Transformers Animated Cybertron Mode Autobot Ratchet Toy Review

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Toys R Us Exclusive, Transformers Animated

Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: February 2010
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: Toys R Us exclusive
Accessories: Shock paddles x 2


Ratchet"Transformers Animated" ended last year, but there were several original sculpts in the line that did not see a mass release before the show's demise. Among them is Cybertron Mode Ratchet, a figure based on the character's appearance in several "flashback" episodes including "The Thrill of the Hunt". This is a completely new sculpt a not a retool or redeco of the previous Ratchet figure. While it was originally intended to be a mass release, this figure wound up being a 2010 Toys R Us exclusive.

I suspect due to his rather unconventional looking vehicle mode and its size, a choice was made to package Ratchet in robot mode. I think this was a smart choice since he's much more recognizable in robot mode than vehicle mode in this particular incarnation.

Robot Mode:
Since this version of Ratchet is meant to represent his younger self. While he still retains elements that are reminscent of his more well known "Earth Mode", we get to see him when he was more sleek and in better condition than he is later on Earth. Overall there are a lot of design parallels between the two versions of the character. He has a panel on his back that sticks up a bit, resembling a similar panel from the back on his Earth form. His chest has the front of his vehicle mode, including headlights in the middle of the chest. Each of his arms have panels on them that form part of the side of the vehicle, analagous to the panels on the sides of Ratchet's arms in his Earth mode which also form part of the side of his ambulance mode. Even his forearms are reminscent of his Earth mode with big meaty looking fists and thick forearms. The strongest visual link between the two versions of the character is of course the head sculpt. However, unlike the Earth mode version with its broken crest and grizzled expression, this version of Ratchet has both of his "horns" and he's even got a slight smile going on (though it's hard to see due in part to the paint job).

While tons of details call back to his Earth form, everything looks sleeker and less blocky. The panels on the arms are smaller than those on his Earth mode and the V shaped plastic piece at the top of his chest adds a bit of sleek looking design. His legs have tread like details sculpted into the lower elgs and the middle of the body has curved parts tucked in that look like wheels for his vehicle mode.

While "Animated" figures aren't generally as choc full of detailing as their counterparts from other lines such as "Revenge of the Fallen", ratchet does have some nice detailing here and there. The aforementioned V shaped piece on his chest has several lines etched in at angled patterns. His fists have each finger individually sculpted, including a somewhat extra long thumb that almost comes down to his pinky finger. His legs have the aforementioned tread details along with circular wheel details on the sides. His head sculpt carries over all the crucial details of his previous incarnation including his crest and horns, the parts that flare out on the sides of his face and his rather narrow eyes and large face.

Ratchet carries over his colors from his first toy incarnation as well. His primarily sculpted in light grey, dark red and translucent blue plastic. The grey and red are pretty evenly spreadout on his body, alternating here and there. For instance, his upper arms and fists are grey while his elbow joints and forearms are red. The translucent blue comes into play on his chest, where the aforementioned V shaped panel rests. This blue adds a nice touch to the figure and definitely enhances it on a visual level. Paint applications are done up in several colors including black, red, light blue, silver and yellow. The black is the most prominant, showing up on his chest, arms, back and legs, filling in details here and there including his aforementioned treads. Red is mostly found on his head, where it paints parts of the grey plastic to give him additional detail. His face is light blue and yellow is used for the headlights on his chest. Silver is found on an Autobot symbol at the center of his chest. Overall, it's a very clean looking paintjob which befits a figure that represents this character when he was in his prime.

Ratchet has twenty two points of articulation in robot mode. This includes five points of articulation on each arm and two for the head (it can tilt up and down as well as looking side to side). There are a few play features built into this mode. First, his right arm has a lever in the back that you push to initiate a "punching" action, as if his forearm were a piledriver. This also relates to his accessories, two paddles that are used for "shocks". I can imagine him using the arm extension to reach out and stun an enemy. The paddles themselves are two separate accessories cast in black. They clip on to his fists and hold really tightly.

His left arm has a space to fit in the EMP generator from the Lockdown figure released early in the Animated line. It doesn't fit very well unfortunately. The problem is that the slot the weapon is supposed to go into is too small, and it's by a very, very slim margin. The weapon will fit into the slot and the peg inside Ratchet's arm even activates the weapons cannons flipping out feature, but if you let go the weapon just pops out. I was disappointed by this since my first run Ratchet also has a problem with the EMP weapon not fitting in properly (though I know this was remediated in later releases). I guess if you were skilled enough you could shave some plastic off the sides on the inside of the slot, but I'm not a fan of cutting up my toys. This is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the robot mode. Everything else is pretty darn cool in my book.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the paddles if they are clipped onto the fists.
  2. Rotate the panels on his arms so they point downward.
  3. Straighten the robot arms down the sides.
  4. Swing the robot arms back.
  5. Swing the robot head back.
  6. Lift the back panel up over the robot head.
  7. Swing each arm under the back panel and then tuck in the arms so the forearms are pointing downward.
  8. Attach the side panels from the arms to the pegs on the back panel.
  9. Tuck the forearms under the back panel.
  10. Swing up the chest plate with the headlights on them.
  11. Pull the curved pieces that were covered by the chest plate out to the sides.
  12. Swing the feet up into the back of the lower legs.
  13. Swing the lower leg section back, then move the legs out to the sides.
  14. Rotate the upper legs on the waist ball joints, then swing the lower legs in.
  15. Attach the lower leg sections to the pegs on the side of the vehicle.
  16. Attach the shock paddles to the two grey, angled clips on the top of the vehicle so they form the back.

Vehicle Mode:
I remember as a kid, even at the young age of 9 watching "More than meets the eye" in 1984 and thinking "Wait, how come when Jazz transforms he's this thing, but in robot mode he has all these Earth mode bits?". Of course, at that time you let a lot of things go and you didn't have fans online screaming about continuity errors at the drop of a hat. Still, I think that moment created a certain desire to see "Cybertronian" modes for characters, and while I know this is not the norm since most of the time Transformers take on familiar Earth based forms, it's a bit of a treat when we do get a vehicle mode that is purely based on how a character looked long before he reached Earth, and Ratchet definitely fits the bill.

While this vehicle form is analagous to an Earth van, it has a very distinctive and alien look to it. The front and top part look like a futuristic Earth vehicle, with lots of angles but sections such as the translucent blue plastic that are analagous to an Earth vehicle's windshield. The headlights in the front also give a very "Earth vehicle" feel, as do the set of lights sculpted on the top of the vehicle. However, when you look at the various angles and then his four treaded extensions sticking out on the sides, the vehicle almost looks like it has an animal-like influence. While each of his four treads are clearly his wheel sections, they also look almost like the legs of some mechanical interpretation of a turtle. It's a fascinating design, and while it may not be a sleek sports car or some futuristic jet, it definitely draws my eye and feel like something that you would see on Cybertron.

The same plastic colors from the robot mode carry over here, but we get much more dark coloring and we get to see the entire translucent blue "windshield" piece, adding a splash of color to the grey section. This time around, the top of the vehicle is mostly grey and the red parts are focused on the bottom of the vehicle, including the treads. Paint decos are pretty much the same colors as the robot mode, with more black and yellow showing thanks to the details on the top of the vehicle being painted in. On the sides the arm panels from the robot mode have black painted on the insides with a familiar looking red symbol inside that has his trademark "life sign" pattern worked in, offering nice visual continuity between this form and his Earth form.

There are four small wheels built into each of the tread sections, allowing the vehicle to roll along a flat surface. I was happy to see the shock paddles became part of the vehicle. When I first saw the figure in package, I kind of wondered where they would go.

Final Thoughts:
Cybertron Mode Ratchet is a cool figure in my book. He represents the character well in both appearance and abilities. I'm a huge fan of his Cybertronian vehicle form and his release alongside Arcee makes perfect sense since both were featured in several episodes as characters with a link in the past. To be honest, I'm on the cusp of saying this figure is highly recommended but there is the issue with Lockdown's EMP weapon not fitting in properly in his left arm. It really saddens me that such a small thing is big enough to keep the figure from being highly recommended. If you're into Cybertronian forms or want an alternate version of Ratchet, this is the figure for you, but keep in mind it's not perfect.