I grew up in an area that did not have cable television. There were not enough houses per square mile for the local cable company to justify serving our area. We tried once and were told that all the houses within a certain radius would have to sign a service contract before they'd do it, so we were stuck with VHF and UHF. Because of this, my introduction to the Transformers was mainly through toy catalogs and seeing the figures on toy shelves. Sometimes I went home with friends who were lucky enough to have cable, so I'd make them let me watch Transformers and GI Joe, but other than that I was on my own. It was up to my imagination and what I could get from the bios on the back of the toy packages to develop the characters. Being an avowed airplane nut, the Seekers were the group I was most interested in and tried to learn the most about. Naturally, I’m in hog heaven since Hasbro has already released half of the six members of the group (I only count the original six), Starscream, Skywarp, and Ramjet.
While Ramjet is based on the original Classics Starscream figure, it isn't a simple repaint. There are some fairly significant mold changes as well. The most notable changes in this mold are to the wings and the aircraft's nose cone. First, the Starscream/Skywarp figure's nose is made of three main "pieces" (I'm not counting the separate parts, like hinges, rubber tipped nose, canopy, etc.); a front half, back half, and the head (the face of which is hidden in this form). Ramjet's nose cone is greatly simplified, with only two "pieces", a front and back half. The front half is new to this figure and more rounded and about a half inch shorter. Where Starscream/Skywarp's vehicle is based on an F-15 Eagle, Ramjet's shortened nose looks more like it belongs on an F-14 Tomcat. Although the canopy is molded the same on each toy, it is proportionately larger on Ramjet (the F-14 is a two seater and has a longer canopy than the F-15, which is usually a single seater.) All three toys have a "roll bar" molded into the front of the canopy glass, characteristic of the F-14 but not the F-15. The canopy is molded in a clear dark gray plastic, which gives it a tinted appearance. The other major change is to the wings. Starscream/Skywarp's wings, again, are based on the real world F-15. Ramjet's vehicle mode instead is delta winged. The wings are dihedral (upswept) except for the wingtips (about the last 5mm), which are anhedral (down swept) and also forward swept. (SIDENOTE: Wings that are both anhedral and dihedral are sometimes referred to as polyhedral). Since the delta wing goes all the way to the tail of the aircraft, the traditional F-15 vertical and horizontal stabilizers are gone. Instead, what looks to be two huge rocket boosters are molded into the wings, and the vertical stabilizers are molded onto the top of these. The rocket boosters are a nice addition, since Ramjet's bio says that he prefers to ram his enemies rather than dogfight with them. The rockets would give Ramjet that extra little kick needed. Ramjet's wingspan is less than Starscream/Skywarp's and this in addition to his shorter nose makes him appear like a smaller, more maneuverable aircraft. Ramjet's missile launchers are the same as those found on the previous two molds, but the missiles themselves are different. Where Starscream/Skywarp's missiles are slender near the middle and thicker near each end, Ramjet's missiles are more shaped like a torpedo or the bow of a submarine; they are thick all the way through and taper to a dull point near the end.
Transformation is the same here as the other two Seekers, except for the head. On Starscream/Skywarp, the nose is rotated 180 degrees, the front half is flipped back to reveal the head, and the head is rotated 180 degrees to reveal the face. On Ramjet, the whole assembly is rotated 180 degrees just like Starscream/Skywarp, then the front half is again rotated 180 degrees to reveal the robot's head. This is done so that Ramjet would have his traditional "conehead" appearance. The only downside to this is that the face is not hidden in vehicle mode. It is visible on the underside of the nose. The face is entirely new, it is more solemn-looking that Starscream/Skywarp's. Because of the smaller nose cone the face is slightly smaller than on the other two figures. Like the G1 toy, Ramjet's wings remain attached to his legs in robot mode. The two hinges for the wings found on Starscream/Skywarp are here, but they are really "vestigial." I can't find any real purpose for them other than maybe to keep that part from hindering poseability and were probably included so Hasbro wouldn't have to re-do the entire mold.
Another great homage/reincarnation in the Classics line. Since this figure is an almost entirely new mold rather than just a straight repaint, its worth picking up if you already have Starscream or Skywarp. My only gripe is, once again, there is no Decepticon symbol on the figure other than the "mood" sticker included on all the Classics figures. Now I'm just waiting for Thundercracker, Dirge, and Thrust.
This is probably just a problem unique to my figure. When I opened the package one of the spring-loaded missile launchers was missing. The missile itself was there, but the launcher wasn't. It was unopened so I assume this was an error from when my particular Ramjet was packaged. I have had good experiences with Hasbro's customer service with replacement of defective or missing parts. I couldn't find this figure in any other surrounding stores, so I opted to go through Hasbro rather than try to find another figure to get the launcher and then return it as "missing a part." It's going on three weeks and I've yet to hear from Hasbro regarding this problem (it's usually less than a week).