Now 1984 Wheeljack & Tracks aren't two toys I'd normally link, except in the sense of "Wheeljack and Tracks are two Generation 1 Transformer toys with no repaints" and even that is a little suspect given the red European Tracks variant. But there we go: Tracks is repainted as Wheeljack (or possibly the reverse: Universe Sideswipe was produced before but released after Universe Sunstreaker).
Looking at the pictures we have for pre-orders we know this much: Wheeljack is Tracks, but moulded in white with a new head and the legs turned the other way round. The front of the car - heel spurs on Tracks, now the feet - are remoulded, as are the missiles which become tools for Wheeljack to hold while the gun becomes Wheeljack's shoulder cannon, yet more evidence of the cartoon bias shown this year: The original Wheeljack toy has two. I'll just have to steel the gun from Tracks for the other one, it looks rubbish there anyway. For more cartoon bias see also: Speakers on Jazz and the blue Rumble scout toy amongst others.
I'll come back and have another look at Wheeljack when I have him in hand.
Which I now do. The deco on the car mode is fabulous, with Track's blue being swapped for the whitest plastic I've seen on a Transformers toy for many a year with green & red stripes very similar to the Alitalia racing colours seen on the original Wheeljack. The front of the car is considerably longer gaining a narrow projecting edge at the bottom which extends about 7-8 mm in front of the car. The rear of the car now features a spoiler, and if you go back to Track's you'll find a rounded rectangle panel occupying the spot on the rear of the car where the spoiler now sits, secured by a pin that passes through it from the back of the car.
Transformation to robot mode is *nearly* identical except for the waist doesn't get turned. The front of the car become the feet, rather than the heel spurs and the former rather flat feet are now the heel spurs with the front wheels, now attached to the sides of Wheeljack's ankles, folded down beside them.
The most prominent remoulded feature of the robot mode is the head. We get a spot on likeness of Wheeljack's cartoon appearance featuring lightpiped eyes and ears. The fold out wing tips are remolded to resemble Wheeljack's wings. These are now painted silver as is the inside of the door panel serving as a wing giving the illusion of a longer, silver wing piece. Track's gun now becomes Wheeljack's single shoulder cannon and because it doesn't suit Tracks I've stolen his gun to act as Wheeljack's second cannon :-). Track's missiles are completely remoulded with just the C-clip remaining. We now get a silver barrelled handle of 5mm width allowing Wheeljack to hold them as a wrench. However each wrench now feature not one but two 3mm bars: one on the side of the shaft and one on the top next the c-clip but at right angles to it. If the opening on the clip had been in the same orientation as the bar on the end you could have combined them together as a staff. As it is I think they are meant to be used as weapons: There's some indentations on the c-clip end of the wrench making me think that perhaps they're meant to also serve as gun barrels. Wheeljack can store the wrenches when he's not using them: there's a 3mm bar located to the outside of each knee allowing them to sit inside the leg panels or be positioned pointing over the side of the knee as a gun barrel. Wheeljack's an inventor, I can see him trying out knee mounted guns. Turning Wheeljack round you'll see that the panels making up Track's leg fronts are completely gone replaced with a much simpler and plain design that allows the knees to bend in that direction where they were previously locked off by Track's knee pads. They no longer bend the other way thanks to a remoulded slider on the lower leg which also doesn't come up so far making Wheeljack's height a little short than Tracks. Most of the exposed white pieces remain the same colour but the joints that connect the wheels to the shoulders and the wings to the body are now a bright green plastic. I don't know if some minor remoulding has taken place or if it's just that the tolerances are out but I can no longer fold the wheels onto the front of Wheeljack's shoulders like I could with Tracks.
Top, top repaint/remould. I'm putting this as an early entry for toy of the year. It just works far better as Wheeljack than Tracks. That then makes me think is Wheeljack actually the original and Tracks the repaint/remould. I'm forced to conclude that Wheeljack must have come first. The mold suits both his modes better. The missile gun is more Wheeljack than Tracks. The odd shaped ankle with the bar out the side serves a function on Wheeljack but not Tracks. The Tracks feet work better as heel spurs. Yup, as far as I can see Wheeljack is the original.
Wheeljack is a Wave 7 Transformers Generations toy, packed with Thundercracker as well as Kup & Scourge which are carried over from the previous wave. He's due to be carried over into the next Generations wave which introduces Warpath. He is scheduled to be released in Japan at the end of March as Transformers United toy UN-22 alongside the Rumble & Frenzy 2-pack, Scourge & Generation 2 Optimus Prime.