Friday, December 17, 2010

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Modular Armor Iron Man

This is the sleekest, most lightweight armor ever designed by Tony Stark.  Built to meet the parameters of any possible challenge, it is covered in ports that can house any of hundreds of mission-specific modules.  In the space of moments, this armor can swap out a suite of research scanners for a weapons package that would put most battleships to shame.

Another day, another Marvel Universe review (I promise I'll review some other toys soon!)  Today I'm looking at another entry in the new Series 3 range.  Is it a Spider-Man 2099 or a Spider-Woman?  Read on and find out!

Modular Armor Bleeding Edge Iron What?
It's worth just pointing-out that this figure - Modular Armor Iron Man - is the toy formerly known as the Bleeding Edge Iron Man in the preview materials and will be familiar to fans of the comicbook series as the latest incarnation of Iron Man's armour.  For the purposes of the review, however, I'll use Hasbro's  designation.


The now-standard Series 3 packaging is used, as you'd expect.  Olivier Coipel's work isn't something I'm a fan of (and I know I mention it in every review, but like Stan Lee always says, it could be somebody's first time reading, too!) but here it's not as bad as it has been on other cards and he does a pretty good job with Iron Man.

Something I'm not a fan of is the way the figure's hands are forced through the retaining tray within.  Removing my figure from the packaging almost cost him his hand.  A small child (with nominally less restraint than I have) could easily break the toy before he even got to play with it.  I'd expect that with a ''High End Collectable'' but not with a figure clearly pitched as a plaything.

Modular Armor Iron Man
What of the figure itself?

It comes very close to being pretty awesome, but just falls short.  Let me start with the good stuff: the cast is amazing.  I think this is a new sculpt (or at least the majority of the parts are) and it looks fantastic.  The etched-styling of the armour plating and the detail is superb.  The armour looks solid but sleek.  I like that a lot.  Modular ports cover the plates (and are even on his soles) and the attention to detail here is great.

One minor - but very nice - detail is in the hands.  The clenched fist and open palm combo is a standard in the Marvel Universe line, but here it works especially well.  It's possible to convey a lot of dynamism and emotion as you pose the figure and I like that.

So sculpt-wise, it's a definite winner.  At least, it would be, were it not for his Iron Butt.  The hip joints (cut swivel joints that work very well, even if  - on my toy at least - they're a litle loose) are restricted by the groin piece, more specifically, his backside.  It's impossible to actually stand him perfectly straight, as his butt-plate gets in the way and forces him to bend at the waist.  It might not be visible on these photos but it really does prohibit movement do a ridiculous degree.  Granted, most collectors will be displaying him in a dynamic, planted-foot pose, which is fine and you probably won't notice the butt-plate.  But it's annoying to see such a small detail mar what could have been one of the best Iron Man figures so far.

Another minor point is that the casting lines are very prominent on his forearms.  Hasbro has tried to hide them on the underside of each arm and it works to a certain degree.  But if you look closely, you can see them.

The other big problem I have with this figure - and this again could be restricted to my Modular Armor Iron Man - is that his torso joint is remarkably slack.  Raise his arms then give one a flick and the whole upper-body spins around like a helicopter.  It's almost like they'd designed him with a SUPER SPINNING-PUNCH ATTACK feature but then decided not to advertise it.  

And on the subject of torso articulation, this is yet another Series 3 figure with no waist joint.  With the exception of Spider-Woman (which uses the standard female sculpt), every figure I've reviewed (Captain Marvel, Doc Samson and Spider-Man 2099) has lacked waist articulation.  I understand that the production of every piece in the figure costs money and Hasbro are looking at ways to keep costs down.  However, removing the ability to rotate the figure at the hips is not the way forward and given that many other companies (and even lines within Hasbro's own production) manage to retain this feature and remain affordable, I don't see why Hasbro feel the need to do this.

Rant over.

The paint-work is of a very high standard.  The modular ports ''glow'' with a white centre surrounded by a pale-blue effect that's accurately applied across the model.  The red panels genuinely look like bolted-on parts, rather than simply painted areas thanks to the combination of a solid sculpt and well-applied paint.

Put simply, this is a very nice-looking figure that will really stand-out in your collection.

As well as featuring his own branded stand* Modular Armor Iron Man includes a blue snap-on Repulsor blast.

* Like the other Series 3 figures, the stand doesn't fit well into his foot-socket.  Having examined the other releases along with Modular Armor Iron Man, I've come to the conclusion that the stand foot-pegs are fractionally too big, meaning that they don't fit as snuggly into the foot-socket as they need to in order to keep the figure standing.  Hopefully Hasbro will fix this problem with the next wave.

Final Thoughts

I picked-up Modular Armor Iron Man on a whim.  I'd actually put him back on the shelf and then went back a few minutes later.  And I'm glad I did, as - some minor problems aside - it's a superb figure: it looks great, the poseability factor is high and it's a superb piece of design.  However, before you rush-out to buy one, be aware that this figure is not without its flaws.

Firstly, the butt-plate is a, well, pain in the backside.  When he's standing perfectly straight, he leans forward at the waist due to the plate inhibiting his hip movement.  Secondly - and this could be my figure alone, so please feel free to correct me if you know different - his torso joint and, to a lesser degree, hip joints are incredibly slack.

And if I can play armchair toy designer for a moment, I think Hasbro missed-out on an opportunity here to make more of the modular aspect of the figure.  Yes, I know more parts equals more cost, but a Deluxe Edition Modular Armor Iron Man with plug-in modular weapons/scanners/instruments would have been a superb addition to the range.  It's like releasing a Ghost Rider figure without a motorbike...

Overall, though, this is one of the best Iron Men I've seen and it's streets ahead of most of the other Marvel Universe toys.  The chunky-yet-sleek feel of the armour is captured perfectly, the sculpt is superb (barring a few cast lines) and the figure just ''pops.''  If you can look beyond the niggling flaws (restrictive arse-plate, loose joints, no waist articulation) then Modular Armor Iron Man is a figure you need to have in your collection, as - for me -  it's the definite highlight of Series 3 so far.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreA-

Image Gallery


  1. Pretty nice looking figure i like the repulsor blast he comes with.

  2. The repulsor blast looks much nicer in this blue than it does in the usual yellow it comes in.

  3. Blue is a much better color for a blast i think.


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