"Generations" Rattrap Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Deluxe, Generations, Maximal

Generations

Rattrap General Information:
Release Date: July 2014
Price Point: $12.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blasters x 2, Demolition Charge

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
This Maximal spy can infiltrate any area because he's willing to go where no other bot is willing to go: the garbage. Burrowing through trash and rubble keeps Rattrap out of the line of fire. You could say it's not courageous...but then you probably haven't smelled that trash barge. Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle! This Maximal figure is fierce in robot mode, and he carries a powerful weapon into battle against his foes. But when he wants to creep in where he cafn spy on them, he can convert to sneaky rat mode! Whatever mode your Maximal figure is in, his enemies will think twice before taking him on! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

In 1996, a new chapter began in the "Transformers" legacy. After Generation 2 quietly faded away, "Beast Wars Transformers" came roaring onto the scene (yeah, I went there). This new series took place hundreds of years after the original Transformers series and incorporated elements of previous cartoons and comic books as its back story. In the process it also introduced new characters who became almost as iconic to fans of the show as guys like Bumblebee and Prowl were in the original series.

One of these was the wise cracking and resourceful Rattrap. Rattrap was a Maximal, a descendant of the Autobots who would become a key player in many of the events of the series. After years of absence from the toy store shelves, Rattrap appeared again as part of "Generations" joining his fellow Maximal and Predacon enemy Waspinator as iconic "Beast Wars" characters introduced into this line which focuses mostly on G1 homages and IDW Publishing based characters.

Packaging:
Rattrap is packaged in a bubble on a card. The figure is in robot mode and behind him is a copy of the "Finest Hour" issue of the IDW Publishing comic book. The cover of the comic is exclusive to this set, featuring Rattrap's packaging art. Oddly, the issue's pages are printed out of order, so if you don't follow the IDW comics, the story will be utterly confusing. Then again, you're not buying this figure for the comic are you? The back of the package features a write up of the character next to photography of the toy. At the bottom is a stats meter that shows off his strength, intelligence and so on in a G1 inspired line chart. Looking back on this packaging design as "Combiner Wars" is on shelves, I have to say I really miss this packaging design. It was a perfect blend of old and new package design, emphasizing the character aspect of the toy, something that older fans such as myself (and the target audience of "Generations") really like to see.

Accessories:
Rattrap includes three accessories. Two of them are small blasters, each with a 5mm peg at the end. The two blasters can be combined to form a larger rifle. The design uses the TV show's rifle as a basis for its design, but certain features are different. For instance, the front end has a large barrel and then a smaller barrel under it. Rattrap's rifle in the TV show had this feature as well, but the barrels were nowhere near as big as the ones on this toy. Also, on the sides, towards the back there are tube shaped sections sticking out a bit, but on the CG model these details ara much more pronounced. The rifle is cast in clear plastic instead of the grey and beige colors use don the CG model and there are no paint applications on it.

Rattrap's other accessory is a piece that could be interpreted as a pair of binoculars, but in fact this is a demotion charge based on a design used on the TV show. The original Rattrap figure did not have such an accessory, it was created by the animators of "Beast Wars" for the character. The charge is cast in clear plastic, the same as the rifle. The curves on it are 5mm, allowing Rattrap to hold the accessory in his hands. It's great to see this accessory included with the figure as it gives it a stronger connection to its animated counterpart.

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Robot Mode:
During the "Beast Wars" era Rattrap was one of the first "Basic" Class toys. These smaller figures were the ancestors of what would become the "Scout" Class. Examples of the Scout Class include the Sandstorm and Dead End figures released in 2012. For this release he's been upgraded to a Deluxe Class figure which is great because it allows for a level of detail and complexity that a smaller size might not deliver.

Unlike its 1996 counterpart, this figure uses the "Beast Wars" cartoon's CGI model as the basis for its design. Back when the "Beast Wars" TV show was being planned the toys were designed first so the animators used the toys as a starting point and then modified them to suit the show. The original Rattrap was often seen as one of the toys that represented the cartoon model very well with fewer changes than other characters like say, Dinobot. However it wasn't quite perfect, and to be honest neither is this figure, but it comes pretty close.

This figure has a lot of the details from the CG model for Rattrap. Here's a rundown:

  • The head sculpt is based off the animated model, complete with the cross hatch pattern on the dome of the helmet and a distinctive face with narrow eyes and a mouth that has a pair of "teeth" on the top. There are segments attached to the sides of the head, flanking the mouth. To be fair, this design traces its roots back to the original "Beast Wars" toy, but certain features were more exaggerated on the original figure. This represents the more "streamlined" look of the TV show model.
  • The shoulders are round with a rectangular section sticking up at an angle. This detail is based on the sculpt of the original figure, but the details were made more sharp and prominent in the animation model.
  • The shoulder pieces connect to sections that look like gears. In the original Rattrap figure this was actually part of a working gear mechanism that factored into the transformation. This was later carried over into the animation model and now it has carried over into this figure.
  • The forearms look like rectangular sections with beveled bands around them. This appeared on the animation model but was partly inspired by the forearms of the original figure which actually had small gaps in them (thus creating the "bands").
  • The torso is mostly made up of the chest of the beast mode. It differs a bit from the animation model in that the ears stick up pretty high, obscuring the robot head a bit from certain angles.
  • Much of the beast mode winds up on the back of the upper body. This includes the beast mode legs and tail. While the original 1996 Rattrap toy had a back pack too, that one stuck out pretty wide on either side. In this case the back pack folds back, so it looks more like the TV show model.
  • The feet on this figure have individual toes complete with nails on the ends. This is a feature that exists on both the original Rattrap figure and the animation model.

Overall, Rattrap is a fantastic representation of the CG model from the show, and he has plenty of connections to the original 1996 figure. The sculpt is full of detail and when I first saw promotional pictures it looked like the CG model had jumped off the screen into plastic form. I still feel the same with the figure right in front of me.

Rattrap is cast in grey, bronze, light pink and clear plastic. The grey and bronze colors make up most of the figure, with grey mostly showing on the back and torso. The bronze plastic is used most heavily on the arms, but also appears on the lower legs and feet. The light pink plastic is intended to simulate the flesh tone of the beast mode. You'll find parts on his hips, heels and the piece under his head use this color. These colors are mostly inspired by the TV show's colors and I was surprised at the lengths the designers went through to make sure the arrangement mostly matched the TV show - especially the hip area where the animation model did indeed use a "flesh" colored joint at the hips (or at least, that's how the coloring looked in some screen captures).

Paint colors on this figure include gold, silver, red and light pink. The silver is used the most. It is used for outlines and major sections of the arms. It's also used heavily on the lower legs. The gold color is used on the face, but it leaves the top of his head and back unpainted (technically for light piping). The red color is found on tiny details. First are his eyes, which were red on the show so they are painted red here. Unfortunately that means any light piping is minimal. His arms have tiny red Maximal symbols on them as well, reflecting the TV show design where Rattrap once waved away the Maximal symbol on his arm like a hologram. Finally, the light pink "flesh" tone is used to paint the nails on his feet, adding to the techno-organic appearance of the figure.

Rattrap has thirteen points of articulation including three on each arm and leg. If this number seems low, keep in mind that four of these points of articulation (the shoulder and hips) are ball joints, so his range of motion is fantastic. I only have one problem, and that's with the shoulders. The shoulders connect to the section with the gear designs, which themselves sit on hinges. Because the ball joints on the shoulders are relatively tight, when I move the shoulders a certain way, it pulls the joint a bit, causing it to swing down a bit. This doesn't happen every time, but it's something I noticed and thought worth mentioning here.

The left forearm can actually flip open to accommodate the demolition charge. This is a carry over feature from the animation model, which showed Rattrap using his arm as a storage module. This is only on the left arm, not the right. Rattrap also has a slot on his back (between the section with the beast mode legs and the panel in front of that) where you can put his weapon so he can reach back for it like he did on the TV show. It doesn't sit very securely, but at the same time it won't fall out unless you turn the figure upside down.

Calling out a couple flaws (and all figures have them), there are two design elements that don't work 100% on this figure. First, the beast mode tail is a rubber piece with a wire through it, allowing you to pose it. Here it is meant to be curled up against his back. It works well, but it is still very obvious leading some folks to pose it in...questionable ways in this mode (many wish it had just been covered by a panel or tucked away somewhere). The other minor issue are the heel pieces, which are just shy of being the right length to allow the figure to balance perfectly. I have to play with the legs a bit and fiddle with the knees to get him standing right since he has so much weight on his back. To me these are minor quibbles, but I'd be remiss in not bringing them up.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the rifle and set it aside for now.
  2. Pull the "back pack" with the beast mode legs on it back.
  3. Swing the tail piece out and straighten the tail.
  4. Swing the beast mode head up over the robot head.
  5. On each robot leg, swing the beast mode feet/heel pieces down.
  6. Split the "organic" beast mode part of the lower leg from the front "robotic" part.
  7. On each of the beast mode leg halves of the lower leg, swing out the curved section to form the beast mode leg.
  8. Take each lower leg and swing it up against the thigh.
  9. Connect the tube from the beast mode leg's hinge joint to the semi-circle on the rear end portion of the beast mode.
  10. Swing each robot arm up out to the sides, then swing down the hinge with the "gear" design on it.
  11. Rotate each arm around.
  12. Swing the robot arms down, with the forearms against the legs.
  13. Swing the panels on the side down to cover up some of the robot parts showing on the sides.
  14. There are tiny tabs on the front and back of the side panels. The ones in the front should tuck under the panels near his neck, the ones in the back should tuck under the panel connected to the tail.
  15. The rifle connects to a hole on the underside of the figure towards the back. The rifle winds up seated in between the two robot arms.

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Beast Mode:
The 1996 Rattrap figure was designed to be a really threatening looking rat. He had really sharp teeth showing with bright yellow eyes that looked scary. When the character was animated the designers decided to make him look more appealing in beast mode. This meant giving him more form, rounding out his limbs and also puffing out his cheeks a bit. The huge teeth from the 1996 toy were shrunken down a bit and his eyes are made black instead of yellow. The net result was a pretty cute looking rat and it made the character much more visually endearing.

This figure uses the animation model as its design reference. That means his head has a long snout with rounded cheeks on the sides of the face. His body curves upward a bit in the back and each of the legs have a rounded section on top. Unlike the 1996 feet which had thick feet in beast mode, these feet look more like the ones from the series which have each digit separated with a slight curve in the center. The result is a figure that looks just as cute and appealing as the animated version.

Adding to the appeal of this design are intricately sculpted fur patterns and some nice curves etched into the interior of the ear. The tail has horizontal lines etched into it and the mouth opens to reveal a lower row of teeth and a tongue. Keep in mind, in the first season of "Beast Wars" the Transformers changed into organic animals, so this look is fantastic. You do see some robot parts sticking out from the underside of the beast which, given the complexity of the figure couldn't be avoided at this scale. It doesn't matter to me, but your mileage will vary.

In this mode Rattrap primarily shows off grey plastic. His feet and tail are the light pink "flesh" tone. The nose and eyes are painted black. The upper row of teeth are painted white (but sadly not the lower row). The inside of his ears is painted light pink. On the rear of the beast mode is a brown patch which is based on a design element from the 1996 action figure.

This mode has nine points of articulation. This includes each foot, the tail and the ability for the jaw to open and close. One weakness of the sculpt involves the front beast mode legs. They are meant to rotate back out of the way in robot mode and then rotate into position in this mode. However they are only clipped on, so if the legs push up against some of the grooves on the side panels they can pop off. They snap right back on but it's a tad annoying.

Perhaps the most brilliant design aspect of this figure is the ability for Rattrap to stand in this mode. Swing the tail back, swing the rear feet down and then swing the rat head down. There's even a panel that slides out from underneath the head to cover the neck area. The effect is not perfect since now you can see his robot arms, but throw in the articulation on the front arms and what you have is a figure that can replicate something Rattrap did often in the show, standing up to express himself and converse with his fellow Maximals. I love that the figure can do this.

Final Thoughts:
Rattrap is a fantastic figure. He's not perfect, but you can tell a lot of love went into it. As a huge fan of the "Beast Wars" series I was very happy to add this figure to my collection. Recommended!