Denyer's review: Ratbat and Frenzy knockoffs
Ratbat / Frenzy knock-offs
depreciating prices of originals and pissing off the type of MISB collectors who collect "as an investment" or think they've somehow stumbled on unfaded, undinged pieces that're over twenty years old...
The short version: the bootleggers have done a good job with Ratbat, but Frenzy needs either some fixer-upping or for you to not care about the stickers.
Joining the ranks of original era figures that bootleggers* figure they can make profit from (and Takara haven't bothered to reissue) are a couple of the original Decepticon cassettes... other packs are available: Ratbat and Ravage, Frenzy and Laserbeak, Rumble and Buzzsaw, and probably other combinations. I believe clear variants were spotted at one point, and it seems to be fairly random whether the packs come with gold or silver chromed weapons. Since complete and intact 1986 Ratbats are quite thin on the ground these days, what with the fragile ears and accessories being separate, this is a good way of giving your original or reissue Soundwave some reinforcements, and huge thanks to Tom for hooking me up with these.
*Apparently a Chinese firm by the name of Zhong Jin. Since a lot of figures were given legitimate Chinese releases five or more years after they appeared in the US (1989-1995) a buy-out of some old manufacturing premises might explain where they got the moulds from.
Something I should also mention is the packaging, which (slightly controversially) is a recreation of the original convincing enough that people are unlikely to be able to tell at a glance these are repro pieces. It's nicely done, and the glue on the bubble is weak enough to not rip the backing image to shreds as you lift it off.
There's a marked difference in quality between Ratbat and Frenzy. The former has a die-cast body and most of the marking achieved by use of a print directly onto the plastic. Frenzy has poorly-cut stickers with glue that wouldn't stay still on something whose parts weren't supposed to move, nevermind something intended to be reconfigured.
Other than that... they're small rectangular blocks. Both seem to fit fine into a Soundwave chest compartment.
You'll notice this is the only mode there's a photo of Frenzy for. That's because I peeled most of the cassette stickers off (or rather, gently assisted them in falling off) rather than try to add them back with superglue. However, if you leave the leg stickers (from the side of the cassette in his alt-mode) they seem better attached and do add a lot to the look.
Despite Ratbat having die-cast in him, Frenzy has plastic feet here. The head/spring mechanism isn't well-done either, refusing to stay fully lifted without additional help such as a pin, but other than that he does display perfectly well in this mode. Or at least as well as the mould permits, since finding an angle the arms don't look awkward at has always been tricky.
Ratbat is love. Not particularly tight, but he stays together just fine. When I say "love" you're going to have to have some nostalgia to appreciate this as either a display piece or toy, but the same holds true for a lot of designs of this vintage. Whilst his character's more of a cool profile than well-written in comics or cartoons, his toy gets the angles and proportions of a giant purple alien robot bat with rocket thrusters just
right, were there such a thing.
Side-by-side you can probably tell these apart from originals easily, and the Frenzy in particular isn't machined as well as the metal-toed original I had at one point, but they're pretty well done all the same. You may also like to check out Might Gaine's site about knock-offs versus genuine reissues, HighEndTFs.com
Next to find: an original or KO Laserbeak or Buzzsaw with accs...
6/10. Not really fiddly, but quite a lot is packed into these designs even taking into account the large separate accessories.
3/10. They're not for playing, and are a little less durable than the originals.
8/10. If you're happy with the one or two poses they do well, these are nifty little moulds to display.
7/10. They're still fairly expensive in spite of being knock-offs, with the shipping possibly being a deciding factor for anyone in Europe.
7.5/10. That's for the pair. Frenzy gets a point less, Ratbat gets a point more.