"Generations" War for Cybertron: Earthrise Ironworks Toy Review

in 2020, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Generations, Modulators, War for Cybertron: Earthrise

Generations

War for Cybertron: Earthrise

General Information:
Release Date: January 2020
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster halves x 2

Ironworks

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com and Hasbro Pulse:
Build the Battlefield Beyond -- The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark. Now, fighters must instantly adapt to battle anywhere in the cosmos. With the highly advanced A.I.R. (Adaptable Interconnection Retrofitter) Locks system, the fighters don’t head to the battlefield -- they become it. Bots capable of converting into Modular Battle Stations can A.I.R.-Lock together in custom configurations to fit the needs of battle.

This ecosystem of collectible figures allows fans to build out epic space battle scenes! The Ironworks Modulator figure converts into a Modular Battle Station mode. The eccentric Autobot communications expert, Ironworks, disassembles in 10 steps and reassembles into Station mode in another 10 steps.

Disassembled parts can be used to armor up and modify other figures (Each sold separately. Subject to availability). Includes Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Earthrise Deluxe Ironworks figure, 1 accessory, and instructions.

  • The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark
  • This ecosystem of collectible figures allows fans to build out epic space battle scenes! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)
  • Ironworks toy converts into a Modular Battle Station mode. Modulator figure disassembles in 10 steps and reassembles into Modular Battle Station mode in another 10 steps
  • Ironworks figure's disassembled parts can be used to armor up and modify other figures (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)
  • Every pack includes a piece of the Transformers Universe map and a red decoder to unlock the map's hidden paths! Collect other Earthrise figures to piece together the full map! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)
  • Figure scale: 5.5 inches
  • Ages 8 and up

During the Micromaster era of Generation One, a series of playsets were released. Each of these bases could transform into an alternate base or vehicle form. The main gimmick was that these bases could be connected via ramps to create a larger Micromaster city! With the second part of the War for Cybertron trilogy, the Micromaster bases return as "Modulators". This new class of figures features bases with a robot mode and the ability to break apart into armor and weaponry, similar to last year's "Weaponizer" figures such as Sixgun.

Ironworks was the name of one of the Micromasters included with a G1 base. However in Earthrise Ironworks is the base while Irontread is the Micromaster homage to G1 Ironworks. Nothing on the packaging or instructions indicates that Irontread is meant to be paired with Ironworks, but given the G1 homages involved it is natural to think of the two as being a team.

Packaging:
Earthrise packaging is the same basic shape as Siege boxes. They feature one flat side and one angled side with a window in the middle. Like the Siege boxes the boxes feature a red Transformers logo set vertically to one side with the Generations logo above it. Under the window is the Earthrise logo with the War for Cybertron Trilogy logo beneath it. Off to the left is the name "Ironworks" with his rank symbol above it. The other side of the box features the character's artwork. In Ironworks' case it shows him in base mode in the middle of a battle!

The back of the box shows Ironworks in two of his modes: base and robot. It also shows him broken apart into his various modules. However, it does not show him in his Tower Mode, nor is this mode mentioned in the instructions. However, Hasbro did release official photography of the Tower Mode which you can see above. The transformation is listed as having 10 steps. As a cosell, the Micromaster hot Rod patrol is shown superimposed on Ironworks in base mode. The packaging has one more fun feature. Inside the packaging is a translucent red "decoder", inspired by the red plastic strips that were included with G1 toys for several years. Run this decoder over the cardboard insert inside the box and you will see part of a space map featuring the Transformers colony of Velocitron!

Accessories:
Like the Weaponizers, it is kind of funny to talk about a Modulator in terms of having accessories since Ironworks basically breaks up into several accessories himself. Given that, I am basically counting his blaster as his own accessory. The blaster appears to be one piece at first, but it actually splits in the middle. Just gently pull the two halves apart and you create two blasters for the character. The base of the blaster has two ports for Blast Effects. The front of the blaster has a peg in the front and back to attach Blast Effects. Each half has its own 5mm peg at the bottom as well.

The blasters are both cast in black. The back half has yellow paint while the front half has grey, which is pretty impressive for a pair of accessories!

Robot Mode:
The G1 Ironworks base did not have a robot mode, so this form is all new. His head has some classic Transformers design elements including small "ears" and a thin crest on the helmet section and "visor eyes" and a mouthplate on the face. His body is very blocky which is to be expected since it is mostly made up of square and rectangular pieces. His arms are asymmetrical, with the left arm being a more traditional arm with a fist at the end while the other arm has a hook at the end. His torso and legs are nice and chunky, giving him a formidable look. There is fantastic detailing on the figure including rivet-like details on the torso and lots of intricate panel lines on the legs.

Ironworks is made up of black, silver, grey and metallic brown plastic. Paint colors on the figure include yellow, silver and red. The silver, grey and yellow colors in particular are inspired by G1 Ironworks. I really like the way the yellow is painted on. It is either due to the plastic color underneath or an extra wash on top, but the yellow sections on the arms look like they have a thin layer of grime on them and that is super cool for a figure that transforms into a construction site!

There are twenty two points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm and leg. His left hand has a 5mm port in the fist while the right forearm has a 5mm port in it since there is no hand on that side. In addition there are two 5mm ports on the shoulders, two on the lower legs and two under the feet. There are also four pegs to attach Blast Effects. Two are located on the torso near the shoulders. Another is on the right shoulder while the other is on the left forearm. I am really happy that this backwards compatability with Siege figures has been integrated into this figure. It really adds to its play value.

Transformation to Base Mode:

  1. Detach the blaster and set it aside for now.
  2. Detach the arms and set them aside for now.
  3. Detach the legs and set them aside.
  4. Detach the ramp on the back.
  5. Holding the torso, pull out the ramp section attached to the waist piece.
  6. Turn the robot head around and push it back.
  7. Take the left arm and swing up the silver shoulder peg. Then swing the forearm up against the upper arm.
  8. Straighten out the right arm and rotate the forearm and hook around.
  9. On each leg, swing the thighs into the back of the lower legs.
  10. Line up the leg pieces so the bottom of each foot meets the other.
  11. Attach the right arm module to the ports on the robot mode knees.
  12. Take the module with the waist piece and attach it to the right arm module.
  13. Split the blaster in half. Attach the back end of the blaster to the peg on the back of the torso piece. Attach the front of the blaster to the right shoulder port.
  14. Attach the torso piece to the 5mm port on the yellow portion of the right arm module.
  15. On the torso piece, swing up the peg in the middle and then attach the hook arm to it.
  16. Attach the ramp to your preferred connection point.

Base Mode:
Ironworks' base mode takes some design cues from his G1 predecessor. The base is a flat section for vehicles to roll on. Then one corner has a raised platform with a crane arm on top. However, unlike the G1 version, this base mode looks more like a part of a base or city from Cybertron instead of Earth. The G1 version had all sorts of Earth-like design elements including piles of construction materials, a mound of dirt (or sand maybe?) and even tire track details. This base just looks like a pile of solid machinery. Even the ramps look more Cybertronian than Earth-like. There's nothing wrong with this as it distinguishes this figure from the G1 version, but I do miss some of the charm of having a "base mode disguise".

All the parts visible in this mode can be seen in robot mode so there are no color surprises. The colors just wind up in different places. For instance, the grey plastic is concentrated on the ramps while the darker colors are on the bottom and crane arm sections. There is something rather industrial looking about these colors and the design and they work very well together.

The crane arm section is where you will find three 5mm attachment points for additional weapons. You could also attach certain weapons to the peg at the base of the crane arm. Ironworks also features four ramp connection points, which comes in handy if you want to rearrange the modules into a differently shaped base or to serve as part of a much larger base you build out of multiple Ironworks figures (or other bases that are likely due for release in Earthrise). This feature is one of my favorites from G1 and it is great to see it given new life in this figure. Note: the ramp connectors on this figure are not backwards compatible with the Titans Return bases. They feature a completely different design.

Transformation to Tower Mode (Starting in Base Mode):
The Tower Mode is actually an "unofficial" mode in the sense that it is not mentioned on the box or in the instructions. However, Hasbro did post an official photo showing off this mode, so I consider it a valid form to include in this review.

  1. Separate all the modules from each other including the blasters and ramp.
  2. On each leg module, swing the grey panels out and down.
  3. Connect the grey panels on the legs to the single ramp piece.
  4. Attach the ramp piece with the waist and hip connectors on it to the ramp piece holding both legs together.
  5. Connect the two halves of the blaster together, then attach it to the crane arm.
  6. Attach the crane arm to one of the hip joint pegs.
  7. Swing the front of the torso out to reveal a bucket arm. Then push the bucket against the torso with the inside of the bucket facing upward.
  8. On the top of the tower, flip up the 5mm peg from the torso section.
  9. Attach the left arm module to the peg on top.*

*On the two copies of Ironworks that I purchased, neither had a 5mm port that would allow the left arm module to attach to the top of the tower. There is a port there, but it looks like it did not come off the assembly line properly. One side of the 5mm port looks pushed inward somehow so it won't attach to the peg on top properly. This same defect exists on both copies of Ironworks that I own. Instead, I pushed the peg into the slot next to the black shoulder joint. This held up just fine and looked good (the results are in my photos below).

Tower Mode:
This mode is a homage to the Communications Tower Mode of G1 Ironworks' base. It features the two most distinctive aspects of that tower mode. First at the base the crane arm becomes a cannon. However, instead of a missile being mounted to the crane, the blaster is attached to this version's crane arm creating a cannon. Then further up the tower there is a "bucket" (like one from a backhoe) that creates a "balcony". Unfortuntely, this mode lacks the distinctive "windmill" communications dish seen on the G1 Ironworks base, but interestingly there appears to be a peg sticking out the side that may have been intended to attach a dish of some sort. I do wonder if this was intended at some point but dropped (thus making this mode a "hidden" one). That said, if you're open to do a bit of painting, Prize Inside! on Shapeways created an attachment to "complete" the look of this base.

This mode mostly shows off the same colors you've already seen in the other forms but they are separated out more. The top mostly has the darker colors while the lighter colors wind up at the base. The yellow on the cannon really pops nicely against the darker plastic colors.

Thanks to the various attachment points on this mode you can really enhance its battle potential. The sides each have one 5mm peg and one port. On the front you can mount the cannon onto a peg in the middle, freeing up the hip pegs to attach other weapons. The top also has another port and peg for additional weaponry. As with the G1 Ironworks base, you can have a Micromaster figure sit in the "balcony". This mode may not be 100% G1 accurate, but it is a fun "hidden" extra.

Transformation to Armor Mode:

  1. Start by breaking up the figure into its component modules.
  2. On each leg piece, swing up the light grey armor piece. These attach to figures with 5mm ports on the bottom of their feet (mostly from Siege at this point). Then push the grey panels against the legs (they will sit at an angle).
  3. Take the section with the "bucket" and extend it out fully. Swing out the peg on the side and attach this to another figure as an arm weapon.
  4. On the section with the hip joints, extend the ramp and attach it to the other arm.
  5. Take the left arm and bend it into an "L" shape, then use the shoulder joint to attach it to the back of another figure. Then attach the crane arm to the top peg, creating a "shoulder mounted" cannon.

Armor Mode:
I love that the play pattern of the Weaponizers has carried over to the "Modulators". That said, some parts here work better than others. For instance, the "boots"/leg armor does not fit on all figures. I actually first tried to attach them to Crosshairs, but there is not enough clearance for them to do so (which in turn means you can't connect them to Ironhide or Ratchet either). Also the ramp/shield formed by the hip section looks a tad awkward to me with the hip joints being so obvious. All that said, I cannot deny that this play option offers another layer of fun to this figure.

Final Thoughts:
Ironworks came very close to being a total win, but I would be dishonest if I said the figure had no flaws. The biggest issue is the flawed port on the top of the tower piece. Normally I would dismiss this as perhaps a flaw in one copy of the figure. However, both my copies of Ironworks have this problem so it is not an isolated instance. I also wish the tower had a "radar dish" on the side. That said, Ironworks is a fun toy and if you pick up multiples you have the beginnings of a super cool Cybertronian "city"! Recommended.

Pros:

  • Cool sculpt with nice detailing.
  • Fun play value (especially with the ramp connectors).
  • "Hidden Mode" is a fun G1 homage.

Cons:

  • The 5mm port flaw mentioned above really should not happen given how often figures are created with 5mm ports nowadays.
  • I would have liked a radar dish for the Communications Tower mode.