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Iron Man Mk 1

Iron Man
by Artemis

Iron Man, Iron Man, does whatever an iron can.

Iron Man Mk1 Trapped and forced to build advanced weapons for a vicious rebel group, Tony Stark builds this powerful armor suit in order to escape. Flamethrowers in the arms create a fiery corridor before him, chasing off his attackers, and lighting his way to freedom.

Obviously the packaging bio is trying to be all-ages friendly, but I can reassure you all that Iron Man (the movie) isn't one of those no-one-dies-they're-just-knocked-out ones. Yes, Tony Stark "chases off" his attackers. And catches up with them. And smashes them into the cave walls with bone-liquefying force. And then sets fire to them. And their whole camp.

Besides the update in timeframe Iron Man at Comic-Con and shift from south-east Asia to Afghanistan, the origin story of Iron Man is pretty much the same as it's always been, including this first version of the Iron Man armour being cobbled together on the sly out of whatever junk Tony could sneak off his "employers" while he pretended to make a superweapon for them. It even looks like the original Iron Man, just tweaked and given extra detail to make it plausible to today's audiences. Iron Man MkI is big, rugged, crudely-finished, and quite scary-looking with its steel grey shell and impassive mask. If you were an Afghani rebel responding to a prisoner escape, expecting nothing more than a malnourished westerner with possibly a semi-automatic, and you saw this juggernaut bearing down on you, you'd soil yourself, guaranteed.

The MkI has the rough shape of the old, simple suit, but is sculpted with a lot of detail. he's frowny Armour plates are fashioned from whatever old junk was handy, so although the proportions of the suit are roughly symmetrical the details aren't, with various oddly-fitting and overlapping plates attached any old how, with weld lines breaking up most of the flat surfaces to boot. The armour's workings show through the gaps in the shell, especially the drive belts on the hips, and at the rear where the lower back mounts an engine and the lower left leg is missing an armour plate, revealing a tangle of wires and electrical components. The only non-metal touch is the hands, which are just heavy smelting gloves, partially protected by the forearm plates.

The majority of the figure is simply cast needs some polish in dull metallic grey plastic, with a few black paint apps here and there - mostly on the balljoints, to help hide them - for a bit more realism. Metallic plastic, as we know, has a tendency to leave visible swirls in its surface, but for once this isn't such a problem - combined with a rusty brown wash, the irregular swirling makes the metal look dirty and oil-stained, which is actually ideal for the figure. Much of the finer detail is left unpainted, with only the plastic's sheen and the rust wash picking out the gears and wires and so on, but the overall look is good enough that the lack of detailed paint is forgivable.

Besides the balljoints, the hands are painted black, as are the belts on the hip motors, the ARC reactor in the chest is glossy white, the eyes are black, and there's a serial number stamped on the chestplate, presumably a relic of whatever that bit of metal used to be. Combined with the interestingly dirty look of the metal, the figure manages to look fairly good.

Articulation is fairly good for a figure this bulky. The neck is just a swivel joint, which isn't as annoying as it would be on most characters - in this case, the inability to expressively tilt the head is a positive, working with the menacing, impassive look of the thing. The shoulders and elbows are balljoints, restricted by the various armour plates mounted around them; the elbows are particularly limited, but not useless. There's a waist swivel, balljoint hips, balljoint knees, and balljoint ankles. Those are all swivel/peg balls, of course, but even so there's a lot of mobility in this figure, especially the legs, and it's hidden quite well to boot.

The figure's sole action feature is the "flamethrower," a spring-loaded launcher mounted yeah, that's a flame. under the left forearm. It's operated by simply pulling the tail of the orange plastic missile from behind, and letting it go - omitting a catch and button arrangement has kept the launcher's size down. Thanks to that it's not too bad an eyesore - the slim profile, plus the fact that the suit really did have bulky flamers beneath the forearms, and the generally un-streamlined look of the whole figure, makes it quite easy to live with so far as built-in spring launchers go.

Mind you, while a walking trashcan with flamethrowers is okay for busting out of a flea-infested dirthole at the back of beyond, once you're home with the world's most advanced R&D lab in the basement, it's not surprising that you'd start thinking you could do a bit better.


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