Transformers Animated Autobot Ratchet Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Transformers Animated

Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: June 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hammer, screwdriver, wrench and can opener tools


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AUTOBOT RATCHET was, at one time, one of the most promising medical minds on CYBERTRON. After his experiences with LOCKDOWN though, all he wanted to do was disappear. An assignment to a deep space repair crew was just what he was looking for. He never wanted to be in the middle of a new war against MEGATRON, but if that’s where fate puts him, he’ll do his best to keep his comrades safe and sound.

Join this mighty AUTOBOT hero in the fight to take on the DECEPTICON enemies! With interchangeable arm tools to help him take on anything that steps in his path, this brave AUTOBOT RATCHET figure is ready to do battle. And when it’s AUTOBOT RATCHET hero to the rescue, store the tools in his backpack, convert the mighty robot figure to rescue vehicle mode and help the AUTOBOTS battle against the DECEPTICON forces!

Figure comes with interchangeable arm tools.

There are several characters who were largely ignored for quite some time between Generation 2 and the "Robots in Disguise" era who were quite prominant in G1. One of these was Ratchet, who was thrust back into the limelight with 2007's live action Transformers movie. In an attempt to provide both an older "mentor" character and continuity from the movie, Ratchet was added to the roster of characters featured in "Transformers Animated".

Vehicle Mode:
Ratchet's vehicle mode is an emergency van. Part mini-van, part ambulance, he seems to be a well rounded emergency vehicle. The front end is sloped downwards and angles up slightly to the windshield, which then leads to a rectangular, boxy rear section. While it would have been easy to make this form look dull, it actually has quite a bit of detail on it. The front end has large headlights and two smaller lights under the bumper. In the center is a winch, which makes him more than the average ambulance van. Running from the side of the front to the back is a raised, curved line that adds an extra layer of depth to the figure. As one would expect from an emergency vehicle, he has a lightbar which here is mounted right above the windshield. This figure carries over some of the tinier details from the animated model including sideview mirrors with a small line dividing the upper and lower portions as well as windows and doors carved into the back. Among my favorite details are behind the windshield, where you'll find two seats for a driver and passenger. This is often a detail that cannot be included due to the necesity of transformation, so it is nice to see it when it can be done. Considering today's sculpting is far more advanced than it used to be, I would have been disappointed had all these details not been included in this figure.

Ratchet is cast in four plastic colors: light grey, dark red, translucent blue and black. Most of the body is light grey with dark red used on the top of the canopy and the side sections over the rear wheels. Translucent blue is used on the lightbar and windshield while black is used for the wheels. Red paint details are used for the hood, the sides and the top of the vehicle towards the rear. This red does not really match the darker red plastic, though the effect is not as jarring as one might expect. Red paint is also used on the sides of the vehicle to create a "lifeline" type detail in a circle, a nod to a similar detail on the 2007 movie Ratchet. Other small details include yellow used for the headlights, a silver Autobot symbol on the car hood and light blue side windows. Truth be told, the only parts that aren't painted that I wish the designers had not left out are the sideview mirrors (which are half red on the TV show) and yellow on the smaller lights in the front. Overall the deco job looks very nice and has a good amount of detail.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Hold the rear wheels with one hand and swing the top of the vehicle forward with the other.
  2. Swing up the side panels on the top section of the vehicle mode.
  3. Swing up the rear section of the vehicle to reveal the robot arms.
  4. Swing the robot arms out to the sides and rotate the lower arms around.
  5. Pull each lower arm down to reveal the elbow joints.
  6. Push the front end of the vehicle down and bend the front on the hinge.
  7. Push the back panels against the main body and the head will spring up.
  8. Separate the robot legs and flip out the feet.
  9. Each of his tools can be attached to his hands by clipping the C clip into the curve inside his palm.

Robot Mode:
One of the aspects I enjoy most about "Transformers Animated" is how well each character's personality matches their physical appearance. Ratchet is played as a grumpy old war veteran in "Animated", and that's how the animated model looks. If he were human, one can imagine him being a bit out of shape, perhaps with a belly but still strong looking from his military days. Here, he has a car as an upper body that sticks out a bit in place of a gut and big, beefy looking arms to show that he is no weakling, but his rather dour facial expression completes the picture. This is not the happiest Autobot around and he doesn't care who knows it!

The robot mode of this figure does a spectacular job of emulating its animated counterpart. Ratchet's head is interesting as it takes influences from both G1 Ratchet and Cliffjumper. The central crest and "horns" sticking out the sides are distinctly influenced by G1 Ratchet, but the "mutton chop" like details on either side of the head look very much like Cliffjumper's from G1, especailly with the small horizontal line details inside. I love his facial expression and how the designers stayed true to having the left side horn broken and a bit of an indentation on his lower jaw, giving him a grizzled look. I love the way the side panels fold over to reveal symbols just like those on the sides of the vehicle mode, again matching up with the animated series using a bit ofa "cheat". His arms are big and rounded, with the lower arms looking like he's wearing some type of long surgeon's glove. I also like the way his fingers and thumbs are articulated separately, something rather uncommon among Transformers figures. Having the middle of the front section from the vehicle mode fold down on a hinge was a brilliant idea as it helps keep him from looking like a "front of car as my chest"-bot such as G1 Prowl or Bluestreak. His legs are very much humanoid/organic looking, being more tube like than squared off. Again this matches the show, with smaller thighs and larger lower legs that come to feet with sectioned off soles/heels visible from the side.

Ratchet shows off more of his primary plastic colors in this form. More grey appears on the robot head, fingers, thighs, shoulders and feet. More black appears via his elbows, arms and shoulder joints. His lower arms and parts of his hands are dark red, along with the waist/hips and lower legs. Most of the new paint applications are found on his head, which uses red for the horns and parts of his face and light blue for the area with his mouth and chin. A bit of black is used on his knees as well to give some line detail, but overall the designers stuck as close as they could to the animation model without embelishing.

Ratchet features twenty one points of articulation. This includes five on each arm and four on each leg. Attached to each lower arm is a claw like device that is actually one of his magnets as he is often seen using on the television show. Those are made up of two prongs (and looks sharper to boot), but the limitations on this design necesitated only making half of them. Truth be told, I would have been happy with sacrificing the other tools if it meant creating a more show accurate design, but I'm glad they were not eliminated altogether! These flip out with a gentle push into his hands if you keep the fingers extended forward. You can also attach each of his tools into the hands and swing them up on their hinges and close his hands around them as if he were holding them with only his fingers and palms. Each of these weapons can clip onto one of the circles inside his back pack for storage, but they do not store in vehicle mode.

Final Thoughts:
I personally feel the need to shoehorn the tools into this figure made it a weaker toy. Had the designers focused on giving him show accurate weapons they would have avoided two issues I have with the figure: 1) Accuracy to show model and 2) Ability to store accessories in vehicle mode. That said, the sculpt itself is very strong and he looks great in both forms, so these two things do not keep him from being a cool toy overall. Recommended.