Iron Man 2: Mark II and Mark IV Figures by Hasbro

Paramount’s release of Iron Man 2 may be a little while off yet, but that isn’t keeping Hasbro from flooding the aisles with the new Iron Man 2 toys this week. In addition to the usual host of roleplay items, stylized race cars and walkie talkies, Hasbro is releasing a line of 3 3/4″ figures based on the film. Now, I realize some of you are going to take issue with the scale change, since the figures for the first movie were in the 5″ scale, but at least Hasbro has a decent explanation. They are looking to unite all the Marvel movie tie-in figures with the Marvel Universe line. It sounds like a good plan to me.

As I originally feared, the initial waves of Iron Man 2 figures overwhelmingly consist of variants of the Iron Man armor. While many of these aren’t just repaints, the fact is that there could be a lot of Iron Man armors clogging the pegs for when Hasbro finally gets around to releasing a more diverse character line up. Just in the initial offering alone, I was unable to find an Iron Monger figure among the dozens of Mark III and IV armors. This doesn’t bode well for the future, and I’m seriously hoping that Hasbro isn’t poised to repeat the assortment mistakes of Rise of Cobra and Indiana Jones. The two initial figures I wound up grabbing were the Mark II and Mark IV armors, so let’s take a look.

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First off, I really like the packaging on these. The artwork on the cardbacks really grabbed my attention and the large bubbles show off the figures really well. The back panel has an enlarged shot of the figure along with head shots of three other figures available in the same wave. I’m not really sure why the Mark IV card reads “2 Launching Missiles” as they both only have one. Oh yeah, there’s also a nice mention of the Avengers on the side of the cards. Sweet.

Before I even get into the figures, I wanted to give mention to the Armor Cards that are included with each figure, because I think these are a really neat idea. Each figure comes with three cards, two of which are clear overlays with different parts of the armor printed on them. When you lay them all together, it assembles a picture of the complete suit. These cards can be slotted into a holder on the figure stands to form a backdrop graphic behind your figure. Granted, the cards aren’t large enough to make a really effective backdrop, but the effect does look cool and its a pretty unique idea.

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Both of these figures use the same basic body type that Hasbro has been using on the modern GI Joe figures and the Marvel Universe line. It offers a great amount of articulation for a figure in this small scale. There are just a few differences worth mentioning with these Iron Man 2 figures. First off, both figures have shoulder plates that inhibit some of the shoulder ball joint movement. Its not too bad, but it is worth mentioning. Secondly, both figures have really stiff joints out of the package and I really was afraid I was going to snap off some limbs as I was trying to limber the figures’ joints up. Fortunately, I was able to break them in without… well, breaking them. Its interesting, because the early GI Joe figures in the 25th Anniversary line had the exact opposite problem. Maybe this is just Hasbro overcompensating. Another thing worth mentioning is that the connecting pieces used for my Mark IV’s double knee joints are much softer plastic than I’ve seen used on figures in the past. They were a bit warped out of the package, giving his legs a bit of an odd stance. I’m not sure if this is unique to my figure or an issue with the packaging or what.

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The sculpts on both of these figures is incredible for the 3 3/4″ scale. Not only is the angular sculpting of the armor excellent, but the detail right down to the panel lines is exceptional. Just check out the detail in the fingers and there are even treads sculpted into the bottom of the figures’ boots. Hasbro is continuing to push the envelope on their sculpts and Iron Man 2 is just another example of their continued progress.

The paint apps are equally impressive on each figure in their own way. The mostly silver Mark II could have been a really boring figure, but Hasbro included black highlights on all the panel lines of the armor as well as using paint apps to dot the rivets around the arms and chest piece. The Mark IV’s lush red and gold motif is brilliant. The gold is applied with precision, without any slop, and the red is like a high gloss lacquer that really recreates the highly reflective finish of the CG armor in the film and makes him shine like a new car in a showroom.

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Pretty much any Hasbro figure you buy nowadays is going to come packaged with an obnoxiously large missile launcher. While these are the bane of a lot of collectors, I don’t mind them because they offer play value to the figure for kids, while not really defacing the figure for collectors. Bottom line, if you don’t like them you can just throw them away. The launchers included with the Iron Man 2 figures are actually a little better because they are styled to look like they are compatible with the armor and actually clip on to the figure’s arm. If you take the missile out, they just look like big cannons. I like the Mark II’s launcher better because the sculpt doesn’t interfere with the head like the Mark IV’s launcher does.

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All in all, I’m very happy with these figures, and I’ll definitely be adding more of them to my collection. I’ve already seen them at three different retailers, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them. They seem to be ranging in price between $6.99 and $7.99, which are right about where I would expect them alongside Star Wars and GI Joe. And they are just a smidgen cheaper than the elusive Marvel Universe figures, which surprised me a lot, since these figures seem much better sculpted and painted than their MU counterparts. I just really hope that Hasbro broadens the character selection in future waves. I would love to see a Tony Stark figure without the armor and a Pepper Potts would be cool too, in addition to the obvious Whiplash.

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