Cliffbee.com: BotCon Ironhide Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Ironhide
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: TV Transmission Van



VAN MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 12cm Width: 6.5cm

   A red van similar to the G1 Ironhide, representing the same character. The front windows and door windows are transparent blue while the rest are red panels. His tyres are black and the hubcaps silver while there are grey stripes running down the sides and some grey on the roof. Ironhide is a repaint of Energon Towline, without the Skids elements. The transparent roof array is now blue, but if you're after a more traditional Ironhide, you can leave it off. The colours here really do fit the character, despite the residual TV van elements. The left side has the obligatory Energon spark symbol, but there's no gear logo stamped anywhere since Ironhide isn't from that line. There's a white Autobot logo stamped on the front, flanked by silver headlights, rounding out a simple but focused colour scheme.

   The blue roof array is a little strange, but it represents one of the best integrations of the Energon weaponry into the vehicle mode yet. They've also moulded ladders on either side, making the antenna array belong. The ladders aren't really traditional, but make sense in terms of the TV van, so I can live with them since they help Ironhide integrate his weapon. And hey, the whole TV van thing is interesting anyway.

   Ironhide doesn't have all that much play value in van mode. The array on top can unfold into his weapon, of course, and the wheels roll. The only hardpoint is on top of the antenna array, and doesn't activate anything. The play value is all in his other modes, so I don't mind that he sits there and looks like a van. Oh, while it can't open, there's actually a hollow driver's cockpit behind the windshield, which is a nice easter egg.

   As far as I can recall, this is the first _new_ van mould since late in G1, which in itself makes the vehicle mode worth noting. While it doesn't do all that much, it's done a great job of integrating the Energon weapon, and this allows for a lot of play value later.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Firstly, you have to get the robot out. Remove the roof array, fold the sides down and unclip the top half of the van, which is destined to become the robot. Lift up the doors, swing the arms out to his sides. Swing the rear half down underneath the windshield and straighten his legs. Split the legs and flip out the feet, which will also reveal his heelspurs. Slide up the head, rotate and slide back down. You can attach his handgun, which I'll cover in a moment.

TRANSFORMATION TO ATTACK PLATFORM

   This is where the mould's original design as a tribute to this character becomes obvious. Fold down the rear door of the van's wheelbase, swing out the treads from underneath and swing the front wheels down to form the rear legs.

   Lift the larger antenna out and unfold it into the barrel of the gun, swing the smaller dish down to one side. Rotate the gun and you'll see that the smaller dish is now a sight. This gun can fit either in his hand or on top of the platform. I recommend the latter, since otherwise it looks a little bare. There are four potential ways to attach it, incidentally. You can secure it into the front two holes, or leave it in array config and just pop it into the rear hole. Or you can clip it into the holes on either side - in either config - which will allow it to rotate.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 9cm

   A red robot with blue windows on his chest, grey painted elements on his legs and groin, while the fists are also painted grey and the shoulders are a grey plastic. The rounded head is red with a silver face and blue eyes while the white Autobot logo is on his waist. The colours really do scream Ironhide - especially the cartoon version, thanks to the extensive use of grey. There's no doubting the character here - and that's before we get to the resculpted head.

   The head is far more rounded that than of Towline, and the face is very cartoonish - in a G1 cartoon style rather than a caricature way. The sculpt is designed to work for both Ironhide and Ratchet, so there's a crest and a ridge sculpted on the head - allowing it to work as both Ratchet and Ironhide. The head _really_ makes this the toy that best represents cartoon Ironhide - it's a shame that he's a hard to find BotCon Exclusive. Mind you, he's a lot easier to find that Ratchet, which I doubt I'll ever own. The boots are also very similar to the cartoon Ironhide's boots in shape - and quite similar in colour as well.

   The articulation is pretty good here - which you'd hope of something that is mostly just tucked away inside a shell. The shoulders, elbows and hips are ball joints while the knees and ankles are hinged and the head rotates. The shoulderpads get in the way a little and the heelspurs are linked to feet, but the heelspurs allow for a wide variety of stable poses and the arms can be lifted and swung back so they're just behind the shoulderpads.

   The knee joints look like the boots are meant to slide out, but this is not the case. Since the thighs have a gap between them and the knees don't, Ironhide ends up knock-kneed in a lot of poses. It's not really a major issue, but it's a design flaw that was quite avoidable by either ball jointed knees or sliding knees.

   The knees are really the only weak point here, and the poseability is great despite the knees. It's a nice robot mode which can of course combine it with his battle platform, so there's a lot of play value. The repaint really works well as Ironhide, while the head sculpt here is wonderful. He looks more like Ironhide than G1 Ironhide!

ATTACK PLATFORM MODE
Height: 12cm Width: 13cm Length: 18cm

   All that and a bag of chips, this thing is far superior to the original gun emplacement. The platform itself is red and black while there are silver painted gun racks moulded onto the side platforms and of course the big transparent blue compound gun. You can actually attach other Energon weapons, up to a total of four, making this thing far more imposing than original could have ever hoped for.

   The front strut has twin black treads at the base, and there are small wheels on the underside, allowing the platform to roll. The strut splits in half, and the two halves attach with ball joints, while the "ankles" are hinges. If you split these "legs" it looks like a drone of some sort, rather than an unwrapped missile launcher, since it's quadrupedal with rear wheels.

   Ironhide retains the powerlinxing feature of the Energon line, however this mould had an unusual feature - his platform actually becomes a bottom half (of a Sphinx-like robot), while the robot component can only become a top half. This also means that Ironhide is actually able to powerlinx with himself! The robot's feet become shoulder cannons, and he has black barrels that flip out from the soles of his feet. I should point out that you're able to flip them out in standard robot mode, although I prefer him without these toe-guns.

   You can stand Ironhide on his battle platform, as was possible on the original Ironhide, although he doesn't clip in. His ankles are strong enough and he's using it more as a vantage point that a battle station anyway. The joint that allows the front wheels to swing back is a lot tighter on Towline - so this platform can easily cope with the weight of the robot standing on top, unlike Towline's.

   It's an odd feature for an Energon toy, but works exceptionally well here. The robot mode fits into the cartoon very well, the battle platform ensures that Ironhide specifically tributes the very different toy. It's very well done for what it is - Ironhide is a deluxe with the play value of a mega, and there are lots of options. The only real downside is that there are only two hardpoints - on either side of the gun. But yeah, it can jump through hoops anyway, so two Minicon attachments is enough for me.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Ironhide was available exclusively at BotCon 2005 and was likely limited to a single production run.

OVERALL

   An inventive mould that was designed to tribute Ironhide (and Ratchet) to begin with has now come full circle - this is an amazing update of G1 Ironhide. The colours, the paint map, the resculpted head, the robot shape, the battle platform - everything here is geared towards making this toy the G1 character. The robot mode fits the cartoon so much better than the original, but still retains the attack platform of the original toy. The mould is fun and versatile anyway, now it comes with one of the best tributes I've seen in a repaint. It's a shame this toy was limited, because there's so much to love about Ironhide. Even at eBay prices, I think this is a toy worth getting for fans of the G1 cartoon - 10/10

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