When Hasbro started their 3.75 inch Marvel Universe line, it seemed like the end of 6 inch Marvel action figures. But while the
Marvel Universe line has supplanted Marvel Legends as the default for Marvel action figures, the Marvel Legends line just won't stay
dead. (Or at least Hasbro isn't willing to give up the disposable Dollars of the line's fans.) So it is no surprise that they decided
to take advantage of the release of Iron Man 3 this year to release a series of Iron Man centric Marvel Legends figures. The first
half of the series was released months ago and included Norman Osborn in his Iron Patriot armor, Iron Man in his classic armor and a
Heroic Age version of Iron Man. The second half of the series is now slowly finding its way to stores with versions of Iron Man and War Machine from
the Iron Man 3 movie, Ultron and the final parts to complete the Build A Figure: Iron Monger. The inclusion of Osborn's Iron Patriot and
Ultron Throw off the Iron Man theme in favor of a theme of Iron Man repaints, but if the final figure looks good, I don't really care if it is
Packaging - 6/10The Iron Monger Series has a new packaging design that helps set it apart from the other Marvel Legends lines that have been shipping at the same time. It is only mildly successful at that. I often find them mixed in with Epic Heroes Series figures or other Iron Man 3 toys. The reuse of the Iron Man image for all of the card headers is also a bit of a disappointment after the recent Marvel Legends design started using individual character art. That makes searching for a particular figure on a peg full of figures far easier. The back of each card has a photo of the figures next to an illustration of the character. That is a nice touch. It also shows a small photo of the completed Iron Monger figure as well as photos of all of the other figures in the series. Or at least there are photos of all of the figures on the cards for Ultron and the Iron Man 3 based Mark 42 and Iron Patriot figures. The first three have the the second half of the series blacked out with a note that they will be "coming fall 2013". I can't imagine that having half of the figures in the series blacked out encouraged people to pick up the first half faster. I know in my case It resulted in me ignoring them until the second half started hitting shelves. It is also odd that they listed the second half as coming in the fall since they were planned to ship in June and should have been able to hit shelves as soon as Iron Man 3 hit theaters in May. But even with all of that said, the packaging is still pretty attractive.
Sculpting - Mk 42 and James Rhodes 9/10, Ultron 6/10, others 8/10This series relies on a lot of recycled molds for half of the figures to make up for the expense of the all new molds required for the other half. Fortunately, it works out fairly well for these characters. First up you have classic Iron Man who is a straight reuse of the mold from the Marvel Legends 2 packs that were released back in 2009. They did create a new head with the horned style mask, but the original head sculpt is included as well. It is a nice sculpt, and one that quite a few people may not have gotten since the 2 packs didn't show up in a lot of places. I am glad that they did the new head so it doesn't feel like a complete duplicate. Next up is Ultron. His figure is a new head and shoulder pads on the Titanium Man figure. The mold is passable for Ultron, but not as sleek as he is usually drawn. He is certainly an improvement over the previous Marvel Legends Ultron, but I think I still prefer the Toy Biz figure from the 1998 Vault series of figures. The Norman Osborn Iron Patriot figure reuses most of the body of the Extremis Armor Iron Man but with a new upper torso. It works given that the Iron Patriot armor was stolen from Stark to begin with. The other three figures are new sculpts. The Heroic Age Iron Man seems to follow the design from the comics well. It does seem a bit too bulky if it is suppose to be Tony Stark. Both the James Rhodes and Iron Man Mark 42 figures appear to be all new sculpts as well. I haven't seen the movie yet, but from what I have seen, they seem to be fairly accurate.
Paint - Ultron 4/10, Classic IM and Osborn 6/10, James Rhodes 8/10, others 9/10The paint work on Ultron is very sparse, just his mouth, eyes and shoulder pads. That's passable, but there is a lot of missed opportunity there. Classic Iron Man has a gold and red finish which helps to distinguish it from the previous version. Iron Patriot has his stripes and star neatly painted, but lacks any detail work. Heroic Age Iron man takes another step in the right direction with a few more details painted. But it is the paint work on the Mark 42 Iron Man armor and James Rhodes figure that really stand out. Both have a great deal of paint work that manages to be quite neat despite the intricate details of the sculpt. The paint work for the star symbol on Rhodes' chest is a bit off since they had a hard time getting the paint into the gap between the armor plates on his chest. Unfortunately the rest of the paint work on Rhodes is a bit sloppy compared with Iron Man Mark 42 and the others.
Articulation - 8/10All six of the figures in the Iron Monger series of figures have around 32 points of articulation including:
Accessories - Classic Iron Man 4/10Classic Iron Man is the only one of the six figures with an accessory, an alternative head which is actually the head sculpt from the 2009 two pack. Including the other head was nice, but hardly impressive since that is still fewer accessories than the two pack included. I would like to see some other accessories, but it is not like there is anything that the characters should have that is missing.
Build A Figure - 8/10The Build a Figure for this series is a comic book version of the Iron Monger. I must admit that I really don't know much about the character or what it's suppose to look like. But from what I've seen, they stayed very close to the comic book design. The sculpt looks great. And it is a pretty good choice for a build a figure given his size. He isn't impressively large like some of the past BAF's. But he is comparable to Hasbro's other BAF's such as Terrax, Ares or Annihilus. There isn't much paint work on the Iron Monger, but the dark blue color used for the plastic looks great. The articulation is not quite as good as a regular figure, but it is very close. The one thing that I would like to see would be the inclusion of a regular head sculpt with a removable helmet. There is plenty of room for it given the size of the head. And given that Ultron only comes with the head, it would have added some additional perceived value for that figure.
Value - Ultron 5/10, Classic IM 5/10, Iron Patriot 6/10 others 7/10The cost of action figures continues to rise and the Marvel Legends line is certainly no exception. The Iron Monger series sells for $15 per figure at discount retailers. But they can run $20 per figure or more. Even at $15 each, the price is getting high enough to make me pause before each purchase. I would like to think that the Build A Figure adds some additional value to the score. But in truth, the Iron Monger is only slightly bigger than some of the larger carded figures such as the Hulk. So completing the Build A Figure makes up for the Classic Iron Man that I would not have bothered to purchase otherwise.
Happy Hunting:The first half of the Iron Monger series (Classic Iron Man, Heroic Age Iron Man and Iron Patriot) has been in stores for several months now. The remaining three figures have started to show up in stores over the last month. I have seen them at Target here in Madison, WI. But if you don't feel like searching or if your local stores are clogged with the first three figures, you can also order them directly from Hasbro's web store which is how I got Ultron and James Rhodes. (A word of warning if ordering from them: both of my figures were shipped in boxes that were too small and the cards had to be bent for them to fit. So MOC collectors should order at their own risk.)