Definitely not getting the best pictures this week. I need a better photo-taking setup. Anyway, our trip to Stark Industries continues with two different Iron Men. On the left is an Iron Man movie figure from Hasbro. On the right is the “classic” Iron Man armor from Toy Biz. There was a point where I was hoping to have a version of all the Iron Man armors. Those figures never came out and some that did I missed because my Transformers obsession trumped all other toy collecting interests. So this is what I have. Let’s review them separately.

Lurking in the shadow. Or my lighting was that bad.

The Toy Biz version goes for the classic (actually the fourth if I recall correctly, but I consider the grey and yellow armors to be the same armor with a different paint job) Iron Man armor. This is the one older comics fans think of when they think of the Iron Man armor, while newer fans probably think of the Warren Ellis design favored for the movie. If my lighting was better you could tell this version has a mouth. There are some elements of the toy design that bother me which I will get to in a moment. Overall, it does match the look of the classic armor, right down to the “thermocouplers” on the sides, the chestplate design, and the helmet.

"Wait, that's not my best side."

One of the positive things about the Toy Biz Marvel figures was how posable they were. One of the negative things is the way they went about it. There is this weird joint you usually don’t see on other figures that I think is supposed to represent our shoulder blades, but I think it comes forward just a bit too far and with this armor it makes them look a bit off. Otherwise, this figure has some magnificent articulation. You have full head and neck rotation, shoulders, wrists, elbows, hips, waist knees, ankles, even the ball of the foot and fingers (although not individual fingers and the thumb stays put). In fact I think it has the most articulation of any figure I own. The design does have a couple minor flaws. The right shoulder on mine won’t go as flat to the body as the left one does, and I think he ends up a bit too bulky compared to the comic model of that period. Also, the ab joint doesn’t seem to work for me, like it’s too tight.

"Um, I was just using it to impress the ladies?"

At this point in the comic Marvel still cared about secret identities, including Iron Man’s. However this figure has a removable faceplate, with (and you can’t tell from this crappy picture) Tony Stark’s face molded inside. The paint job is good and it does look like pre-Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark. Sadly he can’t hold his faceplate very well when he isn’t using it thanks to the hand molding.  There was another version of this figure with a more golden paint job that I think was exclusive to Toys R Us, since that’s the only place I ever saw it.

"Nobody touches this sign, or their getting their faces repulsored off!"

This figure came with a couple other things as well, including an Iron Man comic book reprint from that era (a meeting with Doctor Doom in the first chapter of the “Doomquest” arc) and this thing. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be actually, but its main role is to be a stand for the figure. There are three pegs so if you want Tony to do his Captain Morgan stance (no, I’m not referencing his overly parodied alcoholism Iron Fans) or have him stand normal you have that option. The sign itself rotates to get out of the figure’s way and a hole on the back allows you to mount the whole thing on your wall. It’s a nice bonus.

Decision: stays

Odd shoulder blades and bulk aside it was a great figure of the time and one I can use as an art model. So I think I’ll hold on to it. But what about the other one?

"Obadiah, what's with the light cycle?"

I really apologize for these pictures. This is based on the first movie armor, the Mark 3 of the film universe. The molding is as good on this figure as it is on last week’s helmet. The eyes are painted blue, but fade to white in the center, giving it the effect that they’re lit up. I really wish I had a better photo set up but the detail is amazing. If you see Iron Man 2 figures in the toy store you will see the same level of detail on the current figures. Hats off to Hasbro. One problem I do have is his removable shoulder pads, which are held on by friction and will pop off during play or posing.

 

OK, now I’m determined to reshoot the whole thing on the next available sunny day. Anyway, posing is almost the same on this figure despite being smaller and more streamlined that the Toy Biz classic armor. The ab joint actually takes the place of the waist joint, which I don’t like, and the wrists WOULD work if the plates on the back of the hand would let it. That means I can’t aim the repulsors to blast bad guys but he can do the “kiss the hand, luv” pose. The fingers and ball of the foot are not posable and the mask is not removable, but ever other joint is on this figure.

"Say hello to my little friend."

To make up for the lack of repulsor posing (I guess) the figure comes with a hand cannon. I would say this would be to imitate the missile launch that showed up in so many trailers and ads for the first film, but the projectile (which was cut off when I cropped this) resembles an energy blast and I think the packaging even called it a “Repulsor Cannon”. Iron Man shouldn’t need this, but it looks OK.

Decision: stays

What can I say? I like this figure, too. Not only because it’s Iron Man, my favorite Marvel character, and the best movie I saw in 2009 (considering how many movies I missed because I was sick that year it admittedly didn’t have a lot of competition) but outside of the blocked wrists I really like this figure.

 

However, I don’t think I’ll be getting too many more of these figures. Space has become an issue and as we’ll see next week there is another alternative.

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