Series: Generation 1
Alternate Mode: Ambulance
Height: 5cm Length: 9.5cm Width: 4cm
Unsurprisingly, Ratchet's ambulance mode is a white van. Specifically he's a Nissan Onebox. Some have red crosses on them, some don't (more info in the variations section). Otherwise he has a red stripe down each side, strobes on his roof, chrome silver bumpers and headlights, chrome silver wheels, rubber tyres and clear plastic windows. The driver & passenger windows have no plastic - I guess they're wound down. He has an Autobot symbol on the front of the van and a single seat inside the cockpit for a Diaclone driver.
It's a pretty nice ambulance mode. The wheels roll freely, although he lacks axles. The rear window is white plastic and there's a gap in the middle of the rear bumper, but otherwise it's a very realistic van. The strobes are clear red plastic, and there's suitably technological kibble inside the back, visible through the windows. There are moulded doorhandles, including one for the sliding side door. The front section, the windshield and headlight area, is die cast metal.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Remove the rear section, and the gun stored under the wheel base, if you've stored it there. 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.
Height: 9cm Width: 7.5cm
The first thing you notice about Ratchet's robot mode is that he doesn't have a head. Next you notice that he's predominantly white with red legs & fists and a silver groin. On closer inspection, you'll see he _does_ have a face, on the seat behind his windshield. 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.
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.
Along with Ironhide, Ratchet has always been a somewhat controversial toy, and often the subject of derision. 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. It's a nice colour scheme, and the windshield is a nice feature for the chest. Also, this is a very sturdy robot mode, no weak points waiting to break like some Diaclone toys.
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. Having three treads, it's inherently stable, the missile launcher makes it look like a nice little gun emplacement. The missile launcher is mounted on an arm with two hinges, so it can shoot upwards or downwards. 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 version's play value a fair bit.
The original Ratchet came with or without red crosses - a painted one on the roof and sticker ones on the outsides of the hands. There was a limited release reissue one in Japan in 2001. I'm not sure if this did or didn't have the crosses, but knowing the way Takara do things, I'd imagine it does. There is an Encore version from 2009 and a green e-Hobby repaint.
A much maligned toy, Ratchet isn't the best Transformer ever, but he's far from the worst. I actually _like_ him, but he's something of an acquired taste. The lack of a humanoid head and show inaccurate robot mode do drag him down somewhat, 4.5/10