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Blackjack's Review: Walmart Transmetal Rattrap

Name: Rattrap
Allegiance: Maximal
Accessories: Tail/Sword

It has been one of my longtime dreams to collect the entire Beast Wars toyline. Thereís just something about robots that transforms into animals both sane and insane that has always appealed to me, and Beast Wars strikes that balance between having good ball-joints yet having that crispy retro feel to them. And most important among the massive toyline would be the show charactersÖ which isnít really easy to find in a good price. Maybe elsewhere, but in my country, itís hard to find Beast Wars toy at all, let alone people who want to part with them. So for a long time the only show characters I owned from Beast Wars are those who received modern incarnations like Telemocha Megatron and Universe versions of Cheetor and Dinobot. Tracking down people willing to sell the original toys from Beast Wars itself is a daunting task, let alone finding someone willing to sell them without charging an exorbitant price.

Oh, and thereís this guy. See, back in the day, stuff like ĎWalmart exclusivesí are unheard of. Beast Wars was the first toyline in the franchise to introduce the concept of exclusives, and one of the first toys to be released as a store exclusive would be this redeco of Rattrapís transmetal toy, coloured in blue. By design or by coincidence, itís a dead ringer for the Botcon convention exclusive character Packrat (who was redecoed from Rattrapís original toy), and Packrat eventually adopted this toy as his body in 3Hís Botcon comics.

Back then I didnít really care about any of that Packrat stuff. All I know is that I have finally tracked down a show character, even if heís blue, and Iíve heard people wax lyrical about the Transmetal versions of Cheetor and Rattrap. So here we have the Walmart exclusive redeco of Transmetal Rattrap.

Beast Mode:
As his name indicates, Rattrap transforms into a rat. What a riot. And being a Transmetal, Rattrap was cast in vacuum metalized plastic, giving the impression of mechanical animals, with the addition of a third quasi-vehicular mode. A departure from the brown and maroon deco that his original deco sports, Walmartís Rattrap sports a deco thatís mostly metallic blue and a shade of glossy brown, with black and neon green scattered here and there. His eyes are yellow, and some parts are vacuum-metalized in purple. Overall itís a far brighter paintscheme than the original Rattrapís deco. Obviously I wouldíve preferred the original Transmetal Rattrap for show-accuracy purposes, but if I had both I would say that the blue one is more distinctive.

Even if there probably arenít any blue rats in real lifeÖ unless itís some wacky mutated strain. Natureís weird that way.

Rattrap is a pretty compact little bugger, with tiny little feet angled towards himself. Heís an angry rat, grimacing like an old TMNT toy. Rattrap manages to embody the skittishness of a rodent pretty well, and there is a significant Ė if minimalistic Ė amount of work that went into detailing. Itís marred somewhat by the name ĎRattrapí tampographed in silver randomly in his spine, but itís rather unobtrusive so Iím willing to overlook that. Heís got obvious vehicular parts in this mode, with the massive rear wheels doubling at the rat thighs and two smaller front wheels hanging off his rat shoulders.

Rattrapís tail is, as you would gather from the pictures, made up of various intersecting hinges and is fully articulated. This was a toy designed in 1998, nearly fifteen years from the point of writing this reviewÖ and it is just so rare to see such an involved piece of accessory! And Rattrapís tail works so well too Ė it can support its own weight yet the joints arenít too tight that you canít fiddle with it. Rattrapís tail can curve over his body, or just trail behind him... itís deliciously posable and I love it.

Itís a pretty accurate rendition of Rattrapís show model in the show, certainly. There is a bit of a kibble undercarriage, and under Rattrapís neck you can very easily spot a hint of his robot-mode torso peeking out, but itís not really a major problem.

Overall heís a pretty awesome, if static, robot rat and while rats definitely arenít my favourite animals, I do like the look of Rattrap. Heís a cute rat.

Vehicle Mode:
Rattrap has an additional Ďvehicle modeí, which is totally bizarre and insane and awesome at the same time. By fiddling a bit, you fold the legs away and have the wheels touch the ground, and flip up a pair of exhaust vents whose position raises some questions on what exactly they are, um, venting. Itís certainly not meant to be a proper vehicle, itís supposed to be a half-animal, half-vehicle madcap affair and it works well! The show gave Rattrapís Transmetal mode a fair amount of screentime, and itís a pretty insane looking one, resembling some kind of go-kart with the face of an angry rat on it.

(Dinobot did use Rattrapís vehicle mode as a go-kart once in the series)

Itís not a realistic vehicle mode by any stretch, but is it fun to muck around with? Those massive wheels, the ability to roll on your table with impunity? Hell yes.

Robot Mode:
Rattrapís transformation isnít perfect. In fact, itís a bit fiddly to get him to fold back into his rat mode. But cracking open the rat to get the robot out? Itís a very painless process and the end result is a robot mode that is a near-perfect representation of the showís model, with articulation to boot! The main offender is that the massive wheels should end up behind his shoulders and not jutting out from the underside of his backpack, but itís a minor quibble considering how solid Rattrap ends up being.

In robot mode heís almost entirely tan-brown and gray, with nearly all of the metal blue having relocated to his backpack. There are a couple new patches of green and yellow that pop up on his robot head and chest. Heís got an angry scowl on his face which isnít exactly what Iíd associate the showís Rattrap with, but as expressions go he could have worse.

The general look is a slightly slimmer profile than the heroic, bulky Maximals, and indeed itís a look that fits Rattrapís character, what with him being the type to skulk about and do sabotage. I do love how his rat head halves end up as shoulder guards.

Heís got a bit of a balance problem due to having a relatively heavy backpack and skinny legs with ankles that are fully articulated, but itís a simple problem thatís easily mitigated by positioning him in an action pose. And heís got a great range of articulation! Sure, he doesnít have a waist joint and the kibble gets in the way somewhat, but his arms and legs feature a massive amount of hinges and ball joints that allow Rattrap to pull off a rather impressive range of poses for a toy made in his time.

And thatís not all! Sure, he doesnít come with his gun, but the ratís tail, that awesome accessory I talked about before? By virtue of transformation design it ends up in his hand straight off transforming. None of this taking out weapons, setting it aside and plugging it back in the wrist. No, Rattrap holds on to his tail-sword in both beast and robot modes. And it works as both a sword and some kind of a whip with a spear end. Itís a great incorporation of a feature that works in both modes and a pretty great-looking one to boot. You can just imagine him whipping the thing around, having it straighten and be a swordÖ well, you donít have to imagine it. Just watch the show! Shame Rattrap uses his (nonexistent in toy form) gun so much and not this brilliant accessory.

To sum up, Rattrapís robot mode, other than the positioning of the wheels, is practically perfect.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 7/10 Itís a brilliant transformation that incorporates not only a fun little vehicle mode, but both a great robot and beast modes. It did baffle me a little, though, most egregiously the positioning of the robot hands in beast mode. Transforming him into beast mode also requires a fair bit of patience and the right order of steps, but with a couple of practices youíre good to go.

Durability: 8/10 The particular Rattrap I own has apparently survived a fair amount of time without even getting a chip on his vacuum-metalized parts. As with all Transmetals, itís always a risk that youíll get them chipped off and Iím not sure how prone Rattrap is to getting them torn off, but other than that heís pretty solid.

Aesthetics: 9/10 Pretty damn show-accurate, other than the shoulders. I do like Beast wars models a lot. They just have a lot of personality.

Articulation: 9/10 Itís not the best compared to modern standards, but Rattrap can pull off a surprisingly wide range of motions. Heís got a bit of balance issues going on but as long as you keep all of his feet planted firmly on the ground heíll stand.

Fun: 8/10 Heís a rat! Heís a robot! Heís a rat robot that turns into an insane bumper car thing that can roll around your desk!

Price/Value: 7/10 I got him for a cheap price, but then again this isnít a properly show-accurate Rattrap toy and thus will be less valuable.

Overall: 9/10 As with the original Transmetal toy, Rattrap is one of the better offerings to come out of Beast Wars. Itís certainly not necessary for someone who already has the original Rattrap, but for someone whoís collecting Beast Wars toy and stumbles upon him, or someone who for whatever reason wants to complete the 3H Wreckers, you can give Blue Rattrap a try. I know that his paintjob has certainly grown on me, and he's one of the toys that embodies both the quality and the insanity of Beast Wars perfectly.
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