"Generations" Studio Series Deluxe Autobot Ratchet Toy Review
Release Date: February 2018
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Saw Blade Weapon
Official images and text in italics below from HasbroToyShop.com:
In the climactic Mission City Battle from Movie 1, Autobot Ratchet defends the Allspark with selfless dedication. From the vantage point of a mid-air flip, he slices down a Decepticon, then clears a path to victory as Sam Witwicky races to save the Allspark.
This Studio Series 04 Deluxe Class Movie 1 Autobot Ratchet figure converts between robot and vehicle modes in 18 steps and comes with a weapon accessory. Remove backdrop from pack to showcase the trusted Autobot medic in the Mission City Battle scene.
- Includes Transformers Studio Series 04 Deluxe Class Movie 1 Autobot Ratchet figure, accessory, removable backdrop, and instructions.
- Studio Series 04 Deluxe Class Movie 1 Autobot Ratchet figure
- Premium figure and packaging inspired by the iconic Mission City Battle scene
- Figure scale reflects the character's size in the world of Transformers Movie 1
- Converts between robot and vehicle modes in 18 steps
- Removable backdrop displays Autobot Ratchet figure in Mission City Battle scene
- Figure scale: 4.5 inches
- Ages 8 and up
- Warning: Choking Hazard -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
2017 was a milestone in Transformers history. The live action movie series was now ten years old meaning an entire generation of fans had grown up in an era where they had a live action Transformers theatrical film every other year to watch. In 2018 Hasbro launched the "Studio Series", a "Generations"-esque line of figured focused on the live action movies. The series boasts several figures that are made in rough scale with each other using the CAD files from Paramount Pictures as the basis for the design. Part of the idea was also to fill in gaps in previous lines by making characters who had not appeared in the line previously.
Over the years there have been several interpretations of the live action movie Ratchet in toy form. This figure appears to be a partial tool (or retool if you prefer) of "Dark of the Moon" Deluxe Class Ratchet. This sculpt was more recently used in the 2014 "Movie Advanced" line in Japan. It is worth reading those reviews (at the very least to look at the photos) to familiarize yourself with the sculpt that this figure is seemingly based on.
The Deluxe Studio Series figures are packaged in boxes similar in size to the boxes used for "The Last Knight". The boxes are vertical rectangles with a large window in the front. Instead of the lighter colors of "The Last Knight" boxes, this box takes a more "Generations" style approach, using a black background and a vertical "Transformers" logo to the right. Above that is the "Generations" logo. Reflecting the new, unified approach to the Transformers toy line both Hasbro and Takara Tomy's logos appear on the front of the packaging. Towards the lower part of the box is the logo for the specific film the character comes from. To the left is new package art with blue borders. The packaging also has package art on the side and a large collector number designated to each figure. In Ratchet's case he is number 4. The idea is that you can line up all these figures on a shelf to show off the collection numbers. It's a neat idea and has kept me from tossing out the box so far.
The back of the packaging shows Ratchet in both modes along with the logo for the first "Transformers" film. It also describes his transformation as having eighteen steps. Towards the bottom it shows you how you can take the cardboard insert from the inside of the packaging and use it as a display base and background for the figure. In Ratchet's case, he comes with a background with a battle scene happening towards the end of the movie. Next to that are the cosells for this figure: Stinger, Crowbar and Bumblebee. Below that is all the requisite legal information for the figure.
Ratchet includes one accessory: a saw blade. In one of the key scenes in the live action film Ratchet leaps into action using the blade to saw off a limb from a Decepticon. The figure has 5mm ports on the sides of his forearms to attach this blade. He can also hold it in his hands.
I had to stare at this figure next to the Movie Advanced version for quite a while before typing this because part of me wants to call it an extensive retool, but ultimately I do not think that is what we are dealing with. I believe Ratchet is an example of a new figure that borrows extensive engineering and design elements from a previous figure. So in this case, Studio Series Ratchet moves and looks a lot like the Movie Advanced Ratchet in my photos, but the actual sculping is very different. A few points to consider when comparing the two:
- The head design is similar featuring his head sculpt with a collar aorund it. However the mouth/chin area on the Movie Advanced version is much more narrow than the one on the Studio Series head. The smaller details on the face are also different, with some parts on the Studio Series appearing larger than the equivalent details on the Movie Advaned figure.
- The cag on the chest is the same basic design on both, but the one on Studio Series Ratchet is smaller despite both figures being about the same height and width.
- Two of the vehicle mode wheels wind up on the shoulders, but on the Studio Series the wheels spin around to reveal round lights. This design element comes directly from the CG model used in the films.
- The hip/waist area looks very similar on both figures, but the area in between the legs is angled and smooth on Studio Series Ratchet while the Movie Advaned version has a series of dots.
- Movie Advanced Ratchet features a cage like detail on the inside of each forearm as a separate plastic piece. Studio Series Ratchet has this same design, but it is an integrated design on the forearm, making it one solid piece.
- The fists on Movie Advanced Ratchet are bigger than those on Studio Series Ratchet (again, keep in mind both figures are about the same height and width).
- The way the shoulder pieces are constructed on each figure are different. Most notably, Movie Advanced Ratchet (being sourced from "Dark of the Moon" Ratchet) has a 5mm port on each shoulder to attach a Mech Tech weapon. Studio Series Ratchet does not have this detail.
- The legs on both figures look very similar, sharing a lot of the same details. However those details are sized differently. For instance, there are panels that curve over each foot that are much thicker on the Movie Advanced version than the Studio Series. Interestingly the ankle area reveals two angled panels but the one on the Movie Advanced version has a 5mm port for a weapon while the Studio Series does not.
- The Movie Advaned version of the figure features two knee armor pieces. Studio Series Ratchet does not have these at all.
- The panel on the back is formed by the top of the vehicle mode. On Movie Advanced Ratchet it folds up against the back of the upper body. Here it is just one large piece that folds against the back, effectively eliminating potential waist articulation.
So that is a lot of long winded bullet points to basically say both this figure and the "Movie Advanced" version share a lot of design elements and shapes but Studio Series appears to be a completely new figure with newly designed parts. Compounding the similarities is the transformation, which is almost exactly the same between the two figures. To be honest, until I put the sculpts side by side I thought it was a simple retool with a new head or something. I am glad I was wrong.
Ratchet is cast in neon green, gunmetal grey and black plastic. These are Ratchet's classic colors from the first live action movie (his deco changed slightly later on). There are red tampographs on the shoulders and the sides of the forearms. Blue is used for the eyes. A metallic light blue is used to paint the headlights and the lights on his shoulders. Silver makes up most of the other paint details including the face and mechanical details on the legs. Part of me wants to say there could be more paint details here, but for the most part this follows the deco on the CG model as much as one can expect for a Deluxe Class figure. If this were say, a Leader Class I would probably expect more deco, especially on the arms and head to give him a "weathered" look. Overall he looks good.
There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm and three on each leg. Due to the way the figure transforms and the design of the back panel, Ratchet has no waist articulation. To be fair, Movie Advanced Ratchet's back panel did fold up and it still did not have waist articulation. Unfortunately the hip ball joints on my copy of this figure are a little loose so posing him takes a bit of effort. He's not super floppy, but he's not as stable as I would prefer from a brand new figure. There are 5mm ports on the sides of the forearms and in the hands, allowing you to attach the saw blade accessory or other 5mm peg weapons. I do wish the designers had used the 5mm ports on the shoulders and legs like the Mech Tech figure, but I can understand how that would take away from the movie accuracy in terms of sculpt.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Detach the saw blade if attached. Set it aside for now.
- Turn the head around so it is facing back.
- Spin the wheels on his shoulders around.
- Swing the back piece out, then swing the cage up and swing out the back panel of the vehicle form.
- Push the vehicle bumper up against the section with the cage on it.
- Turn each foot outwards, then point the "toes" down. Then push the feet back on the ankle joints.
- Swing the ankle panels out. There are slots on each panel that attach to the tabs on the robot feet.
- Swing the lower legs up against the back of the thighs.
- Swing the upper body up on the central hinge.
- Swing the panels on the shoulders out, forming the front wheel wells.
- Rotate the upper body around.
- Rotate the vehicle mode cage/lights section in the front.
- Bend each robot arm at the elbow, lining up the red line details on the sides of the forearms with the lines on the doors.
- Swing the arms in, be careful to make sure the headlights on each shoulder section wind up behind the cage in front, then align the panels with the leg panels.
- Swing the top panel of the vehicle mode down, which helps hold everything together.
- Press the front of the top cage in front of the light bar down (there are small tabs that help secure it to the vehicle's cabin section).
- The saw blade can attach to the spare tire on the back.
To further illustrate the differences in design between Movie Advanced/Mech Tech Ratchet and Studio Series Ratchet
Studio Series Ratchet's vehicle form makes you stare and think a bit just like the robot mode. If you put it side by side with the Movie Advanced/Mech Tech version, the previous sculpt is slightly taller and slightly longer (we're talking millimeters here). However a lot of the details are the same since this is a licensed Hummer and it had to pass licensing approval. The vehicle has the right shape, with a front end that look like the front of a pickup truck and a boxy rear section. On the front and the top are cages and there is a light bar set on top of the cabin section. There are also wonderful small details including shovels sculpted into the top edge of the vehicle's rear section, door handles and windows in the back and even a winch in the front. From a sculpting perspective the designers did a great job.
The gunmetal grey plastic is pretty much hidden in this mode except for the front end. Most of the vehicle is neon green with black parts used on sections like the cages and wheels. The windshield and doors are translucent blue plastic.
The most dramatic details on this figure is the long line running along the sides which look like a medical readout. On the doors there is also a circle with an Autobot symbol on it. Towards the back are the words "Fire Department" and "Search and Rescue". The doors are painted neon green. The light bar on top of the cabin section is painted red. The headlights in the front have some orange on them while the other lights are painted light, metallic blue. The rear windows are painted metallic dark blue, roughly matching the tone of the translucent blue on the windshield. Overall this deco looks good, but I think they really should have painted the rims on the wheels. Not only would this help bring out the sculpted details on them but leaving the wheels unpainted frankly makes the figure look unfinished. I understand there are cost implications here, but that does not change the way it affects the aesthetics.
As mentioned above the saw blade attaches to the spare tire on the top of the vehicle.
The good news is that Studio Series Ratchet is actually a new figure and not just a redeco. However it does not bring anything new to the table for the character. The Mech Tech/Movie Advanced sculpt is so similar to this one with more play value part of me thinks it might have been better to save the money in new tooling, release that figure again with a premium deco. If you have the previous Ratchet Deluxe Ratchet figures you really won't need this one. If not this gives you another chance at having a good Deluxe Ratchet figure.
- A new sculpt (despite similarities to the previous Deluxe Ratchet figures).
- Good detailing in both modes.
- Good (not fantastic) deco.
- The hip joints on my copy of the figure are loose.
- Deco could have used more details such as the emergency stripes on the doors and the rims on the wheels.
- I would have preferred Ratchet's blaster weapon instead of the saw blade.