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Occasionally when I review something, my opinion of it changes after I've lived with it for awhile. Maybe new issues crop up that hadn't at first, maybe something
about how it looks with other things on the shelf takes it up a notch, or maybe I just learn to overlook the flaws.
In the case of the Museum Replicas 1:1 scale Iron Man Mark III helmet, which I reviewed about a month ago, it was the arrival of some competition - the 1:1 scale Iron Man Mark III bust from Sideshow.
If you thought the $350 you paid for the 1:1 helmet was bad, then you better be sitting down for this one - $700. Youch. This is easily the most costly collectible I've ever reviewed, and you can believe that I have tremendously high expectations.
The bust comes down along the shoulders, and down the front of the chest and back to a point on either side. It also includes a light up feature, that works off either batteries or AC.
The bust is a limited edition, although at 1500 pieces it didn't seem that limited to me. Even at this astronomical price, Sideshow has sold out of him, leaving you fewer options to pick him up. I've included some sponsor choices at the end of the review.
Packaging - **
You'll notice I skipped a package photo. Hey, it's a big box (probably double the size of a Premium Format box) with limited graphics on one side, and limited text as well. It's purpose is to get the bust to you in one piece, and it does that extremely well, using foam inserts to cradle your purchase. It's the hard, solid kind of foam too, so it can serve double duty and protect you from your wife's blows and flying china when she finds out how much you spent.
While there are still some issues, this is so much closer to correct than the previous 1:1 helmet that it's not even funny.
The shape of the head is the most noticeable improvement, but they still don't quite have the rounded nature at the top correct. It's very, very close, and certainly they've done an excellent job with the proportions and layout (all the rivets and cuts are in the right places, and the length of various sections matches up fairly close to the screen version), but there is still something slightly off with the overall shape. Close, but not quite perfect.
From the neck down, the work is surprisingly accurate. Even the slight 'humps' to the shoulders near the neck are present. The sculpting detail on the rivets and screw heads is excellent, and these look far superior to the real screws used by Museum Replicas.
The base is done in a metallic texture, designed to look like wrought iron or hammered steel. The effect works extremely well, and you won't realize until you pick it up that the base is hollow.
In fact, that hollow nature is likely to be an issue for some folks, but more on that in the Design/Quality section.
This is a big bust, standing 24" tall, 19" wide and 13" deep. Unfortunately, that's only about 90% of what I think it should be to be truly life size. This is my biggest issue with the sculpt itself.
I've included a photo with the 1:1 mask at the end of the review to show the difference in size and shape. And of course, if you look close, you can see a smashingly attractive reflection in the polished brass.
Paint - ***
The paint work on mine is generally solid, with a few minor issues here and there. However, for this kind of money, there can be NO issues.
The brassy colored paint used on the face plate is so much more film accurate and so much more attractive than the actual brass used by Museum Replicas on their mask, that it's not even a fair comparison. Can you tell I like this one a whole lot more?
There are a few little smudges on the paint though, and tiny as they might be, in this scale they're visible to the human eye.
The red is close enough in color to me (remember, I'm the seriously color blind dude), but there's a bit more variation in tone than I'd like. It's not glaring, and in fact it might be on purpose, as the variation kind of adds to the look of painted metal. But for me, it doesn't quite work.
The metallic-like base has an excellent paint job that really gets the feel of steel and iron across, and even has the appearance of rust and dirt around the bolts. Again though, there's a smudge here and there that shouldn't be.
Still, the problems are fairly minor, and are really only exacerbated because of the price tag.
I do wish they'd numbered these, like they do the Premium Format statues. Yea, it's a minor quibble...but for this kind of green it seems like a no brainer. I have heard horror stories from other folks though that have had chipping and cracking paint, poor coverage, and lots of problems with this category, so be forewarned.
Light Feature - ****
The coolest feature of this bust is the light up eyes. The design doesn't go low enough to include the chest, so it's only the eyes that get the treatment. Still, they look terrific.
The eyes can be powered with either batteries (included) or with a plug (also included. That's an extremely nice feature which we've seen Sideshow use in some past light up PF's. If you have a handy socket, you'll save on batteries. If you don't, you can still take advantage of the feature.
The switch is on the back of the base, in a very easy to reach location. It's also very sturdy, and should give years of use without failure.
The eyes are extremely bright, and light up evenly. You'll see these eyes even in a fully lit room, but drop a few overhead lights and he really pops.
Design/Quality - ***
I waffled around a bit on this category, and it was a tough call between three and three and a half stars.
I do really like the pose, with the head slightly turned to one side. That means that when he's looking straight at you, his shoulders are turned slightly, which is a much better look than having the entire body squared up.
I also really like the choice of the base, at least in terms of appearance. The rough metal look really works, and blends in perfectly with the theme.
However, I am disappointed by the slight undersized nature of the bust, and by the hollow light weight feel of the lower two thirds. For this price point, we really needed a little more wow factor.
Value - *1/2
After you peeled off those seven bills, you might feel some momentary chest pain. That's normal.
There's no doubt this guy is cool. He's huge (although still a little smaller than I expected), his eyes light up perfectly, and everyone that sees him will ooo and aaah. But $700 is still stretching it.
Whatever you do, don't tell anyone how much it cost. Unless of course you're looking for a) a divorce, b) to further lower your image in the eyes of your in-laws or c) you like getting the same look Uncle Bob gets when he tells people he wears a tin foil hat to keep the government from reading his thoughts.
Things to Watch Out For -
When you're moving him, always remind yourself that he's top heavy before you pick him up. It goes against intuition, since the head is smaller than the shoulders and base, and the base looks to the nekkid eye like iron. But the head is where all the weight is, so picking him up from the shoulders down could result in him tipping awkwardly in your hands.
As I said earlier, I've also heard some pretty awful stories of serious issues with the paint on this guy from some owners. When you receive yours, do yourself a favor and immediately go over it with a fine tooth comb to ensure you're happy with the paint job. There's no excuse for any sort of serious issue with a bust this large and this expensive, and if yours is one of the bad ones, you'll want to send it back asap.
Overall - ***
If this bust were $400 - $500, he would have easily garnered another half star in this category. But at $700, the expectation for perfection is pretty much a given.
It also seems like a bit of a crap shoot with this bust as to whether you're going to get one like this, or one with truly awful paint issues. I know that if I'd opened mine up to find cracked or peeling paint, only the sculpt and light up feature would have saved it from the bupkis basement.Still, even mine has enough minor paint issues to hold it back from a really high overall score at this price point.
If you're a huge Iron Man fan, this kind of bust can be the ultimate centerpiece of your collection. The one I received is nice enough that I'm seriously considering going back and altering my review of the Museum Replicas mask, and not in a good way - that's how much better this one looks. But be forewarned that quality control on these seems to be an issue, and getting one that looks as good as I did might require sacrificing a small animal or two to the God of your choice.
Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Design/Quality - ***
Light Up Feature - ****
Value - *1/2
Overall - ***
Where to Buy
You have a couple of online options:
- Sideshow was the original place to get it, but amazingly, even at $700, they are sold out. You can always get on the wait list, however. HOWEVER, Sideshow has just put out info on a Battle Damaged version of this bust! Pre-orders will start next Thursday, the 25th.
- or you can search ebay for a deal.
Related Links -
I've covered a fair share of Iron Man collectibles:
- most recent was the disappointing Museum Replicas Mark III helmet.
You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.
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