Transformers Authentics Bravo
Item No.: Asst. E0618 No. E7319 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:n/a Action Feature:Transforms from Robot to Ambulance Retail:$5-$6.75 Availability: Spring 2020 Other: Snuck out in South America, and then the world!
If you luck out, you'll find this Transformers AuthenticsRatchet for about five bucks - and it's pretty good at that price. It's by no means amazing, but it's pretty chunky and better than an average fast food toy. I would have loved for more paint on the face, but it's a $5 van Ratchet. It doesn't need to do a lot to be good.
This will not be the most amazing toy in your collection - but it's still potentially notable, given it's 4 1/2-inches tall and that puts him at the height of Kingdom Tracks' neck - and he's $23. This Ratchet has his share of kibble, but you also have things like ball-jointed elbows and shoulders. You can't get a ton of great poses out of him, mostly because the budget probably went in to all the parts and pieces to make the figure work. 11 points of articulation probably won't sound too impressive in 2021, but considering Beast Wars basic-class figures were $4.99 and had 9 joints each back in 1996, I have very little reason to complain. I do think they could probably have come up with a clever way to get the shoulder kibble out of the way, but it's still a nice toy to fuss with.
His fists are too small for any current accessories, but you may be able to fit some 3mm weapons in there - I had some Playmobil stuff on my desk that fit perfectly well. Given there are a number of tools and surgical wares in that line, you may want to offer up spares to Ratchet.
The head sculpt is good, but the paint doesn't help much here. The blue eyes seem almost undefined, and the grey crest floats atop an all-white head. In bright light you can see a mouth, nose, and signs of a chin, but without some sort of darker color to bring out the detail they may as well not be there. If they moved the paint from the crest to the face, I think they'd have a better-looking toy. I also think they make these look a little worse on purpose so collectors don't jump ship from the War for Cybertron guys, but that's just the toy conspiracy theorist in me. Things like fist size and face sculpts are easy to get right without having to worry about the budget - it's just about how much time you want to spend making something better.
Transformation is easy - the arms fold over to form the front of the ambulance. The legs have an interesting series of nesting panels that unfold to form the back of the van. It's clever, and the vehicle itself looks really good despite the lack of color. The back half is unpainted white with molded red wheels - no painted windows, no special detail of any kind, and no action features beyond rolling wheels.
It's still good - the wheels roll nicely and there are no issues with robot kibble scraping on the ground. The toy lacks axles, but it's a cheap toy - it's expected. All the paint is on the front with a painted windshield, a stripe, and a painted lightbar. There's not much here, and they picked the right spots to paint if this was all the budget allowed. It's not as fancy as those late-Generation 2 Cyberjets which were repurposed in Robot Masters and Machine Wars, but it's comparable in size and, surprisingly, price. You lose all the mechanisms for firing rockets, but it's a similarly sized vehicle and robot after two decades and change of inflation. That's something of a small miracle.
I left this one packaged for over a year. As a toy junkie I am impressed by what they did, how big it is, how the plastic parts were broken out, and how they engineered a pretty convincing van at the price. I wouldn't recommend chasing it down unless you just want a cheap Ratchet, as there are better alternatives, but there are certainly no cheaper alternatives.
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