Review - MP27 Masterpiece Ironhide
Takara has finally realized many collectors dreams; an animation accurate (mostly) Ironhide! Poor Ironhide got a rough break in the G1 days when his toy didn’t even turn into a robot, but rather into a power suit and battle sled to be piloted by a smaller human character. The animation model was completely unique as they didn’t have a toy to base the design on. This has made ol’ Ironhide a tricky character to realize in plastic as there was no functional basis to his animation design and many elements of his robot mode became near impossible to emulate. Takara finally released Ironhide to mixed reviews from the fan base. His unconventional origins make him a very hard figure to realize and some sacrifices had to be made in order to create a functional Transformer with a licensed Nissan Cherry Vanette alt-mode. Does he live up to his name? Do his side skirts make my circuits sizzle? Read on to find out!
I'm gonna clobber those
Ironhide transforms from fairly large, barrel chested bot, into a relatively small, officially licensed Nissan Cherry Vanette alt mode. The alt mode looks clean and tidy, and is held together tightly with very few gaps. He does have a good number of seam and panel lines but I don’t feel this takes away too much from the alt mode. The panels are for the most part smartly dissected to lessen the harsh appearance of out of place lines and seams. The front and rear of the vehicle are solid panels with the top of the van only sporting a couple very tight panel lines and a small spring loaded weapon slot.
The van with the plan
The translucent windscreen and windows look good and the internal parts are distorted just enough by the frosty blue plastic that you don’t immediately recognize any robot bits on the inside. There is a molded piece of plastic behind the windscreen that emulates the original “face” sticker from the original G1 toy. He is gorgeously detailed with chrome front and rear bumpers and headlights, painted front signal lights, rear brake and signal lights, door handles, tire rims and that iconic yellow gradient stripe on the side. He looks every bit like you would imagine a Masterpiece Ironhide to look. His alt mode is tight and compact with no extraneous bits and pieces and next to nothing resembling a robot visible in from any angle.
Scale is pretty fantastic!
Next to the MP cars he seems very close to proper scale, perhaps a tad small but not in any way that really affects the experience of seeing him lined up with his G1 friends. He looks fantastic plain and simple. The fit and finish of the figure is fantastic. His glossy red paintjob looks gorgeous and he doesn’t have any mismatched reds like his masterpiece brother Sideswipe. Vehicle mode is a fantastic victory for the masterpiece line.
Now we’re getting to the meat and potatoes of this guy. Ironhide converts from a small compact van to a beefy square bruiser of a robot. He’s all straight lines and right angles and he looks great…from the right angles. The design of the robot mode is impressive given the source material Takara had to work with but he has some very obvious flaws that I would like to get out of the way first.
He's not lean, but he sure is mean! Watch out Decepticons!
The waist design with the hip skirts and “tire butt” are a bit clumsy feeling for a masterpiece figure. I don’t hate the look the way some people do, but I feel like it was an afterthought to have those parts stay where they did. The hip skirts can restrict posing when moving the legs outward but at the same time Ironhide has never really been the gymnast of the group so I don’t feel it hinders him in a way that would affect most people. If you look at Ironhide from the side he has a few awkward sections to his main body that don’t quite look as cohesive as he does straight on. I would have liked it if his chest clipped in a bit flatter, to reduce the look of a gut, as opposed to the square barrel chest of the cartoon. He has a bit of that movie Hound beer belly going on. If you’re going on the animation model he’s actually missing his abdomen as there should be another chunk in between the windscreen chest and the waist.
Ok those are my gripes with the figure. All things considered not a ton of glaring issues but enough that they need to be mentioned. This is by no means a flawless toy.
Now to the great bits. Ironhide looks like Ironhide. This is really my main reason for loving this figure. Ironhide has gotten the short end of the proverbial stick for years with so many figures coming close but never quite scratching that G1 Ironhide itch. This figure fills the Ironhide shaped hole in my heart that’s been waiting to be filled since the first time I saw him appear on screen. He is one of my absolute favorite G1 characters and to finally have a truly impressive and for the most part accurate rendition of him in plastic on my shelf is a very satisfying feeling.
G1 Toy References. He looks great all geared up like this!
Ironhide’s head sculpt is a thing of beauty. The brilliant blue eyes and grey face with sculpted details matches the cartoon just like I remember. He comes with 2 different face sculpts, one with a grumpy grimace and the other with a downturned shouting expression. The face pops out quite easily (for some, too easily) by pushing the rear of his Mohawk forward and the face plate will pop off. This is a really nice feature that allows you to swap his face without any worry of damaging the head or face sculpts by prying or flexing pieces to get them off. On some copies of the figure the face is a bit too loose and may fall off while manipulating the figure. This is not an issue with my copy but it should be known if you are interested in purchasing this figure that this may occur. The head is on a ball joint which is a new experience for the MP line but in my opinion quite welcome as it allows the head to tilt side to side, as well as the usual 360 degree rotation and looking up and down. A slight tilt of the head can add so much personality to an otherwise static pose and I honestly wish more MP figures had ball joint necks.
Some may feel a ball joint is lower quality, but it's amazing what a side to side tilt can do.
Ironhide’s arms and shoulders are nice, square chunks that look solid and fairly seamless. He has ratchet joints in the shoulders for forward and back as well as outward movement. The forward and back ratchets are a soft detent with very little audible click and the outward joint is a very loud ratchet. The arms are functional and do their job well, but I do wish he had double elbows. It seems like there was room to fit them but they didn’t make the cut. This can make some of his poses look a bit stiff as you can’t exceed 90 degrees at the elbow. This was an issue I had with Tracks as well and I’m hoping it isn’t something that is going to become a standard for the MP line. (Spoiler alert! Rodimus has some fantastic double elbow so here’s hoping!) Ironhide’s hands can fold away to reveal small rectangular pegs that can be used to attach his chemical sprayer hands and nozzles. The passenger windows on the rear of Ironhide’s arms can be a bit unsightly but they do a good job of staying out of site when viewing him from the front or ¾ angles. Only when viewing him from the rear do they really stick out and honestly I’m not all that bothered by them. The rear view of Ironhide actually looks pretty great with the exception of the unsightly tires on his derriere. Not a lot of kibble or extra bits, almost everything is well contained and looks good.
I swear they're just doing this to make Sideswipe jealous
Aside from the hip panels and the slightly elongated pelvis plate Ironhide’s lower body is an amazing feat of engineering. The way panels fold and invert to turn red and yellow van side panels into perfectly rectangular solid red legs is fantastic. He’s got ankle rockers side to side and a little front to back that allow for a good solid base, and decent walking/running poses. Unfortunately his knees are limited to 90 degrees of bend, but unlike the arms I can’t really see any way they could have engineered double knees into the design without sacrificing the look of his legs. He’s well weighted and holds poses well without risk of falling over.
Angry old man yells at clouds
Oh. My. God.
Takara has never wowed me the way they did with Ironhide’s accessory count. This figure practically pays for itself in accessories! There’s so many I’m gonna do a bit of a bullet point list to make sure everything gets mentioned.
Literally everything under the sun...
- 2 x Pistols. The pistols are painted silver and look kind of like an upsized version of MP Bumblebee’s gun. They have tabs on either side of their handles to slot into either of Ironhide’s hands. They can also be stored on the underside of the vehicle mode by clipping in to the cavities in what become Ironhide’s legs or you can peg them in one at a time into the roof of the vehicle mode.
- Laser Rifle. Designed after the G1 toy’s weapon this gun is all chromed with a grey plastic handle with the same pegs as the pistols and can be held in either hand. It can also be pegged in to the roof of the vehicle mode.
- Rocket launcher w/ removable missile. The arm of the launcher is grey plastic, with a silver painted secondary arm. The launcher and missile are chromed. This can be mounted on Ironhide’s back and arched up over either shoulder or pointed straight up like a Cybertronian Boba Fett.
- Scanner/Communicator Dish. This piece can be plugged into either of Ironhide’s forearms to replicate his sensors scanning for dinosaur bones, or to communicate with the other Autobots. It’s up to you! Pair with the provided cardboard cutout in his chest for maximum cartoon fun!
Scans indicate...whatever the heck this is!
- Jetpack w/ flame effects. The Jetpack is painted metallic silver and mounts on Ironhide’s back for when the big guy needs a bit more mobility. The flame effects can be pegged into the base of the thrusters and look great. While not an official use, the jetpack can also be plugged into Ironhide’s forearm in the same peg hold as the scanner to give him a sort of wrist mounted double cannon/flamethrower.
- Replacement hands/nozzles. Ironhide comes with multiple choices for hand replacements. He has 2 replacement hands with sprayer fingers to show off his internal chemical factory abilities (aka the Tang factory), 2 flat nozzle sprayers similar to the ones he used in the cartoon to dispense concrete, and 2 plain red barrels that kind of look like hand cannons. I don’t recall these from the cartoon but with how much dispensin’ Ironhide was doing I’m sure they made an appearance at some point. I do wish the sprayer hands had some sort of effect to plug in to the hollow finger tips but honestly there’s so much included with this figure it would just be greedy of me to ask for more.
You want hand swaps? We got hand swaps!
- Replacement faces. As mentioned previously Ironhide comes with 2 different face plates, one with a neutral expression and one with a shouting face. Both are immaculately painted on my copy.
- Last but not least we have the Battle Sled. Mean to slightly emulate the battle station mode that the original G1 toy came with, this is just a molded red piece of plastic with various ports and plugs to store all of Ironhide’s accessories. It’s nice to have somewhere to put everything that isn’t just a Ziploc bag but it would have been nice if they gave the sled the treads from the original G1 toy as well to make it a little more functional.
The downside to living in a van. You have to carry all your things around with you.
Oh man… This is a tough one honestly. The crowd is divided and I’m a bit divided myself. He’s not a perfect figure but I feel like he’s miles away from being called a bad figure in any way. There are some other third party options for Ironhide, but the only one that really competes on the G1 MP Style is Voodoo Toys Animus and while he does have a lot going for him he has a laundry list of faults that cause me to second guess his value. (I should state I have never handled the product, I am basing this entirely on aesthetics.) At the end of the day I love the head sculpt, I love the accessory count, I absolutely adore the alt mode and the bot mode is a solid B+. I think he looks like a fantastic representation of G1 Ironhide on my shelf. He’s built solidly with only the shoulder joints seeming the slightest bit fragile, everything else feels like a solid brick when I handle the figure. There are some design choices that I would love to see reworked a little bit, mainly those hip panels and tires, and lack of abdomen, but at the end of the day I can live with his steel belted butt cheeks for everything else he does well. If you like the way he looks in robot mode, then pick him up and enjoy him. If you can’t get past some of the little visual issues in bot mode, then maybe try your luck on Animus, or try one of the many mods that the community has discovered for MP27. Me? I’m gonna transform Ironhide and go bust some Deceptichops! See ya next time folks!
What do you think? Leave me a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts on MP27 Ironhide!
Check out Plastic Spark Photography on Facebook!