Thursday, 5 May 2016

Botcon 2016 Ratchet and Unite Warriors Breakdown

Botcon 2016 Ratchet

In the run up to Botcon 2016 a rumoured list of exclusives did the rounds. As it turned out the list was very accurate with just two mistakes:

The first was Airazor from Slipstream wasn't on it, replaced with Arcee from Legends Blackarachnia, which I thought made sense as there was a previous Botcon Arcee from Transmetal 2 Blackarachnia.

The other thing wrong on the rumours list was the identity of the Customise Class toy. The item the list had on it was Blue Bluestreak from Dead End/Streetwise. This made vague sense: there's already a Streetwise use in the Botcon exclusives and the customise class toy tends to be a reuse of one already in the exclusive packages. Blue Bluestreak is a "variation", although it only exists as a Diaclone toy with a lot of collector interest and by doing Blue Bluestreak here it allows a proper silver/anime Bluestreak to be done in the main Combiner Wars line or as part of another Autobot Diaclone Combiner boxset.

I wait to see any version of Bluestreak in any of his three colour schemes, but in particular the rumoured blue one, from the various customisers at work out there.

What we got instead was something of a surprise! Ratchet from First Aid is a pretty logical choice if you're trying to all 18 Diaclone Autobot cars in Combiner Wars but I'd have thought that it was considered worthy of a more main line release as part of another Autobot Combiner than a convention exclusive. Potentially this is a worse case of underestimating the potential of/demand for a toy character by putting it in the custom class than the amazing "How many toys can we homage?" Longarm/Shockwave and the "you could have sold this at retail and I'd have bought it" Universe 2 Generation 2 Sideswipe.

However there's an earlier Botcon Ratchet made from Energon Tow Line so perhaps we should have suspected this one more strongly as it fits the 2016 Botcon/TFSS 5.0 theme of looking back to past club releases.

In earlier versions of this review, when considering Future Repaints, I said:

First Aid MIGHT lend itself to being used as Ratchet if Combiner Wars goes for broke and tries to do all 16 Diaclone car Autobots. However the same comments I made in relation to Ironhide with the design not fitting with smoother lines of the Diaclone design apply here too. And, bar a new head, I'm not sure how to repaint First Aid to make it different enough but still Ratchet.
If you stripped the paint off either the Combiner Wars or Unite versions of First Aid then the resulting vehicles would look essentially the same. The differences in plastic used are only seen in robot mode. Yes there's a new head, in white, which was hinted at in First Aid's pack in comic. The combiner connector, upper arms, upper legs and knees are now grey with the shoulders, elbows, waist and knee/leg struts becoming black. The chest, like all these other parts, previously red, is now cast in white. The existing First Aid head is also included in this kit and it's grey, showing it to be on the same sprue as the grey parts above, but I'll be surprised if many people used it!

The use of the grey and the black on the parts colour choices may seem odd but it means that Ratchet is once again a White for Red Ironhide in robot mode.

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The Customise Class was given five sticker and paint options for their Ratchet: Marvel G1, cartoon G1, G2, Shattered Glass Ratchet and a fifth deco option using the First Aid head as Medix. The attendees at the class were allowed a sheet of G1 Ratchet stickers and one of the other choices.

My Ratchet comes from the assembled versions sold at the show so is lacking these stickers but to be honest I'm not sure I'd apply them anyway and my hand is a bit to wobbly for painting. I think they've done the perfect deco for Combiner Wars Ratchet's vehicle mode ALREADY and that was what was used on the Japanese Unite Warriors First Aid reducing the red to a stripe on each side & the lightbar and painting the windows blue. There's been too many Ratchets with far to complicated decos Universe Ratchet, I'm looking at you! The Original Ratchet is definitely the pattern to follow with minimal paint and sticker applications. That only leaves the rather vexing matter of the head, but given that I can't paint to save my life the one I have will be staying white all over whatever I think!

The package is complete with the axe and Hand Foot Gun in clear blue, possibly a reference to the clear blue parts packed with Botcon 2005 Ratchet and Ironhide or the hands/feet used on the Energon Combiners.

I like that a Combiner Wars Ratchet exists. I'd like it better if it existed as a finished version with painted windows, a single red stripe down the side and a red Marvel head but it doesn't. Since one of the remaining ten Diaclone Autobots has fallen the remaining nine don't divide up equally into two groups of 5 with Inferno/Grapple as body. So it looks like my dream of owning all 18 Diaclone Autobots in Combiner Wars form has taken a severe dent.

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Unite Warriors Zombie War Breakdown

Lots of options for the identity of the Off Road were bandied around following Grand Galvatron's silhouette tease but when a picture from a Japanese toy show revealed it to be blue most people were sure it would be Animated Soundwave. So it was with some surprise that when Grand Galvatron was officially revealed we discovered this component was in fact Transformers Prime Breakdown

On the face of it this is quite a boring toy, just a blue repaint of Off Road with the original head sculpt, which hadn't previously been used in Japan. But the colours chosen really work well on the toy and there's some superb paint work on the head with a red face and yellow eyes plus silver paint on the crest making it look like a battle mask that pulls down over his face.

This toy surprised me, I like it a lot and think it works really well. You can see a gallery of it here.

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