Cliffbee.com: FAB Ratchet Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Ratchet
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Search & Rescue Humvee

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Ratchet for this review



TRUCK MODE
Height: 7.5cm Length: 14cm Width: 6cm

   A kiwi green Humvee with metallic blue windows, black plastic tyres, black bars around a black grille and black storage racks on his roof. There are some red lines running down the sides, with a electrocardiogram kink in the middle and some badges on the doors. The colour scheme matches that of the full sized toy and a decent match for the Ratchet we saw in the flim, without the metallic look obviously, being a plastic toy. There's a red stroberack on his roof while the headlights and fog lights are painted silver. While the green doesn't really evoke G1 Ratchet, it's a perfectly credible colour for this sort of vehicle. We do lose some detail in the colour scheme compared to the larger toy, but the only aspect that is a real loss is the transparent windows - and even then the transparent plastic on the larger one isn't without problems.

   For a toy that's supposedly aimed at younger kids, this vehicle mode is remarkably mature. There's no "kiddie" feel about this truck, which I really appreciate. The sculpt is good, with details such as matches on the back, wipers and vents in front of the windshield, doorhandles, side mirrors. I do find that Tiby's Ratchet has some trouble with everything lining up as it should - especially at the back, leading to a disjointed stroberack but otherwise this is a good looking truck that compares favourably to many other recent Transformers (and feels less "kiddie" than most Armada toys). While he's scaled down compared to the larger toy, he's not dumbed down at all, really.

   There's pretty much no play value here, as on the larger toy, but then I don't expect much - it should all be in his robot mode. His wheels roll which is about all I really expect.

   A good truck mode with a detailed paint job and sculpt, Ratchet's truck mode isn't dumbed down at all. The play value counts against him slightly - but not much, and that's probably the only shortcoming here. I still prefer the larger vehicle mode, but I wouldn't say this is inherently inferior - in some ways it's actually better - just a personal preference.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the transparent blue missile underneath and set aside. Unclip the very rear section, fold back to form legs and split them. There's an Automorph involving the grille - in theory as you rotate it clockwise the doors swing out to the sides, but in reality the doors are a little too heavy for the internal gears, which will loudly slip a tooth or two as you try it. Anyway, rotate the grille and then finish pulling out the doors, fold the front down to form his chest and fold back the black panel to reveal his head. Fold out the forearms from behind the upper arms and attach the missile into the launcher that is is right hand. Rotate the right forearm and rotate the gun on his left forearm forward.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15.5cm Width: 15.5cm

   Again mainly kiwi green, Ratchet's groin and much of the chest are black. The chest is the front of the truck grille, impact bars and the rest while the front tyres sit on top of his torso, flanking the head. There are some red paint splashes on his arm - relics of the electrocardiogram line in truck mode. His face has some silver and the eyes are transparent blue (the same as the windshield, which sits behind his waist). The colour scheme isn't quite as successful this time around since the legs are unpainted and look a little cheap as a result (I'll come back to that). The colours still suit the character fairly well, but there are compromises made to fit his gimmicks into a deluxe toy that impact visually.

   The legs are well sculpt - but they're clearly sculpted inside the rear block which has unfolded, and the end result is quite underdone. All they needed was some paint applications but other than some black where they attach to his hips they're just unpainted green panels. The upper arms also suffer from the simplified transformation - they're the sides of the truck and look like strips of truck rather than arms. Which isn't helped by the fact that torso is much wider than it should be, nor the fact that his lower arms are further in (which makes for weird elbows!). The torso and head work quite well and the forearms, whilst gimmicked up, work well enough. While this robot mode isn't a total loss, it _does_ look dumbed down, especially with the way the legs have been done. Visually the larger toy looks a lot better, even if there are a couple of details added here (the rotating grille and some green on his collar).

   The play value is decent if not exceptional - and the main gimmick is successful. The FABs are really sold as gimmick toys, and Ratchet's doesn't really get in the way which is good. The right hand is a battleaxe with the blue missile loaded. Pressing a black button on the underside of his wrist causes the missile to fire, and it fires fairly well. The axe is a decent melee weapon - well, if the missile isn't loaded and the black gun on his other forearm is a twin Gatling gun affair which looks pretty cool. His poseability is limited but not awful His head turns and the waist ratchets. There's a waist spinning gimmick as well - if you gently turn the waist to the left and left go, he'll jerk back to the right, so you can deploy the blade for a slashing motion which is pretty cool. The shoulders swing and the elbows are hinged, giving Ratchet some arm movement although with no sideways movement (and crappy upper ams) he never really looks dynamic. The hips are ball jointed but this is of limited use since his knees and ankles are fixed.

   Ratchet is dumbed down this time, and the upper arms and legs really do hold this robot mode back for me, however the gimmicks are both well executed and I really like the gun on his left forearm, so he has something to offer despite the simplification. The larger toy's robot mode is better but if you're a fan of gimmicks and play value, then this version of Ratchet will have something to offer. I'm not a huge fan of gimmicks generally but I'm still fairly happy with this robot mode - it is aimed at younger kids after all. If the legs didn't look so awful I'd be a lot keener on this robot mode, but it's still decent.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although I'm sure it'll eventually be repainted white and called Rescue Ratchet.

OVERALL

   Tiby has loaned me ten FABs and Ratchet is the first one I'm covering (I just grabbed one out of the box), but I'm fairly happy with him overall. It's not a fantastic toy but he's not overly dumbed down nor is he cutesy. The robot mode does suffer from being a little too simple, but the gimmicks work well. The truck mode is really good and for me really lifts the standard of this figure overall. I hope the other nine are of the same standard (although I have my doubts about some of them) - 6.5/10

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