This review brought to you by the fine folks at Entertainment Earth!
I’m one of those “in and out” Transformers fans who only ever knew about Ratchet as the Autobot ambulance, though as I’ve read recent issues of the IDW comics, I’ve started to learn more about and appreciate First Aid as a character. Even with my fascination with combiners as a kid, I only had Superion and Menasor, and didn’t follow the toyline enough to get invested in the Protectobots (though the childhood G.I. Joe fan in me loved the Combaticons). Back in those days, if you did’t buy all the toys and didn’t follow the media religiously, characters just didn’t exist.
One of the things I love about the Combiner Wars is that they’ve made me appreciate certain characters that I never even knew about previously, and in seeking out some backstory, I’ve learned to love some of the more obscure members of Transformers history.
Purely from a toy perspective, First Aid is pretty great. He’s a reshelling of the Stunticon Off Road, which is a great thing, because I’m a big fan of that figure, even if he’s become somewhat of an outcast due to the recent release of Brake Neck. In fact, I’m happy that a main release Combiner uses his parts, because I can enjoy the basics of the figure without having a “sixth wheel” so to speak.
In vehicle model, First Aid is a great looking ambulance which manages to look realistic as well as have the appropriate Autobot “edge” to him. It’s amazing how Transformers have evolved over the years, and while they still use alt modes to maintain a sense of disguise, they have begun looking less and less like real vehicles you might see driving around. At least I’ve never seen an ambulance that looks like this, but I don’t really care, the vehicle is a lot of fun. It manages to take the best elements of Off Road, yet add so many new pieces that the end result is still fresh and fun.
The transformation works really nicely, with the different panels snapping together to form the outer shell of the vehicle, leaving pretty much no robot parts visible. I had some issues snapping the roof together, but finally managed to get the tabs to line up properly. Like the other vehicles, there are holes for weapons to attach, and I must admit I find it a bit funny that an Autobot medic comes with a pretty brutal looking battle axe. It’s the same weapon that came with Off Road, so the carry forward makes sense, but I always have some challenges rationalizing “rescue” vehicles that are equipped with massive weapons of destruction.
In robot mode, First Aid is great, with a fantastic new head that has some great semi-metallic blue paint and a ton of character. His articulation is spectacular, as most of the Combiner Wars figures are, with great elbow joints, really poseable knee joints and ball joints in the hips, shoulders, and neck. He has a nice swivel waist, too, which enables him to match pretty much any pose you can think of. Like Off Road, he does have a pretty sizable chunk of kibble that hangs off his back, but it’s far from a deal breaker.
First Aid is a lot of fun. Just getting this figure has made me appreciate him much more than just a Ratchet follow up, and again, this has been what I’ve loved most about Combiner Wars. Characters who were just robots to me previously have started to become actual characters, and it almost feels like I’m getting introduced to large chunks of the Transformers universe for the first time.