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Series: Beast Wars Neo
Allegiance: Destron
Categories: Deluxe
Year: 1999

A large bump on Hardhead's cranium makes for a strong skull, but as its interior isn't exactly packed with cerebral circuitry, he's not that intelligent. He's a stubborn type who doesn't listen to what people tell him. His Head Attack, a head-bump-first charge is surprisingly destructive. Hardhead also wields a Pilesaber blade, and is an expert in swordplay.

Remarks: Hardhead is a repaint of Beast Wars Dinobot with two new heads (robot and beast mode). Given these changes and that my Dinobot review is already six years old (almost to the day, actually, it was published on November 27, 2006), Hardhead gets a full review of his own.

Robot Mode: Hardhead is, of course, mostly the same figure as Dinobot. He has gotten a new paintjob in purple and turquoise with some silver on the legs and chest. The major differences to Dinobot are, of course, the new head (which also foregoes the rather silly ‘Mutant Head’ gimmick many of the early BW figures had) and the changed chest which results from the new beast mode head. No differences apart from that. The figure has the same high degree of articulation and good detailing as Dinobot.

The weapons also haven’t changed. The beast mode tail comprises two weapons, a spinning rotor blade and a sword, which Hardhead can either wield combined or separately. Not the greatest weapons ever in my opinion, but Dinobot wielded them to great effect in Beast Wars, so Hardhead has a good role model at least.

Bottom line: a very nice robot mode, even though it is “just” a repaint with a new head. Thumbs up.

Beast Mode: Whereas Dinobot became a Velociraptor, Hardhead transforms into a dinosaur loosely resembling a Pachycephalosaurus, mostly due to the large dome on top of his head which was characteristic for that species. The rest of the body is still a Velociraptor, of course, but unless you are really into dinosaurs, I doubt you’ll care.

Getting the obvious out of the way first, Hardhead has the same problem Dinobot had, namely the highly visible robot mode legs that ... well, one can’t even say that the form the chest, they really just hang there before it and pretty much ruin the otherwise very good-looking beast mode. Everything else looks pretty great, the articulation is superb, and there is no (other) clue that a robot mode is hidden inside, but the designers obviously had no idea where to put the legs, so they just hang there.

Legs aside, Hardhead’s head in beast mode features a gimmick the original Dinobot lacked, namely that the chromed bump on the head raises up when the raptor opens its mouth. Probably meant to be used to stage his head attack, but it’s not that great a gimmick to be honest. It doesn’t hurt the figure, either, though, unlike those robots legs. Yes, I know I mentioned that before, it’s still irksome. Bottom line: an 80 percent great beast mode, that’s sadly ruined by the designer’s lack of an idea what to do with the robot legs.

Remarks: Hardhead was part of the bad guys in Beast Wars Neo, serving under Destron General Magmatron. I haven’t seen much of that series, to be honest, so I can’t say much about his doings there. He had a short cameo in the IDW Beast Wars Ascending series, too, where he was one of Shokaract’s heralds.

The story of the Dinobot mold is a strange one. Most people seem to agree that it’s not a good mold, considering that the beast mode has robot legs hanging off its chest quite visibly, but apart from multiple repaints of Dinobot himself, we’ve had Grimlock, Hardhead, and Dinotron repaints of it and people buy them. Maybe it’s a love-hate thing, I don’t know. For me this is the second version of this mold. I bought the original Dinobot because I loved the character on the TV series and I got this one because it was in a two-pack with Sharp Edge, whom I wanted. That’s really all there is to it. Not a bad figure, but not really something you need to go out of your way to acquire, either.

Rating: C+
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