*Hey all! Sorry for the delay between posts--was out for my annual nation serving duties (read: army reservists) and was also in the middle of my move to the new place (read toy/gaming central. Lol wait till the wife sees this.) We finally got the broadband set up today so here it is, the latest of my reviews. Hopefully I'll be able to post more consistently now. :)
You might be wondering, wait a tick, why I'm reviewing Iron Man 2 figures waaay after the movie that hit the theaters in May? That's like six whole months ago.
Well, I'll tell you why:
1. This figure comes from a completely new wave of IM2 armors that contains many different new sculpts/re-use of later early wave sculpts that were fine-tuned to be better.
2. Because they're awesomely detailed toys! And at 3.75" scale at that!
Still not convinced? Well, I got three words and a picture for you:
Ultimate. Iron. Man.
Now all you Ultimates fans (me included) can roll up your tongues from the floor, put in back in yer mouths (removed scraps of dirt etc. first), then shut those jaws and swallow. That's right, remember to breathe...
For those of you who are not Ultimates fans, you still gotta admit that it looks like a pretty darn good-looking toy.
Still not convinced? Not a "looks" person, you say? Well then this guy's personality will getcha! Ultimate Iron Man might not talk to me (despite my attempts to strike up a conversation) or anyone else for that matter. But his character's appeal, brought to life by the superb Mark Millar and the splendid Bryan Hitch in the Original Ultimates Comic Series, is so cool that he might as well have a personality.
What do I mean? Well, click on to find out!
Yet here he is! And while it may not be the first time that characters not in the movie appear in the Iron Man 2 toy line (any of the Concept or Comic Series Armors, like Hulkbuster Armor or Hypervelocity IM, and even they newly released Mandarin), it's the first time they released an Ultimates figure in the mass market. Ultimate Captain America was in the very first wave of Marvel Universe and Ultimate WWII Cap also came ahead of our favorite armored hero, but the former was just called "Captain America" and the latter was a 2010 Comic Con Exclusive.
That Ultimate Iron Man is meant to be readily available for purchase at any good toy store soon, well, that just warms my heart.
Like: He may not be a plus-size figure like Iron Monger or Hulkbuster, but he surely is chunky!
His shoulders and chest have a very distinct plate armor feel to it but in modern design and colors, of course.
His forearms have extra armor, while his lower torso and crotch area have an armored-up bulk to it that makes sense, since I'd say protection there is a priority. But my favorite bulky bits come in the lower legs and feet, which give this guy an added stability.
Just setting this guy next to any of the other armors, classic or modern, makes them look obsolete, naked, even. The old dudes look more like they were wearing spandex in some areas with armor in the major areas, Ultimate Iron Man is completely Meched up. As the wife likes to say, he looks more like a transformer than Iron Man. I'll take that as a compliment on Tony Stark's behalf.
Like: His non-conventional colors. Yes, there's still the classic red and yellow, but at the same time there are two different shades of gray that are used to highlight the layers of armor, especially around his abs, lower torso and upper legs area. The effect is almost like shading and really gives what would be dull areas of gray some shine, depth and highlighted detail.
The double gray is characteristic of this particular incarnation of Iron Man, and makes him look less garish and more realistic, as is characteristic of Ultimates characters. Yet he still maintains a stylishness that's inherent of any high-powered piece of machinery, like a Formula 1 racing car--simply slick!
Like: The flexible chest pivot. It's a ball-joint that's stable at any angle. So while it's easy to move around and has a great range of motion, it's not loose in the sense that either his chest is either fully puffed or he looks like he's hunching.
After reviewing tons of figures, I still feel the chest pivot is the most crucial joint because it really gives character to a figure's upper body poses. Is he all coiled and ready to spring into action? Or is he all wound up and about to unleash a knockout punch? I think Hasbro have got the right idea here at this scale and definitely with Ultimate Iron Man:. Forget the waist swivel, because the chest pivot can cover the same movement and then some. :)
Like: The ball-mounted hinge head joint that has come to replace the standard ball in these figures. They give full up and down motion without sacrificing any of the side-to-side. You also gain a better sideways head tilt so this is a sure winner!
Like: The extra interchangeable head, Ultimate Iron Man origins style. It's the head of the original Ultimate armor before he formed the Ultimates with Nick Fury and gang. Personally, I prefer the new head way better. But I'm liking this "classic" head because it's an extra accessory, and it's one that is vital to the look of the young Tony Stark/IM in the past.
Like: Swivel/Hinge wrists! Point the closed fist downward for a forearm, laser-firing pose or the open left hand upward for a repulsor blast! Open swivel/hinge wrists also mean more realistic flying poses so there's no way I'll ever be truly happy with swivel-only wrists in this line again. Ever!
Like: That the blast effects from other IM2 figures fit, due in large part to the swivel/hinge wrists. It's an unexpected bonus, and a pleasant surprise. Sorta. Because I try the blast effects on all my new 3.75: IM figures...
Dislike: The somewhat poor paint job on the extra head. Flat, with the yellow and white kinda sloppy. Which is a waste because the white eyes actually photograph like they are lighted up!
Dislike: The poor paint on a lot of the figures that are initially released. Comic War Mack (this wave), Neo Classic IM, Movie Whiplash all started with very bad paint jobs. Then they got them sorted out. But it would still be nice to have them painted well right from the get go. After all, those are the ones that get snapped up first.
I actually picked up two Ultimate Iron Man, one for the Rangerlord and one for myself. The one I got had poor paint on the extra head and a slightly over-painted face mask. The one I got for him had some paint spotting on the face and chipped-off paint on the edge of the arc-reactor. So yeah, it would be nice to get a well-painted figure all in one package instead of taking two figures to get a decent paint-job for everything.
Aesthetics: 9/10 - The only reason it's not a 10 here is because of the paint issues. But a brand new sculpt which is full of detail, especially in the lower arm and leg armor, a great choice of color, and character design accuracy far outweigh any paint problems this guy might have. I'm happy with the way they applied the paint for the silvers and grays but the face leaves much to be desired with the spilling of yellow beyond the faceplate.
Poseability: 10/10 - What I like to call the central or core joints, meaning the head and chest pivot, are close to perfect. The better these central joints are, the more power you can have in their poses because the arms and legs can always be flung out left and right, but it isn't every figure that can give you the required torque in the torso that give the poses true oomph.
Fun: 10/10 - Blast effects from other figures in the IM2 Line fit. And there's finally someone who can pose alongside Ultimate Cap, who came out wat back in the first wave of the Marvel Universe line. Now I can't wait for the Hulk and Thor to form the core team of the Ultimates. And those two guys, like Ultimate IM, have just got to be unique sculpts because simple repaints won't have a snowball's chance in hell as being passed off for the real deal Ultimates.
Value: 8/10 - I paid way over retail for this. At S$22.40 (US$17), that's some S$6 (US$4.60) above retail. But being a figure from a later wave of movie characters, this will be tough to get and only get tougher to find. Even if they reach targets, Walmarts etc.,they'll get snapped up quick. So Either you'll have to really be on the prowl a lot, or you've gotta be incredible lucky like me and be willing to pay slightly more for it after stumbling upon it at a specialty store.
And I'm happy, because instead of yet another BFG or another blast effect, I get an alternate head. And that's on top of the standard figure stand and 3 holo armor cards. Let's not forget that Ultimate Iron Man is a brand new sculpt, so there's definitely some value to be added there.
Overall: 9.5/10 - Bonus points for excellent execution on what can only be my favorite version of Iron Man bar none! But is you're not a fan, this guy is different enough (and that's very different enough) to be some sort of heavy duty variant armor for that Stark Armory. So get him, you won't regret it! :)