Sunday, October 24, 2010
Just when you thought Iron Man 2 fever was over, BAM, they hit us with the DVD and a couple of new waves of toys.
Well, alongside Advanced Armor, Arctic Armor, Silver Centurion armor, and a second run of Comic Series Hulkbuster, this brand new Comic Series Iron Monger comes as part of the first new wave.
It's very unlike the version that is the beast of the1st movie. It's very much closer to being spot on color and design-wise to the comic book version.
But just as I thought we were getting away with another all new Hasbro creation, surprise surprise, Iron Man 2 Comic Series 3.75" Iron Monger turned out to be not as new as it looks...
Sculpt: 9/10 - Except for the reuse of the IM 2 Hulkbuster torso, I thought this was a brand new sculpt at first glance. But upon busting this guy open, I realized the arms and legs were also Hulkbuster's, with newly molded pieces added for the shoulder, forearm and shin plates, fists, feet, and head. The collar bit and the chest arc reactor are also new pieces.
An unavoidable sinking feeling of having been duped soon followed but after playing around with the guy, I started to remember what a great sculpt the Hulkbuster had and that it actually wasn't a bad idea to reuse the entire body, especially if you couldn't tell it is almost a complete reuse until examining it closely. And actually, it's a win-win situation for both Hasbro and us consumers--they save money with the retool, and we get a ingenuously reworked figure that looks brand-spankin' new.
With Comic Series Iron Monger, the effort has been taken to "break the shape" of the original to really give us something new.
The head is bucket-like with a distinct 80s robot look, while the forearms and shins have been designs to add bulk to the limbs--and it works. They've even given CS Iron Monger the radio antenna on one of his brand new shoulder plates (the left one) for the FM Stereo look.
Then throw in a new chest arc reactor piece, a collar to round out the head, some tubing connecting the forearms to the biceps, and ta-da! It's a spiffy looking Classic Iron Monger!
I think this is a great lesson to those trying to learn from all good customizers out there--it really trains the eye to re-imagine existing figures in an all new light. Gotta give to the 'Bro on this one. Bravo with the reused sculpt!
Paint: 7/10 - There's really minimal paint on this guy. Aside from the red bit on his chest reactor, most all of it is a wash! That's not necessarily bad, and the wash is a great dark shade, but it turned out messy. Some of the ink pooled where' it shouldn't, like on the thighs, making the color uneven leg to leg. And elsewhere where it should pool, the wash tends to "over-pool" sometimes. So make sure you look out for what you prefer when picking out-dark and grungy or more of a flat comic book look.
Articulation: 8/10 - Big; chunky; stable; flexible--It's a winning combo! Not only do we get the benefits of a stable figure, but we also get to pose 'em in a myriad of ways. The stress test for me is something I call the Karate Kid. No, the ORIGINAL, not the Will Smith Jr. and Jackie Chan version (though I thought it was a good movie in it's own right--but it wasn't about Karate. It was about kung fu...)
Well ok. ok, so it ain't no crane pose. But you get my point--the big guy can stand on one giant foot and stick the other in Iron Man's face. Haha.
One particular feature this guy had that is better than Hulkbuster is in the shoulder plates, which can move ever so slightly up and down on hinges to that when he's got his arms down, the plates can be shifted down so he doesn't look like they're floating above his shoulders.
At the same time, the plates don't shift ridiculously high up so he looks funny with his arms raised--but it has got enough give in the soft plastic material to accommodate the shoulder articulation.
Fun: 9/10 - Plus-size figures are always fun to meddle around with and Iron Monger is no exception! This is in large part due to the articulation/balance combo of such figures. But aesthetically, figures like these "break the mold." So lots of the satisfaction comes through a newly sculpted body. That this guy reuses 80% of Comic Series Hulkbuster's body makes it even more fun, especially when you realize that they've done such a great job in making the parts unrecognizable by adding a bit here and doing away with a bit there.
Being a Comic Series figure also means he fits in well with other figures from the same series--Classic Armor Iron Man (regular and pointy masked variants), War Machine, Titanium Man, Guardian, and Silver Centurion Armor IM. And since IM 2 figures line up well alongside the Marvel Universe Secret Wars figures like Hulk, Cyclops, Magneto, and Wolverine, setting up a display is easy and rewardingly fun when you add in ol' Cobalt Head here himself. Why? He takes care of the color blue all by himself.
Value: 8/10 - Iron Monger comes with the now standard Armor Cards and figure stand. He could've used an energy blast (or five) but which other figure couldn't? But by virtue of being a plus-size guy compared to the standard-sized armors, he should be worth it. Throw in a new head, hands, and feet, add in some newly tooled shin guards, forearm guards, and shoulder pieces, and presto! We have our value for money piece.
Sculpt: 9/10 - Brilliant use of an old sculpt. Attention to detail when it comes to the newly tooled parts makes everyone happy. His limbs are even rubbery! All the better to bend, twist, and turn without loosening joints.
Paint: 7/10 - He's completely sculpted in blue, and not a very nice one--it's rather comic-y. But perhaps that's what they were going for. The deep black wash is great but rather sloppy and inconsistent on the figure and from figure to figure. They least they could've done was paint the helmet visor black. Instead, they just slathered some wash on it and hoed for the best.
Articulation: 8/10 - Great stuff here. A bulky figure with all his points working well without being blocked. Great job here with the somewhat flexible shoulder plates as well.
Fun: 9/10 - While the character might have only seen a small boost in popularity after the first IM movie, it wasn't even this armor from the comics that was recognized. But the name "Iron Monger" stuck, and fans like myself, who knew him vaguely began to take notice. The movie 3.75" version was great, so when the Comic Series version came, it was a must have for me. After all, everyone's got multiple suits of armor, so why should Iron Monger be any different? :)
Value: 8/10 - Large figure? Check. "Nuff said.
Overall: 85/100 - This is a great toy. Bonus points for duping...er...the brilliant re-use of s sculpt. It's a pity that the comic version of the character is a little obscure. But that shouldn't stop anyone from picking up a really awesome figure! :P