#0557: Iron Man vs. Ultron




Happy Free Comic Book Day everyone! Yes it’s that joyous time of year where we all go to pick from a small selection of pre-determined free comics and we get to hear the inevitable stories about less informed people attempting to wander out of the store with hundreds of dollars-worth of comics. Yay?

So, the official countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron ended yesterday, but fear not, the Ultron fun isn’t done just yet! I’ve looked at (almost) all of the comic-based Ultron figures. Now we start getting into the movie-based stuff. I’ve already looked at some of the Marvel Legends that were released to tie-in with the movie, and I’ll be taking a look at the first series of Minimates in a week or so. Today, I’ll be taking my first look at Hasbro’s line of 3 ¾ inch figures from the film, with two versions of the titular villain and an Iron Man thrown in for good measure.


This trio of figures was released as a Target-exclusive “Iron Man vs. Ultron”’ three-pack, which is part of Hasbro’s wider Avengers: Age of Ultron line. The figures were released just prior to the film. Iron Man and Ultron Prime are repaints of their single releases (though Ultron Prime hasn’t actually hit retail yet) and Ultron Mark 1 is, for now anyway, exclusive to this set.


IMvsUltron2Ultron Prime here is Ultron’s main appearance from the film. The figure is just shy of 4 inches in height and features 5 points of articulation. That presents some issues. The limited articulation is an issue to be sure, but the real issue here is that he’s just too short. In the movie, Ultron was somewhere around 8 feet tall. To be properly in scale with the rest of the figures, he should actually be over 5 inches tall. In its current state, the figure ends up being woefully small. Moving past the scale issue, let’s just look at the figure on its own merits. The figure’s sculpt is new (though it will see another use fairly shortly on the regular Ultron Prime), and, obviously, it’s based on Ultron’s final film appearance. The sculpt is okay, though I certainly wouldn’t call it perfect. The details are mostly well placed and seem fairly accurate to the source, but the sculpt seems a little bit soft. In addition, it feels as if the figure has been stretched to add some height, resulting in a rather thin figure. Couple that with the figure’s short stature and you have a rather dinky, unimposing Ultron. Paintwork doesn’t do much to help this figure, either. He’s mostly just molded in a dark, brownish grey. It’s not metallic or anything, and it’s certainly too dark. His arms are molded in a translucent red, with some paint thrown in to make the switch from grey to red gradual. Some metallic sheen shows up there, and there is some pretty decent work. The red for the eyes and the detail on the torso is also pretty decently applied, and it breaks up some of the monotony of the grey. Ultron includes a blast effect piece, molded in red, which can be placed on either of the figure’s hands.


IMvsUltron3Here we have the set’s requisite heavy-hitter, Iron Man. He’s represented here in his Mark 43 armor from the movie, which is the same armor we saw in the Marvel Legends assortment as well. The figure is about 3 ¾ inches tall and has the same 5 points of articulation as Ultron Prime. Structurally, this figure is identical to the Iron Man figure from the first series of single release figures. It’s actually a fairly decent sculpt. The proportions are pretty spot on, it’s accurate to the armor from the film, and it has a more than passable amount of detail work. All-in-all, a good sculpt. Paint; here’s what sets this figure apart from the single release. The single release was rather disappointing, with only the most basic color placement and a lot of “broad strokes” work. Here, the paint is actually very nicely handled. Everything is pretty clean, with no slop or bleed over. All of the parts that should be red are red and all of the parts that should be gold are gold. There are even a few spots of silver thrown in for good measure. The end result is a paint job that accents the sculpt rather nicely. Iron Man includes a blast piece molded in blue.


IMvsUltron4Look! Another Ultron! It’s like a sandwich or something. This Ultron is, as noted by the name, the first version of the character we see on screen. Rather than being specifically designed to be Ultron, he’s constructed from the remains of several of the Iron Legion drones. It’s a look that figured pretty prominently into the early trailers for the film, delivering the distinctive “strings” speech, so it got a fair bit of notice. The figure is about 3 ¾ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation, just like the other two in this set. Though he may be built from Iron Legion drones in the film, this Ultron figure features a sculpt that is wholly unique to him. And what a sculpt it is! This figure features a ton of texture and detailing, all throughout. The inner workings of his body are all nicely defined, and all of the armor plating is scratched and dented, giving it a nice touch of realism. The head is probably a little too large, especially when compared to the Iron Man included, but it’s minor, and the sculpt of the head is fantastic on its own. The figure is also sculpted with his legs in a bit of a step, giving him the appearance of a limp, like the one he has in the film. It’s a nice change from the standard standing pose of the rest of the figures, but it isn’t so extreme that it takes away from the figure. Ultron Mark 1 probably has the best paintwork in the set. It could probably stand to be a little more detailed, especially on the grey parts (some metallic grey plastic would have gone a long way in this set), But there are some nice touches, and he has enough different colors to make him a bit more visually interesting than the others. On top of all that, the paint is nice and clean and there isn’t any real slop or bleed over to speak of, which is always a plus. Ultron Mark 1 includes no accessories of his own, though I suppose you could give him one of the other two’s blast pieces if you really wanted to.


I actually stumbled upon this set pretty much completely by accident. I just happened to find a rack of them at my local Target, while I was looking to see if the second series of singles had shown up yet. I hadn’t seen any news about this set, so its existence was new to me. That’s a rarity for me nowadays, so it was a fun little find. I’m still not totally sold on Hasbro’s move to the more simplistic figures for this scale. After years of fully articulated figures, the move back to the basic 5 hurts more than a little bit. Ultron Prime is easily this set’s weak point; there are just too many things against him, and the fact that he’s not even a “default” version of the design doesn’t help. However, Ultron Mark 1 is a fun figure, and more than makes up for the failures of his more advanced counterpart. The lower articulation is much more forgivable here, and the sculpt is just far superior. Add in an Iron Man that is easily the best version available in the line right now, and you’ve actually got a pretty decent set. If we can get more figures like those two and less like Ultron Prime, my opinion of the line would definitely improve.


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