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Rise of Tyranny: Senator Ratbat

Transformers Legacy Evolution
by yo go re

When Ratbat exploits the Energon miners of Cybertron, one miner, Megatron, rises up and rebels against the Senate's tyranny.

Part of the reason I was less than enthused about the release of Miner Megatron was not only that he was an online exclusive, and thus I'd never actually see one in a store, but also that he was only available in a multi-pack. In order to get him, I had to buy someone else. Even worse, it was someone I already had.

The first Generations Senator Ratbat was a quite clever repaint of Scourge, but was only ever released in Japan. This one is also a repaint of Scourge - a newer mold, obviously - but does get a bit of retooling, as well. In the comics, things related to the Cybertron Senate are identified by a certain sigil, and this figure's chest is molded (and painted) with a yoke over his shoulders that features that symbol raised in the center. The rest of his is pretty much the same, though the large, pointy "wings" behind his back conveniently serve to suggest the beastly robot mode he will one day receive.

Certainly the head was going to be new. Changing heads and paint apps is the easiest way to create new characters among Transformers toys. Ratbat has a very "IDW" face, lean and narrow, with a prominent nose and lips, and the angular shell or helmet or whatever you want to call that bit of his head again has vague nods to the bat he will be, with shapes that are today innocuous but tomorrow will be ears and an eyeslit.

It's a good thing little flaps flip out of Ratbat's feet, because otherwise the weight of those wings would send him toppling over. He moves at the knees, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, and head. There are thigh swivels, too, but the way they're designed doesn't really allow for any significant movement at all. His head is backed by a tall collar, which makes moving it a small challenge. His right hand is molded to hold his included gun, while his left has the fingers curled in a more relaxed manner.

Ratbat's instructions are printed on the same sheet as Megatron's, so when I lost one, I lost them both. Like a dope. Let's see if I remember what to do! (If not, he's the same as Scourge.) Opem up the wings like he's a Gundam going into super attack mode. Fold the head and all the panels that go with it down to plug onto the back of the legs. Swing the arms down at the shoulder to reach the ankles. Bring the wings together in the center and wrap them around the body. There, that wasn't so hard!

As a repaint of Scourge, Ratbat has the same altmode: a thing. It looks like a speed boat, but for outer space. It's a flying altmode, which is all that matters, because that's part of what gave Ratbat a superiority complex over other bots: he could fly, they were stuck on the ground, therefore he was better than them. (It's the Cybertronian equivalent of America's weird "if someone is rich, it follows they must also be intelligent and moral" thing). This mode doesn't look at all like a bat, but we trust there's some fan out there who's devised a way to make that happen. The future-eyeslit becomes a sort of viewing port here, and the senatorial crest appears again right below it. There's nowhere to put his gun, other than plugging it into the side of the craft, which is sad; it almost fits betwee the robot's legs, but the 5mm post on the side prevents that from happening.

This set of Miner Megatron and Senator Ratbat is one of two "Rise of Tyranny" two-packs that went up for sale on Amazon at the same time - the other was Orion Pax and Senator Shockwave. Since this set has two Voyager Class figures, it cost more than the other, which had one Voyager and one Deluxe; however, when the listings went up, the prices were swapped; this one was cheaper. Convenient savings for me! So I ordered it, waited the several months for it to ship... and got the wrong set. They sent Prime/ Shockwave. And people who ordered that set were getting this one. Amazon was fulfilling orders based on the published pricepoint, not on the actual item you ordered. So I sent the incorrect item back for a replacement, and got the same wrong thing again. Got in touch with customer service, who promised me a $10 credit on my account (which never showed up, come to think of it), but otherwise were of no help. After a little more work, I finally got the set I wanted at the price I'd already paid, so it worked out. Just know that if you order either of the two-packs, and it doesn't ship to you with an external Hasbro mailer box around it, you're getting someone's secondhand return.

Senator Ratbat's colorscheme of black and royal purple with a few gold and silver highlights is a really beautiful thing, and makes this a better toy than the comparatively dull Scourge - the same was true of the Japanese release years back, and was the reason I got that one. I was annoyed that I had to repeat a character to get the Megatron I wanted, until I realized that was just me being selfish: yeah, I got the old Ratbat, but who else did? Not many fans had access, and they deserve it. I'm still not sure a two-pack was the way to go, especially with the problems Amazon had fulfilling the orders, but at least Megatron is paired with a good toy instead of something crummy?

-- 09/05/23

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