the paint job is crisp and clean, and the overall look is impressive. The wheels and tires are also well-designed, and they roll smoothly, making it easy to display the car in motion. The "real world" car mode is far more impressive than the bland MP-20+ in my opinion though I can appreciate both for what they each represent. The robot mode gun fits on the underside of the car mode and acts as an exhaust and the shoulder mounted missile launcher can attach to the car roof. 

One of the original sponsors for the Lancia Stratos was Alitalia, the Italian airline company. For the Diaclone and Transformers release, it was deliberately misspelt "Alitalla" however for the Masterpiece release it was spelt correctly.

The transformation from car mode to robot mode is relatively simple and intuitive. The only bad part of the transformation are the translucent plastic "wings" as they just feel really fragile to move. The robot mode is also well-designed, with a streamlined look that closely matches the appearance of Wheeljack in the original cartoon. The articulation is good, allowing for a wide range of poses, and the head sculpt is particularly impressive and if you remove the front section of the face via a screw at the back of the head you will reveal Wheeljack's face. 

Wheeljack comes with his signature shoulder mounted missile launcher as seen in the cartoon. It would not be until we see MP-23 Exhaust that we are able to get hold of the "toy version" shoulder launchers. As mentioned beforehand when purchased from Amazon Japan Wheeljack is packaged with the Hypno-Chip Disruptor which can be held in Wheeljacks hands. The actual accessory does not do anything itself.

MP-20 Wheeljack is a great toy for fans of the original Transformers cartoon, and it's definitely worth considering for anyone looking to add a new Masterpiece figure to their collection.


Wings of great technological power. (Translated from the back of the box)
The “Lancia Stratos Turbo” is a Group 5 version of the Lancia Stratos, a rally car built for the sole purpose of winning races. It won the World Championship for three consecutive years. The car named Stratos (stratosphere) is equipped with a turbocharger, over fender, chin spoiler and a futuristic rear wing. Its very look has a science fiction allure. The vehicle's colours included the bright red and green of the sponsor, Italian airline Alitalia, which left a lasting impression to those who saw it. This Lancia Stratos Turbo transforms into the memorable Wheeljack who was the first Transformer to appear in the cartoon “Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers”. Portrayed as elderly with bowlegs, he was a mad scientist who spoke the Kansai dialect. He had a unique personality that shattered the stereotype of fictional robot heroes of the time which had a tremendous impact. As a scientist, Wheeljack helped the Cybertron’s with his various inventions such as the immobilizer and he also created the powerful Dinobots. Even though he was a supporting character, he left a lasting impression on fans. Under the supervision of Lancia, this product reproduces the realistic sharp body line and colours of the Lancia Stratos. The robot mode proportions are just like Wheeljack from the cartoon including his unique head and the wings on his back. This can truly be called the definitive version of Wheeljack. The robot body is also fully articulated which will allow you to recreate scenes from the cartoon. MP Wheeljack has been created using the latest technology and we hope you enjoy it to your heart's content.

Lancia Stratos Turbo (Actual Car Notes) (Translated from the back of the box)
Lancia Stratos is the rally car that brought the Manufacturers Championship to Lancia for three consecutive years from 1974. In response to a proposal from Bertone in 1970, Lancia designed a Grand Tourer (GT) equipped with a Ferrari 246 GT V6 engine to meet the requirements of the FIA Group 4. The short wheelbase allows the car better performance to take sharp turns and the vehicle has a strong frame structure encased in a serviceable monocoque cowl. It was a vehicle built specifically for circuit and endurance races. The Group 5 machines are commonly referred to as “Stratos Turbo”. The engine was changed to a dry sump, fuel injected and supercharged with a KKK Turbo. For an endurance race it produced 360 horsepower, 530 horsepower in the sprint race and 560 horsepower with extreme conditions. The vehicle's silhouette follows the typical formula of a wide body and spoiler and it aggressively expresses Marcello Gandini’s original Lancia design. It continues to attract supercar freaks to this day as a car that exudes uniqueness.

■ Length: 3710mm
■ Width: 1750mm
■ Height: 1100mm
■ Wheelbase: 2320mm
■ Engine: Fiat-Ferrari 236LV 6 Cylinder 3 valve head Turbocharger manufactured by KKK
■ Maximum Power: 155 horsepower

Vehicle Mode: Lancia Stratos Turbo (Translated from the instruction pamphlet)
Before arriving on Earth, Wheeljack had a One Box type vehicle mode on his home planet, Seibertron. However, upon being reactivated on Earth by the computer Teletran 1, he was given a new vehicle form to best utilise Earth's energy. The computer chose a Stratos Turbo, a Lancia race car, and Wheeljack's body was modified to the specifications of a rally car. The resulting combination of vivid green and red colouring, along with the number 539 emblazoned on his side, makes his vehicle mode a stylish and eye-catching sight. Although one might not initially think that this vehicle mode is fitting for an engineer, Wheeljack is actually a skilled driver who could easily outdo a Hollywood stunt driver. He takes great pleasure in showing off his driving abilities, whether he is dodging aerial attacks from the Decepticons, jumping over obstacles, executing tight turns, or even driving on walls. The Lancia Stratos is a perfect fit for Wheeljack. It has been confirmed that the interior seats of Wheeljack's vehicle mode have alternated between pink or grey since he arrived on Earth. His name is derived from "wheel jack", a tool used to lift a car's body to change its wheels. This name is particularly fitting for an engineer who is skilled at maintaining his companions.

Robot Mode: Wheeljack
(Translated from the instruction pamphlet)
Function: Mechanical Engineer
Motto: "Never do what your enemy expects you to do."
Wheeljack is the Cybertron’s brilliant engineer and inventor, whose technical abilities seemingly have no bounds. His skills range from repairing companions and analysing equipment, to developing weapons and formulating medicines. He takes great pride in his work, finding nothing more satisfying than seeing one of his inventions function as intended. Always the mad scientist, he constantly thinks of new ideas for inventions, earning him high regard from colleagues like Smokescreen, and unwanted attention from foes like Megatron who seeks to acquire his latest invention, even without understanding its purpose. Although some of his inventions have had unintended consequences, such as the Dinobots wreaking havoc or the Shock Blast Cannon exploding upon use, Wheeljack's failures do not stop him from creating new inventions. He remains a bright and cheerful character, always keeping those around him positive and encouraged. His strong sense of justice is evident in his willingness to risk his own life to help others, such as Spike and when he freed his captive companions by taking their place as a prisoner. As a warrior, Wheeljack has honed his body to possess ample combat power, including the ability to fly up to a distance of 1300 km at a maximum speed of 515 km. However, he is not particularly skilled at aerial manoeuvres and struggles to engage Destrons in head-to-head aerial combat.

Weapon: Shoulder Cannon
(Translated from the instruction pamphlet)
This is Wheeljack's signature weapon which is mounted on his right shoulder. Normally equipped with magnetic rounds, he fires a magnetic isolator (a magnetic induction substance) which paralyses the enemy. Depending on his situation he will also launch shrapnel needles and gyro-inhibitor bullets. In episode 15 “Atlantis, Arise!”, he launched a missile causing devastating destruction.

Weapon: Laser Gun
(Translated from the instruction pamphlet)
A small gun that Wheeljack occasionally uses during battle. Like the other Cybertron weapons it can fire laser beams. In the 63rd Episode “Day of Destruction Part 3” he fires it along with the other Cybertron warriors towards Megatron's spaceship that was full of Energon.

Weapon: Hypno-Chip Disruptor 
(Translated from the instruction pamphlet)
In the 63rd episode, “Day of Destruction Part III”, the evil scientific genius, Dr Arkeville, created a Hypno-Chip to brainwash humans and turn them into slaves. This device was created by Wheeljack to jam the chip's power. Spike’s father, Sparkplug, was able to escape the effects of the Hypno-Chip thanks to this device.

The Immobilizer is an accessory which came with MP-23 Exhaust but is actually Wheeljack's invention featured in the Season 2 1985 episode "The Immobilizer". In the episode it ended up getting destroyed by Ironhide. In the Masterpiece continuity the Immobilizer was rebuilt by Wheeljack and subsequently stolen by Exhaust on the orders of Soundwave.

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