Cliffbee.com: Universe Ratbat Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Ratbat
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Space Cruiser

Thanks to kup for loaning me Ratbat for this review.



SPACE CRUISER MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 13cm Width: 17.5cm

   A black and purple wedge-shaped plane with forward swept wings, Ratbat has gold highlights along with transparent amber windows on the cockpit. The colours line up to those on the G1 version very well - the shade of purple on both matches well and the gold highlights here tribute the gold weapons of the G1 toy. He's a repaint of Cybertron Sideways. The colour mapping here vaguely resembles that on the G1 bat - the wings and nose are purple against a black fuselage - the G1 toy has purple wings and head on a black body.

   Ratbat has both smooth and textured surfaces, with mech detailing prevalent on his wings and on top of the single thruster, which is at the back of the fuselage. The cockpit reminds me of Beast Machines, since with windows on either side it's almost a face - which works well with the colour mapping on this repaint. There's a Decepticon logo stamped on the back of the fuselage, in a depression, and some transparent amber flashes on the fuselage.

   This is one of the best space ship Transformers out there, and it wouldn't look out of place in Star Wars or a similar sci-fi show, purple aside. The shape of this vessel just _looks_ right, whereas many Transformer space ships look like they were designed as a robot first and then the space ship was defined second. There's a lot of grey plastic underneath, so from underneath things don't work quite as well, although there are three small wheels under there which are hidden yet functional.

   There are two gimmicks in this mode, the first is activated by his purple Planet Key. Plugging it into the thruster at the back will cause the Decepticon logo to slide out of view, replaced with a unique logo - the Ultracon logo seen in The War Within comics (thanks to kup & FortMax Reed for the info). It's a nifty key gimmick, and a good appropriation of Sideways' mechanism.

   The central stripe of the fuselage, with the thruster, transparent amber flashes and variable logo, can lift up to form a sort of top-mounted cannon, and once this is a deployed the key has a second function - plugging the key in now will cause those amber flashes to deploy to the sides as four energon blades. This looks a little odd in jet mode - and in truth it's really for his robot mode - but works well enough that it's a nice bonus.

   With a good sculpt and great space ship shape this is a very focused alt mode. While it's not the best space ship ever, it's certainly one of the stronger ones amongst Transformers. The gimmicks are creative and the colour scheme is a clever tribute, especially in the colour mapping.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Lift out the cannon, unclip the wings as legs, fold the groin halves (underneath) together. Swing the groin forward releasing the shoulder joints and then swing the arms out to the sides (with the cannon on one arm). Swing back the groin, clip it into place (there's a double joint here, you'll need to use both and different points). Rotate the knees and hips to get the legs into place, fold down the feet and swing out his heelspurs. The wings swing over the shins to sit on the outsides of the boots as armour of sorts while the back of the airframe folds down as a backplate. Twist the arms into place, swing the shoulders up and rotate the cannon the fold it down so it sits flush against the left arm. Lastly open the roof of the cockpit (now on his chest), lift out the head, rotate and swing back into place, then close the cockpit again.

   Wow. This is a clever and fairly involved transformation, and is impressive for a deluxe. While it's a little tricky and some parts are annoying (the wingtips like popping off, especially when you transform him back), it's certainly satisfying.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 9cm

   Now centred around purple with black and grey as supporting colours, Ratbat has a few gold highlights here and there. The arms (but not the hands), groin and thighs are black and grey, but the rest is purple. His face is a chevron shaped transparent amber window like those of the Cyberjets and there are gold touches on his antennae. While the colours are still a good match for Ratbat, the added grey and retreating black make this less faithful as a tribute - but then the tribute is centred around his flight mode. I guess we can call this the cassette mode tribute. The colours here work well enough on their own, at any rate.

   The cockpit sticks out on his chest, jutting out a little without being awkward, which is a feature reminiscent of G1, and I really like how they've managed to place it so well. The head sort of reminds me of Unicron's, which is a carry over from Sideways. The chevron and horns look rather demonic, but the horns do match with Ratbat's large ears - but are much harder to lose than the bat's ears!

   Ratbat has three weaponry options - the first is the black and amber cannon on his left arm, which I guess is his default weapon. It doesn't detach but can lift out and rotate through 360 (the rotation is only available in robot mode). Plugging the key in will unleash the four energon blades, giving Ratbat an impressive melee weapon which can't be detached and lost. The third weaponry option is a set of machetes, which are the detachable wingtips. They can plug into either hand or one on top of and the other underneath the right fist - the better option since they won't get in the way of the energon blades. Personally I prefer to leave the wings as leg armour since he has four energon blades already, but I like the fact that we've been given options. The variable allegiance symbol still works, the key is no longer blocking his jet, so there's no problem with leaving it there. The switching symbol is his only allegiance symbol.

   The poseability here is good - the head turns, the shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides while the elbows rotate and hinge while the wrists rotate. The hips are ball joints with rotators below then to supplement the hinged knees, the feet can swing back and there are good heelspurs for stability. Sideways doesn't have a rotating waist, since the groin splits in jet mode, but there's lots of movement in the arms and considering how involved the transformation is, I'm happy with his articulation.

   While the tribute isn't quite as strong here, this is a good robot mode with a good colour scheme. The poseability is good while the gimmicks are again useful and Ratbat has several weapon options - always a good thing. I love the arm cannon/melee weapon and there are still elements here such as the horns, which suit the character, and they round off a good robot mode. I do wish the wings attached a little firmer, but they aren't enough to bring this robot down.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of Cybertron Sideways, as mentioned. Ratbat was sold exclusively in a two pack with Universe Springer. BotCon 2009 Scourge and Sweeps Two, Six & Seven share the mould (with a new head).

OVERALL

   A great mould with a great space ship mode and a good robot mode, Ratbat also scored a clever transformation and good play value. The colours fit the character and in the vehicle mode they tribute the bat mode of the original toy nicely. He has two useful key gimmicks, and a choice of weaponry in robot mode. The ability to switch allegiance symbols is great. The only notable issue is the wingtips could be lost fairly easily. One of the better deluxe moulds in Cybertron and a good tribute make this a great toy - 9/10

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