Posts Tagged DiE
To find today’s two updates, you’ll have to jump back a couple posts. Thanks to my recent receipt of the awesome Botcon 2005 “Descent Into Evil” set (hereafter abbreviated to the wonderful “DiE”!), I have added updates to both Outback and Ironhide’s entries. Just click on the links to be taken straight to the updates portions of each post — assuming my newly acquired ability to put in HTML bookmarks actually works. In the meantime, here’s a little preview of these two great toys:
[Note: For the purposes of this post, we will be completely ignoring IDW's 2007 assertion that Beast Wars Ironhide is, in fact, G1 Ironhide.]
Ironhide falls among a very, very select few: Transformers that I loved the character of in spite of their G1 toys. I’ve always been about the toys first and a bad toy could make me hate a good character, likewise a good toy can make me like an otherwise bad character.
The original cartoon perpetrated its fair share of hoaxes. Chief amongst these was the appearance of an ornery old ‘bot named Ironhide.
As a kid I was instantly drawn to his cowboy attitude as well as his cowboy accent. Having travelled all over the world and ended up in England at the time Transformers came on the scene, I was absolutely delighted to hear a giant, tailpipe-kicking robot that talked just like my family. When he said his own name, it wasn’t “Ironhide”, it was “Ahrn-haaahd” through his southern drawl, sounding just like pretty much everyone from my home state of Texas. Technically this doesn’t make sense. Why would a robot take on the very specific accent of a very specific part of the world? Transformers never really attempted to answer this, leaving it up to interpretation. My own personal take, echoed in some of the later fiction, is that this is a race built on the concept of adaptation. Ironhide took on an accent to match his attitude for the same reason he traded in his Cybertronian vehicle mode for an earth-based one. His accent went a long way towards humanizing him for me, making him a more sympathetic character. And boy was he a character. He certainly tried to live up to his name, if there was a battle, he was in the thick of it. He definitely had his share of spills, getting blown out of the sky in the first episode by Skywarp for example (silly Autobot, flying is for Decepticons.)
Imagine my surprise when I got my first look at the toy of this rough and tumble Texan of a ‘bot.
It would be literally decades later that I found out that his toy actually was supposed to have a head. Go ahead, take a closer look at the chairface behind the windshield. Yeah. Chairface.
The comic book even – very briefly – included Ironhide’s toy model, with a weapon “he playfully calls his ‘water gun’.”
I eventually managed to move past my surprise and sadness at his complete dis-similarity to the robot I loved. Perhaps out of a misremembered nostalgia, I picked up both G1 Ironhide and his mold-mate G1 Ratchet when their 2007 Japanese Encore series releases were heavily discounted. I do not regret it. As much as he may not represent the cowboy of my childhood, the toy still works as a display piece, mounted atop his battle platform and ready to rumble, for those that simply must display everyone in robot mode.
People continually attempt to “improve” upon his G1 toy by adding heads. The official Encore release even had a cardboard cutout of their cartoon model heads included on the flap of their packaging, to be inserted after transforming. The end result is a little… odd, to put it nicely. Unfortunately, the lesson no one seems to learn is that nothing can really be done to make this toy’s robot mode look like the cartoon. However, if there’s anything they got perfectly correct, it’s the alt-mode.
Despite the robot mode’s flaws, G1 Ironhide’s toy transforms into a pretty convincing Nissan Vanette.
The reverse can be said for the 2008 Classics update for Ironhide. With a very ‘Ironhide’ robot mode, Classics Ironhide gives the cowboy his head back and a bulky body to match his attitude. To mimic his G1 cartoon counterpart’s habit of sprouting weaponry and other useful things from his wrists, he has a two-sided weapon that can be attached to his arm.
Along with being double-sided, it can be attached to either arm. A nice little touch is that during transformation, a plate with mechanical details and an autobot symbols slides up into his chest cavity.
Unfortunately, as great of an update to his robot mode, his alt-mode just isn’t Ironhide enough.
A G1 toy with a great alt-mode and a severely lackluster robot mode, a Classics toy with a well-articulated robot mode and a misguided badly fitting collection of panels for an alt-mode.
Of course, the cure for that is simply displaying Classics in robot mode, and G1 in alt-mode and all is well on the Transformers shelves.
In the Botcon 2005 “Descent into Evil” set I recently received I have found the update to Ironhide that I was looking for. The bonus here, for me at least, being that even though he is a remold of a previous toy with a new head, I don’t actually own this mold yet. There is a lot of the Transformers: Energon line that I didn’t buy, mostly due to disinterest brought on by the poor quality of the cartoon. Two of these molds just happen to be used for Botcon 2005′s Ironhide and his set-mate “Fallback” (who has now been added to my previous post on Outback.)
Ironhide here has all the pieces I felt Classics Ironhide was missing. To begin with, he has an actual van for an alt-mode.
Being a remold of an Energon toy, he comes with a translucent weapon that can be attached to his van mode to form a radar array.
Also like his G1 toy, his alt-mode is actually made up of his robot mode and a battle platform combined. His weapon can also be attached to his battle platform.
Speaking of robot modes, this time, he looks much more like a halfway point between his G1 Cartoon model and his G1 toy.
The gimmick for the Energon line was combination. Every Deluxe sized toy could form either the top half or the bottom half of a combined mode. However, this mold was one-of-a-kind in the fact that the robot mode could form only the top half of a combination while the battle platform could form the bottom half. Due to this, Ironhide has the peculiar ability to combine with his battle platform.
Setting aside this added little oddity, Botcon Ironhide has knocked Classics Ironhide out of his place next to G1 Ironhide on the shelves.
My first recollection of Brawn quickly escalated him to the pantheon of Transformers capable of kicking some serious tailpipe. I was watching the G1 episode ”Fire on the Mountain” in which Brawn took a direct hit from Megatron’s arm cannon and pretty much shrugged it off.¹ “Impressive”, I thought. Then, later in that same episode Brawn returned the favour. He stole Megatron’s cannon from him and proceeded to shoot Megatron in the chest with it. “Holy crap!”, I thought (or may have even said aloud.)
He shot the baddest Decepticon of all time (at least up to Episode 9) in the chest with his own gun! Now that takes some serious ball-bearings. So, with the bar set pretty high for Brawn, and no actual introduction to Outback (though the Marvel “Transformer Universe” guide has since assured me that he was ”confident in his own abilities as a warrior”), Brawn got the distinction of being my first Transformer to… well, let’s just say, that day I learned why Transformers were exclusively packaged in alt-mode back then.
As an adult collector, I have a definite appreciation for the toy now. At the time, however, I felt somehow that I had been swindled by false advertising. I didn’t own Outback because seeing him in the packaging at the time I thought, “Big whoop. They added a gun to the gimpy handed, stick legged not-the-cartoon-Brawn.” I didn’t realize that they had given him better hands, a different chest and an actual face as well. It would have been nice if they would have remolded his hands in such a way that he could hold his gun in robot mode, but unfortunately he can’t. Then in 2008, the Takara Encore release added some extra detailing through paint applications — such as his now blue-painted visor. One oddity is that, in contrast to his actual box art, Outback’s original instructions seem to show the doors from his alt-mode being down with his arms rather than back like wings. If you look closely, you’ll also notice that other than adding Outback’s guns the instructions simply reuse Brawn’s and show the wrong head, chest, and arms. The “Start” image is actually just copied directly from the “Step 1″ image.
Outback’s modified toy arms are wider than Brawn’s and actually fit into the grooves on the doors; Brawn’s thinner arms have a gap, allowing his arms to swing out of the doors more freely, so this may explain the difference in transformations between the two.
In 2008, as part of the Universe line, Hasbro released a Legends class update to Brawn that was largely based on his cartoon model. Sadly due to a combination of scalpers and poor distribution, I never even saw him in stores. I only ever found Beachcomber from Wave 4 and never saw any of the Wave 5 Legends.
Near the beginning of 2010, as part of the Revenge of the Fallen line, Hasbro did Brawn fans proud with an update that gave the little guy a serious boost in stature, firepower, and about ten times the amount of articulation. He was now a dual pistol-wielding, machine gun-toting super-poseable powerhouse with a Hummer HX alt-mode. All of the car parts hanging off his robot mode have enough joints and hinges to ensure that none of them interferes with his ability to be put in a number of poses. Hasbro then followed Brawn up at the end of the year with an Outback (now called Fallback) repaint. Sadly he is a straight repaint without so much as a new headsculpt, but the amount of love I have for this mold and the fact that it is Outback all grown up are enough to get around my “no straight repaints without a damned good reason” rule. Though nothing in the fiction actually draws a connection between these two, I have always lumped mold-mates in together (my version of the RotF Twins long before I realized that Transformer twins were actually a thing).
As a kid, I liked Brawn’s alt-mode quite a bit and Outback’s does add much-needed firepower to this mode. The new molds take a queue from the original Outback; their shoulder mounted machine-guns becoming roof mounted in their Hummer alt-modes. Up until this point, Brawn has the clear advantage with this new mold. The dark green and gold go so well together and the silver head doesn’t get lost in the rest of him, whereas Outback’s head is primarily the same colour as the rest of him. However, in alt-mode, Brawn is meant to be a Sector 7 vehicle and therefore is the apparently standard issue S7 Dark Brown. All of the wonderful “homaging” goes right out the window as Brawn is no longer… well, Brawn-coloured in this mode.
Being part of the RotF line, Brawn has Global Alliance Autobot symbols in alt-mode and regular Autobot symbols on his shoulders in robot mode. Outback, however, is part of the new Reveal the Shield line and only has a single heat-activated rub sign on his alt-mode’s hood to keep his allegiance a secret, a trick I’m assuming can only work once?
These guys proudly go up on the mini-bots shelf next to the other combinations of diminutive G1 ‘bots standing next to their super-powered upgrades. It will never cease to put a smile on my face when the little guy gets a boost in power.
As much as I love the movie aesthetic and what it brings to both of these guys, I recently got the Botcon 2005 “Descent into Evil” set, part of which provides an update to Outback’s G1 toy while staying a little more within the bounds of the original design. To make it even better, despite having nothing against it, I never picked up any of the previous versions of this mold or the original version of his set-mate Ironhide (who has now been added to my previous post on Ironhide) so both of these are my first encounter with these toys.
Though he has the trademark friendly name “Fallback” again, he clearly shows who he is in his Tech Spec and the comic book that accompanied this set. The huge difference? An actual explanation for the new name!
To go with this new sense of optimism, he has an upgraded jeep-based alt-mode.
Which, being a remold of an Energon toy, comes with all kinds of translucent accessories and a mounted gun to match his G1 toy.
The one thing that this update does much better than the RtS version is that he has an actual full face rather than the faceless helmet look.
Just in case you were worried that his small stature might diminish this little guy’s boost in power; all of those accessories can also be combined to give him a pretty impressive battle-axe.
Just like Botcon Ironhide, Botcon Fallback has actually managed to knock RtS Fallback out of his place next to G1 Outback on the shelves.
¹ Brawn took a direct hit and walked it off. Go ahead and try to convince me that he was then killed by a single shot to the shoulder in the 1986 movie. Of course, he still fared better than poor Outback did at the hands of Nick Roche.
Please, stick to drawing, Mr. Roche, no more writing for you. Sometimes I feel like the only one that read “The Last Stand of the Wreckers” and said, “Meh. Well, at least it was pretty.” Man, that was tangential. Good thing this is a footnote, so no one’s going to read it anyway…