|Toy Design||Hironori Kobayashi|
Review by VF5SS
In a way, it seemed like Transformers Masterpiece was leading up to this very release. Both Ironhide and Ratchet are infamous among fans for being the two characters who were arguably the most far removed from the toys they were meant to represent. The Diaclone Nissan Onebox Cherry Vanette was always kind of an outlier from the other Car Robots to begin with, as its robot mode is more of a power loader type machine than what could pass for a sentient humanoid robot. For decades, disappointed fans wished to have modern figures of the van-based Autobots that looked like the characters in the cartoon and comics. Such a tall order could only be (officially) fulfilled in the Masterpiece line.
Please check out my video review.
Rolling up for duty is TakaraTomy's Masterpiece MP-27 Ironhide. With its gorgeous shiny red paint and trendy yellow body stripes, this classic Nissan minivan looks like it came straight out of a supermarket parking lot. Ironhide makes for a pretty dense vehicle, with a lot of plastic packed into his five and a half inch long frame.
Similar to his fellow Peter Cullen voiced character, MP Ironhide sports shiny chromed bumpers at both ends for an excellent callback to the original G1 toy.
Even his headlights are chromed out as a direct reference to the original Diaclone-derived figure.
Another homage to the G1 toy is this eerie image of a face located just behind the windshield. The original Ironhide lacked a proper head, so Hasbro's solution was to include a sticker that attempted to turn the Diaclone driver's seat into an iron noggin. On the MP figure, this amounts to an extra molding on a flat panel used in the transformation. While this is a neat detail, I wish the clear plastic windows on this toy were a bit more opaque so the freaky face wasn't so readily visible.
Ironhide makes for a very solid and cohesive vehicle, despite the numerous seam lines needed for transformation.
One thing that surprised and delighted fans was the inclusion of an accessory holder that resembles the G1's toy battle platform. On the original figure, the entire back portion of the van would detach and transform into a tank tread-equipped vehicle for Ironhide to ride on. The MP eschews this functionality to achieve its perfect all-in-one transformation, just like in the show.
As such, the faux battle platform doesn't do anything beyond providing a place to store Ironhide's plethora of accessories. There's a spot for everything and then some. You can even store Ironhide's alternate face plate underneath.
I'll discuss his accessories in more detail when I get to Ironhide's robot mode.
If you do want to mount some of Ironhide's guns in vehicle mode, he does have a square port in the middle of his sunroof for a van attack mode. Either his large chrome Static Laser Gun or smaller pistols can plug in here.
In addition, both pistols can be stored underneath in van mode. They plug in really tight, to the point where it's hard to pop them back out, so I usually just leave them stored on the battle platform.
Here is Ironhide with a selection of Masterpiece Autobots. He sizes up quite well with his valiant allies, although their relative scale represents more of their character presence (and robot size) than the actual sizes of these vehicles.
And despite being much taller in vehicle mode than the likes of Sideswipe or Bumblebee, Ironhide can still fit comfortably into MP-10 Optimus Prime's trailer.
Lately I have seen a lot of Transformers enthusiasts describe MP toys in terms of their "masterpiece moment," in where the figure exhibits a truly miraculous display of engineering prowess. As far as Masterpiece Ironhide is concerned, its miraculous conversion from a realistic van to the cartoon-accurate robot mode is just one big masterpiece moment. While his transformation may look complicated, changing Ironhide from one form to another is very intuitive and easy to do.
The transformation manages to wow you from the very first step, as you quickly discover Ironhide's head is actually hidden in the back of the van, rather than the front.
What happens next is downright ingenious, as the entire roof of the vehicle is rolled up into a boxy robot torso. Ironhide's arms emerge from the sides of the van, with the front windows tucking under the rear windshield assembly.
The front of the van hinges upward to give Ironhide his classic look.
After that, you can separate the lower half of the vehicle to start to form his legs.
Ironhide's rear tires fold away into the cavity used to store his pistols in vehicle mode. The remaining fender panel rotates around to cover up the wheels almost entirely.
A few more panels flip around to give Ironhide's legs a very clean appearance.
It is through that incredible change that a boxy vehicle has unfurled into a tall Autobot warrior. In robot mode, Ironhide measures about eight and a half inches from head to toe. His height coupled with his clean, solid silhouette makes for a striking presence wherever the MP toy is displayed.
It really is amazing just how little of the van is visible in Ironhide's robot mode. Sure, there are some deviations from the cartoon design with his newly acquired hip armor and associated back-mounted wheels, but these changes quickly become an acceptable part of his design. Likewise, the addition of the headlights and bumper to his van-front body armor makes this Ironhide look even more like a tough security specialist. Also, it's not too far off from his Studio OX design.
Topping off Ironhide's animated appearance is one powerful-looking head. One look at the stern face framed by a shiny red helmet and you immediately hear Peter Cullen doing a gruff but soulful southern drawl.
This is AHRNHAID!
When placed alongside his fellow Autobots, Ironhide's size is even more striking. True to the official scale chart, the big guy is not that much shorter than MP-10 Optimus Prime. Considering how compact Ironhide is in vehicle mode, it only makes his transformation even more amazing!
He also looks quite good inside Prime's trailer while it's in "repair bay" mode. By the way, I really just love the way MP Ironhide can present confidence exuding from the figure. His cartoon-accurate boxy lower legs are probably my favorite part of this toy, and make him look powerful even when standing in a neutral pose.
MP Ironhide lives up to the legend of his character by being a solidly playable toy. He feels great and is really fun to pose.
Ratcheting joints in his shoulders and knees give Ironhide the right amount of stiffness to keep him upright in a number of poses. The only part of his design that's a little annoying is how you need to pull his hip plates out if you want to gain full use of Ironhide's leg joints. Still, that's a minor issue in an outstanding package.
Curiously, Ironhide also features this extra joint in his neck, that I guess is there so he can look down past his big van chest plate.
His aforementioned extra face plate has Ironhide's mouth open in a characterful shout. To swap these parts, simply push on his Gundam-style mohawk to pop off his face. This extra expression adds a lot to the toy, when displaying Ironhide with both friends and foes alike.
You can just hear Peter Cullen's voice as he talks to himself in the role of both Optimus Prime and Ironhide...
"Ironhide, I want you to make a special run to Autobot City on Earth."
"Ironhide, I've decided to make Spike and Blaster members of your security team."
"Ironhide, Elita-One and I have decided to see other mechanoids. Please meet my new waifu..."
And when the Decepticons come around, Ironhide is ready to meet them head on.
"Heheh... Well I'm flattered y'all came out here just to to see little ol' me."
"But I'm 'fraid I ain't got time to mingle with my adorin' fans!"
"If ya want an autograph, you'll hafta come back without pistols in yer hands!"
"When y'all are done banging the dents outta yer chassis, tell the rest of the Decepti-creeps not to mess with the head of Autobot security!"
In the unlikely event that Ironhide needs more than his hands to get the job done, the Masterpiece figure comes with more weapons than almost any other MP release. First up is his Static Laser Gun, a pretty accurate rendition of the chromed sci-fi weapon that came with the G1 toy.
It showed up a few times in the cartoon and makes for a nice big gun for Ironhide to wield.
Also included is a pair of laser pistols that Ironhide was often seen using to blast some Decepti-bums all the way back to Cybertron.
The weapon's design is actually pretty close to the one included with Masterpiece Bumblebee, so you know the team at TakaraTomy is doing their research.
Ironhide's tech spec mentioned he had a "water gun" liquid shooter, which the cartoon often depicted as being Gouf-y finger guns. Simply fold his normal hands back into his forearms and plug on this outstretched pair with nozzle-tipped digits for some convenient enemy-thwarting action. These also work alright as a set of calm open hands, but lack a wrist swivel like the built-in ones.
Sometimes Ironhide's water gun could be a nondescript nozzle, which the MP toy dutifully includes a pair of. These also resemble the red peg that was used to mount the Static Laser Gun on the G1 toy's battle platform, but they do not have that functionality.
You also get the more squared-off concrete dispensing nozzles, because this toy wants to include as many things as it can!
From the episode "The Immobilizer" comes this disposable rocket pack Ironhide used to make a hot landing after jumping out of a perfectly good Skyfire. It comes with a pair of removable exhaust effect parts to complete the scene. You can even mount Ironhide on the display stand included with MP Tracks (or anything with the same size connector peg).
The rocket pack can even fit on the holes in Ironhide's forearms for an improvised flame weapon.
Ironhide can be fitted with the toy-derived missile launcher he used to attack Skywarp in the earliest episodes of the cartoon.
"I'm tired of suckin' their vapor trails!"
Remember back in the show's three part pilot when Autobots could fly? Those were good times.
Rounding out the ensemble of "why not" is the sonar system Ironhide used to find dinosaur bones inside the Autobots' volcano base. You even get a cardboard insert of the readout that appeared on his windshield taken directly from the episode, "S.O.S. Dinobots!"
After an exhaustive look at this toy, I'm plumb tuckered out. Ironhide is truly the full package when it comes to a Masterpiece Transformer. He combines the appeal of an amazing transformation and a solid robot mode loaded for bear with weapons and accessories. Whatever misgivings the initial press photos may have given you will quickly melt away once you have the toy in hand. It may have taken a few decades, but Transformers fans finally have their definitive G1 Ironhide toy.
|Posted 8 March, 2016 - 12:08 by VF5SS|