Transformers Ironhide
Transformers Ironhide
Transformers Ironhide
Transformers Ironhide

After making do with retools of the 2007 Voyager figure for Revenge of the Fallen, Ironhide suddenly got a brace of new toys for the Dark of the Moon line (there was a new Deluxe in Hunt for the Decepticons but I didn't see any point in down-sizing). Firstly there was an all-new Voyager - slightly smaller than the original, and superficially better-looking though there's something very weird about the shoulders when you look closely - namely that there don't seem to be any.

There was also a new Ironhide in the Cyberverse line, but I'm not counting that - it looks like one of the better efforts from one of the more disappointing executions of a good idea in recent years. No, what I'm focused on is the brand new Leader figure, which Sar got me for my birthday. The choice of Ironhide for the Leader range was something of a surprise, considering he's in the film for all of three scenes before getting (an utterly traumatising) death but is also much appreciated. Now, just do Leader figures for Ratchet, Blackout, Bonecrusher and Long Haul and I'll forgive you for the Pretenders, Hasbro.


Ironhide still turns into a GMC Topkick, his live-action prop vehicle being basically unchanged across the three films (though somewhere out there there's some lunatic who can tell you that the font on his number plate or the tyre tread changed; this is assuming you can tear them away from masturbating over screen captures of Thunderblast). Obviously at Leader class there's more room for detail, though the simple look of the Topkick means this isn't especially noticeable as the thing doesn't have much detail. Nice touches include clear plastic lights on the front (even the indicators). There's also a button on the back that activates what's probably meant to be an engine noise.

Sadly the tricky transformation (going back to vehicle, anyway) means it's difficult to get all of Ironhide flush, especially the cab sides. The truck mode really feels like it's going to explode at any point. The back end of the cab is also compromised by the complex construction - the rear windows are all solid, with a grey bar on the back not helping either. Pulling on the smokestacks causes his MechTech weapons to activate - unlike other figures in the line these aren't removable ugly pieces or crap, but two fairly sensible cannon stored inside the roof. The other problem with Ironhide's vehicle mode is that it's a tad large. The Dark of the Moon toys are generally about 10-15% smaller than their equivalent classes in Revenge of the Fallen. Ironhide breaks the trend, being about the same length as RotF Leader Optimus Prime. While the Topkick is big enough to house a family of six it should still be slightly smaller than Prime's truck mode, though it's a lot closer than the Voyager figure.


As mentioned above, Ironhide's transformation is a mixed bag. I don't think I've encountered a figure with such disparity - forming robot from truck is very intuitive, to the point of being simplistic for a toy this size (putting aside the front wing/shoulder pad parts having a habit of detaching when moved). The other way is a nightmare - you have to get everything lined up just right or there's much backtracking, and the instructions are little help (as Ironhide is packed in robot mode, you don't even have chance to examine how everything's meant to go before transforming him for the first time). However, the robot mode is such a beast that this can be largely forgiven. The figure is very accurate to the CGI model, obviously with some allowances - theses are limited to some cab parts on the back, some large panels under the forearms and wheels inside the knees. In return, the chest is finally sorted. Okay, so it takes a fake pre-deformed grille but the wings of the truck clip in securely, resulting in a solid upper torso, while the wheels fold in beautifully and there's a fantastic head cast. Aside from the panels on the forearms he's surprisingly sleek and solid - to be honest, it looks like the robot mode was very much the object of the exercise, with some of the truck mode sacrificed to make it work.

While it would be preferable for both to be good, if one's got to suffer I'd rather it was the alternate form. Ironhide is heavily armed too - the MechTech weapons move to his forearms; one is very reminiscent of his famous cannons; the other is less screen-accurate but still a big step away from other comical DotM weaponry. That's not all, though - a paddle on the waist opens up the figure's chest, revealing a huge rotary cannon that lights up and makes a passable machine gun noise. There's still more - both of his legs open up, one revealing a knife (mounted on a pop-out holster reminiscent of Bludgeon's smaller sword), the other a missile launcher. This wasn't quite enough for me, so Ironhide's helped himself to Sideswipe's MechTech weapon. He could do with a big pair of dirty great big shotguns that can mount on his back, but that's life. Articulation is respectable - the shoulder parts get in the way of the joints a little and the solid waist is a shame but he has good range and - thanks to big, flat-bottomed feet - excellent balance. It all adds up to a superb robot mode fully fitting of one of the most memorable characters from the films.


Despite having a few faults mainly confined to the alternate mode you'll rarely have him in, Ironhide is still a fine figure. There's a Hell of a lot to do with the robot, which makes an impressive sight even when just standing there. While the Leader class can be steep price-wise, Ironhide fully justifies it even if he's not perfect. He doesn't half make his old mucker Ratchet look bad by comparison though.