Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 5 days remaining.
Alright, now we get to the main event! Before, I was looking at figures of the various Avengers members from the upcoming movie, but from here on out, it’s all Ultron all the time! Poor Ultron went quite a while without seeing any action figures. He didn’t even get a figure in Mattel’s Secret Wars line, despite being a part of the comic upon which the toyline had been based (thanks Mattel…). He was finally granted a figure during ToyBiz’s 5-inch Marvel heyday.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Ultron was released as part of ToyBiz’s The Vault line. The Vault was one of several one series lines that ToyBiz released around the same time, covering lots of different parts of the Marvel universe. The Vault is named after the Marvel universe high-security prison of the same name, and it featured a line-up of three lesser-known Marvel villains. This figure is on the larger side for this scale, at roughly 6 inches in height, and he has 16 points of articulation. The figure features an all-new sculpt, which remained unique to this figure. I’m not 100% certain, but I don’t believe this design is one from the comics. It definitely isn’t the “classic” Ultron, that’s for sure. It plays up the more robotic aspects of the character, which I suppose is a plus, but it lacks the elegant simplicity of the classic design. All that said, it’s a perfectly reasonable sculpt from a purely aesthetic standpoint. There are a nice variety of textures and details, and that helps to liven the figure up a bit. I quite like the clawed hands and two-toed feet. The head is probably the figure’s weakest point(and that’ll be a recurring point for the rest of the week); Ultron’s had loads of different body types over the years, but the one thing to remain fairly consistent is his head. It’s not awful here, but it’s pretty far from the standard Ultron noggin. It’s too thin, and it looks particularly pinched around the antennae. And speaking of those antennae, they represent another pretty big departure from the usual Ultron look. They should be further down on his head, hovering over his cheeks. Instead, they start where his “ears” would be and go upwards, looking a bit like a rabbit’s ears. The figure also suffers from some somewhat wonky paint apps. The actual color of his outer shell is wildly inconsistent, ranging from sliver with very slight blue overtones to a rather deep metallic blue in a few areas. Also, there’s this weird thing on his torso and lower legs where he’s got these strange somewhat transparent dark grey brush strokes. I don’t really know what they’re supposed to be, but they just kind of stick out and they were rather different from figure to figure. Ultron was packed with some sort of containment piece, which went over his head and hands and plugged into his shoulder. It was kind of cool, but ultimately non-essential (and I lost mine anyway). In addition to the restraints, Ultron also has a light-u feature, which made his eyes glow red when a button on his back was pushed.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This figure was actually my very first exposure to the character of Ultron. My dad, who was an avid Avengers fan, purchased one for himself, and when I asked who he was I was presented with several of his comic appearances to read. I pretty much immediately fell in love with the character. Not long after, I received my own Ultron figure as a Christmas gift from my good friend Pat Sponagle. Sure, he’s not the most accurate Ultron figure, but he was the only one in existence at the time. And, as the old saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers. Eventually, I got the more classically inspired United They Stand Ultron, but this one served as one of my favorite figures up to that point, and he still holds some meaning to me. Inaccuracies aside, he’s a good toy.