Leader-class Autobot Ironhide
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
As the Earth slowly adjusts to the reality of extraterrestrial shape-changing living robots existing among humans, tensions begin to mount as prominent intelligence operatives and businessmen across the globe are dying in mysterious ways with no apparent pattern. Working side-by-side with humans, the Autobots learn a deep secret from the past, pertaining to the 1969 landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon, a secret which could change the course of the Cybertronian civil war forever. The Decepticons- led by a self-exiled Megatron- are already aware of the secret, and are waiting for their opportunity to use it to strike back against humanity and destroy Optimus Prime and his Autobots once and for all. Now, with the return of the brilliant scientist and original leader of the Autobots, Sentinel Prime, the fate of two worlds will hang in the balance as the two races scramble for survival.
"IRONHIDE is a veteran AUTOBOT soldier. He relies on knowledge gained from countless skirmishes with the DECEPTICONS to persevere in battle. He chooses MECHTECH weapons for their adaptability and power – the DECEPTICONS don’t stand a chance!"
--from the box
(GMC Topkick 4500 series, 2007 model)
Below Ironhide’s back windshield is a small black button. When depressed quickly, you will hear a diesel engine turn on, idle for a few seconds, and then turn off. If you hold the button down, you will hear the engine start up, idle for a moment, and then run high before settling down. This pattern (idle, run high, idle, run high, etc.) will repeat until you release the button, and then the engine sound will turn off after a moment. No lights activate on the toy in Vehicle Mode when the sound effect plays.
Articulation is surprising limited in some basic ways. First off, there is no neck, wrist, or waist articulation. The shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles all have standard ratcheting and swiveling joints, with a bonus joint in each foot at the toes. Now, while the knees can swivel side-to-side freely, they are forcibly bent at almost 30-degrees when fully extended. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the knees each only ratchet one position, and that’s barely enough for a 15-degree difference! So, his knees are always slightly bent, but they can’t flex backwards enough to speak of! (With limited searching, I have to go all the way back to 2006’s “Transformers: Cybertron” to find a Transformer toy that didn’t have knee articulation on purpose!)
There is a trapezoid on the front of Ironhide’s chest that activates his speech SFX (a privilege of Leader-class figures due to their considerable size and the ability to hold batteries of sufficient charge). When you depress the button, Ironhide’s transparent-blue eyes will flash green, and he will say one of two phrases:
- "Ironhide here!"
- "Weapons ready."
-neither of which is spoken by the actor who plays his voice in the three films, Jess Harnell. In addition to the light and sound, Ironhide’s light-gray faceplate will move when you press the button to reveal his gold-painted mouth underneath! (Unfortunately, you cannot keep his real mouth exposed unless you depress the button again.)
Oddly, there is a redundant light-gray post behind Ironhide’s head which, when pressed forward, will activate the exact same feature. Indeed, when the trapezoid in front is pressed, the post will move at the same time as his faceplate!
Mech Tech is the primary gimmick that spans all 2011 “…Dark of the Moon” transformable figures. Special pop-out weapons appear from various areas inside and/or around the toy’s body in both modes. Scout-, Deluxe-, and Voyager-class figures have detachable weapons, while Leader-class figures have built-in weapons.
As Optimus Prime’s “weapons specialist”, Ironhide is absolutely loaded with Mech Tech!
The primary feature is Ironhide’s trademarked forearm cannons. When the light gray smokestacks are pulled away from the black plastic, two different large blasters will unfold themselves from behind hidden doors! In Vehicle Mode, these cannons appear on the top of the cab. (There is no light or sound associated with these weapons.)
The next three weapons can only be accessed in Robot Mode…
Below the silver trapezoid on his chest is a black panel that can be folded downward. This panel acts as an activation button. When pressed downward, two larger panels on his chest will flip outwards, and a large Gatling cannon will fold out. As the cannon flips out, the barrels will auto-spin for a second-or-two, Ironhide’s blue eyes will flash green, and a red LED inside the cannon will flash to imitate a muzzle flash! As long as the button is depressed, an auto-cannon sound will be heard, which eventually shuts itself off after 10 seconds of continuous playing.
In an odd coincidence, just like Ironhide’s head, the chest cannon also has a redundant trigger to activate it. This trigger takes the form of a second light-gray post located behind his head.
The lower right leg has a large panel that manually hinges downward. When you do this, a spring-loaded missile launcher will deploy! The missile launcher- with only a single light-gray projectile provided- can be removed to be placed in either hand (loosely, I should add), or into holes in the black armor above his shoulders. The launcher is also cross-compatible, and can be fitted onto any other Mech Tech-equipped Transformer figure.
In the lower left leg, however, using the same mechanism is a deploy-able ABS combat knife. The knife can fit into either of Ironhide’s hands, and is also cross-compatible with any Mech Tech-equipped Transformer figure.
Trans-fans who enjoyed Bayformers (i.e. Transformers movies directed by Michael Bay) have been pleading and begging with Hasbro and TakaraTomy for a Leader-class version of Ironhide for almost five years now. Considering the successful reinvention of Leader-class Autobot Optimus Prime for 2009’s “…Revenge of the Fallen” compared to the original version in 2007, the announcement of such a figure was marked with tears of joy! I’ll readily admit that I got caught up in it as well when I heard the news. It is very fortunate that I found this guy on sale for $10 under MSRP at Costco, and that he was a pre-established character, so that I could snatch him right up before “…Dark of the Moon” hit theaters a month later. (For those of you who don’t know, I avoid movie spoilers as much as possible, so to pick up a toy from a movie I haven’t seen is rare; let alone one that hasn’t been released yet in theaters! The obvious answer is that Ironhide had already appeared in two previous films, so I felt I was safe even though clearly he has some new weapons that didn’t appear previously…)
With deep regret, I must report that this Leader-class figure fails to stand up to scrutiny in a number of ways.
First off, I am deeply shocked about the lack of articulation in the neck and knees. What… the hell… happened??? Usually a non-posable head happens when a Transformer has really high shoulders or because of how it transforms, but in this case, I believe the lack of a functional neck is due exclusively to the movable faceplate. Which then begs the question: Did Hasbro learn nothing from “Transformers Animated” Voyager-class Autobot Optimus Prime (Earth Mode)!? Yeah, it lacked an LED, but Trans-fans loved having the option of a movable face-plate that got stored in an un-hindering way (even if they didn’t like how it elongated his already-gigantic chin)! Or better yet, howsabout the three Leader-class figures also from “Animated”- Megatron, Ultra Magnus, and Bulkhead- who all had LEDs, movable mouths, and movable brows! So… yeah, no excuses.
Oh right, the knees. Knees that flex forward and backwards have been a regular part of articulation in Transformers since “Beast Wars: Transformers” began in 1996! With very rare exception have knees been lacking in anything bigger than Scout-class in the last 15 years, and certainly not in a Leader-class figure- which by design is supposed to be the best-of-the-best for that year’s toy line! I am completely befuddled as to why the knees lack that standard range of motion. There is plenty of room- the design of the sculpt doesn’t get in the way, and the Mech Tech doesn’t take up that much space inside the lower legs that it couldn’t have been done easily enough. So he is forced into a constant crouch, and posing goes out the window. What The F*** Went Wrong Here??? Unacceptable, Hasbro.
Speaking of shoulders, you all remember the weird way RotF Voyager-class Decepticon Starscream’s shoulders were shaped so that his arms never pointed forward correctly? Well, the same kind of thing happens here, except that now it’s compounded by the [correct] placement of the wheels under his chest. His arms will never point straight forward, even though they do have the articulation ability to compensate. (If the chest hadn’t had the Mech Tech feature, I’m sure the wheels could have been placed further inwards so that this wouldn’t have been a problem.)
Sadly, this figure suffers from The Gimmick Syndrome: sacrificing transformation, standard features, and general appearance in favor of bonus materials such as weapons, electronics, or other movable parts. While the cannons on the arms are quite acceptable and are certainly better than The Cylinders Of Doom that have haunted the Voyager-class figure previously (okay, they weren’t that bad, just tired), it’s the others that I have the problem with.
Aside from lack of movement in the knees, the legs are big ol’ blocks, and the transformation is damn-near Legends-class simple! Fold the ankles, twist the knees, reposition the hips, done. At least the earlier Voyager-class had the 2007 Automorph Technology that actually transformed something even if his ankles lacked articulation. Now we have the exact opposite- the ankles pose fine, but the legs don’t transform in an engaging way. Okay, so the flip-out knife is inspired, which is all well-and-good. I suppose symmetry was needed in the opposite leg, so we had to have something there, but… a missile launcher with a single projectile? Somehow it seems underwhelming and lacking in bad-ass-ness considering all the honkers he has above his waist; a tacky last-minute addition. (Attaching the launcher to a shoulder is a nice touch… why didn’t they store it there instead; have it hang out just behind the windshield in Vehicle Mode?)
I will say simply that the torso Gatling cannon is inspiring, and I really hope we see it in the movie! Throwing an LED in there is perfect, and a little cannon-firing SFX tops it off quite nicely. The only thing I could complain about is that the cylinder spins down way too soon. I know it’s tied into a gear so that it spins as its being deployed, but… c’mon!
Other than the knees, the thing that drives me absolutely batty is the redundancy on not one but two electronic features. Why waste the space in putting that post behind his head when the button on his chest achieves the effect of dropping his faceplate quite nicely all by itself!? THAT is the real reason why the head can’t turn- not because the mouthplate moves, but because of the redundancy!
I suppose that having a button out of the way of the chest cannon makes sense… but, again, why the redundancy!? Removing those could have helped tremendously in adding movement for the transformation- which is a bit of a bitch when it comes to moving those front wheel wells around.
TaHt Y mY sHoLdUrS hRrT.
It’s weird, I like [almost] everything from the waist-up, and dislike everything from the waist down. Why are his legs blue!? There’s no blue on this character anywhere except his eyes… and Hasbro STILL hasn’t learned how to put BLUE LEDs into a character that has BLUE EYES. Anyways, he’s got all the right types of gray and silver on him, but everything from the waist down is metallic blue. WHY???
Also for a Leader-class toy, the transformation is also way too simple. Let me put it this way: with very few exceptions (primarily Mini-Cons), any Transformer I get requires that I read the instructions. Yeah, I know I’m savvy enough I could figure it out on my own, and have demonstrated as much numerous times to my satisfaction, but I usually glance at them just to be sure I don’t miss a tab or a hidden trigger or some-such. So please believe me when I say I transformed this toy on the first try within ten minutes without unfolding the instructions once. Leader-class Bayformers toy. Ten Minutes. No instructions. Should I be pleased with myself that I made this accomplishment, or pissed that most Deluxe-class figures are more intricate than this toy is…? (I would think the latter.) About the most difficult part is trying to get all the panels lined-up in the last minute on the Vehicle Mode, and the shoulder armor pops off the ball joints more than I’d like.
…It is nice, though, to finally have a solid answer after five years to what happens to all that kibble on his back.
After five years of waiting, I must conclude that Leader-class Autobot Ironhide is a bittersweet victory- we finally got him, but he crumbles under the weight of all his gimmicks. Recommended with more than a pinch of "meh".
|Posted 10 August, 2011 - 05:24 by EVA_Unit_4A|