MACHINE MAN & SUPERIOR IRON MAN – MECHANICAL MASTERS
MARVEL LEGENDS (3.75)
As much as I love what Hasbro’s been doing with the Marvel and Star Wars lines, I do have to admit to being baffled by their recurring choice to give multiple lines of figures the exact same title. When they first started doing Marvel figures in both 6 inch and 3 ¾ inch scales, the larger figures were Marvel Legends and the smaller were Marvel Universe. They also offered some 12 inch figures, under the heading Icons. Well, by the end of this year, all three of those scales will be titled Marvel Legends. I’m sure that won’t be at all confusing. The 3 ¾ inch line has officially switched its title over, and the first product to hit is a series of two-packs. Today, I’ll be looking Machine Man and Iron Man from that particular series.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This pair was released in the first series of two-packs in the new 3 ¾ inch Marvel Legends line, under the name “Mechanical Masters.” When these figures were shown off at last year, the assumption was that they would be single figures with a shared name, since that’s a pretty common practice for Hasbro. Then they just kind of showed up in two packs, which certainly caught me off guard. In addition to the figures, the set is also packed with a reprint of Superior Iron Man #1, which makes sense for one of the two figures, but not the other.
If you had told me five years ago that I would own two figures of Machine Man, I would have had a long hard laugh. Seems pretty out there to think that such a minor, low-tier character would warrant multiple figures, within a year of each other, but hey, here we are. The figure stands roughly 4 inches tall and has 19 points of articulation. This Machine Man is decidedly more modern take on the character than the larger figure. He’s based on his Tron-styled post-Nextwave design, which I believe is still his current look. More specifically, the character-unique parts (his head and forearms) are directly based on Daniel Acuna’s Avengers 50th Anniversary poster. The real tell here is the forearm configuration; he’s got a buzzsaw and a Sci-fi blaster sort of thing, which are lifted right from the poster. The sculpts are all pretty solid work; the technical stuff on the arms is particularly sharp. The head’s details are a little soft, but they stand out well enough for the scale. All in all, the parts look good, and match up with the mid-sized body that the figure is built on. Machine Man’s paintwork is passable; the general application is pretty clean, though the face is a bit sloppy. The metallic purple is pretty cool, but it probably would have looked a bit better if it were a little brighter, so as to stand out more from the black base color. Machine Man includes no accessories, not even an extra set of normal forearms, which ends up being a little bit limiting.
SUPERIOR IRON MAN
This figure is the required heavy hitter of the set, and…yeah, that’s really all I got. I can’t really figure why this guy got packed with Aaron, since the two don’t really have any history. Retailers just like Iron Man, I guess. The figure is a little over 4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. This figure is based on the “Superior Iron Man” design, from the comic of the same name, after Tony became more of a jerk than usual. This figure gets a new head sculpt and uni-beam and re-uses the body of the Marvel Universe line’s Extremis Iron Man (which was also used for Iron Patriot). That was a decent Iron Man, but it wasn’t even the strongest of Hasbro’s Iron Man sculpt when it was new, and it feels really dated now, especially in terms of poseability. It was also pretty under-sized, and that’s made even worse by the fact that the new head is larger than the original. What’s more, the Extremis armor had a number of major deviations in design from the Superior armor, so it’s not even a particularly clever re-use. The paint is really what the figure hinges on to sell it as Superior Iron Man. Unfortunately, even that’s not really great. In the comics, the suit is bright white and sleek (it’s kind of similar to something produced by Apple), but here it’s mostly a dull silver. Also, while the design in the comics has the black sections, they seem to stand out way more here. With the base colors being darker, the light blue details also tend to be easily lost, which is a shame, because they could have helped to sell the differences in the armor a bit more.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was obviously planning on getting this set as soon as they showed it, though I didn’t initially realize I’d be getting both figures. I got the set from my Dad, who found them while running an errand at Target. Machine Man is definitely the selling point; he’s got some really cool new parts and he’s a really fun version of the character. I do still hold out hope that we might see a Nextwave version down the road, but this one is definitely a welcome addition. Iron Man is kind of a waste of space, if I’m honest. His body is inaccurate and out of date, and I wasn’t much of a fan of the concept to begin with. But who cares? I got another Machine Man!