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|Classics Ramjet||Reviewed by Thunderscream|
|Return of the Conehead|
The second year of Transformers introduced many new concepts and characters, including figures that used sculpts that had been modified from those used for previous characters; these would later be termed "retools." The most famous of these were three figures fans would dub "the coneheads," dubbed so because of their appearance in the animated series. These were figures previously used for the characters Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp, but modified slight to differentiate them from their predecessors. Ramjet was one of these modified characters and Classics resurrects his origins as a modification of Starscream. This review will focus on the changes between Starscream and Ramjet.
|Altmode: Modified F-15 Eagle|
The best one could describe Ramjet's alt mode as a modified F-15 Eagle, though his vehicle form is definitely much more fanciful than any real-life modified F-15. His primary colors are white, located mostly around the cockpit and forward body, red painted on the wings and dark gray/brown on the wings, engine thrusters, and tail. There are red stripes on the front of the engine covering, with a gold triangle painted in front of the main thrusters. The end of the nosecone has been painted dark gray/brown and gold has been painted on the upper section of the inner intakes. His heat stamp is located on the upper left side of his fuselage.
The center fuselage on Ramjet remains basically the same as on Starscream and Skywarp. The major changes can be found in the wings, tail, and nosecone. The wings have been changed from typical delta wings of the F-15 to a more triangular set merges the wings themselves with the horizontal tail stabilizers. The tips of these wings are bent slightly downward, presumable for stability considering Ramjet's wings are probably not aerodynamically feasible in real life. An extra set of engine thrusters have been molded into the wings, one on either side of the main engines, with the vertical stabilizers molded on top of those. A comparison between Starscream and Ramjet, or even Skywarp and Ramjet, will reveal that Ramjet's nosecone is noticeable shorter than on his predecessors. This is undoubtedly due because of how his robot head has been constructed; more on that later. Look closely on the underside of the nose cone, just above Ramjet's robot face, and you'll see a section that looks like a landing gear. It's glued or molded in place, so there isn't really a wheel hidden there; considering the part's length and the distance between the nose and the ground, it's understandable why one is not included.
Classics Ramjet is perhaps closer the look of his G1 predecessor than any of the previous incarnations of the character, indeed of any figure bearing the name of the original "coneheads." The shortened nosecone makes him look a little odd, but then, his whole form is an oddity, so this is minor. The only problem with this mold is the same with Starscream and Skywarp - the brace between the intakes that holds his robot chest in place. Also, the landing gear is in a very odd place for this type of aircraft. Ramjet's face is also visible on the underside of his nose, but it's not entirely noticeable unless one flips Ramjet nearly completely on his back, so it's not a major complaint.
If one has either Starscream or Skywarp, then transforming Ramjet between jet and robot and back should be a breeze. There are some subtle differences, mostly due to the changes to the figure sculpt, so it would be advisable to keep the instructions on hand. Of particular note is the head; it should be turned to face forward before placing the cockpit into the chest piece. Still, most of the process should be easy to figure out without the instructions. Again, one should keep the instructions close, especially if Starscream and/or Skywarp are not a part of your collection.
Ramjet stands just under six inches from the bottom of his feet to the top of his cone head, which just clears the top of the intakes on his shoulders. The colors of his jet mode carry over to his robot form, with a little more gold painted on his shoulders, chest, waist, and below the knees. His face is painted a dark shade of gray/brown with red colored optics.
Ramjet has the same number of articulation points as Starscream and Skywarp, mostly on his arms and limbs. Like with his predecessors, his head can also move back and forth, but unlike with Starscream and Skywarp, whose nosecones fold back behind their heads, Ramjet's nosecone is his head. As a result, he doesn't have the same leverage as the others, making it difficult for adult fingers (and possible younger fingers) to turn his head due to the proximity of his intakes. The head has also been attached very tightly, making turning the head even more difficult. Most of his joints are tight, including the ones on his hips, a common problem with this mold. Those are still loose, but they're not as loose as on Starscream or Skywarp.
Ramjet's entire form is more in touch with his depiction of the character in the original animated series than the original 1985 figure. Older fans will remember that the original Ramjet - and his "conehead" brethren - did not really have a conehead, but were in fact more like those of the original Skywarp, Starscream, and Thundercracker figures, in which the nosecone simply folded back. When Ramjet and his brethren were made into characters on the show, the animators change the design of their heads so that their faces where set inside their nosecones, no doubt to differentiate them from the original "Seeker"* trio. The animated form has become familiar to fans and it's good to see that the designers have taken this into account when creating this figure.
As with Starscream and Skywarp, Ramjet comes with a pair of launchers and a pair of missiles. The launchers are molded exactly the same as those found with Starscream and Skywarp, but colored differently. The main body is dark gray/brown, the barrels and triggers are white, and the vents at the rear are painted gold.
The missiles, which are painted a dark shade of gray/brown, are different from those included with Starscream and Skywarp. Ramjet's missiles look more like folded umbrellas than the null rays seen on Starscream, or even on his animated counterpart. This is probably a nod to the original figure, which also lacked the null-ray rifles of his predecessors; his weapons were described as "cluster bombs." This gives the figure distinctiveness from Starscream and Skywarp aside from simply being a retooled figure.
The launchers and missiles can be attached to his wings via pegs on the launchers and holes in the wings. Because of the retooling of the wings, the position of the launchers is a little further back on Ramjet than they would be on Starscream and Skywarp. In robot mode, he can hold his weapons in his fists or have them set on his upper arms as on his predecessors. The mount for the launchers is set high on his shoulders, as they are on Starscream, but because of how the figure has been retooled, the only issue is that he can't hold his arm straight out to the side; because there's no wing behind his shoulders to push back, this is not an issue with him.
Retools are most often treated with skepticism by fans, as they're often perceived as a cheap way to introduce new characters to a line, and not always with the best results. Ramjet is a great figure on his own, an excellent example of how well a retool can be executed. He's also a fabulous rendition of the original animated model and definite must have for anyone's collection.
* The term "Seeker" is one created by fans to describe the characters that used the original Starscream sculpt.
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