Cliffbee.com: Movie Ratchet Toy Review

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Name: Ratchet (well, strictly Autobot Ratchet for legal reasons)
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Search & Rescue Humvee



TRUCK MODE
Height: 8.5cm Length: 17.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A kiwi green Humvee with transparent 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 doors are actually painted over the blue plastic rather than being a solid green plastic like the rest of the toy, unfortunately the shades are easily distinguished. There's a red stroberack on his roof while the headlights and fog lights are painted silver, with orange front indicators. While the green doesn't really evoke G1 Ratchet, it's a perfectly credible colour for this sort of vehicle. I just wish the doors matched.

   The detail level on this truck mode is pretty good. There are the obvious things like the complex bars and roof rack, along with windshield wipers, side mirrors, door handles and various hatches etc. The wheels and tyres are all black but fairly well sculpted. There are two places where the overall look is compromised - you can see the robot arms sticking out below the doors (from lower angles) and the back is little generic since it's a series of transformation hinges. The designer has done a decent job of making the back not look too hingelike, which I appreciate. I would have liked to see taillights, but otherwise the detailing is good here.

   There's very little play value in Ratchet's vehicle mode, which rates as this mode's main shortcoming. Granted I don't expect too much here, but all Ratchet can do is roll along on his wheels. The doors cannot open, so something simple like a little winch would have been nice.

   Overall this is a good vehicle mode with a well executed theme. He looks really nice, although he's a little too static compared to most mega sized vehicle modes. Some minor play aspects would help a lot, taking what is a decent truck mode and making a great one. I don't mind the divergence from G1, since the basic concept is still here, and the Hummer is a visually impressive model. I have to admit, it helps that I've seen the movie and was really impressed with how Ratchet's truck mode looks on the big screen - and while this toy lacks the metallic sheen of that version, it's still quite similar.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove and set aside the luggage rack, Fold back the rear, split to form his legs. You need to flip out the feet before you can straighten his knees, since there's an automorph linked to his feet - the kneecaps deploy and side panels push out. After you've done this, rotate his knees and swing the legs down. Pull the doors out to the sides, split the windshield and rotate out to the sides, collapse the roof onto his bonnet and fold the front down to form his chest. It ends up upside down, and whilst there's no connecting tab, the transforming joint locks into place. Pull the door assemblies out to the sides, fold the doors themselves back. Rotate the shoulders, swing down his forearms and attach the rack to his left (yes, it has to be the left) forearm as a grappling weapon. Finally, open out the black panel on his chest and flip back, revealing Ratchet's head.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 16cm

   Again mainly kiwi green, Ratchet's feet, forearms and much of the chest are black. The chest is the front of the truck grille, impact bars and the rest, but with a twist - it's upside down. There are some red paint splashes here and there - which match the red used on the electrocardiogram line in truck mode, but are actually different paint applications. The elbows, hands and knee joints are actually a slightly yellower shade of green, but Ratchet is still really all green and black. His face has some silver and the eyes are transparent blue (the same as the windshield, which hangs off the sides of his waist), although the lightpipe doesn't work that well thanks to a black piece of plastic behind the head. The colour scheme works fairly well without being spectacular.

   This robot mode is wide and bulky - Ratchet does a good job of conveying his immense mass (by human standards, anyway). There are some interesting design elements here - I've already mentioned the "upside-down" chest, but we also have angled wheels on his shoulders and the windshield on his waist. The automorph feature is also appreciated - granted the end result is easy to miss, but makes him less blocky. The insides of his boots end up convex thanks to the automorph, and the fact that the designer bothered with this shows the attention to detail here. The level of detail in the sculpt is good but not exceptional, the only details that annoy me are three visible screws on either shoulder. It's worth noting that other than the deliberate placement of the chest, there's very little truck here - it's all robot sculpt.

   Ratchet comes with two weapons, although both are melee weapons. The luggage rack on his left arm becomes a sort of claw - pushing a green knob on the spare tyres (at the back of the rack) causes the front to open up like a claw. While the end result isn't that spectacular, I do appreciate the thought which has gone into this one. The other weapon is rather logically tied to the right hand. The hand swaps out for a green tomahawk, which looks pretty impressive. I do wish this tomahawk had a swivel at it's base, but a fair range of poses are available, thanks to a reversible forearm (no doubt deliberate).

   Poseability is pretty good for such a bulky robot. His head turns, the shoulders and hips swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows and knees have hinges and rotators. The feet are fairly immobile - there's some wiggle - and the windshield halves on his waist do get in the way of the hip movement, limiting the poses available. Some action poses are still available, mind you - enough to keep me happy.

   As with vehicle mode, Ratchet's robot mode is a good effort without any major flaws. There's nothing exceptional here - but the overall robot mode is very good. The weapons work well enough, although some sort of ranged weapon would be nice. There are quite a few fairly minor aspects that really make this robot work - such as the convex boots, tomahawk, and the upside-down chest.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although Rescue Ratchet is a repaint based on an ambulance sighted in the film.

OVERALL

   Solid without being spectacular, Ratchet does a good job of fulfilling the same niche as his G1 namesake whilst still being his own concept. The truck mode looks great, the robot mode and transformation are inventive and the play value in robot mode is good. The truck mode is a little static and the screws on the shoulders are annoying, but these are really minor issues on what is otherwise a good toy. The creative aspect alone are enough to make this toy worthwhile - 7.5/10

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