Review: Transformers Adventure (RID) Ratchet

Despite keeping up with it faithfully for its entire three-season run, I have to say that Transformers: Prime is one of the most disappointing series in the franchise. It began incredibly strong with great production quality and loads of potential, and then very quickly proceeded to waste its potential and stagnate for the majority of its run with poor writing and repetitive plots. The show was not without its positives, however, chief of which being Jeffrey Combs’s ever-enjoyable performance as Autobot medic Ratchet. He brought a delightfully charismatic deadpan wit to the character, balancing out Animated’s crotchety old man with the more personable medic from G1. Though I’ve (still) yet to check out RID, I was happy to hear that Combs reprised the role for the show’s third season, and in the process giving us what may be the closest we’ve gotten to a G1-styled Ratchet toy with his RID design. With a slight premium to cover nicer paint apps, this is Takara’s release of Ratchet from the Adventure line.

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Vehicle Mode

Keeping with tradition, Ratchet turns into what could generously be called an ambulance, but in this case it’s really just a red and white boxy SUV. This is where I’m majorly disappointed in the Takara release, because this vehicle mode looks almost barren. In fact, this is the exact same vehicle mode deco as the Hasbro release. Admittedly, this could just be how Ratchet’s vehicle mode looks in RID, but Reprolables could (and hopefully will) have a field day with this guy.

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Though it may be difficult to tell, but Ratchet is actually a heavy remold of RID Strongarm, with the biggest indicator being the sheer bulk of this altmode. When I say remold, it’s important to note that every bit of the vehicle mode on Ratchet is a new mold; the only shared parts are internal robot mode bits that I’ll point out later. Even the front half of the truck, despite looking nearly identical, is entirely original. Like Strongarm, he feels very hollow to account for his size, and unfortunately the panels making up the front of the truck are nearly impossible to line up clean. All-in-all, though, it’s not terrible, and at least he rolls well, as all good red and white SUVs should.

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Robot Mode

(First off, the actual toy has a circular code-scanner badge sticker on his chest, which I have replaced with a Reprolabels Autobot insignia. Full disclosure.)

The extensive remolding is much more evident in robot mode, as well as the Takara-premium paint apps. He’s no masterpiece by any means, but the details on the chest and head go a long way in making him feel like a proper Ratchet over the dull Hasbro release. The paint apps are nice and sharp, too, though I really would have liked to see a splash of it on his hands and midsection. He’s not terribly accurate to his RID character model, but he does share just enough superficial similarities to MTMTE Ratchet’s redesign for me to be satisfied. Plus you’ve got to love that grumpy frown.

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Ratchet’s Strongarm-y origins are much more evident in robot mode, as he follows the exact same transformation scheme, with the exception of his legs, which now involve folding the rear top of the ambulance mode into his calves. The transformation scheme also means that he still has huge flaps of car doors hanging off his back, but unlike Strongarm I tend to just fold them back to give him a more accurate profile. The only parts that are shared between the two are the thighs, core torso, and biceps; everything else is unique.

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Being largely identical to Strongarm in design, Ratchet’s articulation is largely identical to Strongarm’s, so I won’t go into detail. There are two notable differences: one, Ratchet’s ball jointed neck is much more limited in regards to tilting; and two, he lacks the transformation joint that gave Strongarm a degree of foot articulation. As a result, Ratchet can be a bit more difficult to stand.

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In addition to 80% of his body, Ratchet also gets two newly-sculpted pistols in place of Strongarm’s rifle. These are sadly lacking in any paint apps, but they look pretty cool, almost more resembling tasers than actual guns, which totally works. They can be easily stored on his back to give him a more filled-out backpack, or you could store them in his legs if you really want to. (They also store on the underside of his vehicle mode.)

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Overall

To be honest, unless you like Ratchet as much as I do, it’s difficult to recommend the Adventure version of RID Ratchet. It’s a solid remold of an already really good figure, with some slight improvements in regards to the backpack kibble and a slight reduction in articulation. It’s also a more G1-inspired Ratchet figure, which is something that we haven’t gotten since the lackluster Universe toy. If you’re okay with the Hasbro release’s lack of paint or the Takara release’s price tag, I’d recommend grabbing one of the two if you’re interested.

Where to Buy

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