Release Date: October 2019
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: Walgreens Exclusive
Accessories: RT-5 Laser Scalpel, RT-5 Magno-Wrench and weapon base/arm
Autobot Ratchet was one of the original Transformers introduced back in Generation One. His role was serving as an Autobot medic, and not a warrior (though he had enough courage to fight if needed). I absolutely fell in love with the character thanks to Bob Budiansky's excellent early issues of the Marvel G1 comic book where Ratchet had to step up and save all the Autobots from the Decepticons who had seemingly won the war on Earth. The character remains a fan favorite to this day.
This character has inspired many updates over the years. Among the many Ratchets floating out there in the Transformers multiverse are:
- Universe Ratchet
- Timelines Ratchet
- Universe 2.0 Ratchet
- Animated Ratchet
- Live action movie Ratchet
- Bot Shots Ratchet
- Robots in Disguise Ratchet
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it illustrates just how pervasive the character's presence has been over the last thirty plus years of the Transformers toy line.
To no one's suprise, this figure is a retool and redeco of Siege Ironhide. This figure was more recently retooled and given a new deco as Crosshairs. You'll want to give those reviews a look before this one. This review will focus on the changes made to the base sculpt for this release.
Official images and text below in italics are from Walgreens.com:
Build the ultimate battlefield with Siege figures. Siege plunges fans into the epic fight to survive on the final day of the Autobot and Decepticon battle to control Cybertron. The Decepticon resistance army and the Autobot counter-resistance fighters gear up with the C.O.M.B.A.T. (Cybertronian Omnifuctional Modular Battlefield Assault Tech) System, the universe's most advanced modular weaponry -- including the Autobot rescue & repair specialist, Ratchet.
The Deluxe Class WFC-S34 Autobot Ratchet figure converts into a medical bay to repair fellow Autobots wounded in the War for Cybertron. Comes with a converting RT-5 Laser Scalpel, and an RT-5 Magno-Wrench. Figure features multiple C.O.M.B.A.T. System weapon ports to attach weapons, enabling custom configurations in bot and vehicle modes.
Includes Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Siege Deluxe Class WFC-S34 Ratchet figure, 3 accessories, and instructions. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. © 2018 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. Manufactured under license from TOMY Company, Ltd.
In October of 2019, Ratchet was released as a Walgreens exclusive in the United States. Weeks earlier he had begun to appear in some stores in Asia and EB Games in Canada. This timing is roughly the same as those for past Walgreens exclusives including Brainstorm and Wreck-Gar.
Taking a cue from "Studio Series", the Deluxe figures in "Siege" are packaged in boxes instead of the traditional bubble card used for Deluxe Class figures. These boxes are beautiful featuring an unusual shape with one flat side and one angled side. While elements of previous packaging are still found on the boxes (ex: the vertical Transformers logo, the "Generations" logo, a largely black background etc.) there is a lot more added on. First, the background is not solid black. There are designs on it that look like sparks or perhaps embers from flames On the angled side is the character's package art. In Ratchet's case he firing his back mounted weapon and holding a wrench in one hand. The figure itself is in robot mode behind a clear plastic window. To the left is a chevron with the character name. Below that is the "War for Cybertron: Siege" logo.
The back of the box features Ratchet in all three modes indicating a 17 step transformation between the robot and "Medical Bay" mode and then 9 steps between that form and the vehicle. Being an exclusive, there are no cosells listed on the box.
Unlike Ironhide and Crosshairs, Ratchet does not include a rocket launcher that transforms into a hammer. Instead, he comes with accessories that call back to the character's G1 roots. In G1, the Ratchet (and Ironhide) action figures were very different than their animated counterparts. Instead of a van mode that transformed into a robot, the toys actually split the van into two parts. One part transformed into the robot while the other became a rolling platform. For Ironhide it was (presumably) a battle platform. For Ratchet his platform was a "repair bay". Part of these platforms were launchers connected to an arm. Each figure included rockets that attached to these launchers. It is this launcher that Ratchet's weapon is based on.
This weapon base/arm is a connector arm cast in light grey. This features a 5mm port on the side and bottom (along with a smaller peg for Blast Effects). Attached at the end by a hinge is the "launcher" section, a stylized version of the G1 launcher. The "launcher" itself does not have any spring loaded mechanism, but it does have a 5mm port, allowing you to attach either of Ratchet's other weapons to it. This section is painted silver, inspired by the vacuum metallized silver on the G1 toy.
The "RT-5 Laser Scalpel" looks like a small hand held blaster, and some of its styling is based on the rockets included with G1 Ratchet. This piece is cast in off-white and painted silver. It can attach to the "launcher". The other accessory is the "RT-5 Magno-Wrench", which is exactly what it sounds like. This wrench has a 5mm peg at the end and it is painted silver.
Overall I love the accessories included with this figure. They call back to G1 Ratchet while still fitting the theme of modular weapons in Siege.
When I saw early photos of Ratchet, my assumption was that he was just Ironhide's body with a new head slapped on it. Not so! Hasbro and Takara Tomy decided to go the extra mile with this figure and the results are excellent. Here's a rundown of what's been changed between the Ironhide sculpt and this release:
- Head: The new head sculpt is based on the character's appearance in the G1 cartoon and comic book. It features a round helmet section with circles on the sides. The front features a "V" shaped piece across the brow and a face featuring two eyes, a nose and mouth. The sculpt looks fantastic and it is instantly identifiable as Ratchet.
- Shoulders: Each shoulder piece is new, featuring a thicker set of sculpted details in part to accommodate the light bars for the vehicle mode.
- Forearms: Surprisingly, the forearms have been redone as well and the details are asymmetrical. On the right forearm there are very standard Transformers style line paneling details. Meanwhile the left arm features a series of raised details that look like pistons (or maybe they represent medical instruments built into the arm?). This was a very pleasant surprise.
- Groin/Crotch: The piece that the legs are attached to (and then connects with the torso) is a new piece. This too was a surprise. It is such a small piece I don't think anyone would have noticed (or cared) if they had just reused the same piece used for Ironhide. On Ironhide, this section features layered details including some rectangles and triangles. On Ratchet there is a cross shaped detail, a visual callback to his medical function.
- Lower Legs: Each of the lower legs feature different panels in front than Ironhide. From a distance they look the same, partly due to the vertical rectangle that angles inward. However, a closer look reveals different knee armor and ankle level details between the two. That said, the back of each lower leg uses the same design as Ironhide.
- Back: The back piece (where you can attach his accessories) is a new piece, completely different than Ironhide's. Both pieces are similar in design, but Ratchet features different sculpted details (such as three "L" shaped lines representing wires instead of the two on Ironhide). You will also note the grille/bumper piece from the vehicle mode is different. I will go into this more in the vehicle mode review.
As you can see from the list above, the designers did a lot to make this figure different from Ironhide, and for that I am super happy. Bonus: the leg flaps are "fixed" like those on Crosshairs. I was able to pick the figure up by those panels and flop it around a bit without them coming off!
Ratchet is cast in white, light grey and translucent blue plastic. White makes up most of the figure, which is consistent with the character's appearance in G1. His chest is made up of translucent blue plastic. The light grey parts make up the back, fists and groin/crotch area. There are lots of red paint details from the shoulders all the way down to the feet. These offer a bold contrast to the white plastic and they fit the character. His face is painted light grey and his eyes are blue. The "V" shaped piece on his head is painted dark brown (it looks almost black, but not quite solid black). The legs each have "dirty" light grey paint on the feet and lower legs, making it look like he has slogged through a dirty battlefield (but somehow miraculously kept the rest of his body clean). The finishing touch is a small Autobot symbol on the lower part of his chest.
There are twenty two points of articulation on this figure. Most of the joints are nice and tight with the exception of the knees. They feel a bit loose, but he poses without a problem so I am not concerned about them. The "launcher" weapon with the arm attaches to his back and it can swing up so the weapon can go over his head or shoulders. He can of course hold the weapons in his fists or you can attach them to any of the six 5mm ports on the arms and legs. If you have any Bandai stands around, you can use the port on the back to attach the stand and pose him out in ways that would normally require hand support.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
- Swing the chest panel out, straighten out the hinge it is attached to and swing it back into place.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the chest panel forward, swing the head down and close the cover.
- Swing the arms up and connect them together.
- Swing the back pack down.
- Rotate the chest piece with the arms attached around.
- Push the back pack piece against the chest/windshield section.
- Swing the front panels of each lower leg up.
- Push the two legs together.
- Swing the panels on the sides of the lower legs forward.
- Swing the panels from the front of the lower legs together.
- The weapons can be attached to the top of the vehicle.
The wide range of retooling done in robot mode helps this mode look a bit different than Ironhide. First, the "light bars" on the robot shoulders wind up on top of the vehicle above the windshield. Then the bumper section in front is a completely different piece than Ironhide's. This one only has two ports in front with more angled designs than Ironhide's more horizontal, brutal looking front end. The vehicle does not look dramatically different. He still looks like a box with an angled front end, but that's what he's supposed to look like in this mode so it totally works. The new details help distinguish him from Ironhide and it makes him a bit more unique.
This mode is mostly white. All the red detailing from the robot mode carries over to this form and it looks great. A gorgeous metallic light blue is used to paint in the bumper section in the front with some "damage" details brushed over it. The headlights are painted silver. The deco is simple, but it looks great.
All of Ratchet's accessories can attach to the ports on the top of the figure. There is a small 3mm peg above the windshield to attach a Blast Effect. You can also attach Blast Effects to the grille section in front and to the bottom of the robot feet in the back.
Transformation to Medical Bay Mode (Starting in Vehicle Mode):
- Detach the accessories if attached.
- Swing the back leg panels out to the sides.
- Push the two lower leg panels in.
- Swing the side panels towards the front back.
- Swing the arms out, then swing them down. Be sure the 5mm ports on the forearms are pointing up.
- Attach the accessories to the forearms.
The Medical Bay mode feels a lot like a mode a fan would have come up with after fiddling around with the figure for a while. That said, I really dig it. It adds a bit of play value to the figure and it is appropriate for the character. That said, due to the size of the figure, the best Generations era toys to put on here are probably Legends and Micromaster Class figures.
Ratchet is spectacular. I already loved the Ironhide figure and the Crosshairs retool/redeco was excellent. This figure is no exception. Lots of retooled parts, a character fans love and fun play value make this highly recommended!
- Great new head sculpt.
- Lots of new parts.
- Fun play value (including a "new" third mode).
- Good deco.
- New character appropriate accessories.
- Could use a tiny bit more deco here and there (but it still looks good).