The Avengers converge upon the secret base of one of their deadliest enemies. Lightning streaks through the sky, explosions deafen, and bodies fly as an endless army of faceless minions charge out to greet the Avengers. Hulk is smashing and Hawkeye looses arrow after arrow, as Thor’s ancient, enchanted hammer flies all over the damn place, seemingly on its own. The battle appears to be going well and Black Widow is about the breach the base when the villain makes his escape, entering a densely populated urban area nearby. The Avengers give chase and engage their foe, crushing cars and crumbling buildings. This is a recipe for disaster. It’s only a matter of time before innocent bystanders are hurt or, worse yet, killed! Someone needs to be focused on getting the civilians out of harm’s way; someone needs to be focused on crowd control. That’s when it’s time for Iron Man to call in his Iron Legion!
If you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, in particular, then you’re no stranger to the Iron Legion. In Age of Ultron, the Iron Legion played a role in the first two major fight scenes in the movie. In the first, the Avengers’ raid on Baron Wolfgang von Strucker’s Hydra base, the Legion is called in to try and protect the people of Sokovia as they’re fired upon by a desperate Strucker. This scene serves, not only to set up Tony Stark’s desire to outsource superhero work to automation, but as an immediate representation of international suspicion of superheroes as the latest guise of American imperialism when the Sokovians attack the Legion that has ostensibly been sent there to keep them from harm. They’re next seen crashing the end of the Avengers’ party in Avengers Tower when Ultron makes his debut. After a brief battle, the Iron Legion is crushed by the Avengers as Ultron escapes through the internet.
Now, these peace-keeping Iron Man droids can be yours in the form of a 1/6 scale figure from everyone’s favorite collectible figure manufacturer, Hot Toys. Sideshow Collectibles has bestowed NerdBastards with a sample figure for the purpose of a critical review and that’s exactly what this article aims to do. So buckle up and prepare to charge boldly into war torn countries and tell everyone to chill out, because the Iron Legion is here!
The figure comes in a standard Hot Toys shoebox. The box features a stylish close-up shot of the figure in warm tones. The picture focuses on the face of the figure, with the rest of the picture blurring into the background. The intense gaze of the figure, overlaid by the Avengers’ logo, is almost retro, reminiscent of Iron Man 2, like a presentation that might have been shown at the Stark Expo.
The inside of the box is where the true treasure is. Everything is contained within layered plastic trays. There are no twist ties or zip ties or scotch tape or staples or voodoo knots that require a magical incantation to undo. Everything is safely held in place, while at the same time completely and easily accessible, the perfect marriage of security and utility.’
The figure itself is a beautiful piece of work, appearing to have flown right out of the movie. It stands at just over a foot tall. The colors and logos adorning the figure match the movie perfectly, including scrapes and scuff marks that really give it the appearance of a heavily-used, battle-worn piece of equipment.
Another cool feature is that the chest piece comes off to reveal the mechanical underworkings. There are also four removable pieces that allow access to tiny on/off switches and battery ports for the button cell batteries that come with the figure. There is a removable piece on each forearm, the top of the head, and the middle of the back right between what would be shoulder blades, were the character not a robot.
Those battery ports light up the figure’s palm repulsors, eyes, and chest RT, respectively.When these LED lights are all lit up is when the character truly comes to life (or whatever the robot equivalent of that would be).
Another great thing about the figure is its poseability. It has over 25 points of articulation, allowing you to get the figure into almost any pose you’d care to imagine. Of note, are the joints in the ankles and the middle of the feet, which give the figure great balance no matter the pose. The shoulder and hip pads are particularly ingenious, moving out of the way as either the arms or legs come up. The double joints in the knees and elbow provide an exquisite range of motion and every single digit of the fingers is manipulable. In fact, the fingers are so dexterous that with some extra time and knowledge of stop-motion animation, you could have this figure communicating via sign language.
The accessories for the Iron Legion are a bit scant, at least when compared with other Hot Toys figures, but the ones that are included are pretty cool. As with most Hot Toys figures, this one comes with a nice, sturdy base, featuring a metal nameplate for the figure. This stand also has a great design of the Avengers logo embellishing the top.
The other accessories that come with this figure are a couple of raised forearm pieces that give the appearance of deadly rockets when added and two additional hands. The fingers on these secondary hands do not move, but the hands are bent sharply at the wrist, allowing the figure to attain Iron Man’s signature pose of threatening enemies with his palm repulsors. The great thing about the secondary hands is that, since the LED lights are mounted in the wrists and not the hands themselves, they light up as well.
CRITICISM (aka The Not So Good Stuff):
Now, it’s time for the scathing critique of all that is wrong with this figure. Honestly, what few complaints there are are small and nit-picky. The figure looks incredible and has obviously been crafted with care. That being said, the major complaint is with the figure’s name. It is not an Iron Legion. A Legion, by definition, cannot be one figure. It’s like the band in the movie Airheads calling themselves The Lone Rangers. It doesn’t make sense. It’s like going to a Wu Tang Clan concert and when the light comes up, it’s just GZA on stage. GZA is great and all, but he could not bill himself as the entire Wu Tang Clan (Suuuuuuu!). It would have been more appropriate to call the figure Iron Legionnaire. However, the best fix for this would have been not to change the figure’s name, but merely make it more appropriate. As impressive as this figure is, it’s just not enough. You can’t back up the Avengers with one Legionnaire. You can’t keep the peace in a small village with one Legionnaire. You can’t begin your conquest and extermination of the entire human race with just one Legionnaire. That’s why Hot Toys should have done what they have done in the past with other figures like Stormtroopers, upped the price a bit, and included a second Legionnaire. Perhaps Legionnaire 04; it had some decent screen time and a number of lines in the movie. Two figures is still only a fraction of the five featured in the movie, most likely not enough even to meet quorum for any robot committee hearings. They may not constitute a Legion proper (they’re certainly not a unit of 3,000-6,000 ancient Roman army men), but at least the figures wouldn’t stand in direct opposition to the definition of their name if there were two of them.
Another feature that would be nice would be the option for a little more battle damage. Of course, if you give the figure too much battle damage, you run the risk of transforming it into the Ultron Mark I, which is a different figure altogether, but a couple damage options would be nice. A detachable leg or torso? A melted faceplate, perhaps? Anything would increase the variety of looks for this figure.
The final complaint has nothing to do with the figure itself, but rather the instruction manual. The manual is great in almost every way. It’s adequately detailed and informative. It explains how to access all the battery ports and everything, which is great. The problem is that nowhere in the manual does it tell you how to swap out the hands. Nowhere does it state that it is safe to rip one pair of hands off to replace it with the other. Now, it seems obvious that this should be the case, seeing as the figure comes with a pair of secondary hands, but it is incredibly nerve-wracking to pop those hands off without the explicit assurance that you can forcibly pull the extremities from an appendage without damaging the figure.
Iron Legion is a gorgeous figure that is masterfully crafted. Any collector of Marvel figures should really have this in their collection. The unique thing about Hot Toys is that they put so much care not only into the detail and design of their figures, but also into the utility. The movement and achievable poses of the figures are so varied, that what you can do with the figure is limited by little other than your imagination. At $194.99, this Iron Legion may set you back a little more that your standard Hasbro or Mattel figure, but the flawless construction and absolute realism make it obvious where the value comes from.
Iron Legion is available now. You can head over to Sideshow Collectibles to pick one up.
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