Welcome to this week's #ThrowbackThursday Review, where this time around we're going to take a look at the first release of the Marvel Universe Ultron figure.
The figure was first released in this form as part of the double-character Secret Wars line in early 2010 (partnered with Piledriver, for those wondering.. because that makes total sense...) and was then re-released a year later as part of the ''regular'' Marvel Universe line-up (with a modified paint app.) It's the first, Secret Wars version we're looking at today.
Ultron is a perfect example of how Hasbro managed to get a lot of mileage from a fairly limited array of parts. That's not a criticism by any means and I'm often impressed with how creative the designers managed to be with such a limited number of recycled pieces.
Collectors of the line may recognize a few parts shared with the excellent Doctor Doom (another figure for another #ThrowbackThursday) but the designers have done a good job capturing Ultron's Ultron-ness here, thanks to the clever - and economical - use of new parts.
The head is particularly cool, being a great representation of Ultron's comicbook look (which is probably being revamped for the upcoming movie...) but I also like the new torso piece and - neatest of all - the independent shoulder plates.
(Like all the Secret Wars and early-then-late period Marvel Universe figures, Ultron did not come with his own display stand, which is why I'm using the Iron Man 2020 base in these images.)
Articulation is very good, with Ultron having what I consider the ''Golden Era'' of Marvel Universe set-ups. Unlike many other figures from the line, he sports both waist and torso articulation, something the company tended to skimp on to save on production costs. The Marvel Universe hip joints could be a little troublesome at times (some felt overly tight or ''springy'') but Ultron's are just fine and whilst he's not as well-articulated as something like a GI Joe figure, it's still a pretty impressive set-up.
Ultron's paint app is, on the whole, very good. There's a dark wash that picks out the ridge detail in his armored body and his face has a pretty subtle red app. The re-issue changed this to green (I'm sure there's a comicbook-related reason for that) but the remainder of the color palette remains identical.
It would be pretty easy to dismiss Ultron as just another Hasbro figure but that would be doing him a disservice.
Granted, if you stick him side-by-side with Doctor Doom it will become apparent very quickly how many pieces the two figures share but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as it simply serves to highlight how, with a few additional pieces and a bit of rejigging, the designers successfully managed to create two different characters with fairly limited resources. And of course, stand him beside your Hawkeye or Iron Man figures and the differences become truly apparent.
What I love about this figure is how much character Hasbro has managed to infuse him with. From his monologuing left hand (ideally suited for holding imaginary planets or the fate of the world) to his demonic face, there's a real sense of the monomaniacal mechanoid to his look. And the fact that he has such a good range of articulation only adds to the fun.
Ultron is an overlooked gem that truly stands out among the regular spandex-clad line-up of Hasbro's Marvel line-up. Fans of his comicbook appearance will, I'm sure, be very pleased with the end results and even if you're not a major fan, he'll still look great on your display shelf.
A little bit of a masterpiece.