Iron Man First Appearance Armor | Produced by Hasbro | Released March 2010
The highly-anticipated Marvel Universe Original Avengers team pack is just months away. To celebrate this upcoming release, That Figures is running a series of Reviews of each figure in their previously released incarnations. We've already done the double-whammy of the Secret Wars Thor and his modern counterpart and today is the turn of Tony Stark's alter-ego, Iron Man - specifically his First Appearance armour.
A Brief History of Iron Man
Iron Man's origins - like most of the Marvel stable - has been revised over time but the core elements remain: injured in a weapon's blast and captured by an evil group of terrorists/communists/comicbook bogeymen, arms manufacturer Anthony Stark is forced to develop a super weapon for these evildoers. Using his scientific knowledge he develops a special chest piece to save his injured heart and - from there - builds a suit of powered armour to help him escape their clutches.
After his escape, Stark dedicates his new-found weapon to protecting the innocent as Iron Man, all the while hiding the secret that the chest piece he wears cannot be removed, for its lifesaving power is all that keeps him alive.
Most people familiar with Iron Man were more used to the classic red and gold look (as seen above and the focus of an upcoming Review), as seen in countless comics, cartoons and action figures. However, before that, Tony Stark had a number of very different armours and it's his First Appearance Iron Man armour we're looking at today.
First Appearance Armour
The First Appearance Armour is based upon the suit Stark first wore as Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39, constructed whilst being held prisoner by ''the Reds.'' The suit lacks the sleek, modern look of later armours but is still a great iconic design (by Jack Kirby, so what else would it be?)
The First Appearance Iron Man sculpt is superb. This is a solid, chunky figure that feels weighty when played with and has a wonderfully robust feel about it. As you can see from these images, it's well-balanced and perfectly capable of remaining upright without a stand (even if one is included in the pack.)
One thing I never got about the early Iron Man armours is that they're not actually made from metal plates but are in fact a special ''iron'' cloth Stark developed. Obviously this was done to allow the writers (well, Stan Lee predominantly) to have Stark's armour be portable (he carries it in a briefcase most times) and to wear his chest piece under his shirt. I just always thought that was odd, given how plate-like the armour looks when it's worn...
Anyway, the sculpt does an excellent job of capturing the original's look. It's a little clunky, very bulky and has a great retro look to it. It really does look cobbled-together (it was only later Stark modified the suit's look to be sleeker and ''less threatening.'') and this is a real strength of the figure. But not the only one...
Articulation is surprisingly good for a figure of this size and bulk. His legs use ball-joints and - although Iron Man was never the most agile of characters in this suit - it's possible to pose him in some pretty dynamic stances. The head is a little restricted (being able to turn left and right only) and the torso pieces are very tightly-set, meaning that there's very little movement there (although even these few degrees of movement make a difference to the poses.) Joints are initially a little stiff (at least they were on my figure) but there's nothing to worry about once you get them moving.
The figure's other real strength is the paintwork. The First Appearance Iron Man looks superb, thanks to the scrubs, washes and dry-brush effects that have been applied to the suit. There's a real sense of it being thrown-together from scrap and then bashed-up that works exceptionally well with the sculpted dents and kinks that cover the figure. Every time you look, you see a new detail.
Put simply, he looks great.
Like all Iron Man 2 figures, the First Appearance Iron Man includes a (generic) stand, armour cell cards and an energy blast that fits over his hand.
First Appearance Iron Man is, without a doubt, one of the best figures from the Iron Man 2 line. He looks great, he's chunky, he's detailed and he's just a lot of fun to look at, play with and own.
The Original Avengers pack features Stark in the Golden Avenger armour, a suit modified from this original. If the new figure is anything like this one - and, a few tweaks aside, there's no reason it shouldn't be - then it'll be a definite winner, because First Appearance Iron Man is awesome.