MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“With armor equipped with repulsor rays, high-carbon steel alloy mesh and radiation shielding, Vault Guardsman turns his sights on the complete destruction of Iron Man.”
Okay, so in today’s entry in “Ethan critiques the bios,” let’s just get the obvious confusion on Hasbro’s part over who the heck this figure is actually supposed to be, and moreover, who the Guardsman is in general. First appearing in 1970, the Guardsman was Kevin O’Brien, former engineer for Stark Industries, whose faulty armor caused his mind to go haywire, and drove his desire to kill Iron Man. Kevin was killed in battle, leading his brother Michael to dawn the armor seeking vengeance. That time, however, Tony was able to convince Michael that the suit was affecting his mind, and talk him down, so that he actually served as Iron Man’s ally. Eventually, the armor was mass produced for use by the guards at the Vault super prison, which is when they switched over to the name “Vault Guardsman.” However, the Vault Guardsman isn’t just one guy, nor have they ever been all that invested in destroying Iron Man. So, you know, there it is. It’s cool to get a figure, regardless. Let’s just celebrate that, shall we?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Vault Guardsman is figure 1 in the Ursa Major Series of Marvel Legends. He’s a pretty strong choice for an Iron Man-centric series, and this marks Guardsman’s first time in Legends form, which is pretty cool. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Guardsman is built on the Reaper body, at least at his core. It’s a sensible enough choice, at least from a build standpoint. It does mean he’s still got the visible pins on his arms and legs, but otherwise it still looks pretty decent. He gets a new torso and head, which aid in making him look like the classic Guardsman we all know and love. I was honestly a little surprised by the new torso piece, since it seems like the sort of thing that Hasbro previously would have done with just paint, but they instead went the extra mile here. I’m glad they did, because it really does just look better this way. The Guardsman’s paint work is generally okay, although, much like the Minimate version, I do feel like the two greens maybe aren’t quite divergent enough from each other. I really feel like the darker sections should be a lot closer to black, at least going by the illustrations. It turns out a bit better in the photos, but in person the contrast can be a bit easier to miss. That said, I do like the metallic sheen that they’ve given him. It gives him a pretty slick look. Guardsman is packed with two sets of hands, gripping and in fists, a pistol (borrowed from Yon-Rogg), and the left arm to the Ursa Major Build-A-Figure. Curiously, the gripping hands are the ones from Kraven, so there are still the sculpted wraps. Seeing as non-wrapped versions of the hands exist for this mold, I feel like this may have been an unintentional thing. Also, they’re not designed for actually holding the gun, but that’s not really new for this mold.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I really like the Guardsman, as a concept and as a design. I’m such a fan, that I actually bought the Spider-Man Classics Venom back in the day, purely because of that really cool base with the fallen Guardsman in the rubble. I’ve been waiting a very long time to finally get a proper 6 inch figure of him, so I was very happy to see him turn up here. He’s a rather basic figure, but that’s not a bad thing. Sure, I wouldn’t mind the colors being tweaked, and the alternate hands are a little weird, but overall, I’m just happy to have him. He’s fun.