#2936: Iron Monger & Obadiah Stane

IRON MONGER & OBADIAH STANE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Obadiah Stane suits up as the powerful Iron Monger to threaten Iron Man. After a long stint as second-in-command of Stark Industries, Stane is eager to exact revenge on Tony Stark.”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe officially launched in 2008 with the release of Iron Man.  It proved that Marvel had the ability to sell characters beyond just the top of their A-list, and also laid the groundwork for the merchandising juggernaut we have 13 years later.  At the time of the movie’s release, Hasbro was still figuring out what they were doing with the Marvel license, and while the resulting tie-in line wasn’t bad (in fact, it was probably some of the best work Hasbro put out in their first five years or so with the license), it doesn’t quite hold up to modern standards.  Though we’ve had plenty of anniversary stuff, Iron Man has thus far been largely untouched (barring one straight re-deco of an older figure during the First Ten Years line in 2018), leaving some pretty prime real estate available for their latest MCU-centric throwback line.  There are two Iron Man-based releases this time around, and I’m looking at the first of them, Iron Monger and its pilot Obadiah Stane, today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Iron Monger and Obadiah Stane make up one of the two mass-release two-packs for the Infinity Saga sub-set of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  Both of the mass release sets pair off one standard sized figure with one deluxe sized figure, which is an interesting choice.  Monger and Stane are a sensible pairing since, while Monger would certainly sell on his own, Stane’s unlikely to really find a spot otherwise.

IRON MONGER

While Tony Stark is emphatically named “Iron Man” by the events of the first film, Obadiah’s armored persona never actually gets called by the “Iron Monger” moniker within the film proper.  We get a reference to him being a war monger, but that’s really it.  That hasn’t stopped it from being his go-to merchandising name, of course, because why wouldn’t it be.  It’s a cool name.  Iron Monger’s MCU incarnation has always had to contend with the limitations of standard release pack-outs when it came to toys.  Both of his original film figures were quite under-scaled for the 6-inch line they were sold alongside, and that continued into the 3 3/4 inch figure line as well.  This release’s primary aim is getting us a true and proper movie Monger.  To that end, the figure stands 9 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  In terms of articulation implementation, this guy starts by taking a page out of the old Iron Man 2 figure’s book, and then using the over a decade’s time since then to further improve things.  He’s obviously still a bit restricted, but given the sheer bulk of the guy, he’s just about as posable as possible.  The sculpt is an all-new offering, as would be expected.  It does a really solid job of capturing Monger’s film design, improving on Hasbro’s prior attempts quite a bit.  Again, it’s been over a decade, so it kind of goes without saying at this point.  The proportions match up well, as does the basic layout of details.  He’s even got some slight texturing going on with the larger sheets of metal, matching up well with the film appearance, and adding a detail usually left off of Mongers.  The engineering on the figure is pretty decently handled as well.  There are a few moving pistons, which don’t quite work as real ones would, but do move to properly allow for posing the figure, and also add some extra depth of detail to the design.  The head and torso also make use of multi-piece construction to add some extra depth to what’s visible of internal mechanisms and the eyes and reactor.  I quite like the clear dome over the reactor in particular.  There’s a part of me that kind of wishes they’d worked in the opening hatch as seen in the film, but I get the extra logistics involved might have caused some issues.  You can kind of cheat it by popping the Obadiah head on there, so it’s not a total loss.  Iron Monger’s paint work is largely rather basic, since so much of him is just unpainted silver plastic.  There’s a fair bit of actual painted silver as well, though, which mixes up things.  Additionally, the paint for the reactor, as well as the weapons on the arms, is all pretty cleanly applied, and makes for a nice little splash of color on the otherwise sort of drab design.  Iron Monger is packed with two sets of hands (fists and open gesture), as well as two separate effects pieces for the gun attachment on the arm, a rocket for his back, and an ammo belt.  Certainly not a bad selection of extras in the slightest.

OBADIAH STANE

Obadiah winds up as more of a glorified accessory to the main piece, but he’s billed separately, and he is a separate figure, so let’s give him that much respect, I guess.  Most of Obadiah’s time in the film is just him wearing a pretty standard business suit, so that’s the look the figure goes with for him.  It makes it more multipurpose than putting him in the jumpsuit, so I can get behind it.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  He’s built on Nick Fury’s updated suit body.  Given Jeff Bridges’ taller build, it’s a good choice for his usual look, and in general it’s a slightly better implemented in terms of how the articulation works.  As with Loki, the re-use here means that Obadiah winds up keeping Fury’s sculpted holster, which isn’t accurate, but it’s completely hidden by the jacket, so it’s never going to be seen anyway.  Obadiah gets an all-new head sculpt, which sports a pretty spot-on likeness of Bridges in the role.  He’s also got an all-new right hand, which features a more open grip, as well Obadiah’s ring.  Obadiah’s paint work is generally pretty good, but not without its flaws.  The face printing works very well here, and I really love the striping on his shirt and the pattern on his tie.  The holster is left unpainted, as it was on Loki, which makes sense.  The neckline is also very uneven, which was also an issue on both Fury and Loki, leading me to believe that its something to do with how the body is laid out for paint masks or something like that.  It’s not awful, but it’s not great either.  Obadiah is packed with the improved Arc reactor he steals from Tony (which fits nicely in his newly sculpted right hand), as well as a briefcase, you know, for papers, um, just papers, uh, you know, uh, his papers, business papers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I loved the old opening hatch Iron Monger figure from the ’08 line, there’s no denying that there was some definite room for an upgrade.  With all of the various MCU figures we’d gotten in the last few years, it did feel a bit like poor Monger had just completely fallen through the cracks.  I’m glad that Hasbro made a spot for him in this line-up, and I’m also glad he turned out as well as he did.  The main Iron Monger is truly an impressive piece of engineering on his own, and very much makes this set, but I’m also glad that we got a proper Obadiah.  All in all, it’s a very fun set.

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

#2074: Hostile Takeover

PLAYBOY TONY STARK, RAZA, BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MAN MARK III, & IRON MONGER

MARVEL MINIMATES

There was a bit of hoopla going down when it was announced that DST had not acquired the license for Spider-Man: Far From Home and Marvel Minimates would subsequently be skipping the film.  It caused some drama amongst the fanbase, largely because for the first time, after a whopping 22 films and 11 years, an MCU film would not be getting any Minimates.  That’s kind of a big deal, since Minimates got in on the ground floor, with by far the most expansive product offering for 2008’s Iron Man.  It played a definite part in getting them back out to a more mainstream audience, and even had a role in getting them back into Toys R Us.  There was a main assortment of four two-packs, plus a TRU-exclusive two-pack, and then finally a boxed set to fill in the only real remaining holes in the line-up.  I’m looking at the boxed set today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The “Hostile Takeover” set was officially the final item in DST’s coverage for Iron Man, available exclusively through Action Figure Xpress, DST’s go-to retailer for exclusives at the time.  The set featured a pair of slight redecos (Battle-Damaged Mark III and Iron Monger), plus one new look (playboy Tony), and one all-new character (Raza).

PLAYBOY TONY STARK

After the lead-in which established the cause of his abduction and injury, the movie flashed back, and reintroduced us to Tony Stark, who we meet in a Vegas casino, wearing the number we see here.  It’s a pretty distinctive look, so the main line’s decision to go with a more standard suit-ed look for civilian Tony was seen as a slight missed opportunity (but only slight).  Its presence here is probably one of the few civilian Tony looks that was actively campaigned for.  The figure is built on the usual body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Tony made use of re-used parts, with the hair from Admiral Kirk and the jacket/shirt from 1984 Biff Tannen.  The hair’s not quite a perfect match for Downey’s hair in the movie, but it gets the job done and is easily swapped out if you don’t like it quite so much.  The jacket piece, though, is a pretty brilliant re-use, and I imagine that this piece’s very existence probably paid a large role in getting this figure made.  The paintwork is more involved than you might think.  Rather than just being straight black, his pants are a dark brown, and even have some detailing on the bottoms, which is a cool touch.  He didn’t originally have the detail lines on his torso, though; I added those after the fact. He included no accessories, but I’m not sure what he would have been given.

RAZA

Raza was the set’s one unique character.  As the leader of the “Ten Rings,” there was a lot of speculation at the time of the that he was going to be the movie franchise’s Madarin.  Ah, simpler times.  Prior to this set’s release, he was the only notable character from the film who hadn’t been released, so there was a lot of excitement about him being included.  Raza got the only new parts in this set, with a brand-new jacket/skirt combo.  It’s kind of bulky, and a little restricting, but otherwise a solid recreation of his garb from the film.  His paintwork is actually rather involved.  The stubble on the face is very nicely rendered, as is the camo on his jacket.  That goes beyond the level of detail we tend to see.  Raza was packed with an assault rifle, which was actually unique to this set, which is a little bit surprising, but cool nonetheless.

BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MAN MARK III

Tony’s main armor, the Mark III, takes quite a beating over the course of Iron Man, so it’s probably one of the most sensible battle-damaged variants ever.  It also gave DST another chance to re-use the new armor tooling, which I’m sure was their primary rationale.  The figure makes use of all re-used parts, as you might expect.  That includes the helmet, chest piece, gauntlets, and armored-up legs of the standard Mark III (and Mark II and Stealth Armor too).  They were an amazing addition to the line at the time, and they’ve actually held up alright.  They merged the armored suit with the ‘mate style better than later offerings would, at least from my view.  The removable faceplate is also still really cool.  The paint work for this figure took the standard Mark III paint and messed it up, adding cracks, scuffs, and even a few bullet holes.  It’s a very convincing assortment of damage, and actually stands out very well from the standard detailing.  Like all of the armored figures from this movie, this guy has a complete alternate look, allowing the armor to be stripped down.  There’s an extra set of legs and hands, as well as an alternate hair piece, which showcase a seriously pissed off Tony Stark.  This figure also adds in the repuslor gauntlets, break fins, and blast base from the Stealth Armor, this time done up in the standard Iron Man colors.

BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MONGER

Last up is the figure that’s possibly the least essential in this set.  While Obidiah Stane’s Iron Monger suit takes a little bit of damage over the course of the film’s final battle, it’s nowhere near the level of what happens to the Mark III, nor is it particularly notable when compared to the standard figure.  He’s using all the same parts as that release, which certainly plays to his favor, since the original Iron Monger was the star of the original Iron Man line-up.  It’s a good sculpt, and a wonderful miniaturization of the film design.  The thing is, this is the second time we got it, so it did feel a bit redundant, especially so close to the original release.  Pretty much, they added some slightly darker patches, and that was it. Under the armor, things are slightly different.  There’s still a fully detailed Obidiah Stane, but this one’s a little angrier, and has a few rips on his jumpsuit.  But, the most important addition?  The standard flesh-toned hands, which were missing from the original release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Iron Man Minimates were some of my favorites, so I was determined to put together a full set.  This one ended up being a Christmas present from my parents.  I can’t say I had much investment in this set beyond just getting everyone.  Raza was unique, and the Tony was certainly an improvement over the first one, but for me the real star was actually the Battle-Damaged Mark III, who does a very good job of justifying his own existence.