Cliffbee.com: Autobot Ratchet Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Autobot Ratchet
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Mercedes ML320



VEHICLE MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 13cm Width: 5cm

   I normally avoid using the "Autobot" tacked onto the front of names, but this repaint is so awkward that it feels wholly appropriate.

   A red Mercedes ML320 (a wannabe 4x4 for the suburbs) with transparent windows, chrome trim where appropriate and some black and white here and there. Autobot Ratchet is a repaint of X-Brawn, with a lot of changes - not all for the better. The running bars on the sides are no longer chrome, just a plaint silver paint, and the odd rounded headlights are painted yellow now. The front and sides sport "Emergency" in black lettering while the roof is a mess of off painted details. For some reason he sports a paint stroberack, painted hose and painted ladder. Aside from the obvious fact that this is an SUV, these details look ridiculous painted on. I suspect the original intention was to call this figure Inferno - something was lost in translation. Either way, this is a really poor effort.

   With doorhandles, door seams, a moulded sunroof, moulded petrol cap, head and taillights and a front grille, this is a very detailed mould for a deluxe. The vehicle is actually slightly longer than a real ML320, proportionally speaking, and comes without the soccer mum. I suppose the "Transformers" brand tyres aren't quite realistic, but that's the least of his problems. The remoulded headlights work better in some ways, since the colours mask the original headlight shape better, but still don't work well. As on X-Brawn. there's an Autobot logo on the hood.

   I wouldn't really expect too much play value of such a realistic deluxe, yet this is a car mode with some play value. The wheels roll, the front doors open to reveal robot kibble, including the robot head on the right side - which is actually visible through the front windshield if you look! The hood lifts up to reveal a chrome engine block, which is somewhat stylised, but still has the desired effect. I'm surprised that they stripped chrome off the runners yet kept chrome on the engine.

   X-Brawn can't wield his weapons in this mode. The runners underneath his doors are actually the clubs/missiles for his robot mode, and can be removed from storage, although there's nowhere for him to wield them.

   A good mould that's utterly wasted with this repaint. The paint job is not only random but ridiculous and the choice to lose chrome on the runners helps make Autobot Ratchet look silly. The silly part is that had they just painted it red/black/white without all the stupid fire truck stuff, this would be a pretty good repaint. Except they tried to force it to look like a fire engine and failed spectacularly.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the runners and the silver bulbar from the front. Open the doors, extend the rear to form his legs, swing the rear wheels onto his shins and fold out the feet, split the boots. Swing out the right arm from behind his chest, pivot the chest into position. The front of the car unfolds into a giant left arm, with the left fist swinging out from the dashboard, via the front right wheelbay! Rotate the roof of the car so that the windshield is pointing at the floor.

   You have several choices with the weapons. The two missiles can clip into his back, to form wings. You can also load them into the launcher that is his right fist, and attach the other to the right wrist. They can be held as a club in his left fist, which can also hold the bullbar as a sort of blade. The bullbar can remain attached as in car mode, if you prefer.

   This is one of the most asymmetrical transformations we've ever seen in a Transformer, especially considering that the alternate mode is symmetrical.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13.5cm Width: 8cm

   The exact dimension can vary according to arm poses and whether or not the wings are attached. I've given minimums.

   The red isn't as dominant now, and the paint applications are lot better. He's a fairly even mix of red, grey and black with some white here and there, along with nice bronze highlights in places. The colour map is complex but well thought out. I won't go into everything but the head silver with a white mouthplate and bronze eyes - an unusual effect. This colour scheme works so much better than the vehicle mode's, and is more or less on par with that of Wildride. There's a red Autobot logo on the giant left forearm, which lacks the chrome seen here on X-Brawn.

   Lanky and very poseable, Autobot Ratchet has long legs, big boots, a small torso and a _huge_ left forearm. When I say huge, it's the entire front of the car, and is reminiscent of a giant boxing glove. You can imagine the punch this guy must pack! The right hand side door sits on his left shoulder while the right door hangs off the elbow, and while both affect the poseability a little, neither get in the way too much. While the left arm is clearly kibble, it's kibble that's deliberately meant to be a defining feature of the robot mode. The right fist is tiny in proportion, and since there's a hole in the front (for the missile launcher), it's not as well defined as I'd like. The missile launcher will shoot the missile a foot or so, although the projectiles are heavy (screws join the black and silver parts) to fire more than a metre.

   Aside from the launcher, most of the play value is in his articulation. The shoulders are ball joints along with the right elbow and left wrist. The left elbow has both a hinge and and a swivel, while the thumb is hinged so that X-Brawn's hand can clutch the bullbar. His neck and hips are ball jointed while the knees are double hinged and the ankles also have hinges. The two main impediments to posing are the door hanging off his left shoulder - a minor issue - and the left-heavy nature of the toy, what with that giant arm. The latter isn't so much an impediment as an issue that must be addressed when you pose him - he _will_ stand, you just have to get the weight distribution working. The jointing in the legs is adequate, so you shouldn't have too much trouble tweaking the pose you want to make it stable.

   The sculpting on his head and chest is quite impressive, and on the inside of the giant forearm there's a moulded Autobot symbol, coated in red chrome. The moulding on his arms and thighs is equally impressive yet easy to miss, what with the complex paint mask on the face and chest and the arm that dominates everything anyway.

   While the left arm may not appeal to everyone, the colour scheme works well, there's a _lot_ of play value - that'll put many larger toys to shame. The versatile weaponry is impressive - even moreso when you consider it's all done with parts visible in vehicle mode. While it's not the most attractive of the Car Robots moulds, this is certainly one of the cleverest in terms of engineering.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of X-Brawn as mentioned. No variants that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A fairly decent robot mode is wasted here since the vehicle mode repaint theme is simply idiotic. There's no level on which the theme makes sense or belongs here. The robot mode colours are actually fairly good, which makes the needlessly cheesy vehicle mode more frustrating. The mould is still great, but this version just isn't worth getting. I'd skip Autobot Ratchet - if you're all in the mould, grab X-Brawn instead - 3/10

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