12" Repulsor Iron Man

Since I just reviewed two of the 6" movie figures on Tuesday night, I've already done the basic Tony Stark/Iron Man spiel. To sum it up - new movie, looks good, Iron Man is cool, looking forward to it.

As to Hasbro's toy line, there was one figure I was anticipating more than the 6" series - the 12" version.  I've never been a big fan of the Marvel Legends Icons 12" Iron Man from a couple years ago, because he was SO skinny.  Sure, this line has been a tad small too, considering that there's supposed to be an average sized guy under all that armor.  But the old ML Icon version was skinny for a character NOT wearing armor, let alone packing it on.

So when I heard they were doing a 12" version for the movie, I was stoked.  A great figure to replace the old Icon on the shelf with the other Icons, right?  Well, yes and no.

This guy is showing up at most retailers right now, including Target and Toys R Us.  He's the Repulsor Iron Man, with nifty sounds and light up features, and runs about $20 - $25.

Packaging - ***
He comes in the usual box, but it has the attractive movie colors as well as a couple holes to allow you to work the lights and sounds.  There's also some very useful instructions included, as well as one of those cool little booklets that outlines the entire release of toys.

And while he's not completely collector friendly, he can be removed with no damage, and put back even sans twisties if you'd like.  The interior plastic tray will hold him in place on it's own, at least as long as you don't drop kick him.

They also included small pieces of soft plastic to cover the legs and arms where the twisties wrap around.  That's very much appreciated, since it protects the glossy paint job.

Sculpting - **1/2
While this version is very movie accurate (to the Mark 03 costume of course) at first glance, there are some subtle issues that bugged me more the longer I looked at him.

First, his waist and torso are off.  While the movie version doesn't have the skinny wasit of say, the Icons figure, he does have more waist than what this guy has.  It's not a straight line from shoulder to waist, but it's still less of a V than in the film.  This was probably necessitated by the internal electronics, including the batteries, but that doesn't mean it looks as good.

I'm also not loving the hands.  They are very tiny, with very tiny fingers, and the appearance is exaggerated by the large hunk of armor that rests on the back of his hand.  Combine the small size with the forced 'repulsor blast' pose of both hands, and there is almost no pose you can get that makes this guy look great.

Finally, the sculpt and limited articulation don't work well together at all.  Because of the bells and whistles, the sculpted pose is pretty much what you'll be getting, and it's not a particularly well thought out design.  This guy looks best in the box.

On the plus side, I do like that the arms and legs aren't as skinny as the Icons version, looking more like a guy in an actual suit.  If it also didn't look like he can't actually move in the suit, I'd be a lot happier.

Paint - ***1/2
While the sculpt is a bit of a disappointment, I do like the paint job.  Again, not every piece is painted, but that's no surprise since Hasbro likes to cast the plastic in an appropriate color.  Still, everything here has a nice bright metallic sheen, and all the cuts are clean and neat.

Articulation - *1/2
If you were hoping for Icons level articulation, you're going to be disappointed.

He has a ball jointed neck, but the movement is somewhat limited.  It's better than nothing, but the 6" version has the better neck joint.

He also only has cut shoulders, and these only rotate part of the way around his torso because of the light and sound features.  The elbows are pin joints, but there is no wrist articulation.

There's no waist or chest joints either, again due to the action features.  The legs have a T hip joint and pin knees, but that's about it.  The hips only move forward (well) and backward (just barely), with no appreciable inward or outward movement.

This level of articulation means your options for posing him are very limited. In fact, the more I played around with him, trying to shoot photos, the less I liked him. This is one of those figures that looks pretty good in the package, but once he's free he's a real disappointment.

Accessories - **
Iron Man comes with three projectiles for the blaster in his right hand.  These 'energy bolts' look good and fly pretty well, but that's pretty skimpy for this category.

Action Feature - ***1/2
While the figure takes a hit in the sculpt and articulation categories, it's the action features category that helps make up for it - somewhat.

The figure takes 3 AAA batteries, which are included and fairly easy to swap.  There's a small switch on his back that can be Off, in test mode (for on the shelf at the store), or full On for regular play.

Press the white button on his chest, and it lights up and he says various lines, including "I am Iron Man", "repulsor blasts", "target engaged", and "auxiliary power".  This will also light up the palm of his left hand, depending on the line.

Moving his left arm will also activate the light on his palm, as well as firing sounds.

Place one of the three projectiles in his right palm, press the button on the outside of that forearm, and the projectile will fire and the palm of his left hand will again light up and make blasting sounds.

Finally, his left heel is actually a button.  Push it inward (which is going to happen ever time you set him down), and he starts making wooshing flying sounds.  Move him around while he's making these sounds, and additional take off and landing sounds will be heard.  This is the motion activated part of the feature, and it works pretty well.  Kids will enjoy swinging him around, although if he could actually take a decent flying pose (other than holding his hands over his head), it would be a lot better feature.

If the figure doesn't move for 15 seconds or so, the flying sounds shut off.  Of course, since the damn button is his heel, the sounds will get constantly activated if you have the switch in the On position.  That got pretty annoying pretty fast, and I had to leave the sounds/lights off most of the time when I was working with him.

Fun Factor - ***
The action features are not bad, not bad at all - but the articulation and weird placement of the heel button makes the figure far less fun than it could have been.  The flying sounds will end up saving this for most kids, making it cool to whip him around the room.

Value - ***
Although he's a bit more expensive than the Toybiz ML Icons, the extra electronic gadgetry tends to drive price from several angles.  The parts tend to be more expensive than basic action figure pieces, and they require more care and accuracy in the assembly process.  Getting all those lights and sounds for just $20 is a pretty good value.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Nothing.  The figure is sturdy, and well designed for hard play.  I wouldn't slam him against anything, if you want the lights and sounds to continue working, but the armored body appears built to take normal play activities.

Overall - **1/2
If you're like me, looking for a display figure to go with the Icons line, you will find yourself disappointed.  I was really hoping for a better looking figure on the shelf, and while the action features are cool, the figure looks fairly weak when he's just hanging out.  I had one hell of a time finding any good poses for photos, even poses where he was standing in a normal stance.  He's just not designed for posability.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - **1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories -  **
Action Feature - ***1/2
Value - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Overall - **1/2

Where to Buy -
These are hitting mass market stores now, but you can check these online sponsors as well:

- Urban Collector has the 6" by the case, based on assortment number.  If you're looking for full sets and short packs, this is the best way to go.  Just search for 'iron man'.  I couldn't find the 12" Repulsor, but you may have better luck.

- Entertainment Earth has tons of Iron Man goodies, including some of the Hasbro items.

- YouBuyNow has the 12" figure for $31, as well as the single 6" figures for $16 each.

- CornerStoreComics has the 6" figures by the case, including a case that only has three duplicates!  I couldn't find the Repulsor however.

- for the UK readers, Forbidden Planet is selling the 6" singles for 9 - 10 GBP each.

- or you can search ebay with MyAuctionLinks.

- and if you're a real Iron Man fan, you can pick up the life sized bust for $630 from Sideshow or Alter Ego Comics, or the more reasonably priced mini-helmet.

- Related Links -
Past Iron Man reviews include:

- obviously I just reviewed the movie Mark 02 and Iron Monger.

- Marvel Legends has had it's share of Iron Man version, including the Silver Centurion in series 7, vs. Mandarin in the Face Offs, the classic version in series 1 (Toybiz), and the series 1 (Hasbro) Ultimate Iron Man.

- in the Marvel Select line, there's the Ultimate Iron Man.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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