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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Knightdramon's review: Henkei Ironhide

Name: Ironhide
Function: Bodyguard
Allegiance: Cybertron\Autobot

Ironhide was my favourite Autobot back in the day. See, as a child, you look past the generic show model he had and focused more on when you're seeing that red autobot do something heroic in the episode. That fascination has pretty much stayed with me all these years, as I've made it a habit to actively pursue mainline Ironhide toys. So far I've covered the original and the movie ver. here at the archive, it's only fair I get the honours to review the henkei version as well.

Ironhide's US Universe release left many disinterested and disappointed due to the fact that his face was painted Allspark blue, his windows have that horrible blue as well and his paint would scratch out very easily on the clear plastic parts. Moreover, parts of the robot mode looked unfinished or moulded in a very plastic-y colour. The henkei version remedies most, if not all of those faults.

Vehicle Mode

Ironhide makes his comeback in the form of an SUV vehicle\van type thing. He measures marginally over 13 centimetres from front to back and a bit less than 6 from bottom to top.

Whilst the vehicle mode is not reminiscent of the original at all, it definitely has a flair of intrigue and rings back some nostalgia; make no mistake, the colours definitely ring Ironhide. A nice, deep red is used primarily on the entirety of the vehicle, only a slightly more bright tone used for the clear parts [part of the roof and hood]. Metallic baby blue is used in the form of side windows, definitely making them classier than the Universe version. Silver is used sparingly on the front grill, the bumper is moulded in light gray and the rear bumper is a charcoal gray tone. The wheels are cast in black and there's a yellow stripe painted across the sides of the vehicle [entirely absent in the Universe version]. Chrome is used for the headlights and taillights [reminiscent of the original G1 release]. The driver\passenger side, front and rear windows are all cast in clear blue plastic.

There's not a lot of sculpted detail on the figure and that's mostly because of the transformation process. The sides of the vehicle are segmented in order to separate, twist and rotate so don't look for much besides door handles or some panel lines above the wheels. A roof window is moulded and painted in black above the driver's seat. There's some nice sculpting on the front grill but that's it, unfortunately.

Not much is present in the sense of playability, besides rolling him around. When transformed correctly, Ironhide is pretty stable and secure in van mode, but truth be told, it needs a lot of careful aligning. I really like the shift from van to SUV, but the best is yet to come...

Robot Mode

...until of course you convert him to robot mode! The process of converting him from SUV to robot is pretty straightforward [it's reversing that process and locking the panels that takes effort] and you're presented with a ~14 centimetres tall robot. Unfortunately, Ironhide is a tad shorter than Sunstreaker\Sideswipe, but fits in perfectly with the rest of the Universe cast.

There really aren't any new colours in this mode. Red is the predominant colour, with light gray [like his bumper] used on the waist and thighs, along with charcoal gray for his shoulders and hands. Lastly, light gray is used for his face instead of baby blue. All in all, the colour scheme is MUCH more unified than the unfinished look the Universe version has, with random black on the arms and thighs. Lastly, his entire gun is chromed, bar the pop out accessories it carries.

The plainness of the sculpture continues in robot mode, as there's some slight detailing on the arms and shoulders but that's it really. The most notable detail is found on his chest plate, where panels meet with pistons to form a very intriguing mechanical detailing. The head-sculpt is spot on Ironhide, with some subtle lines added for showing his age I guess.

What surprised me was how poseable this guy is. Really, no pictures on the net do him justice. The four new Autobot car moulds [Hound, Prowl, Sunstreaker and Ironhide] are extremely poseable. He's got no less than 28 points of articulation, mainly because of the way his arms transform. His shoulders can go in and out and swivel up and down. There's a multitude of joints centered in the elbow\bicep area and his wrists are ball jointed AND have a pin joint and the palm. His feet are on ball joints, his knees bend a good 45-60 degrees and have a swivel joint just above that, and finally his thighs have full horizontal and vertical movement capabilities. His waist can rotate from side to side up to a point and his head rotates up to a logical point.

Ironhide's gun, as mentioned before, is nicely chromed, with the extending gun barrel moulded in charcoal gray and the blade being a clear blue part. The instructions show that you have to fold the hand away for the gun to mount, but that is incorrect. Doing so leaves no friction within the gun and whichever end you have out will dangle in and out. The hands are made to go into the gun and even keep the extending ends steady.

All in all, Ironhide is a welcome addition to the autobot ranks and a fantastic update on a character that needed it. I personally couldn't come to purchase the Universe version anywhere near retail, so I figured I'd just keep on completing my henkei collection. Don't get me wrong, the added yellow stripe on the sides isn't the deal breaker, it's the uniformity of colours in both modes. Highly recommended.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 7. Complex but not enraging, everything neatly folds away in its own place. Getting all the parts to align for SUV mode is the tough part.
Durability: 7. Not much to break, his knee and shoulder swivels are all pop out joints, but I wouldn't risk dropping him off a table. The chest\waist joint looks sturdy enough but not for that.
Fun: 10. Very poseable, nice rendition of a character that previously did not even have a head!
Price: 9. I might be a bit biased, but Henkeis mostly come in pairs per month, so even a double price than US retail seems fine to me. You do get what you pay for, though.
Overall: 9. Very cool figure, fair asking price for paint applications and quality, fine display piece due to his poseable nature. Get one while you still can.
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