Cliffbee.com: Rescue Ratchet Toy Review

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Name: Rescue Ratchet
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Search & Rescue Humvee



TRUCK MODE
Height: 8.5cm Length: 17.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A milky white Humvee with transparent blue windows, black plastic tyres, grey bars around a black grille and grey storage racks on his roof. There are some stripes lines running down the sides, with a white electrocardiogram line within these. The word "AMBULANCE" is on the hood in red and the doors in white (within the stripes), in a stylised, stencilled, font. Rescue Ratchet is a more conventional ambulance than Ratchet, and is based on an ambulance we see in the background at one point in the film. I like the fact that the paint mask on the sides have been significantly changed, even if - in the toy continuity at least - this is the same character. The doors are actually painted over the blue plastic rather than being a solid plastic like the rest of the toy, and the white paint looks better than the white plastic in my opinion - but the two shades are close enough to work together. There's a blue stroberack on his roof while the headlights are painted metallic purple with orange front indicators. While this toy is more aiming at the ambulance cameo, it does also take Ratchet's colours back to those of his G1 counterpart.

   The detail level on this truck mode is pretty good. There are the obvious things like the complex bars and roof rack, along with windshield wipers, side mirrors, door handles and various hatches etc. The tyres are all black but fairly well sculpted - and this time the wheels have been painted - in grey. There are two places where the overall look is compromised - you can see the robot arms sticking out below the doors (from lower angles) and the back is little generic since it's a series of transformation hinges. The designer has done a decent job of making the back not look too hingelike, which I appreciate. I would have liked to see taillights, but otherwise the detailing is good here.

   There's very little play value in Rescue Ratchet's vehicle mode, which rates as this mode's main shortcoming. Granted I don't expect too much here, but all Rescue Ratchet can do is roll along on his wheels. The doors cannot open, so something simple like a little winch would have been nice.

   Overall this is a good vehicle mode with a well executed theme. He looks really nice, although he's a little too static compared to most mega sized vehicle modes. Some minor play aspects would help a lot, taking what is a decent truck mode and making a great one. There are distinct shades of G1 here, and while the cameo is small, I like the idea of this toy. This ambulance mode is visually impressive and satisfying, it's also Rescue Ratchet's better mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove and set aside the luggage rack, Fold back the rear, split to form his legs. You need to flip out the feet before you can straighten his knees, since there's an automorph linked to his feet - the kneecaps deploy and side panels push out. After you've done this, rotate his knees and swing the legs down. Pull the doors out to the sides, split the windshield and rotate out to the sides, collapse the roof onto his bonnet and fold the front down to form his chest. It ends up upside down, and whilst there's no connecting tab, the transforming joint locks into place. Pull the door assemblies out to the sides, fold the doors themselves back. Rotate the shoulders, swing down his forearms and attach the rack to his left (yes, it has to be the left) forearm as a grappling weapon. Finally, open out the white panel on his chest and flip back, revealing Rescue Ratchet's head.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 16cm

   Again mainly white, Rescue Ratchet's hands, head and elbows are red while the grey rollbar is upside-down on his chest. His face is also grey while his eyes are transparent blue - although the lightpipe doesn't work very well. The transparent plastic is the same as the windshield, which hangs off the sides of his waist. The painted red head doesn't match the darker red plastic of his elbows and hands very well, which looks a little odd. There are red Autobot logos stamped on either shoulder, over silver crosses, which is a nice touch. It's a good colour scheme, although if a better shade of red plastic was chosen for his head, I would be a lot happier with the end result.

   This robot mode is wide and bulky - Rescue Ratchet does a good job of conveying his immense mass (by human standards, anyway). There are some interesting design elements here - I've already mentioned the "upside-down" chest, but we also have angled wheels on his shoulders and the windshield on his waist. The automorph feature is also appreciated - granted the end result is easy to miss, but makes him less blocky. The insides of his boots end up convex thanks to the automorph, and the fact that the designer bothered with this shows the attention to detail here. The level of detail in the sculpt is good but not exceptional, the only details that annoy me are three visible screws on either shoulder - although the crosses area great addition in that they draw your attention away from the screws. It's worth noting that other than the deliberate placement of the chest, there's very little truck here - it's all robot sculpt.

   Rescue Ratchet comes with two weapons, although both are melee weapons. The luggage rack on his left arm becomes a sort of claw - pushing a red knob on the spare tyres (at the back of the rack) causes the front to open up like a claw. While the end result isn't that spectacular, I do appreciate the thought which has gone into this one. The other weapon is rather logically tied to the right hand. The hand swaps out for a white tomahawk, which looks pretty impressive. I do wish this tomahawk had a swivel at it's base, but a fair range of poses are available, thanks to a reversible forearm (no doubt deliberate).

   Poseability is pretty good for such a bulky robot. His head turns, the shoulders and hips swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows and knees have hinges and rotators. The feet are fairly immobile - there's some wiggle - and the windshield halves on his waist do get in the way of the hip movement, limiting the poses available. Some action poses are still available, mind you - enough to keep me happy.

   Rescue Ratchet's poseability is hampered by the switch in plastics. The elbow joints are tight, and you'll find the forearms pop off when you try to move the elbows. This is especially annoying since these joints are involved in the transformation. The panels on the back of the truck - which are now on the back of this thighs, also pop off, usually when you transform him back to ambulance mode. Whilst the white plastic looks a little cheap, that's usually the case with milky plastics - I suspect the tighter joints which cause the pop-offs are more a result of the white plastic being slightly softer than the green of Ratchet. The white panel covering his head in vehicle mode also pops off far too easily.

   As with vehicle mode, Rescue Ratchet's robot mode is a good effort, although the loose elbows are an introduced flaw. I like the crosses on his shoulders, but then the colour of his read is isn't quite right - so this mode is a regression from Ratchet's robot mode. It's still a decent robot but there's nothing overly compelling here. The weapons work well enough, although some sort of ranged weapon would be nice. There are quite a few fairly minor aspects that really make this robot work - such as the convex boots, tomahawk, and the upside-down chest. If the red head and elbows weren't problematic, I'd actually say this is an improvement over the green Ratchet.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A somewhat trivial repaint, based on a very quick appearance of a white ambulance on the film, but the G1 semblance is noteworthy. The ambulance looks better than the robot, and while I appreciate the change in paint mask, I still feel the original version is more compelling. The mould is good, so if you can't grab the green toy, I'd recommend Rescue Ratchet. I don't know that I'd recommend this toy as a repaint - I only grabbed him because of the movie cameo, but the pop-off pieces leave me feeling disappointed. I'm leaving this one in ambulance mode - it's essentially the reason I got the toy anyway - 6.5/10

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