HULK BUSTER IRON MAN
IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)
“When Iron Man’s regular armor isn’t powerful enough to get the job done, Tony Stark devises new specialty suits of armor — each tailored to the needs of a specific mission! The heavy combat armor contains few built-in weapons — but it boosts Iron Man’s physical strength to near-impossible levels!”
First appearing in Iron Man #304 as an add-on for the newly introduced Modular Armor, Iron Man’s Hulk Buster armor has become a steady fixture of the character’s armor set-ups. It was quickly adapted into animation as part of the ’90s cartoon, and with its official appearance in the show occurring the much-improved second season. The design was granted its first figure in that show’s tie-in line, and I’m taking a look at said figure today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Hulk Buster Iron Man is part of Series 3 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line, as one of three Iron Man variants in the line-up. Though the armor appeared in the show, this figure’s design owes less to that look and more to his appearance in the comics, likely owing to this figure being released prior to the show’s second season, and the final design not yet being ready*. The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation. The Hulkbuster armor is typically a lot larger in stature than a standard Iron Man, but this one’s only a very slight bit taller, with most of his difference in size being more of a width thing. He’s certainly bulkier, but he definitely feels somewhat diminutive compared to where he should be. This was presumably done to keep him within the standard price point range. As with the rest of the line, the figure’s assembly consists of a core figure with a number of armor add-on pieces, though there are notably a lot less of the armor pieces for this release than there were for the others. The underlying figure isn’t too far removed from the whole design, but he’s certainly less impactful than the fully-assembled look. Fully assembled, he gets an additional helmet (rare for these figures), shoulder pads, wrists gauntlets, and boots. The coloring is a mix of metallic and flat. It works out alright, but there’s definitely a little clashing between the reds. At least the yellows match. Beyond the extra armor pieces, the Hulk Buster doesn’t have any other accessories. Not that there’s a ton more you could include, I suppose.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was a really big fan of the Iron Man cartoon and its corresponding toy line when I was a kid, so I actually had most of the figures, especially the Iron Men. Hulk Buster was included. I don’t recall exactly how I got him, though I assume he was probably a gift from my parents, because they got me most of my Iron Man figures. While I lost a few of the armor pieces to my original over the years, I was able to snag a replacement that came through All Time a few years ago. Calling it a win. I was always the slightest bit let-down by this figure’s scale, but he’s otherwise not a bad little figure.
*Had the Iron Man tie-in line continued, we would have received a more accurate recreation of the show’s actual animation design, also matching the stature and general concept of the Hulkbuster a bit more. The figure was ultimately scrapped, but the molds would resurface for a few other releases, including the Battle-Action Mega Armor Wolverine.