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Transformers Animated
by yo go re

Most of the Transformers Animated toys are really good - that's why the line as a whole won last year's ToY Awards - but there's at least one that's pure garbage.

Wreck-Gar means well. All he really wants to do is help folks in need. Unfortunately, he's a terrible judge of character, and happily helps anyone who asks without thinking about what he's doing. He has accidentally robbed a few banks, and blasted an Autobot here and there. His Spark is in the right place anyway. Now that he's clear on the difference between the Autobots and the Decepticons, misunderstandings like that should happen less often.

Wreck-Gar's altmode is, incredibly appropriately, a garbage truck. Which is only a little bit weird, since there are no garbage trucks in Future Detriot - just big drum-shaped robots that look like walking trash cans. An early show synopsis also said that he transformed from a pile of garbage, so the fans were understandably confused about what he'd be when he finally turned up. But in the end, just a nice, normal garbage truck, like you'd see outside your house in the morning. Early in the morning. Always with the beeping, beeping, beeping.

Continuing the trend of Animated Voyagers being surprisingly small, Wreck-Gar is 5½" long, 3" wide and 2¾" tall. There are six rolling wheels, and a pair of movable forks on the front for lifting dumpsters. The arms can rotate down to ground level, and tiny levers on the tops will push the forks forward. Of course, the top of the truck is solid, suggesting it's a rear-loader rather than a top loader, but Wreck-Gar changed back and forth between the two during the episode, so that's forgivable.

Changing Wreck-Gar to a robot is pretty easy: you basically lift the truck part and pull all the robot bits out from underneath. That means he's got a lot of kibble on his back, but at least it looks like some kind of big backpack rather than an overlooked piece of design, and it was there on the cartoon, as well - the advantage of desiging both versions together.

Wreck-Gar's face has definite similarities to the G1 character, particularly the mustache and goatee. His head is shaped like an old portable TV, complete with a handle on the top, a bent antenna, and knobs next to his face. This fits with the G1 Junkions' tv-influenced personalities, though that's one feature that isn't really present in the Animated incarnation: he's gullible and easily swayed, but TV has nothing to do with it. He's just a rube.

The robot mode is quite nice, even with the giant lump of kibble on his back. He's done up all in red, orange, gray and black, and his eyes are light-piped blue. He has a swivel neck, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, hinged fingers, balljointed hips and hinged knees. The kibble, of course, makes him back-heavy, but you'll be able to pose him without fear of tipping over. Thanks to his head-handle, Wreck-Gar ends up more than 7" tall.

In the show, Wreck-Gar's backpack seems to have access to Hammerspace, since it always seems full, no matter how much garbage he pulls (or spills) out of it. He's also able to withdraw almost any item - except the one he's looking for. One of the things seen briefly during the episode was even the G1 Wreck-Gar's motorcycle altmode. While this toy can't do that, he does have a bit of a feature back there: slide the lever on the back and two translucet blue blade weapons rise up. They can plug individually onto Wreck-Gar's forearms, or be combined into one large weapon. Either way they always hang straight down, since they plug into the free-spinning wheels. Oh well, such is life.

The producers for Transformers Animated wanted Eric Idle to provide the voice of Wreck-Gar: he performed the character in Transformers: the Movie, so it would have been a good callback. He was busy with Spamalot, though, so the schedule just didn't work out. Instead, they hired Weird Al Yankovic, whose song "Dare to be Stupid" was used as the theme for Wreck-Gar and the other Junkions in the 1986 movie. Fitting!

Wreck-Gar is a good figure. The robot mode is fun, even with the kibble, and though the vehicle mode is small, it's designed well and fun to play with. We've never had a Transformer who turned into a garbage truck before, and getting an entirely new altmode is a real rarity.

-- 03/10/09

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