Posts tagged with "ratchet" - 2
Posted March 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm
For a while I was searching Targets pretty hard for this guy.  But of course the day after I gave up looking for a while was the day Graham found him for me at the nearby Target I check every day.   Ain't it always the way.  That was more than a week ago, but I had to take my desktop computer in for some repairs (everything's fine now), so I haven't been pushing the toy reviews since then.  But I'm back in business, and here we are again!

Ratchet's my favorite character on Transformers Prime.  That's not saying a whole lot because Ratchet is often my favorite character in any given Transformers series, but it's still true, so I'm still saying it!  He is my second-favorite Ratchet, if only because no new Ratchet is likely to top the one who singlehandedly fought Megatron when I was 5 years old, because as a human I am a big sack of chemical-induced emotions.  I like to think Prime Ratchet is basically what G1 Marvel Ratchet would have been like if we'd seen G1 Marvel Ratchet at times when he wasn't trying to kamakaze himself.  He's snarky, cranky, doesn't put up with bullshit, and has a healthy understanding of his place in the universe, for good or ill.  He's the Autobot closest to Optimus Prime, has known him the longest, and that means Ratchet can call him out when Optimus is acting stupid.  And despite Ratchet's slight superiority complex, he's sad that he can't do more than medicine to further the Autobot cause, and would be willing to give up nearly anything of himself to right that perceived shortfall.

(The episode that aired Saturday night was a good example of this.)

Prime Ratchet is an actual ambulance.  I shouldn't have to point that out, but Ratchets rarely are.  The first one was a minivan with flashers, the second one was a Mercedes SUV with a ladder painted on it, the third one was a H2 Hummer made up to look like an ambulance, evil Mirrorverse Ratchet is a crane, and only Animated and Prime Ratchets seem to be actual amblances rather than converted versions of nonambulance vehicles.  And as a real ambulance, the Deluxe Class is probably a little small for Ratchet, considering most of the Deluxe Class toys are sports cars.  Indeed, Ratchet is one of the tallest Autobots on the show, only shorter than Optimus Prime and of equal or greater height than Bulkhead.  But at the next size class up, there's a real possibility a Voyager Ratchet would be too close to (or greater than) Voyager Optimus Prime's height, so Deluxe is good enough for me.

Like his casemates Arcee and Cliffjumper, Ratchet's transformation depends on a lot of "cheating."  Not many of the vehicle mode parts become parts of the robot.  About a third of the ambulance is a shell that slides down over the backs and sides of his legs.  His robot mode torso gives hints of being vehicle mode parts, but those hints are only sculpted detail.  The ambulance doors sculpted on to his chest, for example, are not the vehicle mode's actual doors.  (And for good reason, the sculpted chest-doors are about half the size of the vehicle mode's actual doors.  The show model does a lot of cheating of its own.)

This cheating doesn't make him a bad toy by default.  He's reasonably easy to get in and out of either mode, and that middle-third-of-his-vehicle-mode shellforming is really the only shellforming that occurs.  (I'm not sure how to classify how his forearms transform -- the back walls of the ambulance fold around his forearms to complete them, but that seems like it's not strictly "shellforming" as we usually define it.)

Ratchet has a lot of paint, but the usual budgeted amount is not nearly enough to give him all of the red areas he has on the cartoon.  (Probably another symptom of the fake kibble, since the red stripes on his fake doors and his real doors have to be painted twice.)  He's also missing the red zig-zagged line that runs down the side of the ambulance, but the way his arms break up during transformation would complicate that.  I took to this guy with my own paint pretty quickly after taking these photos of the "stock" version.

Ratchet comes with two rubbery surgical "battle blades."  Presumably they're rubbery so they can be sculpted to look sharp rather than horribly blunted for child safety.  In vehicle mode, the blades can store underneath or they can peg into the front bumper.  You know, for ram-stabbing.  In robot mode, Ratchet can either hold them upright in his fists, or his fists can fold down into his wrists so that it looks like the blades are protruding from his arms as they do on the show.  There is sadly no storage for the blades in robot mode.  Which is kind of disappointing, considering Ratchet's got a lot of backpack space.

I like Ratchet a lot.  He evokes the character I enjoy as well as can be expected for a $12 toy, and he's fun to transform back and forth.  He's even better if you throw some red and silver on him.  I'll show you guys photos of that later.

Did I mention that Ratchet is voiced by Jeffrey Combs?
Posted February 10, 2012 at 2:43 am
So I bought Legion Class Arcee and Ratchet on Wednesday.  Legion Class toys are the smaller price point in the Cyberverse arena of Transformers toys.  They're tiny and very simple and there are playsets for them.  And I got an Arcee because I was wondering about her scale and I got a Ratchet because I'm weak and I like Ratchet.

Arcee's a motorcycle on the show, but she's a Deluxe Class toy the same as the cars and planes, so of course her scale's a bit wonky. And so I picked up Tiny Arcee to see how she'd compare to the other toys.  Maybe she'd be a better Arcee than my admittedly awesome Deluxe Class version!  And, as expected, she's a way better scale versus the cars in vehicle mode, but about half as short as her cartoon's robot mode.  See, in the show, she grows between modes.  A lot.  Very much a lot.  Her motorcycle mode's as large as her shin.  It's kind of annoying.

Which, as it turns out, puts her Legion motorcycle at perfect television scale with her Deluxe robot.  Huh.

Her transformation is pretty sweet for such a small toy.  It reminds me a lot of Animated Prowl in its elegance.  And like Animated Prowl, one wheel ends on one leg and one wheel on the other, with the arms pointing out the rear of the motorcycle and motorcycle kibble ending up as wings on her back.   It's fun to do and she fits in your pocket.

Ratchet is way more pedestrian.  The back becomes legs and the sides pull out to be arms.  He's basically a Micromaster.

Both Ratchet and Arcee come with rubbery translucent pink weapons.  These weapons are covered in pegs and pegholes so that you can combine them in various ways, and the toys themselves have multiple pegholes.  In theory, if I had more than just these two Cyberverse toys, I could combine my pile of weapons into a superweapon, or many superweapons, or just load up one toy with all of them.
Posted June 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm
Guess which of the three is the building kit from the failed not-LEGO line. Go on. I'll give you 5 seconds.

It seemed like just yesterday Hasbro was showing off their new not-LEGO product at Toy Fair, buried in a secret room, banned from all photography and our LEGO employee friend.  Those were the days.  My thoughts at the time were, well, those are kind of neat, I guess.  I'll probably have to try one out.  Probably Ratchet.  Not because Ratchet's set looks the best to me, but because it's Ratchet.  Yay Ratchet.

It's not Hasbro's first attempt at not-LEGO.  Back in 2003 or so, they put out Built to Rule, which featured both Transformers and G.I. Joe to,  uh, no success.  The vehicles were all right, but the robot modes looked like ass on ass.  (That's double ass.)  They didn't hold together very well and they looked like crap.  But this time around, for KRE-O, Hasbro seems to have wisely outsourced to a not-LEGO company in China called Oxford.  And by my first photograph you can see how obviously this was a better way to go.  It's a staggering comparison.

Like Animated Ratchet, KREO Ratchet comes with surplus tools.

So finally, post BotCon, these KRE-O kits started showing up in Toys"R"Us.  TRU has a ghetto Feature Wall they have to fill with Transformers product while Cars 2 crap continues to take up 30% of the store, so KRE-O has its first day in the sun.  And by golly, these things are priced to sell.  The tinier kits are $8.  Ratchet, who I wanted, and is pretty sizeable, is $20.  Do you have any idea how expensive real LEGO are?  They are super expensive.  So I grabbed the smaller version of Bumblebee along with my Ratchet.

The stretcher is upside-down, isn't it. Dammit.

These are building block sets, not Transformers, and so that means you build each mode.  No, they don't transform in the conventional sense, nor would I expect or want them to.  If I wanted a damn transforming Transformer, I'd buy one of the thousands which do just that.  You put together the vehicle mode, disassemble completely, and then put together the robot mode.  Neither mode uses all the pieces, but the robot mode uses more.  The vehicle modes omit most of the robot mode limb and jointing pieces, for example, and the robot mode ends up leaving off one or two random pieces that you could probably peg somewhere on the back were you to be so inclined.

Just off-screen is a pile of arms and legs.

I very much liked my Bumblebee.  I think I like the smaller sets in general.  Once you get to guys at about Ratchet's size, putting them together starts to feel like this tedious chore where you're just layering in the thinnest of pieces for hours, like you're putting back together an onion.  Bumblebee felt more immediately gratifying.  A few days later I went back and got Jazz, who's another of the smaller-sized kits.

If the kit's small enough to not have proper hands, I tend to like it. Though that's correlation, not cause.

Instead of paint applications on the bricks themselves, stickers are involved.  I would recommend not putting stickers on until you're done with the vehicle mode.  The instructions (which are exactly like LEGO's) call for you to put them on as  you assemble the build, but this is a bad idea if we're talking about stickers that represent stripes going across the top of the vehicle mode.  You're gonna want to make sure you're lining up those stripes evenly from piece to piece, rather than here and there one at a time.  Some of the stickers feel like they're too small for the space, like Bumblebee's stripes.  The instructions show the stickers covering up a larger surface than they do in reality.  As a result, his stripes feel more like a suggestion of stripes rather than real stripes.

(The quality of the stickers are not that great, sadly.  Be careful with the corners.  The color part can separate from the sticky part pretty easily.  Reprolabels has spoiled me.)

Turn a page, put on two pieces. Turn a page, put on another two pieces.

The Transformers Wiki still hasn't decided how to categorize these things.  Are they Generation 1?  Are they the new "modern continuity" umbrella Hasbro keeps namedropping?  Are they movie?  The mini-figures that come with the bigger sets are straight copies of the Transformers as they appeared in the original cartoon.  Bumblebee's smaller kit looks pretty G1, save for the stripes, considering his hood legs and windshield tummy.  Both Bumblebee and Ratchet have heads that are knocked-off from their Classics toys.  But the largest kits, Prime and Bumblebee and Sentinel Prime and Megatron, obviously take greater cues from the movie designs, though Megatron and Sentinel Prime's heads are strongly Animated style. S'hard to say.  Hasbro cares less about these things than we do.  They just want to sell some friggin' not-LEGO.

And so far they're doing a bang-up job, at least in my household.

"And I have... all these pieces left!" --Leonardo Leonardo
Posted May 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm
The older Deluxe Ratchet (left) is one that I painted up to look prettier.

I can't help myself around Ratchets, okay?  I'm sorry!  I wasn't even gonna get this one, but after picking up Sentinel Prime, Graham and Avery and I went to another Target to find some Deluxes so he could get one of the Wreckers, and when the employee offered us Deluxes, I asked for a Ratchet.  I knew there was a new Ratchet in there.  One I didn't have.  One I didn't need.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.

I can't even use this guy for anything.  He's too small to hang out with my other movie toys, and I even have another Deluxe Ratchet which I bought because I liked Ratchets which looks more accurate to his robot mode.  The only way he's not redundant is that he's the right vehicle mode (rather than the previous Deluxe's truncated vehicle mode) and he's in the altered vehicle mode deco that Ratchet has in the third film.  I am a fool.

More ambulances should have giant saws on them.

But now that we've got rationality out of the way, we can move to matters of the emotional level.  See, this Ratchet is awesome.  He's not quite as movie accurate and he's way too small, but he's pretty fun to play with.  He strikes a very good balance between complexity and accuracy, meaning his transformation is pretty damn straight-forward.  Even so, there's some interesting bits in there, like how his head, shoulders, and arms rotate around 180 degrees while his chest and the rest of him stay put.  It's just fun to do.

But most importantly, Ratchet's weapon, while a completely ridiculous-looking oversized chunk of plastic, is well worth the $12 all by itself.  The line-wide gimmick of the larger Dark of the Moon toys is "MechTech" weaponry, and Ratchet's is his saw blade thingy.  When you pull on the lever, the saw spins and flips out and spins and spins.  It's intoxicating.  And I made a video of it for you so I can more adequately share it with you, for words are useless in this arena.

And bam, now you want DOTM Deluxe Ratchet.
Posted August 25, 2010 at 2:01 am
Here's quick note about my BotCon 2010 bagged set auction: It ends in a day!  That's quicker than Rome was built!

Guess which one of me is the old crusty one!

Here's Animated Ironhide, Rodimus Prime's Toys "R" Us exclusive casemate.  There's not a lot to say about him that wasn't said about Ratchet.  He has a new head!  His red is very Cel-Animation-Red, if you know what I mean.  Muted, what with the televisions.  He has a lot of paint operations on stuff that is usually superfluous, probably because he didn't need much paint, what with being entirely red, and so they had to use up their paint budget somewhere.  Like painting his accessories entirely silver, even though they could have been fine left black, especially since they're made-up weapons for the toy and they could be any color.  He has the black areas under his eyes painted, and the three yellow hashmarks on the sides of his chest.

Oh, and his knees now snap into place in robot mode, which is new.  And very nice.
Posted July 16, 2010 at 2:01 am
For when he wants to sound like Professor Hamilton instead of Papa Smurf.

A few years ago, the original Ratchet toy was redecoed as his live-action film counterpart in Japan.  Man, I totally had to have that!  That's just friggin' awesome.  Y'know, in a kind of "ha ha" way.  But it was a limited exclusive that was an incentive to buy a Transformers art book.  I wouldn't have minded getting that art book, but it was a pretty costly art book!  $120 or so, I think, for the toy and the book?  That's a lot to put down on a hilarious Ratchet redeco.

And so I passed.  Quickly, you could buy the toy separately, but for about $80.  That was 2008.  In 2009, the price dropped to about $55.  Clearly I should wait.  The green Ratchets were going no where.

At BotCon 2010, I managed to pick one up for $25.  Score!

His name is Ratchet Emergency Green.  Since I got home, I've had him hang out with the Encore Ratchet reissue that my pal Cholma got me last year.  The green one keeps an eye on the white one to make sure he doesn't sacrifice himself again.  You can only do that so many times!
Tags: ratchet
Posted April 13, 2010 at 2:01 am
SP! avatar wallpaper

So as we were debuting the new site this weekend, Frumph says to me, hey, guess what, this is awesome.  See all those folks with no avatars?  Well, what if I told you that if you uploaded your own avatars to a certain directory and did some Comicpress magic, they'd be randomly assigned to unavatared users?

So I says, holy balls!

And so after crankin' out a handful every day since then, there are now a total of 24 avatars in the pool.  If you don't have an avatar and you post, you'll get randomly assigned, say, Sodomuffin.  And then every time you post, you'll keep that Sodomuffin avatar.  (... at least until I upload a new image into the pool, which restarts the math and they all get switched around again)

Since I have so many, and I put so much work into them despite being tiny 64x64 things, I thought I'd show them to you big as a wallpaper.  You are also free to crop them out and make your own avatars on other boards, so long as you give me credit.  I am also wondering if maybe I should try to do this a print or a poster or something in the meager number of hours I have remaining before C2E2, but we'll see.

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