#1394: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Iron Man is the world’s greatest high-tech hero. Iron Man’s armor is made of space-age alloys and is virtually indestructible. Not only that, but the armor is filled with an awesome arsenal including energy blasting repulsor rays, a navigational computer and rocket-powered boots that can fly him at a top speed of 960 miles an hour! Iron Man is really the millionaire inventor and industrialist, Tony Stark. When he’s not wearing his armor and helping his friends Thor and Captain America save mankind from super-powered enemies, Tony’s in his lab creating a new invention to save lives or clean the environment.”

You can’t go anywhere these days without tripping over like 50 Iron Man figures, but that wasn’t always the case.  When Toy Biz took over the Marvel license back in the early ‘90s, there were only two prior Iron Man figures.  They eventually released a whole line of Iron Men, but their first figure of the character was released as part of their early Marvel Super Heroes line.  He’s kinda goofy and I’m looking at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes.  Along with that series’ Thor figure, he completes the “Avengers” set started in Series 1 with Cap and Hulk.  He’s based on the Neo-Classic armor, which is more rare amongst action figures.  This was actually its first time in plastic form, and would remain its only appearance until the Marvel Legends Showdown line more than a decade later.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  These earlier figures kind of mimicked the Super Powers aesthetic, albeit in a slightly lower quality way.  This figure’s sculpt is…interesting.  It’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s not as nice as, say, the Captain America figure.  A lot of the figure’s issues come from the rather primitive snap-on armor.  While later Iron Men would place the focus on getting a decent starting figure and then enhancing them with extra armored bits, this figure goes for a combo Iron Man/Tony Stark.  The problem is that the end result is an Iron Man and a Tony Stark that are both off.  The armor is really bulky and has obvious clips (which are rather difficult to work with), and the underlying Tony Stark is just…odd.  Really, really odd.  I mean, just look at him.  That ain’t right.  The paint work on this guy is okay overall, but his armor is lacking a few of the yellow details.  Maybe they were working from a classic Iron Man image?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure slightly pre-dates me getting into collecting…and me existing…so I didn’t get it new.  I did eye it up a few times over the years, but it’s not the most common figure, and it was never high enough priority for me to actually go and track him down.  I ended up finding this guy at the most recent Dave Hart Toy Show back in July, for a pretty decent price.  He’s…strange?  I guess that’s the word.  I find him intriguing as sort of a pre-formed version of the later Toy Biz Iron Men, but as his own figure, he’s not Toy Biz’s strongest offering.

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#1373: War Machine

WAR MACHINE

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

“A long-time friend and confidant of Tony Stark, chopper pilot Jim Rhodes was rewarded for his loyalty with his own suit of technological combat armor, turning him into a one man War Machine!  Now armed with an impressive array of cutting-edge weaponry almost the equal of Iron Man’s, War Machine battles shoulder-to-shoulder with the armored avenger in his secret war against the forces of the Mandarin!”

And, just like that, we’re back to Marvel.  That’s gonna be happening a lot.  So, today, I’ll be going back to a ‘90s Marvel line that I feel I haven’t looked at enough: Iron Man!  With just four series (plus a fifth one that was cancelled), it’s hardly one of Toy Biz’s longer-running entries, but four series of an Iron Man line more than a decade before the general public cared about Iron Man is far from the worst thing.  Attempting to capitalize on the success of the then-current cartoon, the line provided us with most of ol’ Shellhead’s supporting players from the show, including Tony’s wingman, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes, aka War Machine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

War Machine was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line.  This was the very first War Machine figure ever produced (though not the first James Rhodes; Rhodey was still Iron Man at the time of Secret Wars, meaning that figure is technically him).  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  War Machine is based on the second version of the armor, which was the first one worn by Rhodey.  It’s the version seen in the cartoon, and is one of the best known versions of the character.  As I noted in my review of Space Armor Iron Man, the Iron Man line’s armored figures were handled in a slightly unique way; each of them was a basic figure, with extra clip-on armor parts to really complete their look.  War Machine was actually one of the more faithful basic figures, and can essentially function without the extra pieces if need be, which is a definite plus in his favor.  The sculpt is generally pretty sharp, and the details of the armor match up pretty well with both the show and the comics, though some parts are more condensed and streamlined.  There are the armor ports, of course, which still look a little goofy, but they’re far from the worst thing.  There were 10 clip-on armor pieces included with War Machine: Chest plate, back plate, belt (front and back), shoulder pads, gauntlets, and shin covers.  These pieces serve to enhance the look of the figure, and really make for quite a faithful War Machine figure.  War Machine had one of the better paint schemes of the armored figures; all of the basic paint is nice and clean, and the armor, by virtue of it’s silver coloring, is less prone to issues with chipping and such, which plagued the more colorful Iron Men.  In addition to the clip-on armor, War Machine also included two cannons to be mounted on his shoulders, one of which has missile launching feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with a number of the ‘90s Marvel lines, I had to play a little bit of catch-up on the first series of Iron Man figures.  By the time I was really collecting the line for myself, they were onto Series 2.  While I was able to track down a few of the Series 1 figures, I had to settle for Series 4’s War Machine II as my main version of the character.  I’ve been looking for this guy for a little while, but the armored figures from this line aren’t always the easiest to find, especially when you primarily go for loose offerings, like I do.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a loose but complete War Machine at Pop Culture Exchange, for under $5, no less.  He’s definitely a strong offering for the line, and I’m very happy to have finally tracked him down!

#1329: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“To the public, Tony Stark is a handsome, jet-setting industrialist and inventor. What they don’t know is that he leads a second life as Iron Man. The armored Avenger gets his fantastic powers from his suit of micro-mesh armor. It gives him superhuman strength, the ability to fly via his jet boots, and a variety of built-in weapons, foremost among these being his devastating repulsor rays! Iron Man is dedicated to defeating those forces that would threaten the security of the nation and the entire world.”

Iron Man is easily one of Marvel’s best known characters these days, but that wasn’t always the case.  Aside from a brief cartoon runs in the ‘60s and ‘90s, he was largely out of the public eye until his 2008 film.  So, in 2002, when Toy Biz launched Marvel Legends as a follow-up to their successful Spider-Man: Classics line, and had Iron Man as one of the headliners of Series 1’s four figure assortment, it was a pretty big deal.  It’s hard to believe now, but when Marvel Legends debuted, the most demanded figure by far was the Iron Man.  Can you even imagine a time when the fanbase didn’t let out a collective groan at the inclusion of an Iron Man figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted in the intro, Iron Man was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends line.  There were actually two Iron Men in the assortment; the regular release reviewed here, and the one-per-case horned-mask variant.  Even later, there was also a Walmart-exclusive release, which decked this guy out in his stealth colors.  This guy is based on Tony’s classic armor from the 60s and 70s, which at this point hadn’t been released in plastic form for almost two decades.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 38 points of articulation.  Some of the articulation (particularly the neck movement and the mid-torso joint) is a bit antiquated, but it’s mostly pretty workable.  Amusingly, some of the articulation the was more quickly deemed out of date within the line itself has actually become the more standard way of doing things, so in some ways he fits in better with the more recent Hasbro offerings than he does the later TB offerings.  Iron Man sported what was, at the time, an all-new sculpt, which would later be used for the Silver Centurion armor, as well as War Machine and Magneto.  The build is a little bulkier than the usual depictions of the classic Iron Man armor, but it actually makes sense, since it’s supposed to be wrapped around a normal-sized guy; it’d have to be a little heftier in real life.  The proportions are actually pretty solid for a figure of this era.  Compare this guy to his Series-mate Captain America, and you’ll note that he’s got a much more balanced anatomy.  He even avoids the dreaded duck feet!  The articulation is also pretty well worked-in for a Toy Biz offering; sure, there are still some spots where compromise has been made (the waist really sticks out), but it’s generally a good middle-ground.  In terms of detail work, this guy goes a bit more simplistic than later TB fare (another reason he fits in a bit better with the Hasbro stuff), but that’s definitely a plus.  All of the important details are there, they’re all very sharply defined.  The figure has a removable faceplate, which reveals Tony Stark beneath the mask.  I’ve always felt he bore a resemblance to Timothy Dalton, which is a neat little “what-if” casting idea.  The face has some of the best work on the whole figure, which shows real commitment on the sculptor’s part, since it’s largely going un-seen.  The faceplate is molded to fit into the contours of the face, and it actually stays in place really well.  In terms of paint, Iron Man’s handled really well. He’s got the base red and yellow, which are nice and vibrant, and then on top of that, there’s a hint of silver lightly applied to all the armored portions of the figure, which makes him look suitably metallic, while avoiding the issues of blending that plague the Iron Men that use gold in place of the yellow. Iron Man was packed with a display stand designed to look like a Stark Industries satellite and a reprint of Iron Man #149 (which contains “Doomquest,” one of my favorite Iron Man stories).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy came from my Nana.  Every year, she’d take me and my cousin to Toys R Us at the end of school and let us each pick out one or two things.   Of course, I went through the usual back and forth, having to reassure her that yes I really did want this Iron Man fellow instead of a handful of Attack of the Clones figures like my cousin was getting.  At the time, this guy was still pretty hard to get, so finding him so quickly was pretty sweet.  He was my very first Marvel Legend, and I gotta say, dragging him out for the purpose of this review has reminded me that he’s still very definitely one of my favorites.  As far as classic Iron Men go, this guy really hasn’t been topped.

#1322: Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, & Hammer Drones

PEPPER POTTS, HAPPY HOGAN, & HAMMER DRONES

MARVEL MINIMATES

I haven’t reviewed Minimates in over a month.  That seems slightly odd.  To be fair, I haven’t actually picked up any new sets since the Doctor Strange assortment, so that probably contributed somewhat.  Since I’m leaning pretty heavily on the back catalog at the moment, it’s only fair that I look back at a small sampling of my rather large Minimate collection.  Today, I’ll be going way back to 2010’s Iron Man 2, with Pepper, Happy, and a pair of Hammer Drones!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Pepper, Happy, and the Hammer Drones were released in Series 35 of the main Marvel Minimates line, which tied-in with the previously mentioned Iron Man 2.  They were the two specialty exclusive sets; Pepper and Happy were each packed with a Hammer Drone, with Pepper being the more heavily packed and Happy as the one-per-case “chase” figure.

PEPPER POTTS

“Tasked with running all of Stark Industries as their new CEO, Pepper Potts must balance her personal friendship with Tony Stark against mounting evidence that the armor-clad hero may be unable to control his own demons.”

Definitely the heaviest-hitteriest-character featured here.  This was Pepper’s second time as a Minimate (her first ‘mate came from the first film).  The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair, skirt, and bracelets.  The skirt was a re-use from the Series 18 Gwen Stacy, and the rest of the add-ons were new to this figure.  I’m not sure exactly which part of the movie she’s from, but her general look is captured.  The end result is decent enough.  Not the most thrilling ‘mate of all time, but she gets the job done, I suppose.  As far as paint goes, she’s fairly bland again, but the colors seem appropriate to the movie, the application is pretty clean, and the Gwenyth Paltrow likeness is decent (certainly better then the first Pepper).  Since this series predates the standard inclusion of display stands, Pepper includes no accessories.  I suppose they could have given here, like, a phone or something, but it’s not a huge deal.

HAPPY HOGAN

“Not only Tony Stark’s bodyguard and chauffeur, Happy Hogan is also one of his closest advisors. As events unfold, however, Happy finds himself torn between his friendship with Tony and his feelings for another…”

Holy abandoned plot-lines Batman!  So, in the initial cut of Iron Man 2, Tony’s driver Harold “Happy” Hogan was supposed to at one point confess his romantic feelings towards Pepper, hinting at their pairing up in the comics.  It was ultimately cut for time, which is, honestly, for the best.  Happy got a greatly increased role in the second film (he doesn’t even get named in the first movie), and so he naturally got a Minimate.  This is, to date, the only action figure of Happy Hogan out there, which is pretty nifty.  Like Pepper, he’s built on the standard base body, plus he’s got add-ons for his hair and jacket.  The hair was new (and a decent enough match for Jon Favreau’s), and the jacket was re-used from Back to the Future’s George McFly.  The end result makes for a decent match-up to Happy’s on-sceen appearance.  The paint is pretty solid, but once again, not anything amazing.  He’s mostly molded in black, with some minor detailing for his shirt/tie, and his face.  The face doesn’t look a ton like Favreau to me, but he *does* look like Happy from the comics, so I don’t mind so much.  On his own, Happy’s another figure that’s not super thrilling.  Fortunately for him, he includes some pretty sweet extras.  He has a pair of boxing gloves (calling back to the boxing scene he has with Tony in the movie), as well as the Mark V in its un-deployed briefcase form, and a pair of handcuffs to hook the briefcase to his wrist.  You’ll need to do some very slight modding if you want one of the cuffs to actually go on the handle of the case, but that’s really the only issue.  Otherwise, it’s a really fun little set-up.

HAMMER DRONES

“Created using a fusion of technologies from Stark Industries, Hammer’s own company and Whiplash’s improvisations – the Hammer Drones are immensely powerful and potentially lethal in the wrong hands.”

That’s a great description…of the other Hammer Drones.  You know, the ones that were actually drones and that played a part in the film’s climax.  These guys?  Not those Hammer Drones.  No, these would be the prototype suits that Vanko scraps early into the film, that get no actual fight time, and aren’t even really drones.  I would guess these guys being in the main assortment instead of the ones that actually featured prominently is yet another example of plans changing in a movie after the reference materials have gone out to the licensees.  Worse things have happened.  At least it’s a decent design, right?  The figure uses the base ‘mate body as a starting point, but gets a non-standard head and thighs, as well as add-ons for the chest piece, gloves, belt, and boots.  The pieces actually make for a pretty cool little toy, though it’s rather far removed from the usual ‘mate aesthetic.  In terms of paint, it’s a lot of grey, but there’s nice work, especially on the little caution sections.  There’s a bit of slop and bleed over here, but nothing too terrible.  Like Pepper, the Hammer Drones include no accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cosmic Comix got gipped on his Series 35 orders, which meant that I missed out on my usual way of getting the specialty exclusives.  I was able to get Pepper from Midtown Comics during a trip to New York that year, but they had already sold Happy by that point.  It took a year or so, but my parents eventually got me one as a Christmas present.  Pepper’s kind of bland and generic, and the Hammer Droids are ultimately rather inconsequential, but Happy is actually a pretty sweet figure!

#1230: Hulkbuster Iron Man

HULKBUSTER IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

hulkbusterimmate1

One of the cool things about Iron Man (and one of the most toyline-friendly things about Iron Man, as well) is the ability for creators to come up with story or mission-specific armors to suit whatever needs they had.  In the ‘90s, this came to a head with the Modular Armor (probably my personal favorite Iron Man armor), which was by design meant to allow for customization via armor add-ons.  While many of the derivations of the Modular Armor were rather short-lived, the Hulkbuster armor (first debuting in Iron Man #304) was a favorite of just about everyone.  Since it’s introduction in the ‘90s, there have been  no less than three updates to the design, and it’s made its way into just about every Iron Man toyline, and most forms of media.  So far, it’s made four appearances as a Minimate, and today I’ll be taking a look at the first of those.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

hulkbusterimmate2Hulkbuster Iron Man was released in the seventh TRU-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates, as part of a two-pack with Gamma Hulk.  The set was timed to coincide with the release of Series 36 of the specialty line, which was a comic-based assortment, itself designed to tie-in with the release of Iron Man 2 that summer.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, but with the add-ons, he comes close to 3 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  The armor is based on the second iteration of the Hulkbuster, from around the time of the “Extremis” arc, which is a popular choice for Hulbuster figures (and it was the one DST chose for their Marvel Select Hulkbuster as well).  It’s not my favorite Hulkbuster design, but it’s far from a bad one, and it was still more or less current at the time of the ‘mate’s release.  The figure uses add-ons for the helmet/torso, pelvis, hands, thighs, and boots.  All of these pieces were new to this particular figure, but they’ve been privy to reuse in subsequent years.  The best work is definitely in the hands and feet, which are pitch-perfect recreations of the comic design, and exhibit some really great mechanical detailing.  The rest of the pieces are pretty decent too, and I quite like the flip-up helmet piece on the torso.  Of course, it’s at the cost of some of the detail on the faceplate, but it’s not an awful amount of loss.  The paintwork on the figure is passable; it’s from just after the move to make most Iron Man ‘mates all metallic, which means there were still some lessons to be learned.  Namely, the gold is the sort of paint that doesn’t hold up very well to the test of time, which is why my figure looks really worn down.  Still, the red’s pretty nice, and the finish is really clean (also, while the boots look like a different color in the photos, they don’t look that way in person).  Under the torso armor, ther’s a fully detailed torso and head, made up to look like the Extremis armor, which is a pretty cool touch. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Hulkbuster (and his pack ‘mate) was the last set of Minimates I ever bought from what was my local Toys R Us growing up.  I happened to stop in on my way home from work, and found the set.  It was only upon the cashier ringing the set up and applying a discount and sharpie-ing an “x” across the UPC that I realized the store was in the midst of closing down. It was kind of a sobering concept.  Of course, a month after they closed, another TRU opened right across the street, so it was something of an exercise in futility, so whatever.  I ended up giving the Gamma Hulk to my brother (since he’s a big Hulk fan), and keeping this guy for myself.  He hasn’t perhaps aged the best, but he was a pretty cool ‘mate for the time, and is still a solid ‘mate overall.

#1153: Black Widow & Dark Avengers Iron Man

BLACK WIDOW & DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

widowdaim1

Hey ho, it’s another Minimate review. They kind of come in clusters, I guess. Of course, where yesterday’s focus figure came from way back at the beginning, today’s is a more recent addition to the line. So, without further ado, here’s Black Widow and Dark Avengers Iron Man!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is part of Series 2 of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates. As with all the Walgreens ‘mates, these two are animated series-based, specifically Avengers Assemble.

BLACK WIDOW

widowdaim2Black Widow is one of the main members of the team in Avengers Assemble, so her appearance here isn’t a huge shock, especially since they’ve been steadily working through the animated incarnation of the team. The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation. Widow is based on her second costume from the show, which is a bit more distinct when compared to the same basic Widow we’ve gotten a few times, so definitely a good choice. Her only add-on piece is her hair, which she shares with the previously reviewed Gamora ‘mate. It’s a nice enough piece, and I guess it matches well enough with her animated design. The rest of her design is rendered via paint work, which is pretty solid. As I’ve noted a few times before, the animated designs really do translate pretty well to the ‘mate form, and Widow definitely fits that trend. The colors are nice, bright, and bold, and all of the line work is nice and crisp. The figure is packed with a pair of batons and a clear display stand.

DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

widowdaim3The second season of Avengers Assemble introduced frequent Marvel fixture the Squadron Supreme, who are the Marvel equivalent of the Justice League. They took advantage of the Squadron’s alternate universe to also introduce the Dark Avengers, evil counterparts to the main heroes. DST decided to take advantage of these new designs to offer some slightly more unique designs for the characters we’ve all seen so many times before. The first one was Iron Man, whose design swaps out the red portions of his armor for black, because everyone knows black = evil, I guess. Construction-wise, he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt, as well as special upper arm pieces. Everything is reused, which is generally okay. The Mark 42 arms still aren’t among my favorites, mostly due to serious limitations they place on the shoulder movement. Aside from that, though, he does a decent enough job of capturing the look of the armor on the show. The paintwork on this guy is passable, but nowhere near as nice as some of the others in this subset. He’s rather drab, being a dark blue and a rather cold yellow. Ultimately, he ends up looking like a slightly blander version of the Marvel Now Iron Man from a few years ago. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which is a bit angrier than the usual Tony. The flesh tone on the face is kind of thin, so he ends up looking rather bluish. Also, the figure’s paint just seems rather sloppy in general. The figure is packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who bought them from a Walgreens during a trip back home over the summer. Apparently, she likes to buy things for me when she’s stressed. Widow’s a pretty solid ‘mate. Dark Avengers Iron Man is…well he doesn’t feel like the most inspired choice. Of all the Dark Avengers designs, his is really one of the less interesting, and to top it off, his paint work is noticeably lower in quality than others in the series. Overall, I think Widow’s enough to save the pack, but it would have been nice if her pack mate had been more exciting.

#1015: Iron Man Mark 46

IRON MAN MARK 46

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

IMMk461

Giant-Man week continues! Yesterday was a slightly more obscure character. Today’s review goes the other direction, with a character that everyone and their mother knows. Yes, it’s Iron Man! You can’t go too many series of Marvel Legends without another Iron Man! There might be, like, riots or something. This figure in particular is based on his turn as an antagonist (but NOT a villain, because there’s a difference) in this summer’s Captain America: Civil War. Let’s see how he turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IMMk462Iron Man Mark 46 is figure 2 in the Giant-Man series of Marvel Legends. He’s the second of the three Civil War-based figures in this set, which is pretty sensible. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation. Iron Man has an all-new sculpt, which makes this the first Iron Man since the switch-over to Infinite Series to get one. It’s quite nicely handled. All the details seem to match up pretty well to the armor from the movie. What I really like about it is the bulk to it, which makes him pretty convincingly a guy in a suit in armor. That’s nice, because a lot of Iron Man figures don’t quite manage that. The only slight downside to the size is that it makes the already small Captain America look even smaller. But, that’s hardly this figure’s fault. All-in-all a solid sculpt, though. The paintwork on the Mark 46 is actually quite nice. Recently, Hasbro’s Iron Men have been missing some of the painted details on their backs, which is a little frustrating. However, this guy isn’t plagued by this same issue, as he has all of the proper detailing he should. The application could be a little cleaner, but it’s above the usual quality we see from Hasbro. Yay Hasbro! Iron Man was packed with two pairs of hands in both open and closed poses. The open hands also include a pair of removable repulsor blasts (which can also be plugged into the feet, which quite cool) which are a very welcome addition to Hasbro’s Iron Man arsenal. Lastly, he includes the right arm of Giant-Man, which I’ll cover with the rest of figure later this week.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I found this guy twice before actually buying him. The reason for skipping those two was NOT because I didn’t want the figure. Nope, it was because both of those figures had their build-a-figure piece stolen out of the package by some scumbag. Bleh. Fortunately, my Dad came across this guy at the Walmart right outside of the town where my family vacations. Despite having quite a few Iron Men already, I was actually quite looking forward to this guy. The new sculpt and the extra repulsor pieces make him a definite win. He’s easily Hasbro’s best movie Iron Man.

IMMk463

#0992: Space Armor Iron Man

IRON MAN – SPACE ARMOR

IRON MAN (TOYBIZ)

SpaceIM1

Just like Captain America, my first exposure to Iron Man was via his cartoon from the ‘60s. However, unlike poor Cap, Iron Man wasn’t quite as obscure in the mid-90s. While Marvel’s big cartoons in the 90s were Spider-Man and X-Men, both Iron Man and the Fantastic Four received their own cartoons as part of the Marvel Action Hour. By extension, Iron Man (and the FF) got his own line of toys from Toy Biz, right as I was getting into super heroes and action figures. That was really quite convenient, wasn’t it? I’ve looked at a handful of figures from this line, but I’ve yet to look at the main man himself. That changes today, with my review of Space Armor Iron Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SpaceIM2Space Armor Iron Man was released in the second series of the Iron Man line. He was one of three versions of Iron Man in this particular series, all of which were at least somewhat comics-based. The Space Armor has the notoriety of being one of the earliest specialty armors that Tony created. There have been a few different versions of the armor over the years (and a lot of the differences are really just based on inconsistencies between artists interpretations). This particular version was lifted directly from the cartoon’s design, which isn’t a direct translation of any particular look from the comics, but looks somewhat like a cross between the Model 05 and Model 10 armors (aka Marks I and II of the Space armor). The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation. Now, the interesting thing to note about Toy Biz’s 90s Iron Men is that each one was a basic figure, with a number of vac metalized armor pieces, which could be clipped on to complete that particular armor’s look. Exactly how close the figures were to their intended design without these pieces greatly varied from figure to figure. Space Armor Iron Man isn’t far off from the intended design, but he’s noticeably a lot sleeker, which results in him bearing more than a passing resemblance to the classic Iron Man design from the 60s/70s. Of course, the Space Armor was really just a slight tweaking of that design anyway, so that’s about right. The base sculpt is quite nicely done, with balanced proportions and some cool little armor details here and there. To facilitate the removable armor, the figure has holes on either side of the torso, the waist, the shoulders, the forearms, and the shins. These can be a bit distracting, but they aren’t terribly so, and the figure doesn’t look horrid without the extra armor. Space Armor Iron Man included eight armor pieces: a chest plate, back pack, two shoulder pads, two wrist guards, and a pair of boots. My figure is missing the shoulder and chest pieces, but you can get a pretty good idea of what the armor looked like. The backpack had a set of handholds that were attached to a hook at the top of the pack. When the handholds were moved a certain direction, the hook would retract. As far as paint goes, Space Armor Iron Man was rather simple, with various reds and yellows, the majority of which are molded plastic. What paint there is has been applied cleanly, and the flat red of the figure and metallic red of the armor work well together. In addition to the armor pieces, this figure also included a missile launcher, though, curiously enough, no actual missile to launch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Iron Man is a very special Iron Man. And no, not in a “keep your kids of drugs” sort of way. This is my very first Iron Man action figure. You remember waaaaaaaaay back in my review of Night Hunter Batman, when I mentioned my dad finding an Iron Man figure at the Service Merchandise that netted me my second Batman? Well, after he got an Iron Man, I wanted one too. On her way to work one day, my Mom took me to the KB Toys at the mall specifically to get me an Iron Man. I remember we got there before the store opened and I could actually see the display of Iron Men through the store’s window while we waited. After looking at the available options, this was the one I chose, mostly due to him being the closest to the classic Iron Man design, which was the one I was most familiar with. To this day, he remains my favorite Iron Man I own, and I think he really holds up!

#0952: Black Panther & Iron Man

BLACK PANTHER & IRON MAN – MARK 46

MARVEL MINIMATES

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It’s not really news to the regular followers of this site, but I really, really enjoyed Captain America: Civil War. While it was still undeniably Cap’s movie, the supporting players really stood out. One of the best parts of the movie was Black Panther, who was introduced into the MCU with a standout performance from Chadwick Boseman. I can’t wait to see more of this guy! Until his solo Black Panther movie hits, I’ll just have to hold myself over with some of his toys. Though I haven’t yet found his awesome looking Marvel Legends figure, I did manage to snag his Minimate, which I’ll be looking at today, along with his pack-mate Iron Man.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Panther and Iron Man were released in Series 66 of the Marvel Minimates line. The whole series is based on Captain America: Civil War. These two are also one of the shared sets between the specialty and TRU assortments.*

BLACK PANTHER

PantherIM2Amazingly enough, is is only Black Panther’s third appearance as a Minimate. He hasn’t shown up since Series 29! This one is, unsurprisingly, based on his movie appearance. Admittedly, it’s not very far off from his basic comics appearance, so he could really work as either version in a pinch. The figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation. Panther’s only add-on is his mask, which is the same piece used by the last two Panther ‘mates. It’s a well-sculpted, simplistic piece, which suits the character very well. It’s too bad he didn’t get a set of clawed hands as well, but that’s a fairly minor nit. The rest of Panther’s detailing is done via paintwork, and it’s some pretty exceptional work at that. There’s a ton of small detail work to make up the unique texturing of Panther’s costume in the movie, and I love how much depth the variations of finish give him. Under the mask, there’s a fully detailed head, with painted on hair and ears. It’s not a perfect likeness of Boseman as T’Challa; for some reason he’s missing his facial hair (which appears to be the case with the Legends figure as well), and his expression is also a bit bland. But, it’s still a nice touch, and adds an extra bit of coolness to the figure. Panther’s only accessory is a clear display stand. It seems a bit light, but I’m not really sure what else they could have given him.

IRON MAN – MARK 46

PantherIM3Tony Stark really likes tweaking his armor. The Mark 46 serves as his only armor during the course of Civil War (I believe this is the first time he’s only had one). It’s not too far removed from the Mark 45, which he wore at the end of Age of Ultron. However, there are a few minor differences, most of which seem to be there to help bulk Tony up so he doesn’t look too overpowered by Cap. As a Minimate, the Mark 46 is built from the same pieces as the Marks 42 and 43, minus the chest piece. That means he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, pelvis, and boots, as well as a non-standard set of upper arms. It’s not my favorite set of pieces, and the selection isn’t a spot-on recreation of what’s seen in the film (there are way too many join lines), but the end result isn’t too bad. The upper arms are still very limiting in terms of articulation, but the effect is at least somewhat lessened by the omission of the chest plate. The paint does a lot to really sell this figure. The colors of red and gold chosen work pretty nicely together, and the detail lines all do a good job of recreating the on-screen armor. There’s a bit of slop on the arms, but it’s all minor and fairly unnoticeable. Under the helmet, there’s a very angry Tony Stark face. I like the change of expression, though I do wonder why he’s lacking the black eye that Tony was sporting during all of his armored scenes. Iron Man is packed with a spare hair piece, a flying stand, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these two up from Cosmic Comix the week they were released. Amusingly enough, it was actually on the way to take Super Awesome Girlfriend to see the movie. Panther’s definitely the selling point of this set. He’s a new addition to the MCU subset of ‘mates, and the first shot a lot of newer collectors have had at a Black Panther Minimate. He’s also just a pretty solid ‘mate all around. Iron Man’s certainly not a bad addition, but there’s so many Iron Men out there that this one blends in with the crowd a bit. He’s really not bad, and he may well be my favorite MCU Iron Man. He’s just not super thrilling is all. Still, this is definitely a fun set!

*Amusingly enough, in a similar fashion to the Hawkeye/Vision set, the first Black Panther ‘mate was packed with an Iron Man variant.  History repeats!

 

#0949: Iron Man Now! & Indestructible Hulk

IRON MAN NOW! & INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Okay, today’s another Minimates review. It’s also another Marvel review, another Iron Man review, and another Hulk review. None of those are particularly rare things for this site, so I’ll admit that I’m running out of things to say about them. So, umm, here’s a review of some Iron Man and Hulk Minimates?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were part of the 16th series of Toys R Us exclusive Marvel Minimates. The series was complementary to Series 51 of the main line, and both series were based on the “ Marvel Now!” relaunch from 2013.

IRON MAN NOW!

IM&HulkNow3Though he didn’t get his first ‘mate until Series 6, Iron Man’s become one of the most frequently produced characters in Marvel Minimates. Fortunately, Iron Man’s had lots of diverse looks over the years, which keeps his ‘mates from getting too redundant. This figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and gas 12 points of articulation. He’s based on his Now! look, which was also the inspiration of the Iron Man in the Hulkbuster Series of Marvel Legends. While that figure used Greg Land’s (traced) interiors for its reference (allowing for the figure to be a simple repaint), this figure seems to draw a bit more from the initial (and far more interesting) design for the armor. Iron Man has six add-on pieces for his helmet, chest plate, gloves, and boots, as well as non-standard pieces for his upper arms. The boots are re-used from Series 45’s Mark VII Iron Man, but the rest of the pieces were new to this figure. He’s a little on the bulky side, but the figure does a pretty nice job of capturing the look from the initial design sheets. Also, the shoulders limit movement a bit, but at least they’re better than the Mark 42/43/45 shoulders. The paint on this Iron Man is pretty standard. He’s got the appropriate black and gold for this design, with a few spots of red thrown in. The red is a bit sloppy in some areas, but not terrible. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which for some reason has random patches of black on it. I think that’s a story specific thing, but I didn’t read Iron Man’s Now! series, so I honestly can’t say. The Tony face is consistent with the other modern Tony’s we’ve gotten, so that’s good. Marvel Now Iron Man includes both a normal display stand and a rocket blast stand.

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

IM&HulkNow2This isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed an Indestructible Hulk Minimate, however, this is chronologically the first of the two produced. This figure presents Hulk in his less armored up appearance, which isn’t quite as exciting a design, but I guess it’s a bit more conventional Hulk. The figure has add-ons for the hair, torso, upper arms, hands, pelvis, upper legs, and feet, and he also has an extra riser piece to make him a little taller. The torso, pelvis, and upper legs are new parts, designed to replicate Hulk’s armored shorts. They’re pretty nicely sculpted, which is good. The rest of the parts are reused, which is alright for the most part. The feet don’t have any toes, which is rather odd looking. Of course, the first 15 Hulks didn’t have toes either, but that was before the move to bulked up Hulks. Hulk’s paintwork is decently handled. The linework seems a little thicker than usual, but it doesn’t look bad. The face is a little odd looking; I’m not sure exactly what his expression is supposed to be. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the greatest. Hulk includes R.O.B. (the Recording Observation Bot), a flight stand (for R.O.B.), and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this pair from TRU’s online store, along with two other sets from Series 16. It was kind of an impulse buy. I can’t say this is one of my favorite sets. Iron Man’s a decent enough variant, but the armor wasn’t super long-lived, and isn’t very memorable. Ultimately, he’s a solidly done figure of a rather drab design. Hulk’s okay, but he suffers from being the lesser of the two Indestructible Hulks, and that toe thing is just weird. Not a bad set, but nothing to write home about.