Cliffbee.com: G1 Green Ratchet Toy Review

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Name: Ratchet
Series: e-Hobby Exclusives
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Medic
Alternate Mode: Ambulance



AMBULANCE MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 9.5cm Width: 4cm

   A kiwi green Nissan Onebox Ambulance, he's a repaint of the original with changes to the paint mask to mimic movie Ratchet. There's a red and yellow stripes on either side with an Autobot logo badge on either door while the strobes on his roof are transparent blue. The stroberack itself, both bumpers, headlights and wheels are chrome silver while the tyres are black rubber and the windows colourless plastic. The front side windows are absent, wound down I guess, as is common amongst the Diaclone based Autobots. Across the top on either side, Ratchet has "FIRE DEPARTMENT" in white letters the doors have "AMBULANCE" in much smaller white lettering. The colours are a good analogue for the movie character, although I notice that both the move & G1 Ratchet have red strobes, not blue as on this toy.

   Ratchet's paint mask is quite different from the original and along with the distinctly different green, there's a vastly different feel here - it just doesn't feel like G1 Ratchet. There is a rubsign on the front above the windshield and e has an Autobot symbol between the headlights. There is a single seat inside the cockpit for a Diaclone driver and his wheels roll, representing all of the play value here.

   It's a pretty nice ambulance mode. The wheels roll freely, although he lacks axles. The rear window is green plastic and there's a gap in the middle of the rear bumper, but otherwise it's a realistic van. There are moulded doorhandles, including one for the sliding side door. The front section, the windshield and headlight area, is die cast metal. Sadly, some mould degradation is present - the top and bottom halves don't quite line up properly. He'll stay together just fine but the seams are a little out of kilter.

   The mould is quite dated now, but for G1 fans this colour scheme brings something new to an old mould. I like the idea, although I would have preferred this to be sold as a new character or at least as the Ratchet from the 2007 film, rather than G1 Ratchet. The misaligned seams bother me quite a bit, but I like the blue strobes.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the rear section. Swing out the arms, fold down the windshield, fold up the feet. Rotate the arms down, rotate the fists, position the arms.

TRANSFORMATION TO REPAIR BAY

   Fold the centre tread out from the bottom of the rear section, fold down the rear window. Swing down the side treads and position. Open the sides, swivel up the missile launcher. Attach the missiles, gun post and gun. You can attach Ratchet himself so that he mans the missile launcher, there's notches on the base of the launcher tower to hold his feet in place.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 9cm Width: 7.5cm

   The first thing you notice about Ratchet's robot mode is that he doesn't have a head. The black seat forms the head, and since the "face" sticker is also black, I think this toy gets away with the sticker as a face better than the original Ratchet (or Ironhide, for that matter). Still, it's very much an acquired taste. Anyway, this robot is predominantly kiwi green with black ankles, fists and a black "head" while the groin is silver. The proportions are a little off (ie not humanoid), but you can see it as a face at chest level or a head on top of a really small torso with a facemask. The colours broadly match those of the movie character again, although the bodyshape is vastly different. The Autobot logo sits in the centre of his chest now.

   Head aside, Ratchet's robot mode is quite small compared to most Diaclone car based Autobots. Partly because it's accompanied by the repair bay, but also because he's got a fairly spindly robot mode. The arms are attached with rather thing looking beams, but they are metal. A wise choice since otherwise they'd be very breakable. The mould degradation doesn't really come into play here, thankfully. He's very slightly pigeon toed, and while this makes it a little trickier to plug Ratchet into his base it also means he attaches better.

   Along with Ironhide, Ratchet has always been a somewhat controversial toy, and often the subject of derision. So you've got to appreciate the mould (or be a nutter for the movie character, I guess) to really appreciate this robot mode. This robot mode doesn't look that much like the robot Sunbow portrayed on the show - they used creative license on the show to give him more human proportions. The differences between the show and toy only serve to add to the disdain towards this toy from a lot of fans.

   The robot mode isn't without it's good points. The windshield is a nice feature for the chest and this is a very sturdy robot mode, no weak points waiting to break like some Diaclone toys. But you've got to "get" the mould - it's very unusual and is really one for the G1 fans. If you can appreciate the mould, this is good colour scheme and while the paint mask & colour map is more G1 Ratchet than movie Ratchet, there's a clear resemblance here, making this a decent tribute.

REPAIR BAY MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 9cm Length: 11cm

   The forgotten half of the robot mode, the repair bay is in itself a rather nice little emplacement, but there are mould degradation issues here. The three treads should mean stability, but the rear pair aren't as firm as on the original toys. The missile launcher on top tends to flop down on mine and the wings don't quite fold down properly - although this is a minor issue. The missile launcher is mounted on an arm with two hinges, so it can shoot upwards or downwards. It's the top hinge which is loose here, incidentally. The gun at the front can swivel around to aim. Also, as previously mentioned, Ratchet himself can man this little post. Just behind the gun and in front of the missile launcher's base there's a small seat, perfect for a Diaclone driver. Which would have added to the Diaclone toy's play value a fair bit.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. This toy was available in Japan by mail order only, and is likely limited to a single production run.

OVERALL

   A much maligned mould, and while some G1 moulds still stack up fairly well now, this one was limited even back then. The seat-face thing is one for the older fans who have developed an affection for the mould, so I'd only really recommend this to fans who love G1 rather than those who simply remember it. The repaint is a nice idea and the changed paint mask is well done, so if you can appreciate the mould and have the means, this is a nice repaint. Definitely one for the converted, however - 5/10

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