Even as a wee G1 lad, it was tough to wrap my head around what the hell was going on with Ironhide and Ratchet’s robot modes. I can remember seeing these guys on the shelves and wanting them so bad because I loved the characters so much. But then there were those pictures on the box. Could the figures really look like that? How is that possible? Is that really supposed to be their faces? I was never about to risk a chance to get a new Transformer on such a gamble, but one Christmas, my uncle got my the pair of them, and so I finally found out for myself that yes, these guys were all sorts of jacked up.
Ironhide and Ratchet are both the exact same figure, save for different head sculpts and coloring, so I’m going to start with Ironhide and then just cover the differences seen in Ratchet.
Ok, so Ironhide isn’t quite a van, he’s more of an SUV. That’s close enough to me and this alt form would be awesome, if it weren’t for the web of cracks and seams running all over his broadsides or a few other noteworthy problems. Ok, this alt form could never have been awesome. The seaming is unsightly as all hell and makes me reconsider my disdain for shell-former designs. I also don’t like the mix between clear windows and painted ones, it looks terrible. Some nice touches include the rambar on the front and “OREGON” on the rear license plate. The original G1 Ironhide figure had a great van mode and horrible robot mode, here we have the reverse. I guess we can’t have both.
Transforming Ironhide is a bitch and a half. There’s a lot of stuff you have to pack into his torso and just about every time I convert him, I’m afraid I’m going to break something. I also find it impossible to convert him without him pulling apart into two halves, so I just consider that part of the transformation, it’s just easier that way.
Ironhide’s robot mode is a mixed bag to say the least. The best thing about him is that he’s finally a humanoid. His head sculpt is also very G1 accurate. I know some don’t dig the powder blue face paint, but it doesn’t really bother me at all. The plate that moves up behind his windshield chest is a brilliant little gimmick and looks great. It feature excellent sculpting and an Autobot insignia. Ironhide is also a pretty stable figure that stands and poses well. So what’s the bad stuff? His shoulders are backwards and show off his unsightly screws. There’s also a problem with his transformation that causes his head to be looking down. There’s apparently a way to fix this by taking the figure apart, but it hasn’t bothered me enough to try. There isn’t a lot of paintwork on this figure, he’s mostly red with some black and grey, but that’s how he should be.
So, let’s take a quick look at Ratchet. The only structural difference in his ambulance mode is the lightbar stuck on top, all the other changes are found in the color scheme. The white and red works really well and I don’t mind the painted windows quite as much on Ratchet as I did with Ironhide. The seaming is still ugly as hell, though. If the license plate reads “H3L PU2” which I can only come away with as meaning Help You Too or perhaps it’s a plea to support Bono. I don’t know.
In robot mode, we see that Ratchet has a nice new head sculpt, which again is a very good likeness of the G1 character. Like Ironhide, Ratchet has the same plate that comes up behind his windshield chest, this time painted black but with the same Autobot insignia. He unfortunately suffers from the same reversed shoulder pieces, showing off his awesome unfinished screws. Apart from that, his deco works really nicely. I’m not a big fan of figures molded in white plastic, but Ratchet seems to be an exception. He just pops.
Both figures have weapons that can store underneith their SUV modes, between their rear wheels. These weaposn can be converted into a gatling gun looking weapon or a small bladed energon dagger.
Despite the shitty vehicle modes and a bunch of issues with the robot modes, I still can’t bring myself to dislike these figures. Granted, they spend ZERO time displayed in their alt forms. I’m just happy enough to have G1 versions of the characters in somewhat decent robot modes. If you’re fans of these characters or are looking to complete your updated Autobot ranks, I defintely recommend picking them up. If you don’t give a crap about Ironhide and Ratchet, than I would definitely skip this pair.