The purpose of the "Many Faces of..." series is actually multi-fold (yes I realize that is not a word). First, it is a review of many of the versions of characters over the years. Second, and somewhat more importantly, it is housecleaning for me. A chance to look over my collection and evaluate why certain figures are within it. Lastly, there is somewhat a catharsis here. Some of these figures are not going to be in my collection after I write this up. I am evaluating why I purchased them, why I kept them, and why I now don't want them or want them. I am re-evaluating my action figures because, well it's time to do it.
With some of these write ups I have switched out the accessories, especially with figures like Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes (The first two in the series). So if you see some accessories on the wrong figure that is why. It is a bad habit of mine, especially with figures that have had very cool accessories but are less than what they could be. Also I am not at all planning to touch on figures I have already reviewed. For those use the quick links section of the review section. In some ways I wish I had done this last year with my first "purge" of action figures. I could have really covered a great deal of ground and been more comprehensive.
Also this series is purposefully made that I can add to it later. So if you ever come back and re-read them and they are additions, that is why.
There is no way I can cover every figure made, these are just pulled from my collection over many years and evaluated. This is in no way intended to be a comprehensive review of every figure of a character ever made but rather an overview of what has entered my collection, why, and why it should or shouldn't stay in the collection.
And of course the obligatory previous reviews that many ignore LOL
Hulkbuster Iron Man
Silver Centurion Iron Man
Proving Grounds (Hologram and Hulkbuster 2)
"Bleeding Edge" Modular Armor Iron Man
Hot Zone, Mark V Stealth, & Racing Armor
Iron Man 2020
Ultimate Iron Man
Gold Mark 1 (Avengers 3-Pack)
Let me apologize for the delays on the Many faces of reviews, my life has gotten incredibly busy and unfortunately this was one of the first features to suffer. Not sure when the next one will be but for now enjoy this one.
OK so just take it in a minute, it's not that much really.
To be fair, there has been an abundance of Iron Man in the past two years especially. That means if you even remotely like him it's highly likely your favorite version has been done in 1:18th scale at this point. Since the Iron Man 2 line there have been literally dozens and dozens of Iron Men on the shelf and in many ways that has hurt the character a bit. While you can argue for many versions of Iron Man the fact is that he is suffering from a vast overexposure. I am a pretty strong Iron Man fan and I have to say he has been overdone. Still I like the guy and I have to say I have nearly all the Iron Man figures I ever could have wanted in 1:18th scale. I've always wanted Iron Man to run around with my GI Joes and Star Wars figures and at this point I have more than enough.
It's hard to say when I first saw Iron Man, I honestly cannot remember a point he wasn't a fixture in my comic reading. Only he, Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man have that distinction, I can pretty well tell you where and when I picked up on almost every character besides those. I just knew them almost as if they had been imprinted on my DNA or something.
I probably have more Iron Man figures than any other character. The reason for that is two fold really. 1. I genuinely like Iron Man and 2. He has so many different looks it's easy to justify buying another for the collection (even though I think I am beyond my limit at this point, especially when you add in the Marvel Legends and other versions I have acquired). In all seriousness though, if I had realized how big this project was going to be I might have put it off for a bit and done another "Many Faces of..." review. Just getting the time to sort out all these Iron Man figs was a chore in itself.
One of my earliest comic memories with Iron Man was his fight against the Growing man, I'm not sure what issue it was but the biggest part of it I remember is the fact he said "Damn you!" when he thought someone (I think Yellowjacket but I am not sure) was dead. The fact that IM used the word "DAMN" like that caught me off guard is the only reason I remember it.
Some of my fav and most memorable covers of the early years of my reading Iron Man are below, just for reference and to reveal my age (LOL).
Yes I was collecting comic books when they were just 25 cents, amazing isn't it?
As we get into the figures you will notice I cobbled some figures into the same picture, this is for the sake of sanity and space. This review is kind of huge as it is.
Iron Man comes across most times as a superhero version of James Bond. He has unlimited resources, gets all the girls (with the exception of his secretary), and has the coolest gadgets. His character was handled badly in the Civil War storyline however. He came across as an opportunistic and over reactionary. In the original script to Civil War, Tony Starkís friends were killed in the explosion caused by the New Warriors. This minor detail would have erased Iron Manís zealousness and would have gave him a completely different motivation for supporting registering super-humans. In fact it would have made Stark somewhat sympathetic and would have really challenged the whole morality issues Civil War was playing with making a much better storyline. Too bad the editorial department had to ruin such a potentially great storyline.
So it's easy to say IM was a favorite of mine, I even had the Mego figure way back when (Note not a picture of my Iron Man as he is long gone, just a pic of Mego Iron Man).
While I'm not going to give a full review, that smile really bugged me about this figure.
Well that an the fact that cloth doesn't give that "Iron" armor look either.
So beyond that, there was the Secret Wars version (note this is mine) which was one of the few figures from that brand that I could incorporate into Star Wars and GI Joe.
My justification for having him in the 1:18th scale universe was that he kind of looked like a guy in a suit of armor which of course would make him bigger than the average Joe. Unlike Cap or Spider-Man, Iron Man could justify being larger than a normal person. Granted the articulation was weak on this one, and I don't want to fully review him, but he is worth mentioning as he looks like he fits in with most of the modern IM line. Also he is fun to have as a historical piece.
Most of Secret Wars can't fit in like he does, and even compared to the MU and IM2 counterparts he is off just a bit, but still a good figure in spite of his lacking articulation.
Nevernimd the fact that you get a nifty shield with some oddball but cool holograms. I have seen him on the cheap several times so I doubt he would be that hard to find.
Being a bit tall he might have been passable for a while but eventually Toy biz took a stab at a proper 1:18th scaled Iron Man, the results, well it was very hit and miss.
While I don't want to say I hate the figure he's not the greatest at the same time. One of his better features is the wrists for his open palm (repulser hand) that is moveable. It just feels natural to put that hand out for Iron Man to attack with.
Of course the SHS line is often scarred with the urban legend that they "break" easily. In actuality the joints are on a ball which comes off quite easy. As a result the "break" is often anything but and is easily repaired. This is usually true of the hips and shoulders and I am convinced Toy Biz went with this type of joint for ease of customization. However, I can't prove that nor is there any evidence to the contrary.
His major flaw is the fact that he is a bit on the skinny side which Iron Man shouldn't be. Also his shoulder pads do restrict his poses as it either locks down the shoulders or gets pushed up in an awkward way.
I can't say I would recommend this figure. There are tons of better Iron Man figures out there and this is easily one of the worst figures of the SHS line. That's not to say he's bad but he's not great at the same time and there are some great IM's to come.
Not saying Hasbro got it right the first time either.
Again the mold isn't terrible, but when I thought Iron Man I was thinking something completely different. I don't think this was the best version of IM to lead off with. While in hindsight this mold is a great side piece at the time I was rather disappointed. Of course Hasbro being who they are they had to get mileage out of the mold and that somewhat creates an epic fail. The silver centurion version of IM was hated by fans mostly because they expected the classic silver and red from the comics rather than a repaint. I have to honestly say of the three it is the weakest of the bunch.
Regular Iron Man: Not a bad rendition but the figure could have been much better. He is a slight attempt at the modern armor, some have labeled him Marvel Alliance IM as he does resemble that look slightly.
Stealth Iron Man: While at this point the stealth repaints are kind of a clichť I still like this one overall. While bulky he is at least a bit different and has plenty of detail in the paint despite being a repaint. This was one of the first Marvel Universe figures I grabbed when it came out and of the early figures is still one of my favorites.
Silver Centurion Iron Man: Simply put this figure suffered from a bad name choice and the fact that the mold was kind of overused by this point. I think Hasbro could have skipped this one and no one would have been upset at all.
So my score on this group is skip Silver Centurion unless you are a IM fanatic, Stealth is the coolest of the bunch and Regular is a good alternate if you feel you need one, but why would you with so many choices?
Classic Iron Man did finally star showing up in MU, while a good figure it could have been better:
The major flaw with this mold, just like the SHS version, is the thinness of the figure. MU for some reason wanted some skinny proportions on some of their figures (Daredevil, Moon Knight, ect) and Iron Man suffered as a result. Thankfully there were very quick replacements.
Classic Iron Man: The colors are way off and to be honest I would have never bought this figure if I didn't want Goliath so bad. He has been repainted but at this point what is the point as we have a much better version to come.
Bronze age Iron Man: At the time he was one of my favorite MU figures just for that classic look. I won't say he is bad now even though we have some so much better, but he has become obsolete.
Of course Hasbro reused the mold again as well as with Iron Man 2020. I think they could have done better and they did with the Iron Man 2 series which will be coming up later.
One of the gems from the Marvel Universe line is the Extremis Armor Iron Man. This one does seem to get looked over a bit since itís yet another Iron Man figure while there is a whole line devoted to him. One thing that makes this armor stick out is the head articulation in which Iron Man can look up when flying. No other Iron Man 1:18th figure had this feature so its kind of cool. Now it's almost expected though so again this figure does get kind of ignored. Plus overall the figure is a good representation of Iron Manís Extremis armor.
Then came Iron Man 2 and a series of figures that borders on overkill.
When Iron Man 2 hit many were upset that instead of the Marvel Legends scale the movie would be supporting the smaller 1:18th Scale. Of course I was happy since I could get some movie accurate Iron Man figures in the scale. However I wasnít ready for the crack-laced gems I was about to receive.
The line has missile launchers and a set of cards that can be laid over each other to make the armor of the figure in the package. Both kind of bore me so I am just mentioning them. My focus is figures.
I will say up front that I think the greatest strength of this line is also it's greatest weakness, so many versions of Iron Man. There are tons of great ones and there are tons of bad ones. However I think what Hasbro has done now is push Iron Man to the point of burn out. It's very hard to justify picking up another version of Iron Man (like the unmasked version that had a repaint Multiple Man head in Marvel Universe, that figure peg warmed everywhere I saw it). When I see Iron Man in a mult-pack I honestly an hesitant to pick up the pack (The current Avengers exclusive packs, The New Avengers Team pack with Red Hulk, ect). I think Iron Man needs a long break. He is one of the figures I notice the most in the current Avengers Movie Line on the shelf and it just seems like he has been overdone to the extreme point. With Iron Man 3 on the horizon you have to wonder what, if anything, could be left to produce and what will be on the shelves to support that movie and if you would even want to add it to the collection (Maybe Thorbuster, House of M, and Modular? That's all I can think to add).
Many had complaints about the different type of hip joint which is more in line with the Marvel Legends figures. Personally I liked it as it was more solid and sturdy while not sacrificing range of motion and also allowed for some interesting details with the figures.
But the lack of a supporting cast/villains I do believe hurt this line in the long run. Personally I would have spread this line out for a while and added more characters (after all Hasbro did extend the IM line out to be with Thor and Cap, rather than give us all straight repaints they could have been producing new product that probably would have ended up making them even more money).
Mark 1 is really awesome with tons of detail and looks like it was taken right off the first film. I have been told it is actually more detailed and accurate than the six inch scale (NOTE: I never paid attention to the six-inch scale version so I have no idea). The articulation is a bit less than most of the Iron Man 2 line. Of course with the nature of this armor that makes perfect sense, in fact that is a plus rather than a knock. The figure in the movie could barely move due to the bulk so a super duper articulated Mark I would be silly. He has just the right amount of articulation to ensure it won't count against him.
Mark II is a work of art. While the rivets are painted on, they still look fantastic. The silver of the prototype is really stunning and eye catching though. The mold is really solid and fits the figure great (it should be noted the mold is reused for the Mark III, which is perfectly acceptable since in the movie there is no difference in the armors besides color as far a looks go).
Mark III is as good as Mark II, only now with color. It included an odd piece of soft plastic which is easily tossed away. In fact it looks kind of stupid. Other than that it is a pretty cool version form the first Iron Man movie.
Mark IV is easily the most disappointing of the entire movie line. I bought it originally cause it had some more detailing than most of the others in the movie line. However I figured out really fast that the figure had a ton of weaknesses. First the chest joint is VERY loose. In fact I think this is a design flaw cause I have read reports of this all over the internet. Also the legs were bent in the package, this appears to be something to do in the packing process but I am not sure. I do know I havenít seen any in the packages that donít have a leg problem. Sadly this mold got reused a few times and each time it was a heavy disappointment. Lastly there is the issue with the torso being loose, and this is most likely a mold issue as it is the same with every repaint that uses the Mark IV Torso. The torso joint is so loose it wobbles like a bobble head. Personally I would have liked it so much better if they had gone the cheap route and repainted the Mark III with some more detailing. Most of the time the differences in the Mark IV and III are negligible (Unless your are anal about it or something). Better a repaint that a crappy mold IMO.
Mark V is good enough, but could have been so much better. While some have complained about the rocket launcher suitcase I found it so silly that I loved it. It became one of my favorite spring loaded accessories (which ain't saying much as I hate those things) just for the hilarity alone. Weak points here are the articulation especially the shoulders. He has tons of trouble holding up his arms and it does create a level of disappointment. There was a fix in the Armored Avenger line but seriously by that point I think I was burned out on Iron Man.
Mark VI Is another great figure which is fairly movie accurate. The major difference is the paint job (which was fixed later) but the mold is a great one and fits the look perfectly. The one gripe I have is the head and how it always seems to look down no matter what you do to it.
Hall of Armor Mark VI: Is probably the best of the bunch. The details on the mold are sharp and are really brought out by the movie accurate paint job. This paint job was released a few times later and worked in many ways but it also created a case of peg warming as he ended up being one of the most produced versions of Iron Man from the movie. He still has the looking down problem but overall he works. One other reason to buy the Mark IV is the hand off Mark IV can be used with Mark VI to create a double open palm effect (above) or a double close fist effect if so desired. The hands on Mark IV are opposite to Mark III and VI and the paint matches up pretty good. Not sure if this idea was on purpose or not, but it does create some versatility in the Movie Iron Man figures.
For whatever reason, Hasbro thought it would be a great idea to put more Iron Man figures into the mix with a Concept Series. I have mixed feelings on this because I must admit some of my favorite variations come from the Concept group as well as some of my least favorite.
Inferno Mission Armor: Well the mold is kind of weird I admit but it's not terrible in these colors. I do think it gets much worse later (see below) and I wonder what is the deal with an instant repaint like that. The figure does have a bunch of potential though and despite it's odd shape is convincing as a variation of Iron Man. I do think Silver is the color that works for this mold (but not much) and it looks better in these colors overall.
Deep Dive Armor: This was a pleasant surprise when released and one of the first Iron Man figures to break the pattern of Red, silver, and/or Gold and does so in a convincing way. Of course the suit is intended for deep sea missions and it looks the part. It's bulky and looks as if it could take tons of pressure. It could be better but overall I am very satisfied with the result.
Hypervelocity: Probably one of my favorites from the Concept series of the figures. It looks practical and realistic but also kind of fun. The small hands are a bit of a throw off but he is also a bit bigger than most of the figures in the line so it kind of balances out. The colors are great, just off from regular Iron Man but still very similar of the old school red and gold. He works and he rocks, what more can I say.
Power Assault Armor: Whew, what can I say here. The colors do bring out the details in this figure but somehow I just don't like the gold on this mold. As I said I think this mold is the weakest of the IM line but this palette just makes it so much worse to me. The potential I see with Inferno Mission is completely gone with this one and to be honest without the Silver/red repaint I probably wouldn't have appreciated this figure at all.
Of course the line moved on:
The second wave brought us these guys. Admittedly they don't exactly stick out, but one of them is supposed to be a stealth version as well.
Fusion Armor: Not sure why they chose the name because it looks like a straight up repaint of Mark III. That works for me on many levels though, especially with a figure that looks like it should be a stealth figure. One of the big things I like about the figure is the very almost unnoticeable change of colors in the details. The camera does have trouble picking up the differences but they are there and makes this figure wonderfully different while still being similar.
"Ultimate" Iron Man: In my opinion this was the worst thing they could have named this figure. People thought the figure really meant that Ultimate Iron Man was around the corner, well he was-in the very hard to find Wave 4, but at the time I can remember the disappointment in him. Worse yet he uses that crappy mark IV mold so any coolness of him is kind of sucked away. I kind of like the paint overall, but beyond that he is kind of a mess. He (like Mark IV) is very hard to get to stand up as well, so if you take pictures you will understand that the figure is hard to stabilize.
The best of the best were in Wave 4 (of course) which had some interesting repaints along with some interesting figures.
There were also some very interesting exclusives in relation to the concept series.
Vibranium Armor: Is probably my favorite from the Movie line just because it was so unexpected. The 6 inch version is one of my favorite figures in that scale as well. Overall it's just a neat rendition of a figure I thought I would never get my hands on. Of course he comes with Cap shield which is a must for such a figure. While a simple repaint of the Mark VI he is very, very effective. I know some people actually use this one for their version of Iron Patriot, but I prefer to think of him as being from this comic:
Of course he wasn't alone, he came in a 3-pack with a War machine and this armor
Bio-Metal Armor: This one is a bit odd for the concept series. Essentially he is a repaint but this time with translucent parts, so I wonder if that is why they called him "concept." This one doesn't have the suitcase like the other two versions of this figure, but he does have the swappable hand. Honestly, I find that odd. The translucent parts are a very dark (almost blood) red, maybe that is something about the "Bio" part. Still the novelty of the figure outweighs the questions and he becomes very worth having.
Then came my personal favorite of the Iron Man 2 line, The comic series:
Original Iron Man: This is one of my faves of the comic line. It's the simple design of Iron Man's first appearance and while it isn't as detailed as the Mark 1, it's a great rendition of the first appearance. The slight rusty wash is the icing on the cake for this figure, it's just awesome. What's funny is this one has near super articulation but unlike the Mark 1 it doesn't look to hurt the figure.
Classic Iron Man: Finally a great rendition of the signature Iron Man suit. It simply rocked on almost every level. Plenty bulky but also streamlined enough to be realistic. Unlike the Marvel Universe version this Iron Man isn't scrawny and the articulation is pretty solid.
Stealth Armor: This was one that kind of shocked me, I mean we had two stealth armors already, right? Also this specific stealth armor I think only made one comic appearance:
Still I have to admit it's kind of cool overall. It's a nice color and fits the description.
Then there was the pointy mask version:
Classic Iron Man 2: Like the Marvel Universe version this was a no brainer. Not my favorite look for Iron Man, I never really got the winged mask and from my research Iron Man didn't wear it very long. Still it's one of those historical pieces that seems to need a place in the collection and it's a pretty good piece.
Next up are even more variations, getting a bit repetitive yet?
Red and Gold Alternate Armor: Yeah that was the best I could find as a name for this one. I think it says a lot, what do you do when you run out of names? Anyway this is one of my least favorite of the Iron Man armors. This is the armor Stark wore right after the Silver Centurion version which in my opinion was much, much better. Still it's a fair representation of the armor but again my least favorite Iron Man armor to date.
Advanced Armor: Looks a lot more like the Extremis armor than the Marvel Universe version, but a good one still. Also includes the flip up head which just adds to the figure overall. The hips are a bit different but actually work a lot better than the standard Iron Man hips.
Artic Armor: This is an odd one as I'm not sure this one actually made it to a comic appearance. Even still it is mostly a repaint of the Advanced Armor with a different torso and opposite hands. Seeing those hands makes me wish they had included the alternate hands in the right colors for each one. Would have made sense since they were obviously made. But being different colors they can't be switched out.
While the comic line filled a ton of voids the line had a ton of things that made one scratch their head. Not the least of the head scratchers is the Iron Man race car.
So yeah there was a race car in the movie, but it was blue. Supposedly, Stark was supposed to drive one like this but it was changed at the last minute. I kind of doubt it though as a change like that at the last minute would have held up production of the film and supposedly it was rushed as it was. Supposedly too, you are supposed to be able to see the original car in the background, but truth is there are several red cars in the race sequence so
There is a novelty to this one just because of the Iron Man 2 movie and it's one of the few vehicles that kind of fir the line in my opinion. The other vehicles were ok but didn't match up with Iron Man. They just kind of felt placed there.
This marks the first time I am aware that we started getting those very un-articulated vehicle drivers. I can't even bring myself to give this figure a star, yes the last time I did that was with Bane and it was the first time I did it. But like Bane, this figure just lacks the cool details of the moveable ones. I think that is what kills it. Although I admit it's funny because you would think Hasbro would try to add some detail to make up for it, in all this is an ULTRA cheap figure. Notice too the figure is much skinnier than the rest, I got the race car kind of hoping to put regular figures in it. However the race car BARELY fits the figure it came with, most of the other Iron Man figures can't squeeze down into the seat, or they simply cannot squeeze into the cockpit as it comes down. Major disappointment for me.
I do look at this now in hindsight and wonder if this guy might have been a test of sorts. The vehicles sold well and I can mostly see why and I sometimes think Hasbro's thought after this and cap was "Hey, we can get away with it." I mean it seems every line has non-articulated drivers now right?
Race car=cool, but this figure would be in the garbage if he wasn't the only thing I could fit into the race car.
Moving on, because of course Iron Man can't be done, we have ARMORED AVENGER LINE!!!
OK so I figure Armored Avenger was an attempt to keep Iron Man on the shelves while Cap and Thor movie lines were out, however I think it was also overkill as Iron Man REALLY was suffering burn out. I didn't break my neck trying to find any of these, in fact I never saw them at retail at all. The few I got were online, and while I kind of dig some of the repaints overall the line seems like a stab at getting what is already there and thus pointless.
As I said earlier, Hypervelocity armor is probably one of my favorite molds of the concept series. To be totally honest I do like the purple and black used here for this repaint. I didn't expect some translucent parts in the black but I do like that added touch, even though in some lighting it makes him look kind of gray instead of black.
I really don't like the way the arc reactor is painted on him though, and that has to be my biggest knock to the figure. It's not terrible but does lose a bit of the detailing the Hypervelocity armor had.
Inferno Armor: This is one of those figures that I can see sounding great on paper, but when you make it you suddenly realize he looks like a giant Jolly Rancher. I won't say that makes him bad, but it does weaken him a bit. The red very quickly loses it's sheen to fade to a peach color in most light. I really liked it initially but I think it wore on me fast.
So, that's where I'm stopping. Really what other Iron Man ground is there to cover, well plenty. But with this group I feel everything I could want is pretty well covered (maybe an unmasked with RDJ head like the 6 inch but that might be all).
If you made it this far, congrats, as hard as this one might have been to read it was a bit harder to put together. I don't think I ever understood the gravity of this review until I started with it and by then it was too late.
What's next, good question, I am thinking of hitting up some GI Joes like maybe Beachead, Roadblock or even Destro or maybe even revisit the Star Wars universe with something like Luke Skywalker or Lando, what do you think? Twitter me (link below) if you have an opinion.