Energon is finally out, and the question on everyone's minds seems to be: Does Energon make you drunk? Okay, maybe that's not what anyone is thinking, but since this is a new line with a new aesthetic and new features, there seems to be more apprehension over this line than previous releases. What sort of first impressions does the first wave make? What does Ironhide have to do with it?
Design: In vehicle mode, Ironhide looks like someone stuck a weapons rack on top of a Tonka truck. He is a chunky, rough-and-tumble SUV, which would seem like a conservative choice for an alternate mode, but there is something almost indescribably odd about this figure. He's about the same length as Armada Red Alert, and only slightly wider, but much taller because of his turret. These weird proportions create the bizarre illusion that Ironhide is actually smaller than Red Alert unless they are actually side by side. The patriotic, heroic, typical autobot do-gooder blue, red, and white color scheme only compounds the weirdness factor, seeing as how these are civilian colors on a vehicle carrying more firepower than a small tank. You could just see Mom taking the kids to soccer practice while they blast traffic out of the way with the missile launcher on top. :}
I'm not saying he looks ugly in vehicle mode; I only have one real gripe, which is that his head is clearly visible in the middle of the turret, even with his visor down (which is not mentioned in the instructions). But I do think he looks . . . humorous.
His robot mode is a different story. Ironhide is the man. He still has thick proportions, but instead of this fact making him look like a toy the way it does in vehicle mode, in robot mode it makes him look powerful, built to take anything the decepticons can throw at him. The dark blue, red, and light olive green make him look heroic and adventuresome, like a classic autobot. He's a little shorter than Red Alert if you measure them head to toe, but taller overall, and much wider than beanpole-bot. Maybe I'm funny in the head, but he vaguely reminds me of Big Convoy from Beast Wars Neo. I think it's the shoulder pads.
Poseability: Full poseability is back! Well, at least as far as Ironhide is concerned, though I understand improving poseability was one of Hasbro's goals with this line. He can turn his head/turret, has universal racheting joints for his shoulders and hips, ratcheting joints for his knees, ball joints for his elbows, and you can make him go pigeon-toed--his lower legs swivel in or out. He even retains most of this poseability in his gestalt modes; which leads me to . . .
Gimmicks: I like gestalts, so I am really excited to see what Energon's designers will do with the Powerlinx gimmick. Although I don't have Jetfire (yet), I think I'll review Ironhide's gestalt modes anyway. So there :P His battlepants mode is the weaker of the two, although I think it beats out Armada Jetfire. I say this because his turret just hangs uselessly off his behind, but his poseability is better. He has RID Magnus knees, but at least he has knees! One nice little detail is that you can flip his torso mode hands out of the way. It is just decorative, but I like how it keeps the different modes seperate. His torso mode is just about perfect, seeing as how there's hardly any extraneous parts hanging off of him, and he can still use his own weapons, which make up his other gimmicks.
I'm not generally a fan of electronic sound gimmicks myself, so Ironhide's two sound features don't thrill me that much. Basically, you get a missile firing sound when you fire the missile, and a racheting (or possibly machine gun) sound when you rotate the turret. I've seen worse (Armada Megatron's "decepticons, attack!" for example), but it really isn't anything special.
Ironhide also has one inactive powerlinx point on his left forearm, and a tiny white autobot spark crystal on his right.
Transformation: Despite the complexity of the toy, each of Ironhide's three transformations manage to stay fairly simple, but unique at the same time.
Bias: It could be said that Ironhide only suffers the same ills as other transformers designed to be components of merge groups. I am tempted to compare him with RID Magnus. They both cost about $20, they both have electronic and gestalt gimmicks, and full poseability. I think Magnus, although an older toy, is the better value, especially considering that the Magnus Universe repaint sells for only $15 at Sam's Club. Magnus has better sound gimmicks, a light gimmick for Omega Prime, rubber tires, two missile launchers, he can carry other transformers figures, and he's bigger than Ironhide. The intriguing thing is, though, Ironhide's relative value could change in the future because of the Powerlinx gimmick. Once Jetfire comes out you can make two possible combinations with Ironhide and Jetfire, where with RID Prime and RID Magnus you get one, albeit generally superior. But as more Energon figures are released you get more combinations, and so IMHO a higher play value.
Overall: Energon Ironhide really isn't the most impressive transformer by himself, so unless you're interested in buying his buddies as well, I wouldn't say he's as great a value as some of the other toys in his price point.
|Date||December 2nd 2003 |
|Score|| (7 out of 10) |