Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Autobot Ratchet with Lunar Crawler Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Playset, Revenge of the Fallen, Cyberverse

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: November 2011
Price Point: $14.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Lunar Rover/Vehicle/Base, Lunar Rover/Blaster, Satellite dish, Repair Claw
Image Gallery: Photos of Ratchet with the Lunar Crawler Vehicle/Base

*Images with asterisks above and text in italics below from The Official Transformers web site
Harsh lunar conditions make TRANSFORMER repair close to impossible. Thankfully, AUTOBOT RATCHET is in command of a cutting-edge converting Lunar Crawler. With its multi-axis repair claw and high-output emergency satellite, this rescue vehicle can tackle even the most difficult repairs.

Race into battle with this 3-in-1 converting action set! Your mighty AUTOBOT RATCHET figure changes from robot mode to HUMMER H2 mode and back again. His Lunar Crawler figure shifts from lunar crawler mode to repair station mode to lunar combat vehicle mode and back again so he’s ready for anything. As the battle rages on, keep converting AUTOBOT RATCHET and his Lunar Crawler back and forth — and face whatever his enemies throw at him! Ages 5 and up.

At a key point in "Dark of the Moon", Ratchet and Optimus Prime travel to Earth's Moon to discover a long held secret: the Autobot vessel known as The Ark! There they find Sentinel Prime, triggering events that would change Earth forever! During this expedition, the two used a small Lunar Rover to help them in their search. This rover and an imaginary counterpart serve as the basis for this set featuring Ratchet and a Lunar Rover.

Lunar Crawler

Lunar Crawler Mode:
Ratchet's Lunar Crawler is a large scale vehicle that is made up of three primary sections. From the bottom up, the vehicle starts with four sets of treads at the bottom. The pair of treads on the back have two large wheels on each. The treads in the front have one large wheel and one small wheel. Unlike the treads you've seen on tanks that are even on the top and bottom, these have curves on each of the treads making them look like they're in mid-movement. The section that connects the treads to the middle section is really nicely sculpted with a series of interconnected tubes and pistons that you can imagine supporting the treads.

The middle section is a large platform with small panels out to the sides. The platform is largely flat, but has a series of rectangular shapes sculpted into it reminscent of solar panels. On the back is a panel with details on it including antennae at the end. The top part of the vehicle has a robot arm, with its base set at the front of the vehicle. The other end has a claw hand on it with an optical unit on top. Many of these details were borrowed from various Mars Exploration Rovers giving the vehicle a semi-authentic feel.

The Lunar Crawler is cast in white, brown and silver plastic. Most of the top section is white, including the robot arm and the flat platform sections. The treads are brown while the sections that attach the treads to the platform are silver. Paint colors include blue, gold, silver and black. The blue and gold are the most obvious. The top of the platform and the side panels are mostly painted blue. The raised section in the back with the antennae is painted gold on one side with a black Autobot symbol on top. A bit of blue is used for the lense of the optical unit on top of the robot arm while the claws of the arms are silver. It's a very clean color scheme that takes its inspiration from some real life space exploration vehicles and looks very nice. The only improvement I can think of would have been to add some "wear and tear" details as if it were roaming around the surface of the Moon and getting dirty.

In terms of functionality the treads are non-functional but they do have tiny silver wheels attached to them. I did note however that these wheels are not particularly loose so they don't roll very well. Count on a bit of scratching if you're going to roll this guy around a rough surface. The robot arm has five points of articulation. It's action feature focuses on the claw and optic unit. Slide it back and the claw pincers come together, push it out and they open up. It is interesting to note that the entire arm can be detached and has a standard 5mm peg at the end, allowing other figures with the appropriate holes to use the arm as an accessory. One word of caution, the side panels tend to pop off rather easily if too much pressure is applied, so be careful If they do pop off, they snap back on easily. If you're attaching weapons, I highly recommend supporting the bottom of the piece as you do so.

For an exploration vehicle, the Lunar Crawler has a lot of potential for defense or destructive poewr. On either side of the vehicle are six potential connection points for weapons with smaller pegs such as those included with the Cyberverse Commander figures. On each side four of these holes are on the sides of the treads while two are on the side panels on the middle section of the vehicle. Note however that the holes on the treads are rather close to each other, so you're going to wind up having to set weapons at angles to get them to all fit without overlapping. Not enough weapons potential? Well the robot arm itself also has two more Cyberverse peg connection points on either side of the optical unit and at its base you can attach the satellite dish accessory. If you really want to go hog wild, there are also two 5mm connection points on the treads (one on each side) allowing you to attach Mech Tech weapons to really give the Lunar Crawler that extra bang for your buck. I'm a huge fan of this functionality and the idea of a playset/vehicle being able to acocmodate so much weaponry so I love how this seemingly simple vehicle has so much potential for customization.

Transformation to Repair Station Mode (from base mode):

  1. Swing the side panels on the middle section up.
  2. Rotate the rear treads back.
  3. Swing the front treads forward.
  4. Swing the section with the antennae down.
  5. Lift the blue platform piece in the center and swing it forward to create a ramp.
  6. Swing the tread sections up.
  7. Rotate the robot arm around.

Repair Station Mode:
I love ramps. No, I'm not talking about the vegetable (though I love those too). I mean I love ramps on Transformers playsets/vehicles, or rather I love what they represent. When I first saw "Transformers: The Movie" in 1986 it had never occurred to me that Transformers would inhabit a transforming city, but finally seeing the Autobots running around Autobot City as it transformed absolutely blew my mind. Years later when Micromaster bases were released they quickly became some of my favorite Transformers toys to date with their interconnecting ramps allowing you to create a virtual city of Transformers (a concept Cyberverse comes close to replicating). Given that, I really dig this repair station mode even though other than the arm, there isn't a whole lot here that appears to "do" repairs. I trust this primarily serves as a platform for warriors to rest as Ratchet works on them personally, though part of me kind of digs the idea that perhaps the repair station channels its accumulated solar energy into its patients to help them recharge during surgery (hey, a little imagination goes a long way).

The repair station is primarily a plastform and ramp with the robot arm above it. The platform/ramp section has a pattern of raised, thin rectangles that look like they're meant to offer traction to any vehicle sitting on them. The rest of the details were all seen in the previous mode including the treads (now facing up) and the robot arm itself. Thanks to their flattened out, horizontal position all the aforementioned holes for weapons can be utilized quite effectively in this form, offering defense for anyone being repaired.

With so many parts from the Lunar Crawler mode being seen here, there aren't many "new" parts revealed. The only real "new" details are the central platform/ramp section, which is painted silver, making this form look quite different than the crawler in color. I like the use of the silver as it helps differentiate this mode visually from the Lunar Crawler mode.

Transformation to Lunar Combat Mode (from Lunar Crawler Mode):

  1. Detach the robot arm from the vehicle and set it aside for now.
  2. Flip the vehicle over.
  3. Place Ratchet in vehicle mode in the middle of the vehicle's underside (now the top).
  4. Swing the silver sections attached to the treads and the front panel with the antennae on it to surround Ratchet.
  5. Rotate the treads around so the vehicle can rest on them. The side panels should now have the blue sections facing up.
  6. Attach the robot arm to the 5mm hole on top of Ratchet.
  7. The satellite dish and small Lunar Rover can be attached to the side panels.

Lunar Combat Mode:
The Lunar Combat mode is really interesting since it takes the Lunar Crawler and turns it into a sort of mobile armor for Ratchet himself. It's sort of a backwards Exo-Suit, where instead of a robotic suit it's a vehicular one making it most interesting. I really like the idea of Ratchet being able to "armor up" before going into battle on the Moon. This mode also has the added benefit of still having all the weapon connection points seen in the other modes, giving Ratchet extra weaponry as well as armor.

Visually there's nothing new here to see, but the conmbination of Ratchet and the Lunar Crawler looks really nice and the way their colors coordinate work out great!

Autobot Ratchet Review

Robot Mode:
This release of Ratchet utilizes the first "Dark of the Moon" Legion Class Ratchet figure, but with modifications. In this mode, those modifications are not so obvious when looking at Ratchet from the front, but turn the figure around and you'll find that the back piece (which is the top of the vehicle mode) has been changed to acocmodate a 5mm peg Mech Tech weapon. In this form that functionality doesn't do a whole lot but create an imbalance on the figure by making him back heavy. The ability to wield a Mech Tech weapon is really meant for the vehicle mode.

Like the Lunar Rover, Ratchet's new colors reflect those used in space exploration vehicles such as the Mars Exploration Rover. His plastic colors are white and gunmetal, with white being the dominant color and gunmetal making up smaller sections such as his upper arms and waist. His paint colors are gold, blue, gunmetal and black. The gold is the one that stands out the most. You'll find it on his chest, legs and back. The blue is used on the lower legs and forearms. A touch of gunmetal paint is used on his face, helping bring out the sculpted detail while the eyes are painted blue. The black is used on his chest in the form of an Autobot symbol. Overall, I really like the color scheme. It's not another "emergency vehicle" scheme, but something different intended to align his appearance with the vehicle he is using.

All of Ratchet's joints are tight and the plastic looks good and crisp. Ratchet is able to use two of the accessories in this set in this form. The satellite dish can be held up in his fist like a scanner or down (also connected to his fist) like a metal detector. The small Lunar Rover included with the set can fold up into a blaster that can be held in either fist. The small Lunar Rover is cast in gunmetal grey plastic with blue paint on top and looks very much like a shrunken down version of the larger Lunar Crawler. It has a flat panel on top sitting on two treads with small blaster barrels in the front. To convert it to its weapon mode, fold it in half using the center hinge. I'm glad this level of interaction exists between the figure of the set and the accessories. it definitely adds a lot of play value to a redeco with a nice color scheme.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode (Ratchet):

  1. Swing the back piece up.
  2. Raise each arm up and rotate the forearms around so the robot arm details face out to the sides.
  3. Swing the arms back, connecting them to the rear piece.
  4. Swing the robot legs back and connect the tabs on the back piece to the feet.
  5. Push the robot head down into the front of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
This is the mode where the retooling pays off. On the top section of the vehicle, the "spare tire" has been replaced with a mechanical looking section with a 5mm hole in it, allowing you to attach weapons such as those from Energon or Mech Tech figures. Now, you'll kind of have to put scaling issues aside here because the end result is Ratchet driving around with a gigantic looking weapon on top of him. I think for the purposes of play value and interaction with other toys, it's great, but I acknowledge from a "story" or aesthetic standpoint it can borderline on silly (but fun!).

This mode has all the same colors as the robot mode, but the gunmetal only shows on the weapon connection point on top and the wheels. Everything else is white with painted details. Gold is the most used color, found on the top and front end of the Humvee. Metallic black is used to paint his windshield and side windows while a blue stripe runs down the sides of the vehicle, alluding to his core emergency vehicle functions. Overall it's a very effective color scheme and I enjoy the way it synchs up with his Lunar Crawler vehicle.

Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reviewing this set. The idea of the Lunar Crawler is fantastic and all three modes are nicely conceived.