Thursday, November 25, 2010

HFTD Deluxe Class: "Rescue" Ratchet!

Remember being a kid, daydreaming about what you'd be when you grew up? Between thinking I'd be an archaeologist (Indiana Jones), an offshore oil rig worker (The Transformers), a space cowboy (Star Wars) and a G.I. Joe (well, G.I. Joe), I thought it would be pretty cool to be a doctor.

You'd be up to your ears in scratch, hanging with movie stars and famous people, and flying off on the Enterprise saying cool things like, "Dammit, Jim! I'm a Doctor, not a call center agent!" (I was a stupid kid).

This was before I learned that being a doctor meant that you'd have to cut people open, hold their spleens in your hands, regularly examine the results of other people's bowel movements and stay in school for an extra 10 years. Being the lazy bastard I am, this was something that I could not stomach.

Of course I ended up staying in the University for nearly a decade anyway, but that's a story for another time.

My point, before I got sidetracked, was that I thought being a doctor was cool. Part of the reason for this was that one of the coolest characters on The transformers was Ratchet, the company medic.
Jump after the cut for further details...

He was loads better than Lifeline, the whimpy "pacifist" G.I. Joe, and although he wasn't seen in the fight a lot, he got some of the coolest jobs along side Wheeljack; creating the Dinobots, kit-bashing Autobot-X together and reparing everyone and their mother during the length of the series.

How can you not love a guy like that?

Of course he was then shot dead during the first 15 minutes of Transformers the Movie and then showed up as a Bayformer in 2007. Oh, the humanity!

After the first movie, he got a Voyager Class toy (which I liked), but apparently, people wanted one that was more "accurate". Hence the release of the more marketably sized Deluxe Class figure earlier this year.
I never picked that one up because I already had a movie Ratchet I liked, and I didn't feel like downgrading to a smaller figure. But inevitably, Hasbro came out with "Rescue Ratchet", a white and red re-deco of the Hummer H2 rescue vehicle. In my warped logic, this translates to "brand new toy".
I caved.

Apparently, this little guy is more "accurate" to the movie model and the actual H2 vehicle. Honestly I didn't really see a problem with the first effort. Hasbro didn't either, considering they repainted him four or five times over the course of 2 movies. But the Deluxe Class price point (p700) is much more saleable than that of the Voyager Class one (p1600). I think it was a good move on their part to make another toy for both their Voyager mainstays. I just can't say I like either of them all that much.

His vehicle mode looks more like a Humvee, but I got to say that it doesn't look all that much like an ambulance any longer. The back of the truck has a spare tire and a platform to hang gear off of, and the top has a port to hold his arm cannon, but where do the injured comrades go? I've got no idea. Maybe it's something like the Doctor's TARDIS, and opens onto another dimension.

The gun fixture can be removed and (if you have either Lockdown or Axor) can be replaced with the EMP device that the Ratchet character in the Transformers Animated continuity used to carry. In that storyline, the bounty hunter Lockdown had stolen then device, cutting it off of Ratchet's arm. I think they just included it here to cross-market both the toys,because it doesn't really add anything to the vehicle mode, and there's nowhere to put it when he changes to a robot.

Accurate or not, that is one ugly bastard. Look at all that kibble! The Deluxe Class version is a "shellformer" in the truest sense of the word. Basically, the robot parts are all just tucked away and hidden by panels in the vehicle mode. Transformed, the panels fold up and hang off the robot's various parts. while the core robot may look more like the computer model in the movie, it's no where near as well integrated.

Seriously, Hasbro?
There are no word to convey my disappointment with this state of affairs. Not only does the panelling take away from the looks of the figure, it also makes posing him annoying as hell. It doesn't really restrict him, but the fact that you have to push all of that crap out of the way constantly does get irritating.
The picture on the back of the package is also misleading, someone having switched the doors that form his shoulder panels. Unless you physically remove them and swap them out, there's no way to get him to match that product photo. Which is sad, since he does look better that way.

The gun is another aggravation. It just doesn't really look that great. It looks sort of like an afterthought really, like it was designed for someone else.
For the life of me, I don't understand why they've use this silly gear gimmick to mount it on his arm when the good old, post and hole system they've been using since, what? Energon? has been great. The gun attaches by a serrated square peg at the back of the gun that fits into a square hole on his arm. The serrations push two little bits of red plastic on his arm up when you push it in. I suppose that it approximates a "locking in" mechanism, but those red pieces don't go all the way up, and it looks retarded. The whole thing is overthought and overly complicated.

They could have saved themselves the trouble and just cut out the same port hole that Lockdown has on his arm to accomodate the EMP projector. Better yet, just give him a standard ROUND hole so you can load him up with any of the guns you have lying around from other Classics toys.
As I said, the articulation gives him a few points in his favor, with balljoints found at his shoulders, elbows, hips, and ankles. His knees are double hinge joints with a swivel thrown in there somewhere, and the ankle has an extra hinge there too. He's pretty mobile, but again, all that kibble gets in the way.

The feet also bother me. They're painted in such a way that it looks like he's wearing sneakers. As if they're down a player and they asked the old fart standing on the sidelines to sub. Said fart runs to his locker and grabs a pair of the oldest, geektastic shoes and slips them on, raring to take the young guys on at their own game.
Just like in real life, it doesn't work. Robots should not be wearing Reeboks.

The face is great if you love the Michael Bay look. I don't.
'Nuff said.

I really wanted to like this figure, since I was so surprised by the first one, but really, there's nothing to recommend here. It's an ugly toy, with a half-assed transformation, and a useless action feature, with an out of place accessory. The only thing it has going for it is the new colors and the articulation, which I've got to admit, is great.
Still, it's not something that can save the figure as a whole. If they had made the various bits and pieces hanging off him removable, that may have added a fe points, but it still would have been on the edge. Right now, I'd have to recommend NOT buying this.
In hindsight, I doubt I'd even buy it from the bargain bin.

Slangards can be seen writing a Toy Review and this can seen HERE not only Transformers but other toys in his collection!

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