2008 was a massive year for Iron Man, with the critically acclaimed and commercially successful movie. This saw a surge in popularity for Iron Man-related merchandise. For the San Diego Comic Convention in July 2008, online retailer Action Figure Express (AFX) brought us a boxset charting the technological progression of the Iron Man armour, representing many different eras of Iron Man, from the silver age right up to the present.
This set has the standard Marvel boxset packaging, featuring a photo of the 4 Minimates within in their standard guises set against a background of chunky machinery. The packaging carries both the San Diego Comic-Con logo and that of AFX as this is a shared exclusive. The side flaps have headshots of the ‘mates in their basic guises. The rear of the packaging features a group shot of the ‘mates in their alternative guises as well as potted biographies for each ‘mate. As usual the ‘mates and their accessories are contained in a plastic clamshell tray. It appears that something is missing from the set as there is a definite empty space below the MK VI Armour Iron Man.
CEO Tony Stark
This version of Tony appears to be based on the current comics version. There’s also a hint of Robert Downey Jr to him but he’s very much Tony Stark.
Stark’s wearing a fairly ordinary business suit. I like that his shirtsleeves can be seen past the end of his jacket sleeves. That’s the way a gentleman should wear his suit. The suit jacket looks to be a new piece and is well detailed though the suit colour is somewhat dull.
Underneath the jacket is a very cool looking opened shirt with the Iron-Man chest plate clearly visible beneath. Stark is finished off with brown shoes. Another nice touch. Brown shoes will go with anything.
Stark is accessorised with an Iron-Man helmet. I’m not 100% au fait with Iron-Man continuity so I won’t even hazard a guess as to what armour, or time period it’s supposed to represent.
In Conclusion: Good looking ‘civvie-mate’ with a twist.
MMC Score – 8 out of 10
Modular Armour Iron Man
As I’ve previously mentioned I’m no Iron Man expert, so I’m assuming that Modular Armour Iron Man is a late 90’s – fairly current representation of the character.
This is a much more business-like looking Tony Stark. His hair is not so extravagant, almost conservative. And his facial hair is restricted to a very fine moustache. It’s yet another good facial likeness of Stark, to be honest I don’t think I’ve seen a bad one on any of the Iron Man Minimates we’ve had so far.
The armour detailing is fairly simple. There are only two colours, red contrasted with gold. The gold paint is excellent, it really stands out and looks suitably metallic. All detailing is very neat and well applied. The only complaint I could have is that the red hands are a different shade to the rest of the body, but that’s really splitting hairs.
Naturally Modular Iron Man comes with a full face helmet. Again it’s very well applied, though surprisingly it’s more detailed than it is on the boxart. Usually it’s the other way around. The more I look at the box art the more it appears that the modular armour Iron Man is a test shot rather than the finished item. Another interesting item to note, is that DST appear to have done away with the peg on the interior of the full face masks. I truly hope this is the case as they were nigh on impossible to remove on some recent Minimates; Iron-Spidey being a prime example. I’m happy to report that these Iron Man masks slip on and off very nicely indeed. No more worries about marring the mask. Let’s hope it’s not a one-off.
Modular Armour Iron Man is accessorised with an alternate hand which can replace the left hand and make Iron Man appear to be firing (or aiming) his repulsor weapons. It’s a great piece, first seen on the wave six Iron Man and it’s making a welcome return.
In conclusion: Another cool Iron Man.
MMC Score – 9 out of 10
Mark VI Armour Iron Man
Helpfully the back of the packaging gets it wrong and mixes up the Mark VI armour with the Mark III armour. The boxflaps get it right, however. According to the blurb on the back of the box Stark has to resort to using older technology to create the MKVI suit. Hence, the retro look reminiscent of the MKI and MKII Armours.
The Tony Stark face is the real highlight of this figure. It’s straight from ‘Demon in a Bottle’, one of Iron Man’s most famous storylines that showed Stark at his lowest ebb, as his dependence on booze finally takes it’s toll upon him. The guy’s a wreck, his hair’s a mess, and he’s not shaved for days. Add to that the slightly vague expression and you have one messed up Tony Stark. He probably stinks too. I can’t see much ventilation space in that suit.
There’s not a lot of decoration on the armour but what is there works, and works well. All the applications are very clean and crisp and there’s some nice reflection work on the power unit and the smaller circles that sit on the shoulder area. Under the chest piece is a green shirt that’s open at the collar. It’s a shame that the CEO Stark figure doesn’t also feature a green shirt as this chest piece would look great under that suit with boozy Stark’s head. It’s like the designers thought about the mix and matching possibilities of the set, and then forgot. Terrible shame. The slip-over helmet continues the less is more theme. The black detailing isn’t overdone and really stands out against the silver base colour. No problems with removing the helmet either.
Mark VI Armour Iron Man is accessorised with the same alternate weapon hand as the other Iron Man figures in the set. It’s also worth pointing out that there are two spare flesh-coloured hands in the set, but I have no idea what they’re there for as as only CEO Stark is in civilian garb.
In conclusion: Excellent detail on Stark’s face and a really nice looking Iron Man figure too.
MMC Score – 9 out of 10
Mark III Armour Iron Man
First seen as one of the limited edition Marvel Zombie figures, fans were soon clamouring for a proper version of the Mark III armour.
According to the biography blurb on the back of the packaging the Mark III armour was the first to be liveried in Iron Man’s iconic red and gold. It was also the first armour to feature the palm-mounted repulsor rays, jet boots, and most importantly, roller skates!
There’s something very off about the face on this ‘mate. Compared to the other ‘mates in the set the features are tiny and when the set is taken as a whole it is a bit jarring. I can see why the facial details are smaller, I believe the design team may have been concerned that Starks’ features would have been too difficult to achieve with the outer part of the helmet being painted straight onto the ‘mates head. Still, this is Iron Man mark III, not Tony Stark. So lets stick that face plate on and we’ll not mention Stark again…
What a mess! The face plate sits way too high on the head. I can’t understand how this could have happened. Didn’t they just use the mold from the Zombie Iron Man? Whatever happened has caused the holes on the side of MK III’s head to sit 2mm higher than they did on Zombie Iron Man and that makes it look ridiculous. The one saving grace is the alternative helmet packaged above the face plate. I’m not sure if this alternate piece is meant to be a more aesthetically pleasing version of the MK III face mask or possibly an evolution toward the MK IV armour? But it definitely looks better. Especially with the concentric circular detailing continuing on the top of the helmet.
Sadly, the ‘mate is further marred by a large unpainted section on the neck peg, meaning there’s a large white area just below the head which further detracts from the overall look. One other moan – For some inexplicable reason the alternate helmet is far more of a snug fit than on the CEO Stark and the Modular Armour figure. I can’t work out why that should be?
At least I can say that the rest of the body is well done. The gold applications really stand out against the red base coat, and all the detailing as with the rest of the set is very cleanly applied. Especially around the wrist and ankle areas where there is a lot going on, but is not over-fussy.
Mark III Armour Iron Man is accessorised with the same alternate repulsor-firing hands as the other two Iron Man ‘mates in this set. There are also another two accessories in this set that don’t belong to any particular figure and can be used on all but CEO Stark. They’re the really cool-looking pillars of flame as also seen with the Invaders Human Torch. Plug the C3 pegholes in Iron Man’s feet on to the pegs on top of these pillars and you have Iron Man blasting into action. Excellent little touch in my opinion.
In conclusion: The runt of the litter.
MMC Score – 6 out of 10
Final Thoughts. This is a great set. One that fans, kids, and collectors alike can have a lot of fun with mixing and matching the parts. Especially if buying multiples.
Review and pictures by Rad Kerrigan