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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Ganon578's Review: DOTM Specialist Ratchet

Name: Specialist Ratchet
Function: Specialist? Nope. Just a medic. As usual.
Subgroup: Dark of the Moon
Size Class: Deluxe

Few Transformers can match the repair knowledge and skill of Autobot Ratchet. This resourceful Autobot has developed cutting-edge Transformers rescue and repair strategies to quickly heal even the most devastatingly wounded comrade.

As per the norm, Ratchet fills the coveted role of medic in the live action movie lines. The funny, thing is, you never really see him fix or repair much throughout the entire trilogy of movies. Towards the end of the 2007 flick, he shoots a laser at Bumblebee’s throat in order to fix his vocal processor. I’m relatively sure that’s the first and last time you see him work any medical skills on anyone. He must not be a great medic either, since by the time Dark of the Moon rolls around Bumblebee is still talking by radio. Maybe he has stage fright and all of the medical heroics come off screen. Bumblebee had to get his legs back somehow, and Ironhide did get shot in the chest during Revenge of the Fallen. Both of them are fixed at the beginning of Dark of the Moon, so someone is working as a medic. Might as well be Ratchet.

The last time I owned a Movie-style Ratchet was the 2007 movie line ‘Premium’ Voyager Ratchet from Best Buy. That toy was not what I would call ‘Premium’ – it only had a shiny coat of paint on the normal Ratchet. And still had the ridiculous butterfly hand that was somehow supposed to be a stand-in for his rotary saw blade weapon. I’m not entirely sure how the design team at Hasbro really thought that would fly. Fast forward to a couple months ago when I got my hands on this version of Ratchet. In my opinion, this Ratchet is far superior to the old Voyager mold. Far superior.

This figure also happens to be a red and white repaint of DOTM Autobot Ratchet, which was reviewed here. To my knowledge, there was also supposed to be a Movie Trilogy Ratchet painted in white and red, but that was cancelled. This review will focus on the differences between the two released versions, and won’t go into incredible detail since those issues have been discussed previously.

Alternate Mode:

Ratchet’s alternate mode is a modified Hummer H2 Rescue Vehicle. Molded detail is still standard as with the previous deco, so you won’t find anything new in this version. However, Ratchet has a much needed color upgrade, to a base plastic color of red, with metallic silver panels along the top edge and down the sides of the truck, a white running stripe along the side with ‘RESCUE’ in red letters, and silver grill and headlights. In contrast to the previous deco’s problems with uneven white painting, Hasbro went the extra mile to get enough paint on the mold to even it out over red and silver. There doesn’t seem to be any thin paint apps anywhere. The silver panel along the side features a white outline Autobot symbol. The top and front racks of the vehicle mode have been remolded into grey plastic, and there are very few paint apps on this. The top light bar has metallic gold painted on it and the front lights are painted in silver. The wheels have been left unpainted, but in contrast to the red plastic they stick out a bit. The front and side windows have been molded in a tinted plastic.

Overall I think the updated red plastic and white and silver paint apps go a long way into making this a great version of Ratchet. The aesthetic design is smooth and evenly broken up with properly applied and well done paint apps. This version of Ratchet also gets a new MechTech weapon, and in my opinion it looks better than the previous weapon (more on that later). When it’s fixated on the top of the vehicle, the design of the weapon is obviously machine gun, but could also be viewed as some sort of water pump, as seen on something like Universe Inferno. It’s a stretch, but I think it looks better than the giant disc gun from the previous Ratchet.

Robot Mode:

The transformation going from vehicle to robot isn’t too complex, and is actually quite fun. There’s nothing to write home about with the leg transformation, but the upper body movement is well done. The previous Voyager version of Ratchet just had his head tacked on the underside of the truck, which the entire front end flipped over. This time around, the shoulders, neck and head swivel around a post located in the front end. It’s a pretty slick transformation that you don’t see too often. Overall the robot mode is pretty solid, but I don’t really care for the ‘kibble’ on his back. Ratchet basically ends up with the top of the truck on his back as a poorly secured backpack. I’m not sure if it could have been done better, but it does give him a little too much non-functional junk hanging off his back.

As for the color upgrades, all the colors that made the vehicle mode great make the robot mode great as well. The red plastic used on this toy is bright; not overly bright, but definitely not borderline burgundy. I liken it to a cherry red color seen on real life sports cars. The color choice makes every other paint application or molded plastic stand out, and is far superior to the green decos Ratchet has been mired with in the past. There are some white paint apps on the face, crotch, and shins. There is also enough black paint apps/plastic to break things up, like on the chest, forearms and where the wheels are located. Furthermore, there are two piston-like plastic molded pieces inside the upper legs, which is a very nice touch for breaking up the mold. The eyes are light-piped, using the same tinted plastic as was used on the windows. Overall, the color choices on Ratchet make him a far better choice than his green counterpart, in my opinion.

As for the weapon, I think this piece is much better than the disc/saw gun seen previously. The weapon itself is molded in grey plastic, but the normal gun barrels are molded in red. The weapon uses a 5 mm peg that fits nicely into his hands, but could also be wielded by any Transformer with the same size hands. The main chamber of the gun looks like your every day sci-fi weapon, but the top is a overly large, looking like two fused canisters, or possibly ammo chambers. In the normal mode, the gun barrels are of an over/under type, almost like some double barrel shotguns. The peg for moving the MechTech gimmick is a crosshairs sight, and the whole systems slides smoothly from one mode to the next. The problems I have with any MechTech weapon is 1) it’s a stupid gimmick that actually makes weapons worse, and 2) the gimmick never locks in place. The spring loaded changing is kind of neat, but when you have to hold it in place between the two modes, all the fun is gone. At least this weapon is decently looking compared to a lot of the other MechTech weapons out there.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 8. It’s smooth, well thought out, and the upper body swivel is pretty cool.
Durability: 8. Ratchet is pretty tough, but the ball joints will wear over time. The hinges on the backpack area seem weak.
Fun: 7. Ratchet is pretty well balanced. His MechTech weapon, while better than most, is still an idiotic gimmick.
Aesthetics: 9. This paint job is done well. It’s a HUGE step up from the gazillion green Ratchets out there. The design is well made and it looks really good compared to the CGI model.
Articulation: . Nothing is hindered in movement. Joints are everywhere, and you can move him in all sorts of directions. He may not stay upright in some positions, but overall the articulation joints do a great job.
Value/Price: 10. This is skewed for me. First of all I got him as a gift. Second, said gift was only $5 USD. That’s a really hard price to beat for a deluxe as good as this. The score drops a couple points if you’re in the $10-15 range.
Overall: 8. This version of Ratchet is a solid 8. Gimmick aside, the color choice is awesome, the red plastic looks great, and the paints apps are done well. He’s durable, articulate, and fun. In my opinion, this is the best rendition of Movie-style Ratchet you will find.
 
 
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