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Ratchet & Clank

Playstation Minimates
by yo go re

At the 2010 New York Comic Con, Diamond Select Toys revealed that they would be making Minimates based on Playstation games (in other words, they had the Sony license). I have yet to play any of the games covered in the license, but when they showed up at Toys Я Us in June 2011, I still picked them up right away.

An impulsive wrench-wielding mechanic once thought to be the universe's last remaining Lombax, Ratchet has never known much about his true origins. His only family and confidant is Clank, a small robot who has remained by his side through countless adventures across the universe.

And that right there is everything I know about Ratchet: he is a lombax, he speaks for the trees! Crap, wait, no, that's the Lorax. I guess I don't know anything about Ratchet. I know his games are all about crazy-ass weapons, and if you have the early games, the guns you earned there will be available in the sequels. Oh, plus the games all have silly puns for their titles. Up Your Arsenal indeed!

For the most part, Ratchet is built on the standard 2" Minimate body, but the head is a new piece that's larger than usual. It's not quite the size of a 2.5" Minimate's head, either, so it's a new mold. The original plan for the character was that he'd be a space reptile (kind of like Insomniac's previous big star, Spyro the Dragon), but was eventually changed to a mammal because they're more sympathetic and agile. The facial details are just painted, but he has a unique head-cap that creates his big ears.

Thanks to the big head, Ratchet's proportions look pretty close to the videogame renders. He's wearing a brown and green blue teal set of clothes, perfect for adventuring around weird alien planets. His shirt has short sleeves, so his lower arms are painted to look like his fur, but the transition isn't very defined. The costume design includes new boots, gloves and a belt, and the belt also allows them to attach his long, striped tail. He's wearing a brown harness that slips over his shoulders, and there's a hole in the back that allows you to plug in one of his accessories.

The set includes Ratchet's trademark wrench and his starting pistol - that's a "starting pistol," ie, the pistol he starts the game with, not a "starter's pistol," a gun used to tell racers when to go. They're both new pieces, of course, detailed well and able to be held in either hand. But none of them are the one that plug into the harness. No, that's the miniature collapsed Clank that can ride around on his back!

Assembled at a Blaargian robot factory and imbibed with the Zoni life force, Clank has served as Ratchet's moral and logical compass for several years. Proving that great things can come from the tiniest of heroes, Clank has stood by Ratchet's side during countless fights against the forces of evil.

Yes, that sure is Clank's biography, right there. Yup. His real name is apparently XJ-0461, and though he was supposed to be a big, scary Sentry-Bot, but for some reason he came off the assembly line as the cute little guy you see before you today.

But only, not-so-little. The "backpack Clank" accessory shows you what size Clank is meant to be in relation to Ratchet, but since the figure uses the basic Minimates body, he's nearly as big as his buddy - at least twice the size he should be. They did use some clever design to help make him look smaller - for instance, instead of the usual Minimate legs, he uses a second set of arms. He has new hands and feet that fit really far onto the limbs, making them appear to be shorter than they really are. He also has a bulky chest cap and a new waist, making the rest of his body scrawny by comparison.

Clank gets the standard Minimate head, which ends up looking miniscule next to Ratchet's big ol' noggin. His giant green eyes are painted well, and so is his mouth. A black piece plugs into his head to create a ridge over the center and give his antenna a place to be mounted. He doesn't have any accessories, but he can hold Ratchet's wrench if you really want.

Clank may not be the right size next to his partner Ratchet, but with all the weird weapons in this game series, can you really not pretend there's something that would make him grow to twice his usual size? We may have missed out by only getting the basic weapons instead of bigger, wilder ones, but Ratchet and Clank are still a good, fun pair of Minimates.

-- 04/15/12

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