As I secretly hoped, Tuesday's strip garnered the SP! forum an awesome visit from Crazy They-Faked-The-Moonlanding Dude. I've amassed a modest collection of nutballs-insane readers over the years, but if this dude's for real, he's definitely near the top of my list of favorites.
As far as I can figger, the movie's Ratchet is really the first transforming toy created from the ground up specifically to be Ratchet. The original Generation 1 Ratchet, aka That Tiny White Dude In The Photo There, started out as a Diaclone mech thing that Hasbro/Marvel brought over to America and gave a name and personality. There was a Robots in Disguise Ratchet, but he was a doppleganger in name and function only. BotCon 2005 gave us Towline with a new head and a new siren accessory as Ratchet. There have been decoys and PVC figures, but I'm pretty sure this is the first Meant-To-Be-Ratchet-From-The-Beginning Ratchet toy.
Another first -- he's not just a vanette or Mercedes SUV with a pair of sirens slapped on and dubbed an ambulance. Rescue Hummers actually exist! Holy crap! He's, like, almost a real ambulance! That's, like crazy.
And he's florescent green!
(Yes, that's a real ambulance color.)
Of course, he doesn't look too much like the guy from G1 -- Marvel model, toy, or otherwise. His face DOES strongly remind me of the design on the sticker the original toy had on its seat for a face. It's got the nose, the squinty eyes, and the cheek lines, but everything's all aliened-up.
And it's be an absolutely perfect toy if not for a few tiny problems. Parts like to pop off of mine during transformation. There are these rear bumper guards on the back of his legs, see, but one of them refuses to stay fastened. It just pops off anytime anything touches it. And it's, you know, at his knees. And hanging out pretty far. So, yeah. Great. Also, the roof piece which folds into his stomach likes to pop off too, instead of snapping into proper place in robot mode. That's also annoying. These problems didn't seem to be present on Graham or Alan's Ratchets, so it may just be mine.
But otherwise, he'd be damn near perfect. He has an excellent transformation which is both complex and intuitive, where everything pegs together as it should in both modes. Both robot and vehicle modes are attractive, his robot mode is poseable and proportionate, and it's a pretty good attempt at the movie's CGI design. His right arm can fold into his arm and be replaced by a fold-out ax. The roof kibble from his vehicle mode can be mounted on his left arm as a claw.
Ratchet was one of the first guys we heard was gonna be in the movie, and that got me stoked. For a while, I was hoping this was going to be a liberal recreation of the early Marvel Comics story arcs, where Ratchet is the only Autobot left alive, and the Autobot medic was forced to face them all himself, ultimately winning back the Ark in a match of wits against Megatron. This, of course, didn't end up being the case, but it's part of why I'm endeared to the character so strongly. The Marvel Comics really put him through some tough bits. He sacrificed his life to save everyone else like forty times. By the end of the run he was freakin' badass. Ratchet's my boy. I'm glad he's in the movie, even if he's got Grandpa Face.
And, hey, they're making a G1-style redeco later. Cookies for everyone!