Transformers Animated Activators Autobot Ratchet Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Transformers Animated

Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: August 2008
Price Point: $7.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None


*Image from

Text from
AUTOBOT RATCHET has been around long enough to know that a wise robot always plans for the worst, and hopes for the best. No situation is so bad that he can't make it seem a little more gloomy. It's evidence of his extreme bravery that even when he sees nothing but doom ahead, he keeps on working and fighting for victory.

Spring into action with this quick-conversion, vehicle-to-robot hero! With the press of a button, this AUTOBOT warrior changes from rescue vehicle mode to robot mode!

Activators are a new sub-line of Transformers aimed at providing simpler transformations with a fully functional and posable Transformers figure. Activator transformations are primarily accomplished through the pressing of a switch or tab and manipulation of a few extra parts. Such transformations are much akin to the early "spring loaded transformations" used in many Beast Wars Transformers figures.

Ratchet is the veteran of many battles who helps keep the Autobots operational and acts as advisor to Optimus Prime. He was introduced into Activators as part of the second wave of figures.

Robot Mode:
Right out of the packaging Ratchet impressed me with how he comes so incredibly close to the animation model in this form and how he measures up visually to his larger deluxe counterpart. Virtually all his details are here with very minor ones that deviate from the animation model. Where he matches the animation model are the larger scale details. His head design features the broken crest and the wide mouth design from the show. On his back and arms are panels carried over from the vehicle mode and the front of the vehicle becomes most of the upper body. His arms and legs are curved at many points, with angles mostly reserved for parts such as his feet. I'm also impressed by how relatively non-bulky the figure is considering his alternate mode is an ambulance. I really appreciate the type of engineering that must have gone into this figure design to collapse like this so efficiently.

Where the sculpt differs from the animation model are some finer (and quite frankly, rather minute) details. While the front end of the vehicle winch and fender magically collapse in and disappear in the animated model, they are quite visible here. This is mitigated in the deluxe figure by collapsing the front end of the vehicle in a bit, but here it angles downward. This is hardly a big deal since it still looks great. Another minor detail that differs from the animation model is his left arm, which lacks the unique "hole" he had his EMP generator in (a feature that is available on the deluxe figure). While these details are small, I thought they were worth mentioning in this review.

Ratchet is primary cast in light grey and red plastic, his two primary colors from the TV show. Light blue paint is used for the eyes and his windshield and side windows. Yellow is used on the headlights with black outlines. His head is painted with a combination of red and light blue (even lighter than the windshield). These colors all look great in their simplicity. I was particularly happy to see that they did not go the lazy route and use the same light blue everywhere. I also love the amount of paint detail on the face, where the sides, crest and the area around and under his eyes is red with the mouth area being blue. It really shows a painstaking attention to detail. Ratchet of course sports an Autobot symbol, specifically a nice big silver one on his chest.

Due to the way the mold chart worked out, and the limitations on paint applications on a figure of this price point, some of the colors are a bit off from the animation model. There are many parts on the animation model (and on the deluxe figure) where grey alternates with the red such as on the legs, feet, the panels on his arms and his hands. These parts are mostly just left the red color they were cast in, but to be frank had I not looked at the animation model back and forth while writing this review, I probably would not have noticed so easily. Extra grey paint apps or not, this figure looks great in robot mode!

Ratchet has fifteen points of articulation in this form, including the various bits that shift as part of his transformation such as his feet. Most of his joints on the arms and hips are ball joints. His knee joint is a double joint, allowing his knees to bend and the lower legs to turn inward and outward. I'm again very pleased with not only the number of articulation points on an Activator, but also the type of joints used.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Fold both halves of each foot together.
  2. Straighten out the arms and connect them to the tabs on the grey panels each arm rests on.
  3. Swivel the panels on his upper arms around so they are in front of the shoulders.
  4. Holding on to the end of the panel on his back, pull it back and all the parts will collapse inward.
  5. Snap the panel against the panels connected to the arms and push up the legs together to form the center of the vehicles rear.

Vehicle Mode:
Ratchet's vehicle mode looks fantastic. It's sleek, compact yet gives you the sense of bulk that an ambulance should. Add to that the knowledge that there are so many robot bits tucked into this form and I am truly impressed by how there isn't more kibble sticking out anywhere. Indeed, the only real "kibble" are hinges on the sides that are part of the transformation mechanism. In terms of a sculpt, all the requisite details are here. The front end has a winch sculpted in, small lights underneath the fender and headlights over it. There are sideview mirrors and even the siren is sculpted above the driver compartment (albeit without paint apps). Look on the back and you'll find sculpted lines indicating rear ambulance doors with windows.

Color wise there are few surprises here. The top has a lighter red design towards the back, but the siren is not painted. It's a shame the siren isn't painted because it's easily dismissed visually and some may think they forgot it altogether. I do suspect if it may have been designed this way to allow the sirens to "blend in" if this is given a redeco as Ironhide. Along the side of the vehicle is the "life signs" detail he has in the TV show (which was inspired by the live action movie's Ratchet). The edges from the front end to the sides behind the front wheels are painted red, the same red that the hood piece is painted.

The rear panel on the top of the vehicle is what you press down on to begin the transformation into robot mode. Ratchet rolls on all four of his wheels quite smoothly and looks great!

Final Thoughts:
A wonderful sculpt, neat transformation and good deco equal a fantastic figure. Given the limitations of the Activators line, it's understandable that all sorts of extra grey deco was not added to the figure and I am very happy with this figure. Highly recommended!