Lest you thought that NECA’s impressive quarter-scale Captain America figure was a one-shot deal, I present to you the second in their quarter-scale Avengers series: Iron Man! Donning the Mark VII, my favorite armor in his wardrobe, Tony Stark arrived this week to keep my gigantic Steve Rogers company on the shelf. I don’t think this guy needs much more of an introduction, so let’s just get to it!
Much like Cap, Iron Man comes packaged in a long window box, but this one has been completely redesigned to feature a red and gold motif to match the character. The window has some printed graphics, made to look like a HUD, that point out the LED effects. The back of the package features a little blurb about Stark in the Avengers and has a list of people who worked on the design of the figure.
Slide the tray out and you’ve got some work to do. Iron Man is held in with tons of twisty-ties. By the time I was finished I had a ridiculous pile of twisty-ties and black plastic bars on the floor beside me. Apart from the pair of swappable fists, that’s all that’s in the box. I was surprised there wasn’t an instruction sheet about the electronics or battery changing or something. I think I may swallow all the batteries just because I wasn’t warned not to. As with Cap, the package is totally collector friendly and you can just put the figure back in the tray and slide him back into the box for storage or display.
Ah, there’s a reason this armor is my favorite… it’s just gorgeous. I was a wee bit concerned that seeing it in this large scale might change my mind, but it’s only reinforced my love for the design. The mix of sweeping curves and angles scratches my itch right where it counts. The detail represented here doesn’t approach Hot Toys quality, but there’s plenty of fine touches to make it work. Some of the panel lines could have been cut a little deeper to be more convincing, but I’m only offering that up in an attempt to be critical of what is a quite marvelous sculpt. Iron Man stands at almost the exact same height as Cap. Some may point out that his legs are thinner, thus dispelling the illusion of a guy in a suit of armor. I can see that, but at this point, just about every Iron Man figure I’ve seen falls into this trap and I’m at the point where such things don’t bother me anymore.
The paint on the figure is excellent. The red is similar to that rich and beautiful stuff Hasbro used on their Iron Man 2 figures. It sports a brilliant sheen and gives the Mark VII that great polished new car look. There are obviously different grades of plastic used here, some hard, some soft, but the red is consistent throughout the entire piece. The gold isn’t as brilliant as the red, but still works for me. The silver looks more like a brushed steel finish and it really ties the whole deco together nicely.
One of the cool things about doing the Mark VII in this scale is the ability to do justice to his flight backpack. The figure has six hinged flaps, which can be deployed upward to give Stark a little extra flight power. Very cool!
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that Iron Man feels like a far more delicate piece then Cap. Cap is a solid hunk of plastic, which I would have no problem swinging like a cudgel. Iron Man isn’t necessarily fragile, but there are more moving parts involved in the armor (particularly the shoulders and jet pack) and the smooth surfaces and metallic paint are probably more prone to scratches and dings. I have no doubt Cap would survive a shelf dive from the top of any bookcase and come away unscathed, Iron Man most certainly would not.
Iron Man sports a decent amount of articulation. He’s definitely a giant action figure, although you don’t get the same range of motion from some of these joints as you would in your average Marvel Legends. There are ball joints in his neck, shoulders, hips, wrists, and ankles. His arms feature bicep swivels and hinged elbows. The legs have swivels just below the hips, and double hinges in the knees, and his feet are hinged in the middle. His torso features what appear to be ball joints in the waist and torso, but apart from a little twisting in the torso, the movement here offers a lot of resistance, and quite frankly I don’t want to force it. As with Cap, the hip movement is probably the most restrictive, although you can still get a fairly wide stance. The foot hinges are useful because Iron Man is rather top heavy, so by bending the toes down a tiny bit, you can get him to stand quite solidly upright. His shoulder armor is hinged, and if you pop them out, you can clip them back on, but the clips are tiny, so I would not recommend stressing them. Ball jointed connecting arms might have worked better for the shoulders, allowing them to float, but what’s here still allows for an awful lot of arm movement. The bottom line: You won’t get this Iron Man into a punching the ground pose, but you can still get him to do some cool stuff.
Cap comes with two extra hands, both in fists. I’m not a big fan of swapping out hands unless it’s necessary for holding specific accessories. That’s especially the case here since the stock fists have the LEDs in them. Truth be told, I doubt I’ll ever swap the hands. Nonetheless, it is really impressive that NECA was able to deliver both lights in the hand repulsors AND allow for swappable hands.
So, how about them electronics? Iron Man features four (I’m counting the eyes as one) independent LED lights. By independent, I mean that there are four teeny-tiny switches: One on his back, one on the back of his helmet, and one on each of his forearms, near the wrists. Flip these on and the light show begins. The Arc Reactor light in the chest is ridiculously bright and the eye lights are not too shabby either. The palm repulsors are yellow and a lot dimmer, but still quite adequate. He certainly makes an impressive display when all lit up.
Like Cap, this figure is “limited” to 7,500. That may sound like a lot, and while the quarter-scale Cap was easy to get (he’s still available at most e-tailers), Iron Man seems to have sold like wildfire. His pre-order was sold out at my usual supplier, but I was able to sneak in a pre-order with the fine folks at Entertainment Earth before he sold out there as well. At about $90, he feels like a pretty solid value. I’m not just saying that because he’s huge. The quality of the figure is excellent and the electronics are surprisingly well implemented. In terms of engineering and construction, he’s a very different figure from Cap, and yet the two display wonderfully together. NECA appears to still be moving forward with the next installment in the line, a quarter-scale Thor, and while no pictures have been seen, the rumor is he has already been sculpted. He’ll certainly be more like Cap, although I’m hoping they go for a soft goods cape. NECA also does’t seem to be backing away from the outrageous claim that hey are doing a Hulk in this line as well!