The nice thing about super hero movies is that they’re a good excuse to get Minimates of comic renditions of the associated characters in all the ensuing tie-in product.  Iron Man 2 got us our first fully Iron Man-themed comics wave of Marvel Minimates, thus treating us to some of ol’ shellhead’s greatest foes, including today’s focus, the Mandarin, alongside a few of the robotic Hydra troops, the Dreadnoughts!

The Packaging

No pictures of the packaging from me, I’m afraid, but that’s why we love Minimate Database so much, right?  Fairly standard deal for Marvel stuff, really.  The indigo sort of color was definitely pleasing to the eye, though.  The Classic Mandarin set is clearly marked “VARIANT” to denote which set is the one-per-case one.

The Figures

Modern Mandarin

This is the look that most would consider the definitive Mandarin  He’s based on Mandarin’s appearances from roughly the early 90s onward, after they started really trying to make him a legitimate threat.

In place of the standard hands, Mandarin features sculpted claw like hands featuring his ten rings.  While reasonable in theory, the actual use of fingers on a Minimate still looks really odd, and the larger size of the hands certainly doesn’t help things.  Mandarin also has a sculpted hair piece, robe, wrist bands and sash.  The sash hails from the very first Iron Fist, and the wrist bands are just standard run of the mill pieces.  The robe and hair are new pieces.  They are well done enough, though with the robe on, Mandarin is pretty much limited to standing with his arms raised, due to the garment’s solid construction.  This is less an issue with the figure itself, and more an issue with translating the design.  The ToyBiz Marvel Legends figure based on this design has the exact same issue.  Regardless, the robe can be removed, revealing a completely detailed torso underneath, if you desire to show off Mandarin sans robe and shirtless.  Whatever floats your boat…

Mandarin’s paintwork is pretty decent overall.  The detailing on his face and torso is well-rendered, and his facial expression certainly fits this incarnation of the character.  The gold paint on this particular figure seems to have held up a bit better than some others, which is certainly a plus.

This guy is packed with a spare set of hands, the same as his normal ones, but in a pale green instead of flesh tone.  Apparently, these are a reference to when Mandarin lost his hands and had to grow new reptilian ones or something?  Can’t say I’m familiar with the story, but the extras are certainly nice to have.

Modern Mandarin is rather immobile in his full-robed form, which is a little disappointing.  However, the fully detailed nature of the underlying ‘mate adds some extra merit to this one.

MMC Score – 7 out of 10

Classic Mandarin

Classic Mandarin presents Mandarin’s original design, as he was seen when he first appeared in the 60s.  It’s far more standard super-villain fare than more recent interpretations, but arguably a bit more exciting overall look.

This Mandarin features the same sculpted hands as the previous one.  I still don’t like this fingers, but at least they were consistent.  Classic Mandarin features a sculpted mask, cape, wrist bands, sash/tunic combo, and cape.  All but the mask is reuse here, with the cape comic from Mephisto, the wrist guards from Ocean Master, and the sash from Dr.  Strange.  This isn’t a bad thing, though, because all the reused parts work very well for their intended purpose.  The mask is well done, and accurately depicts Mandarin’s mask from the early comics.

Classic Mandarin’s paint is pretty solid stuff.  The detailing on the figure is nice, especially the face, which has a nice crazed expression which really works great for the character, and is once again a bit more exciting than his modern counterpart.

This Mandarin included no extras, not even an alternate hairpiece or anything, which was a little disappointing.  But, with all of the add-on pieces already used on the figure, he doesn’t feel too light.

I’m much more of a fan of the design and the resulting figure of Classic Mandarin than the Modern version.  I know some people would find this design cheesy, but that’s the Mandarin for me.  Over the top cheesiness.

MMC Score – 8 out of 10


The Dreadnought was included with both versions of the Mandarin, as Wave 36’s resident army builder.  Admittedly, it’s one of the more minor choices of army builder, but the rather unique design certainly made it eye-catching.

In place of the basic parts, the Dreadnought features a sculpted head and hands.  The head is an all new piece, but the hands are a reuse from Viggo the Carpatian.   The Dreadnought also features a set of sculpted boot tops which I believe are a reuse from the Dark Avengers Ares.  Despite all of these sculpted extras, the figure still feels fairly simple, and looks just fine with the rest of the ‘mates from this assortment.

The paint is relatively basic, but it is well done.  The metallic blue looks really nice, and the black detail lines replicate the comic design pretty faithfully.

The Dreadnoughts each get two arm attachments: a blaster arm and a hammer arm.  Both are re-used, with the blaster coming from DC’s Cyborg, and the hammer coming from the Avengers #1 Iron Man, and they offer up some nice customization potential, to keep the Dreadnought army from getting too same-y.

While I think the Mandarin is meant to be the main draw of these sets, but I actually really like the Dreadnoughts a lot.

MMC Score – 8 out of 10

Agree? Disagree? Why not vote for yourself below, or comment further over at the Minimate Multiverse MMC Review Forum.

Review and pictures by Glantern.

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