Robot Powered Machines: Ironhide Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Movie (2007), Robot Powered Machines

Robot Powered Machines

General Information:
Release Date: July 2009
Price Point: $3.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None


Text from
Rough, tough, and always ready for a fight, IRONHIDE is the one any AUTOBOT sees when he needs a weapon. IRONHIDE has a collection of laser blasters and missile cannons second to none in the galaxy. No one is as ready for—or as likely to win—a battle as him.

Roll into action with this detailed, slick truck vehicle! Race this speedster right into the thick of the robot-versus-robot battle and then flip it over to reveal the mighty IRONHIDE character etched on the bottom!

RPM stands for "Robot Powered Machine", a new sub-line of Transformers. A sub-line of this concept introduces Hot Wheels/Matchbox sized cars that have super smooth axles that allow the vehicles to roll really well, especially around race tracks made for small toy cars. The concept harkens back to Generation 2, when a small line of Transformers known as "Gobots" were created. Like the RPM's, the Gobots were also made to resemble Hot Wheels/Matchbox style vehicles in size and function. While the Gobots had relatively simple transformations, the RPM's are primarily toy cars. Acknowledgement of their robot modes is done by having a raised, sculpted interpretation of the character's robot mode on the underside of the vehicle. The vehicles do not "transform" per se, but instead you stand the vehicle up and reveal the robot mode underneath. Ironhide is part of the "Combat" series of figures which includes Autobot Ratchet, Megatron and Long Haul.

Vehicle Mode:
Ironhide transforms into a gigantic pickup truck in the movies, and this figure represents this vehicle mode. The design has many of the primary design elements of Ironhide's vehicle mode from the movie. These details include:

  • The front grille has the GMC logo on top of a set of cross hatch details.
  • The smokestacks in the middle of the vehicle have the curves at the top just like the live action vehicle.
  • Running along the top of the cabin and the bed of the pickup truck are parallel line that are raised slightly from the main armor.
  • On the back of the truck bed is an Autobot symbol sculpted onto the rear door.
  • On the inside of the truck bed, you'll find raised wheel wells. This detail is significant since the actual wheels on the vehicle don't need those wheel wells there, they fit just fine without them, so this detail was put in solely to be more accurate to the real life vehicle.

Ironhide is cast in two types of plastic. He has black, translucent blue and metallic black hard plastic as well as silver soft plastic. The black plastic makes up most of the vehicle. The translucent blue is used for the windows while the metallic black is found on the wheels. The smokestacks are made of soft plastic, no doubt to avoid possible injury to kids and adults alike. What I found interesting is that the black plastic is painted over with a glossy layer of black paint, giving it more of a shiny look that looks almost metallic. Silver and light blue paint grace the front and sides of the vehicle while the truck bed has a large, metallic red Autobot symbol on it. Black is a great contrast color, allowing bright colors like the light blue on the headlights and the silver on the grille stand out. The red colors look great as well against the black.

The axles are built to roll really well on this figure. When I was photographing this figure, I had it on a glass plate that I have used many times before to stand figures in both robot and vehicle modes. It began rolling off unless I positioned it just right, but with other vehicles like deluxe figures from "Revenge of the Fallen", there was never any rolling. These are definitely axles made for high speed. I do warn against banging the car up too much if you want to keep it in shape. The smokestacks are soft plastic so I can easily see them tearing or clipping off.

Robot Mode:
On the underside of the vehicle, you'll find a raised sculpture of Ironhide's robot mode. Above Ironhide's head is a sculpted Autobot symbol inside a circle. Below that is Ironhide, looking quite thin. The sculpt is rather complex, featuring many of Ironhide's movie details including his "bull" like snout on the robot head, the cannons on his arms and the angled/jagged armor designs on his legs. In order to fit this sculpture into the underside however Ironhide looks thin. He's nowhere near as wide as other incarnations of him and parts like his shoulder armor and cannons have been shrunken down. This may sound a bit like blasphemy for a character with as unique and powerful of a profile as Ironhide, but it manages to capture a lot of the detail. What kind of looks weird however is that his arms seem turned so his cannons are at the top of his forearms, as if he has them turned and held in front of him. It occurred to me as I wrote this review that perhaps you could say this was the pose his arms would be in just as he is about to raise his arms to fire, and that's kind of a cool thought.

The underside of the vehicle is cast in metallic brown plastic. The Autobot symbol is cast in red plastic. Paint applications are done up in black, metallic light blue, light blue and white paint. Black and metallic light blue make up Ironhide's various robot mode parts. The light blue is used for his eyes, and the name "Ironhide" is painted right under his feet, using the Transformers movie font. This sculpt looks good, but it's not great. The pose is a bit weird and the width winds up compromising the look of the character quite a bit. This is definitely one RPM I'd rather look at in vehicle mode.

Final Thoughts:
Ironhide has a solid vehicle mode, with nice sculpted and painted details. The accuracy to the movie model and the use of glossy black paint elevates this above looking like a cheap toy, but the robot mode "sculpt" on the underside is underwhelming. Considering the cost (almost three times that of some Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars) I would call this one mildly recommended. It's not a bad toy, it's just not great either.