#3142: Iron Giants



Okay, so I wrapped up the Retro-styled Star Wars figures yesterday, but I’m not pivoting away from the whole retro thing entirely just yet.  Instead, I’m doing one more day, this time turning my sights on 1999’s 1950s-era space-race coming of age robot story, The Iron Giant.  It’s certainly a favorite of mine, and it’s had a growing presence in the toy world in the last few years.  One of the most recent additions comes courtesy of Super 7’s ReAction brand.  I’ll be taking a look at a couple of those today!


The Iron Giants, both with Hogarth and with Super symbol, are two of the three figures that make up the Iron Giant ReAction Figures line-up, with the other being the “Weapon” version from the film’s climax.  The figures both stand just a hair shy of 4 inches tall and they have 5 points of articulation.  The sculpts between the two are largely very similar, as expected.  The arms and legs are entirely the same, with the heads and torsos getting minor deviations.  The “with Hogarth” version is meant to be a standard variant of the character, with no extra frills or anything, and a fairly all-purpose expression.  The Super version has the torso modified to add the “S”, as well as a goofy grin on the head, which feels pretty perfect for the scene.  Both sculpts are a really solid recreation of the character’s on-screen design, and there’s a lot of really sharp technical detailing, which looks really good.  The paint work is pretty basic, since he’s mostly just molded in the proper colors, so it’s really just the eyes and the darker grey accents, as well as the “S” on the Super version.  The main version includes a small micro figure of Hogarth (which is admittedly far too large for proper scaling, but for the style of figure, it makes sense), while the Super version is without any extras.


After a rather long gap in terms of toy coverage, I’ve been pretty thrilled by all the cool Iron Giant stuff recently.  That said, I didn’t jump on these immediately, largely due to the heightened price point on ReAction figures.  When All Time was able to get them in and set me up with an alright deal on them, as well as give me the chance to see them in-person, I was a much easier target.  I really dig them.  They’re kind of basic, but I like having something more on the basic side.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2634: Iron Giant



Robots sure were a somewhat common theme amongst the gifts I received this year for Christmas, and when it comes to robots, a fairly early one in my personal lexicon is The Iron Giant, Brad Bird’s lovely ’50s period-piece animated film from 1999.  I saw it in the theatre, I had the poster up on my wall, and I’ve had a small little collection of the admittedly small selection of merchandise to come out of the film.  There’s been a bit of of an uptick in stuff from the movie in recent years, including some offerings on both the lower and higher end.  I’ve covered a couple of the lower-tier items on the site previously, but now I’m jumping into the higher end, with an offering from my rather recent discovery, 1000Toys!


The Iron Giant was released by 1000Toys as part of the Riobot imprint, where he’s figure #019.  This is the standard version of the Giant, but there’s also a Battle Mode Giant from the film’s climax.  But the standard’s really where it’s at, and that’s where I’m at too.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The Giant continues the trend of the 1000Toys figures I’ve had of being very nicely articulated.  This one’s not so much about the quantity as much as it is the quality of those joints.  The most impressive piece of design work is the neck and jaw, which are technically one joint, but a very smartly designed one.  It’s a ball joint, which the jaw piece clips onto first, thereby allowing the mouth the much more fluid range of motion the Giant’s jaw demonstrates in the film.  It’s key to getting some of his more notable expressions, and I particularly enjoy the ability to give him that lopsided look that he uses when he is confused.  It’s a subtle thing, but it really works well.  One area I was initially disappointed by was the elbow movement, which I at first found to be very surprisingly limited.  Like, not even getting past 45 degrees levels of disappointing.  What, did Mattel design this figure?  Not to worry, though.  It turned out I’d just not fully loosened up all of the joints, specifically the sliding component on the forearms, which allows them to move further down and get the elbows a much deeper bend.  It’s another clever design, and one that again adds a lot of potential to the figure’s range of motion.  Additionally, the tolerancing on all of the joints is nice and smooth, while still being tight enough to hold the poses.  In order to give the Giant that proper sort of heft, a good portion of the figure is made from die cast parts.  Some of the smaller parts, such as the head and lower arms, are plastic, so as to prevent any issues with wear or breakage.  The sculpt itself is quite a nice piece of work.  It takes the animation model and does a very solid job of replicating it in proper figure form.  It’s clean, sharp, and properly geometric, and the proportions are all pretty much spot on.  The layers to the sculpt are well rendered, and it’s just a nice and slick looking figure.  The Giant’s color scheme isn’t exactly the most complicated thing, being pretty much just variants on grey.  The figure sticks to that, of course, but does a pretty bang up job of making it not totally bland or too basic.  There’s quite a bit of variance in the types of grey, and the application is all really sharp and clean.  The Giant has a pretty impressive selection of parts.  Obviously, they split all of the specific Battle Mode stuff into a separate figure, but this guy still gets four different heads with slight variations on how his eyes are configured (fully open, fully closed, angry, and concerned), two different jaw pieces (with and without his lower teeth), a set of upper teeth to clip onto the heads, three sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, and flat), and the “S” sign he uses when playing “Superman” with Hogarth.  There’s again a lot of subtlety to some of these parts, especially the heads, but there’s also a lot of variation possible, making for some very fun posing.


The Iron Giant is a movie I fondly remember seeing in the theatre with my parents, and one of those instances of me wanting to immediately run out from theatre and buy a toy of the Giant, which I in fact did.  Over the years, I lost the hands to that one (because they didn’t ever really stay in securely), and I’ve been really looking for a real proper upgraded Giant figure for a little while now.  I’ve been really liking everything I’ve gotten from 1000Toys, and I’d been eyeing this guy for a little bit.  My parents were nice enough to get him for me for Christmas this year.  He’s really an awesome offering, and just so much fun.  I’m definitely glad to have this guy in my collection.

#1493: Iron Giant Minimates



“Arriving on Earth from an unknown point of origin, the Iron Giant explores his new environment and befriends a young Hogarth Hughes But as aggressive actions are taken against him by the military, he must battle his violent programming to be who he chooses to be.”

Back in the day, before you could have just about any movie you wanted instantly streamed to the nearest screen, it was a pretty big deal getting to see a movie you cared about aired on TV.  Networks would pay for the right to air the movie, and then they’d air the crap out of it, because they darn well paid money for it, and they were going to take advantage of that.  While big successful movies used to be a big ticket item for networks, some movies actually end up finding an audience they never had in theaters via successful TV runs.  Movies that were flops in their original run are a cheap way for networks to fill time, especially on holidays when they know that people will only be tuning in sparsely.  It’s A Wonderful Life is perhaps the most successful example of this, a Christmas classic that’s really only a Christmas classic because some network needed to fill two hours and it’s set at the holidays.  A less well-known but still prominent example of this is The Iron Giant, which became inexplicably linked to the Thanksgiving holiday for an entire generation thanks to someone at Cartoon Network deciding for several years straight that the best way to fill their holiday schedule was to air 24 straight hours of the Iron Giant, over and over again.  And, in the spirit of that insane decision, I’m going to review some Iron Giant toys today.


The Giant and Hogarth Hughes were released as a stand-alone two pack of Iron Giant Minimates last month.  It would appear these two are the only ‘mates we’re getting.  While I would never say no to ‘mates of Manning, Dean, or Annie Hughes, I can hardly fault DST for going one-and-done on these.


Obviously, it’d be weird to release this set without the title character, so here he is.  What’s still weird?  The size.  Minimates have long dealt with size restrictions, so it’s nothing new, but it’s still a little goofy to have a character with “Giant” in his name be so small, even if his ‘mate marks the fifth time such an occurrence has happened with a Minimate. Fear not, if you’re looking for a more properly scaled Giant, there are other options available.  This guy stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  His starting point is the basic ‘mate body, but he gets his own unique head, hands, and feet, plus an add-on for his torso and an extender at the waist for extra height.  In lieu of the usual legs, the giant actually uses a set of arms. It’s a really good idea in theory, since the Giant’s arms and legs in the film are clearly of similar sizes.  However, in practice, it just feels a bit off to me.  I think a lot of it’s got to do with the Vinimate being modeled with the standard legs, and perhaps throwing off my expectations.  Still, it’s not like the legs ruin the figure.  The new head matches pretty well with the larger Vinimate piece, which was itself a very nice translation of the film’s design.  It’s still missing his small dent in his forehead, but that’s minor.  The details on the torso piece are notably sharper than you tend to see on such pieces, which was a pleasant surprise, and makes for a good looking figure.  Similarly, the hands, feet, and torso extender all fit well and do a nice job of translating the Giant into this smaller form.  His paintwork is okay.  Compared to the Vinimate, I found it a little bit lacking.  My biggest complaint is the consistency of the application.  The lighter grey is very thick and lumpy in a few spots and it makes him look a little bit unfinished.  He’s packed with a clear display stand, which is his only accessory.


Interestingly, though he’s the focal point of the movie, Hogarth Hughes is actually quite a minor player in the original book.  For me, ol’ Hogarth here is this set’s real star.  He makes much more sense as a regularly scaled ‘mate, and even makes for a good accent to the previously mentioned Vinimate.  Like the Giant, Hogarth is built on the base body, at least in theory.  He uses the standard head, upper arms, pelvis, and upper legs, but gets the shortened forearms and shins, as well as the smaller torso piece introduced in the NBX line.  He also gets a unique hair piece, which does an awesome job of capturing Hogarth’s distinctive hair style from the film.  As far as paint goes, Hogarth’s is really clean.  The head has a really amazing rendition of his face, grinning and excited.  The body features a bunch of bold and clean color work, and he just really pops.  As with the Giant, Hogarth’s only accessory is his display stand, which is a slight letdown.  It’d have been nice to get his camera or the chunk of metal he uses to lure the Giant, but even an extra head with a different expression would have been appreciated.


I picked this set up from the House of Fun last weekend, while at Philcon.  I’d been meaning to pick it up the set for a while, and they had it there, and it was the last one, so I figured it was meant to be.  The Giant is okay, but sort of in a weird area of scaling and quality.  Had I not gotten the Vinimate first, perhaps I’d be happier with him.  Hogarth’s super awesome, though, and the set’s more than worth it just for him.  He looks fantastic with the Vinimate Giant!

#1465: Iron Giant



“Arriving on Earth from an unknown point of origin, a colossal robot explores his new environment and befriends a young boy. But as aggressive actions are taken against him by the military, he must battle his violent programming to be who he chooses to be.”

I love robots, I love period pieces, and I love Brad Bird, so it’s probably not a huge shock to find out that I also love The Iron Giant.  In fact, it’s safe to say that Iron Giant is one of my favorite films (I had the film’s poster hanging in my room for many years).  Since the film was never a huge commercial success, it only had a very modest selection of toys at the time of its release, followed by a whole lot of nothing.  Those few toys all carry a substantial after market value, so anyone nowadays looking for an Iron Giant fix is going to be a little let-down.  Or at least they would have been up until very recently.  Diamond Select Toys picked up Iron Giant as one of the slew of licenses they’ve added to their ever-expanding Vinimates line.


Iron Giant was released in May of this year as part of DST’s over-arching Vinimates line, alongside Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, Nite-Owl, Comedian, and Rorschach from Watchmen, and Lydia from Beetlejuice.  This is the standard version of the Giant, but there was also an SDCC-exclusive version sporting his “super hero” logo from the film.  This figure stands almost 5 inches tall and has a single point of articulation at his neck.  On the plus side, the neck joint is a ball-joint, which sure does offer a lot of possible posing options to mix things up a bit.  After looking at the B-9 Robot, which strayed quite a ways from the Minimate aesthetic which spawned this line, Iron Giant is a bit more of a return to form.  He’s still very specialized in his sculpt, of course, but it’s more conceivably built on the standard body…even if it actually isn’t.  The Giant makes the transition to this style very well; he was already very geometric to begin with, so it doesn’t take too much to get him to the end point.  My favorite part of the sculpt is definitely the head, which just really gets down the character of the Giant.  My only very, very minor issue with the head is the lack of the small dent near the top.  It’s sort of important to the plot, so its absence is more noticeable.  Still, very minor.  The Giant’s been given a hands-on-his-hips hero pose, which is certainly in keeping with the character, and allows for an easy translation to the “super hero” variant.  In terms of paint, the Giant is mostly a lot of greys, which are accurate to the source, but perhaps not the most exciting.  Some of the transitions between the shades of grey are a little sloppy, but the overall look is decent enough.  I do really like how well they’ve handled the eyes, giving them that sort of glowing feel.  It looks really cool!


I was super excited when this figure was unveiled, and I was fully intending to pick him up as soon as he was released.  And then life got in the way and I got distracted for a while.  Bad on me.  So, I ended up waiting several months to pick him up, which turned out to be in my favor, since I was able to score him for $5, courtesy of a grand opening sale at Lost in Time Toys!  I really, really like this guy.  The B-9 was cool and all, but he didn’t really sell me on this line as a whole.  This guy’s a different story, because he shows what this line can be at its best: an augment for Minimates.  Sure, he’s not quite in scale with the little guys, but he’s large enough that you can comfortably put him with the Hogarth from the two-pack (which I still really need to grab) and have it look pretty darn respectable.  I’m all for more stuff like this!