Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I need armor... armor for Busting Hulks!!!

Cheapo Toy Review: Hulkbuster Iron Man

Why is this listed as a Cheapo Toy Review? Well... when you can get a beefy, highly detailed, well-articulated 1:18 scale action figure for about 7 bucks I consider that to be a good deal. I mean, look at the crap Mattel has been putting out in that scale. And the Bandai 1:18 product costs almost as much and has the articulation of a rock. So I definitely would consider Hulkbuster Iron Man to be well worth the 7 bucks he costs.

So... what's this all about? In the comics Iron Man has always had the burden of cleaning up after the Hulk when he went on a rampage. Hulk is an Avenger from way back, but he's not always the most stable guy. When he freaks out cities crumble to the ground. Tony Stark is a bit of a worrier about the image of an organization he's invested so much in, so he often tries to contain the Hulk situation before it gets out of hand. To deal with the immense power of the Hulk, Stark built a massive, heavily armored Iron Man suit that was designed to both protect him from the Hulk's might and give him the strength to neutralize the Hulk before things got weird. More often than not, the Hulk hands Iron Man his armored butt on a platter despite the millions he pours into fancy suit designs. Still, you gotta love a guy who tries and tries again. I think I can.. I think I can...

When Hasbro started with the Iron Man 2 line they pulled the same stunt they did with the Wolverine line-- two lines within one line. One is based on the movie designs, and one is based on the comic book designs. I like the design of the Iron Man movies, but the comic book line lets them go crazy nuts with stuff like this Hulkbuster suit.

So... what do I think about the figure itself? Read on:

Sculpt: The figure has a beautiful sculpt with lots of intricate details. The sculpt is open enough that it allows for good movement of the joints. The hands are wonderfully done with lots of sculpted joints and the repulsors in the palms. He has a bunch of these cams that jut out from the arms and back that really give the figure a unique look. You get the idea that every part of this suit is built to produce mounds of power. The only problem I have with the sculpt is the fact that they used hard plastic on the shoulder pads... those things needed to be soft vinyl and they needed to fit closer to the body. I think that might be one of the modifications I make to this guy.

Paint: The paint is actually really nice. There are only a few slight sloppy areas, but that's pretty normal with toys made in a sweatshop. They even went the extra mile and painted the chest light a brighter yellow than the gold bits on the rest of the figure. It's not anything really amazing, but the little things matter to me.

Articulation: This dude has really good articulation in every area except for one... those darn hips. Hasbro continues to hack me off with those diagonally mounted hip joints. Instead of mounting the ball joints at a ninety degree angle with the center line of the body, which would allow for a fantastic range of leg movement and an ability to pose the legs easier, Hasbro continues to make figures with ball joint posts mounted at a 45 degree angle into the center line. This makes you have to swing the leg to the side, roll the ball joint around, try to find the sweet spot, and then angle the leg forward. With a 90 degree mount you could just swing the leg forward. Hasbro... why do you keep doing this to your toy lines???

The shoulders and elbows are nicely done and have a great range of movement... despite the thickness of the figure, you can pose this guy all kinds of ways. Those forearm guards look like they'd be a colossal pain in the butt, but they're soft vinyl so they bend out of the way when you move the arm. The knees are double pin joints, so you can put a really good bend in them for nice stances. The figure has a ball jointed waist, which is the only joint to really be hindered by the bulk of the figure, but it's not really that bad. He can twist to the side to draw back for a punch, so I'm happy.

Accessories: His only accessory is a stand that isn't really necessary because this sucker has such large feet and well-articulated ankles that he stands perfectly on his own. He comes with some armor cards as well. Bleh.

Scale: The figure stands about 4.5 inches tall. That puts him in line with the Marvel Universe Hulk. Meh. I don't really like that Hulk, so that doesn't really matter to me. I like having my Hulkbuster facing off against a big, BIG Hulk, so I use my favorite small-scale Hulk, the Hasbro movie version from a couple of years ago. He's about 6 inches tall, so he towers over the Hulkbuster figure. The Hulkbuster is well-scaled with other Marvel 1:18 scale figures.

Quality: Now, this is the only area where I have a really big problem. When I opened the package I noticed a distinctive rattle when I moved the figure. He has a loose piece of plastic rattling around inside his lower torso, I believe. This doesn't really hinder any movement or detract for the great sculpt... but it drives me nuts.

Another issue is the looseness of the hips. At the point where the hip joint connects with the crotch, this sucker is looser than a theater major. You can hold it by the upper body and move it side to side and watch the legs flail about like wind chimes. It really sucks, because it makes keeping a pose a real challenge. I haven't seen anyone online mention this defect on their figures, so it's probably just a random factory fluke (it might explain that rattling I keep hearing inside the figure, too).

Overall, I'm VERY impressed with this figure. He's bulky, well-articulated, and looks fantastic with any of your 1:18 scale figures. He's pretty darn hard to find right now, so grab him if you see him. He's well worth the price!

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