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Iron Man Mark VI

Mighty Muggs
by Rustin Parr

Two years ago, when the first Iron Man movie came out, Hasbro represented it at SDCC with a Mighty Mugg of the movie armor. It was painted in metallic colors and I lusted for it something mighty. However, I still hadn't jumped on the Mighty Mugg bandwagon. Being a compulsive completist I knew it was a line I could easily get hooked on and, at $10 apiece, was not a line I could afford. Thus I reasoned myself out of buying in. Several months later Hasbro re-released Series 1 and when I found that first Iron Man figure from the regular line I bought it and haven't looked back since. The SDCC Iron Man Mugg will always be one of those famous regretted passed-on purchases in my life, so with no hesitation did I purchase the Iron Man 2 exclusive Mighty Mugg. Not only does it feature the Mark VI armor, it comes with an opening face mask!

97% of the time, a Mighty Mugg is 100% paint (in terms of what sets it apart from others), so let's start there. "Stellar" is the word that comes to mind. It uses the metallic scheme excellently (metallic paint being, of course, one of my kryptonites - something that will always draw me closer than push me farther). It also incorporates my favorite thing about the Mark VI armor, which is the silver parts on the legs and biceps. Ever since Bryan Hitch introduced silver into the Iron Man palette with Ultimate Iron Man (my second-favorite IM armor of all time) it's been something I was hoping for in the movies, and the payoff is great.

It's not overwhelming as with Ultimate IM, but is just enough to break up and highlight the gold and red making all three shades pop visually. Ever better is that the figure uses the more aggressive shadowing paint style the line has evolved into. Shadowing is the main reason I prefer Mez-Itz to Mighty Muggs - since the concept is "generic body individualized by paint," the more detailed the paint is, the better the figure looks (of course there are exceptions - like the Series 1 Silver Age Iron Man Mighty Mugg [my first favorite IM armor] which is essentially only red and yellow with some black details - whose simplicity of paint highlights the simplicity of the format in a great way).

Of course another concern is "why Mark VI, since that's the armor used for the Toys Я Us exclusive Iron Man 2 Mighty Mugg?" Well, apparently someone at Hasbro had some pretty bad concept art or the juggernaut that is Hasbro couldn't make changes to the product in time (DST got the armor right on their Minimates and Marvel Select figures) because that Mighty Mugg is just like the original release of the Mark VI 4" figure - no silver parts. Essentially the TRU figure is the Mark IV armor with the Mark VI triangular chest icon. Talk about nitpicky! At any rate the SDCC Mugg solves the problem and delivers in spades.

Even Tony's unmasked face looks pretty good, with nice shadowing as well. Though, I must confess the shadowy face and determined glare makes me unclear if this is meant to be Tony with the mask open or Tony inside the helmet (nitpicky! Tell me about it!), but it works either way. The only issue is one unavoidable to the Mighty Mugg format and that is a noticeably large volume of dead space on either side of the face. By needing the face to fit within the opening rather than on the whole head, the conceit of proportional exaggeration is lost. He still looks cool with the helmet open, which is good news as I bet most people will choose to display him that way.

So what is the deal with the opening faceplate!?

Tony here gets an all-new Mighty Mugg head; a very rare occurrence to be sure! The new head has the jawline of the helmet sculpted on, with the interior receding back and lessening as the jawline goes up and out so that it's flush at the "ears." At that place (aka mid-point of the head on either side) there is a recessed circle with a semi-circle plug. The faceplate clips into the plug which has a rivet-like protrusion that clicks into one of two divets in the plug to hold the faceplate in open or closed mode. While fairly specific to Iron Man, like all Mighty Mugg-ery there is some decent reuse potential for this head (obviously War Machine comes to mind, but anything with a chin strap could use this, it could have been a neat Mugg version of the dumb "super armor" in the GI Joe movie or could give a chin strap and holding clips for a Rebel Blockade Runner's helmet).

Any way you slice it, this is just a great figure - a cool new head and feature plus excellent paint! For all intents and purposes, the Mighty Muggs franchise is dead (at least in the 6" size), so if this in fact the end of the line, it sure is one hell of a high note to go out on.

-- 05/16/11


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