Galaxy Force Toy Reviews: Ramble
Release Year: June 2005
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $20 (Depending on Import Retailer, purchased from Bigbadtoystore.com)
Accessories: Force Chip
Tech Spec Card (Front) | Tech Specs Card (Back)
Vehicle Modes | Robot Modes
GD-13 Reconnaissance RAMBLE (or "Rumble")
"These mass-produced Transformers have run rampant on our home world of Seibertron. Exgeyser and his group have confronted them, but even with the marksmanship his team possesses, they were forced into a losing battle against the infinitely manufactured hordes of Rumbles."
Rank: 4 Courage: 8 Firepower: 7 Skill: 8
*Tech Specs translated by Doug Dlin.
The name "Ramble" might strike a chord with G1 fans. Indeed, through some translation you do get the name "Rumble" instead. The past few Transformers toy lines have been full of G1 references, and this toy brings about another. Ramble is not an "update" on a character such as Galaxy Force Soundwave, but he does carry over one interesting G1 design reference addressed in this review.
Unlike his US counterpart to be relased in 2006, Ramble comes in three color variants. The primary toy being reviewed here is the red-orange variant, chosen primarily because the tech spec card seems to put him in the center. The color variants will be addressed as well.
The Force Chip included with Ramble is the same one that comes with the Supreme Starscream toy from Cybertron. The pattern around the edges is asymmetrical, with a central crest at the top and tech details on the sides including circles and two points coming out on the sides. A Decepticon symbol is sculpted into the center. The chip is sculpted in clear plastic, with the outer edge painted silver. The Decepticon symbol in the middle is painted purple.
At this year's Botcon it was mentioned by Hasbro that the informal term used for this vehicle mode was a "Spider Tank". While the vehicle only has four legs (real life spiders have eight), the term certainly fits very well. The design is a staple science fiction vehicle design, several legs around a base body with a cannon on top and a cockpit of some sort at the front acting as the "head". Such a mech was featured in the 1993 movie Robot Wars.
When the first, small preview pictures of this figure in packaging first came out, I had thought the vehicle was some sort of helicopter due to the cockpit section. It looks like it was taken right off of a helicopter and slapped onto this vehicle with its frame and triangular details on the sides. The two front legs have different designs than the two in back. The forward legs are rather thick, but angled at the sides with raised details, giving them a sleek look despite their bulk. Each of these legs rest on blade like points. The two rear legs are smaller but also have angles and raised details sculpted in. Each of the rear legs stands on a cylinder that comes to a point at the end.
Right behind the cockpit is a metal plate piece that angles upwards. This leads to the cannon, which makes up a majority of the bulk at the center of the vehicle. The cannon barrel has a hexagon shape with the rest of the flowing back from that shape. At the end is the base where you insert the Force Chip. Doing so flips out the blade that is at the center of the cannon. The blade itself is nicely sculpted, with details etched into it that mirror the painted detail on the cannon, and its edge is serrated, giving it an extra dangerous appearance! Of the three variants I have, the red-orange one appears to be the one with the blade that gets stuck now and then, but some shifting of the Force Chip usually does the trick. This is one of the few Galaxy Force toys where you can store the Force Chip in the slot without having to activate the action feature.
In vehicle mode, Ramble has ten points of articulation, mostly focused in the legs. The cannon can swivel up and down and also turn around in a circle as well.
There are four base plastic colors for this figure. The inner legs, cannon end and parts of the central body are cast in a red-orange color. While bright, it is not neon. The lower legs and cockpit are cast in a gunmetal grey. The blade in the cannon and the cockpit windows are translucent red-orange. Metallic silver can be found on the plate behind the cockpit, the central body and the cannon itself. On the plate behind the cockpit is a tampographed Decepticon symbol.
Paint applications are simple on this figure, consisting of red-orange details on the legs and cannon. These work especially nicely on the legs, where the paint applications give emphasis to the raised, sculpted details on the front and sides.
For the blue version of this figure, all the red-orange plastic is replaced with blue. The cockpit windows are translucent blue plastic and the paint applications are in the same place, just blue. For the yellow version, all the parts and paint apps are swapped from red-orange (or blue) to yellow, including the translucent plastic.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Straighten out each leg.
- On the front legs, flip up the ends to form the robot feet.
- On the back legs, fold the pointed cylinders back to reveal the robot hands.
- Swing each vehicle leg on its hinge towards the center.
- Swing the cannon barrel back.
- Rotate the cannon around so the cannon rests over the right shoulder.
- Swing the robot arms back and lock them into place on the platform the cannon rests on.
- Swing up the cockpit piece and fold the robot head back. The cockpit piece becomes the chest.
- Swing the robot legs together, connecting each half of the waist piece to complete the robot mode.
With alien type vehicle modes as basic as the Spider Tank, not a whole lot of new things are revealed in robot mode. For the most part, the robot mode just shows all the parts you could see in vehicle mode, just rearranged. The primary new part revealed is the robot head, which has a fascinating design. I agree with fellow fan Dave Van Domelen's review where he believes that the head is an amalgam of the Maximal symbol design with Predacon "bug eyes". There's no connection here to Beast Wars of course, it is really just a cool bit of design that carries some Transformers history with it.
The design aesthetic behind Ramble is a cool one because it plays upon his small size. Although the figure is a rather small four inches tall, his cannon (which actually measures about the same in length) looks very imposing on his shoulder. I also really like the way the rectangular plate from the vehicle mode becomes shoulder armor over the left shoulder.
You would think with such a large cannon on his shoulder Ramble would have problems standing, but thanks to the rather wide design of his feet he has no such problem. He is quite posable too, with eleven points of articulation. Since most of these are ball joints, his range of motion is not very limited at all.
Ramble's Force Chip gimmick may be used in this form as well. Even with the blade extended, the figure maintains its balance well.
While obviously armed with artillery, Ramble is meant to be a close in fighter as well. Swing the pointed cylinder over his fist and you can imagine him having a drill there or a dangerous weapon for hand to hand combat. Earlier I mentioned a bit of a G1 homage (aside from the name), and it is this part in which that comes into play. If you swing the pointed cylinder up, the end of his arm becomes a rounded piece, a pile-driver arm much like the original Rumble and Frenzy had in the G1 cartoon. Granted they are nowhere near as large as their animated counterparts, but it is still an interesting detail that shows how Takara and Hasbro keep the past in mind when designing new toys.
There really are no color surprises here as most of the parts carry over from the vehicle mode. The robot head is metallic silver with the eyes cast in the same translucent red-orange as the cockpit windows. The blue version uses blue translucent plastic, and the yellow uses yellow translucent plastic.
Ramble is a fun toy with two cool modes, some nice aesthetic touches and some unexpected design homages. Please note that at the time I am writing this review, not all three versions are being released in the US, only the red-orange one. Of the three, I think I like the blue one the most only because the blue works so nicely with the gunmetal grey (rather than contrasting with it). Still, all three versions are very cool. Highly recommended.