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Ratts Tyerell & Pit Droid

SWI: The Phantom Menace
by yo go re

Every character seen in the Star Wars movies have a full and complex backstory - some are just sadder and more pathetic than others.

Ratts Tyerell was an Aleena, a race that had tiny bodies and fast reflexes. He became a podracer, of course, and while he had a reputation as a boastful bully off the track, he was a fair and honest racer and hated any form of cheating. Thus, he also hated Sebulba, and planned to finish him off during the Boonta Eve Classic. But while pushing to catch up with the underhanded Dug, he lost control, smashed into a stalactite and was killed.

After his death, Ratts' brother sold his daughter into slavery. His son tried to race for her freedom, but his pod was sabotaged and he lost. He later started the Ratts Tyerell Foundation in his father's memory, striving to make podracing safer or even get it banned outright. However, his efforts were viewed by other racers as a front for the Republic's bias against non-humans.

During the development of the movie, Ratts was only known as "Podracer - Long Head," and sure enough that's his defining feature today. Though he's the same species as Tsui Choi, he doesn't share any parts with that figure. Ratts' head is longer, and Tsui had larger cheek flaps or gills or whatever those things are.

Though this figure was released in the black-carded Vintage Collection, that wasn't always the plan. He was originally intended for 2009's Legacy Collection (the one that had Stormtrooper helmet-shaped blister cards, remember?), which is why his articulation isn't as crazy-advanced as Ben Quadrinaros'. The head is a balljoint, the shoulders are injection-molded swivel/hinge joints, and the wrists, waist and hips are swivels. It's certainly enough articulation, but you'd think he would have more. The sculpt is very nice, from the diaper thing he wears, to the bandolier on his chest and the tiny, tiny stitches on the back of his shirt.

Ratts Tyerell comes with two small accessories, and sadly neither of them is his podracer. What, is a full-sized podracer too much to ask for as a pack-in with a $10 action figure? Eh, anyway he has a black pistol and a removable pair of goggles with a cute little visor.

Since he's so small, the package also includes a Pit Droid - a real, "hit 'em in the nose" cute DUM-series Pit Droid. It's the same mold used in the two-pack, which means it's the same mold that's been kicking around since 1999. This time it's painted tan/gray and magenta, and has a weathered look. His little antennae are grey, and he moves at the shoulders, hips and head.

Getting another Pit Droid is always a good thing, and it's a nice way to fill up space in a blister with a small figure (so you don't feel robbed, like you would if you bought the Vintage Collection Ewoks). Ratts Tyerell is a decent little guy, though not quite up to the Vintage Collection standard. At last, you can relive his aborable, fiery death on your own!

-- 05/05/12

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