The first half of this year in Transformers is basically an off-time for me. The Revenge of the Fallen toyline has given me 95% of the characters I wanted, that being guys who showed up in the film, and I'm not big on the repeats. ... with exceptions. Long-time readers know I'm a sucker for a Dinobot, Ratchet, or a Ravage. These personal favorites will still grab my attention.
With that in mind, hey, it's a new Ratchet! I love me some Ratchet, who's probably my first favorite Transformers character from my childhood. And I glomp onto the live-action film versions as well. I spent an inordinate amount of time adding finishing touches of paint and stickers to my Movie Ratchet from the first film. And yet I was still disappointed when the ROTF re-release of that mold didn't give him a new head like his buddy Ironhide. Like most of the first movie's toys, the sculpting was done off of unfinished concept art. So, well, I was kinda hoping for a new Ratchet that is based on the actual finished model, put together by Hasbro/Tomy now that its folks have seen Ratchet in a movie or two.
This new Deluxe Class figure is close to what I was hoping for. Close enough, anyway, for now. He's not, uh, quite big enough to truly replace my current favorite version of Ratchet. But he certainly is a huge step in the right direction in other facets! He has a much more accurate head, for starters. When I painted up my first Ratchet's head, I had to fudge some details since it didn't quite line up with what he really looks like. But on this guy, the correct ridges and nooks and crannies are all sculpted in. That makes me a happy Walky.
Even neater are the three headlights nestled into the front of his vehicle. When you push his tummy down into place during transformation, gearing reconfigures those three headlights into a triangle formation, which is exactly what happens during his movie model's transformation. That is a long, geeky-but-awesome way to go for screen accuracy.
He has more accurate a lot of other things, as well, but they come with some compromises. The legs are obviously more screen-accurate than the original's, since they were basically carved half-assedly out of large blocky vehicle chunks. But what you trade these legs for on the new Deluxe is the pair of hip kibble. See them folded out behind him? Yeah, the back half of Deluxe Ratchet is basically a shellformer. Past his torso, everything tucks up underneath a cascade of interlocking panels. On the plus side, these panels do fold up very compactly. The entire roof and rear bumper of the vehicle piles up inconspicuously on his back. The sides of the vehicle, as stated, fold up on his hips. It's definitely a trade-off.
Another trade-off is his altered vehicle mode. It's not exactly the model seen in the film. There's a big diagonal chunk taken out of the back end, presumably to reduce the amount of kibble that would hang off him in robot mode. He's closer to an actual H2 Hummer, rather than a Hummer poking its head out of an ambulance-shaped box.
But all this nitty-gritty aside, there's another huge reason why I wanted him. There's a new Lockdown, a character created for Transformers Animated, redone in this movie style and shipping in the same case assortment as this Ratchet. And not only do their respective bios pimp their Animated-inspired rivalry, but the new Lockdown can still steal Ratchet's weapon, just like their Animated toys. Ratchet's gun plugs into his arm and his roof with a peg shaped identically to his Animated self's war wound, and new Lockdown has that same unique peghole shape. That is fangasmic.
If only Big Bad Toy Store had sent me Lockdown too. I preordered both! But just sent me Ratchet. That's kind of infuriating.
(And don't forget to preorder your Mike statue!)