In honor of today's release of the first Iron Man 3 trailer, featuring the Mandarin, let's finish off the most recent Marvel Universe comic packs. I'd like to say I've been strategically saving this one just for this event, but no, I've just been lazy about getting this review done, because I wasn't all that excited about this set. Should you be excited by Hasbro's laziness? Click past the break to find out!
I'd also like to think that Hasbro was thinking strategically when they put this pack together, developing it to support the upcoming Iron Man 3 film, but that's also probably not true. If it were, they would have held it back until next year, when it would have had a much better chance of selling, and slapped some Iron Man 3 packaging on it. Oh well, maybe when the movie hits, it will help clear the inevitable backlog of these sets that will be pegwarming by then (especially since you just know Hasbro won't get the villain characters out in the first few waves of the dedicated Iron Man 3 line).
So, the packaing for this set is just like all the other recent Marvel Universe comic packs. That's neither here nor there. Something about this set in the package is extremely visually assualting to me, though. Maybe it's all that red.
Collectors of the Iron Man 2 line, which I largely consider to be the best Marvel movie line Hasbro has ever done, will no doubt remember how hard it was to get a hold of the final wave of comic series figures, which included the original green version of The Mandarin. That wave never hit mass retail, and was initially only available through e-tailers like BBTS (luckily, I ordered a case through them early), but they soon sold out. Eventually, that wave made its way through the discount chain circuit and hit Ross/Marshalls/TJ Maxx, but many collectors still never saw it, and still don't have Mandarin, arguably the most sought after figure in the wave. He was packed only one per case, after all. So Hasbro did what they do best: They re-released him, albeit in inaccurate colors and with an inaccurate repaint of another figure you probably already own.
The Mandarin figure himself is great. Awesome sculpt detailing, great articulation (especially compared to more recent movie figures), and a removable helmet that actually works and looks great.
The head under the helmet isn't too small, and the helmet doesn't look too bulky when on. That, my friends, is a rare feat for a mass-market toy company to accomplish. The translucent sword is a nice sculpt as well. And check out the Ten Rings, actually sculpted, not just painted, onto Mandarin's hands.
Yes, this is a figure that somebody put some hard work into, and it shows. Incredibly detailed sculpt.
The Silver Centurion Iron Man is a little bit different story. This is also a repaint of a comic series figure from the Iron Man 2 line, although a much less rare one, so chances are that many collectors already have this guy.
The original release actually featured silver paint (and a nicer shade of red). This version, despite it's name, has no silver paint at all, instead using a milky white to represent the silver parts of the "Silver Centurion". And the paint isn't even applied very well. There was quite a bit of smuding on all the samples of this figure I've examined in person, especially around the top of the face. So this guy gets a big fat fail for the paint.
The sculpt and articulation are both solid, however. He's not 100% accurate, since he shares a body with another version of the armor, but he looks enough like the Centurion armor to me. But do yourself a favor: If you want the Silver Centurion armor, track down the original release. It's not hard to find or expensive.
Over all, this set is only worth buying if you missed out on the original release of Mandarin and absolutely have to have him, despite his color, OR if you suffer from an almost unbreakable compulsion to buy repainted "variants" of costumes like I
sometimes usually do. The only reason I justified buying this guy myself was because he reminded me of the original Marvel Legends green and red Mandarin variants (despite the fact that, to my knowledge, this costume never appeared as red in the comics). The Iron Man in this set is a throw-away regardless of your compulsions, just because of its mediocre paint job. If you actually want this set, it's currently hanging on the pegs in just about every Target and Toys R Us store in the US, so have at it.