Dark of the Moon Specialist Ratchet Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Deluxe, Revenge of the Fallen, MechTech

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: August 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand Blaster/Double Barreled Cannon weapon


*Images and text below in italics from The Official Transformers web site:
Few TRANSFORMERS can match the repair knowledge and skill of AUTOBOT RATCHET. This resourceful AUTOBOT has developed cutting-edge TRANSFORMER rescue and repair strategies to quickly heal even the most devastatingly wounded comrade. Spring into action with this vehicle-to-robot hero! Convert your mighty SPECIALIST RATCHET figure from HUMMER H2 concept vehicle mode to battle-ready robot mode. Then convert him back to vehicle mode so he can chase down his enemies and attack them with his double-barreled cannon! As the battle rages on, keep converting him back and forth, so he's ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him! Ages 5 and up.

While the Cyberverse makes up a smaller scale of figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, the size class most fans are used to returns with "Mech Tech" technology. The generaly concept behind "Mech Tech" are weapons that transform from one type of weapon to another. These have standard peg sizes that allow the weapons to be swapped between figures. One of the first figures in the deluxe class of Mech Tech Transformers is Autobot Ratchet. Previous attempts at a Ratchet figure focused on the Voyager Scale, not becoming a deluxe until later in the tail end "Revenge of the Fallen" toy line.

Specialist Ratchet is a redeco of the Deluxe Scale Ratchet figure mode just for "Dark of the Moon", not the deluxe version released for "Revenge of the Fallen". This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out Ratchet's toy review for more details on the sculpt this figure is based on.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. Part of the fun of Mech Tech weapons is the ability to interchange them between characters. This has also been done for this redeco, which is a nice touch since you technically aren't buying exactly the same toy in different colors. Instead, this time out Ratchet has been given the weapon that was originally included with Nitro Bumblebee. This weapon looks a lot like a high power engine with a single weapon barrel at the end. Pull the targeting scope back and the front end extends out to form two barrels. It's a really nice weapon and really makes you wish some of these smaller Mech Tech weapons would lock in their alternate modes.

Most of the weapon is cast in silver plastic, but some smaller parts such as the gears that facilitate the transformation and the single weapon barrel are cast in red, matching the red plastic found on Ratchet himself. The colors work perfectly with the figure and the weapon's functionality is smooth.

Vehicle Mode:
You may look at Specialist Ratchet and think "He's mostly red with some white, he must be a G1 Ratchet homage, much like Rescue Ratchet. However, the true source of this color scheme is actually from the prototype CGI model of Ratchet that was created long before the release of the 2007 live action Transformers movie. Photos of this rendering have been around the web for years, and many fans have felt that Ratchet's "prototype" red and white colors were much more appropriate to the character. You can see this rendering on Ratchet's Wiki entry.

Like the prototype movie model, the vehicle mode is mostly red. The red is not a flat color however. Instead, this red has metallic flake in it, giving it a shiny appearance that sparkles under light. Other parts are cast in silver, translucent plastic and black. The silver parts primarily make up the cage sections such as the sections covering the front end and top of the vehicle. The wheels are black and his windshield and windows are translucent. Paint applications attempt to replicate the color pattern seen on the prototype CGI model. On the sides, there is a white line that runs across the sides and then angles up and then back. The word "Rescue" is created by leaving parts of the door unpainted. In the middle of the vehicle, and running up to the top is a metallic silver paint that I have to say is really super shiny. I mean, I've seen a lot of silver paint in my time, but this time out it looks like the designers wanted to kick things up a notch and they succeeded! This same silver is used for the rear bumper and light covers at the back of the vehicle.

On the front section of the vehicle, there is some black, glossy paint used for details on the hood and front area. At the top of the cabin section is a siren lightbar painted metallic gold. Once again, this gold sparkles really nicely and is also inspired by a detail from the prototype CGI model. A spot of white is also used on the sides right where the silver paint is applied to paint Autobot symbols.

Overall, this is one pretty, super shiny paint scheme. I really like the way it manages to emulate a lot of the patterns from the prototype Ratchet and the colors chosen are brilliant. Beautiful work!

The weapon included with Ratchet still connects to the "spare tire" on the top of the vehicle. It holds securely enough that you can transform the weapon while it is attached to Ratchet and of course you can rotate the weapon around.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if attached.
  2. Pull each door section out to the sides, which will take the sides of the front section with it.
  3. Straighten out the robot arms.
  4. Swing the door panels to the sides of the arms.
  5. Swing the front wheel panels over the shoulders.
  6. Rotate the front end of the vehicle around.
  7. Swing the front section of the vehicle down to form the upper body.
  8. On the front section of the chest with the headlights, pull down the lower section to cover up the gap in the middle of the body.
  9. Swing out the side panels.
  10. Swing the back panel up.
  11. Straighten out each of the robot legs.
  12. Rotate each foot around so the feet point forward.
  13. Swing up the rear panel from the vehicle mode against the back.
  14. The weapon can be attached in the fists, the shoulder holes or the holes on either side of the legs.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Ratchet's primary color remains a metallic red. Some new silver and black parts show up, mostly on the arms where the inner forearms are black and some of his joints are silver. Again, taking inspiration from the protoype Ratchet, this version uses silver and white paint to provide most of the detail on the figure. The lower legs, hip area, face and arms all have white coloring on them, some carried over from the vehicle mode (such as the shoulder armor's white stripes) and others introduced in this form (such as the white markings on his face).

If I had to offer one criticism, it would be that the red dominates a bit too much in this mode. I would have liked to see a bit more white and silver decos, even one or two would have been great. Still, the colors still draw the eye and look great.

All of Ratchet's joints are nice and tight, and he can hold Mech Tech weapons just fine. The only minor problem I had was the lower back panel (that forms the rear of the vehicle) popping off now and then during transformation, but it snaps back on easily without a hitch.

Final Thoughts:
I think fans may be near "redeco fatigue" at this point thanks to the tons of redecos of various characters coming out at every major toy chain. However, this is one of those figures that I would make an exception for. It's already a great figure, but it also has a deco scheme with interesting origins. If you're not 100% sick of redecos, then this figure is highly recommended!