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Transformers Bumblebee
by yo go re

Imagine this guy exclaiming his name in a strong Southern/Midwest accent: "Ahrnhyad!"

Ironhide and the Autobots take on the Deceticons in a final stand.

As fun as all the G1-inspired Cybertronian designs were in Bumblebee, it's hard to have a big battle scene with just four characters. Filling out the Decepticon ranks was easy - there's always been an army of rainbow-colored Seekers, so you just design one robot and color it different ways - but the same isn't true of the Autobots. So what to do? Well, one of the first designs completed was Ironhide, so they just cloned him over and over, did some new heads and new colors, and built an Autobot army.

Hasbro worked the opposite direction, however: Studio Series Ratchet was designed first, and is now repainted into Ironhide. The body looks sturdy and strong, with thick, blocky limbs and large pads running over the shoulders. We even get a nice nod to the old design in the form of a big blue windshield on the chest, though in this case it's a series of angled panels rather than a single flat piece of glass. He's mostly red, with a little bit of gray breaking things up. The hips are molded from a plastic that doesn't take paint very well, so they've been left red rather than blending in with the rest of the leg. It makes him look like he's wearing little shorts!

You can tell Ratchet was designed before Ironhide, because the panel that swings over the head when converting is designed to accommodate Ratchet's crest, not Ironhide's mohawk. Due to the Diaclone toy both were originall based on, neither character had a head; it fell to the cartoon to make one up, and that was used as a way to differentiate them.

The figure's articulation is better than you might expect. He's got a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, a swivel waist, swivel/​hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and hinged rocker ankles. The rocker part in that last one doesn't go very far, thanks to the shape of the feet and the legs, but it is there. The hips on Ironhide are even wobblier than they were on Ratchet, suggesting it's an endemic issue with the molds, not just a random issue. The figure includes a large grey rifle that can be held in either hand, or stored on his back.

Converting Ironhide is a little tricky, because there's a swivel in his waist and a swivel in his lower back, and if you turn the wrong one at the wrong time, things will never line up. To begin, fold his hands away, open the flaps on his back, raise the little panel over his head, and fold the entire torso up. Tuck the feet away, rotate the thighs 180, lift the legs forward at the tips, extend the chest, open the shoulder flaps farther, rotate the lower back, bend the knees and wrap the chest over them, fold the arms around the sides, and put the forearms away underneath.

If you're not careful, your Ironhide may not fit together properly. There are tabs on the shoulders that fit into slots on the top of the hips; unfortunately, there are two gaps that are nearly the same size, and if you put the tab into the wrong one, the pieces won't all line up at the end. In fact, you can even see the result of that in this image from the Ratchet review. Basically, if the shoulder bars don't end up aligned with the top of the vehicle and are instead sticking up, you've got the wrong slots. A few yellow stripes show up in this mode, referencing Ironhide's G1 colors.

Bumblebee's Cybertron scenes were added after the first test-screenings, so there was no time to come up with altmodes; that's why we only see Bumblebee and the Seekers ever change form. So Hasbro worked with Emiliano Santalucia to create something good. This Ironhide may look drastically different than he did in the other movies, but he's still good enough to get me to ignore my "one mold" rule.

-- 10/18/22

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