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Iron Man

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

One day Tony Stark woke up and said "you know, I think I'll design an armor that will make it easier to tackle me."

Powered by the sun, and stronger than ever before, the invincible Iron Man blasts into battle!

I've always had a soft spot for this armor. It's the one Tony was wearing in the first Iron Man issue I ever read, and even though it was less than half a year before he switched it out for the War Machine armor, it's still "my" Iron Man. There have been better suits, stronger suits, but still when I think of Iron Man, this is the armor he's wearing. It only lasted four years, bridging the gap between the Silver Centurion and Modular armors, and was the first Iron Man armor to be built completely without Tony Stark's physical input: it was assembled by specially-bred nanotech bacteria, since the design was too advanced for human hands. It was also the first to have an internal HUD, and now that's an integral part of every Iron Man design!

Remember how ToyBiz used to put removable masks on all its Iron Men? You notice that Hasbro hasn't done a single one? Sure, there was Ultimate Iron Man, but that was developed before the switch, so it doesn't count. The closest we've gotten is a removable head. This one doesn't break the trend, but at least it has a nice, accurate sculpt.

In the story, this armor was composed of a "layered flex-metal," two million tiny tiles that were as soft as silk until polarized to iron hardness: essentially, a microscopic chainmail that could collapse like an accordion for storage. Since the suit was designed for power, it's very bulky - particularly around the shoulders, forearms and feet. This suit is known for its "coffee can" boots and "horse collar" neck armor, and the toy duplicates them well. There are thin, segmented lines on the hands and feet, but other than that the red portions are smooth and nearly featureless. The gold areas make up for it, though: the "soft" metal was flexible enough to even allows some of Tony's facial expressions to show through on the mask, so muscles on the arms and legs are no big deal.

This Iron Man (which doesn't get any specific name on the packaging, just "Iron Man" [though the Minimate version was called "Neo-Classic"]) stands 6⅛" tall, and is decently articulated. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel gloves, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel boots, and swivel/hinge ankles. The shoulders on his big red chest pad hinge up so you can raise the arms - has that ever worked? They're not even the same color as the rest of the armor! His right hand is repulsor-blast-ready, but the hinges in the ankles are pretty much useless: you can't get at the feet well enough to force the hinges past their detents.

Marvel Legends 3 (actually, the third Marvel Legends 3, after this Marvel Legends 3 and this Marvel Legends 3) is a filler series, so it doesn't have a Build-A-Figure - instead, we get one of the Heroscape bases, like the Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man have. Considering that they're completely modular among all the lines, we're really liking this trend. The ML bases are darker than the ASM ones, but lack the A logo of the Avengers ones.

Iron Man is one of only two figures in this series to not have a variant, and the only figure who's not a repaint. And yet people don't seem very enthused by his inclusion. Why the heck not? It's an armor we've never had before, it's done well, and it'll look great with all the other Iron Men ML has given us over the years.

-- 11/19/12


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