Alternate Mode: Subaru Impreza WRX
Thanks to Lord Zed for loaning me Ricochet for this review.
Height: 6cm Length: 18cm Width: 7.5cm
A realistic glossy black Impreza WRX, Ricochet has gold, red and yellow flames painted on the front doors and hood and a silver spoiler. While he's a repaint of BT Streak, the colours are lifted from Stepper (whom was renamed Ricochet for his Hasbro release - I will refer to Stepper for ease of comparison). His mag wheels are gold, along with the spoiler and glossy black, they make sure this car would stand out - Ricochet is very much a bling vehicle. He has rubber tyres but no die-cast (there is no BT version).
Ricochet has clear plastic windows, except for the driver's and passenger's - which I suppose are wound down. His headlights are transparent plastic, moulded with parabolas inside and all, while his taillights are transparent red with white bits for the reverse lights. Embedded in the front bumper are parking lights, there's a license plate holder covering the air intake with a stamped Autobot logo on it. He has a black latticed grill with a tiny Subaru logo on it. The rear vision mirrors are painted silver, but not chromed as on BT Streak. The muffler and tailpipe are still chromed, although it's easy to miss since this assembly is under the rear bumper. It's odd that the chrome was stripped from the more prominent mirrors and not the muffler. The rear license plate is a New Jersey plate - and is actually the right style with the cream background - with "RICO•CHET" in black text, and "Garden State" along the bottom. And yes, the dot is a tiny silhouette of the shape of New Jersey!
The insane level of detail is continued inside this vehicle. Open one of the doors - they all open, and you'll see the insides of the doors have been moulded. He's got front seats, a dashboard, steering wheel with adjustable steering column, handbrake and gearstick. Ricochet is a left hand drive (USA), like Smokescreen and some Alt Bluestreaks. The mould has a radio/AC unit in the middle of the dash which is painted silver. Lift the hood and you'll find a white engine block with an Autobot logo on it.
There aren't any back seats, which is a slight detraction but then this guy is so heavily modified that I'll just say they've been stripped and the back is waiting for 40" subwoofers. His robot thighs, which are black and white, lie inside the rear of the cabin, and are close enough to seat shaped anyway. The rear windscreen has painted demister lines on it, there are red pinstripes on the bucket seats, also.
Ricochet has great play value in this mode. He doesn't have axles, although he does roll fairly true. The front wheels turn, and have a rack and pinion mechanism, so turning one causes the other to turn. As already mentioned, the doors and bonnet open, although the bonnet doesn't open quite as far as a real Impreza's does. The boot also opens, again it doesn't lift as far as on a real Impreza, but considering that this part of the car splits in half to form the robot feet, the fact that the boot opens in one section is an accomplishment.
This is a great car mode, and as silly as the colour scheme is, it works well on a car likely to be overly modified by a motorhead owner. The glossy black plastic really suits, and while I'm generally not a fan of some of the shades of plastics used in the Alternators line, Ricochet's is wonderful. On top of that, the Stepper character is readily visible here, despite the fact that this is noa Porsche. It's a damn fine mould anyway, with the excellent attention to detail of the BT/Alt line. Unless you open the bonnet and see his Autobot symbol, it's hard to pick him as a Transformer - only the back seats really give him away. A fantastic Transformer alt mode, this is a good scale model car in it's own right. This toy looks great, partially because of the realism, but also because of the glossy bling which suits the paint job. His only real flaws is the back seat, which you hardly notice anyway.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
I'm not going to bother trying to explain everything involved in what is a very complex transformation. Suffice it to say it's superficially faithful to the original Bluestreak - the front of the car becomes his chest and shoulders, the rear becomes his feet, his doors become wings behind the arms, which fold out from inside the engine cavity. The engine becomes his handgun.
Height: 17.5cm Width: 16cm
exact height depends on pose, width is his wingspan
A black robot with while forearms, legs and a white head. The shiny black is still the overwhelming visual element, and there's quite as much gold here as on Stepper. His face is gold with orange eyes and a black crest while the hood flame gives Ricochet some more gold. The face is very much that of Bluestreak, and not really that of Stepper (which is Jazz's, in gold).
car parts are all in the right place, this is really easily identifiable as Bluestreak, something that I really like, both from a nostalgia point of view and from an attention to detail viewpoint. While many of the car parts end up in the right places - the front as the chest, the doors as wings, the face and boots of Bluestreak make this a fairly blatant repaint rather than a direct tribute to the original Stepper robot mode. It's still Steppers colour scheme, but there's a Not Quite Stepper feeling to the robot mode.
His rear windscreen is on his shins, and his front wheels are behind his shoulders, just as on the original. The feet face the other way - as on Bluestreak, the rear bumper lifts to form toes while there are heelspurs underneath. There's no Targetmaster here, nor the shoulder cannon added for the reissue Stepper/Ricochet. Ricochet has an Autobot symbol on the left shoulder, as well as the small license plate symbol, now on his chest. The gun also has Autobot symbols on either side, since it's the engine block. The white gun looks a little silly - engines aren't usually white and the original gun was silver, but Hasbro decided against adding paint to cover up the white plastic which needed to be used on his limbs and head. A shame, but not a dealbreaker.
As you'd expect, this is a very poseable robot. Ricochet's head is on a ball joint, his shoulders are double swivels, his elbows are double joints, his wrists rotate and his fingers open and close, the index finger by itself and the others as one unit (allowing him to grasp his gun). The waist swivel is needed for the transformation, and it's available for posing. The knees are hinged, however the ball jointed hips allow you to rotate his toes apart slightly. His toes (ie the car bumper) are poseable, as are the heelspurs, so he's stable in most poses, with a little posing of the feet. Oh, he also has hinged ankles, which is easy to miss since they're the spot where the back of the car (feet) and rear windscreen (shins) met. They are a little restricted by the rear doors which wrap around the back of his feet, but you can unwrap them slightly if you'd like.
I really do wonder why the Meister (Jazz) mould wasn't used - it would have fitted the concept better and was used only once in Alternators while this mould had been used twice already. It's a good robot mode and the colours work, but I still can't help looking at it and wondering why they didn't go for the logical choice. While the vehicle mode works really well, the robot mode just doesn't sit right since the repaint wasn't really thought out that well. The mould itself is difficult to fault - he's a little back heavy, but easy enough to pose thanks to the heelspurs. Despite some minor limitations, the poseability is still great, especially for such a realistic car mode. There's no car kibble - the integration of the hood, rear windshield and rear section into this mode all look good, and the door wings work aesthetically, so I wont count them as kibble. If only they've used the mould that had a Stepper-like head already.
None that I'm aware of.
A great mould with a fantastic paint job in car mode, but Ricochet is far less compelling that Smokescreen or Bluestreak, simply because whoever conceived the idea of an Alternators Ricochet used the wrong mould. This doesn't really affect the car mode, but with a head that is distinctively Bluestreak's, it's an issue in robot mode. I still like what has been done with the colour scheme, mind you, so if you're interested in the toy for colours rather than as an interpretation of Stepper/Ricochet, this isn't an issue. Mouldwise, the realism of the car mode and poseability of the robot mode are both excellent. Aesthetically, this toy works in both modes, although the colour scheme is a little unusual and blingy (which is in context of the character, admittedly). The attention to detail in this toy is great, the transformation is quite complex, but not difficult once you get the hang of it. If the character had been considered better - or the repaint wasn't so obviously Stepper, I'd be happier with Ricochet. But he's still a pretty decent toy - 8.5/10