Poe: Howdy, Poe here, and with me is my good friend and PGPoA Power Pal Pete of Fanwank.net.
Poe: Today we’re going to do a review of a few of Hasbro’s new action figures based on the upcoming film Iron Man, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow. The figures hit stores last Saturday, and it looks like they’re already selling well. I picked up the “Mark 03” Iron Man, as well as the villain called Iron Monger.
Pete: I got the Mark 01 Prototype Armor and the Target-exclusive Repulsor Red Prototype version.
Poe: The figures are in a six-inch scale, the same as Marvel Legends. Let’s start with the Mark 01 Prototype. Pete?
Pete: There are quite a few good points about the figure, and only a few bad. I’ll start with the bad–for all of the removeable pieces added to the figure, we lose a few points of articulation, namely the wrists and torso joint.
Poe: He can’t do ab crunches?
Pete: He can’t, though I imagine he’s got excellent posture for those pirouettes. The only other real knock against this figure is the likeness…you can recognize RDJ if you look at it right, but it’s got a closer resemblance to a skinny Dante from Clerks.
Poe: He wasn’t even supposed to be Iron Man today.
Pete: As I said, though, the figure actually has a lot of great points to balance out the bad–far from the snap-on gauntlets a lot of people thought the figure would have, he’s actually got removable forearms–which is where one of my favorite bits of detail is. See, because he’s in armor, Tony’s bare forearms are smaller than the rest of the arms–as though he had taken off his gloves. It would have been a very easy oversight to match the bare forearms up to the armored biceps in size, and the fact that they didn’t shows that Hasbro was paying attention.
Poe: So he’s not Popeye, is what you’re saying.
Pete: No, he yam Iron Man. Also, the removable chest plate is sculpted from soft plastic, which allows it to fit much more tightly than a harder material would have allowed.
Poe: Does the chest plate have the little translucent red plastic disc–or jewel–Iron Monger has?
Pete: Actually, the chest plate doesn’t have a jewel at all–one of the other detractions about the figure. Inside Tony’s actual chest is a cavity that holds one of two different little jewel/disc things. One is gold, the other is the light blue the other figures have. The problem with these is that they’re very small–I almost lost one straight out of the package. This definitely isn’t a toy for three-year-olds.
Poe: Yup–says so right on the box. No pumpkins!
Pete: Those discs, I think, are actually why Tony can’t do sit-ups (other than the inebriation, of course). There’s a button on his back that you have to push to eject them. The button blends into the armor, though–I couldn’t tell it was there until I read the back of the package.
Poe: The discs eject out? For what purpose?
Pete: None that I can discern. They don’t actually fire or anything–they’re just swappable.
Poe: …huh. Well, maybe the movie will explain them.
Pete: I hope so. It’s a very weird feature. Other than that, Tony’s got a removable face plate, bringing the tally of removable parts to seven–nine if you count a set of those shoulder pads.
Poe: Oh right–I notice on the package that the shoulder pads are listed as removable parts. They don’t say that on the Mark 03 packaging, even though the things pop off constantly.
Pete: Surprise bonus feature!
Poe: Is there any paint work to speak of?
Pete: You know, I’m not sure how to characterize the paint. Pearlescent, I suppose? Not quite metallic, and definitely not vac-metallized. It seems pretty consistent throughout the figure…the gold parts are gold, the red parts are red. There’s a bit of slop on the mask. The eyes on the mask though–and I’ve noticed this on all the figures–are two-tone. Light blue with white centers.They really look great, and reproduce the movie look well.
Poe: I agree, they look really cool. OK, so the Mark 03 Iron Man is the “standard” Iron Man–and then there’s the Silver Centurion-like repaint (left), which is a Target exclusive.
Pete: Yeah, they look like the same figure, right down to the launcher.
Poe: What did you call it?
Pete: The package calls it the “Repulsor Red Prototype.”
Poe: The suit?
Poe: Ah. I was referring to your nickname for the launcher.
Pete: Oh, that. The Sperm Launcher.
Poe: We’ll come back to that. Let’s start with the general figure. It’s supposed to be in a six-inch scale, and it’s a little shorter than the “Modern Iron Man” from Marvel Legends 8, and a little taller than the Modular Armor IM from the Face-Off pack with Mandarin. Personally, I don’t think a six-foot-tall man could possibly fit in that armor at a six-inch scale, but he still looks pretty good next to most ML figures.
Poe: The movie armor was inspired by the “Extremis” armor from the comics, I believe.
Pete: I know early concept designs were done by Adi Granov.
Poe: I like the sculpting a lot. This is very good, especially for Hasbro. The detail is smooth and clean, though he does suffer from the “small hands” syndrome that seems to plague Hasbro’s MLs.
Pete: Small hands, very large wrist joints. Arthritic Iron Man.
Poe: But I don’t have any Iron Man MLs, and I’d be perfectly happy using this as my comic Iron Man. The neck joint is interesting–it’s a ball joint, but a HUGE one.
Pete: Yes–a different sized one from the prototype figure, actually. The heads are almost swappable.
Poe: Weird. I wonder why they’re not?
Pete: I don’t know. The prototype figure head fits on the regular version, but it’s a tight fit.
Poe: The peg size seems to be a consequence of that type of plastic used. This isn’t the softer-feeling plastic of most MLs, but a harder, more PVC-like material–presumably to help mimic the look and feel of the Iron Man armor. It’s reminiscent of a high-end car.
Pete: It’s a good choice–it really makes the suit of armor look like a suit of armor, rather than just a toy.
Poe: I’m happy with the articulation, too. We get real bicep joints–not the infamous “Hasbro elbow. He basically has the standard ML articulation, including double-jointed elbows and knees. Good stuff. I only wish there was side-to-side movement in the ankles, but that’s a small thing. One place this line has shown problems is paint applications, and mine was no exception. I looked through four or five and went with the one that had the least problems, but he still has some issues—mostly with the gold paint. On one side of a leg, it’s streaky and the red is showing through; on another leg, one small yellow bit is barely there, and there are obvious brush strokes.
Pete: I ran into that with my Mk. 03 before I took it back–you got the proper legs on yours, though, right?
Poe: I did. The only QA problem I had was that his right hand hinge will NOT move. The wrist will move, but try as I might, I could not get that hinge to budge. I tried everything. But it’s no big deal compared to what happened to yours–can you describe it again?
Pete: Well, I was checking out the jets on the bottom of the feet, and I noticed that they both had the same instep–I thought I had gotten two right feet. Then I looked closer and saw that I had actually gotten two entire right legs–Hasbro copyright stamp and all. Kind of a bad QA mix-up, actually.
Poe: Suck. How’s your Silver Centur–I mean, your Repulsor Red Iron Man?
Pete: He turned out much better actually, and the paint is even cleaner too. I’ve actually only got one nitpick about the paint on this version–the collar. On the Mk. 03, there’s a nice little silver collar there–the Prototype even fakes the same look by having the chestplate leave a little bit exposed. But on the Repulsor Red version? Nothing.
Poe: Do we know whether this IM actually appears in the movie? Does he have a description on the package?
Pete: It doesn’t look like it has any specific sort of description–it’s a generic sort of bio about the armor being the peak of human technological achievement. It really just strikes me a sort of gimme exclusive for the Target folk, since Wal-Mart was getting one too.
Poe: OK–I just wondered because I know the War Machine has a description.
Pete: If Wal-Marts here would stock the figs, I’d go hunt that War Machine down–he’s third on my priority list after a proper Mk. 03 and an Iron Monger.
Poe: OK. Anything else before we move on to Iron Monger?
Pete: No, unless you’d like to discuss the Sperm Launchers.
Poe: Oh right–discuss.
Pete: Well, kudos to Hasbro for repeating their smart choice with the Ghost Rider figs and keeping the action feature separate from the actual figure…
Poe: No kidding.
Pete: But seriously, what is with the coloring on these projectiles?
Pete: It does, doesn’t it? The package on the Repulsor Red doesn’t say anything about it, though. I think the only way these projectiles could be more traumatizing to a less jaded individual than myself would be if the tips had some of that material they make sticky hands out of on them.
Poe: I just tried it–it definitely does not glow on mine. It looks kind of cool without the missile, though. Kind of like Megatron’s cannon.
Pete: It does–it looks like the sort of heavy duty armament Tony would use in a more dire situation. Not quite War Machine ordinance, but more than standard IM fare, too. I think the launchers will be fodder for a lot of customizers.
Poe: OK, moving on to Iron Monger. This was originally the only figure I HAD to have from this wave, if only because I like giant 1950s-looking robots.
Pete: It reminds me of Iron Giant, actually.
Poe: Now, I suspect a lot of collectors will want to grab Iron Monger, but already I’m hearing suggestions that people wait for the second version, with the opening cockpit. And I think that may be a good idea, depending on what’s important to you. In terms of sculpting, I’m fine with the Monger. It seems to be accurate to the glimpses we’ve seen in the trailer, and scale-wise, he’s certainly bigger than Iron Man. He’s basically a roided-up version of the Mark 01 IM. He’s cast in dark silver plastic, and there’s really no paint to speak of other than his eyes, which are two-tone, red and white.
Pete: What do you know about the character? I have to admit I’m not familiar with Stane at all.
Poe: I’m not either, really, except what I’ve read in magazines. I get the impression Hasbro is trying to keep the Monger’s identity a secret. His real name isn’t mentioned on the packaging description.
Pete: Interesting, considering the character is established in comic continuity.
Poe: Anyway, I’m pleased with this figure in every way except one: articulation. Monger has ball-jointed shoulders, hinged knees and elbows, and hinged ankles, all of which are good. He also has ball-jointed wrists and swivel biceps. But he has a swivel neck, which bugs me–I hate it when figures don’t have ball-jointed necks, and there’s no reason for it here.
Pete: I notice you don’t mention hips there.
Poe: For good reason. Monger has one of the dreaded “action features.” You squeeze his legs together, Super Powers-style, and his waist twists so he can pimp-slap Tony with his left hand. Unfortunately, to make the action work, they had to make his right hip static. It’s not a ball joint–it can’t really do anything but move inward. WTF?
Pete: So he’s good for staggering sideways but not much else, eh?
Poe: Yeah. The other hip isn’t a ball joint either–it’s actually got the same motion as a v-crotch. This severely limits the posing you can do. And to top it off, the hips actually look like ball joints! Furthermore, the way the action feature works, it prevents Monger from being able to face directly forward. It’s close, but his torso is always a little to the right or left.
Pete: Oh, I HATE that.
Poe: Anyway, the assumption among collectors seems to be that the opening-cockpit version will have the ball-jointed hips.
Pete: Let’s hope that assumption is correct.
Poe: As someone who’s not a diehard Iron Man fan, I’ll probably be fine with this version, but if you’re a stickler for articulation, you should probably not bother hunting for this figure and wait for the second version. One last point–if you look at the little booklet that comes with the figures, the opening-cockpit Iron Monger appears to have an old man in the driver’s seat. Who the heck is that dude?
Pete: You know, I was wondering about that myself. It’s a completely different head sculpt from the image shown online. Could it be part of Hasbro’s attempt at misdirection as to the pilot behind the armor?
Poe: Could be…or maybe we’ll see a twist ending to Iron Man. The villain is actually…Mr. McFeeley! Anyway, we hope you’ve enjoyed this suprisingly long review of Hasbro’s Iron Man movie figures.
Pete: I certainly did!