Arms Micron Ironhide with Iro Toy Review
Release Date: October 2012
Price Point: $40 (Import Stores, prices may vary)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Accessories: "Iro" Micron figure/weapon
One of the challenges in having a toy line that exists in selling toys to multiple countries is making those toys unique to each location. This is especially true between the United States and Japan, which traditionally take different tracks on marketing their figures. In the case of "Transformers Prime", Takara has engineered an entire campaign that centers around Microns (a.k.a. Mini-Cons) being included with each figure. Unlike traditional Mini-Con figures, these Microns are being included as small model kits that the buyer assembles. Another interesting feature is the use of stickers for details instead of paint, which is almost the antithesis of the current Generation One "Encore" series where old details that used to be stickers are tampographed onto G1 figures.
Ironhide is one of htose figures that many fans were very happy to welcome into the Transformers universe because of the odd treatment the sculpt received on its US release. Instead of being released as Ironhide (the character the design was originally meant to represent), he was put out as Kup in the U.S. Check out that review for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Tech Spec/Packaging Translation (courtesy of Doug Dlin):
AM20 Bodyguard Ironhide Profile:
A reliable warrior, Ironhide has been Optimus Prime's comrade-in-arms since the early days of the Great War on Cybertron, and now serves as his bodyguard on Earth. A veteran survivor of countless battles, he has his stubborn side, but he is prepared to lay down his own life to protect his teammates from danger. His armor is made of alloys tough enough to deflect almost all projectiles. He has often combined the firepower on which he prides himself with Bulkhead's physical strength for them to protect Optimus Prime together.
Arms-Up Ironhide (Protector Mode):
Ironhide equipped with the Burst Cannon combo weapon. With its superb endurance, it's the perfect weapon match for Ironhide, who frequently brings it into protracted battles. So long as Ironhide is there, danger will never befall Optimus Prime!
A cannon that fires energy amplified by Iro and accelerated by OP. RA functions as a gunsight.
- Robot Mode
- Robot Mode (Side)
- Robot Mode (Back)
- Robot Mode (Close up)
- Robot Mode (Posed)
- Weapon Mode
- Weapon Mode
- Weapon Mode (Alternate View)
The Micron included with Ironhide is "Iro", whose name is of course taken from the first few letters of his partner's name: Ironhide. The "Arms Micron" line seems very focused on two types of Microns: beasts and robots. In the case of Iro, he is a robot that transforms into a weapon.
Like most Microns in this line, Iro is a model kit that you have to put together. During my assembly of the figure, I pushed a bit too hard on the peg that attaches the arm to the shoulder joint on the right side and it showed some slight warping and stress marks on the plastic. The arm ultimately snapped on and works fine, but it is a softer grade of plastic than Ironhide himself, so be careful during assembly!
Iro is a rather unique design, even among Microns. He has a general robot shape, but the details are what set him apart. His head sculpt has a high crest and rounded helmet section (similar to Ironhide's) but his eyes are tiny and round, with a thin mouthplate underneath. Instead of hands, he has claws sculpted into his lower arms and there are wheel or cog like details sculpted into the joint on his shoulders/chest area where the arms swing in and out as part of his transformation. Along with some additional line details and circles on his torso Iro's design works nicely as a small Transformer.
Iro is cast in metallic orange plastic, very similar in tone to the color seen in the Generation One starship/base known as "The Ark". There are no paint applications on the figure, but he does have several stickers you apply for detailing. This includes red and blue stickers on his legs and gunmetal colored stickers on his back and the edges of his shoulder armor. Iro also has a red Autobot symbol set against a silver background. This is found inside his "Spark Crystal" chamber, located on his right leg. For this wave, the "crystal" portion is pink, giving him a "glowing" appearance, as if the Crystal is lit up with Energon. Many of these colors seem heavily influenced by the look of Generation One, and given the look of the Ironhide figure itself, this is no surprise and most welcome.
There are five points of articulation on this figure. His arms can move up and down, his lower legs can swing back at the knees and his hip joint (which is one piece forming the upper legs) can swing. Keep in mind all the joints are held together with pressure pegs, so there aren't pins or screws holding the figure together. Like most "snap and assemble" model kits, there's always a chance a piece could pop off. However, they are easy to snap right back on, but consider yourself warned.
Transformation to Weapon Mode:
- Swing the center piece on the back up.
- Swing each robot leg back.
- Swing the arms down, then fold them in.
- Swing the back piece from step one back down, the fold the end over to form the back of the cannon.
Inspired by the cannons used by Ironhide from the movie toy line, Iro transforms into an impressive looking cannon. The end looks like a rocket booster and the front has a section that narrows and then expands, curving around to form the barrel. In between are lots of little details which look fantastic including raised rectangles, angled lines and vents.
In this form you get a better look at how the gunmetal colored stickers come together to form a ring at the end of the barrel. You also get to see red stickers on the back of the cannon with black details. Overall it's an impressive looking mode both in sculpt and detail.
Iro has one main 5mm peg that is long enough to allow it to fit into Ironhide's hand or the holes on the sides of his arms. There are five additional connection points for weapons or other Microns with 5mm pegs. These are: one hole in the front, one in the back, one on top and one on either side. This set up allows Iro to be the "core" of a very powerful looking weapon indeed!
Final Thoughts on Iro:
Iro is a great little Micron. I like the unconventional head design and the claws as hands. They're very reminscent of some of the Microns that came out in the "Armada" era. However, I am concerned about how easily stressed the plastic was when I assembled the right arm, but I admit it's functioning just fine. Overall, a cool Micron, just no excessive force necessary!
- Vehicle Mode
- Vehicle Mode (Side)
- Vehicle Mode (Back)
- Vehicle Mode (Front view)
- Vehicle Mode (Angle view)
- Vehicle Mode (Rear Angle View)
- Vehicle Mode (Iro attached to back)
- Vehicle Mode (Iro attached, side)
- Vehicle Mode (Extra weapons attached)
- With Kup (Vehicle Modes)
- Robot Mode
- Robot Mode (Side)
- Robot Mode (Back)
- Robot Mode (Close up)
- Robot Mode (Focus on head)
- Robot Mode (Angle View)
- Robot Mode (Holding Iro)
- Robot Mode (Alternate pose)
- Robot Mode (Holding Energon Axe)
- With Kup (Robot Modes)
Taking more influence from the live action movie version of Ironhide, this vehicle mode is a pickup truck, but a really modern and tough looking one! Quite appropriate for the character I think, and in this color scheme it is cemented as being an Ironhide figure. The primary plastic colors in this mode are red, black, clear plastic with some smaller gunmetal parts. Red dominates most of the vehicle, making up most of the armor of the truck from the front all the way to the back. The clear plastic is used on the center section, giving him clear windshields and windows. The black is found on the wheels and the gunmetal peeks through on the front end and inside the truck bed (these pieces are his robot feet).
While most Arms Micron figures don't have a lot of deco on purpose (most of the details are done via stickers) Ironhide has quite a bit of paint out of sheer necesity. There are two colors that are heavily used in this form: silver and red. The silver color is used to paint much of the front grille and the cage around it. It's also foun don the row of lights on top of the cabin section. The red paint is used on the middle section to provide continuity of the red detail from the front to the back since this section is all clear plastic. I have to say, generally color match ups between paint and plastic such as this don't work very well, but in this case it looks fantastic!
There are of course stickers here as well. A series of three stickers are used along the sides of the vehicle to form a red and gunmetal grey pattern from the front wheel well to the back. The rear door of the truck bed also has gunmetal grey stickers on it and an Autobot symbol is used on the top of the air intake on the hood. Rounding all this out are some silver stickers on the front edges of the vehicle and you have one awesome set of colors and details on this vehicle.
The same connection points found on Kup are the ones seen here as there was no retooling done for this relese. You can attach 5mm peg weapons including Iro himself on the sides or the back of the vehicle on the truck bed. However, this isn't perfect as Iro cannot fit on the peg intended for weapons. Instead, you can attach him to the semi-circle hole formed by the section where the robot feet meet a ball joint. It's not a bad solution, but it does feel more loose than I would like it too (though Iro doesn't come out even if you turn the vehicle upside down, so that's good). I do miss having two cannons so you could set them up as ginormous rocket boosters however.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Lift the cabin section up and swing it forward.
- Pull the sides of the vehicle out to the sides.
- You should now be able to see the fists on Kup's doors. Swing them in to form the forearms.
- Rotate the shoulders around so the wheels are facing the back.
- Rotate the forearms around so Kup can move the arm at the elbow joint.
- Pull the panels that form the fog lights section of the vehicle mode out to the sides to form the shoulder armor.
- Push the panel in the center of the robot body up, revealing the robot head.
- Separate the middle of the hood section from the sides.
- Swing the middle section of the hood back.
- Swing the headlights section of the hood forward, snapping it into place.
- Separate each half of the truck bed.
- Rotate the lower legs around.
- Swing the bottom of the truck bed down, then swing the robot feet out.
- The cannons can connect to each arm on the sides or in the fists.
While I really did like the "Transformers Prime" Kup figure, I have to say that my first feeling upon looking at this figure is "This is the way it should be". The design of the figure clearly screams "I am Ironhide!" so making him Kup instead in the U.S. as an initial release always felt a bit off. When it comes to inspiration, Ironhide is clearly G1 inspired here. His primary plastic colors are red and gunmetal grey with some clear plastic and black parts. Interestingly, most of his torso/upper body area is gunmetal grey, which makes him seem a it heavy on that color (especially since his feet are gunmetal too) but there is just enough red to balance it all out on the head, shoulder armor, forearms and lower legs.
As mentioned above, the "Arms Micron" figures don't have much (if any) paint deco, leaving most of the detailing to be done with stickers. To that end, Ironhide has gunmetal grey stickers on his legs and red stickers used on the torso section. This offers a nice balance in both areas. Some of the vehicle mode stickers from the side and front of the vehicle carry over on his arms, shoulders and legs, giving him even more detail. A tiny Autobot symbol is found in the center of his torso, but unlike Kup's it's a red and silver sticker.
There is a tiny bit of paint deco on the figure, specifically on the face. His face is painted silver while his eyes are yellow (defying the convention of giving Autobots blue eyes). If you want to count carry over detail, the silver from his headlights winds up on top of his chest. Overall, Ironhide looks awesome. He's instantly recognizable, the stickers give him more detail than Kup had in this form and he stays true to the source character.
Unlike most Arms Micron figures, Ironhide has not been retooled to accomodate more weaponry. I'm guessing this is due to the fact that as is, he already has four connection points for 5mm peg weapons: his two hands and the sides of his forearms. Frankly that's more than enough connection points to allow Ironhide to get amped up with weaponry!
Final Thoughts on Ironhide:
Ironhide and Iro are quite the duo and I really like this set a lot. I already thought Kup was a cool figure, but the deco being what the figure was "meant to be" really sends it over the top. Recommended, but with a slight worry about the plastic on Iro (mentioned above).