As Hasbro decided that Transformers should get a "Marvel Legends" treatment, we've been given sporadic lines of "classics" figures which include the likes of Autobot Ratchet as one of those really long-awaited and inevitable releases. In the comics, he's a pretty significant character, and as the cartoon's medic he's a memorable fellow. As a toy, he's had a bad run of luck. His original 1984 toy had no head, and while his 2009 toy did have one, it wasn't exactly ideal. The head sculpt is actually pretty decent and unique to this figure, despite sharing a body with the 2008 Ironhide figure. The problem is that both of them have a pretty crappy body.
As a robot, he's acceptable. He looks like an unfortunate unfolded pile of chunks, which some attribute to the creeping in of the movie aesthetic. I think it's just bad design, panels hang off the figure and his head was oddly sculpted looking permanently down. The head itself is perfectly OK, with silver paint and a big red crest on top. Heck, he's even got a "H3L PU2" license plate, referring to the comics in which he and Megatron are merged into a single pathetic entity holding up a sign that says "HELP US" on it. I'd say that's appropriate for the figure, which looks like a mismatched pile of parts and probably is pretty miserable. It's not a lot of fun to transform and bits and pieces pop off during the conversion.
The vehicle is... I guess it's acceptable. The poor thing is covered in panel breaks, you can see where it splits apart and there's really no illusion of this being anything but an alternate mode for another unfolding toy. Some trucks and cars do a great job making sure the figure moves at the doors, the hood, the trunk, or other places a "joint" should exist. While it has rolling wheels and does a good job of disguising the kibble, time has not been kind to this design. It felt awkward in 2008 when it debuted as Ironhide, and today it still looks like a real misfire-- especially against some of the spectacular work released alongside this figure like Cyclonus, Hound, Sunstreaker, and a parade of increasingly awesome Minibots.
Since this is the only modern US-released transforming toy based on the proper G1 Ratchet, it commands a premium on eBay, which I find odd because Phoenix grocery stores were still drowning in Ratchets well into Spring 2011. Hasbro has done better, but G1 Ratchet's best official representation is probably somewhere out in the future. If the price is right, go ahead and get it, but just remember I warned you that it's disappointing. The gun/laser scalpel weapon is certainly a clever one, but it's not clever enough to make up for the chore that is trying to play with this toy. Hasbro can do better. I hope they'll try.
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