Cliffbee.com: Ironworks Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Ironworks
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobots
Function: Communications Bay
Alt Mode: Longnose Cab, Construction Site



TRUCK MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A yellow cab with a black and grey rear section, burgundy windows and a grey grille in front. There are six black wheels, two in front and four at the back. The front and rear sets of wheels roll but the central set are simply moulded, albeit with better detail than some dummy wheels. There's a sleeping cabin above the main cabin and a grey exhaust behind the cab on the right hand side.

   There's very little play value here, and the wheels that do roll don't really offer much. There is a hole on the hitch which is cool, if unintentionally done. It's a fairly bland truck mode really, but there's nothing bad about it either - it does it's job. The grey trailing edge of the hitch actually sports a brown sticker - an unusual feature for a Micromaster. The joint between the hitch and cabin kinks on my Ironworks slightly, but my Powertrain is unaffected so I suspect this is an individual defect (and a minor one at that).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the grey part of the hitch to form his feet, rotate the top of the cabin, stand him up and position the arms. I have no idea why we're meant to rotate the cab, it's backpack either way. I suspect the idea was shifting the centre of gravity, but he's pretty stable either way.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Now more grey that yellow, Ironworks has a grey torso, grey head and grey feet. His arms are yellow while the legs are black. There's a big red panel on his chest and his face is also red. The paint covers up the facial sculpt a little, but the moulded crown around his face shows up well since it's a light grey, so I'm happy. The legs are reminiscent of Optimus Prime's - with wheels on the ankles and fuel tanks on the thighs, which is kinda cool. This is even more obvious on the orange and blue Powertrain, incidentally.

   The ankles and hips are hinged as one, and the folding hips seem to serve no other purpose that to allow Ironworks to sit down, which is nice - although on mine the kink means he's always leaning forward ever so slightly. The arms can lift up, but since his sholders attach behind the ears I wouldn't lift them very high. Thankfully he looks ok with arms by his sides, although with arms sticking forward from his ears he looks really stupid.

   Again, there's nothing horrible here - although the shoulders could have been done better, but nothing really jumps out either. The hip movement is nice and the colours are nicer than those of Powertrain in my opinion, but on his own Ironworks is no better or worse than a score of other Micromasters.

CONSTRUCTION SITE MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 9cm Width: 9cm
(Ignoring 8cm ramps which can be attached in different spots)

   A mid grey box with a construction site of sorts on top. The box itself is 3.5cm high and fairly unremarkable - there are attachment points for ramps at the front and the left side (as you face it), but it's really just a place to hide all the communications bay bits. At the back left is a crane tower, with a yellow staging and yellow crane on top of that. There's a red hook that dangles from the end of the crane arm, and the staging is designed to look like a lattice of supports (as crane staging usually is). The back right corner has a moulded materials dump - some barrels, a pile of earth and some beams strewn messily. It's a nice idea, but work have worked better with some colour (although I suspect that was beyond the limitations of the pricepoint for 1989).

   The front half is essentially a bare field of grey, covered by two large stickers, both sport a light brown dirt pattern, with tyre treads, some blue beams, orange and green barrels and some yellow bags of cement. The tyre treads run from one potential ramp attachment to the other, which is a nice touch.

   The idea of the ramps being that if you collect a lot of Micromaster bases, you can make a Micromaster city - it was meant to compete with Galoob's Micro Machine cities of the time (ironically, Hasbro has since acquired Galoob). Ironworks comes with a single grey ramp, which will slope to the table on it's down but can link with other Micromaster bases if you have several of them.

   Other than the potential connection to other bases, there's not much play value here - which is to be expected I suppose, since this is the "alt" mode. The crane assembly can rotate and there's a counterweight at the base of the arm, pressing down on it lifts up the arm. When the arm lifts and lowers, the red plastic cable swings, remaining vertical, which is a nice touch. The hook isn't really sturdy enough to bear any weight, but then it's about 2mm thick.

   Ok, the choice of a construction site as an alt mode is downright bizarre, but as a construction centre it works fairly well. Really this isn't much more than a folded up communications array, but as a sideshow I can deal with it.

TRANSFORMATION TO COMMUNICATIONS BAY

   Remove the crane, crane staging and ramp. Swing the right side out and clip it to the left side to form a tower, stand the base up. Fold down the front panel to reveal the missile - remove the missile, attach it to the top of the crane, swing away the hook and place this missile launcher assembly in front of tyhe missile storage slot. Attach the staging upside-down as a platform halfway up the tower, swing out the radar dish and deploy it's three fins. Stand Ironworks on the structure.

COMMUNICATIONS BAY
Height: 24cm Depth: 19cm Width: 10.5cm

   Still mainly grey, with a yellow missile launcher assembly, red radar dish on the left side of the tower and yellow basket-platform halfway up the tower. The upper portion of the tower his moulded with mechanical detail, the storage bay on the right side is also sculpted. The colours work quite well, and this thing unfolds very well - the dimensions are impressive when compared to those of the alt mode, yet it doesn't feel stretched.

   You have three places where Ironworks can go, five if you want to push the friendship. The pick of the locations are the platform, which holds him nicely since it's a basket and the missile-storage bay, which doubles as a control centre for the launcher. The storage bay on the right can also work, as something of a console. There's a cavity behind the missile launcher into which he'll fit, albeit in the shadows, and if you fold back hsi feet you can slide Ironworks into the recess that houses the radar dish when it's stowed. Ok, so two of these aren't great, but with three decent options, you can add two other Micromasters to the base if you want.

   The radar dish looks really good, and it's the main reason they've called this battle station a communcations bay. It can rotate through six positions, and you can twist it upwards if you like. The missile launcher is nothing more than a rest for the missile - which doesn't shoot - but the assebmbly rotates and teh missile's trajectopry can be adjusted up and down.

   A working missile launcher would have been really nice, but that's my only real complaint here. The best base of this group, and while some of the others are quite weak that shouldn't take away from the fact that this is better than most Micromaster bases of a similar size.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although Ironworks is a repaint of Powertrain from the Off Road Patrol.

OVERALL

   This is good for what it is, especially alongside some of the weak bases released at the same time. While it's not the best Micromaster base, I'm impressed that such a small base ends up so imposing. The fact that it can fit three Micromasters only increases the appeal. Ironworks himself is a solid but unspectacular Micromaster, who fits his basestation quite well - 7/10

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