Friday, July 26, 2013

Takara United Ratbat


So I finally broke down and bought a Takara United figure.  What figure did I decide to get?  Why Senator Ratbat, of course!  Since he wasn't going to be available from Hasbro, I really didn't have any other options.  For my first ever United figure, I think I made a great choice.

Ratbat as anything other than a bat whose alt-mode is a cassette is a relatively new development in Transformers lore.  When those of us that grew up during the 1980's, Ratbat has always looked like this:

Picture from TFWiki
Even in his past, before Ratbat came to earth, that's what he always was: a bat that worked in service to Soundwave.  Sure, he usurped command of the Decepticons at one point and actually commanded Soundwave, but he was always a bat.  Always.

Then Dreamwave came around.  Specifically, Dreamwave's title The War Within happened.  In 2003, Dreamwave released The War Within: The Dark Ages.  Simon Furman was having lots of fun filling in the back story of the war on Cybertron and adding to the mythos.  One of the more lasting things that Furman added was Ratbat in a bipedal body. 

Picture from TFWiki
Seeing Ratbat like that was jarring to me.  Sure, he's purple, but can anyone honestly look at that and say "Hey!  Ratbat!"?  The face is vaguely bat-like, I suppose.  Then he was taken out of that body for some reason and put into his more familiar cassette body.  Since bankruptcy pretty much put an end to Dreamwave, the hows and whys of Ratbat's fall from command of the Ultracons to being Soundwave's pet. 

Once IDW got their hands on the Transformers license, they put out a miniseries titled Megatron: Origin, that was originally pitched to Dreamwave.  After some retooling, the series was put to print. Ratbat made his first IDW-verse appearance in issue 2 of that series. 

Alex Milne thought he was still at Dreamwave when he drew this
As a senator.  Yes, Senator Ratbat.  Ratbat didn't do what a senator does when we think of a senator.  He didn't introduce new legislation or attempt to fillibuster.  No, what Ratbat did was stoke the fires of unrest to suit his needs and fill his accounts, usually by directing Soundwave to do his bidding.  It was Ratbat's direct involvement that led to the rise of the Decepticons.  Ratbat's reward for helping Megatron?  He had his spark ripped out his body and placed into a cassette.  Hey, an explanation!

It's taken me a bit to feel comfortable with these, well, let's just call them retcons.  I didn't vomit pure hate of foam at the mouth, but I generally didn't understand the point of it all.  Ratbat's primary function is fuel scout so I'm not sure of the need to make him a faction leader or a corrupt senator.  At any rate, at least the senator design is pretty nifty.

The design led Takara, six years later, to release a Senator Ratbat figure in the United line.  The figure is a redeco of Generations Scourge with a new head.  I have to say, the wings on the back really do give it a bat-like appearance. 

The new head is really spot on to his appearance in Megatron: Origins.  It evokes the bat motif that the comic version had going for it.  It's just spot on and really great to look at.

While the cape isn't present, the wings still look great.  Have I mention the colors?  They are magnificent.  And the metallic paint for the gold highlights are pretty and shiny.  I'm just loving this figure.  More so than Scourge.

Like Scourge, Ratbat transforms into a jet that is reminiscent of a B-2 Stealth Bomber.  Whereas Scourge was predominantly blue and white, Ratbat is given a completely purple alt-mode.  Again, very shiny and very pretty.  I can't help but be thankful that the metallic finish was accomplished without the use of the metal flaked plastics that lead to GPS.  I'd hate for a figure this gorgeous to disintegrate.

Front view
Rear view
Senator Ratbat with his earless future self

 It's amazing how adding a new head and some shiny paint can really change a figure.  While I had never completely understood why someone would pay essentially 4 times the cost of a domestic release for a new figure, I can honestly see why now.  If you've been sitting on the fence about Senator Ratbat, get off of it now.  Seriously, you will not regret it.

1 comment:

  1. That is a nice looking figure indeed!

    I've always wanted to know how Soundwave got all his little friends. I bet it's something lame, like Ratbat, Ravage, Frenzy and co. were all just having a bad hand at Poker after a night on the energon and Soundwave, using his 'psychic hearing' decided to up the odds.