Transformers Prime Autobot Ratchet Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Prime

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: January 2012
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blade weapons x 2

Images:

RatchetAutobot Ratchet (aka just "Ratchet" for the sake of this review) is one of the feature characters on "Transformers Prime". Not only was he a core character to the brand since the days of Generation One, but Ratchet was being voiced by science fiction veteran Jeffrey Combs whose credits include "Star Trek", various super hero cartoons and "Re-Animator". This alone was enough to get me excited, and now having the figure of this character is a true joy (you can tell already I like it can't you?).

Vehicle Mode:
Inspired by his live action movie counterpart, Ratchet is an SUV emergency vehicle. The front end is rather high, with a vent on top of the hood. This leads to a very blocky looking back section that gives the vehicle a sense of power, as if it could get over rough terrain to get to his patients. Though it doesn't open, the rear section looks big enough to hold human patients inside of it and other details including his tires and aggressive front grille and headlight design really make Ratchet look super tough in this form.

There are many smaller details on this vehicle, several of which carry over from the CGI model used on the TV show. Among the features worth noting:

  • The grille has vertical lines on it flanked by two smaller openings with angles at the top.
  • The headlights have a distinct five sided shape with an angle on the lower portion. These lights are almost as tall as the grille itself.
  • The side view mirrors are rectangular in shape and have two arms sculpted on them where they attach tot he rest of the vehicle.
  • On the top of the cabin section is a row of details that are painted to look like a light bar.
  • The sides have several panels sculpted into them including a six sided window and a panel that looks like it can open (it doesn't).
  • Each wheel well is rather big and has edges that stick out the sides.
  • On the back are several panels that looks like they can open to reveal emergency equipment, there are also rear lights and a license plate holder sculpted into the back.

Overall, I really like the look of this vehicle mode. There is a bit of a gap between the two halves of the rear section due to the transformation scheme, but it does a good job of recreating the CGI model and it has some really nicely sculpted detail to boot.

Ratchet is cast in four colors: white, black, translucent blue and silver. The white is the most heavily used color. Black is of course used for his wheels. The translucent blue is a very light color, you can see right through it with no problem. The silver is found on a hinge piece on the back that factors into his transformation. Detailing is done with red and silver paint. The red paint is the most heavily used, covering up most of the front section of the vehicle and then leading to lines along the sides. For the most part these lines match up with the CGI mode but one critical detail is missing: the movie inspired "life line" jagged line design along the sides. It seems a trivial thing to miss and honestly considering how the panels on the sides transform I can understand why they left it out, but that doesn't mean I don't miss it. Silver is used on the front end of the vehicle, painting most of the grille and bumper section. A dash is used on the back bumper as well. Overall, the paint scheme feels a bit incomplete to me. I wish there was some silver on the sides of the wheels and I find myself wishing a bit of orange was used on the headlights to give them more distinctive color. None of these elements are deal breakers, but they keep a good deco from being great.

There are two blade weapons included with Ratchet. Each is identical and they are made of soft silver plastic. Each has a peg at the end that allows you to attach them to a 5mm hole. In this case, they are meant to attach to holes on Ratchet's front bumper, creating an "attack vehicle" of sorts. I can imagine him using these to cut through enemies to reach a patient or just being intimidating looking. Either way it works quite well and looks goofy fun. Ratchet also has two 5mm holes on the top of the vehicle, allowing you to attach additional weaponry. He does look pretty fierce once you load him up though the proximity of the holes to each other will limit which weapons you can attach somewhat. Mainly aim for weapons with a thinner, vertical profile like many of the Mech Tech weapons from "Dark of the Moon".

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the blade weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing out the white panels on the sides of the back section (if they pop off, they snap right back on).
  3. Holding the front and back halves of the vehicle with both hands, swing the back section up a bit to separate the two halves.
  4. Split the front end of the vehicle.
  5. Flip the vehicle over and pull the foot pieces forward.
  6. Swing the heel pieces on each foot back.
  7. Swing each of the robot arms out to the sides (you can see them with the vehicle flipped over).
  8. Now swing the curved shoulder armor portions of the arms forward.
  9. Swing the rear panel of the vehicle onto Ratchet's back. The robot head will pop up automatically from the chest.
  10. On each arm, swing out the fists.
  11. On each arm, fold over the panels near the fists to form the forearms.
  12. On each leg, swing down the panels on the sides onto the back of his lower legs.
  13. The blade weapons can be attached to his hands.

Robot Mode:
"Transformers Prime" Ratchet takes a lot of influence from the Generation One incarnation of the character, but it then puts its own spin on a lot of the design aspects from that classic version. Many elements of this figure's design harken to the G1 Ratchet, most notably his head design which features a rounded helmet portion with a central crest and two angled panels coming out from it. He also has doors on his chest along with their corresponding windows. These are sculpted onto the chest piece and are not actually from the vehicle mode, but they look great and serve as callbacks to G1 Ratchet having his windshield on his chest.

For the most part, Ratchet is relatively sleek and has more curved parts than hard angles, something that is not always doable with Transformers since often time their vehicle modes wind up having a lot of hard angles. These curves include the shape of his face, shoulde armor, waist area and legs. If you think about it, it's quite impressive considering how blocky the vehicle mode is. I'm very impressed by the transformation, which is rather unique and results in a form that looks very close to the CGI model. Among the elements carried over from his CGI model are:

  • The torso section has the aforementioned folded doors on it but also his mid-body looks like it has the front grille of the vehicle mode stretched onto it.
  • The shape of his legs are the same as the animated model including curved knee armor.
  • On the chest area is a "collar" that wraps around the back and then goes out to the sides a bit.
  • Small details such as a rectangle with two circles in it and a raised section on the sides of his waist are replicated on this figure.

Overall, I'm really impressed with the sculpt on this figure and how much of it was hidden away in vehicle mode. It's also awesome how much of the straight and boxy sections manage to tuck away to reveal the curved portions or become part of the robot (as is the case with the forearms). Kudos to the designers and sculptors!

In this form, Ratchet is still mostly white plastic but he also shows off some more silver and black. The silver is used on several of his joints including the shoulders and hips, but also on his upper arms and knee armor. His hands are black plastic, matching the wheels. Translucent blue plastic is used for his eyes, allowing for some nice light piping. As with the vehicle mode, red plays a significant role in painting in details. In this case many of these details are in places that help them match up with the television show model. This includes the top of his chest, the middle of his torso, the front of the shoulder armor and the inside and outsides of his legs. Red is also used on an intricate series of patterns on his head, giving him a much stronger resemblance to his CGI model. The "windows" on his chest are painted blue to align them with the translucent blue seen in vehicle mode. Thanks to the creative way he transforms, the esigners were free to paint these sections without worrying about affecting the vehicle mode too much. There are silver paint apps on his face and the "grille" area on his mid-body.

Ratchet has an awesome twenty six points of articulation, not something I expected from a relatively bulky looking vehicle mode and robot. This includes six points in each arm and leg and waist articulation. His head can move side to side, but because of its shape and the way it attaches to the body, he winds up looking to the sides at an angle. Ratchet can hold his blade weapons in two ways. With his fists up he can hold them like small swords, but if you swing his hands down they wind up looking like they do on the television show, sticking out of his wrists. I do like the idea of the weapon "replacing" the hand since that idea goes back to the original Transformers cartoon where several characters were seen sliding their hands into their forearms and replacing them with everything from grappling hooks to weapons. The hands have standard 5mm openings so Ratchet is able to hold standard Transformers weapons like Energon or Mech Tech weaponry.

Final Thoughts:
Ratchet is a lot of awesome packed into one figure, but he's not perfect. A lot of the stuff I'm reserved about comes down to some minor issues with the deco in vehicle mode and the tendency for his side panels to pop off during transformation. Overall however, this is a really strong figure with a fantastic transformation scheme. Recommended!