Colors: Molded grey, copper, fleshtone; Painted silver, brown, copper, off-white, red, black.
Accessories: Gun, separates in to two pieces; Bomb
Release Data: Released in the United States in June 2014 at a retail price of US$14.99.
This Maximal spy can infiltrate any area because he's willing to go where no other bot is willing to go: the garbage. Burrowing through trash and rubble keeps Rattrap out of the line of fire. You could say it's not courageous... but then you probably haven't smelled that trash barge.
Rattrap getting on the list of Generations remakes was a surprise at the time. But not really an unwelcome one. Plus it brings us close to the main first season Maximal cast of Beast Wars being completely remade. We're only short an Optimus Primal taking after the style of the original. But it might be nice to see the Predacons get some more attention. A new Scorponok or Terrorsaur? Ideally both so you could recreate the scene where they crash in to each other and fall in lava and die in the first minute or so of season 2.
...okay, bad example.
In terms of looks, Rattrap is pulled off pretty nicely. The face is a decent take on the CGI model. I won't fault it not being closer since apparently no comic artist so far has been able to nail that perfectly, but this sculpt gets pretty close and most importantly doesn't look frightening which is sadly easy to do when representing Rattrap's face. The "brain" and back half of the head are a colorless translucent plastic which gives off a vague silver effect that works in this application. Rattrap's eyes are painted in red, but designed for light piping. Unfortunately the paint isn't a clear color to let them glow anyway. Likewise, the mouth is not an open space to the clear plastic, so no mouth glow is possible at all.
The arms are very good in styling, though maybe a little too thick. But the important design notes are here, including at the shoulders with the completely useless gear details from the CGI design that were adapted from the original toy's auto-transformation functions. The forearms each have a tiny Maximal symbol stamped on, which would have been a very easy detail to overlook and probably would have gone largely unmissed. The legs start to veer away from show accuracy, with a lot more beast integration, but the basic shapes are represented in sculpt and paint detailing. You'll just have to ignore some of the extraneous hair that had to come along, much as it is with fast food. Swinging around to the back, we have a major departure from form. Where the design calls for the whole beast skin to split and lay on the back, this Rattrap has an array of panels fighting for space and making a very big, chunky backpack. It's the huge aesthetic failure in the design, and starts to encroach on the functional side of things as well. Let's talk about that.
The backpack hinders some movement in the arms. Not hugely but absolutely enough to be annoying. This is partly a result of a choice you have in arranging all the alternate mode junk on the back. If you push the panels back as far as they go you can open more space around the arms, but the rat legs have to point out to the sides dumbly. If you leave the panels closer in to the body you can rotate the rat limbs to be more out of the way, but the panels get in the way instead. It's basically a zero-sum game, as you're about as bad off whichever way you take it.
Further annoying, we have single hinge elbows which cannot bend a full 90 degrees because of their construction, and the shape of bicep and forearm. Irritatingly, the range of movement could have been increased by offsetting the elbow hinge a little farther forward to make the point of motion more outside where the sculpt elements fall. It's a case of the mobility of the figure taking a back seat to upholding a specific visual style, and it's the wrong choice to make. The shoulders are okay, able to lift almost straight out to the sides with ball joints. Transformation joints let the shoulders drop a little, but I haven't found any useful posing to be made possible as a result.
The legs aren't as bad off with the kibble. There's some low hanging backpack chunk that'll block the legs going backward, but it's less bad on the legs than the arms. The hips and thigh swivel are pretty standard stuff and work fine. The knees are odd because they're doing double duty as articulation points and transformation jointing. Plus trying to follow the visual styling of Rattrap's TV design, they're rendered as big cylinder hinges. All these things coming together means the knees are free to move in a 180 degree arc: 90 backward and 90 forward. Because you never know when it'll be useful to pretend to have severely broken your leg? In truth, having that flexibility could be useful in some posing. ...just not with this figure. based on how transformation works, Rattrap can't have any ankle joint, and the irregular shape of the feet tends to prevent "simulating" an ankle by balancing the robot on the edges of the feet. This is made more difficult even by the back half being made of rat foot. The toy relies on the rat feet for the heel spurs, which end up pretty narrow and not quite long enough to always compensate for the backpack being as big as it is. What that comes down to is Rattrap having a bit of interesting jointing in the legs and having little capacity to do anything with it because the toy is only very stable when in basically normal standing poses.
This must be our homage to Beast Wars Neo. This is a big game of fitting
parts together at exact right moments during other parts movements. The
instructions are of little help and leave some essential elements incredibly
vague. Add to that how a couple of parts are movable for no apparent reason
except to confuse you by making you think they must go somewhere different, and
this is easily one of the most frustrating transformations I've undertaken in a
long while. Plus I had a hinge crack in the process of moving a part in the way
it was intended to, further reinforcing that this was poorly thought out at
just about every level.
The sad part is that once you get through transforming it, the rat mode is pretty nice. It makes me think of Universe Cheetor in how the beast mode seemed to get a disproportionate amount of design attention, which was probably detrimental to the other mode. The shape of the body is pretty realistic, at least far beyond the original toy. The headsculpt in particular while being a little on the vicious looking side is pretty good for trying to be a real-ish rat. I might have preferred something that looked more like the CGI model and thus capturing Rattrap's other face, though. The jaw opens, though the hinge is stiff and may take some work to get to move.
The articulation overall is a little minimal here. The front legs swivel at the shoulders and the front feet swivel, while the rear legs only hinge at the base of the toes. The tail, rather than being jointed in the conventional style is rubberized plastic with a metal wire core, allowing it to be bendy and hold positions. It is hinged at the base, but any other movement will be by bending the wire. The tail isn't so long that I'd risk trying to wrap it around something to hang on by, and this is not a feature I intend to use much anyway. With Hasbro's soft plastics in some products being known to stiffen with age, I'd rather not take the risk and accelerate any wear to the material if I can help it.
So, the articulation beast mode has isn't much use in a four-legged stance.
But that's the hidden beauty of this. They engineered Rattrap to stand upright
on the back legs like seen frequently in the cartoon. The hinged back feet let
it stand, the front limbs swivel to move to slightly better looking positions
for a bipedal stance, and the head not only hinges down to look forward, but a
separate piece slides out from inside the head to fill the neck and keep the
robot head hidden. This isn't perfect - the robot arms are still visible in the
underbody, but they do keep the body cavity filled in so it's not as bad a look
inside the toy as it really could be. And the limited beast limb articulation
means that you don't really have room for Rattrap to be expressive with the
"hands", they kind of just have to hang in as natural looking of a position as
you can work out. But with this being a big part of the character's personality
being expressed in the show, it's really great to see it designed in this way,
and serves as the greatest highlight for the whole toy.
In homage to the original toy, Rattrap comes with a two-piece weapon. Unlike that toy, both parts are functional weapons when separate. One looks a tiny bit like a blow torch used in one episode, but that's very likely to be coincidental given the only passing similarity. The other is more vague and non-specific. Put them together and they make a rifle based on Rattrap's standard firearm through the series, though enhanced to be more like a small shotgun than pistol. Downside? It's on the same translucent plastic sprue as the back of the head. Since it's not fully clear, it looks more silvery than it does just a weird transparent gun. But it still looks really bad.
In the case of mine, there's a parts fit issue where the gun doesn't fit well in the hands. The grip slid in the right hand, but caused stress marks from stretching the plastic in hand. It would not fit the left hand at any level of force I was comfortable applying. And that's just the grip on the smaller sub-weapon which is the handle for the combined rifle. The other small gun will not fit comfortably in the right hand, nevermind the left. I can't say how wide spread this case is, but if it's not isolated to this example, then Rattrap is coming with a splitting weapon where both parts can't be carried together.
These are not binoculars, but I've come to understand the confusion since the instructions even depict Rattrap holding the piece that way. But stowed in the left forearm is one of Rattrap's signature bombs that he'd frequently pull out for various tasks. Also in translucent plastic. This suffers along with the gun in not being able to be held well in either hand. It's kind of more neat to just leave it in the arm and pop the panel to see it in storage, to me anyway. I'd love if it could be more useful, but it's cool regardless that it was included.
When it comes down to it, Rattrap is a lot like Universe Dinobot: It's a toy that has had a lot of attention and care put in to replicating a specific appearance, and in that it succeeds very well. But the robot mode has to suffer failings on a functional level to let that happen. Rattrap may not be as severe in that regard as Dinobot, but the result is clearly visible. This is partly offset by an unexpectedly nice beast mode that compromises much less to mimic the TV show, but the process of transforming to and from that mode is a frustrating exercise.
Rattrap shows a problem I've had with most Beast Wars updates: The designs are made too complicated to the detriment of the design they're based off of and the fun... the POINT of the original is lost in the effort to recreate and "update" it. It's been true of Cheetor, Dinobot, Waspinator, and now Rattrap as well. I wanted to like this figure, but it fought me almost every step of the way. It Could Have Been Better just by not trying so hard and still not lost any of the elements that I actually did enjoy. I'm thinking I'd hate to see if the current crop of designers tried to "modernize" the original Ultra Optimus Primal. There's just no way they'd get that right either...
|Date||July 18th 2014|
|Score||(4 out of 10)|
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