Ahh, Ratchet. What a great Transformers character. Be it the original Ratchet who was [supposed to be] a crazy party animal that almost flunked out of med school, or the modern interpretation that’s more of an ornery old war veteran, he’s always had a place in my heart. Save for the movie version, anyway. As much as I liked the old portrayal, I’ve taken a liking to his cranky new rendition. The Autobots always have to have one old guy on their team, and I think Ratchet’s good for that role. It makes him more like Doctor McCoy.
Ratchet’s vehicle mode is an ambulance (what else?) that’s made up of… quite a lot of panels. Also he has no lightbar. Bleh. I hate panel-formers. The mode looks good enough, and there aren’t many color matching problems. I just can’t seem to get all the panels aligned properly. Oh well.
Like Wheeljack, he has his own STABCAR mode! This time with knives. It’s not as cool, honestly. I’m also not entirely sure where the knives are supposed to go in this mode? I think they’re supposed to go in the doors, but I can’t find a tab for them to peg into.
Ratchet’s transformation is much more complex than one would think, involving a lot of parts turning around and sliding unlike most other toys. The forearms are very panel-y but I like the end result. I always think I’m going to break the hinges on the back leg armor by accident. Also, the head springs up with a great automorph gimmick.
For his robot mode, Ratchet uses a lot of cheats. A LOT of cheats. Fake chest being the most obvious, of course. I mean geez, look at those tiny doors! Honestly though, it works for me. In some of the early test shots, Ratchet was missing quite a bit of his red paint applications. It really hurt the overall look of the toy. The only way for Ratchet’s design to work in toy form is to make a lot of cheats, although chances are, if he’d been released as a first edition, he’d be putting some parts of his vehicle form in a pocket dimension.
I don’t like the way the back of the ambulance just hangs on his back. It’s kind of unsightly, bleh.
I really like the way the arms look and transform. It uses a lot of panels, but it feels like an evolution of the arms the movie Jazz figure had. They’re really poseable, too!
In fact, it’s really starting to seem as though higher levels of articulation are becoming standard. They have been for awhile now, sure, but now figures are starting to hover around the same range, design limitations be damned.
Ratchet’s knives are… really uninteresting. Why couldn’t he have a cool cannon or a scalpel or something? These just don’t work. They’re really rubbery and look like they’d be better suited to sit on the end of a bayonet.
Despite a few gripes about the weapons and transformation, I find Ratchet to be a pretty worthy purchase. He’s as show accurate as we’ll get, and while he’d benefit from some added height, he’s good enough on his own. Recommended!