"Transformers Universe 2.0" Ironhide Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: October 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Sword/Gun weapon

*Images and text below from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
IRONHIDE was built at a time when armor was thick, and circuitry was simple. He is the oldest of the AUTOBOTS, tested in thousands of battles, over countless centuries. He has been injured many times, but never deactivated. For every scratch and scar that he bears he has a tale to tell, and most of the younger AUTOBOTS are all too eager to hear them. Gruff, and sometimes grumpy, he is also naturally protective of the other AUTOBOTS. He is tough, rough, and nearly impossible to damage.

Wielding a sword in robot mode, the loyal AUTOBOT defender is ready to take on whatever adventures you create! Convert the no-nonsense robot figure to SUV vehicle and the sword converts to a cannon!

I've always had a particular affection for the character of Ironhide. Even as a kid, while I loved Bumblebee, something about the ornery, tough talking character who had a rather boxy appearance appealed to me. It probably helped that he was one of the first Transformers I ever owned as well. While it may not seem like it, Ironhide has been dropped into Transformers across the years since G1, but often in rather inconspicuous (and some not so much so) ways. This ranges from being a Humvee in Generation 2 to an elephant in "Beast Wars" to a Spychanger in "Robots in Disguise".

Vehicle Mode:
The original Ironhide transformed into a van, but over the years the van has taken on a bit of a less-than-cool status. Often relegated to the status of a family vehicle for soccer moms, the designers opted to go for the next best vehicle that would hark back to a van while being a bit more popular - an SUV. Loosely based on a Cadillac Escalade, Ironhide has an angled front end (as opposed to the more common curved front end) with a trapezoid shaped front grille. If you look at the side, there are three side windows like the Escalade. However, many details are unique to Ironhide including an air intake on the hood, angled rear lights, upswept sideview mirrors and a guard over the front of the vehicle. It's a nice vehicle design that one could imagine looking quite nice if it were a real life vehicle. The only problem with this vehicle form is due to the way the figure transforms - namely the use of several panels breaking apart along the side of the vehicle. While this is not unusual, what is unusual is their shape, mostly angled trapezoids and triangles, so the sides have an unusually jagged appearance that is quite distracting visually. I can't say this makes me hate it, but it does dampen my enthusiasm somewhat.

Jagged sides or not, there are some great details on this figure. The front end has cross hatching on the center grille and the sections under it. The hood air intake has vent lines running horizontally on the front. The doors have large handles and dual lines run along the edge towards the bottom of the sides. I'm also big on smaller details that could have easily been left out, and Ironhide has that in the form of a rear window wiper. I also like the V shaped lines running along the rear lights.

Ironhide is cast in four plastic colors: red, translucent blue, black and silver. The red plastic makes up most of the figure, with the translucent blue makes up most of the front section of the canopy. Silver is used on the front guard and rear bumper. The wheels are cast in black. Red paint is used on the translucent blue parts in an attempt to match up with the red plastic. It's far more successful than some other attempts (such as Sunstreaker) at doing the same. Light blue paint is used on the middle and back windows on the sides as well as the moon roof. I really have to say, the blue is rather ugly. I understand the designers were trying to emulate the translucent blue plastic, but a much more subtle blue color would have worked better. This shade of blue is just far too bright. Silver paint is used on the front grille and the lines running along the bottom of the vehicle's sides. Truthfully, if it weren't for the blue, the color scheme would be just fine, but the blue really hurts the color scheme overall.

Ironhide's license plate is from Oregon, which is a reference to the state where the G1 Ark crashed. His license plate is based on the the real life Oregon license plate complete with mountains, sky and a tree in the middle. This type of detail was previously saved for Alternators, so it's nice to see Ironhide given this treatment.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the vehicle over and detach the weapon stored underneath.
  2. Swing down each side section.
  3. Split the side sections off from the middle section with the air intake piece.
  4. Swing the canopy section up and fold the front end with the guard down.
  5. Swing the sections with the blue windows out to the sides.
  6. Swing out each robot hand.
  7. Rotate the rear wheels around.
  8. Swing up the panels with the headlights on them.
  9. Straighten out the robot legs and swing down the robot feet.
  10. Swing the headlight panels down on the hinge and then push them against the lower legs.
  11. Swing the upper body down on the central hinge.
  12. Swing the rear bumper down, which will push up a panel of tech details into the vehicle's rear window.
  13. Swing down the robot chest onto the central hinge.
  14. Straighten out the arms to the sides and rotate the shoulder pieces around.

Robot Mode:
Ironhide's G1 design was very different from the toy design. Made mostly of squares and plain rectangles, updating the form and making him look more detailed was an obvious way to go, and that's what this figure offers. His overall shape is the same as his G1 animation form with a robot head on top of a chest with a window in the center, squar(ish) shoulders and elbows leading to rectangular lower arms and rectangular leg sections and feet.

All of the above sounds simple, but the designers managed to add a lot of nice elements into this figure all its own. The head design is simple, with a helmet that has a central crest and a raised circle on either side. The face in the center looks simple, but it is actually layered, with raised armor panels over his cheeks, right under the eyes. The shoulders and lower arms have a lot of angled and layered details including vent lines and circles. Inside the chest is a panel with tube, vent and circular details. This particular detail is excellent as it is a panel that doesn't appear in vehicle mode and raises up especially for the robot mode. The legs are much simpler in design, with some angled lines on his upper legs and three distinctive sections making up each foot. Among my favorite details are found under his feet, where you'll find several horizontal lines and raised details. It's always a treat to see details in places where one may not necesarily look. I'm really happy to see the designers did not just use a bunch of simple blocky bits but instead chose to give Ironhide a lot of detail in this form despite being one of the more "antique" Transformers (in terms of age).

Ironhide has twenty four points of articulation in this form. This includes six on each arm and five in each leg. Surprisingly, Ironhide has waist articulation. I had not expected waist articulation due to the way he transforms on a central hinge, but I'm happy it was included. Thanks to his wide feet, he is very stable and able to stand in a wide variety of poses.

Ironhide carries over all his colors from the vehicle mode and adds one in this form. He is mostly red, but the top part of his thighs and his lower arms are cast in black plastic. The tech detail plate inside his chest is metallic silver. Sadly, the light blue color from the vehicle mode rears its ugly head again on his face. Translucent blue plastic is used for light piping on his eyes, which gets a bit overwhelmed by the blue on his face unfortunately. Finally, a red and white Autobot symbol is tampographed onto the center of the tech detail plate inside his chest.

Ironhide's accessory is a weapon pod that can be slipped over either of his hands. Doing so slides out the weapon inside. One side is a sword, and the other is a cannon. This is a bit of a homage to G1 Ironhide's ability to use his hands or wrists to emit various chemicals in the G1 cartoon. This pod is very well detailed with everything from tubes to a targeting scope. The cannon looks like a gatling gun and the sword has nice line details on the edges.

Final Thoughts:
Ironhide is a really nice update of the classic character, and the detail level on this figure is absolutely awesome. However, some of the deco choices and the rather distracting jagged lines seen in vehicle mode definitely take the figure down a notch from highly recommended to just recommended. Having seen photos of the Japanese Henkei! version, I'd say you may be better off with that version if you're willing to put out almost three times what this figure costs.

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