Throughout the production of a series, a lot goes on behind the scenes in regards to planning and design, which often go through multiple stages before resulting in the final version that is seen on screen. Some concepts and ideas can have an effect on the show and characters, and unexpected occurrences during production can also lead to changes and additions to the plans for the show.
- The Tin Man was also a woodcutter, creating a connection with the latter part of his surname.
- In "Never Miss a Beat", Qrow Branwen references Ironwood's allusion by saying "Sometimes, I'm not sure he even has a heart." In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Tin Man went to the wizard because he felt that he lacked a heart.
- Half of Ironwood's body is made of metal, and the Tin Man has a body made of metal.
- In "Unforeseen Complications", Vernal refers to Ironwood's army as his "little troops and tin cans."
- In "Out in the Open", Arthur Watts refers to him as a "Tin Soldier" and again makes the statement that the "Tin Soldier's heart has cost him his mind" being a direct allusion to the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz desiring a heart of his own.
- In "Gravity", Ironwood's human arm was flayed and has become unusable is a reference to the Tin man's backstory where his axe is enchanted to chop off all his human body parts and has to replace them with Tin Prosthetics until his whole body is made of tin.
There are no visible differences in appearance between the show and concept art versions of the following appearances.
- According to Monty Oum, Ironwood was mostly conceived of by Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross.
- After Volume 3, Rooster Teeth changed animation software from Poser Pro 2013 to Autodesk Maya. With this change, the animation department also made all new models for RWBY. The James Ironwood model was given shorter arms. The length of his arms were once again changed in Volume 7, having been extended to fit the length of his Volume 3 model.
- Ironwood's appearance is largely based off his voice actor, Jason Rose's, own appearance after doing a low tech map of his face. With this, Jason claims Ironwood is probably half-Asian and half-Caucasian like himself.