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

Name: Ironhide
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Prime's bodyguard?
Scale: 1/40

AUTOBOT weapon specialist and old-fashioned warrior, IRONHIDE is the big stick that backs up the soft steps of OPTIMUS PRIME. Paint scarred and chrome chipped by shrapnel from hundreds of battles, he is the oldest of the AUTOBOTS. His right hip is a mass of bypasses and temporary solutions, his power core and timing system are irregular, and his idle is set way too high; but his optics are the sharpest on CYBERTRON, and his cannon arm is as steady as ever. OPTIMUS PRIME relies on him for tactical advice and a cool head. As long as they keep making missiles compatible with his cannons, he�ll keep fighting, until every last DECEPTICON is a smoldering wreck.

For a while there, I was hoping I'd get all the movie toys. They all looked fantastic in terms of design, they all appeared to be reasonably articulated, but once more of their CGI selves appeared on trailers and once the exuberance washed away, I found myself wanting less and less of them, especially the Decepticons.

One of the bots in the much shortened list I wanted since I first laid eyes on was Ironhide. I have the original, G1 figure. I liked the character in the cartoon. However, the G1 toy didn't do justice to him. Fortunately, the movie version apparently does, both on the big screen and on our display shelves. Is Ironhide all that he's cranked up to be, or is his 2007 self still not appealing?

Vehicle Mode

Ironhide debuts in the 2007 live action film as a GMC Topkick. What surprised me as I laid my eyes on him, even before taking him out, was how incredibly detailed he was. It's one of the sweetest looking vehicles to come out in a TF toy line since 2000. Sculpted detail is present all over the vehicle mode, ranging from headlights and flashlights to the sculpted autobot insignia on the rear.

Ironhide comes cast in black plastic, with some relatively sloppy paint apps on his headlights, flashlights and taillights. There's silver, red (for the GMC logo), orange and blue present throughout the figure. All four doors and the windshield are made of translucent navy blue plastic, with the doors painted black. The rear windshield is not cast in clear plastic, rather it's painted much like the Deluxe Bumblebee's windows are.

It's true that Ironhide is missing paint applications. Parts of the front fender, the engine cover and the smokestacks should be painted silver but aren't. It's nothing a little touch-up can't manage (and I really don't mind) but other fans may dislike it. Another weak point of the truck mode is the cannons hanging on the underside. Truthfully, it's not as bad in person and even if you remove them his arms are still visible. Last but not least (and it's down to individual figures), the front halves may not lock together right. It's more of a problem with the springs (more on that later) but if you get an Ironhide with faulty springs it may really ruin the look with an uneven front end.

Overall, a fantastic reproduction of the GMC vehicle that puts all lines from Armada to Classics to shame, honestly.

Robot Mode

Following a fantastic and very intuitive transformation, Ironhide stands ready to take on any Decepticons. The main bulk of his body lies on the upper half, with the legs having relatively thin thighs and being bulky below the knee. It should be noted that the instructions aren't clear at all (missing a lot of steps) so the kibble on his shoulders and back can be re-positioned as one wishes instead of having a default configuration.

Not many new colours appear in this form. Teal is used for parts of his legs, waist, torso and guns; a blend of gold and yellow emphasizes the details on the face and body. The rest is cast in the usual black.

Usually, complex transformations leave you with a bot more poseable than the average. Ironhide features 19 points of articulation, a good percentage of which focused on the limbs, allowing for dynamic posing. Ratchet joints are used for the connections of the limbs to the body while the rest are typical rotating joints. His wrists are ball-jointed but the type of connection only enables twisting as the socket is relatively way too deep to be taken advantage of. The head can only turn to the sides and there's a pseudo-waist joint, but it can't be used unless you lower the chest plate.

Ironhide's not shy of sculpted detail. Each and every part of the figure has a terrific sculpt that mirrors the complex designs used for the movie, ranging from vents to ridges and complex, stylish protrusions. The detail on the legs alone is astounding, yet a tiny bit lacking in paint application to bring out. The head is shaped like the Minotaur (if you're not familiar with Greek mythology, think the most recent Taurens from Warcraft), with intricate details sculpted on and ends in a very cool angled manner, as if he's wearing a lavish cowboy hat. While present, the light piping is almost useless because the eyes barely stand out.

Not taking any cues from his toy ancestors, who barely had any guns besides a stupid platform, Ironhide's armed with two honking cannons, each substantially different from the other. Both guns fit tightly onto his lower arms, but the firing mechanisms inside the guns are loose. The missiles dangle a short distance up and down at the slightest movement, and the triggers on the other gun don't lock up. Both guns combine and lock together firmly to enable missing firing, but it's a very lacking system as you have to force the mechanisms on both guns (you basically indirectly push down on the missile). Both guns look imposing nevertheless, and fit his attire perfectly.

Automorph gimmick

First of all, the damn instructions are misprinted. This figure's automorph revolves around pulling the FEET down, which force the heels to get in place, twist the "Bed" to the side and place the wheels on the back of the leg. The instructions clearly indicate pulling the heel down, which can cause damage to the automorph and permanently mess-up your figure. It goes without saying that whilst there's foot articulation, using it will simply un-transform his legs.

All in all, Ironhide's one fantastic figure. He looks great in both modes, is articulated enough, is just about the right size to look imposing on your shelf and locks together very firmly in either mode, despite the upper torso (car kibble) not locking onto anything at all. Definitely one of the strongest points of the movie line and highly recommended.

Transformation: 8. Very well thought out, although a bit frustrating to get back to truck mode the first time. Automorph just rules.
Durability: 7. Messing up the gears in his automorph WILL hamper the figure, and the shoulder armour (front of the car) just hangs up by springs. If they wear over time, it will be a pretty uneven sight.
Fun: 10. The truck mode is awesome and the robot mode is very well executed. What more can you ask for?
Price: 10. At 20-22 USD, this guy will rock your world.
Overall: 9. A pretty solid figure that finally does justice to Ironhide. If it wasn't for the minor problems mentioned in the durability rating, he'd get a 10.

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