Posts tagged with "ratbat" - 1
Posted April 1, 2014 at 12:01 am

Ratbat is an expert at shrewdly spending resources, and so I don't think he'd be pleased by how much I paid just to get him.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I'd be in pretty big trouble.  I'd probably be fired.  

Masterpiece Ratbat comes with Masterpiece Soundblaster, who is Soundwave with his blues swapped out for black.  As I've stated previously, the two kind of look the same if you squint.  It's not a very daring redeco.  I've bought Soundblasters to get exclusive Recordicons before, but the Soundblaster-to-Recordicon ratio has never been quite so staggering.   I paid $20 to get Fall of Cybertron Buzzsaw.  I paid about $70 to get Enemy and Wingthing.  But Masterpiece Soundblaster and his one exclusive little guy is about $150 depending on where you get him from.  I don't expect to see Ratbat released in any other manner -- would Toys"R"Us USA bother with a black Soundwave and a bat?  -- and so a bullet was bitten.  I have to have Ratbat.  And, hey, I have pornlord money now, so pornlord money spent!

And, yeah, it's not like it's going to be lucrative to unload the unwanted 90% of this arrangement on eBay.  Nobody's buying him for the black Soundwave, and if they were, they probably also want, you know, Ratbat.  It was kind of funny to see some folks claiming they'd just buy Ratbat separately, loose, on eBay, from those who only wanted the Black Soundwave.  Yeah.  You try that.  Meanwhile, I'll find Bigfoot.

Anyway, Ratbat himself is pretty great.  WHICH HE'D DAMN WELL BETTER BE, CONSIDERING.  Just like the two condors and Ravage, all his parts are integrated into his transformation.  You don't pop those gold chrome weapons into him at the end -- those parts are built into him from the start.  And, like the condors, it's pretty amazing that it works.  He's just a tiny bit more complicated than them, but not so much that it's annoying.  And he's way less fragile-feeling than Ravage.  

The only thing that bugs me about him is his fake kibble.  He's got little sculpted cassette spools in his chest right next to his actual cassette spools in his shoulders.  I understand why this is a thing that has occurred, but it's still something Ratbat's engineering suffers that the others don't, to the best of my recollection.

And he's leader of the Decepticons.  Have I ever mentioned that?  I probably have.  But I mentioned it again.  Plus he kicked Fortress Maximus's ass.  He's a tiny god.  A tiny accountant god.  

Posted September 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

There comes a time in a man's life when he's willing to buy limited-edition Linkin Park crossbranded Transformers robots.  Generally that time comes after he's drawn a bunch of official comics about tape cassette guys and these new gold tape cassette guys either fill in some blanks or offer potential for the future!  See that gold Laserbeak/Buzzsaw?  Totally SG Buzzsaw.  Collection hole filled. See that gold Ratbat?  Totally civilian-mode SG Ratbat. Collection hole filled.  See those other guys, including the duplicate Laserbeak/Buzzsaw?  I have the ability to make them new characters, though the magic of of a certain corner of canon which I uniquely wield.  

Of course, no matter way you slice it, I still have this group of expensive butterscotch-colored Transformers.

Man, what a weird thing this is.  Linkin Park got the chance to design their own color scheme for Soundwave and four of his friends, and they went for solid gold plastic.  I will never understand them.  And because this set comes with both Buzzsaw and Laserbeak, and because everyone is solid gold plastic, it means you get two identical guys.  Who's Buzzsaw?  Who's Laserbeak?  WHO KNOWS!

The whole thing comes in a special packaging that looks like a larger black Soundwave with a cassette player inside that says "LINKIN PARK/TRANSFORMERS MIX" on it.  Inside the packaging is the usual plastic tray that the toys sit in, but this plastic tray is flocked in purple so it looks like velvet.  Yes, this is that ridiculous.

There's a fold-out instructions booklet that features recolored Soundwave's box art in gold and simple instructions for everybody, because everyone's pretty simple, because these are 1984 and 1986 dudes.  I'm guessing the many, many stock image photographers did not get a copy of these instructions, because there is a myriad of hilariously mismatched guys-and-accessories image sets.

My Ratbat came misassembled, with his tippy-toes pointed inside his own cassette mode torso in such a way that you can't flip them out for bat mode.  And so I spent the first few minutes of opening this guy unscrewing him open so I could set things right and then screw him back together again.  Man, no wonder everyone loses this guy's ears.  They are held in by nothing more than teensy-tiny bumps and friction.

Anyway, I already have identities figured out for the non SG Buzzsaw/SG Ratbat guys in this set, so I guess look forward to those, if you're a Transformers Collectors' Club subscriber.  

(Can I just unilaterally declare this toy is SG Buzzsaw and have it officially be so, or so I have to do a new strip where he's a little golder than he was previously?)

Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Part of me wanted to just drop that blog post title bomb, throw these photos at you, and then back away slowly before running away in shame.  But no, I guess I'll actually, like, do my job and talk about these guys a little.

Man, Megatron Origin.  There was a point in time in IDW's recent history where the powers that be were like, "hey, would anybody care if we ignored this?"  Megatron Origin is one of those.  For a long while it was this isolated piece of weirdness buried deep in the IDW continuity's past.  I'm not sure where it went wrong, whether it was the story, the art, the coloring, or a perfect storm combination of all three.  It was really hard to tell what was going on in that miniseries, artwise, and when you got through the gray art down to the story, maybe it was for the best?  

Artwise, though, those folks have gone on to do some really awesome things very well.  Alex Milne is now the the very readable penciler of More Than Meets The Eye, and Josh Perez is now the very readable colorist for Robots in Disguise.  Those two are now seriously among my favorite creative people.  Eric Holmes hasn't written anything Transformers since, so who knows if today he'd likewise be amazing. 

So I'm just gonna blame Megatron Origin, the entity.  Maybe it was cursed.  The story was repurposed from an abandoned Dreamwave idea, so maybe reanimating the story for IDW was akin to building over sacred burial ground, with like Pat Lee ghosts seeping up into the story's foundation and haunting the shit out of it and also probably not paying anyone.   Either way, I believe we shouldn't let its memories soil the talented people involved.  

Regardless, here are these two Megatron Origin toys.  The first is a retool of Generations Scourge with a new head as Senator Ratbat.  It's a Japanese release, so I'll forgive it for not having a "REPUBLIC SENATOR!!!" call-out starburst on the front of the packaging.  In Megatron Origin, Ratbat was a pre-war Senator with like a real humanoid body and everything, and he wore a bat-head-shaped helmet on his head.  And then at the end SPOILERS Soundwave extracts his spark and shoves it into this tiny bat Recordicon body and there you go.  This toy does its best to replicate that first body by translating Senator Ratbat's color scheme onto Generations Scourge's toy.  It does a pretty good job.  Like the other Japanese Generations toys, he's in shiny plastic and shiny paint.  This would visually clash with my other Generations toys in usual circumstances, but this is a Senator, so I'll let him be exceptionally shiny.  

The tiny Megatron is an entirely new Legends Class toy of Megatron in his original miner body, when he was a revolutionary for social reform before he got a taste for violence that drove him evil.  And so he's got the hazard stripes painted on him that he and his fellow miners had.  He's a pretty amazing Legion Class toy, considering some of the others!  His turret can rotate all the way around, and his head turns.  Both of those are kind of crazy for a toy his size.  He transforms from robot to tank by folding his arms in front of him to form the turret and then opening up his legs so they can fit around the rest of him to form a shell.  

He also comes with a tiny Chop Shop, but I don't know where he is now.  I need to clean up the office.

Megatron is available in American stores now.  Ratbat is available in Japanese stores as of a few months ago.

Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm
A few years ago, Shattered Glass Ravage was this new thing and I'd been asked to write a short tech spec bio for him to be published in the Transformers Collectors' Club magazine.  This was before he got a toy.  Until then, he was just a guy I'd made up over New Years Eve and then started a Twitter feed for because it amused me and because I thought it heretical that there was no SG version of Ravage because Ravage is awesome.  In the following issues, the Transformers club folks asked me to write additional bios for SG Ratbat and Steeljaw.

Normal Ratbat, to me, is the stick-up-his-ass fuel auditor who hilariously managed to worm his way into the Decepticon leadership position in the Marvel Comics.  Everyone hated him.  He was an accountant!  And yet, y'know, an accountant is an important job.  And so my idea was to flip that.  What's a charismatic but completely frivolous job?  Why, SG Ratbat was a self-help guru.  A famous one who everyone liked.  He was a celebrity.  He was a secret alcoholic (addiction to low-grade fuel).  I really liked the idea.

But then it kind of got blown away by Jesse Wittenrich's accompanying art for the character, which I hadn't seen prior to getting the issue myself, of SG Ratbat done up in blue and gray and gold, y'know, for funsies.    And I was like, whoa.  Obviously, SG Ratbat is... you know who.  What's this self-help guru crap?   And so once I started drawing Recordicons, I made sure to marry the two portrayals.  During the day, Ratbat was a famous philanthropist and author, but at night he patrolled the city skies as Bat-Bot.  I literally couldn't pass up drawing that stuff.  You know me.

And so here we are, years later, and we have a damn toy of him.  E-Hobby, Japan's outlet for exclusive redecos of Transformers stuffs, likes to come out with new-character redecoes of Generation 1 reissues, and they'd just done a pair of Twincast and Soundblaster.  So who do they do those two guys as?  Apparently, the answer is to partner up with the Transformers Collectors' Club and give us SG Blaster and Soundwave and a smattering of SG Recordicons, including Ratbat in his Bat-Bot colors.

These are toys for me and me alone.

So here's my friggin' Transformers Caped Crusader guy, in plastic, here in front of me, for realsies.  A neat addition to SG Bat-Bot's look are the chest stickers they give you which paste on either side of SG Bat-Bot's chest rubsign, which pushes the homage a little further.  I liked it so much I retooled SG Bat-Bot's design to include the stickers in his next Recordicons appearance.  You do gotta be careful with them, though.  They cover the tape spools in his chest, and the gun accessories you peg through there could poke through them a bit if you're not precise.  Oh, and always put him back in the cassette tray stickers-face-up so you don't puncture them.

Did I mention he appears in a comic illustrated by Hidetsugu Yoshioka?  My character, this guy I helped make, drawn by him?  Oh my lord, man.  This world is nuts.
Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:25 am
Yay, I have my Frenzy (red guy) again!  I left him in Memphis, and so Alan had to mail him to me.  Also, now I have Laserbeak (and Soundwave).  I had a $5 Rewards coupon at Toys"R"Us and figgered oh what the hell.  Besides, as of the most recent issue of Robots in Disguise, this data disk form is now repurposed as G1 Laserbeak's current body.  Guess he's gonna replace the GDO Skystalker redeco in my display.  It was fun having you around for a few months!

So here's how this thing is supposed to work.  These guys are these little cylinders, right?  And there is a button on the bottom of them that triggers an auto-transform when it's depressed.  And so you cram up to three of these dudes inside Soundwave or Soundblaster's torso, and use a chunk of kibble on his back to push these disks out through the front of his chest like he's taking a front-poop.  One by one, these disks hit the ground and land on their buttons and spring-transform and you're done.

EXCEPT IT KIND OF DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY.  Mostly these guys get stuck and then you push and push and push and use excessive force and then when finally one of them gives they all explode out of his chest at the same time, usually hitting you in the face no matter where your face is and then you have a scattering of half-transformed things everywhere.  It would be perfect fun if it worked as advertised, but it really, really doesn't.  Some folks have said sanding down the insides of their Soundwaves helps smooth things over.  I may try that?  But, man, it's hard to accept that these things reached stores with their main gimmickry being dead in the water.

Not helping at all are the instructions, which demonstrate you putting the disks into Soundwave with the activation button facing outwards.  oh jesus guys don't do this ever   I nearly lost a Ratbat by trying this.  They will not come out.  I had to get a screwdriver or something to jam into one of Ratbat's crevices to get some leverage to yank him out.  It is a testament to the plastic they make these guys outta, though.  These guys are fortunately made of sturdy stuff.

The flying guys are my favorite.  Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, and Ratbat all transform fully by having their buttons depressed, and they do this little flip, and it's easy to put them back in disk mode.  Laserbeak and Buzzsaw are obviously redecoes of each other, and Ratbat's a retool.  He's the same engineering, but reskinned to be a bat instead of a bird.

Frenzy and Rumble are middle-of-the-road to me.  They require a few extra steps to get from "hey i've auto transformed" mode into their completed transformation.  You gotta swing down the arms so they're not doing the wave and fold out their feet.  It takes a little extra time to get them back into disk mode, too.  You have to rotate their pelvis around and maneuver their pelvis and legs down and around at the same time.  A little annoying, but not a dealbreaker.

Ravage is infuriating.  He pops out half-transformed, and then you have to open his back and flip out his tail and then set the back down loosely on top of his body and then open up his hind legs and maybe fiddle around with those a little.  And the result is this awful-looking thing.  He's got a longer torso than Mike Turner's Supergirl and an ugly little rat face, with tiny little limbs at both ends.  He is not an attractive thing.  To get him back into disk mode, first you have to let go of the concept of being happy again for the rest of your life.  Then you spend the next several minutes trying to negotiate him back.  Certain parts won't move into place unless certain other parts are in the middle of whatever they're doing.  There's no one-two-three step to him.  It's all at once and also never at once.  If I could explain it, I could do it, and I can't do it.  I mean, I can.  After way too long.  And cursing and threatening to destroy all humanity and probably pushing some things in ways they are not meant to be pushed.  It's not often I am tempted to take a sledgehammer to something I just paid money for.

To add insult to injury is the realization that this toy is this way because of a gimmick that doesn't work properly.

Let that sink in.

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