Toy Review: Transformers Animated Cybertron-Mode Ratchet

I miss doing toy reviews. I haven't done one in a year. In part, this is for several reasons:

  1. Taking the pictures was often a pain, and only sometimes did they turn out how I wanted (I still love those Armorhide photos).
  2. Fitting it into the formula I was using was a pain in the butt.
  3. I cut back on the toy buying, and most of the toys I had wound up in a big storage tote.

But hey, I figure I can start it again through a few things:

  1. I'll worry less about having pictures. If you want to see pictures, SHMAX has high standards and a fairly complete database.
  2. I'll just stop caring about fitting the reviews into a specific formula. Ben Yee's site is back up, and he's pretty much got that down.
  3. I've got a few interesting toys recently, and my daughter is old enough that they don't really have to be "out of reach" anymore.

So, I guess since I named a toy in the title of this post, I should review something. Besides, if I don't, I'll look stupid because I'll post my reasons for doing more reviews, and then completely fail to review anything for like a month.

Cybertron-Mode Ratchet, huh? They packed this guy in robot mode, which seems to be common for figures that are similar to existing figures, especially if it shows off the differences between the molds. I think they made the right choice here - the robot mode is definitely my favourite of the forms on this figure.

It's fairly faithful to the character model - there are a few differences (black V on the chest is now translucent blue, crotch is white instead of red, red and white shoulder things are missing, two black stripes on upper arms become single stripe in the middle, black stripe on forearm is white, hands are all white instead of having red backs - minor things I'd have missed without comparing against the artwork). The figure itself is proportioned pretty much exactly like the Earth-Mode deluxe - if I had money to blow, I'd buy a second pair of them just to put the broken-chevron head from the Earth-Mode figure onto Cybertron-Mode, and call it a post-Lockdown version. The colour on his face is a bit less faded, and his red seems a bit darker - possibly to match the tint that was applied to the flashback scenes in the show. It's fun, too, to see how similar the transformation scheme is; things pretty much go into the same places on this figure. My favourite things about this mode would have to be the face, the overall look, the compatibility with "Lockdown's" EMP, and the range of motion, especially of the arms. Its weakest bits would have to be the knees (ratcheting motion for the actual joint, but there's a transformation joint that should be held in place in this mode that moves easier - I'd really like it if that joint stayed in place a bit better), and I really wish the windshield didn't stick out of the chest the way it does. His gimmick - a "shock attack" that extends his right fist when you depress the button on his elbow - is a draw. I don't find it terribly useful as intended, but I do like using it as a lever to move his arm around.

Transforming Ratchet is a joy once you get the hang of it. The instructions seemed a little unclear to me on how to get his arms to work. My tips are to make sure his fists are palm-sides towards each other when you fold them in there, and just fiddle with it until it works, then keep doing whatever it is you did.

His vehicle mode is quite nice. He's got a roof rack with lights for some reason, possibly because of those movies with that other, greener Ratchet. He's got accessory storage in the back - a must-have feature. Seriously, I don't want to see any more toys not having this. The vehicle mode is very faithful to the show, just missing some paint (hubcaps, much of the front treads that aren't visible in robot mode) and with some extra (that ambulance logo that he gets in his Earth mode). The windshield is still translucent blue instead of black. Provided you look at this from the front, or a three-quarters view, there's very little robot kibble visible on this figure. If you look at him from other angles, well, he's pretty much got his crotch dragging just off the ground between his rear treads. It's lucky for him Lockdown's severe tire damage strip wasn't a bit taller, eh? Also, his arms aren't hidden at all, really, in the rear of the vehicle, unless you've got his shock paddles stowed there. Hey, clever! He's got nice little wheels on his treads, too, so he can roll around.

Overall, a solid figure. Highly recommended. Probably extremely available at a Toys Я Us near you, on pegs and shelves recently cleared of his exclusive wavemate Arcee.

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