Tuesday, March 15, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Iron Man Mk III - Horned Mask Version

Iron Man Mk III - Horned Mask Version | Produced by Hasbro | Released 2009/2010

With both the Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger movies building toward their Summer release and the Original Avengers team pack being on the horizon, so we continue our celebration of All Things Avengers. 

We've already looked at Hasbro's previous Thor releases and Iron Man's First Appearance Armor was the subject of yesterday's Review. But we're going to stick with the Armoured Avenger for the rest of the week, and take this opportunity to look at some of Iron Man's other incarnations.

Today is the turn of the Mark III Original Red and Gold Armor, AKA ''the Horned Mask Armor.''

The Horned Mask?
Issue #48 of Tales of Suspense saw the introduction of a new-look for Iron Man when super-villain Mr Doll created a mimetic magic replica of the Golden Avenger that granted him the ability to control iron-clad hero. Tony Stark was forced to come-up with a way to overcome his evil grasp and his solution was to create a new, very different-looking suit of armour, thus breaking Mr Doll's spell. 

This armour - the Mk III Armor - is also known as the ''Horned Mask Armor'' (due to the faceplate design.) This is to differentiate it from the later, more familiar Iron Man mask, which was introduced in Tales of Suspense #54 and remained pretty much a constant for the next decade or so.

Iron Man Mk III - Horned Mask Version
The Mk III Horned Mask Armor was originally released as part of the Walmart-exclusive Giant Battles set, with this Iron Man appearing alongside a 12''-tall Giant Man. The figure was later released as part of the Iron Man 2 Comic Series line.

Despite being based upon the standard Mk III Iron Man figure (which we'll be looking at soon) there are a few differences in this model.

The most striking difference - as the name suggests - is the mask. Unlike the later, rounded masks that seem a solid part of the helmet, the Horned Mask is much more like a faceplate or visor. This was indeed the case in the comics and it's good to see the sculpt capturing this. The mouth is also more pronouncedly ''slot-like'' with a ''teeth''-like grille adding some great detail to the face. Hasbro's sculptors did a great job capturing the mask's unique look.

The other major difference comes in the figure's hands. Unlike most Iron Man toys, where the figures usually have one gripping hand and a Replusor-firing, open hand, the Horned Mask Armor features both hands in Repulsor-blast mode. This can make posing him a little difficult, as there's only so much emotion or movement that can be conveyed with these hands. Most attempts to do anything but have him caught mid-blast appear silly. I also like to display ''older'' armours in a Hall of Armor-style arrangement, rather than appearing occupied, and that's not really possible with these hands.

The rest of the sculpt is acceptable, although this is based on one of the earliest Marvel Universe releases so there's not a massive amount of detail on the ''common'' parts like legs and arms. The articulation is also a little limited (again, due to its age) and there's no waist joint. The rest of the articulation moves just fine though.

Paint is nicely applied, but the gold of his armour is more a light yellow. Everything is neatly done and there's a slight metallic sheen to the red pieces, which I like. It's just too bad the gold isn't right.

The Giant Battles Iron Man Mk III does not include any extra pieces. 

Although this is unconfirmed, I would speculate that the Iron Man 2 Mk III Horned Mask Armor would include the Armor Cell Cards, a stand and possibly some form of energy-blast accessory.

Final Thoughts
As a plaything, the Mk III Horned Mask Iron Man is an also-ran. There's nothing much wrong with it, but it's not really too exciting either. Everything moves as it should, he's durable and the production quality is fine. He's better as a display piece, though and makes a great addition to your Evolution of Iron Man display (because I know every collector with multiple Iron Men displays them like that.) The mask is particularly well-sculpted and captures the look of the character perfectly.

Despite that though, he's really one for the variant hunters, as - mask and hands aside - this is identical to the regular Mk III Iron Man and if you've got him in your collection already, there's no real need to have this figure unless you're a big Iron Man fan or obsessive completist.

Production QualityB
Final ScoreC+

Image Gallery


  1. I did a video comparison of the Marvel Universe and Iron man 2 Iron Men.

    I like the Iron Man 2 one better. He's beefier.

  2. I'd be interested in seeing that, as I've just Reviewed the MU Classic Red and Gold (regular mask) version and it would make a nice addition to the piece if I could link to it.


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