Release Date: November 2012
Price Point: $10.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Disc Cases x 2
*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from the Official Toys R Us Web Site:
Pop into some chaotic TRANSFORMERS action with these special RATBAT and DECEPTICON FRENZY figures! These DECEPTICON villains lie in wait in sneaky data disc mode until an unsuspecting AUTOBOT comes by. With the push of a button, these RATBAT and DECEPTICON FRENZY figures come flying out in robot mode! Will the AUTOBOTS be able to handle these lightning-quick DECEPTICONS? Only you can decide!
TRANSFORMERS Generations FALL OF CYBERTRON RATBAT & DECEPTICON FRENZY Set features:
- RATBAT and DECEPTICON FRENZY figures!
- Both figures auto-convert from data disc mode to robot mode!
- Figures pop out in robot mode with the push of a button!
In the days of Generation One, the Decepticons bolstered their forces with several Decepticons who transformed into cassette tapes. They worked with the Decepticon Soundwave, and were famous for being stored in his chest compartment until he needed them deployed. The recent Voyager Class Soundwave figure duplicates that functionality and once again the "cassettes" deploy form his chest compartment. Instead of rectangular cassettes however, this time these little guys all transform into "data discs", and they are being released in two packs in the same configurations as their "Generation One" counterparts.
Hot on the heels of Soundwave's release are Ratbat and Decepticon Frenzy. These two were released as a pair back in the 80's, and now they're together again! This two pack was packaged with two plastic cases, each cast in translucent purple with a large Decepticon symbol painted on in lavender. You can store each character in their "disc" form inside these cases. These cases are a callback to the Generation One figures and their Japanese releases which contained clear cassette cases (which were popular with the real life cassettes back in the day). Each disc fits nice and snug into the cases, which swing open nicely in the front on a hinge.
While not quite in alphabetical order, the packaging lists "Ratbat" then "Decepticon Frenzy" so that's the order I'll review them in.
Unlike the other "G1 Cassette" inspired characters in this series, Ratbat was not among the original 1984 "cassette" Decepticons. He was a later addition who first appeared in the G1 "Transformers: The Movie" animated film, and would later somewhat take over the "spying" role previously filled in by Laserbeak. Unlike his G1 toy counterpart, which was completely original sculpt, Ratbat is a retool and redeco of the Laserbeak sculpt included with Voyager Class Soundwave, so you'll want to check out that review for my thoughts on Laserbeak. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release (and there are quite a few of them).
First, almost all of the armor pieces on Ratbat are different than those found on Laserbeak. The head is a new sculpt, based on Ratbat's animated appearance in the G1 cartoon with a short snout and large, triangular ears. He even has little teeth that you can see inside his mouth. His expression isn't a pleasant one, he looks almost like he's snarling! The wings are also new parts. Ratbat's wings feature a slightly different shape and different details than Laserbeak's. The wings have a more angled slope on the edges, and thei details involve much deeper grooves, some raised circles and tabs. The section that forms the main body is also different, using slightly thinner sections on the sides with more angled details than those found on Laserbeak. Finally, the tail section is a different sculpt as well, complete with clawed feet showing in the back. I'm really happy to see the designers didn't take the easy way out by just providing a new head and leaving the rest of the components alone. If you're going to do a retool, this is the way to do it!
Ratbat is cast in purple and black plastic with some metallic flake in it. This gives the black an almost "gunmetal" appearance. These two colors are similar to the black and purple colors used on G1 Ratbat, so he's instantly recognizable by both sculpt and color. Paint applications are done in black (again, looking almost gunmetal but a bit darker), gold and a dark color that looks almost brown. The black is found on the insides of his ears and on the tail. The gold is distributed all over the figure including the eyes, wings and central body piece. The use of gold in particular is a nice touch since that was the color of the weapons included with the initial run of the Ratbat figure in Generation One. The brown like color is used as the backdrop for the "circuit" pattern on his back. The "circuits" are painted in gold. A small lavender Decepticon symbol is painted right on top of his head, which looks really sharp given how tiny the detail is. Overall I'm very happy with the deco on this figure, it looks great!
There's no real functionality to speak of with this mode, though like Laserbeak he does have sculpted details that resemble blasters on either side of his body (near the base of the neck). You can also pretend he's using those chompers to bite down and drain energy from Autobots! To be fair, G1 Ratbat had just about the same amount of functionality, albeit with more posability.
Push the head back and fold it into the center. Then swing the tail piece up, and push in the wings to form the Disc Mode. When "dropping" from Soundwave's chest, none of the parts transformed if Ratbat impacted on his sides. He only transforms once the disc flops onto its back side, pushing the transformation button. Once the button is hit, the entire figure transforms without any further manipulation.
Thanks to most of the parts on Ratbat being new, his Data Disc form winds up looking very different than Laserbeak. The front section has a very similar form to the other Disc Deployers in this set featuring a large circle, then a smaller indentation in the middle with a raised circle in the center. The black pattern in the background offers a nice contrast to the gold "circuit" pattern on top. The pattern is different than Laserbeak's, which is a welcome sight since it would have been easy to just use the same pattern over and over again. This helps make Ratbat distinctive from his fellow "Soundwave minions". The center has a gold Decepticon symbol on it, set against a black background.
The back and edges of the disc show how nicely thought out a lot of his design elements are. The two gold circles from his wings now come together, forming a continuous pattern. Something similar happens on the back with four small circles. The raised golden tabs on either side look almost like a power up or lock switch of some sort, implying functionality beyond just being a storage device. Overall the design and colors look great for this disc mode. Kudos to the designers for making sure Ratbat received a lot of distinctive parts.
Frenzy (aka "Decepticon Frenzy" nowadays) was the counterpart to Rumble. While he did not appear as much as his "brother" Rumble, he did pop up now and then in the cartoon (and appeared more frequently in the G1 Marvel comic book). This figure is a direct redeco of the Rumble figure, so check out that review for a more detailed look at the figure. This will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Taking its color cues from the G1 television show, this iteration of Frenzy is mostly red and dark grey plastic. These are similar in color to the G1 Rumble figure, however the red used here is a bit darker in tone than the red used on G1 Rumble. The colors break up nicely, with the red making up the head, chest, arms, waist and lower legs while the grey makes up other parts like the sides of his chest and feet. I put him together with G1 Rumble in the photos above to show you the color inspiration for the figure.
Some color variety is thrown in with the use of gunmetal grey on the Y shaped details on his lower legs and the top of his head. His waist section and face are silver and he has a lavender Decepticon symbol in the center of his chest. Although his head is made up of red plastic, his eyes are painted a lighter shade of red, helping them stand out. The sides of his arms and lower legs have the familiar "circuit" pattern done up in silver against a bright red background.
Frenzy's functionality is the same as Rumble's, with each hand designed to hold a 3mm weapon. His arms can move up and down and that's about it. You can bend his legs back at the knees, but they wind up kicking forward due to the springs in the legs.
One interesting note. After reviewing Rumble and now Frenzy, it occurred to me the chest is not the only part of the figure that is designed to be usable as the Autobot cassettes Eject and Rewind. The sides of the head are wide enough that they bear a slight resemblance to G1 Eject and Rewind's heads, so it's possible Eject and Rewind will be straight forward redecos of Rumble and Frenzy with no retooling.
To transform Rumble into disc mode, raise his arms up. Push in his feet. Push his arms together, then swing the legs out to the sides. Swing the center section up, twist around the legs and swing them up against the panels formed from the arms.
How well Frenzy transforms when deployed from Soundwave's chest is largely dependent on how he lands. If he just lands on his side and rolls off, then he pretty much stays in disc form. If you manage to land him on the back of the disc form and get the button on the back pressed, he (mostly) auto-transforms int robot mode. To finish the transform, rotate the arms down and swing the feet out.
From what I've seen so far, Hasbro has done their best to ensure the various disc Transformers don't look exactly alike in this form. With Frenzy, they did a pretty smart thing. Instead of going all out with a brand new pattern on the figure, Frenzy's silver "circuit" pattern is actually a reversed image of Rumble's pattern! It makes it easier for the designers to create another deco for the figure while still differentiating it from his "brother". At the same time, it still links the two characters. Very nicely done!
This is a fun two pack that evokes its G1 roots. I am especially happy with the extensive retooling of the Laserbeak sculpt for Ratbat. Overall if you want to add more of Soundwave's minions to your Decepticon army, you definitely want these guys onboard! I will say again however that these guys really are best appreciated along with Soundwave (or Soundblaster). Recommended.