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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
Alternate Mode:
Additional Image:
Box Art:

The Reverend's review of: Flywheels

Name: Flywheels
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Assault Team
Sub-Group: Duocon
First Cartoon Appearance: none
First Comics Appearance: none

“Believe in yourself, but only if you both agree!”

Split personality - fights himself more often than his foes. Each half of him is jealous of the other. Often heard arguing with himself, even when unified in robot mode. Tank has maximum speed of 75 mph, range 350 miles. Jet has maximum speed of 1300 mph, range 1800 miles. In robot mode, carries a laser cannon with infrared sensors for heat-seeking capabilities.

I never set out to buy this one, but I had the opportunity to pick it up for $4 and figured "hey, I don't have a Duocon." After all, in the new Dreamwave continuity, the Duocons were results of experiments by Shockwave undertaken to create Triple Changers - except that these early attempts resulted in robots with two separate, combining alternate modes. So, why not?

Alternate Mode:
Flywheels consists of two vehicles - a dark red "SR-36" plane (so says the tail sticker), and a brown tank. I'm not too knowledgeable of military aircraft, but I've never heard of an SR-36 and I can't find any info on the internet about one. It looks sort of like a Phantom jet with a wide fuselage. The whole plane is one dark red color (even the canopy), and while there are lots of vents and panels and other details molded into its top, the underside is pretty much open plastic shells and a few plastic tabs that apparently are supposed to pass as landing gear. There are no actual wheels. It also has what appear to be flat, molded missiles under the wings.

The tank is a long, flat contraption, brown in color with a crimson barrel. It also has a lot of detail etched into it, including its treads, although, much like the plane, it has no actual wheels on the underside. The barrel can be raised to a 45 degree angle, and I guess that makes the tank lucky because it's so lacking in height that taking on pretty much anything, aside from an Autobot minicar, will require the gun barrel to rise. The turret is fixed in position and does not rotate. The front of the tank is very ramp-like, slanting up to the rear of the vehicle, and there's a hole in the front where Flywheels' pistol can be mounted (more on this later). All in all, these are passable vehicles, but they are both easily surpassed by others in G1. You can also put them on top of each other, putting the jet's "rear landing gear" tabs into slots on the tank turret to make a sort of “poor man's Sky Lynx.” Or maybe you want to "stack and attack" like Wheeled Warriors?

Robot Mode:
Now you get to see what all that Duocon mess is about. Put your fingers on either side of the tank turret and gently fold it backwards. A spring in the back of the tank will engage, causing the turret to unfold and jut straight up from the back of the tank. The gun barrel will likely fall down into the middle front of the unfolded turret: if it doesn't, push it into that position. This forms Flywheels' headless body. His fists will be visible now at the side of the unfolded turret, so swing them out a little. Take the plane now and push down on the middle section just behind the cockpit. The plane will collapse in half, revealing Flywheels' face right behind that cockpit. Drape this folded plane over the tank assembly with the nosecone in front a la Seeker jets. The rear "landing" gear fits into slots on the back.

What you've got here, as a result, is a robot with a huge foot. One foot. The front of the tank makes no pretense as to actually being two feet. It would be somewhat akin to the Throttlebots, except that there are no wheels and no pullback motor. He is wearing a large "cape" on his back consisting of three-quarters of the jet. You can put his pistol in his hand, but you get absolutely no arm/hand movement, save the ability to put his little short fists out to the sides of his shoulders as if he's walking across a balance beam. That's it. He can't point his gun at anyone unless they're standing beside him. Or you can put the gun in the foot/front of the tank: at least this "toe blaster" faces forwards. I know people like to bash G1 toys from time to time for being "near-statues" in robot mode, but this is one of the worst, making even Sunstreaker look like a marvel of articulation. The designer was obviously on crack for this one.

Transformation: 2 - What transformation? You could probably stumble on it by accident.
Durability: 4 - There aren't a lot of fragile parts on either mode. For better or worse, the toy itself is solid. What bothers me is that they're both powered by tense springs in both the jet and tank. I have no idea about the lifetime of these.
Price: $4 from a comic shop for me. You shouldn't have to pay much more.
Fun: 1 - The vehicle modes are passable, as I said, but are surpassed easily by others, and the Duocon gimmick ends up being unsatisfying because of such a crappy, useless robot mode.
Overall: 2 - I enjoy gimmicks as much as the next, but this one falls flat.
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