Release Year: February 2006
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $19.99 (Depending on Retailer)
With the future of the Binaltech in flux (currently being redone as a line with PVC character figures) Hasbro has decided to take Alternators in its own direction. No longer strictly adhering to the Japanese releases, Hasbro has begun creating its own releases (such as Swerve) who do not have Japanese equivalents in the Binaltech line. Ricochet is one of these releases.
One thing the Alternators all have in common is some link to Generation One Transformers characters (although Rollbar admittedly pushes the limit on this). In this case, Ricochet's character begins with a Japanese exclusive G1 Transformer named Stepper. Stepper was very hard to find for a long time - until Takara reissued him in 2004. Hasbro followed suit with the US release of Stepper, renaming him Ricochet. Now he is born again as an Alternator.
Ricochet is a straight redeco of Silverstreak without any sculpt changes. Check out his review (as well as Binaltech Streak's review) to get a more detailed look at this figure.
Ricochet is different than most Alternators in that he does not replicate an existing deco pattern for the Subaru Impreza WRX. Rather, it uses G1 Ricochet's color scheme as its base.
The primary color of this vehicle is black. The headlights and rear lights are the same colors as Silverstreak's, clear on the front and a combination of clear and red on the back. The wheel covers are colored metallic gold. The interior is primarily black, with silver on the dashboard and red outlines on the seats. The central engine section is cast in white plastic, with the varioius tubes attached cast in black. The Autobot symbol in the center is painted red.
The signature details on G1 Ricochet were a series of flame pattern details on his hood and doors. Like his G1 counterpart, Ricochet has a flame pattern on his hood and doors. These are not replicas of the G1 patterns however. Instead, they are very similar patterns such as the flames on the doors sweeping back. Each of these patterns consist of three layers. A yellow outer layer, an orange layer under that and a metallic gold section at the center. The front license plate is painted white with a red Autobot symbol in the middle. The license plate on the back continues the theme of the license plates on Rollbar and Optimus Prime, modeling themselves after license plates from real life states. In this case the license plate is from New Jersey, the very state I live in. Using a yellow background with a light gradiant, the license plate reproduces the look of the real life license plates quite well. Along the top it says "New Jersey", in the middle is the name "Ricochet" and then under that it says "Garden State". I really like this theme, it adds a bit of realism to these robots in disguise.
The final detail is found on the spoiler. The top of the spoiler is painted metallic gold. Overall, the scheme is very consistant with the G1 version of the character. The Subaru WRX is often the base vehicle for customizers in real life, and Ricochet has the appearance of a customized WRX. Since there have already been two incarnations of this vehicle in "real life" colors, having a custom version is very cool indeed.
The only thing I'm a bit confused on is the rear section. The parts don't fit as snug as the equivalent parts on Smokescreen and Silverstreak. This leaves a seam on the back which doesn't look that great. However, when I first took the figure out of package, the parts fit together perfectly fine, so it may be a matter of adjusting it a bit (carefully).
The robot form of G1 Ricochet threw in white into the color mix - and Alternators Ricochet does the same. The head, lower arms and legs are cast in white plastic. The rest is black. The head is the part with the most complex deco out of all the newly revealed parts. The crest and horns are painted black. The face is painted metallic gold - except (curiously enough) for the nose - which has been left white. The robot eyes are orange, matching one of the colors on his flame patterns.
On the upper legs, there is black deco that breaks the potential monotony of the white color. While fairly simple in color scheme, everything comes together very well in this form - and the colors and deco patterns make this figure easily recognizable as another incarnation of the Stepper/Ricochet character.
All of Ricochet's joints are nice and tight, and there does not appear to be any sculpt degradation or unnecessary flash in the plastic parts. After this tooling has been run several times, it is nice to see it held up for this release.
Ricochet is a nice twist on the Alternators line. Instead of the line just being "headliners" from the original series, a (somewhat) obscure character such as Ricochet can be an Alternator as well. Highly recommended.