Can you believe it’s been fourteen years since the first live-action Transformers movie was released in cinemas? Fourteen years! Perhaps even more surprisingly, that’s the same amount of time that had passed since the end of Generation 1 in the UK & Europe, which surely puts the whole thing into some context (whilst also messing with my brain – what even is time, anyway?).
I suppose I’m reflecting a little as the release of MPM-11 Ratchet is a bit of a landmark in a couple of regards. Firstly, it’s the final figure required to complete the 2007 Autobot line-up in Masterpiece style, something that I’ve been looking forward to ever since both Bumblebee & Optimus Prime were first unveiled back in 2017 (somehow four years ago – again, time, eh?).
Secondly, and on a more personal note, it’s the first movieverse Ratchet toy I’ve ever owned! Well, assuming you don’t count the 2008 e-HOBBY exclusive green G1 toy that is, but you know what I mean. It’s my very first certified big-screen accurate take on the pheromone-sniffing ambulance lad, and I couldn’t be happier for it!
And it’s a weird time for it all too, especially with the films themselves moving onto a new chapter with the impending Rise of the Beasts on the way before too long. It makes me wonder how “Bayformers” will be remembered as a chapter in the overall Transformers franchise saga, particularly as it does seem that it’s one that is mostly now at a close.
Still, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to appreciate with this Masterpiece take, despite it coming on the back of a series of toys that has had its ups and downs, let’s be fair. The designs have all been pretty marvellous, in my opinion, with some incredible attention to detail, mind-blowing transformations, and a real reverence for bringing the source material to life.
However, it’s also been notorious for spotty quality control and iffy construction at times, meaning that at least a few of the releases are exceptionally hard to get looking flush in their vehicle forms. The worst of them, Ironhide, is a toy that I can honestly say ranks as having one of my least favourite transformations on any example in my collection, which is a shame as it’s actually very clever in theory, only to be let down by the execution.
This brings us back to Ratchet then, who I’m pleased to say bucks the trend in a number of regards! Firstly, as soon as you get him out of the box, he feels very different to the prior toys in the line in a number of ways. He’s altogether more robust and feels a lot more put together in his alternate form.
Whereas on Ironhide or Optimus, it seemed like some bits would pop out of place if you gave them a bit of a funny look, here I almost had to puzzle about how best to approach untabbing Ratchet for transformation, he’s so solid. So far, so good.
There are other differences too. The plastic used also feels very different to the touch somehow – not bad, at all, but a little more pliable in places, although perhaps that’s a good thing considering the transformation it needs to go through. I also noted things such as the rubbery wing mirrors, a far cry from the equivalent on toys such as Jazz.
There’s a notably unpainted finish to the main body too, although in fairness there’s plenty of paint applications going on all over this thing elsewhere. In fact, he’s simply loaded with visual treats for you to appreciate, and overall I’d say the presentation is very strong indeed.
I’m a huge fan of the tiny fire dept. Autobot decals on areas such as the doors, not to mention the vibrant red stripe and hazard detailing.
That carries through to the rear, although you’ll also note numerous silver accents and other areas where the moulded detail has been complemented with colour.
Speaking of that stripe, I particularly enjoy the heart monitor effect along the side and have to comment on just how crisply it’s all applied, too.
Then there’s the roof rack section, which as well as featuring further paint, boasts a number of translucent plastic sections all representing the various lights, and looks simply fantastic.
It all adds up to make Ratchet a real stunner overall, and honestly, I think it might just be the most well-presented example of all the MP 2007 crew thus far in this form. It feels like they really went to town on making him feel special, and it’s working.
There are some compromises, mind. The most obvious is the clearly visible kibble underneath the back section, behind the rear tyres. It’s a big bit of visual debris to process when you’re analysing the ambulance form and consequently will take a bit of getting used to.
Unfortunately, there are other robot bits sticking out from the sides (though it’s not nearly as egregious as the rear), along with some obvious folded up stuff going on inside the clear windows.
I’d even argue that his robot mode head is just a smidge too visible at the front, even if you can only really see it from certain angles. These are little touches that are noticeable along the way that you just have to learn to live with.
Still, even taking into account those minor grumbles, I can’t deny that I’m super happy with the ambulance mode overall. I really feel like they’ve done it justice, right down to nailing that oh-so bizarre colour scheme in all its gaudy glory.
I’ve had great fun taking photos of the vehicle form by itself then, but really it was always going to be seeing it as part of a larger line-up that was the main event, wasn’t it?
Woof. How’s that for a sight, eh? It may have taken four years (and at least a few QC fumbles) to get to this point but I can wholeheartedly say it’s been worth it.
In fact, I’ll go one further. This is the kind of line-up that the more traditional Masterpiece line has yet to serve us. It may only be five toys, sure, but the consistency in design and approach to bringing them to life is so uniform that it feels like a remarkable achievement overall. It’s the kind of sight that G1 MP collectors are still longing for, in many ways.
And Transformers fans do love complete line-ups, don’t they? I’d imagine even some of the more hardened Bayformer cynics would have to acknowledge that there’s been an overall good job served of this lot, seeing them lined up like this.
No surprise then, I had a tremendous time giving them all the once over. The way the individual vehicle modes scale is really a sight to behold (even if, in truth, I’ve no idea how real-world accurate that particular aspect is!).
It makes me incredibly hopeful that HasTak will continue with the MPM line at the same pace they’ve worked up to in more recent times, and maybe even move beyond the confines of the first film in the series at some point. There’s already a burgeoning unofficial scene when it comes to the movie designs, but I’d certainly be here for them having a go too!
I mean, just imagine what they could do with characters like Sentinel Prime or Nitro Zeus! Even some of the remaining 2007 Decepticons would be ripe for the treatment, assuming that the films themselves moving onto a new chapter don’t dictate the proceedings. We’re already seeing more Bumblebee movie designs being done, after all.
For today though, I’m just thrilled to finally have the five 2007 Autobots all in my possession at last. It’s been a long fourteen-year journey to owning my first Movieverse Ratchet toy, but oh mama, this sight was worth it.
Join us next time then, when we’ll be getting him transformed up and seeing if the thrill remains for robot mode!