Monday, 29 October 2012

Universe Ratbat, a well done recolour

Ratbat

Ratbat has always been one of my favourite characters of the G1 Transformers.  I suspect it has to do with me actually having his cassette form from when I was a kid, and a little story that goes with that toy (which I will save for when I get to him) and the fact that I still have it in fairly good condition.  So with that in mind, I am pleased to see him show his face whenever possible.

 

He did this rather respectively in the War Within (WW) comic, which was based on Cybertron before the Transformers came to Earth and the premise was that Ratbat was a politician.  They gave him a new form and it looked kind of regal and pretty cool.  This Universe Ratbat toy came in a two pack, and the toy he was up against was a version of triple changing Springer.  Sadly Springer wasn’t half as well done as Ratbat, as they used the Cybertron (Galaxy Force) Evac (Live Convoy) mode which turned into a very Earth like helicopter.  He didn’t even have a new head, so I ended up selling that one.  Plus I only wanted the pack for Ratbat.

 

Can the history of the character live up to my expectations, after all it is only another recolour?  No new accessories or anything fancy, just different plastic and bio which was on the back of the box.

Read on to find out…

 

I am pleased to say ‘Yes.’

 

Despite being just a recolour, it is a very good choice for Ratbat.  G1 Ratbat had a cassette form for hiding and a bat mode as an equivalent robot mode and the WW comic gave his robot mode rather bat-like features and looks.  I think that this figure pulls the shape off quite nicely, even the vague face and head seem to work rather well, he does have ears after all.

 

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The body was made it’s first appearance as Noisemaize/Sideways from Galaxy Force/Cybertron respectively and the story was that he was a sort of infiltrator that could disguise himself as either and Autobot or Decepticon by changing his insignia on the shield.

 

I nabbed Noisemaize and so I know the sculpt well.  I like it, it is an incredibly versatile build with amazing articulation that allows all sorts of crazy stances and poses but I’ll get into that a bit later.

 

As you can tell, Ratbat is mainly purple and mustard.  I guess the mustard is related to the Decepticon Cassette groups that came out with gold chromed weapons, which is the way mine came, and was sexy.  It works well enough though and breaks up the purple nicely but isn’t as nice as chrome.

 

The amount of joints and relative lack of bits getting in the way, added with the way he folds up to transform gives this guy and amazing range of movement.  You can bunch his legs right up underneath him, he has hinges and swivels throughout his arms and wrists as well as a decent hinge at the shoulders.  About all he is lacking is a ball jointed neck, but considering how good everything else is, I can live with just a swivel.

 

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As you can see, his legs fold up incredibly close.  If he had a hip swivel, you could make him put a hand on the ground while crouched.  What I also like is the ‘ancient’ ambient sculpting on his knees and inside of the legs.  This series also had Vector Prime, who was a dimension and time travelling ancient Autobot (one of the first 13 as it turns out) and he had similar ambient sculpting as well.  It just adds a little bit of extra detail and lessens the need for more paint. 

 

The chest has some as well.  He also has some sparkles throughout the plastic.  Will this become brittle later?

 

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He comes with two swords which become the jet mode’s wings and can be wielded in a variety of ways.  They also are holstered rather cleverly for the robot mode.  They use the same connection as the jet mode, but it flips around to the side of the leg and so manages to add a bit of bulk and yet they don’t hinder the articulation either.  Ratbat can hold them in a couple of ways, as I stated earlier.  Either one in each hand, or both can be held on one hand in a double blade configuration.

 

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And the legs without and with the blades attached.

 

As well as his copious articulation points, he also has LARGE feet, which although lacking an ankle are very versatile.  Because they are so large, they manage to carry the weight of the body very well and since they work like a “V” for transformation, you can bring the ankle forwards or backwards as desired to aid in stances.

 

His head, although untouched from Noisemaize is acceptable for Ratbat.  He has the ears as required and no face, which is a bit strange.  I have never been able to decide whether the big gap in the head is a faceless option, or a gaping mouth.

  Ratbat

You see, I am not sure if the nubs above the translucent orange are meant to be eyes and the orange is the open mouth, or if the nubs are just helmet decorations and the orange is the face.  I think with Noisemaize, I am happy with the orange being the face as it adds to the mystery of his character, and Ratbat can have the orange as the mouth, as it looks like he has fangs and is grinning like a psycho.

 

Either way, it is still kind of cool and because it is so large, it has light piping going on!

 

And I loves me some Light Piping!

 

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It even works well from the side and the front too.

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The final feature to the robot mode is his Force Chip weapon.  Erm, or Cyber-Planet Key from the English version.  Noisemaize was able to switch between the Autobots and Decepticons with his and Ratbat still has the same feature but instead of an Autobot/Decepticon logo, he has a Decepticon/Ratbat team ( ? ) logo.  Whatever it is, I think the design is pretty cool!

 

The shield normally looks like this, with the Decepticon insignia.

Ratbat

 

But Ratbat yells

“FORCE CHIP!  IGNITION!”

And an Amazing transformation occurs.

 

Ratbat

His shield turns into some bow type weapons and the insignia changes.

 

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And now the fun starts.  The shield is attached on a swivel and so that it can be used during vehicle mode, it is on a hinged arm as well, allowing for a variety of posing options that don’t hinder the arm much at all.

 

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Don’t go shooting yourself in the head there Ratbat!

 

 

Of course he also has a vehicle mode too.  It is some type of space shuttle future ship thingo.

 

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If it looks a bit familiar, this same figure was used as Scourge and some Sweeps for the G2 Botcon set from 2010 (I think it was 2010…).  As you can see, it covers the robot parts fairly well in vehicle form and after a bit of meassing around is a pretty sturdy jet.  The Wing/swords can unplug easily from the holes, so just keep and eye on that.  The shield sits nice and flush on the top back of the jet. 

 

I like this as it actually looks like a type of vehicle mode that a pre-Earth Ratbat would have as well.

 

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It still has a great number of ambient details on it, like the yellow ears of the robot mode head sticking out the front, this time like fangs, as well as the olde style design sculpting.  As well as being a nice sleek je tmode.

 

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The shield folds out of the body if you wish to use the Force Chip and stands above the main jet looking like one big cannon of doom.

 

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And then you bung the chip in.

 

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It doesn’t jut so far out as to look ridiculous and also looks pretty damn cool when looking from above.

 

Ratbat

 

In the end this is a great little figure and I am even more surprised at how well it actually fits to make a Ratbat.  Perhaps the toys was designed with Ratbat in mind, but they decided to colour it black for Noisemaize first or something.  I don’t know, but I do know that not only does it make a great Ratbat character, a great Noisemaize and Sideways, but it is also an incredibly dynamic toy in itself.  The level of articulation is fantastic and the lack of kipple around the joints allows them to move to the best of their ability.  This was one of my favourite figures from the  Galaxy Force line and probably my favourite from the Universe line as well.

 

But considering how uninspired many of the toys from that line were, that’s not hard (Springer, I am looking at you) and that is what makes this figure even that more amazing, instead of the usual piss poor act of slapping a cool Transformer’s name onto some random toy (which is Hasbro’s normal operating methods [once again, Springer]) this one actually fits rather well and I highly recommend it.  Either as Ratbat, or Noisemaize, or even as Sideways (assuming you can live with his grey instead of Chrome swords).  It’s a great toy and this is a great adaption of a toy to fit a G1 character.

5 comments:

  1. i remember when Sideways came out in cybertron series. now we get to see him in PINK!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSS!

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    1. I like to think of it as purple XD

      There was an extremely limited white version that came out in Japan too. I wanted that as well, but many $$$

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  2. the bows insignia used to change between autobots and decepticons

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  3. holy cow it's my birthday in australia, but its still monday in us lol thats cool

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm, time travel! It's a wonderful thing!


      and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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