"Transformers Universe 2.0" Autobot Ratchet Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: April 2009
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: "Medical dispenser" weapon

*Images and text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Back on CYBERTRON, AUTOBOT RATCHET was the best mechanic and machinist around. The only thing that kept him from true greatness was his constant partying. Years of war and a series of tragic encounters with MEGATRON have tempered his good nature, leaving him with a melancholy edge and a sour bedside manner. He’s still the finest medic the AUTOBOTS® have at their disposal, but these days he’s more distracted by his bad memories than his late nights.

It’s a fight for the universe and the outcome rests with you! Change your exciting AUTOBOT RATCHET figure from race-to-the-rescue ambulance mode to thrilling robot mode with a medical dispenser that converts to a combat blade for high-octane, high-energy action!

Back in the days of Generation One, the term "show accurate" hadn't even entered the lexicon of Transformers fans. Almost every Transformers figure significantly deviated in appearance from his on-screen counterpart somehow. Bumblebee had a face mask instead of nose and mouth, Megatron had a trigger on his...crotch. Anyhow, one of the most signifcant differences were Ironhide and Ratchet. Both figures were based on the same basic sculpt with some minor modifications (namely, the siren) and colors. The thing is, neither looked much like their animated counterparts. It would be until years later in 2005 when the Botcon 2005 exclusives included Ironhide and Ratchet based on the Energon Tow-Line figure with modified heads. However, it would be only now in 2009 that a whole new sculpt was developed for new versions of Ironhide and Ratchet.

Earlier this year I already reviewed the first release of this figure, Ironhide. Autobot Ratchet is a modification of this sculpt with new colors, so check out that figure review for a more detailed look at that sculpt. This review will focus on the modifciations made to the sculpt for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
Ratchet has taken on a more rugged form, that of an SUV emergency vehicle. Like his G1 counterpart, he takes the base Ironhide sculpt and adds a piece on - in that case, a lightbar. This time, the designers took a piece from another figure, Universe Prowl and attached it to the top of the vehicle. It's a simple swap but very effective in changing the nature of the vehicle. It doesn't look tacked on but rather it looks like it was meant to be part of the vehicle.

The color swaps are minimal on this figure. The red plastic on Ironhide has been replaced with white and the grey parts (such as the rear bumper) have been cast in red. The parts that are translucent blue and black on Ironhide remain the same here. The lightbar is cast in the same translucent plastic as the windows.

Paint-wise, Ratchet has red, yellow, black, white, light blue and silver paint applications. Red makes up most of the details including a line design on the side that looks like a lifeline on a heart rate monitor, which is a bit of a homage to a similar detail on movie Ratchet. Silver is used on the front grille. I was a bit surprised they'd use silver on just one part like this, so it is nice to see such a detail given proper attention. The light blue color used on the sides of the vehicle is actually lighter than the blue on Ironhide. Blue and red details are painted onto the top of the lightbar which look cool and give hints of what it would look like activated. The license plate is painted yellow with black letters. The license plate number "H3L PU2" is printed on, but I'm not sure what the significance of the plate number is. If I find out, I'll update this review accordingly.

*Note: Fellow fan Victor Durango writes (regarding the license plate): "Great review Ben. Just one thing.
The license plate is a reference to issue 70 of the the Marvel comic. On the cover Ratchet/Megatron is holding a sign the says "HELP US" which could be written in Leet (a written form by hacker) as H3L PU2 or H3LP U2. In Leet numbers can be used as backwards forms or the actual letter, therefore making 3 and 2 an E and S, respectively."

I really do like this deco. It represents exactly what Universe 2.0 is, modern day takes on classic Transformers characters. I could easily see a modern day medical SUV looking like this but at the same time the white color with the red lines evokes G1 Ratchet very well.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the vehicle over and detach the weapon stored underneath.
  2. Swing down each side section.
  3. Split the side sections off from the middle section with the air intake piece.
  4. Swing the canopy section up and fold the front end with the guard down.
  5. Swing the sections with the blue windows out to the sides.
  6. Swing out each robot hand.
  7. Rotate the rear wheels around.
  8. Swing up the panels with the headlights on them.
  9. Straighten out the robot legs and swing down the robot feet.
  10. Swing the headlight panels down on the hinge and then push them against the lower legs.
  11. Swing the upper body down on the central hinge.
  12. Swing the rear bumper down, which will push up a panel of tech details into the vehicle's rear window.
  13. Swing down the robot chest onto the central hinge.
  14. Straighten out the arms to the sides and rotate the shoulder pieces around.

Robot Mode:
The color swaps from the vehicle mode continue into the robot mode, with all the grey parts from Ironhide cast in red. What surprised me is that the black plastic parts on Ironhide are also black on Ratchet. The red and white scheme is very much G1 Ratchet, but the black is rather jarring. I'm sort of torn here. I would say it looks good, but doesn't quite suit the character. Part of me likes how it looks since the black contrasts so well against the white and red (and red and black is one of my favorite color combinations). On the other hand, the black doesn't quite feel right for a color on a "medical" oriented character.

The weapon included with Ironhide is cast in red here. The machine gun end is also red whereas the blade is translucent blue. I really love the way the official description calls this a "medical dispenser". I can imagine maybe the various small barrels "dispensing" various sealants or something, and the blade being a surgical instrument, but it's a stretch that amuses the heck out of me.

The panel inside Ratchet's chest has been painted black, matching up with the black on the rest of his body. Like Ironhide, he has a tampographed Autobot symbol in the center of that panel.

The biggest difference aside from color in this mode is the robot head. A quick glance may seem like all they did was slap on a crest onto Ironhide's head and called it a day, but Ratchet's head is actually an entirely new sculpt. The "helmet" portion is rather smooth and the crest doesn't raise quite as high. The crest piece is wide and thick with points on the ends that looks a lot like his G1 cartoon model. The face is sculpted with lines running down the sides, but not raised areas on the sides like Ironhide's. The helmet portion is white, and the crest is painted red. His face is painted silver while the eys are translucent blue. I really like this head sculpt and consider it the best part of the figure.

All of Ratchet's joints are tight, and the weapon pod fits over his hand just fine.

Final Thoughts:
Autobot Ratchet is a great update on a classic character. I have reservations about the color scheme in robot mode, so it's not perfect but still a worthwhile addition to your "Classics/Universe" collection. Recommended.

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