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Transformers DOTM
by yo go re

We've told you before about why the movie Transformers weren't redesigned between films, and that worked out pretty well. I've got one Bumblebee, one Ratchet, one Jazz, three Optimus Primes... okay, it didn't always work out perfectly. But despite multiple releases with different weaponry, I only had one Ironhide. Until now.

Ironhide is a veteran Autobot soldier. He relies on knowledge gained from countless skirmishes with the Decepticons to persevere in battle. He chooses MechTech weapons for their adaptability and power - the Decepticons don't stand a chance!

For whatever reason, Ironhide won the Leader Class lottery for TF3: after using the same mold for the first two films, he finally got an upgrade for movie number three. He stands about 10" tall, which makes him tower over previous versions. he has all the articulation you'd expect, save for his wrists and neck; the legs are strong enough to keep him from flopping around.

You might think the larger palette would mean exponentially more detail, but that's really not the case. Hasbro really did pack a lot of detail into the first sculpt, so there isn't much left to add. Yes, there's some, like small sculpted springs in the knees or a more accurately shaped head, but when it comes to sculptural detail, the only thing we can accurately say about this version is just that it's bigger.

That's not to say the overall sculpt isn't better: it totally is. This version has much better proportions than the old one, and does a nicer job of dealing with its kibble (with a few notable exceptions we'll get to in a minute). He actually has real feet now, not just flaps on hinges. The armored panel on his chest is smaller, but it's closer to what was seen in the movie, rather than the promo renders. The outside of his legs are sculpted with fake kibble, while the real stuff hangs off his back and forearms. Massively. Like, "almost completely unchanged" massively. Granted, you probably won't be looking at his back or the undersides of his arms very often, but it's still there.

Since he's the main warrior on the Autobots' team, Ironhide has a whole arsenal. Pulling back on the smokestacks causes cannons to pop out of his forearms, and panels on his legs open to reveal more weapons: a knife in the left leg, and a missile launcher in the right. They're both removable, and can be held in his hands. The launcher can also plug into either shoulder, or you can just leave it where it was - the leg compartment will close even with the missile in place, which is just awesome! This guy is bristling with things to use to kill you!

And we're not done yet! Press down on his crotchal license plate area (or the gray tab behind his shoulder) and a "Cybertronian Blitz Cannon" pops out of his chest. The barrel spins and is lit from behind while electronic "firing" sounds play. It keeps going until you let go, at which point the gun tucks itself away neatly. Additionally, when you press the front of his chest or the switch behind his head, his eyes light up, his mouth moves and he says one of two phrases: "Weapons ready!" or "Ironhide here!"

Ironhide's conversion is deceptively simple for his size. One time through the instructions will probably be enough for you to get it. He still turns into a GMC Topkick, measuring 9¾" long, 3½" wide and 4" tall. That's not quite Alternators or Human Alliance scale, but it's close enough for my purposes. Bigger is better!

The packaging claims Ironhide has "automatic conversion sounds," but he totally doesn't. There is a button on the truck bed that you can push for driving/crashing sounds, but nothing that happens automatically, thank Primus. There's no sort of detailing behind the clear glass, but the exterior of the truck is a fully licensed reproduction of the real truck. Not that there is a real truck anymore, since GMC got out of the medium-duty truck market in 2009. There's a lot of kibble under the truck, but at least no giant guns.

Speaking of the guns, though, the way the robot's arms fold into the truck means that you can still access those bits of weaponry: pull back the ([closer to] full-length) smokestacks, and the guns pop out of the roof. Who hasn't wished for a feature like that on their real car? It'd come in handy so, so often.

I had no intention of buying Leader Class Ironhide, even after I saw him in stores. Yes, he looked good, but didn't seem like he was worth the full price. Well, one of the many, many, many "20% Off" coupons Toys Я Us sent out last fall convinced me to get him, and I'm glad I did. This is a really nice figure, and a lot of fun to play with. Keep an eye out for a sale if you must, but don't kick yourself later for not getting this one.

-- 01/24/12

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