first fell in love with Irongear as a kid, hooked by
the almost unspeakably cheap knockoffs available in
the toy aisles of any local drugstore in the
I wanted a bigger version more than
anything, but alas, there just weren't any to be found
in my area. Over the next few years,
I realized that
there wasn't just one, but several larger versions of
my transforming space battleship friend. One of them
was large, nearly a foot tall, and 99% plastic. The
other was smaller, roughly eight inches, but made up
for the size deficit through sheer use of diecast
This earth-shattering division of the Irongear toy
world has tended to throw collectors into one of two
camps. Realism-loving mech-heads gravitate towards the
detail and proportions of bigger plastic version.
Weight-craving diecast maniacs are drawn towards the
chrome and metal content of the smaller one. And never
the twain shall meet. Hey, wars have started over
less. Well, feuds, maybe. Pouting matches? Whatever.
Irongear may represent lot of things to different
collectors, but one thing it definitely isn't is a
wussy. Even the tiniest, cheapest versions bristle
with heavy weaponry. The decks are littered with
"Battle of Midway"-style anti-aircraft turrets and
multi-barreled heavy cannons. You can almost hear the
salty deckhands shouting for supplies and medics as
Irongear valiantly withstands a broadside of withering
gunfire from the enemy.
Whatever form they might take. The sad fact is, I
don't have a clue about Irongear's enemies. Hell, I
don't have much of a clue about Irongear's friends. I
know it involves something having to do with giant
robots called "Walker Machines." But I've never seen
so much as a single episode of the show Irongear hails
from, an animated TV series called "Walker Machine
Xabungle." So it remains a mystery to me as to why a
futuristic flying battleship needs to defend itself
with World War II style deck weapons, or what would
require it to transform into one of the clunkiest
robots in the history of Japanese anime. (In robot
form, the woefully un-articulated Irongear not only
lacks any sort of knees, but elbows. Or ankles,
wrists, waist, neck.... you take the point.) In any
event, none of these sordid details really matter,
because the true fan is more than prepared to take the
enigma that is Walker Machine Irongear at face value.
It is an iron-plated badass with guns on the cuffs of
its bellbottoms. Oh, the thought of Irongear raining
yet another fusillade of richly deserved cannon-fire
death on a screaming enemy batallion. . . It's the
stuff robot-collector dreams are made of.
But enough of that. Let's take a look at what makes
these two scales of Irongear tick.
With the single exception of metal content, the "DX
Henkei Gattai Irongear" has everything an aspiring
Irongear fetishist could possibly need. In fact,
there's so much attention to detail that it's kinda
hard to believe it's an actual Clover toy. Guess they
were finally figuring things out. Just in time to go
out of business.
It's got the rotating, elevating gun turrets.
Aw, yeah. LOOK at those things! They're what Irongear
is all about.
It's got the huge hangar for Xabungle in the
chest. Check out that bay window, perfect for watching
the stars on romantic moonlit nights. Break out the
brandy snifters, Xabungle!
And it's got the smooth moves, slickly
transforming into a surprisingly large "landship" (as
the spacecraft mode is officially called). Apparently,
it's more of an enormous hovercraft than airborne
battleship. Or something.
And this is the single significant piece of
metal in the whole shebang, which is apparently enough
to get certain metal-loving collectors panties in a
On the other hand, if you're looking for funk, the
smaller-sized "Irongear Set's" got it in spades. A
little lacking on the proportion front, but nice heft.
The box is positively accessory packed, like a
mini-Godaikin or something. And you've gotta love the
giant sword, axe, and rifle, none of which Irongear
ever seems to have actually used in the show. Ah,
Oh, no! Non-elevating foot cannons! What's an
aspiring landship captain to do?
But check out the "Visible Man" style chest,
allowing full view of Xabungle's hangar of love. Now
THIS is a fiesta deck. Bust out the shuffleboard set!
Too bad the damned door never stays closed.
Note the screw-driven elevator of death. I'm
pretty sure the crewmembers hang out in Irongear's
head to drive the ship, so I'm not sure why one would
want to crush them by elevating Xabungle's entire
torso through the floor. But it's a cool effect.
Waitasec, here's a trick the DX version can't
handle! The seldom-seen "tank" mode.
And there you have it. Big-ass plastic or disco-tized
diecast? You make the call. And in the meantime...
You'll find me kicking back on Irongear's fiesta deck,
balancing an umbrella drink on one of those ack-ack