As a sometimes reluctant toy addict I have started many a toy review with the words, “I hadn’t planned on buying this…”
This is one of those reviews.
Mezco’s One:12 Collective line of action figures has been my favorite toy line for a few years now. Aside from one release that had a production error (Reverse Flash, who I returned three times and never got one that wasn’t defective) every figure I’ve bought from this line has ranged from very good to amazing. They’re expensive, but out of everything I collect these figures leave me feeling like I got my money’s worth more than anything else.
Although I have to admit that in the last year Hasbro has upped their game with the MCU Marvel Legends in a big way.
One:12 is still the premiere line in my opinion, though, and the one giving me definitive versions of my favorite characters. The key is that I try to stick to just my favorite characters due to the premium pricing. But sometimes due to extenuating circumstances that doesn’t always work out.
In a good news/bad news situation, my Local Comic Shop has a new deal with a toy distributor. This means that rather than going through Diamond, who are unreliable at best and aggressively bad at worst, these toys are coming direct from NECA, Funko, and Mezco. So now there’s a whole section of current releases from those companies, plus a ton of Marvel Legends that you won’t necessarily see at Target right now.
The best/worst part is that the seller has most of the One:12 Collective figures that have come out over the past couple of years and they’re right there on the shelf where you can look at them. And as I’ve mentioned in these reviews before, seeing these figures in person is a whole different experience from seeing them online.
So now I own a One:12 Collective Iron Man.
Our Head of Research, Ryan, had been telling me how great it was and after seeing it and holding the box, I had to see for myself. Is it as definitive as other One:12 figures or should you stick to your twenty dollar Hasbro figure? Read on and find out!
Iron Man comes in the now-standard One:12 window box with a slipcover.
I love the old school comic book logo on the front, as well as the inclusion of “The Invincible”.
The back consists of photos detailing product features, which is a good thing because until I looked at it I had no idea the faceplate actually lifted up to reveal Tony Stark’s handsome mug. And this is after I took all of these pictures. I actually had to go back and get shots of this feature. That’s how well done the head is. But I’ll get to that.
The interior consists of the same kind of plastic trays that Mezco has been using from the start. The figure and each accessory are securely packed and separated from the other items. Everything is easy to remove and replace. This is the ultimate in toy packaging.
At first glance – and grasp – this seems like it could be the greatest Iron Man figure ever. It’s something very different for Mezco – a figure with no soft goods and every point of articulation exposed. As such, it’s competing with basically every twenty dollar Iron Man Hasbro has ever made and needed to be something truly special to justify the high-end pricing. It mostly is.
Thanks to metal parts – the chest, forearms, and most of the boots – Iron Man has a fantastic heft. This is apparent as soon as you pick up the box if you have experience with One:12 figures and it is one of the factors that make this one stand out as a superior product.
You might think that there would be visual incongruity between the plastic and metal parts, but there isn’t. Thanks to careful color matching and Mezco’s usual exacting standards for sculpt, you cannot tell which parts are metal and which are plastic from just looking. This has been an issue with toys that have combined materials in the past and was one of my concerns with this one.
While the materials work beautifully, the sculpt had to be spot-on as well. Mezco typically deals in generic bodies covered in costumes, so a fully sculpted figure was a big departure. I think they did a wonderful job of creating a detailed, yet streamlined look that fits in with the One:12 aesthetic of “comic book reality”.
Personal taste is going to play a bigger role in your appreciation of this figure than it might in others. Some might have preferred more paint, but I love the clean look of the unadorned metallic red and gold. I love the decision to give the red portions more detail than the gold. Iron Man’s arms and legs have sculpted plating and rivets and keep things fairly simple. The helmet, torso, gloves, and boots all feature finer details that suggest more tech and flexibility. It’s a wonderful combination of Iron Man’s classic look with a modern aesthetic. Hasbro has mostly done either/or and has never achieved this kind of synthesis.
The only marks against this figure visually are the elbow and knee joints. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them bad, but they’re stumbling points when taking in the otherwise beautiful profile.
The head looks great. I mean, it would probably be kind of hard to screw up and Iron Man head, but this one looks perfect. What makes it stand out isn’t the helmet, though, it’s the face within and the mechanism Mezco used to reveal it. The faceplate is magnetic and is designed to sit either closed or raised. And when it’s closed, it is so flush with the sculpt that I didn’t even realize it opened until I went back and looked at my pictures of the box.
The Tony Stark face within is excellent and provides an interesting contrast to the appealing simplicity of the Iron Man armor. The skin color is Mezco’s usual realistic-looking quality and the paint application on the eyes and facial hair is flawless. It almost makes me want a suited Tony with this portrait.
As a matter of fact, if Mezco wanted to release that with some interchangeable or add-on Iron Man parts like gloves, a partial helmet, a briefcase, and maybe even a chest plate of some kind, I’d buy it.
There’s the weird presence of flesh-colored paint on either side of the head and it looks weird in these up-close pictures, but isn’t even noticeable in hand.
I particularly like the padding visible on Tony’s chin and forehead, though it makes the Iron Man armor seem even more claustrophobic than it already is. The interior of the faceplate is another nice detail, though I don;t love that it’s a sticker and not printed on the plastic.
The last and perhaps most interesting detail of this figure is the electronic light-up arc reactor.
Batteries are not included, so I had to go on Amazon and judge for myself which teeny-tiny button batteries that only come in packs of a dozen or more were least likely to be dead and sold by some scammer in Cambodia. Fortunately I chose wisely.
The arc reactor shines bright as a mofo, which was critical since there is a plug-in repulsor beam effect that is intended to light up. The illumination looks great even with the piece installed, which you do by actually removing the small circular piece on top of the light and plugging in the effect. That circular piece seems delicate at first and I was nervous about breaking it, but it’s a sturdy little part.
The battery chamber is located underneath a plate on the figure’s back that also seems somewhat fragile, or at least like it might not stay on. So far it’s fine.
The plate comes off easily to reveal a switch and a single-screw panel. The screw is super tiny and I had to dig through the toolbox to find a phillips head screwdriver small enough to unscrew it. Dealing with all of these tiny parts and the tiny batteries was a little challenging. Be aware that, unlike many battery-operated toys, this screw is not affixed to the battery cover and can fall out. If you drop it on the carpet you will have to get Rick Moranis and his kids to come over and find it for you.
Some of the articulation on this figure is more limited than I would like. Iron Man’s design and the necessity of a smooth profile resulted in limitations at the shoulders, hips, and ankles. While I still had lots of fun posing this figure and experimenting with its range of flexibility, it simply isn’t as poseable as a Marvel Legends figure.
The most disappointing aspect to me is Mezco’s continued inability to provide more range in the ankles. I would have thought that Iron Man’s design would have provided the perfect opportunity for the One:12 line to finally have a figure that had some decent ankle joints, but ol’ bucket head has the same sadly limited ankles as the rest of the line. Normally I’d claim that this makes his double-jointed knees fairly useless, but since this character flies there are some benefits.
I want to point out that Mezco’s dedication to balancing aesthetics and articulation is the reason for the limited ankle joints, but I continue to find them the most frustrating aspect of the line.
The Invincible Iron Man comes with the standard One:12 stand, four alternate hands, two hip rocket launchers, two wrist rocket effects, four repulsor effects, two repulsor blast effects, one arc reactor blast effect, and a Mylar storage bag.
This figure has a lot of little pieces that seem like they might not stay on very well, including the back plate and arc reactor cover I mentioned above. Surprisingly, everything plugs or snaps securely into place and stays there, even as you play with the figure not particularly cautiously.
I don’t think I’ve gone into this before, but I have two stages of accessory testing. First I carefully attach the pieces in whatever way they are meant to interact and carefully move the figure around to look at the angles and see how well the piece is affixed. Then I pose and handle the figure in the same manner I would if the accessories weren’t there. I don’t toss it around or anything, but I do want to find out how well everything stays put.
In the case of Iron Man, it all works nicely.
The figure has two peg holes in the bottom of each foot that can accommodate the peg on the stand or any of the repulsor effects.
The hands switch out easily and stay put unless you bend the wrists too far, then they slide off their pegs a bit. Both sets of open hands feature the repulsor emitters, but in the wide open hands they are recessed enough that you can plug any of the effect pieces into them.
The wrist rocket blast effects have itty-bitty little tabs that plug into itty-bitty little holes on the gauntlets. If you need reading glasses you will have to put them on to do this. I didn’t expect them to stay put very well, but they did. And they look really cool.
To place the hip rocket launchers you remove the discs from either side of the figure’s belt and simply plug the “firing” versions in. This was more annoying than I expected it to be. The fit is really snug and you can’t see the tabs while you’re plugging them in, so it takes a little effort to get them on. Once they’re on they look really neat and they do stay in place.
All of the included offensive weapons work well and look great. It would have been awesome to have even more modular pieces to add on, but these things still have to come in at a reasonable price. I’m almost surprised that Mezco didn’t release a deluxe version like they have with other characters.
The stand is the best in the business. It includes a large base with a removable peg for when you want the figure just standing there. The armature plugs into the hole left when you remove the peg. Its joints are very tight, which is important because it has to support this unusually heavy figure.
These stands are excellent and are necessary for some of the figures, but they sure do take up a lot of real estate. I am currently out of room on my One:12 shelves and it’s thanks to these stands. They’re big, but at the same time they do give a nice sense of presentation to the display and, unlike other stands, add a cool visual flair to the figures that lend them an extra air of fanciness.
Hasbro has made a lot of great Iron Man figures. The 80th Anniversary figure coming out this fall looks amazing. And if I’m being completely honest, you should probably spend $20-25 and get one of those. If you need a light-up feature, the one from the Infinity War 3-pack with Thanos and Doctor Strange has it and it’s great.
Hasbro’s figures sport much better articulation, design that’s as good as this one if not better, and obviously are much cheaper.
If, however, the high-end aspects of this release appeal to you and you want an iconic Iron Man that’s not made out of cheap, sort of rubbery plastic and that has no issues standing up and that includes a ton of great accessories; well, this figure is for you.
This is a great action figure and I’m happy to own it. If I just wanted a great Iron Man without any consideration for innovation, significance to toy history, and overall quality I’d pick a Marvel Legends release. But this one is a unique and interesting figure that deserves its place on my One:12 shelves.
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