PEPPER POTTS, HAPPY HOGAN, & HAMMER DRONES
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.
“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.
“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.
“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!