Yeah, we’re well into January, but I had other overdue business to get to last week and that left me with one last Christmas present to feature. Although technically, TFC F-4 Phantom and the forthcoming F-15 Eagle were both Christmas presents, as my parents have stopped trying to track what I have in my collection and have resorted to giving me monies to buy my own toys. Anyway, today’s item was given to me as part of one of these nefarious Secret Santa exchanges. I hate these things, mostly because I never know what to get the person and in return I have to act delighted while opening something from someone who had the exact same problem. In this case, I did pretty alright toward the forced focus of my compulsory Christmas spirit and in return I wound up with Iron Man’s giant ass mech suit. I have to give my Secret Santa credit not only for trying but for actually getting me something I didn’t already have. I’ll also grant her (yes, it didn’t remain secret for long) the good taste of not getting me the rather silly Captain America one.
The set comes in an attractive window box with the usual Avengers logo and artwork featuring all the Avengers, or at least the ones that got their own movies. Hawkeye and Black Widow clearly need to get new PR agents. The back panel of the box shows a close up of the armor and points out some of the play features. The idea here is that Stark built a bigger, more powerful mech-style armored suit that he can climb inside while wearing his regular suit. Fair enough, I can get behind that. The other Stark Tech toys are pictured on the bottom edge of the box. Let’s open her up and see what we’ve got…
There are no twisty-ties or anything holding the toys in the tray, which is why I was rather surprised when I took the armor out and it fell to pieces. How this thing stayed together in the package, I have no idea. But virtually all the weapon modules and the left leg fell off instantly. No worries, though, as almost everything on the armor is designed to come off and go right back on again.
Let’s start with the Iron Man Mark VI figure. I was expecting a crappy, limited articulation version like we got bundled with the Quinjet, but I was pleasantly surprised. What we have here is actually a good figure with solid articulation! Granted, the figure actually requires this level of articulation to work with the armor, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders and elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs have ball jointed hips and hinged knees, the torso is ball jointed under the chest, and the head swivels. The lack of ankle articulation is a shame and the paintwork doesn’t have that glorious new-car glossy finish like the Iron Man 2 releases did, but those are the only gripes I can bring against this guy. For a bundled figure, he’s not bad at all. In fact, he’s better than most of the single-carded Avengers figures.
The Assault Armor itself is pure bad ass, as it looks like Hulkbuster Armor meets War Machine. The sculpt is packed with detail making it a lot for the eye to take in all at once and it retains the gold and red deco that Tony Stark loves so much. To load the figure inside, the hatch on the torso hinges up and the upper legs hinge down. Once inside, Iron Man uses the triangle cutout where the Arc Reactor would be to look outside. Ok, that’s the one glaring dumb thing about the design. The two translucent blue pods on either side are control ports for Iron Man’s arms. While I’m not usually a proponent of electronics in toys, this thing is screaming for some LEDs or sound. The price range is right, but sadly Hasbro seemed dedicated to cheaping out on a lot of the Avengers toys.
The armor is decently articulated. The arms feature ball joints at the shoulders and hinges at the elbows. The legs rotate at the hips and have ball joints in the ankles. The head can rotate from side to side. Moving the legs is a little tricky with the figure inside as the hatches want to pop open when manipulated. Thankfully, the design doesn’t have Iron Man’s arms going into the mech’s arms, so you can get a wide range of uninhibited arm movement.
Weapons? You want weapons??? Well, they don’t call this thing the Assault Armor for nothing. The legs each feature a missile pod holding three sculpted, non-firing missiles. The right shoulder has a larger missile pod with seven more points of explosive persuasion. The left shoulder has a giant firing missile launcher sculpted to look like a huge gatling gun. Lastly, there’s an arm-mounted firing missile launcher. That’s a lot of firepower for something that could probably just grab Loki by each arm and tear him apart.
What’s better than a lot of weapons? Interchangeable weapons ala MechWarrior, and that’s where the Assault Armor design stumbles. All the weapons are designed to detach and they all use the same sized socket. The potential here was for a fully customizable payload. I mean, hell, even the ankles have weapon ports! Unfortunately, each weapon is more or less designed to go where it is and nowhere else. For example, you can’t swap the right and left shoulder weapons, because they don’t fit right when changed. You could put the missile pods from the legs on the arms, or the gatling gun on the arm, but they don’t look that great. The only thing really designed to be moved is the arm-mounted missile launcher, and that is just designed to go on one arm or the other.
Purists may scoff at this thing and I’ll admit I initially wrote it off as another goofy cash grab like Hasbro trying to sell a Spider-Man helicopter. But, in the end, I have to say it totally won me over. While Hasbro may have gone overboard doing a Captain America version, which is essentially just a repaint and slight remold, this one sort of makes sense. It’s fun to play around with, but more importantly it looks absolutely fantastic displayed on my Avengers shelf.
Value? Well, the Secret Santa exchange had a ten dollar limit. I’m pretty sure this thing sold for a lot more than ten dollars originally (subsequent research suggests the original MSRP was around $20), but as I can barely make out from the scratched out price sticker it probably came from Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or Ross, so I’m guessing it was discounted to within the rules of the reindeer games. It’s also one of the few Avengers toys that aren’t still haunting the shelves of regular toy stores, so I don’t know where else she would have found it but at one of those Toy Graveyards. I generally define a “good gift” as something I wouldn’t have bought for myself, but still enjoy, and the Assault Armor certainly fits that bill. It’s a very cool surprise.