"Vintage Beast Wars" Rattrap Toy Review

02/05/22

General Information:
Release Date: September 2021
Price Point: $22.87
Retailer: Walmart US Exclusive (with limited amounts sold via Hasbro Pulse)
Accessories: Blaster halves x 2

Official images and product description in italics below are from Walmart.com:
Transformers Toys Vintage Beast Wars Rattrap Collectible Action Figure - Adults and Kids Ages 8 and Up, 4-inch

(Re)start a vintage Beast Wars collection with this Transformers: Vintage Beast Wars Rattrap figure! Inspired by the classic 90s toy, Rattrap is designed like the original version -- including figure styling, packaging, and art from the 1996 Beast Wars releases, plus classic tech specs and accessories.

Scouring city streets for Predacon enemies, Rattrap maintains his strength by feeding on grunge and grime and any wretched refuse he may encounter along the way. His fellow Maximals rely on his reconnaissance reports to locate enemy outposts.

Rattrap figure comes with a blaster accessory and converts from rat to robot mode in 3 steps. Clip out and save the on-box tech specs to share, then see how this figure stacks up against other heroic Maximals and evil Predacons (each sold separately). Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. Includes: figure, accessory, and instructions. Figure scale: 4-inch. Ages 8 and up WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years. © 2021 Hasbro. All rights reserved.

  • RE-CREATION OF THE ORIGINAL BEAST WARS DESIGN: This vintage Beast Wars Rattrap figure is inspired by the original 1996 Beast Wars release
  • SPRING-ACTION ONE-STEP CONVERSION: Rattrap figure features spring action one-step conversion from rat to robot mode activated by pulling up on the base of his tail
  • VINTAGE WEAPON ACCESSORY: Rattrap figure comes with a snap-together blaster accessory that can be stored in a secret location inside the rat mode hind legs
  • RETRO PACKAGING: Inspired by the original Beast Wars packaging in the "rocky bubble," this pack features the original Beast Wars logo, and character art
  • TECH SPECS: Tech specs for Rattrap are included on the pack in the classic Beast Wars style fans know and love. Compare figures’ strength, speed, firepower, and more

In 2021 it had been over two decades since Beast Wars Transformers reshaped the Transformers world forever. In conjunction with the release of several new Beast Wars themed toys in Kingdom, Hasbro also reissued a set of Beast Wars toys from the 90's as Walmart exclusives in the United States (the figures would go to various other retailers outside the U.S.). One of these figures was the Basic Class Rattrap.

When Rattrap was originally released in 1996, he was labeled as a "Basic Class" figure. However, Hasbro reclassed him and Cheetor as "Mega Class", which is all sorts of confusing. Cheetor was a Deluxe, Rattrap was a Basic but neither figure fits into the larger Mega Class. My guess is that the tooling for these figures needed some work for these releases, explaining the relatively high cost of the Rattrap figure. To offer perspective, Rattrap was about $4.99 USD in 1996 (depending on retailer) which comes out to about $9 USD now, far lower than the $22 USD price point for this figure. Labeling them "Mega" makes them seem more worth the value despite their obvious size differences. This is all theory of course as no official word has been given about the price points.

I reviewed the original release of this figure decades ago, and normally I would just cover the changes made to the figure for this release. However I think this figure deserves more than that, especially since my review style has evolved over the years. This review will both review the figure as a standalone action figure and cover changes made for this release.

Packaging:
Similar in theme to the Vintage G1 releases at Walmart, Hasbro attempted to replicate the original Beast Wars Transformers packaging as much as they could for for this release. Like his 1996 predecessor, Rattrap is packaged on a bubble card. However, if you have held the original Beast Wars figures on card before, you'll feel an immediate difference. The card stock for the backing card is noticably thinner than the one used for the original Rattrap. That said, it looks fantastic. The card's background has the very dramatic Beast Wars "eye" surrounded by scaley skin. In the corner is Rattrap's name and under that is his dynamic character art showing him firing away at an unseen enemy. A blast graphic on the left says "Quick Attack Action" in several languages (one of the visual giveaways that this is not the original US release). Rattrap himself is inside a "rocky" bubble glued to the card. The bubble has a sticker on it showing Rattrap transforming saying "Rat turns into Robot Spy!" in multiple languages. The Kenner logo in the lower corner right hand corner really helps emphasize the "Vintage" aspect of this release. Interestingly the age recommendation for this figure has changed. The original Rattrap was recommended for 5+ year olds. This reissue bumps that up to 8+.

The back of the card tries to replicate the original card as much as it can, but modern day restrictions prevent it from being 100% faithful. Key to this is the need to represent multiple languages, which results in tiny text on the tech specs and phrases repeated in multiple language even on the instructions. Still, the packaging manages to capture the spirit of the original cards and I appreciate the effort.

Accessories:
Rattrap includes a blaster weapon that is separated in two halves that store away inside Rattrap's beast mode body halves. The blaster is a small weapon, looking more like a pistol with a short barrel in front. Here we find something interesting: the details on the blaster are much more deeply cut and sharp than the original Rattrap's weapon. This will be a recurring theme with this review and suggests that Rattrap's tooling may have undergone some fixing up before it was used for this release. Both halves connect at the middle and have a small peg to allow Rattrap to hold it in his fists.

The weapon is made up of a brown plastic. The brown on the reissue Rattrap seems a bit lighter in color than the original. The plastic is also not as shiny as the original and reflects direct light differently.

Beast Mode:
As his name states, Rattrap's beast mode is a rat. Unlike the cute, cartoon style rat used in the animated series, this Rattrap design was intended to represent a scrappy, sewer traveling rat who is rough and tough! This is perhaps best illustrated in the design of the beast mode head, which features narrowed eyes and sharp looking teeth. He looks mean! That said, the rest of the beast mode is a bit more "soft" looking with a rounded body and feet sculpted with individual digits. His tail has a series of rings details on it. The beast mode body has a lot of beautifully sculpted "fur" lines in it adding wonderful texture to its appearnce.

When comparing the original Rattrap release with this one, I noticed that the "fur" grooves on the beast mode head are deeper cut than the ones on my 1996 Rattrap. Like his weapon, this suggests to me that some work has been done on the tooling since its original release.

Rattrap's beast mode is mostly grey plastic. The tail is brown plastic and his feet are painted a light pink color. His eyes are painted black and his teeth are painted white. There is a beautiful brown spray pattern on the back area leading to the tail. While not used much on Transformers nowadays, this type of deco was used on many action figures in the 90's and I wish it was used more in modern day figures. There are two big differences between the decos on the original Rattrap release and this one. First, the eyes on the original were orange, not black. Second, the feet on the original were a much darker pink instead of the very light pink on this one. I actually prefer the black eyes as they look more like the animation model and the lighter pink feet help to further distinguish this figure from the original. This is especially important so collectors can tell the original apart from this release.

Rattrap really does not have much articulation to speak of in this mode. The tail can move up and down and the feet can move in or out but that's really it. Also, I noticed that the beast mode head leans downward a bit more on my copy of this reissue than on the original 1996 figure. This creates a slightly bigger gap between the head and the neck than the 1996 figure. I'm not sure this is the case with all copies of this figure, but I felt it important to mention.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Hold on to the tail and pull it out and the spring loaded mechanism activates, unfolding the sides of the figure and revealing the robot mode parts.
  2. Separate the robot fists from the pegs on the insides of the beast mode halves.
  3. Remove the halves of the weapon and connect them together. Then place them in one of Rattrap's fists.
  4. I like to rotate the front beast mode feet around but this is not an official part of the transformation.

Robot Mode:
Rattrap's robot mode reveals robot mode parts, but they are far from blocky and mechanical looking. Instead, if you look at his arms and legs they are sculpted as if they are muscles with armor over them. This bio-mechanical aspect of the character is taken to another extreme with the use of clawed feet on what are really his robot feet. Also, the top of his head looks like a brain, which is an interesting design choice. You will see some purely mechanical details on the panels that make up the sides of the beast mode in the form of tubes running behind the arms and legs. The sculpt is not perfect (more on that in a moment) but man, I really love the ideas behind it and the beautiful mixture of "bio" and "mechanical" details.

Now, Rattrap does have one big design flaw: much of his beast mode winds up on his back, and the weight is not distributed well. He can stand straight just fine, but when posing him you're going to have a lot of trouble because he tends to tip over. There are nine points of articulation on this figure, most of which are ball joints. Rattrap can definitely strike a variety of poses but sadly he can't actually stand in most of them. It's not a matter of the joint tightness (which is about the same as the original), it's just the figure design.

This mode mostly shows off a combination of grey and brown plastic. Silver paint is used on the head, arms and legs. His eyes are painted red (a detail that carried over to the TV show). Aside from the beast mode eyes on the chest and the beast mode feet, the rest of this mode is pretty much a solid match to the colors on the 1996 Rattrap.

In terms of structural differences from the original Rattrap, there is one interesting one that is not a big deal, but definitely noticable. The "brain" section on his head is slightly raised a bit on my copy of the figure, with a visible gap between the "brain" and the rest of the head. My original Rattrap does not have this gap, and I'm guessing this is a result of the tooling being decades old (even if it was fixed up a bit for this release).

Final Thoughts:
I've always liked the Rattrap toy. For the time, he was very "show accurate" and his spring loaded transform is a neat action feature. The toy isn't perfect of course. It doesn't balance well in most poses and this reissue seems to have a slight issue with the beast mode head and the spring loaded transform. For about $23 USD, I have a hard time saying "Yes, it's fully worth it!" except that purchasing an actual 1996 Rattrap at this point on the after market would easily cost you over $30 loose (and much more on card). So from that perspective it is worth the purchase if you don't have the original or you are a hardcore Beast Wars fan. That said, Rattrap has gone on sale several times since its release, sometimes going down as low as about $10-12 USD, so it may be worth keeping an eye out for sales such as that.

Pros:

  • Wonderful near-recreation of the original Beast Wars packaging.
  • Great sculpt with fun "bio" and "mechanical" details.
  • Fun action feature.
  • Good articluation.
  • Nice deco.

Cons:

  • Has issues balancing in robot mode.
  • Some slight sculpt issues compared to the original.