Ironhide Week Part 5

Step 4- Proper Posture

Even with all the backpack fixes, Ironhide’s head is still looking down. No amount of internal carving is going to fix that.

But there are solutions. And I’ll even show you mine!
(And it still involves no cutting on the crotch\middle piece.)

As discussed on the first day of Ironhide week, I screwed up by modding away when I hadn’t really thought about it. That’s a bit of a rarity for me, because I really try to think things through before I mod.

Lesson learned, but two mods later I realized something else.

I’d yet to replace Ironhide’s cut middle piece, and, pushing his hips all the way forward I found that his head did indeed raise up all the way. (You folks following along don’t have a middle piece that’s cut, so it’s still down just a smidge.) Thinking my job was done, I wanted to have some fun, pose him a bit, and take a few triumphant pictures.

(At this point in time, nobody had posted about cutting down the screw holes. By now, DJCharters over on has posted about doing it, but his guide was on a different Ironhide fix and he only does a passing mention to the screw holes. Props to him for being similarly inspired!)

And then I saw it. A little thing that might not bother the average collector, but would niggle at me until I did something about it.

After all that modding, Ironhide’s hips were WAY too far forward.

And I don’t mean presumptuous or impatient.

*Begins work on a photocomic with Arcee telling Ironhide his hips are being too forward with her.*

In fact, after all these mods and risking cuticle and skin with razorblade in hand, his proportions were completely thrown off.  His hips were far forward, his arms in the middle, and his head behind those.

Think of it like this:




That stands for Head, Arms, and Legs.

Here is a picture with his head parallel to the ground.

See how far forward his hips are? And his shoulders would be in the middle. Keep in mind, this is the original construction of the bot, and not because of any alterations.

After this, a slight modification in leg positioning and suddenly his body lines up more with the human physique, and is much more pleasing to look at.

Unfortunately, this causes his head to look down.

So how the heck do we fix that?

I put his head on a ball joint. I’d never done that before, and instead of going to google and trying to find a guide, I figured it out on my own.

“But Matt,” you might say, “Isn’t that the opposite of what you were saying earlier?”

After giving you a sound thrashing, I’d calmly explain to you the difference between ‘jumping in without thinking’ and ‘thinking and doing.’

The ball joint mod for Ironhide is a mini-guide of it’s own, and will be up tomorrow.

For now, I wanted to go over a few other options, for those of you who might be too skittish about the ball joint step.

I strongly advise against doing the following mods and transformations.

First, lets go over that crotch\middle piece mod that I mentioned above.

That should be your current crotch position. Notice how the hips line up with the arms, and the head is right in line with those. That’s pleasing to the eye, because it’s more like us. Yes, he’s got a van’s ass for a torso, but he’s got a human shape. Think of the old car bots from g1- Hood chest that sticks out, but their arms and legs still vaguely line up. It’s probably an uncanny valley kind of thing…

Regardless, if you want your Ironhide like I had mine, shave off the part that’s sits against the bumper. I’ve colored it teal in the picture below.

Then you can push the hips forward more and raise his head up that last little bit. I would caution you to take heed of what I learned, though. Buying another Ironhide just to have an unmodded midsection could be hard to do if he’s rare in your area.

Go back and really look at those two ‘posture’ pictures near the start of this post.

It was pretty easy to stand him in the ‘level with the ground’ position because his upper body wasn’t attached. But when it is attached, the added weight of it (some of which is even further back, thanks to the wheels being in the backpack) won’t let him stand that way.

So to have that true parallel position, you’ll have to either put one leg back into a ‘leaning drunk’ position, or use the forward joint of his knees  to put his feet farther back than his hips. It’s just like they always drew Optimus back in g1.

“No. I’d look like a damn fool!” ____ “Hmm. Try it like this.”

“Oh, fer Prime’s sake! _____ “Trust me, it’s more heroic!”

Yeah. So, that’s available, if you’re into that. The rest of us will be over here not getting roshambo’ed.


Now, some of you might be wondering if there’s an easier way. An easier, less mod involved way.

Several fans have come up with their own transformations for Ironhide. Take a look around, and you might find that you like them. I’m going to show a couple of examples and hopefully you’ll find reason enough to continue on with this guide and perform the mods therein.

First up is kind of a jetpack mode.

Several people have mentioned it, and it seems natural enough in the course of playing around with the positions that it’s impractical to look for who posted about it first. I have three issues with this, though.

First, although the backpack is now free to fold down more, it’s now empty and looks out of place. Second, the wings get in the way. Third, while it’s cool that it’s kind of like a jetpack, it just seems out of character. Yeah, Ironhide flew a couple times in the first few episodes of g1, but he was shot out of the sky and that power was quickly forgotten as the writers fudged that ability over to the ‘decepticon only’ section.

The last one I’m going to mention has lots of variations, and lots of people touting it. It’s another empty backpack mode, but this time the wheels and bumper are left down like they are in alt mode. The variations are all in how you like to position the crotch. Some people swap the legs (or not) and turn it around, some leave it as is and push it forward.

A variation of this is showcased by member xhairs. Here’s a link to his gallery.

Isn’t that a sweet paint job? Take that, Henkei!

Unfortunately, this configuration suffers worse than the one above. The chest plate has been glued to the window so it remains there even in alt mode, getting rid of one of the best parts of the transformation. The middle piece has been cut to allow more clearance against the bumper, and the crotch is pointed down. That gives Ironhide even more height, but that’s just trading one problem for a worse one.

Yes, he’s taller, but a skinny midsection and extra long torso result in less than human aesthetics. The average arm length for humans has the hands hang comfortably somewhere between the hip and knee. With this transformation, poor Ironhide can’t even reach the top of his hips.

He’s a robot, but a humanoid one.

Ah, but the great thing about customizing is that it’s custom.  If you still prefer a different way, that’s fine by me.

I’ve presented my conclusions, and backed them up with reasons.

But really, it’s him you’ll have to deal with…

See you all tomorrow as I show you how to give Ironhide a better neck!

~Matt Booker

5 thoughts on “Ironhide Week Part 5

  1. Um, that’s cool. If you like it, it’s your toy. That’s the great thing about customizing. But I care about my mod, and I have reasons for why I think it’s the better option. Just listing them, not wanting to offend you or anything.

    As for being the one who came up with it, really think about that. It’s something that can happen very naturally in the course of messing around with Ironhide. This toy was released at mass retail, so lots of people have him, and lots of those are transformer fans that hang out at online forums. Figuring out (and trying to prove) who came up with it first is kind of pointless and needlessly hard to do.

    ~Matt Booker

Leave a Reply