Monday, 21 September 2015

Combiner Wars Ironhide Review

combiner wars ironhide prowl
Combiner Wars Ironhide and Prowl - ultimate badasses
Here we go again with another Combiner Wars figure, that is another repaint. It would be funny - if it was funny.
Combiner Wars Ironhide is a repaint of the excellent Off Road, who was retooled into First Aid , so this is our third release of this particular mold.

With a colour scheme based on the Generation One character, but a vehicle mode veering more towards the live action movies, have Hasbro succeeded in fusing all of the right elements into one small, deluxe sized, combining package?

Read on after the jump to find out

combiner wars ironhide alt mode

Ironhide's chosen vehicle mode is that of a pick up truck of indeterminate make or model. No longer a van, he is more in line with the live action movies portrayal being a 4x4 off road vehicle.

Molded in Red plastic, the Yellow trim helps to push the fact that this is Ironhide. Whilst we all Remember him being Red, the Yellow line is often forgotten or left out entirely which usually makes me think Ironhide looks off, but unable to figure out why. It's that pesky yellow line.

The front and back bumpers have been painted a dark Grey, which is breaks up the Red, and this is a difference to Off Road and First Aid who's bumpers are both just left in the colours of the bare plastic.

In a line up of the three bots, it does give the effect of making them look different, even though it is purely for the way the colours are allocated to emphasise different parts of the vehicle.

Rather clever when you think about it.

transformers ironhide g1 van

First Aid enjoyed significant remolding to separate him from Off Road, but sadly Ironhide is left twiddling his thumbs. The only difference here is the colour, and the combiner piece still attaches in the same way, but connecting to a peg on the truck bed.

Literally nothing has changed, and rolling him back and forth on my desk inspires a strong sense of deja vu.
As does each glass of Captain Morgans rum I consume as I type.
Salud...I guess.

combiner wars ironhide back

Despite it feeling like I have been here before - I do really like Combiner Wars Ironhide's vehicle mold. It is a nice merging of the vintage with the modern, without feeling totally out place.
That is quite an achievement considering we have seen this mold so many times already and it speaks to how good the mold is to start with.

Please stop using it now Hasbro, let it rest - it has earned it.

combiner wars deluxe ironhide with axe
Axe me a question

Ironhide's transformation is easy peasy, and it was clever the first time we saw it but now it is starting to feel a little tired.

Part of the fun of the first two waves of Combiner Wars was seeing how each figure utilised a a simple transformation process that was not miles away from the other figures in the line..
So all of the Aerialbots and Stunticons feel very familiar, but each has a slightly different approach to a similar transformation.

This is the third time we have seen this particular spin, and as a result it lacks much of the charm that it had on Off Road and First Aid. I will concede that the transformations across the Combiner Wars lines are designed with kids in mind, and the play pattern of being able to transform each figure back and forth with minimal time and effort - so fair enough,

In that sense it is achieves what it sets out to, but as a collector buying an Ironhide figure due to a 30 year long attachment - would have been nice to have something a but different to Off Road and First Aid.

combiner wars ironhide head

Once you have converted Ironhide from truck to robot, he is something of a mixed back. All of the colours are there to make him Generation 1 Ironhide, but some of the molding choices that worked so well for Off Road don't work so well for Ironhide.

The obvious first point to talk about is the brand new head. It has the features of Ironhide's head, with that central bit there and the round bits as ears - but it looks like a much younger.
Ironhide's character was that of an ornery veteran who hates everything about the youth of today. Combiner Wars Ironhide is super fresh faced and looks like he has just stepped out of the academy (whichever academy that is). His traditional personality quickly drains away, taking most of what makes Ironhide...well...Ironhide along with it.

Whoever sculpted it created a really nice looking face - it just does not quite feel like Ironhide (it looks more like Hot Rod). The same is true of the samurai armour shoulders which clash with the idea of Ironhide being this surly, hot tempered battle axe.

One of Ironhide's most iconic features is his window chest, but if you have any familiarity with this mold then you know that is out the window. Hasbro painted his pecks light Blue, as if to imply that they are windows, but the massive Black combiner peg running through his torso breaks that up and wipes away any threat of an homage. It looks like he is wearing an over sized novelty tie.

Ironhide's Autobot badge was always on his stomach, due to its placing on the van window - and here Hasbro opted to place Combiner Wars Ironhide's badge on his waist.
So you can decide whether you think it resembles a massive Texan style belt buckle, or where he has a face on his crotch.
Face...on his crotch.

Yet I like it because it looks cool.

combiner wars ironhide off road

Like all of the Combiner Wars figures, Ironhide is a fun bot to pose and has the standard articulation. The legs are pretty poseable and the wide base means they can balance really well.

Ironhide's arms are limited by the shoulder panels which do block some of the articulation but for a deluxe sized figure it is not the end of the world.
With his arms being solid Red plastic, his hands are swallowed by the plastic to an extent and don't stand out enough.

He does still have the giant back pack parachute, but it does impact articulation in any negative way and the wide feet, and lightness of the plastic prevent him from being back heavy.

combiner wars ironhide gun

Combiner Wars Ironhide comes with two accessories, his axe and a combiner piece that doubles as a foot or a hand. The axe is the same one we have already seen with First Aid and Off Road, only this time presented in unpainted flat Grey plastic. Give him a gun though, and he finally starts to become the screaming gun nut you have always wanted to convert into a truck or a shin.
I have used one of the blasters that came with Combiner Wars Megatron, and just by giving him that, and cocking his head to the side, you start to pull some of that Ironhide personality out of him

The combiner piece is also the same as that which was provided with those same two bots from this mold, but this time half of it is painted in shiny Silver, and the back half left in Grey plastic.

Doesn't look bad, but it is being consigned to a life inside my draw of stuff that has no place to go.

Ironhide can combine as either a leg or an arm, and is intended to go with the Battle Core Optimus Prime, as we saw in the IDW comics. But I personally have zero interest in those characters combining because I prefer them as their own characters.

transformers combiner wars ironhide and off road

Taken by himself, Combiner Wars Ironhide is a fun little toy who physically is no worse than any of the other figures in the Combiner Wars line. But, being the third use of a mold (with the inevitable Ratchet still to come) and with all of his defining features removed - it is doesn't feel like Ironhide.

No chest window, I can get over and not miss too much but without the grumpy face it is hard for me to see it as Ironhide.

I love Off Road because even though his alt modes wears Wildriders outfit he feels like his own bot and the mold feels like it belongs to him.
So this is not Ironhide, on that score it does feel wide of the mark but it is still an alright toy - he will not be replacing the Universe version amongst my classics though.

Combiner Wars repaint fatigue has set in for me, as I mentioned back in a recent review. and Ironhide only continues to fuels that. Understandably Hasbro want to get as much money out of each mold as possible, but with the pace they are knocking out the repaints, without letting a few waves pass before going back to the mold - it is difficult not to feel my interest waning a little.

A simple soloution is to not buy the repaints and only buy the new figures which you want. But when the lines central concept is to form a combiner out of the various combiner teams, it becomes tougher. You have to buy them all to make the combiner - there is not another way to achieve that. I want a Combiner Wars Bruticus - but I don't want to buy the Alpha Bravo mold for the 3rd time with just another new head.

I will, just begrudgingly.

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