#1745: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A Sleek suit design and technological upgrades let Tony Stark gear up as the Armored Avenger, Iron Man.”

I thought I was more or less done with the Infinity War-themed Marvel Legends, barring any late-game releases (which I’ve no doubt there will be), but no, no there was one more figure, that’s just been sitting there.  Waiting.  Watching.  Other “w” words as well…

Anyway, I’ve looked at most of the film’s major players, but there was one very prominent one missing, namely Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.  In a further effort to work my way through that pile of figures awaiting review, I’ll be looking at Stark’s latest Legends release today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is the final figure in the Thanos Series of Marvel Legends, the first Infinity War-themed assortment of the year.  He’s also the last of the four specifically movie-based figures in the line-up.  And, most importantly, he’s the only figure in the set that isn’t needed to built the Thanos figure, which is why everyone was skipping him.  Tony’s wearing his Mark 50 armor from the film, which is also his *only* armor for the film, so I guess it’s a sensible choice, now isn’t it?  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  His construction is very similar to the Mark 46 figure from the Giant Man series, but there are no actual pieces shared between the two.  This guy is an all-new sculpt, which does an okay job of capturing the Bleeding Edge armor’s design from the movie.  It’s not a spot-on recreation; it’s definitely not quite as sleek as the design in the movie.  There are far more pronounced ridges and connecting points, bringing its overall design closer to the Mark 46.  This is likely a symptom of Hasbro working from earlier designs to get the figure out before the movie.  Ultimately, it’s close enough that you know which armor it’s supposed to be, and it’s nowhere near as off as either Captain America or Cull Obsidian.  Fortunately, it’s got some pretty great proportions, and the articulation is also worked in pretty well.  Iron Man’s paintwork is decent and certainly eye-catching, but like the sculpt, it’s not 100% accurate.  The main culprit is the red.  It should really be a deeper, more metallic color than it is.  That being said, the color they’ve used is still nice to look at, so I’m not going to complain too much.  What I will complain about?  Just the figure’s single greatest failing: his accessories.  In the movie, Tony’s using this armor to create all sorts of nano-tech-based weaponry and tools.  What does this figure get?  An extra set of hands and the same blast effects pieces they’ve been using since the 46.  No extra attachments, no unmasked head, no build-a-figure piece.  The extra hands don’t even have hinges on the wrists.  That’s really weak.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this figure quite a few times at retail.  After seeing the movie, I was really impressed by the armor.  I had some Cosmic Cash to spend at Cosmic Comix, so I ended up grabbing him from them.  And then he sat on my shelf for three months.  I know, bad Ethan.  I’ll be honest, I actually kept forgetting I hadn’t reviewed him, since I’d already looked at the basic figure.  The only real difference between the two is posability, and that’s a little sad.  He’s a figure that could have been a lot of fun–well, okay, he’s still a fair bit of fun, but he could have been a lot more fun than he is.  As it stands, he definitely feels phoned in.

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#1728: Infinity War Boxed Set

THANOS, IRON MAN, BLACK WIDOW, & WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and us them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

Hey, did you guys know there was another Marvel movie released last weekend?  Well, let’s pretend there wasn’t, because I’m still making my way through the product from the one before that.  Avengers: Infinity War was a big movie, and by extension, it had a ton of merchandise.  As they have since the first Iron Man, Diamond Select Toys put out a few assortments of Minimates based on the film.  I’ll be looking at the main boxed set today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thanos, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier make up the specialty-exclusive Infinity War boxed set.  This follows the trend that was set by Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, where a movie gets a four-pack at comic book stores, and then two-packs at Walgreens and Toys R Us (Of course, it also ends the trend, what with TRU going under, but let’s not go there).  Thanos and Iron Man were also available in two-pack form through Walgreens and the would-have-been-Toys-R-Us-but-instead-became-another-specialty assortments.  This makes Black Widow and Winter Soldier the two specialty exclusives.  Admittedly, the packout here is a little strange.  Tony and Thanos make sense, but Widow and Bucky never interact with Tony at all, only really interact with Thanos via proxy, and don’t actually interact with *each other*.  What’s more, neither of them is particularly plot relevant.  Of course, we ended up with pretty much all of the major players anyway, so the packout isn’t so important, I guess.

THANOS

After all this time, we finally get an MCU Thanos Minimate!  It sure took its time, didn’t it?  This figure uses the same casual look as the Marvel Legend, which is sensible, since it’s his main look.  It’s perhaps not as exciting as other designs, but that’s hardly on DST.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest, pelvis, upper arms, hands, thighs, and boots.  His torso, upper arms, right hand, and thighs are all re-used; standard “large character” pieces.  The left hand, pelvis, and boots are all new pieces, detailing Thanos-specific parts.  While the skirt clashes a little bit with the more standard upper body, the boots are quite sharply detailed and true to the film.  The left hand is perhaps the most important piece, since it’s the Infinity Gauntlet.  Like all of the more recent larger figure hands (and unlike the corresponding right hand), it’s ambidextrous, should you wish to place it on someone’s right hand.  It actually seems a little small when compared to his non-gloved hand.  Thanos must have really needed help getting that thing on there!  Fortunately, it’s not overly noticeable if you get the posing right.  Thanos’s paintwork is about what you’d expect at this point from a Minimate.  The colors are pretty good matches for the movie, and the linework is all nice and crisp.  He’s sporting an angrier expression than a lot of the IW product.  It’s different, though I kind of wish we could have gotten an extra head with a different expression.  Thanos is packed with a spare left hand without the gauntlet, as well as a clear display stand.

IRON MAN

Iron Man is no stranger to Minimates, of course, especially not his MCU incarnation.  This figure replicates his nano-tech based Mark 50 armor from the movie, which is one of his coolest armors yet.  The ‘mate uses the usual construction, with a unique set of upper arms, as well as add-ons for his helmet and shoulders.  The helmet is just a basic slipcover mask, rather than a new sculpt.  However, given the sleekness of the design in the movie, this is a reasonable choice, and I certainly prefer it to another re-use of the Mk 42 helmet.  The new upper arms are also a huge improvement on the heavily restricted 42 arms.  Overall, decent basic construction. The paint is also pretty great, being a very bright, striking metallic red and gold.  The biggest flaw of this figure is the accessory compliment.  He’s got a flight stand and a hair piece for an unmasked look.  The armor in the movie could shift into all sorts of additional tools and weaponry, so the fact that none of this is replicated here is quite disappointing.  Sadly, this isn’t the only Mark 50 figure to have this issue.

BLACK WIDOW

Despite not yet having her own movie, Black Widow has made out pretty well in terms of Minimates.  In fact, her MCU version has actually made out a lot better than her comics counterpart.  This one, of course, presents her rather altered look from the movie.  The figure uses the same standard body as usual, with an add-on piece for her hair.  It appears to be new piece, and recreates her look from the movie well enough, though it seems a little more simplified than other recent pieces.  She also has a pair of holsters (the same holsters used by all of the Widow figures since Avengers)…with nothing to really go in them.  I’ll get to that in a second.  Widow’s paintwork is overall pretty decent, with the exception of her face, which, for some reason, looks nothing like Scarlet Johannsen.  They’ve gotten it down before, but this looks nothing like her.  So, onto those holsters with nothing inside of them.  Widow includes her staff in its fully assembled form, as well as the split form, and a handgun.  There are two holsters, so obviously the gun doesn’t go there.  Then there’s the split version of the staff, but each half is as long as her leg, and she definitely stores them on her back in the movie.  In the film, she has some sort of tasers stored in the holsters, at least going by the Marvel Legend.  So she’s just got the holsters and they just sort of remain empty.  I think it might have made more sense to just leave them out completely.

WINTER SOLDIER

Winter Soldier/Bucky has been fortunate enough to get a ‘mate from every movie he’s been featured in, and Infinity War is no exception.  His role is rather minimal truth be told, so I guess the fact that he’s relegated just to this boxed set is pretty sensible.  Bucky’s design for this film is a nice merging of prior designs, keeping the basic design of his first Winter Soldier look, and the more classically inspired color scheme of his First Avenger look.  It’s my favorite of his designs so far to be sure.  He uses the usual body, with add-ons for his hair, wrist guard, the bottom of his jacket, and knife sheath.  All of the pieces are re-used, but they match well with his design from the movie, so it’s hard to complain.  The rest of the work is paint.  They’ve had some trouble with Stan’s likeness on past figures, but this one seems to get it a bit closer.  Still not perfect, but at least he doesn’t have the goofy eyes that all of the others ended up with.  His uniform’s detailing is pretty sharp, and looks really bold.  Winter Soldier is packed with a submachine gun and a knife, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I kind of dragged my feet on this set, truth be told.  I don’t quite know why, but I had trouble getting too excited for it.  I ended up grabbing it from Luke’s Toy Store while picking up a few other items.  I’m of mixed feeling about it.  Thanos is decently handled, but a little bland.  Iron Man’s another Iron Man, and lacks any of what really makes this armor all that unique.  Black Widow’s got her confusingly implemented accessories, but is alright apart from that.  Winter Soldier’s simultaneously the least essential and yet the best figure in the set.

#1656: Fin Fang Foom

FIN FANG FOOM

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

“Little is known of the powerful and dangerous dragon Fin Fang Foom, only that is is said he is the Mandarin’s worst enemy and greatest ally. He occasionally comes to Mandarin’s aid when he is beckoned, but only doing so because he needs the power of the Mandarin’s rings. He knows that they hold the key to his way back home!”

The Iron Man cartoon from the ‘90s had some troubles finding some decent foes for Tony to face.  His usual gallery of rogues isn’t always the most thrilling.  Perhaps one of the coolest is one that’s not exclusively his.  In fact, it’s a character who wasn’t even created to fight super heroes at all.  Yep, Fin Fang Foom was not originally a super-villain, but instead comes from Marvel’s pre-super hero monster books.  After the super hero craze hit, he got refitted, and he’s been batted around the Marvel Universe over the years.  He’s only had three action figures in his run.  I’ll be looking at the first of these figures today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Fin Fang Foom is one of the three figures in the Dragons sub-set of the ‘90s Iron Man line.  He’s based on Foom’s design on the Iron Man cartoon of the time, which isn’t too far removed from his classic design.  I mean, he’s missing the purple shorts, but I suppose that’s not the end of the world.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  His sculpt was unique to him, and remained unique to him.  How many Jack Kirby-designed dragons are there that could make use of it?  Not that many.  To quote Highlander, there can be only one!  The sculpt is pretty decent.  Obviously, it’s a product of its time, and it matches up with the other figures from this line stylistically.  It’s certainly got some elements that are rudimentary in design, especially the legs, which have rather an inorganic shaping to them.  That being said, the overall look is pretty great, and the face in particular has a lot of expression to it, doing a spot-on job of capturing the show design.  The paint work on Foom is actually pretty subtle, with its varying shades of green.  The application isn’t super complicated or anything, but it’s cleanly done, and again, it matches the show pretty well.  Fin Fang Foom doesn’t have any accessories (though you do have to pop his wings into place out of the box), but he does have an action feature.  When you press the button on his back, his wings flap.  Nothing super complex, but a cool little extra nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Fin Fang Foom was picked up a few months back from the bi-annual Dave Hart toy show.  I’d had my eye on him for a few years, but never gotten around to actually buying him.  Actually seeing him in person was enough to push me to grab him.  He’s kind of a dated figure, like a lot of these guys, but he’s still a pretty fun figure, and a nice piece for the collection.

FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5 #0004: Top 5 Iron Man Figures

Hey there FiQ Fans!  We’re at the final Friday of April, and that means it’s time for our fourth installment of the FiQ Friday Fab Five @ 5!  In honor of the theatrical release of Infinity War, I’ll be taking a look at the top five Iron Man action figures!

#5:      Invincible Iron Man – Marvel Legends (Hasbro)

Starting off more on the modern end of things, Hasbro’s version of Iron Man’s newest armor is one of their most fun variants of the character.  The design transfers well to the new Legends style, and he’s got a fun set of extras packed-in that really add a lot of value.

#4:      Modular Iron Man – Iron Man (Toy Biz)

The “standard” Iron Man of Toy Biz’s ‘90s cartoon tie-in line, who makes use of the then current Modular armor.  The concept for this line is perhaps a little dated years later, but the figures still have a lot of charm.

#3:      Classic Iron Man – Marvel Legends (Toy Biz)

The high point of Marvel Legends‘ first series, and, amazingly enough, one of only two classic Iron Men that Toy Biz put out during their lengthy tenure with the Marvel license.  Like all early Legends, he shows his age, but he’s still very impressive for what he is.

#2:      Iron Man – Marvel Minimates (Diamond Select Toys)

A lot of firsts on this list.  This is one of them.  Iron Man’s first Minimate really nailed the classic armor’s style, and apart from those old-style feet, he still holds up well even now.

#1:      Iron Man World’s Greatest Super Heroes (Mego)

It’s hard to beat the classics, and it’s hard to forget your first.  Iron Man’s first action figure came at the hands of Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes.  Yeah, the nose is goofy (though not inaccurate; Tony’s armor had the nose for a short period of time), but this was really one of Mego’s crown jewels.

(Photo courtesy of Mego Museum; my figure’s in slightly ratty shape)

#1644: Crimson Dynamo

CRIMSON DYNAMO

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

“As the United States had its armored champion in Iron Man, so did the former Soviet Union have their own crusader — the Crimson Dynamo! His first mission was to destroy the symbol of Western democracy — Iron Man — a mission which led to the first of many defeats for the Dynamo. As the Cold War came to a close, so did their animosity; now these uneasy allies focus their combined might against such foes as Fin Fang Foom and Titanium Man!”

The biggest problem faced by the ‘90s Iron Man toyline was Iron Man’s overall lack of a really strong rogue’s gallery.  I mean, he’s got Mandarin, and….alcohol?  That’s hard to do in a toyline, though.  Another good, solid Iron Man foe (and my personal favorite) is Crimson Dynamo.  Unfortunately, Dynamo wasn’t very prominent in the cartoon that the toyline was based on, so it took a few assortments.  Still, at least he got a figure.  Living Laser was on the show a couple of times, and he never did…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Crimson Dynamo was released in Series 4 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line, as the assortment’s only villain.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  This figure uses Dynamo’s armor design from the Valentin Shatalov incarnation of the character, which was the most recent version  of the character at the time of this figure’s release.  It’s got a lot more silver than most Dynamo designs (the cartoon even recolored the whole thing red to keep him consistent with other versions), and is a but thinner, making it much more similar to an Iron Man design.  Personally, I’d have preferred one of the earlier models, but I think it’s fair to say this version worked a bit better with the overall style of the line.  As with all of the Iron Men and War Machines of this line, Crimson Dynamo’s fished look is completed using a base figure with a bunch of clip-on armor pieces.  Dynamo had 9 clip-on pieces, for his chest plate, back plate, gauntlets, belt, boots, and helmet horns.  What’s that you say?  You don’t see any horns on his helmet?  Yep, mine’s missing his.  I’d have borrowed them from my dad’s figure, but his is missing them too.  They have a tendency to go missing.  Why they didn’t just make them a permanent fixture of the head is anyone’s guess.  I can’t imagine why someone would want him without them.  The rest of the armor is cool enough, though I’m not a huge fan of how the boots work, since they make posing the figure a bit difficult.  Another major issue with the figure’s design is linked to his action feature, which launches a missile from the middle of the figure’s torso, resulting in a big hole in the middle of his chest.  Another item that harms the integrity of the figure’s appearance for essentially no good reason.  On the plus side, the paint’s decent enough.  Moderate slop on the edges of the silver, but nothing too terrible.  Beyond the clip-on armor, Dynamo also included a flame-styled projectile, meant to go in that big gaping hole int he torso.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I believe Dynamo was a gift, possibly for Christmas.  I definitely remember getting one of the other Series 4 figures for Christmas that year, so I think Dynamo was part of the same set of gifts.  Honestly, Dynamo is one of the line’s weaker entries.  Off costume choice, and a number of very strange design choices in the actual implementation of the figure.  He’s hardly a bad figure, but he’s still a rather frustrating one.

#1634: Iron Man

IRON MAN

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

So, yesterday, I had to review a Thor because it was Thor’s Day.  Obviously, I have to review an Iron Man today, what with it being….Friron Man’s Day?  Not buying it?  Yeah, that’s okay, I don’t blame you.  I’m still reviewing the Iron Man figure, though.  You know, because, well, I reviewed all of the others.  So, without further ado, here’s another Iron Man!  Woo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is the last figure in Series 1 of the basic Avengers: Infinity War line.  Tony is seen here in his brand-new Mark XLVIII armor, which is being called the “Bleeding Edge” armor, after a similarly advanced armor from the comics (pretty much all of the movie armors since Mk 43 have been patterned on the Bleeding Edge’s design, but it sounds like they’re actually using the name this time).  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  The sculpt is once again all-new.  It reflects the more organic nature of this armor’s design pretty well.  It’s very smooth and sleek; sort of divergent from the rest of the figures from this assortment so far, who have all been full of a lot rough textures.  It does make this figure seem a bit simpler at first, and I wasn’t sure I liked that so much, but ultimately, I’ve found it to actually be a very clean and polished looking figure.  I also quite like the repulsor hand on the right arm; it’s a subtle change-up in the posing, but it adds a lot of character to the figure, as well as offering up some more variety in posing.  The paint is, like the sculpt, rather on the basic side; mostly he’s just molded in the appropriate red, with paint for the gold, silver, and blue.  The application is mostly pretty clean, though there’s a little bit of missing paint right at the top of Tony’s faceplate here.  Other than that, it’s solid work.  Iron Man includes a…cannon?  Something like that.  It’s done up to match his armor, which is nice enough.  I don’t know if it’s actually going to be in the movie, though, especially since it’s hand-held, which doesn’t quite seem like Tony’s style.  It’s also rather awkward for him to hold.  Really can’t see this getting much use, from collectors or kids, honestly.  It does at least have a peg for attaching the included Infinity Stone, which, for those keeping track, is the Time Stone.  Well, as long as it’s with *one* of the Sherlock Holmeses, I guess it’s okay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Iron Man was the last of these I picked up.  I actually just got him within the last week, grabbed from my local TRU during one of my many visits.  I’d seen him a few times before, when I picked up the others.  Since there were an odd number of figures, and I grabbed the others during “buy-one-get-one” sales, he was just the actual odd-man-out every time.  I’m glad I finally grabbed him.  I mean, an Iron Man’s an Iron Man, but I didn’t have one in this particular style, and this design is actually pretty strong.

The Blaster In Question #0049: Stark Strike Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1

STARK STRIKE BLASTER

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (NERF)

starkstrike1Another week, another late review. One of these days I’m going to get the hang of this. And what’s that? April 1st? Time for jokes and pranks and whatnot. Well, kinda, I don’t have quite the same elaborate gag-posts Ethan pulls off, but this week’s blaster is a joke in and of itself in a way. That’s me saying it’s bad. It’s a bad… you know what? Nevermind. On to the review.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

starkstrike2It’s the Marvel Captain America: Civil War Iron Man Stark Strike Gauntlet Blaster… from Hasbro. At least, that’s what the friendly marketing guy in the video ad for this product told me. It’s the longest name for a Nerf blaster I can think of since the Nerf N-Strike Accu-Zombie Elite Strike Fire Mega Fury Strike Rapid Modulus Strike Fire Strike Strike… from Hasbro. The MCA:CWIMSSGB… fH was released in 2016 as a tie-in product for the Captain America: Civil War film. The blaster uses spring power to launch the dart, but instead of using it to push a plunger into a cylinder to create air pressure, the spring just impacts the dart directly. I’ve mentioned this system a couple times I the past, largely in reference to how terrible it is, and that assessment holds true here as well. The body of the blaster is pretty good, actually, the main feature being that the actual blaster part pops up from the rest of the platform before allowing you to fire. The construction feels solid and the sculpt is all new with starkstrike3some painted gold accent work here and there. The only controls on the blaster are the two buttons on the back, one causes the blaster to pop up, the other fires. Interestingly, due to the nature of the firing mechanism, even if the blaster is primed, it can’t be fired without a dart in the barrel, I assume to prevent the spring from beating the crap out of the internals of the blaster. The strap is small but I can still get it around my adult-sized wrist without too much trouble. Unfortunately, the problem with arm-mounted blasters is that aiming is pretty much out of the question. They say you can’t lick your own elbow, and it seems just about as impossible getting a sight-picture with it too, not that aiming would improve your chances of hitting anything with this blaster. As said before, calling the ranges on this blaster “disappointing” would be the understatement of the month, that is, if it fires at all. More often than not, the shock of the top part snapping up into position is enough to shake the dart forward in the barrel to where it no longer presses on the firing lock, meaning you have to re-seat the dart before the blaster will fire. If it does work, then you can watch the dart go flying up to about 10 or 15 feet. Woo… So unless you have some really emotionally fragile siblings, this blaster won’t help much when you decide to bust into their room and light them up. It’s probably best to leave it back in your room. The Marvel Captain America: Civil War Iron Man Stark Strike Gauntlet Blaster… from Hasbro comes with 2 Eilte darts in red and black but I seem to have lost mine, oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think It really says something about a blaster when the most enjoyment I’ve gotten from it is hearing the guy in the ad say the full product name and almost forget to mention it’s from Hasbro. Sure I like gimmicky blasters, but that’s predicated on them being blasters first, and this one is pretty awful. Heyyyy jokes! But seriously, though, I wouldn’t recommend this blaster.

 

#1573: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor, & Grim Reaper

IRON MAN, HAWKEYE, THOR, & GRIM REAPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye are just three of the Heroes who make up the super-team known as the Avengers. Together, they can neutralize any threat, even the manipulations of the evil Grim Reaper!”

I just mentioned Minimates passingly in yesterday’s Palz review, so I suppose it’s fitting that today I give them a whole focus of their own.  Because, as we all know, Minimates neeeever show up in my review schedule, right?  …Anyway, getting back to the Minimates, Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009 left a little bit of uncertainty about the future of Marvel Minimates and whether DST would be allowed to continue as a licensee.  Disney assuaged fears by turning around a couple of Disney Store exclusives, sort of out of nowhere one day.  I’m looking at one of those exclusives today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was released in May of 2012 as one of two Disney Store-exclusive boxed sets meant to tie-in with the release of the first Avengers movie (I already took a look at the other one here).  Iron Man and Thor are both the same figures as their Marvel Minimates Series 44 counterparts, while Hawkeye and Grim Reaper were exclusive to this set.

IRON MAN

The mid ‘90s marked a bit of a resurgence for Tony Stark as Iron Man (albeit nowhere near as big as the one he got in ’08), with fan favorite Kurt Busiek handling the character both in his solo book and in the pages of the re-launched Avengers title.  This figure represents the design he was wearing at that time, and it’s a favorite of mine. The figure is 2 1/2 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his helmet, breast plate/shoulder pads, gloves, belt, and boots.  All of these were new to this figure, and they all are pretty fantastic.  There’s a ton of sculpted detail on each piece, but he maintains the ‘mate aesthetic very well.  As far as paint goes, this Iron Man is generally pretty solid, but is definitely an example of DST’s learning curve with metallic paints.  While the reds are really great looking, the gold is still that very dark, very dull shade they were using for a while, and it’s also worth noting that it’s a paint that doesn’t hold up to time.  It’s not as bad as the Avengers #1 set’s version of Tony, but it’s pretty frustrating.  Even more frustrating is DST’s decision to package Tony’s helmet on him.  For most Iron Man ‘mates (at least leading up to this), the helmet would be packed off to the side.  The reason for this is simple: if the paint hasn’t fully dried when the figure is packaged and you stick the helmet on there, it’s likely not coming off.  That’s what happened with my figure.  Seriously, six years I’ve owned this guy, and I’ve yet to get that helmet off him.  It’s a little sad.  Guess it’s a good thing I like the fully armored look.  Iron Man was packed with a rocket trail flying stand, done in a nice pale blue.

HAWKEYE

Before this figure, there had been only one other standard Clint Barton Hawkeye (reviewed here), four years prior.  That figure had some notable issues, and really looked out of place with all of the other advancements going on.  So, he was due for an update, and the extra notoriety given to him by the first Avengers movie granted him that chance.  Plus, as a pivotal player in Busiek’s Avengers re-launch, his inclusion alongside the otherwise very clearly Heroes Return-branded ‘mates in this set and Series 44 made a lot of sense.  I’ve actually looked at a lot of this figure before, via the Best Of Marvel Minimates Series 3 release, which took it’s add-ons from this guy.  I liked the pieces there, and I liked them here first.  The only real difference between the two is paint.  And paint’s kind of what breaks this figure for me.  It’s not terrible.  It’s actually pretty decent, even.  That being said, if the Series 20 Hawkeye was too subdued, this one went too far the other way, making him way too bright.  It’s the blue in particular that throws him off.  It should definitely be a deeper tone (which the later release definitely fixed).  Another thing I’ve never much liked about this figure is his facial expression. I’m glad they got the face to line up correctly (since the first Hawkeye did not), but the angry, gritted teeth look just doesn’t feel right for Barton.  Hawkeye included his bow, three pointed arrows, two sonic arrows, and a hairpiece for his unmasked look.  The arrows were nice, and can even be placed in his quiver.  The bow, which was a new sculpt, was okay at the time, but was definitely on the small side, and a little hard for him to hold properly.

THOR

Though he was the most glaring omission from the line for its first 15 series, by the time of this Thor’s release, we were kind of suffering from a glut of Thors, with this one being the ninth Thor in the space of a year.  Like Iron Man, this Thor was definitely patterned on the Heroes Return look, which is really just the classic design plus a beard.  Thor was built using add-ons for his helmet/hair, cape, wrist bands, belt, and boots.  The wrist bands were from the very first Thor in Series 16, the cape and boots came from the TRU-exclusive First Appearance Thor from 2011, and the belt was just a generic piece.  The helmet was new, though you’d be forgiven for not realizing.  Overall, a solid set of parts, though the cape does make it a little hard to keep him standing.  The rest of the look is achieved via paint.  I think it’s pretty good overall, though there’s some slight slop here and there, especially noticeable on the helmet and the cape.  He used the same gold paint as Iron Man, which isn’t super, but there’s less of it on Thor.  Thor included his hammer Mjonir, in both standard AND spinning configurations.  I quite like the spinning version.  He also had an extra head sans-beard, which, despite using the exact same facial features as the bearded head, ends up looking a bit too mean for Thor.  There’s also a spare hairpiece for a look without the helmet, I suppose to offer people who only knew the movie Thor a more familiar look.  Lastly, he included a clear display stand to help him stay standing with the spinning Mjolnir.  It’s important to note that these still weren’t a standard inclusion yet.

GRIM REAPER

Last up, the set’s one new character, Grim Reaper!  Reaper has been a long-recurring Avengers villain, and he was revived during the Busiek/Perez run, so he’s a perfect fit…well, apart from the total lack of Vision or Wonder Man in the set, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.  They went with the classic Reaper design (classic, not original, because no body really wants the technicolor dreamcoat monstrosity that was his first costume), which is sensible enough.  I’m still partial to his re-animated look from the ‘80s, but this works too.  The figure makes use of add-ons for his mask, cape, and scythe attachment.  The mask and scythe were new to this figure (and remain unique to this figure six years later), and were fantastic renditions of his look from the comics.  The cape is the standard cape from the DC Minimates Series 1 Superman.  It’s not a perfect fit (since Reaper’s really supposed to have the collar), but it’s close enough that it works.  In terms of paint, Reaper is certainly subdued, but very well-rendered.  The colors are suitably dark, but there’s still plenty of room for detailing.  I love the dynamic shading on the bodysuit and mask.  I also really love that crazed expression they gave him.  Reaper included no accessories, but I don’t really know what you’d give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set at the same time as its companion set, ordering them both from Disney’s online store (since none of my local Disney Stores ever carried Minimates).  Reaper’s always been a favorite of mine, so his inclusion definitely excited me, but I was also pretty happy to get another Hawkeye.  While Hawkeye didn’t end up being quit what I wanted, I was still pretty happy with the other three in this set.  In fact, this was my preferred of the two Disney sets.

#1566: Colonel James Rhodes & Air Assault Drone

COLONEL JAMES RHODES & AIR ASSAULT DRONE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Since Minimates do make up a rather sizable portion of my collection, they sort of are a regular fixture around these parts.  Some sets are awesome.  Some are less so.  Today, I look at one of the latter category.  That seems a bit harsh now that I’ve typed it out, but, well, you’ll see.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Colonel Rhodes and the Air Assault Drone were from the second TRU-exclusive series of Iron Man 2-based Marvel Minimates.  Rhodey is unique to this set, while the Air Assault Drone was re-packed from the single-packed army builder assortment.

COLONEL JAMES RHODES

“A dedicated Lt. Colonel and patriotic member of the US military, James Rhodes’s testimony before Senator Stern’s committee forces Tony Stark to call his friend’s true loyalties into question.”

Iron Man 2 was pretty good for our pal Rhodey here.  Prior to the movie, he’d made two appearances as a Minimate, but IM2 gave us four new ones.  This one’s…probably the least exciting when you get right down to it.  Still, Rhodey spends a decent enough chunk of the movie in this uniform, so it’s not the worst inclusion, I suppose.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the usual body, with an add-on for his jacket, borrowed from Series 22’s General Ross.  It’s a reasonable piece.  It’s not a perfect match for Rhodey’s uniform from the movie, but it’s close enough to warrant the re-use.  The paint work on Rhodey is respectable.  It’s all pretty cleanly applied, and the blue is fairly bright. The head is a match for the one that was under the War Machine ‘mate’s helmet.  While it’s not particularly strong Cheadle likeness, at least they went for some consistency.  Rhodey included no accessories, which is a bit of a bummer.  Not even a file folder or a clipboard or something?

AIR ASSAULT DRONE

“Specifically designed for aerial maneuvering and atmospheric combat conditions, a handful of these advanced Black Drones are capable of destroying entire squadrons of traditional fighter jets.”

After the slight mis-lead of the Series 35 Hammer Drone, we finally get one of the proper ones.  Woo!  This one’s dubbed the “Air Assault Drone” on all of the merchandising, because due to licensing things, it couldn’t be called the Air Force Drone.  This particular ‘mate makes use of a lot of the same pieces from the first Hammer Drone, but with a new head, hands, and a backpack glued onto the chest piece.  The ew pieces fit in well with the previously existing ones, and he makes for a pretty faithful recreation of the Drones from the movie.  The paint’s not super thrilling or anything, being mostly dark grey with just a small bit of white accenting.  But, I suppose it matches the movie.  Once again, no accessories for the Drone, but it’s slightly more forgivable given all of the sculpted add-ons.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up new from Toys R Us.  I didn’t go out searching for them or anything, I just came across them one day and I guess I had a moment of weakness.  If I recall correctly, I even put of opening them for a good several months, just due to a general lack of excitement.  Neither ‘mate in this set is bad.  They both check all of the boxes, and there are no glaring issues (well, except perhaps for the lack of any extras), but neither is really anything to write home about.  This pair really feels like DST just needed two fill two slots as easily as possible.  I suppose it’s fitting that a set of mediocre Minimates were based on Iron Man 2.

#1563: Invincible Iron Man

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Technological upgrades and weapons help Iron Man bring order to any battle.”

Since Tim took the last Build-A-Figure contributing figure in the latest series of Marvel Legends, I suppose I’ll just round the main series out by looking at the only figure in the set *not* to come with a piece of Okoye.  It’s an Iron Man.  I know, that’s very different and unusual.  No, wait, it’s the other thing.  Predictable and highly expected.  Yeah, that’s it.  Iron Man’s been a fixture of Marvel Legends since its start, so there’s precedent, I suppose.  Plus, with his near limitless armor variations, there are plenty of good excuses for new figures.  Let’s go with that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invincible Iron Man is ostensibly part of the Okoye Series of Marvel Legends.  Like Namor and Black Bolt before him, he doesn’t really have a whole lot to do with Panther, but I guess Hasbro just really wanted a known quantity in this assortment, sort of like when they did the same exact thing for the first Guardians assortment back in 2014.  Maybe it’ll actually work out for this time and stores won’t still be trying to unload this Iron Man four years from now like what happened with the Space Armor.  Believe it or not, this is actually the first main-series-released Iron Man since the Civil War-based Mark 46 from 2016, and the first comic-based Tony since 2015.  That seems kind of crazy to me. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  This Iron Man is based his armor from Marvel’s 2015 “All-New, All-Different” relaunch.  I’m actually quite a fan of this design, so I’m happy to see it chosen for this spot.  What makes me even happier is that it got a dedicated original sculpt.  It does a very nice job of translating the armor’s sleek design into plastic form, and also does a pretty solid job of keeping all of the posability up to what it should be.  From a structural standpoint, this figure feels rather similar to the Mk 46, just a bit skinnier.  I really liked the 46, so I’m definitely on board with this figure taking after it.  I only have one complaint about the sculpt, and it’s something totally confined to my figure.  He’s got a divot on the right side of his helmeted head, which makes it look like he’s taken some serious damage on that side.  It’s fortunately not visible from every angle, but once you see it, it’s hard to un-see it.  Still, that’s a one-off fluke, and it can’t be held against the figure as a whole.  I’m not even that bugged by it, since this figure also includes an unmasked Tony Stark head, which I absolutely love, and will probably end up displaying on the figure most of the time.  It’s just such a sharp and character-filled sculpt, and it looks really good on the body.  The paint on this figure is about on par with other Iron Men from the line.  Lots of red and gold.  The application is clean, and I like the warm-toned colors they’ve chosen.  The unmasked head gets the best work really, with a paint job that accentuates the character of the sculpt very nicely.  In addition to the extra head, Iron Man is packed with a pair of hands open for blasting, two blast effect pieces (re-used from the Mk 46), and a clip-on cannon piece.  The open hands look nice, but I was sad to discover they didn’t have wrist hinges like the main hands.  I’m delighted to see the repulser blasts crop up again, and they continue to add to the posing options for compatible Iron Men.  The cannon seems a bit extraneous to me, but it’s not without merit, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Heavy hitters tend to be the thorn in any collectors side, but this was an Iron Man I was actually quite looking forward to.  As I noted above, I like the design, and he was the only character missing from the ANAD Avengers line-up.  Super Awesome Girlfirend ended up getting me this figure at the same time as Nakia.  I gotta say, I really like this one.  It’s clear that Hasbro put in the effort to just make a good figure all-around, and this guy’s possibly the best Legends Iron Man they’ve released.  Small QC issues aside, he’s pretty awesome.