"Generations" Power of the Primes Ricochet Toy Review
Release Date: March 2019
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Fan Channel Exclusive (Comic Book Stores, Amazon, BigBadToyStoreA, Entertainment Earth etc.)
Accessories: Blaster, Prime Armor, Prime Armor cover
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com and Hasbro Pulse:
Fans can expand their Transformers collection with Generation Selects figures. Generations Selects is a fan-dedicated line of figures featuring special edition versions of characters that can’t be found in the main line.
This 5.5-inch Ricochet figure features special edition Ricochet deco. Deco is inspired by the original 1987 Targetmaster toy, known in Japan as Stepper. With 41 deco ops, this 5.5-inch Ricochet figure features the character’s classic flame deco, as well as sleek gold rims and gold accents. Converts this Ricochet figure from robot mode to a sleek black sports car mode with flame details in 18 steps. Includes Prime Armor accessory and blaster accessory.
Generations Selects is a fan-dedicated line of figures featuring special edition versions of characters that can’t be found in the main line. This figure features special edition Ricochet deco.
- With 41 deco ops, this 5.5-inch Ricochet figure features the character’s classic flame deco, as well as sleek gold rims and gold accents.
- Deco was inspired by the 1987 Targetmaster, known in Japan as Stepper.
- Figure converts from robot mode to a sleek black sports car mode with flame details in 18 steps.
- Figure can combine with 3 Deluxe Class Power of the Primes figures and 1 Voyager Class Power of the Primes figure to form a Combiner super robot (additional figures each sold separately).
- Ages 8 and up
In 1987, Takara released some Transformers exclusive to Japan. One of these was Stepper. Stepper was a redeco of G1 Jazz with an extra accessory and of all things, a Targetmaster named Nebulon. This figure became the stuff of legend among Transformers fans for many years since it was perceived as being extremely rare and hard to find. To be fair, to this day the G1 version of this figure does not pop up for sale on the secondary market that often.
When 2004 rolled around, the character was pulled out of obscurity by Takara as a release in its Transformers Collection series of reissues in "book" style packaging. Very quickly afterward, Hasbro released their version in the Commemorative Series named "Ricochet". Suddenly it was really easy to get your hands on a Stepper (which is a good thing).
Fast forward a few more years and Ricochet would see a release as part of the Alternators and United lines. More recently a version of the character appeared in the Japanese exclusive Adventure line (the Japanese version of the Robots in Disguise toy line). There was even a Botcon exclusive version representing the character from another universe!
More recently, listings first appeared in November 2018 indicating Hasbro would be releasing Ricochet as part of its new "Selects" sub-brand of the Generations segment. This was shortly confirmed the same month and finally in March 2019 this figure was released via the "Fan Channel" retailers including Amazon, BigBadToyStoreA, Entertainment Earth. Appropriately, this figure is a redeco of Power of the Primes Jazz. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Taking a cue from the Siege Combat Megatron figure, Ricochet is basically double boxed. The outside box is intended to be a shipping box with plenty of blank space but the name of the figure printed on one side. That box holds yet another (smaller) cardboard box with a design represernting the 13 Primes printed in black. Open it up and Ricochet is sitting in a plastic tray with the instructions inside. Ricochet does not include the character cards that were a part of the "Power of the Primes" line even though technically this figure falls under that segment of Generations. This packaging is very basic, but it also adds to the idea that "Selects" are figures that are special.
Ricochet includes a small blaster weapon. It bears some vague resemblance to his G1 weapon including having rectangular parts in the back with some machinery detail and a (relatively) long barrel that widens towards the front and then narrows again at the end. This piece is cast in white plastic with silver paint on every part except the 5mm peg. Sadly, he does not include a Target or Battle Master figure to stand in for Nebulon. On the one hand this is unfortunate, on the other it likely would have raised the price of this set another $5-6 so it is a trade off.
The other accessory is the Prime Armor. Underneath the headlights are rectangular areas with a series of horizontal lines inside. These areas have indentations that match up to the tabs on the Prime Armor. Remove the clear panel in the middle of the armor and you can attach a Titan or Prime Master. The sculpt for this accessory is designed to look like a rocket pack. There are machinery details in the middle and towards the bottom are two thrusters. Indeed, the Prime Armor winds up looking extra chunky if you attach it to the front of the robot mode (it attaches via the tabs on the thumbs connecting to the corresponding vertical grooves on the chest). Instead, I prefer using the 5mm peg on it to attach it to Ricochet lower back where it can look like he is using it to fly.
This accessory also forms a fist for the Combiner limb mode. Unfortunately it has two thumb pieces and neither can tuck away, so as a hand it looks a bit odd. If this design is similar to the Dinobot "hands", it should also be able to connect to a foot piece to form a heel for extra stability (presumably, Jazz is meant to combine with the rumored Voyager Class Elita-1 figure who has not yet hit mass release at the time of this writing). This piece is cast in white plastic with no paint applications. The panel on top is translucent grey plastic.
Since G1 Stepper was a redeco of G1 Meister (aka Jazz), the use of the Power of the Primes Jazz sculpt is perfect for a modern day Ricochet. Taking its deco cues from G1 Stepper, Ricochet is mostly made up of black and white plastic. Whereas Jazz emphasized the white plastic color, Ricochet does the opposite with most of the figure cast in black. Smaller parts such as the head, shoulders and fists are white plastic. The designers did their best to match the G1 deco. In many ways, the black color with small white parts is a more striking visual than Jazz's white, which looks almost unfinished in some respects.
Ricochet's signature colors are also present on this figure. His chest features a gold and red "flame" design that has appeared on every iteration of the character in some form. Gold paint is also used for smaller parts like his face, waist and feet. The headlights on his chest panel are translucent blue, a nod to the blue headlights on G1 Stepper. Some white paint is used to fill in other details on the legs. Overall the deco on this figure is simple and clean but it is striking and a good G1 homage at the same time.
There are thirteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three on each arm and four on each leg. He also has head and waist articulation. Sadly, while the fists are separate pieces from the forearms, the panel under them prevents them from being able to turn. I would say the joints on my Ricochet are about as tight as the ones on my copy of Jazz. The hip joints are slightly tighter, but not by a lot.
Each fist has a 5mm port, allowing him to hold his blaster and Prime Armor. He also has 5mm ports on the sides of the forearms. As mentioned above, the Prime Armor can attach to the front of his chest and the 5mm port on his back. The port on the back is pretty far down (basically right at the hips) so it does look a bit weird putting it there. Of course if you rotate the armor around it looks more like a back pack, but then the thrusters wind up pointing up instead, which is also a bit weird. I wish there had been a different port higher up or that you could have moved the port up somehow.
As mentioned above, there is no Targetmaster figure included with this figure. Given that his retail is only about $2 above normal retail prices for a Deluxe this is hardly a surprise. Still, if you have United Stepper or an extra Battle Master kicking around he can hold them without a problem.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- On each leg, swing the inner half (the pieces with the spoiler halves) out.
- Push the lower legs up, with the thighs pushing into the empty space in the lower leg section.
- Push the halves of the lower legs together.
- Swing the chest up.
- Push the head in.
- There is a folded panel connected to the middle of the chest, swing that up and fold it out to cover the gap on the chest piece.
- Rotate the arms back and swing it in to form the sides of the vehicle.
In many respects the vehicle mode is where the deco on this figure shines. Now you can see the full flame details on the front and sides of the car. Other nice callbacks to G1 Stepper include gold rims on the wheels and gold paint on the top of the spoiler. There is even a small strip of gold detail on the top of the windshield. All these serve as nice nods to stickers from G1 Stepper.
There are three 5mm ports on the top of the vehicle, one on top and two on the side sections. You can also attach the Prime Armor on using the 5mm port. The Prime Armor actually looks very cool on top, as if it is an extra engine added on to give Jazz a boost in vehicle mode. Pop the clear panel off the Prime Armor and you can have a Prime Master (or Titan Master) sit inside. Even better? There are four Titan Master pegs in the back allowing you to have a few extra passengers hitch a ride with Jazz! This is one of my favorite points of functionality and I am happy that it does not ruin the aesthetics of the vehicle.
Transformation to Leg Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):
- Swing the sides of the vehicle out.
- Hold the front half of the vehicle and swing it up, then down.
- Swing the arms back in.
- There are tiny tabs on the ends of the forearms. Push these into the small slots near the spoiler halves.
- Swing the Combiner connector piece up.
- Attach a foot piece to the bottom of the leg.
*Note: The Prime Armor accessory included with Ricochet does not transform into a foot. It only becomes a fist.
In "Combiner Wars" there were plenty of sleek cars turning into limbs. The basic design usually had the front end of the car folding down to make room for the Combiner connection point. This design however takes an extra step which is interesting. Instead of just having the front of the vehicle swing down, the entire cabin section goes down with it to form the front of the leg. This does a great job of adding some thickness to the limb, something some of the "Combiner Wars" legs lacked. It also gives it a more stable appearance.
The connection piece is the same design as those used for "Combiner Wars" figures so you can connect this figure to any Voyager Class figure from that line. The knee can bend and the leg can twist inward or outward. The articulation points are ratchet joints so they hold nice and steady.
Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):
- Swing the sides of the vehicle out.
- Push the front half of the vehicle down a bit.
- Split the rear halves of the vehicle in the middle.
- Swing the top panels (with the spoiler halves) towards the middle.
- Pull the legs out, extending them like you are forming the robot legs. Close the panels.
- Push the front half of the vehicle down.
- Push the arms in.
- Swing the Combiner connection piece out.
- Attach the fist to the end.
- Rotate the lower body/legs. Move them to the right to form a right arm or to the left to form a left arm.
The arm mode basically looks like the car mode sprouted a forearm, but it looks really sleek. Unlike some "Combiner Wars" limbs where robot and car parts wound up dangling or sticking out to the sides. This looks much more sleek and refined. The only potential issue is that the front of the vehicle is a bit too close to the shoulder connection point to allow a full range of articulation. It will wind up blocking the articulation a bit.
If you want to attach extra weapons to this arm, you can connect three on the upper arm (five if you count the two 5mm ports on the bottom of the vehicle mode). Of course the fist can also hold a weapon.
Maybe it is the "mystique" of his G1 Japanese exclusive origins, maybe it's the flames on the black plastic but somehow this figure excites me a lot more than Jazz did. This is still not the strongest figure from the Power of the Primes line, but given the relatively reasonable price for an exclusive, I would say it is well worth adding to your collection. That said, my United Stepper will remain on my display shelf for now.
- Excellent new deco that is eye catching and pays homage to G1 Stepper beautifully.
- Good articulation and Prime/Titan Master functionality is great.
- Transformation is clean and not fussy at all.
- The arm mode interferes a bit with the shoulder articulation when combined with a Voyager Class torso.