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Blackjack's Review: Ironhide

Name: Ironhide
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Deluxe Class
Series: 2010 Transformers Hunt for the Decepticons
Accessories: Deployable drone unit

"You dare point a gun at me? I will tear you apart!"

Ah, Ironhide. No, not the old red van advisor from G1. This is the gun-toting, trigger-happy weapons specialist from the live action movie. Being a newer face to Transfandom, this version of Ironhide is the image that pops into my head when you say 'Ironhide' instead of the red mohawked Southern guy.

And that is even after I watched and read the original G1 material. G1 Ironhide is great, but Movie Ironhide is more memorable. And why not? Other than the Autobots that are given major roles (Optimus Prime and Bumblebee) Ironhide is probably the next one that gets the most screen time in both movies.

In the first movie he's got several funny moments, being mistaken as the 'tooth faiwy', and later threatening to exterminate the Witwickies' resident chihuahua Mojo for peeing on his leg. He's established as trigger happy pretty early on, spinning those two massive cannons attached to his arms around at first opportunity, and even suggesting to eliminate Sam's parents when they hampered the search for the glasses. Introduced as 'weapons specialist', Ironhide takes his role with passion. That is, shooting people and stuff. His most memorable showpiece scene in the first Movie had to be his slow motion transformation as he dodged Brawl's (or Devastator) missiles, spun around, used his cannons to keep in the air as the camera spun around the POV of a terrified girl.

In the second movie, Ironhide's got a kickass 'round-and-round' transformation sequence early on. One of the best, as he rolls up, Lennox taps his hood and he immediately begins to transform, showing how fluid the CGI is. He shot Demolishor on the wheel as Optimus shot the giant Decepticon in the face in several seconds of footage that you might've missed. Afterwards, Ironhide and Ratchet act somewhat like the field commanders upon Optimus' death, but since Ironhide is trigger-happy (and the loss of O.P. must've hit him hard) he wasn't in a good mood when NEST was shut down, threatening to tear the humans apart. But he had the sense to stay on Earth because it's what Prime would do. During the Egypt battle Ironhide led the scout crew that searched for Sam and Mikaela, but was held up by a bunch of Decepticons. Basically, for the inexperienced viewer Ironhide would be the next most recognizable Autobot other than the main ones that get lots of dialogue and screen time (Optimus, Bumblebee, the Twins, Wheelie and Jetfire).

He's also got a nicely-rendered, old-not-old rugged soldier voice. It's got a touch of Southern accent, but not as overblown as his G1 incarnation. "Git up, Phraim!"

Hopefully with Bay paying more attention to character after DOTM, Ironhide would get more screentime as opposed to guys like the Twins or Leo.

Why was Ironhide among the lucky five G1 analogues to be part of the first Movie cast? Well, in G1 he was pretty iconic, and popular as well. A red van, he was Optimus' best friend and advisor, this older, wiser guy that isn't afraid to rush headlong into battle. Sadly that Ironhide met his end early on in 1986's Movie, where he was shot point-blank in the head by Megatron, one of the few times that the buckethead is truly scary. The name Ironhide remained in Hasbro's custody and was not lost like 'Bumblebee' or 'Shockwave', so we saw lots of Ironhides over the years. Beast Wars featured a new Ironhide, who transforms into an elephant, but this was retconned to be the G1 guy by IDW. The next Ironhide came from the Robots in Disguise toyline, a Spychanger that transforms into a pickup truck. It was reused for a toyline exclusive Minicon in Armada. In Energon, Ironhide was this annoying little kid-friendly character. In Animated, Ironhide was a fresh recruit, and a visual homage to his G1 counterpart.

Also, Movie Ironhide, which we'll be discussing here.

Now the first Movie toyline has got us a Voyager class toy for Ironhide. It was a decent toy, but a wee bit too lanky and tall for the supposedly squat and brawny design. It was repainted blue to pad out the tail-end of the toyline (which I unfortunately bought) and retooled in ROTF with new weapons. Then Hasbro retooled it further to make the armed-to-the-teeth Recon Ironhide. Then, when the 2010 Transformers subtitleless line appeared (a mix of Movie, Classics and everything in between) Ironhide received an all new deluxe class sculpt, following in the footsteps of his buddy Ratchet, who had a more show-accurate Deluxe class toy released in contrast to his blocky Voyager class toy.

How does it stand, though?

Alternate Mode:
Ironhide, in contrast to his G1 red vanette alternate mode, chose the alternate mode of a GMC Topkick pickup truck for the live-action movie. A nice change from the vanette of G1, because the Topkick is a pretty powerful-looking vehicle, pretty fitting for Ironhide's character. Also, the excellent metallic shade of black looks great, both on the vehicle and on the robot mode.

Compared to its larger Voyager class counterpart, certainly Deluxe class Ironhide doesn't lose out in the molding and detailing department. He's highly detailed, on par with fellow Movieverse Deluxe class toys. It's even got that 'Road Armor' funky decal molded into the bumper! GMC is molded proudly on its grill, and, well, doors and rivets and bolts and stuff are all molded in as well. All in all detail wise Hasbro doesn't make a fool out of themselves; they do know their stuff around this... if they could be bothered to, anyway.

Ironhide's main colour is, of course, a nice shade of jet-black. Silvery gray colour the headlamp-grille section, and red adorns the GMC letters and rear lights. The smokestacks are gray, and point backwards correctly unlike the Voyager class figure. The truck bed is solid black, but then there's not much you could do there. The windows are translucent dark blue, and an Autobot insignia is stenciled in white on the lower left hand side of his windshield. His large tires are brownish-gray,

Sadly, Ironhide is far from kibble free. Nevermind the join lines that crack the hood apart, his feet are blatantly hanging off from the bottom of his truck bed. No effort made to hide them at all, they just hand there pretending to look inconspicuous. Also, the feet are an eye-searing shade of blue-gray, making them stick out like a sore eye. It might have had some leeway had they been black as well, but as it is it looks ugly and ruins the otherwise excellent vehicle mode. At least with the Voyager class toy the cannons strapped to his underside are removable.

Ironhide rolls around pretty well, and his vehicle mode is great for display alongside the rest of the Movie cast.

Ironhide has a new accessory, a drone turret based on the turrets that Ironhide uses in the Revenge of the Fallen tie-in game for the PS3, XBOX and PC. I've played the game, and to be honest the drones don't really merit a toy. And this is one ugly representation as well. It's got the double-barreled, flat and boxy barrels down, at least, but the gray legs looks ugly. The legs could fold in, forming a rectanglish block, or extend as the tripod for the turret. In vehicle mode this could attach to holes on the truck bed, presumably to shoot any pursuing Decepticons. Doesn't hold in well to the pegs, and really it would do no good to any enemy from the front. The big gonzo cannon on ROTF Ironhide's truck bed looks more effective than this, although to be fair the drone turret could be stored out of sight inside Ironhide unlike the canonns that hang on the underside of Ironhide's vehicle mode in the Voyager class toy.

Robot Mode:
Transforming Ironhide from vehicle to robot mode is messy, but doable save for one bit that always frustrates me. The instructions weren't clear that you're supposed to pull his shoulders a wee bit apart in order for the piece that the head rests on could swing up, and I spent the better part of an hour trying to get this step done. Even then the plastic used there is reluctant to move, and the pieces of the hood, the wheel and the robot hands have to all be moved around. Calling the transformation 'frustrating' is an understatement.

Vice versa is even more of a nightmare. The hood and what was the stomach in robot mode simply refuses to click together, and all those funky panels on the sides of the vehicle, as well as the legs themselves, have to be in the exact perfect orientation otherwise Ironhide would look like a messy jumble in mid-transformation. Not to mention the fact that some pieces have to be forced in order for transformation to take place... it's messy and unwieldy.

Admittedly the end result looks more like the CG model for Ironhide than the Voyager toy... if you are colour blind, that is. Movie Ironhide is almost entirely black with streaks of silver, dark brown and other shades of black to accentuate detail. While this toy looks exactly like Ironhide from the chest above, everything else is painted in this fugly shade of bluish gray, and his legs are nearly entirely painted in that colour.

Perfect silhouette, though.

The end result is pretty ugly. The head sculpt is excellent. Much, much closer to the CG model than the Voyager toy. And his proportions aren't far off, although his shoulders seem a wee bit too low. He is stout and brawny, and stands nearly two heads shorter than Battle Blades Bumblebee, and a head shorter than Jazz or Jolt. He is in scale, however, with Voyager class Optimus Prime, so he gets to hog the display next to Optimus in my display case.

Molded detailing are there, but apart from the stomach-chest area, which is superbly painted, the legs are nearly solid blocks of blue-gray with black car kibble hanging off. It is unprofessional, ugly and simply lazy on the part of the designers. To make matters worse, instead of two humongous cannons strapped to his lower arms, we have a huge chunk of kibble comprised of half the roof and a bit of the truck bed. A decidedly too-small representation of Ironhide's complicated cannon is hidden on his right mass of kibble and is hardly eye-catching like it should. It's nice molding, but not at all large enough and is detracted by the huge chunk of kibble on Ironhide's arms. And the left arm doesn't even have a cannon.

Yeah, you're supposed to plug in the folded form of the drone into the left arm, but by doing so the three gray legs are too prominent, further breaking apart Ironhide's dark colour palette. Plus the folded turret doesn't look that much impressive strapped onto Ironhide. So the end result is a pretty missed opportunity for giving him proper show-accurate cannons instead of the cylindrical affairs the Voyager toy gave us. Pity. His hands are blocks with holes, instead of the open-palms-with-holes that most RTS figures sport. I do hope Ironhide would be the last of his ilk, blocks with holes are so 1984. Looks ugly, damn it.

Ironhide has got a pretty sorry amount of articulation compared to toys of the similar era. He's only got the basic ones: head, two on each shoulder, elbow, rotating wrists, thighs, knee, ankle, and that's about it. While the blocky legs can't be faulted, the arms are horrible. The halves of the hood do not clip on properly to the piece on his stomach, and trying to move his arms a little will pull the half of the hood with it, so you have to adjust it with every single little movement you do with the arm. Preposterous. Compared to his wavemate Bumblebee, Ironhide should be ashamed of his lack of articulation. And height.

All in all? It's a pretty sculpt, all right, if paint had been applied properly. But while it looks excellent at a glance visually, on closer inspection he'll simply fall apart. Terrible transformation, chunks of kibble that mar two otherwise excellent modes, hindered articulation, shoddy paintjob... not recommended when better toys of Movie Ironhide are out there.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 5/10 Great in concept, horrible in execution. Especially when transforming into vehicle mode... The thing is so convoluted and messy. While the two end products are satisfactory, the transformation is so unnecessarily complicated because everything has to be at the exact precise orientation or else it would look wrong.

Durability: 4/10 Below average. The aforemention head/neck/back/windshiel assembly will break if you force him to transform, and the shoulder joints feel loose as well. The windsield assembly feel alarmingly like it's going to break with any kind of pressure. Compared to other modern toys Ironhide isn't really durable, especially if you try to transform him.

Price/Value: 4/10 I bought him at half price, and even then I still feel cheated. Don't get me wrong, I love me Ironhide, it's just that while he looks good that's all there is to him.

Aesthetics: 6/10 This, at least, Ironhide could have excelled in, but he disappoints. The vehicle mode is more or less top-notch, and his robot mode would look better with larger cannons, better shoulders and, for pity's sake, less of those ugly gray-blue parts. Also, massive kibble pieces.

Fun: 7/10 I love Ironhide as a character, and he's in scale with Voyager class toys of Optimus and Megatron, so he's fun to muck around with. But with the rest of the toyline, Bumblebee et al? Nah. Plus, cannons are too small, and the drone figure is rubbish.

Articulation: 4/10 He's got them, all right. It's just Ironhide can't move his shoulders without moving the halves of his chest hood. Also, compared to modern figures such as Battle Blades Bumblebee, or RTS Jazz or Tracks, Ironhide certainly doesn't feel as articularted as them.

Overall: 4/10 A good looking toy, and looks much more like Ironhide than the lankier Voyager class mold, or the disastrous Legends class mold. Yet while visually he might be better, the paint scheme in robot mode doesn't look right, he has rubbish accessories (compared to, say, Recon Ironhide who has a bucketload of them) and poorly engineered to boot. Not recommended. If you are getting a definitive Ironhide toy, get the ROTF Voyager one, or Recon Ironhide, or wait for the Leader class Ironhide that's to come in the DOTM line. This is not worth it, even at half prices or whatnot. Both modes are pretty, but it's a display piece and not a properly engineered toy. Certainly not a 'if you don't have him get him' toy.
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