Dark of the Moon Voyager Class Ironhide Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Revenge of the Fallen, Voyager, MechTech

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: May 2011
Price Point: $20.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Fusion Cannon/Blaster

Images:

*Images and text from The Official Transformers web site
Fasten your seatbelts for some fast-paced fun with this vehicle-to-robot hero! This mighty IRONHIDE figure changes from battle-ready robot mode to GMC Topkick vehicle mode so he can chase down his enemies or fight the fiercest foes. As the battle rages on, keep converting him back and forth so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him!

Weapons work with any MECHTECH TRANSFORMERS figure! Ages 5 and up.

Ironhide is one of the key Autobots in the live action "Transformers" universe. I'd say he's easily one of my favorite characters to come out of the live action movie universe. With the "Dark of the Moon" toy line fans have another version of this character to check out.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Ironhide's Mech Tech weapon is a bit different from the others in the toy line so far in that it doesn't transform so much as it has an action feature. The cannon is based on the design of his giant arm cannons, looking like it's made up of a ton of complex machinery that has a giant claw on one side (complete with a barrel in the center) and then a ball shaped piece on the other side with four cannon barrels. The clawed side is reminscent of the "claw arm" of the Autobot base "Omega Supreme" from Generation One and I wonder if this was a deliberate homage. The weapon is designed to replicate an action seen on the films where Ironhide's cannon ends can spin around. Push the claw end and the front extends a bit while the ball spins. It's a pretty nice action, but given the intent of the "Mech Tech" line, it would've been cooler if the weapon converted to something else like a melee weapon or something. One saving grace however is the ability to attach an extra standard 5mm peg weapon on top.

The cannon is cast in blue grey plastic (also found on Ironhide himself) and dark grey plastic. The ball at the end and the area around the edge of the central piece are painted silver and black respectively. Look on the sides and you'll see some orange paint peeking through from the piece inside of the cannon that moves forward when you push the claw.

Robot Mode:
I confess that when I originally saw this version of Ironhide in package I thought "Hey, he looks pretty good." but after I took him out I began to think "Uh oh.". Let me be clear: there's a lot that's done right with this figure - but there's also a lot wrong with it, and I believe in a proper accounting of the pros and cons of any figure, so to be fair I'll first talk about what was done right. In general, the sculpting is spot on. The designers at Takara Tomy and Hasbro have had years to get used to sculpting and designing this iteration of Ironhide so many of his key details are done really well including his head sculpt (complete with his beak like mouth and the angled details on the helmet section). His chest has the front of the vehicle folded in at angles onto a mid-body piece that replicates the look of the movie CGI models with parts folding in and on top of each other during transformations. His legs are full of angled and complex details that mirror his CGI model including his distinctive hip armor which comes to a point over his thighs. In terms of the actual sculpt itself, Ironhide delivers.

Deco is another area where this figure delivers. Using a combination of the same plastic colors as the Mech Tech weapon, Ironhide is instantly recognizable (even without paint applications) as the character from the movie. The black plastic is mostly on the top section of the body with some smaller pieces on his legs and feet. The rest is a mix of grey and grey blue plastic. His deco is mostly focused on the newly revealed head and leg sections. This includes liberal use of gold and silver to paint details on his armor and face. I especially like the use of gold and silver on his lower legs which works together with the red from the vehicle mode parts to form a nicely painted section.

So what's the problem? Sadly, pretty much everything else. From a functional standpoint, Ironhide has way too much kibble on the top of his body to effectively work as a figure. His arms are attached in a really weird way to the panels that make up most of the upper body, making it cumbersome to pose them. The panels behind his arms limit his range of motion and just to add insult to injury, his forearms have a tendency to droop if you attach his weapon. I've also had forearm pieces pop off during transformation. While his legs have no problem being posed, his upper body is really just a mess of panels and limbs. I also find his front bumper halves are a bit in the way on his forearms as well (though to be fair, they're on ball joints and can be moved out of the way). All that said, Ironhide does have nineteen points of articulation, four on each arm and five on each leg. On another functional note, the top of his vehicle mode cabin winds up on his back, and there's an attachment point for a Mech Tech weapon allowing for some weapon storage. His door panels also have points to attach additional weapons.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the panels on top of the arms and and swing out all the sub-panels to begin forming the side of the vehicle.
  2. Swing the panel on the back up.
  3. Swing the entire upper body back.
  4. Swing the wheels from the chest out.
  5. Straighten out the two chest panels to begin forming the front of the vehicle.
  6. Swing the back panel forward to begin forming the top of the vehicle's cabin section.
  7. Fold the arms under the front of the vehicle and connect the two bumper halves together.
  8. On each leg, swing out the panels around the lower legs to begin forming the sides of the vehicle's rear section.
  9. Rotate the panels down so the wheels are pointing back.
  10. On each lower leg, swing the robot feet up and then swing back the middle panel and connect it to the panels that form the sides of the truck.
  11. Swing each leg up, then rotate it around.
  12. Tuck the lower body section against the upper body and then connect the legs together.
  13. Push all the side and top panels together.
  14. The weapon can attach to the top or sides of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
It's kind of rare when I say that the alternate mode of a Transformer is better than its robot mode, but this is one of those cases (of course, I'm not a big fan of the robot mode so take that as you will). Now, I'm saying this is a super duper version of Ironhide's vehicle mode either. There have been many other interpretations that have a leg up on this one including the version from the first movie and the Deluxe version from the second film. Still, I always believe in giving credit where it's due. What this sculpt manages to do is replicate many of the key details from the Topkick pickup truck including:

  • The distinctive bumper in the front extends out a bit in the front and it has the "Road Armor" logo sculpted into the front.
  • The front grille and headlight designs match the real life vehicle down to the cross hatch pattern on the grille and the "GMC" logo in the center.
  • Above the windshield is a row of lights on the top of the cabin section along with ridges behind them.
  • The distinctive curved smokestacks are found here sticking up and out at angles behind the cabin area.
  • The side view mirrors on this vehicle are smaller than the ones generally seen on the Topkick.
  • The Autobot symbol is sculpted onto the tailgate in the back, just like the real life truck used in the movie.

The problem with the figure is mostly focused on the cabin section. The panels that make up the top and sides of the cabin section don't really hold together well, leaving very noticable gaps in the design. You can fiddle with it and get them to sit correctly (barely), but the moment you pick it up or try to attach the weapon (which involves some pressing of the top panel) the panels go out of alignment again. It's frustrating and frankly considering how ugly these panels looked in robot mode, this just makes me dislike them even more.

Ironhide mostly shows off his black plastic in this mode with dark blue grey on the wheels and a light grey on the smokestacks. The windshield and side windows are cast in translucent blue. Color wise a lot is done right on this figure (again, I try to give credit where it's due). Silver is used on the front end around the grille and headlights and on the sides, painting tubes running on the underside of the doors. You'll also find silver on the tailgate painting the Autobot symbol. Red is used for the rear lights and the "GMC" logo on the front. Orange is used for the lights above the headlights. It's not a lot of color I grant, but this is not a vehicle that demands a lot of color. The deco does a good job of replicating the colors seen on screen.

Ironhide's cannon can be mounted to the holes on the top and sides of the vehicle. These are standard 5mm peg holes so Energon weapons, Classics weapons and of course Mech Tech weapons will attach, just hold the panels firmly when you do so.

Final Thoughts:
"Dark of the Moon" Ironhide is really a big disappointment. While there is some really nice sculpting work and deco on this figure, in the end the weird arm design and panel kibble is just annoying. Not recommended.