#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.

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#2009: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Hey, remember when Hasbro was trying to get a 12-inch-scale line of Marvel Legends up and running?  Pepperidge Farm The North The Figure in Question remembers.  Sadly, it seems it was not to be.  Despite getting a big push at their launch in 2016, and putting out some really solid releases going into 2018, the line never seemed to secure its footing.  Well, I guess now I can go back and look at a few odd figures here and there that I missed.  Chief among them, Iron Man, the subject of today’s review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man was a 2016 release for the line.  Though he didn’t arrive at stores quite at the same time as Cap and Spidey, he wasn’t too far behind.  He also seemed to be a slightly more popular release, since he didn’t seem to hand around as much as some others.  More than some of the others in this line, Iron Man’s design seen here is an amalgam of many different appearances.  He’s clearly getting a lot of movie influence, but there are also some definite traces of Tony’s more recent comics armors cropping up in there.  In this respect, he pairs off quite nicely with the similarly designed Captain America and Thor figures.  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him, and unlike a lot of the figures in this line, it doesn’t really seem to have any common ancestry with one of the 6-inch sculpts.  It’s appropriately cleaner and sleeker than the Cap sculpt was.  I appreciate that, unlike a lot of larger-scale Iron Men, he doesn’t feel too hollow or light-weight.  The sculpt manages to check-off most of the usual Iron Man armor elements, with hard line-work and technical details weaved throughout.  As with all of the other larger Legends I’ve looked at, you can really see Hasbro’s sculptors taking advantage of the larger canvas presented to them by this scale.  Perhaps my favorite piece of the whole figure is the arc reactor, whose handling is totally a “larger canvas” situation.  It’s a fully sculpted, three dimensional item, topped off with a clear piece over top.  There’s pretty much no way to cost-effectively do this sort of thing on a smaller figure, but it sure looks really nice here.  The figure maneuvers itself away from being too movie-inspired largely by way of the suit’s proportions, which definitely err more on the side of comic book idealized proportions.  The prospect of an actual person in the suit is a little diminished, but it’s also in keeping with the general style of the rest of this line’s figures.  I particularly like the clean silhouette this figure gives his design.  He’s a lot less segmented than the smaller figures have been.  His paintwork is actually pretty minor.  The reds are all molded, with everything else painted on top.  I do quite like the hue of gold they’ve chosen (it properly reads as yellow when lit), and I dig the energy effects on the mini-reactors on his forearms.  Iron Man is packed with an extra Tony Stark head (the clearest example of “this isn’t a movie figure” in the box), plus two sets of hands (with fists and repulsor blast posing), and a pair of repulsor blast effects.  Compared to figures like Cap, Panther, and especially Wolverine, that’s kind of light, but it’s about the same as what Spidey got.  My figure lacks the second fist and repulsor blast, due to the circumstances of how I got him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I very favorably reviewed Cap when he came out.  Why didn’t I grab this guy?  I honestly don’t know.  I saw him when he was new, and thought about getting him.  However, I was about to move, and finances weren’t really certain, and then I didn’t see him again for a while.  I kind of forgot about him to be honest.  Last year, I ended up picking up several other figures from the line, and I’ve had them up on the shelf, with sort of this Iron Man-shaped hole.  So, when this guy was traded into All Time Toys loose, only missing two accessories, I went ahead and grabbed him.  He’s not the centerpiece of the line or anything, and the later figures definitely out-paced him, but he’s still a fine figure.  It’s a shame Hasbro couldn’t really find the market for these.

#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.

#1394: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Iron Man is the world’s greatest high-tech hero. Iron Man’s armor is made of space-age alloys and is virtually indestructible. Not only that, but the armor is filled with an awesome arsenal including energy blasting repulsor rays, a navigational computer and rocket-powered boots that can fly him at a top speed of 960 miles an hour! Iron Man is really the millionaire inventor and industrialist, Tony Stark. When he’s not wearing his armor and helping his friends Thor and Captain America save mankind from super-powered enemies, Tony’s in his lab creating a new invention to save lives or clean the environment.”

You can’t go anywhere these days without tripping over like 50 Iron Man figures, but that wasn’t always the case.  When Toy Biz took over the Marvel license back in the early ‘90s, there were only two prior Iron Man figures.  They eventually released a whole line of Iron Men, but their first figure of the character was released as part of their early Marvel Super Heroes line.  He’s kinda goofy and I’m looking at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes.  Along with that series’ Thor figure, he completes the “Avengers” set started in Series 1 with Cap and Hulk.  He’s based on the Neo-Classic armor, which is more rare amongst action figures.  This was actually its first time in plastic form, and would remain its only appearance until the Marvel Legends Showdown line more than a decade later.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  These earlier figures kind of mimicked the Super Powers aesthetic, albeit in a slightly lower quality way.  This figure’s sculpt is…interesting.  It’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s not as nice as, say, the Captain America figure.  A lot of the figure’s issues come from the rather primitive snap-on armor.  While later Iron Men would place the focus on getting a decent starting figure and then enhancing them with extra armored bits, this figure goes for a combo Iron Man/Tony Stark.  The problem is that the end result is an Iron Man and a Tony Stark that are both off.  The armor is really bulky and has obvious clips (which are rather difficult to work with), and the underlying Tony Stark is just…odd.  Really, really odd.  I mean, just look at him.  That ain’t right.  The paint work on this guy is okay overall, but his armor is lacking a few of the yellow details.  Maybe they were working from a classic Iron Man image?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure slightly pre-dates me getting into collecting…and me existing…so I didn’t get it new.  I did eye it up a few times over the years, but it’s not the most common figure, and it was never high enough priority for me to actually go and track him down.  I ended up finding this guy at the most recent Dave Hart Toy Show back in July, for a pretty decent price.  He’s…strange?  I guess that’s the word.  I find him intriguing as sort of a pre-formed version of the later Toy Biz Iron Men, but as his own figure, he’s not Toy Biz’s strongest offering.

#1329: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“To the public, Tony Stark is a handsome, jet-setting industrialist and inventor. What they don’t know is that he leads a second life as Iron Man. The armored Avenger gets his fantastic powers from his suit of micro-mesh armor. It gives him superhuman strength, the ability to fly via his jet boots, and a variety of built-in weapons, foremost among these being his devastating repulsor rays! Iron Man is dedicated to defeating those forces that would threaten the security of the nation and the entire world.”

Iron Man is easily one of Marvel’s best known characters these days, but that wasn’t always the case.  Aside from a brief cartoon runs in the ‘60s and ‘90s, he was largely out of the public eye until his 2008 film.  So, in 2002, when Toy Biz launched Marvel Legends as a follow-up to their successful Spider-Man: Classics line, and had Iron Man as one of the headliners of Series 1’s four figure assortment, it was a pretty big deal.  It’s hard to believe now, but when Marvel Legends debuted, the most demanded figure by far was the Iron Man.  Can you even imagine a time when the fanbase didn’t let out a collective groan at the inclusion of an Iron Man figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted in the intro, Iron Man was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends line.  There were actually two Iron Men in the assortment; the regular release reviewed here, and the one-per-case horned-mask variant.  Even later, there was also a Walmart-exclusive release, which decked this guy out in his stealth colors.  This guy is based on Tony’s classic armor from the 60s and 70s, which at this point hadn’t been released in plastic form for almost two decades.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 38 points of articulation.  Some of the articulation (particularly the neck movement and the mid-torso joint) is a bit antiquated, but it’s mostly pretty workable.  Amusingly, some of the articulation the was more quickly deemed out of date within the line itself has actually become the more standard way of doing things, so in some ways he fits in better with the more recent Hasbro offerings than he does the later TB offerings.  Iron Man sported what was, at the time, an all-new sculpt, which would later be used for the Silver Centurion armor, as well as War Machine and Magneto.  The build is a little bulkier than the usual depictions of the classic Iron Man armor, but it actually makes sense, since it’s supposed to be wrapped around a normal-sized guy; it’d have to be a little heftier in real life.  The proportions are actually pretty solid for a figure of this era.  Compare this guy to his Series-mate Captain America, and you’ll note that he’s got a much more balanced anatomy.  He even avoids the dreaded duck feet!  The articulation is also pretty well worked-in for a Toy Biz offering; sure, there are still some spots where compromise has been made (the waist really sticks out), but it’s generally a good middle-ground.  In terms of detail work, this guy goes a bit more simplistic than later TB fare (another reason he fits in a bit better with the Hasbro stuff), but that’s definitely a plus.  All of the important details are there, they’re all very sharply defined.  The figure has a removable faceplate, which reveals Tony Stark beneath the mask.  I’ve always felt he bore a resemblance to Timothy Dalton, which is a neat little “what-if” casting idea.  The face has some of the best work on the whole figure, which shows real commitment on the sculptor’s part, since it’s largely going un-seen.  The faceplate is molded to fit into the contours of the face, and it actually stays in place really well.  In terms of paint, Iron Man’s handled really well. He’s got the base red and yellow, which are nice and vibrant, and then on top of that, there’s a hint of silver lightly applied to all the armored portions of the figure, which makes him look suitably metallic, while avoiding the issues of blending that plague the Iron Men that use gold in place of the yellow. Iron Man was packed with a display stand designed to look like a Stark Industries satellite and a reprint of Iron Man #149 (which contains “Doomquest,” one of my favorite Iron Man stories).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy came from my Nana.  Every year, she’d take me and my cousin to Toys R Us at the end of school and let us each pick out one or two things.   Of course, I went through the usual back and forth, having to reassure her that yes I really did want this Iron Man fellow instead of a handful of Attack of the Clones figures like my cousin was getting.  At the time, this guy was still pretty hard to get, so finding him so quickly was pretty sweet.  He was my very first Marvel Legend, and I gotta say, dragging him out for the purpose of this review has reminded me that he’s still very definitely one of my favorites.  As far as classic Iron Men go, this guy really hasn’t been topped.

#1198: Mark V Iron Man & War Machine

MARK V IRON MAN & WAR MACHINE

MARVEL MINIMATES

mkvwm1

Ah, Iron Man 2, the one entry in the MCU we all sort of pretend didn’t happen.  The first chink in the armor, if you will.  Admittedly, it’s not a bad movie, just an okay one, hurt by being the sequel to one of the biggest surprise hits of 2008.  Some of the ideas presented there really weren’t bad, and if nothing else, the toys from the movie were cool.  Two of my favorite parts of the movie (and thus some of my favorite entries from the toy lines) were the suitcase armor and Rhodey taking up the War Machine mantle.  The Mark V and War Machine just so happened to be packed together for their Minimates.  How convenient!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Mark V and War Machine were part of the Iron Man 2-tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates.  They were one of the pair of two-packs shared between the TRU-exclusive assortment and specialty Series 35 (the other being Mark IV and Whiplash).

MARK V IRON MAN

mkvwm2Though somewhat short-lived, the Mark V suitcase armor was one of the real highlights of IM2, being a fun concept, a fun design, and getting easily the coolest fight scene in the movie.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The Mark V has add-ons for his helmet, shoulderpads, gloves, boots, and belt.  The helmet is the same piece used for Marks IV, VI, and VII, but aside from that these pieces were new to this guy.  They match up well enough with his on-screen design, and he doesn’t suffer from being overly bulked up like a lot of the Iron Man armors from this time period.  In addition to the add-on pieces, the IM2 ‘mates also ramped up the use of specialized pieces, especially for arms and legs.  The Mark V gets new upper arms and legs, which, like the add-on pieces follow the movie design quite well, and also help to prevent him for getting too big.  The paint on this guy is particularly nice, with the metallic red in particular really standing out as really sleek and polished.  Under his helmet, there’s a nice, angry/determined Tony Stark, who even shows some damage from his battle with Whiplash, making him a nice departure from the slew of other Tonys with the same basic face.  The Mark V was packed with an extra hairpiece (a recolored version of Kyle Reese’s), as well as a pair of flesh-toned hands.

WAR MACHINE

mkvwm4From the moment Rhodey quipped “Next time, baby” to the Mark II in Iron Man, I was anxiously awaiting War Machine’s introduction in the sequel.  Of course, we lost the first Rhodey in the mean time, so there was no “Next time” for that particular iteration of the character.  That being said, I think Cheadle ultimately brought more to the role, and was especially good for the transition of Rhodey to true super hero.  This was Cheadle’s first of several ‘mates.  This one’s particularly heavy on the extra sculpted pieces, with add-ons for the helmet, chest piece, and gloves/forearm guns, as well as unique legs and upper arms.  Pretty much the whole basic ‘mate body is covered when this guy’s armored up.  The parts are generally pretty well sculpted, but I do feel this guy suffers a bit from that overly bulked up look that I mentioned the Mark V avoided.  It’s not awful, nor is it super out of character for War Machine, but he still looks a little on the pudgy side from some angles.  Rhodey’s paint work is decent enough, if not as exciting or polished as the Mark V.  Under the armor, there’s some nice extra torso detailing, as well as a fully detailed Rodey head.  In lieu of the hair piece from the first movie’s Rhodey, this guy’s hair is painted on, which I think more accurately portrays the close-cropped look from the film.  As far as the likeness, I can’t say I see all that much of Cheadle in the face on this one, but it’s still a pretty nice head.  Rhodey included a large gattling gun and missile launcher to plug into his torso piece, as well as a separate helmet with the faceplate flipped up, and a pair of flesh-toned hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was around the time I was faithfully buying my Minimates from Cosmic Comix, but for whatever reason, his shipment of these guys never materialized.  I was hardly going to miss out on this pair, so I ended up grabbing them from TRU along with the two TRU-exclusive sets.  I find that a lot of these ‘mates haven’t aged the best, but these two still hold up pretty well, and I’m happy to still have them!

#1153: Black Widow & Dark Avengers Iron Man

BLACK WIDOW & DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

widowdaim1

Hey ho, it’s another Minimate review. They kind of come in clusters, I guess. Of course, where yesterday’s focus figure came from way back at the beginning, today’s is a more recent addition to the line. So, without further ado, here’s Black Widow and Dark Avengers Iron Man!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is part of Series 2 of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates. As with all the Walgreens ‘mates, these two are animated series-based, specifically Avengers Assemble.

BLACK WIDOW

widowdaim2Black Widow is one of the main members of the team in Avengers Assemble, so her appearance here isn’t a huge shock, especially since they’ve been steadily working through the animated incarnation of the team. The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation. Widow is based on her second costume from the show, which is a bit more distinct when compared to the same basic Widow we’ve gotten a few times, so definitely a good choice. Her only add-on piece is her hair, which she shares with the previously reviewed Gamora ‘mate. It’s a nice enough piece, and I guess it matches well enough with her animated design. The rest of her design is rendered via paint work, which is pretty solid. As I’ve noted a few times before, the animated designs really do translate pretty well to the ‘mate form, and Widow definitely fits that trend. The colors are nice, bright, and bold, and all of the line work is nice and crisp. The figure is packed with a pair of batons and a clear display stand.

DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

widowdaim3The second season of Avengers Assemble introduced frequent Marvel fixture the Squadron Supreme, who are the Marvel equivalent of the Justice League. They took advantage of the Squadron’s alternate universe to also introduce the Dark Avengers, evil counterparts to the main heroes. DST decided to take advantage of these new designs to offer some slightly more unique designs for the characters we’ve all seen so many times before. The first one was Iron Man, whose design swaps out the red portions of his armor for black, because everyone knows black = evil, I guess. Construction-wise, he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt, as well as special upper arm pieces. Everything is reused, which is generally okay. The Mark 42 arms still aren’t among my favorites, mostly due to serious limitations they place on the shoulder movement. Aside from that, though, he does a decent enough job of capturing the look of the armor on the show. The paintwork on this guy is passable, but nowhere near as nice as some of the others in this subset. He’s rather drab, being a dark blue and a rather cold yellow. Ultimately, he ends up looking like a slightly blander version of the Marvel Now Iron Man from a few years ago. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which is a bit angrier than the usual Tony. The flesh tone on the face is kind of thin, so he ends up looking rather bluish. Also, the figure’s paint just seems rather sloppy in general. The figure is packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who bought them from a Walgreens during a trip back home over the summer. Apparently, she likes to buy things for me when she’s stressed. Widow’s a pretty solid ‘mate. Dark Avengers Iron Man is…well he doesn’t feel like the most inspired choice. Of all the Dark Avengers designs, his is really one of the less interesting, and to top it off, his paint work is noticeably lower in quality than others in the series. Overall, I think Widow’s enough to save the pack, but it would have been nice if her pack mate had been more exciting.

#0952: Black Panther & Iron Man

BLACK PANTHER & IRON MAN – MARK 46

MARVEL MINIMATES

PantherIM1

It’s not really news to the regular followers of this site, but I really, really enjoyed Captain America: Civil War. While it was still undeniably Cap’s movie, the supporting players really stood out. One of the best parts of the movie was Black Panther, who was introduced into the MCU with a standout performance from Chadwick Boseman. I can’t wait to see more of this guy! Until his solo Black Panther movie hits, I’ll just have to hold myself over with some of his toys. Though I haven’t yet found his awesome looking Marvel Legends figure, I did manage to snag his Minimate, which I’ll be looking at today, along with his pack-mate Iron Man.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Panther and Iron Man were released in Series 66 of the Marvel Minimates line. The whole series is based on Captain America: Civil War. These two are also one of the shared sets between the specialty and TRU assortments.*

BLACK PANTHER

PantherIM2Amazingly enough, is is only Black Panther’s third appearance as a Minimate. He hasn’t shown up since Series 29! This one is, unsurprisingly, based on his movie appearance. Admittedly, it’s not very far off from his basic comics appearance, so he could really work as either version in a pinch. The figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation. Panther’s only add-on is his mask, which is the same piece used by the last two Panther ‘mates. It’s a well-sculpted, simplistic piece, which suits the character very well. It’s too bad he didn’t get a set of clawed hands as well, but that’s a fairly minor nit. The rest of Panther’s detailing is done via paintwork, and it’s some pretty exceptional work at that. There’s a ton of small detail work to make up the unique texturing of Panther’s costume in the movie, and I love how much depth the variations of finish give him. Under the mask, there’s a fully detailed head, with painted on hair and ears. It’s not a perfect likeness of Boseman as T’Challa; for some reason he’s missing his facial hair (which appears to be the case with the Legends figure as well), and his expression is also a bit bland. But, it’s still a nice touch, and adds an extra bit of coolness to the figure. Panther’s only accessory is a clear display stand. It seems a bit light, but I’m not really sure what else they could have given him.

IRON MAN – MARK 46

PantherIM3Tony Stark really likes tweaking his armor. The Mark 46 serves as his only armor during the course of Civil War (I believe this is the first time he’s only had one). It’s not too far removed from the Mark 45, which he wore at the end of Age of Ultron. However, there are a few minor differences, most of which seem to be there to help bulk Tony up so he doesn’t look too overpowered by Cap. As a Minimate, the Mark 46 is built from the same pieces as the Marks 42 and 43, minus the chest piece. That means he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, pelvis, and boots, as well as a non-standard set of upper arms. It’s not my favorite set of pieces, and the selection isn’t a spot-on recreation of what’s seen in the film (there are way too many join lines), but the end result isn’t too bad. The upper arms are still very limiting in terms of articulation, but the effect is at least somewhat lessened by the omission of the chest plate. The paint does a lot to really sell this figure. The colors of red and gold chosen work pretty nicely together, and the detail lines all do a good job of recreating the on-screen armor. There’s a bit of slop on the arms, but it’s all minor and fairly unnoticeable. Under the helmet, there’s a very angry Tony Stark face. I like the change of expression, though I do wonder why he’s lacking the black eye that Tony was sporting during all of his armored scenes. Iron Man is packed with a spare hair piece, a flying stand, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these two up from Cosmic Comix the week they were released. Amusingly enough, it was actually on the way to take Super Awesome Girlfriend to see the movie. Panther’s definitely the selling point of this set. He’s a new addition to the MCU subset of ‘mates, and the first shot a lot of newer collectors have had at a Black Panther Minimate. He’s also just a pretty solid ‘mate all around. Iron Man’s certainly not a bad addition, but there’s so many Iron Men out there that this one blends in with the crowd a bit. He’s really not bad, and he may well be my favorite MCU Iron Man. He’s just not super thrilling is all. Still, this is definitely a fun set!

*Amusingly enough, in a similar fashion to the Hawkeye/Vision set, the first Black Panther ‘mate was packed with an Iron Man variant.  History repeats!

 

#0949: Iron Man Now! & Indestructible Hulk

IRON MAN NOW! & INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Okay, today’s another Minimates review. It’s also another Marvel review, another Iron Man review, and another Hulk review. None of those are particularly rare things for this site, so I’ll admit that I’m running out of things to say about them. So, umm, here’s a review of some Iron Man and Hulk Minimates?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were part of the 16th series of Toys R Us exclusive Marvel Minimates. The series was complementary to Series 51 of the main line, and both series were based on the “ Marvel Now!” relaunch from 2013.

IRON MAN NOW!

IM&HulkNow3Though he didn’t get his first ‘mate until Series 6, Iron Man’s become one of the most frequently produced characters in Marvel Minimates. Fortunately, Iron Man’s had lots of diverse looks over the years, which keeps his ‘mates from getting too redundant. This figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and gas 12 points of articulation. He’s based on his Now! look, which was also the inspiration of the Iron Man in the Hulkbuster Series of Marvel Legends. While that figure used Greg Land’s (traced) interiors for its reference (allowing for the figure to be a simple repaint), this figure seems to draw a bit more from the initial (and far more interesting) design for the armor. Iron Man has six add-on pieces for his helmet, chest plate, gloves, and boots, as well as non-standard pieces for his upper arms. The boots are re-used from Series 45’s Mark VII Iron Man, but the rest of the pieces were new to this figure. He’s a little on the bulky side, but the figure does a pretty nice job of capturing the look from the initial design sheets. Also, the shoulders limit movement a bit, but at least they’re better than the Mark 42/43/45 shoulders. The paint on this Iron Man is pretty standard. He’s got the appropriate black and gold for this design, with a few spots of red thrown in. The red is a bit sloppy in some areas, but not terrible. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which for some reason has random patches of black on it. I think that’s a story specific thing, but I didn’t read Iron Man’s Now! series, so I honestly can’t say. The Tony face is consistent with the other modern Tony’s we’ve gotten, so that’s good. Marvel Now Iron Man includes both a normal display stand and a rocket blast stand.

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

IM&HulkNow2This isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed an Indestructible Hulk Minimate, however, this is chronologically the first of the two produced. This figure presents Hulk in his less armored up appearance, which isn’t quite as exciting a design, but I guess it’s a bit more conventional Hulk. The figure has add-ons for the hair, torso, upper arms, hands, pelvis, upper legs, and feet, and he also has an extra riser piece to make him a little taller. The torso, pelvis, and upper legs are new parts, designed to replicate Hulk’s armored shorts. They’re pretty nicely sculpted, which is good. The rest of the parts are reused, which is alright for the most part. The feet don’t have any toes, which is rather odd looking. Of course, the first 15 Hulks didn’t have toes either, but that was before the move to bulked up Hulks. Hulk’s paintwork is decently handled. The linework seems a little thicker than usual, but it doesn’t look bad. The face is a little odd looking; I’m not sure exactly what his expression is supposed to be. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the greatest. Hulk includes R.O.B. (the Recording Observation Bot), a flight stand (for R.O.B.), and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this pair from TRU’s online store, along with two other sets from Series 16. It was kind of an impulse buy. I can’t say this is one of my favorite sets. Iron Man’s a decent enough variant, but the armor wasn’t super long-lived, and isn’t very memorable. Ultimately, he’s a solidly done figure of a rather drab design. Hulk’s okay, but he suffers from being the lesser of the two Indestructible Hulks, and that toe thing is just weird. Not a bad set, but nothing to write home about.

#0936: Silver Centurion Iron Man & Crimson Dynamo

IRON MAN – SILVER CENTURION & CRIMSON DYNAMO

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Hey, how ‘bout another Minimates review? Yeah, that’d be nice, wouldn’t it? And it’s even a Marvel review! I certainly haven’t had many of those recently! Riiiiiiight

Iron Man is undoubtedly one of the biggest name characters in Marvel’s pantheon now, but that wasn’t always the case. Prior to his first movie, there were only five Iron Men in the whole Minimates line, and absolutely none of his foes were represented. Even with the success of Iron Man, Tony wouldn’t get his own comic-themed series until the release of Iron Man 2, which brought us not only some important armor updates, but also some of Tony’s most prominent foes. Today, I’ll be looking at Silver Centurion Iron Man and longtime foe Crimson Dynamo.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in Series 36 of Marvel Minimates. As noted above, the series was released in the summer of 2010 to coincide with Iron Man 2’s release.

IRON MAN – SILVER CENTURION

IMSilvCentDyna2After sticking with more or less the same look for about 20 years, (and then giving said look to James Rhodes after Tony developed a bit of a drinking problem) Tony decided to mix it up and go silver in 1985. While the armor wasn’t incredibly long-lived (lasting about three years real-world time), its rather unique design, and its place in the “Armor Wars” storyline have helped to make it rather memorable. This is actually the second incarnation of this design in the Minimates form. The first was a Previews exclusive, and was from much earlier in the line, so the update was certainly warranted. The figure stands about 2 ¼ inches tall and has 12 points of articulation. He’s built on the usual body, with add-on pieces for his helmet, gloves, belt, and boots. All of these are new pieces, and they do a pretty great job of translating the design from the comics. The helmet is slightly too short for the head, but not terribly so. What’s weird is that the prior Silver Centurion had the same issue, despite they two using two different helmet pieces. Aside from that, he’s pretty great, though. The paint on this guy’s pretty strong. The metallic are in full play, and they make him look really sleek. He’s got a bit of detailing on the faceplate and torso, which look nice. Under the helmet is a full Tony Stark face, which has more than a passing resemblance to Timothy Dalton. To aid in showing off the Tony face, the figure includes a spare hair piece, which has been re-used from Series 31’s Captain Marvel. It’s a pretty pitch-perfect match for Tony’s look from the time, so that’s good.

CRIMSON DYNAMO

IMSilvCentDyna3Dynamo gets my vote for best Iron Man villain, if I’m being honest. That’s probably part of why I wasn’t super wowed by Iron Man 2, since it kind of smashed him together with Whiplash and gave us that weird Mickey Rourke character that graced the screen. I’m kinda still hoping to see a proper Dynamo at some point. At least I got a Minimate out of the deal! This figure’s based on Dmitri Bukharin, the fifth incarnation of Dynamo, who’s probably the most definitive of the possible choices, since he was Dynamo during both “Demon in a Bottle” and “Armor Wars,” and his armor is considered the classic Dynamo armor. The figure has add-ons for the helmet, chest armor, gauntlets, and boots. He’s a bit chunky, but that’s pretty appropriate for this incarnation (and most other incarnations) of the character. There’s some pretty cool details in those parts, and the re-use of the Widow’s Stingers from the Champions version of Black Widow is pretty clever. His paint’s mostly just metallic red up and down (as it should be), but he also has some nice detailing on the chest armor and the visor, as well as a full detailing on the underlying head and torso. The head is what makes it clear that it’s Dmitri; there’s no mistaking that mustache! He also includes an extra hairpiece, re-used from Egon Spengler. Dmitri was often shown bald, but it’s a nice inclusion nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with most Marvel Minimates, I got these guys from Cosmic Comix when they were first released. Series 36 was a series I had been looking forward to for quite some time, and this pair was part of why I was so invested in it. There are a few minor flaws here and there, but I remain very happy with this particular pair, and they’re two of my favorite Iron Man-themed ‘mates.