Posts Tagged ‘Ratchet’

I recently got in my hot little hands an upcoming Hasbro release, Solar Storm Grapple.  Actually, the packaging says “Grappel” but… just no.  I can’t bring myself to spell it that way.  The figure is set to be released sometime in late 2010 or early 2011.

Grapple is, of course, a modern update of a classic Transformers character.  The original looked something like this:

Look ma, one hand!

The old-school Grapple was a redeco and retool of Inferno, a fire-truck Transformer. That hasn’t changed. The new Grapple is a repaint and retool of Universe Inferno. The differences are cosmetic, for the most part. Of course the color is different. Grapple is a rather light orange–in fact, a much lighter orange than portrayed in official Hasbro photos. His emergency lights are amber, as opposed to Inferno’s clear lights. He has a different head, and his arms are rounded to resemble his G1 counterpart, whereas Inferno’s arms are squared.

So… on with the review, shall we? First, let’s take a look at his alt mode:

Here for all your crane-ish needs

The vehicle mode is pretty much no frills. A lot of the outer shell comes from folded up paneling in bot mode, so in some respects, this is really more of a “shell-former.” The deco on the truck mode is pretty slim. A few hazard stripes and little else. Nary an Autobot sigil is to be found on the one I have in either mode. The color is actually pretty ugly. It’s not orange, it’s not yellow, and it’s not pleasing to the eye. Something about the clear plastic windshields doesn’t sit well with me either, as I would’ve preferred something more tinted that doesn’t scream “let me look at your insides!”

Another complaint with the alt mode. It only looks right from the side. If you look from the top, there is a lot of kibble visible.

Look at me guts, boy-o!

Robot mode is a bit better. Thankfully, there’s some black thrown in there to break up all that orange. (There’s no way I’m buying the United version with the orange head.) The figure is a nice nod to G1. The only problem is that the crane makes a rather unwieldy weapon. I’m not even sure what he’s supposed to use it for, but it certainly doesn’t lend itself well to combat. Grapple doesn’t come with any guns either. The crane makes him difficult to pose on a crowded shelf, too.

As far as transformation goes, he is pretty simplistic, perhaps even a little too simplistic for a Voyager class toy. Pretty much all the transformation entails is folding up the shell parts, folding down the legs, folding out the arms and turning up the head. I only encountered one real problem. The head is spring-loaded, so it should pop up immediately, but there is a lip from the clear windshield plastic that catches the neck plate and keeps it from flipping. When transforming to robot mode, I had to really put some force on the plate, and I was very afraid I was going to break him. This, along with the rather average truck form, assures me that in all likelihood, I will not be returning Grapple to vehicle mode.

So, without further adieu, here’s Grapple’s gallery!

"Hauler, pull 'im up!!"

I will rebuild this town!

You think these buildings built themselves?

Yeah, I'm yellow. What of it?

Color comparison shot: Legacy Classics Bumblebee and 2010 Solar Storm Grapple

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I’ve recently become interested in obtaining prototypes and factory test shots of Hasbro’s Transformers toys. For one thing, they make the toy more valuable/collectible, and for another thing it’s just one of those neat things about living in China and being close enough to obtain such toys.

My first acquisition was Night Ops Ratchet, a Voyager class figure from the 2010 “Hunt for the Decepticons” sub-line. This hulking brute is a repaint of the voyager Ratchet from the 2007 movie toyline, this time with a mostly black deco and neon green highlights.

Here you can see the “Not For Sale” markings:

Here’s how I rate Night Ops Ratchet:

Vehicle Mode:  9

I give mad props to any Transformer that turns into a Hummer H2.  Simply put, Ratchet’s alt mode is one of the best of the entire movie franchise.  It is represented well here in this figure with lots of attention to detail.  The roll cages and roof rack feel and look right, and the color scheme is far, far better than the original puke green.  It almost has sort of a glow-in-the-dark look to it, but I haven’t tried that function yet.  The only ding it gets is a couple of instances of sloppy paint apps, but part of that is due to the fact that this is a factory prototype and not the finished product.

Robot mode: 8

One thing I can say about Ratchet is that he looks very menacing.  He’s a bit of a contrast to the G1 character who was also a medic, but not very handy in a fight.  This version looks like he would beat the tar out of you and then kill your family.  The figure is very posable, but seems most at easy in the crouched, bring-it-on sort of stance.  Weapons-wise, Ratchet is a bit lame.  His roof-rack/claw thing is OK, but the so-called axe that forms from his right hand is downright silly looking.  I do like the fact that he sports a big Autobot symbol on each shoulder.  It adds a splash a color to what is otherwise a very dark figure.  His head is still butt-ugly, though, and a nasty looking color.

Overall, I’d recommend this mold, and if you haven’t already got a version of it, this paint job is one of the best.

Enjoy the gallery! (Click on the pics to enlarge them.)