Cybertron Toy Reviews: Armorhide

in 2005, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Cybertron, Earth Planet, Galaxy Force


General Information:
Release Year: October 2005
Retailer: General Release (Target, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: Cyber Planet Key, Rifle/Crane arm

Armorhide package art


Tech Specs:
A soldier to the core, ARMORHIDE is often frustrated by missions that don't go perfectly. He often finds himself aggravated during the search for the Planet Key on Earth. Still, he finds a kind of joy in the frequent battles with the DECEPTICON forces that seem to block him and the other AUTOBOTS at every turn. Tough, dedicated and fearless, ARMORHIDE neither asks nor gives any mercy in the ongoing battle with the evil DECEPTICONS.

Strength: 8 Intelligence: 5.5 Speed: 5 Endurance: 6 Rank: 4 Courage: 9 Firepower: 8 Skill: 6.75

Each Transformer from the basic sized figure and up comes with a Cyber Planet Key. Armorhide comes with the standard "Earth" Planet Key. Unlike the Japanese Galaxy Force "Force Chips", these have codes printed on them that you can use on the official Transformers web site to unlock extra content. In Armorhide's case his code is s645 and his unlocked material reveals an image of his color chart and the following text:

As a plucky new recruit to the Autobot army, Armorhide is always ready with a word of encouragement or a joke to get his partners through the day. In fact, Armorhide is really working on his material as one of the only stand-up comedians in the Cybertronian army. Before the war with the Decepticons broke out, he used to try out his routines in the great hall of Altihex. After Megatron launched a surprise attack on Altihex while he was on the road, Armorhide made it his goal to not only stomp out the Decepticon menace any way he could, but to try and put a smile on anyone's face he came across during the dark times of war...

Armorhide is one of the few Cybertron toys from the initial waves that came out in the United States before reaching Japan. Indeed, there is little information right now as to whether or not Armorhide is due out in Japan at all.

Vehicle Mode:
Armorhide is a semi-truck in vehicle mode. It is an unusual mode for a basic sized toy since it is a larger sized vehicle. Unlike the original Optimus Prime (the quintessential Transformers truck to many), Armorhide has a more sleek front end. It angles up slightly and on the top is a sloped cover. This gives it a rather sleek appearance considering its rather bulky form.

The front end has a good bit of detail. On the lower part are headlights sculpted in. Above that are grille structures. The windows have windshield wipers on each. The sides have details such as the doors etched in on the sides along with circular bolt details. The tires all have deep ridges in them and each tire has bolt details on them. While there is no trailer for the toy, the back is designed to look as if it could support one. In the center is a circular design that would be the spot where a trailer could hitch on. Instead, a crane arm/weapon can attach to this section. It is cool to add this detail to the truck, but the accessory does not move up and down so it is permanently angled upwards, which is a bit unfortunate.

Detach the rifle/crane piece and you can insert the Cyber Planet Key into the slot on the back of the cab section. This flips down the front grille and reveals a battery of eight large missiles. I love how this utilizes one of the basic elements of Transformers, surprise. I could easily imagine an enemy on the road being surprised by this!

It may have been unintentional, but Armorhide's color scheme is very reminscent of Ultra Magnus. The primary colors here are blue and white with two shades of silver (one darker and one lighter). The windows are painted metallic light blue and there are silver paint details on the top and sides. The splash of red on the left side of the front solidifies the Ultra Magnus connection for me. However, there is another possible G1 homage happening here, which we will see in robot mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the crane/weapon if attached.
  2. Flip the front windows up.
  3. Swing the top part of the cab upwards and straighten it out.
  4. Flip the grey pieces out to form the robot feet.
  5. Split the rear section and swing the pieces forward.
  6. Rotate the lower arms around.
  7. Flip the robot head up.
  8. Attach the gun to the hand.

Robot Mode:
There is a fascinating cross-breeding of possible design homages here. The robot head looks a lot like G1 Mirage's head from the front. Not the original toy, but rather the animated series' head design, including the crest on the center of the head and the horizontal lines on the sides of the helmet section. However, if you look at the back of the head, there are two cylinders on either side of the head that are reminscent of those found on Robots in Disguise Ultra Magnus' head.

The other "Mirage-like" influences appear to be the colors. The blue, white and silver colors are definitely colors that Ultra Magnus had, they are also colors that could be found on G1 Mirage. I also grant that these could simply be unconscious design influences that happened to have found their way into this toy. The weapon has an Autobot symbol tampographed on the end with metallic red paint on the top and missile end.

Armorhide has a very bulky appearance but it works for him. His wide upper body and the large lower arms make Armorhide look powerful. His legs look a bit squat, but they are just not as wide as his upper body. For such a wide upper body, Armorhide is quite stable. The big gun is a good sized weapon for such a bulky looking Transformer.

The Planet Key gimmick still works in this form, turning his chest into an artillery battery. Armorhide has eleven points of articulation in this form. It would have been nice if waist articulation had been worked into the toy, but this is hardly a fatal flaw.

Final Thoughts:
Armorhide is a cool looking toy with a fun Planet Key gimmick. The implied homages are cool as well. Recommended.