#2560: Ratchet



Do you ever find yourself having made a mistake, which then becomes compounded upon and compounded upon and compounded upon, and by the time you realize you’ve made it, it’s very hard to fix it?  I mean that in a sort of comedic sense, I suppose, here on the site where I like to keep things light.  But, I also do feel like maybe there’s some deeper meaning to that.  You see, on October 18, 2020, I made a mistake.  I published my review of the Power of the Force II Concept Speeder Bike, and I accidentally gave it the number “2561,” rather than its proper “2560.”  I skipped ahead one day, and I didn’t even notice.  For two years, I just didn’t see it, and it was never corrected.  For two years, I’ve been technically one day ahead.  One day out of synch.  But, on the precipice of wrapping up my ninth year here on the site, I found the error.  I found the day I missed.  Years ago, I would have made some joke, maybe written a review in the style of two years prior, as if the day hadn’t been missed.  I very much considered that.  The trouble is, it’s impossible for me to go back to who I was in October of 2020.  The worst day of my life stands between me and that missing day.  But, I want to go back, as best as I can, in some form.  So, if you’ll indulge me, this is not going to be a standard review by any stretch.  I have chosen a figure of notable significance, and what follows isn’t a review of that figure, but rather a life surrounding that figure.


Ratchet was released in the second deluxe wave of Hasbro’s Transformers Prime: Robots in Disguise.  He came out in 2012.  This figure was intended to be added to my collection in June of 2020.  I had gotten into Prime the prior fall and I liked Jeffery Combs’ take on Ratchet, so I was looking for this figure.  He came into All Time, and I thought I was getting him for me.  I wasn’t, though, as it turned out.  But I didn’t know that for a little while.  In June of 2020, the world was three months into a global pandemic that we’re honestly still fighting.  But things were getting better for a bit, and we thought maybe the worst was past.  We were wrong, of course, but that’s our lot.  I lost my full time job to the pandemic.  I went unemployed for two rather frightening months as we all stayed inside, isolated.  At the end of May, we started to come back out.  I got another job.  A job I really wanted.  I was excited.  I was at ease.  I was happy.  I thought it had all worked out.  I was wrong again.  June was the month that Jess got sick.  After a string of frustrating doctor’s visits, she finally made some headway, and she wound up going into surgery, with an extended weekend recovery.  At the end of the weekend, we were told we could go home.  Everything was okay.  We had nothing to worry about.  Wrong again.  I bought this figure during the period of not needing to worry.  In short order, the worry returned, and Jess had cancer.  She had to go back into surgery, this time without me there to help her.  She was afraid, and she needed some small comfort.  So, I handed her the best medical expert I had on hand, Ratchet.  And he wasn’t mine, he was hers now.  He went with her to every treatment, every hospital stay, and every emergency room run.  He didn’t leave her side.  If a pandemic wouldn’t let me be there with her, he would be.  And he did that well.  He gave Jess something to rally behind.  She would fiddle with him, she would pose him, she would even show him off to her nurses and other medical staff.  She absolutely loved him.  I told her when I gave him to her that he would help her.  And for once, I wasn’t wrong.  Maybe the help didn’t take the form I expected, but it was definitely there.


I took the photos attached to this not-really-review back when I still thought the figure was mine.  I intended to review him, but when he went to Jess, I didn’t want to deprive her.  After she was gone, I genuinely didn’t think I could bring myself to write about him without her.  When I discovered the missing number, I initially wanted to do a fill-in review.  Place myself in my shoes in October 2020.  And I did.  In October of 2020, Jess had finished her first round of chemo.  We thought the worst was behind us again.  We celebrated.  I thought I might just get to review this Ratchet, but maybe Jess might help me.  He was hers after all.  By November, we knew were wrong again.  But, for a few short weeks, the clouds parted, and we were happy.  When I looked through what I still had unreviewed from that year, I saw this figure sitting there.  I remembered how happy we were in that month.  And I recognized how wonderful it was, fleeting though it may have been.  I found that wonderful day I’d missed.  And I’m so happy I did.  In the chaos that is life, it’s easy to get stuck on the pain, the suffering, and the general awfulness.  But then you miss the good.  Even in my worst days, there was such brightness, even if just for a moment.

If you made it through all of this, thank you for indulging me on this little trip.

#2747: Ultra Magnus



“Ultra Magnus is an inspiration to the Autobots under his command, and a source of terror for the Decepticons who fight against him. His ancient hammer – a mighty artifact known as the Forge of Solus – is a symbol of strength with which he defends Autobot ideals. The thunderous strike of this incredible hammer has been known to topple even the greatest Decepticon warriors.”

While Transformers: Animated was certainly a success, the cartoon proper was partially financed by, and therefore partially owned by, Cartoon Network.  Hasbro was, at the time, looking to get into their own side of the media thing, launching their own television network, the Hub.  Along with re-runs of some of the older Hasbro-based shows, they also had some original programming, including a new animated series, Transformers: Prime.  Joining the show in its third season was my boy Ultra Magnus, voiced therein by veteran actor Michael Ironside.  I looked at one of Magnus’s show-based figures already, but today, I’m looking at one more.


Ultra Magnus was released, not as part of Prime‘s direct tie-in toyline, but instead as part of the Transformers: Platinum Edition line, as well as part of Hasbro’s “Thrilling 30” initiative celebrating the franchise’s 30th anniversary, where he was numbered 3 of 30.  He was released in 2013, through both Big Bad Toy Store and Toys R Us.  In his robot mode, Magnus stands 9 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  As a post-show-appearance Prime Magnus figure, he’s actually based on the character’s show design, rather than the earlier toyline-exclusive design.  Much like the Voyager Class version of the character I looked at last year, this guy is built largely from Optimus parts, specifically the Weaponizer Class Optimus from the Prime line’s first year.  He’s got a new head, shoulders, and chest plate, which bring him in line with the changes to the Optimus model made for Magnus in the show.  The new parts go well with the old, and he certainly looks the part.  He keeps Optimus’ internal weaponry gimmick.  Pressing the button on his left side, launches two spinning guns over his shoulders.  They’re pretty cool, though one of them spins just a bit longer than the other, which is somewhat amusing.  Magnus includes the Forge of Solus Hammer, which is quite a sizable piece of plastic on its own.  I definitely dig it.  He’s also got a small white gun piece, which is alright, but not quite as Magnus-y.  His color scheme departs from the Beast Hunters version, which was itself not super cartoon-accurate.  This one changes the blue to a better match, and changes the hands to a proper red, but swaps white for the sections that should be grey.  It’s not a terrible set-up, though.

Ultra Magnus’s alt-mode, much like the smaller figure, is a truck mode, very much similar to the one that Optimus had.  It’s notably a little differently handled from how the smaller version did things.  Rather than the extra plastic added by the new shoulders being shifted to the top and back of the truck cab, it’s now be changed into some additional armoring around the sides.  It’s honestly not as convincing from the front, but it’s really just as much of a trade off as the other one in the grand scheme of things.  The weapons gimmick is still usable in his vehicle mode, now launching from beneath the front grill of the truck.


This particular copy of this particular Ultra Magnus is nifty, because he’s actually been owned by three separate All Time Toys employees over the years.  He was first owned by Pat, who traded him in 2019 when downsizing his Transformers collection.  I was planning on snagging it then, but Max wound up snagging it first (this was before we’d really established the precedent of me getting first dibs on Magnuses, so we were still operating on him getting first dibs on Transformers), and then Max ultimately brought him back in last year, at which point I got him, and boom, here we are.  It’s funny, because I actually got this figure before a bunch of the other Magnuses I’ve picked up, but he got set to the side for a while, and now he almost feels kind of quaint, I suppose.  He’s certainly fun, and also one of the largest Magnus figures I own, which I suppose is pretty neat.

#2502: Ultra Magnus



At the end of yesterday’s Soundwave review, I mentioned one more Prime figure coming along with him.  If you know really anything at all about my Transformers collecting habits, then it’s not even remotely surprising that the other figure was an Ultra Magnus.  He’s kind of my guy here.  Magnus was absent from the first two seasons of Transformers: Prime, but made his way to the show for its third and final season, which also meant he got in on the toys, one of which I’m taking a look at today!


Ultra Magnus was released as part of the third Voyager Class wave of the re-branded Prime: Beast Hunters line.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 19 workable points of articulation.  Magnus’s sculpt is, of course, based on his cartoon appearance, which was notable, because he wasn’t the first Magnus figure in the Prime line-up, but he was the first to actually be based on his show look.  Said show look isn’t quite as far removed from the classic Magnus design as Soundwave was.  It’s really just streamlined and generally brought more closely in-line with how the show handled Optimus’s design, since the two are usually built out of at least *some* of the same parts.  That fully tracks with the actual construction of this figure, which borrows pretty heavily from the Powerizer Optimus Prime from earlier in the line.  Magnus gets a new head, chest plate, and shoulders, which bring him more in line with Magnus’s show design, and help to really sell them as, you know, different characters and all.  The new shoulders are in line with the usual Magnus tradition of big ol’ pillars on his shoulders, but are also functional, as they can shoot missiles out of the top…if you have them…which I don’t.  Also missing from my figure is his Forge of Solus, the big battle hammer this version of Magnus carried.  Not missing, however, is his wing-pack, because apparently Magnus needs some wings.  Hey, I can dig it.  What I can also dig, as show-inaccurate as it may be, is Magnus’s color scheme, which has that cool bright blue that the old toy did.  Most stuff these days goes with the more cartoon accurate darker blue, but I enjoy the brighter shade still showing up occasionally.  Magnus’s alt-mode is pretty much the same truck mode that Optimus got, them being mostly the same mold and all, but with a few surface details here and there changed.  It’s a transformation that’s a little tricky to get the hang of the first few times through, but I was able to get there, and it’s not so bad now that I have a few attempts under my belt.


So, obviously, I got this guy from Max, just like with Soundwave.  He knows I’m a Magnus guy, and he always keeps an eye out for the ones I don’t have, and he was nice enough to snag this one for me, also for my birthday.  Interestingly, the figure didn’t have any of his accessories when he got traded in, but Max has just so happened to have the wing-pack sitting on the shelf above his desk for over a year now, and was actually pretty excited that a matching Magnus finally came through.  And hey, it makes mine that much more complete!

#2501: Soundwave



It’s been a bit of a spell since I’ve looked at any Transformers, which is something that didn’t used to be a weird thing, but now has become one.  What a weird world I live in now.  Well, the lack of Transformers should be changing post-haste, as I have some new stuff waiting for review.  However, before getting into the new stuff, how about some old stuff?  Though I didn’t watch it new, Transformers: Prime is one of my earlier instances of sitting down and actually watching a Transformers show through, and I definitely dig some of the updated designs that came out of it.  Obviously, my favorites to come out of it are my favorites to come out of any incarnation of the franchise, so I am just all about this incarnation of Soundwave, who I’m taking a look at today!


Soundwave was released in the first series of the Prime: Robots In Disguise “Revealers” line, which was the deluxe-class component of the tie-in line.  In robot mode, he stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of workable articulation.  As with most figures in this line, he was based on his cartoon appearance, which was a quite streamlined, almost bat-like design.  It’s pretty far removed from the classic G1 design, but it still really fits with the spirit of the character, and I feel makes for a much cooler update than what we ended up getting in the movies.  His sculpt was all new to this figure, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Soundwave’s animated appearance from the show.  It’s pretty slick and poses pretty well considering how it’s designed.  He’s a touch restricted at the shoulders, but for the most part it’s impressive the level of posing you can get out of him.  This Soundwave, as with just about every Soundwave post-80s, had to come up with a new alt-mode that wasn’t just a cassette player, what with those being out of vogue these days and all.  Instead, Prime Soundwave’s alt-mode is a spy drone, reminiscent of the Predator B drone.  Honestly, it’s a pretty solid choice of alt-mode, given Soundwave’s typical characterization as a spy and all that.  His transformation process is a little more involved and finnicky than some of the more recent Transformers I’ve picked up, but it’s still pretty easy to figure out, and the end result is a pretty convincing spy drone.  Soundwave was packed with his companion Laserbeak, who can either be plugged into one of the 5mm ports throughout Soundwave’s body, or folded into his chest for easy storage.  The chest storage is definitely a nice throwback to the cassette set up of the vintage figures, and I really dig it.  In 2013, under the revised Beast Hunters branding for Prime, Soundwave’s mold got a slight re-working, a new color scheme, and a new capture claw weapon and Ravage in place of Laserbeak.  It’s a fun change-up from the initial figure, with a slightly brighter and bold color, and the new accessories are certainly a lot of fun.  Not quite show-accurate, but still kind of nifty.


Since I wasn’t watching Prime when it was first airing, I wasn’t picking the figures up either.  However, the Beast Hunters release of this mold was eye-catching enough for me to make my first “modern” Transformers purchase to pick it up.  I always dug that one, but when I sat down and actually watched some of the show, I found myself kind of wanting that more standard Soundwave.  I never did get around to snagging him…on my own, anyway.  It’s kind of been raining Transformers collections at All Time recently, though, and one of them had a lot of Prime stuff in it.  Max made it a point of setting aside this guy and one other figure (who I’ll be looking at tomorrow) for me, as a really awesome birthday present.  Now I have Soundwave and both of his smaller buddies!