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Hall of Armor

Iron Man 3
by yo go re

Iron Man 3 was a good movie, but its toyline was disappointing - there's a reason the only things we've reviewed are the Marvel Legends, after all. But at last, there's one product that isn't a terrible throwback to the dark old days: the Hall of Armor box set. Granted, ⅔ of the figures are just repaints from the IM2 line, but... well, you'll see. We'll speed through the rereleases, to get to the good stuff.

Built in a cave from spare parts, this hulking armor enables Tony Stark to fight his way to freedom... and a hero is born.

I'm still sad that I never managed to get the Mark I armor from the original movie line, but at least now I have a 4" version. Like Artemis said, it's impressive that the film's designers managed to both make this armor look like it was jury-rigged with random scraps of metal, and like the grey behemoth from the comics. The figure stands nearly 4¼" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. The toy does a nice job of duplicating the real movie suit, even though there's no way to re-create all the tiny details.

Iron Man gets one of his favorite toys: the repulsor.

If that bio seems a bit light, don't worry - it seems like the text on the back of the box is just tracing the evolution of the armor, not actually discussing each one individually. The Mark II is, obviously, the suit Tony designed when he got back to the States. It's sleeker and more enclosed (for lack of a better word) than the Mark I, but it's still unpainted. In the comics, this would probably be his "Silver Surfer Buster" armor or something. This figure is the same height as the Mk1, and has many of the same joints (with the added benefit of wrist swivels and double-hinged knees). There are moving flaps on his shoulders, and a hole in his back where... something? Could plug in?

Adds enhanced flight capabilities and a new paint job: the iconic red and gold design.

When they say "adds a new paint job," they're not kidding - the only difference between this figure and the Mk2 up above is the paint. The sculpt, the articulation, the inexplicable hole in the back.. they're all identical. But red and gold aren't the only colors this figure has: all the suits of armor in this set have been given light blue airbrushing around the repulsor ports on the chest andhands, in order to simulate a powerful glow. It looks overpowering in photos, but in person, it's really not bad. Well, not too bad; we would have prefered to not have it, but it does help set these apart from the IM2 releases.

The Mark VI gets recharged at its core, with a new vibranium arc reactor forged from the same indestructable metal found in the shield of Captain America.

Wait, what? The element Tony made in IM2 was vibranium? Did we already know that, or is this new information being revealed via the back of a box set a lot of people will never see? Also, why did we skip the Mark IV and V? It's not too annoying, since I already have a Mark V figure (two, in fact), but I also already have a Mark VI, too. The sculpt of the Mk6 is almost completely different from the last two suits we reviewed, and even the gold is a darker shade! The suit is a little taller than the others as well - a full 4¼", even with the legs spread slightly - and of course, he's got the triangle beam on his chest. His shoulder armor is unarticulated, but it's very intricate.

Incorporating the best technology from multiple previous versions, the Mark 42 also gives Iron Man the ability to summon components from any armor unit in his vault.

Argh, no it doesn't! The armor has absolutely nothing to do with his ability to summon components - it's all internal.

Until now, all the 4"-scale Iron Man 3 toys have been sad little 5-POA lumps, but this one is not. It's just as articulated as the rest of the figures in this set, with a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, swivel/hinge torso and hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge rocker ankles. The only downside is that the arms are really blocked by the shoulder armor. The sculpt is entirely new, since this wasn't just a case of cutting new joints into the existing toy - nor is it a scaled-down verion of the Marvel Legend. The figure stands over 4¼" tall, and the paint is done nicely, as well (which is good, since you can't look at this in person before getting it). He doesn't get the blue glow, but does anyone really miss that?

The billionaire genius behind the Iron Man technology. The arc reactor in Stark's chest not only keeps him alive, but serves as the engine that drives his unstoppable Iron Man armor.

So yeah, getting an adequate Mark 42 was nice, but the biggest draw of this set is the inclusion of a 4", fully civilian Tony Stark! Like Nick Fury, he's made from GI Joe parts (mostly movie Hawk, with the legs of movie Storm Shadow). The design is meant to suggest the clothes Tony was wearing when he was first testing the Extremis injections, and it does that quite well. With that in mind, it would have been really nice if they'd included a few snap-on pieces of armor (boots and left glove, mainly), but it's understandable that they didn't. He's mostly black and grey, but has a bit of blue on his chest to represent his arc reactor glowing through his shirt.

He stands 4" tall, and has swivel/hinge ankles, elbows, shoulders, and torso; double-hinged knees; swivel wrists; and balljointed hips and neck. The likeness isn't the best Hasbro's ever delivered on a small-scale figure, but it's recognizably Robery Downey Jr. - it just looks like RDJ as seen through a fisheye lens or something.

The Hall of Armor box set is sold in packaging that recalls the, well, Hall of Armor we saw in Iron Man 3. The figures are in two rows of three, stacked vertically. The backdrop shows even more armors behind them.

Like most box sets, this one gets better the fewer figures you already own from it - it's a shared online exclusive, available from Hasbro Toy Shop, Walmart and Target (as well as other places who bought it from one of those stores and are reselling it), and retails for $40. That's six figures for the price of four, so it's already a decent value to begin with. Heck, I wouldn't have minded if they'd added another level to the display and included the Marks IV, V and VII.

It's a shame that the Iron Man 3 toys are so bad, when the movie is so toyetic. But this set rectifies at least one major oversight with the inclusion of the Mark 42, and giving us a plain Tony Stark is awesome as well.

-- 12/30/13


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