Transformers Timelines Ratchet Toy Review

in 2005, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Botcon, Generation One, Timelines

Transformers Timelines

General Information:
Release Year: September 2005
Retailer: Botcon 2005 Exclusive
Price: $65, sold as set with Flareup
Accessories: Sirens/Energon Weapon

Images:

In addition to the Botcon 2005 seven figure set, attendees were able to purchase additional Transformers figures. Among these were a two pack featuring the female Autobot Flareup and Autobot Ratchet.

Background Information:
It is hardly a revelation that the Energon figure Tow-Line was created as a partial design homage to the G1 characters of Ratchet and Ironhide. I detail this in his review. In fact, when I first began thinking of this set, Ironhide and Ratchet were the first two Autobots I thought of. However, I did not just want to use the mold with a straight redeco, especially since the head design is more of a homage to G1 Skids. So a new head design was necessary. In order to keep costs down, it was opted to create one head sculpt for Ironhide and Ratchet that could be given two distinct decos to allow it to be used for both characters.

Ratchet (technically the trademark is "Autobot Ratchet", a carry over from Transformers Universe) is definitely the G1 character reborn. The wonderful thing about the "Timelines" title is that it allows for multiple possibilities. Many will think "Hey, he died in the movie!" but the way I see it, you can explain this away easily. First off, it is not uncommon for Transformers to be returned to life in the history of the line *cough* Optimus Prime *cough*. On top of that, the Beast Wars history (which is clearly a part of the "Descent into Evil" story) makes allusions to the Marvel Generation 2 comic book, in which Ratchet's fate was never one hundred percent explained. This ambiguity allowed many possibilities to flow.

Some may find it out of character for Ratchet to suddenly turn all warrior-like. However, my influence came straight from the G1 comic book, where it was shown if he needed to, Ratchet would try to fight to save lives when he fought Megatron. I just took things to the next logical step, where if he wanted to be better able to save lives, he needed to be able to keep himself alive to do so. He does not relish combat, but he is willing to get his hands dirty to save lives.

Vehicle Mode:
Tow-Line's vehicle form was essentially a futuristic news van. This required that we take steps to change things up a bit so it would look like an ambulance. The critical sculpt element here was the need for a siren. Fortunately this figure wsa designed to have an Energon weapon mounted on the top of the vehicle mode to begin with, so giving him sirens became a matter of designing a new Energon weapon. The result is the new weapon that came with Ratchet. The front features two sirens and has a bar on one side leading to the back of the vehicle (where the peg hole is).

Of course, a new deco was needed as well. Classic G1 Ratchet was primarily white and red, and we went with those colors. The base color of the plastic is white. The front bumper (a part of the trailer drone portion of the vehicle) is actually light grey, but light enough that it blends well with the white. The windows were done in translucent blue plastic to keep with the theme of the G1 Autobot eye color and the Energon Sirens/Weapon. A white stripe runs from the side doors to the back of the vehicle. In keeping with a detail found on Ratchet in various animation and comic book models, we were sure to include a cross. However, instead of a straight forward cross (two rectangles intersecting), the designer created four squares that met on a corner, with the middle still being white. The aim was to make this a bit distinctive. This cross can be found on the left and right sides of the vehicle.

More red deco is found on the top of the vehicle, but in retrospect I wish we could have added one more set of details. On the sides and back are windows etched into the sculpt, it would have been cool to color them light blue to go with the windows. However, there is no mistaking which character this is in vehicle form, and it is a clean and nice looking deco.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, the trick was to take the same head we used for Ironhide and Ratchet and make it look distinctive. This was done by giving the head a different deco than Ironhide's. The crest and horizontal crest details were painted silver to bring them out more. The circles on either side of his head were also colored silver along with the face. His eyes are light blue, as they appeared in the G1 cartoon. This draws the eyes' focus to the painted details that can easily be ignored on Ironhide's head. No doubt about it, this is G1 Ratchet.

Originally I had hoped we could put the cross symbol on his shoulders facing front. However this proved difficult so he was given one on the right side door which is above his shoulder instead. The hands were painted red, just as the G1 model had. In order to break the monotany of the white color, silver was used on the chest and red can be found on the lower legs. We would have liked to make the upper legs or the small waist piece red, but the way the pieces work on the tooling it would have been more difficult. However, I think in the end it works out. You have the bold red deco on the legs, and a cross on the left foot. Since the left shoulder/door piece has a Spark Crystal on it, this substitues for the one that would have been there.

The Energon siren/weapon fits right into Ratchet's fist and as illustrated in the "Descent into Evil" story, can be used as a blaster or as a blade weapon. This ties into the tech specs which indicate Ratchet had gone off to learn various forms of combat over the years.

With the robot mode, I do regret not adding more color detail on the sides of his lower legs. There is some cool tech detail there (vents and tubes) that could have also been done in silver. It's a nit picky regret, but it is one I have.

The trailer drone is quite basic, mostly white with the triple cannons on either side painted silver. The middle, wheels and front tread are black. The side "wings" of the trailer drone are actually very detailed, and adding some more color to those components would have enhanced this trailer piece more.

Like Tow-Line, the robot and trailer portions can combine into a third, mobile robot unit mode. What's neat is that the base color of white offers a nice canvas for you to attach other Energon weapons on. They will stand out very well and look fantastic.

Final Thoughts:
Autobot Ratchet is the closest any Transformers figure has ever come to portraying his G1 self show accurately. Granted it is a modified version (it is a new body for him after all), but it has so many of the classic elements in it that the G1 fan in me is very pleased with it. Despite my wishes that we had added a bit more deco, I think the toy looks fantastic!