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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
Alternate Mode:
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Kamen's review: Ratchet

Name: Cybertron Mode Ratchet
Function: Old School Autobot Medic
Subgroup: Toys-R-Us Exculisves

“You call that a dent? Get back out there soldier!”

Back when the war was at its worst, even the Autobots who weren't programmed to fight were called into battle. More than once, Autobot Ratchet was forced out onto the battlefield not just as a medic, but as a warrior. They're not memories he likes to recall, but he learned more than one lesson that has save his life in the years since.

Galactic Powers and Abilities:
Injured Autobots often requested him as their medic.
Specializes in modifying armor and weapons to peak conditions.
When forced to fight, usually shoots to disable, instead of destroy.

Ah, Ratchet, the old codger of the Animated Autobot squad who managed to have quite a significant role in the series' conclusion. He was also a source of much needed maturity when the antics of the 'mascot', Bumblebee, got out of hand—if only he would 'accidentally' weld 'Bee's mouth shut. Ratchet already had one previous deluxe figure. It didn't impress me, so I didn't pick him up. This version looks a lot more interesting to me, and was originally planned to be the base of an eventual Ironhide repaint (shocker). Sadly, Animated's cancellation likely means this will be the only use of the mold.

Robot Mode:

After the extremely complex Movie designs getting back to the simplistic Animated design aesthetic makes for a nice change of pace. As per usual, there aren't many details on Ratchet, and what detail there is has mostly been reserved for his face. Even then, we're talking minimalist. He has vent “ears” on the sides of his head, a small cleft in his chin, and a smile. The smile itself doesn't really match the character as he was portrayed on the show. Then again, maybe this represents Ratchet's wild teenage years. It is also very slight; I'm not even sure you can tell he has a mouth in the pics. Otherwise, the details are holdovers from his vehicle mode, which I will discuss later.

Articulation and paint. Ho-boy. Animated generally does well in the later, but QC can be shoddy on the latter. Ratchet manages high marks in both. First paint. Red and white, no surprise there. Blue for the mouth and chin gives a nice contrast, and the translucent baby-blue bits look great. Ratchet has superb light-piped eyes, which, as usually, add a lot of personality to the toy. Articulation fairs nicely as well. He is a bit back heavy, but an extra (transformation) joint in his legs allows him additional stability. His arms deserve particular notice as they go the extra mile and give him cut wrists. The neck also has a ball joint, though the rear motion is restricted; fortunately a hinge joint makes up the difference.

Ratchet gets two weapons and an action feature for your enjoyment. The weapons are described as “shock paddles”, I suppose because defibrillator doesn't sound cool enough. Not that a robot with defib. paddles makes sense anyway. Shouldn't he have jumper cables? Whateves. The paddles look convincing enough, though I am disappointed that they don't have the blue bits the box art shows. As is, they look rather bland. But they do store on the rear of the robot, and that always makes me happy. His action feature is described as an 'extending shock attack'. A grandiose title for an astoundingly anticlimactic feature. Press the lever on his right elbow and his forearm gets a quarter inch longer. I'm not big on action features, but this is sad. An LED or something would have been neat. Why they even bothered with this escapes me.

Bonus Content: It should be no surprise by now, but this version of Ratchet can use Animated Lockdown's gun. Snap the engine block off the hood in insert it into the slot on Ratchet's arm. Though a tricky fit, it snaps on securely and actually looks really good. It should, since it was originally Ratchet's in the first place!

Ratchet has quite a dandy robot mode, bland but practical weapon and boring action feature notwithstanding. As usual, bonus for clever interactivity, even if it's getting old at this point.

Alternate Mode:

So, the entire point of this toy is to have a representation of Ratchet's Cybteron Mode. It says so right on the package! Honestly, one of the more believable alien vehicles Transformers has given us over the years. I particularly like the unifying tread theme, which gives all the Animated (ground) vehicles a consistency. Otherwise, the vehicle has some glaring problems. Foremost, the treads aren't quite straight. The front treads almost make it, but the back ones really bow out. If it's intentional, it's a weird design choice, and maybe not that big a deal to some, but it really, really bugs me. Second the rear of the vehicle could use a little more work. The hips and legs of the robot are clearly visible, and while the shock paddles effectively obscure the robot arms, the contrast between the black paddles and white and red paint elsewhere creates an ugly juxtaposition.

Paint apps, while being mostly the same, suffer here as well. The rails on the top of the vehicle have a few sloppy edges where the paint is noticeably thinner; probably a figure by figure flaw. No, my real beef here has to be the complete lack of paint on the rear of the front treads. The tread clearly continues around the bottom of the strut and up the opposite side, but instead we have red plastic.

Considering this mode was the selling point, it is quite a disappointment. It doesn't even roll well! Clearly not Hasbro's best effort.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: Although, I mostly like it, the rear of the vehicle could have been designed better. 5
Durability: The plastic seems to be good quality, though I am slightly concerned about the over designed knees joints eventually becoming too loose. 7
Fun: He can perform some nice poses, and has an interesting accessory, but his vehicle mode isn't much. 6
Aesthetics: His robot mode looks good, even from behind. Vehicle mode looks fine from any direction except the back. 6
Useful Articulation: A strength of the Animated line, and Ratchet doesn't disappoint. 8
Value/Price: I'd rate him higher here if the vehicle mode came out better. 4
Overall: Ratchet offers nothing particularly exciting. If you're happy with the first version, this one doesn't offer anything you'd miss out on. In fact, despite being “Cybertron Mode” Ratchet, his vehicle mode comes out as the weakest point of the figure. 4

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