A Transformer who turns into an animal instead of a vehicle? Somebody get the pitchforks!
Before the war, Ratbat was a senator with power and control. He swept away anything he regarded as a threat through use of finance and manipulation. Recognizing the power of the revolutionary known as Megatron, Ratbat plotted to use him
as a tool to advance his own political career. His plans were undone when the extent of his corruption was revealed, and he became a subordinate of Soundwave, with his spark trapped in the form of a Cassetticon. His original form is only used when performing diplomatic duties.
That bio references Megatron Origin, a 4-issue IDW series that was originally written 1) to be part of the Dreamwave continuity, not IDW, and 2) to be six issues long, not four. So before it could be published, the characters all had to be tweaked to match a completely different storyline, and a full third of the content had to be excised or compressed. No wonder it turned out so badly!
This Ratbat is a repaint of the Scourge mold, which doesn't break my "don't buy multiple figures with the same mold" rule for a few reasons: first of all, this one has the alternate head first seen in the line drawings on Scourge's instructions; and secondly, I traded Scourge to one of our readers, so I technically don't own it anymore.
The new head looks more like a wolf than a bat, and it's worn the same way Voltron wears a lion - that is, an animal head with a humanoid face poking out of the mouth. Although the rest of the mold
is identical to Scourge, the paint apps have been changed. He's a rich metallic purple with black and gold highlights, but that's not what we're talking about. On Scourge, the angular chest armor was a single solid color surrounding a grey area in the center, Ratbat's chest armor is painted with a gold stripe around the inside, the central area is done in two colors, and the lower plates of armor near his waist are silver. Plus, the drums on his shoulders are gold, rather than matching the rest of the shoulder anatomy. The sculpt of the toys may be the same, but the paint keeps them looking unique.
Ratbat keeps the same articulation and the same accessories as the mold had before. That means he has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees and balljointed feet, and he's armed with two blasters that can be combined into one. You cannot plug either of the guns onto the top of his head, like you could with Scourge, but is anybody going to miss that? They still fold up to store in his wings - wings which, if you leave them open, make a very nice chiropteran accent for the character.
As you can probably guess, Ratbat's altmode is not a cassette tape - or a bat. He changes into a blended wing body aircraft with a 7⅝" wingspan (although if we could come up with a bat fanmode for Mindwipe, we can surely do the same for Ratbat).
The colors work very well here. Ratbat's dark purple looks terrific with the black stripe on the leading edge of the wings, and the gold accents really pop.
There's one difference between
Ratbat and Scourge, and it's a midly disappointing one. Since Ratbat's head is wider than Scourge's, it can't retract down into the neck the same way. And since it can't be pushed down, the rear landing gear of the plane doesn't stick out far enough to support the vehicle the way it should. Like we said: mildly disappointing.
Scourge was a nice toy, but I wasn't so attached to him that I hesitated to send him away to someone who would love him better. So when I heard that the mold was coming back out again - with an amazing purple coat of paint - I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, Ratbat has only been released in Japan, and there are no plans for Hasbro to bring him over, so if you want one, you've got to pay import prices. Ratbat's good, but is he that good? Drop by our message board and tell us.