Botcon 97 Packrat Retro Gallery and Review!
Taking the goods from the Allspark Studios (and ultimately the credit for this photoshoot too) is long time Botcon repaint, Packrat! Will he be content to bask in the Divine Light of our studio, or will he secretly stash some of our nerd trophies on the way out? Tune in after the break to see what happens!
I was unable to attend any of the original run Botcons, and hence missed out on some of their awesome Beast Wars repaint goodness until much later in my collecting. Getting married and going to college kinda soaked up my resources at the time. Once I was a little more established, I started picking them up, one by one, and Packrat and Fractyl were the first ones I was able to snag, during the first or third FunPub Botcon. I have always been a HUGE fan of the “flipchanger” basic class Transformers from Machine Wars and Beast Wars, so getting these was a no brainer. Getting the Rattrap mold in delicious blue and gold was icing on the cake.
Packrat Beast Mode
I got Packrat very shortly after finally getting a real Rattrap (my first was a knock off). Getting him was an energon storm of confliction. One of the things that always kind of disappointed me about the mold was how…solid it was. Let’s face it, Packrat/Rattrap was pretty much a full-on brick, with rotating feet and a single jointed tail. He has no lower jaw, which makes the limitations of the mold even worse. That being said, he has a true retro feel that fans of classic toys will definitely enjoy. He displays well in action scenes that don’t require him to do anything other than…stand there. 😀 In addition to the overall color scheme changes of blue, grey, and gold between this version and Rattrap’s tan, brown and pink, there are two small deco pattern differences. First off, Packrat does not have a paint opp on the back of the rat mode like Rattap does. Additionally, he actually has irises, making the blue rat look slightly more “realistic” than the tan one. I love it. He has a little more personality in this mode than his predecessor.
Packrat Robot Mode
One of the greatest things to ever happen to Transformers was the addition of the ball joint. Packrat has ball joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. For the basic size class, this mean a nicely poseable toy that could reasonably stand in a few poses. Over time, I think my love for the joint has clouded my memory on the instability of this mold. While the appendages can be placed in numerous positions, the mold is less stable than I would like. Beyond straight standing poses and kneeling down poses, there is only so much you can do with it before gravity kicks in. Being a top heavy, back heavy figure is not strange in the Transformer world, so I find it does not ruin my love for the figure. If you really want to get him in great poses, just be prepared to use some of those action figure bases you can get for Gundam and S.H. Figuarts style figures.
Handle with Caution
Should you purchase any version of this figure, I want to help you avoid messing it up. Make sure you loosen the hands from the pegs inside the rat body before you complete flipping him open. Not doing so means the gears will slip, which could damage the mechanism. You should also be very careful with the included blaster. One of my Rattrap figures split at the fist because the gun was just a little big for the fist hole. I would not want that problem to repeat itself with an expensive or rare convention exclusive, so I normally do not even display him with it in hand for that reason.
Packrat is a figure I love seeing on my shelf, and I highly recommend him for you too. While the Rattrap mold has its issues, I love it for what it is: a great classic Beast Wars figure with retro style and decent poseability in robot mode. The colors on Packrat are nice and vibrant, and the irises add more personality to the mold than those of the original Rattrap. I think the best part of all is that this was a figure of a character that expanded the Beast Wars universe, which is still my favorite era of the Transformers franchise.
A cursory glance of eBay at the writing of this article did not find any listings, so if you are looking for him, your best bet is a Transformers related convention. Packrat is a figure that now runs at an even greater premium than before, so set aside your money and look for him first before going crazy on the vendor floor this summer. Track down this thief (or the Botcon 2015 Generations update) before he escapes your grasp for good!