I certainly wasn't planning to ever revisit the Marvel section of the Disney Toybox line, but sometimes you surprise yourself.
The first Marvel Toybox product
I got was the Spider-Mobile - partially because of "Spider-Verse," and partially because of "Old Man Logan," but ultimately because it's not like Hasbro was ever going to make one. So it's kind of stupid, then, that my second purchase would be an Iron Man set.
From within his suit of armor, billionaire Tony Stark protects the world.
There are, of course, plenty of Iron Man figures already,
even if all you want to collect is 6" comic figures. Change scale, change medium, and there are dozens more. so if one more is going to stand out, it needs something special.
This figure has something special. Taking a cue from the mid-'90s ToyBiz Iron Man line, we get snap-on armor pieces! That was always a cool feature, so it's nice to see someone bringing it back. This release includes not one, but two alternate sets of armor, each comprising boots, gloves, and a combination chestpiece/shoulder pads. They simply slip onto the figure, not attaching by pegs or anything - that does mean they can get dislodged very easily, but it also means if you happen to already have some Toybox Iron Mans, the armor can fit them just as well as it does this one.
The first suit is an industrial construction/excavation lookin' thing, in dark blue. The flaps over the shoulder are vented, and there's a roll cage over the head to protect from falling debris (like the Aliens Power Loader). A pair of drills are mounted behind the shoulders,
and can pivot to face forward; they also have a knob at the back you can turn to make the drill bit rotate.
There are two tools that fit onto the arms - allegedly. The only way to get them on is to slide them over the hands, but the way the fingers are splayed makes that a chore and a half. The one for the left hand is a massive fist that extends on thin rails, for extra punching power; the one for the right hand is a big pincer that actually closes when you pull back on the handle. Personally, if I were designing something like that, I'd make it so the handle opened the claw and the springs closed it, but I'm no tech genius. The boots have an articulated tank tread that can be folded up against the calf or be hinged down under the foot. There are several ways to do it, but only one puts the wheels on the ground.
The second suit is a set of space armor, if the coloscheme is any indication. The chestplate is thicker and chunkier,
a distinctly different shape, and has a padded collar. A pair of thruster engines stick out the bottom, and the shoulder armor is smooth and angular. This piece fits onto the base figure better than the blue one did.
The boots on this one don't get any cool play features, but they do cover the entire leg instead of just the front (you have to split them in half to get them on the feet). His mission gear includes a big sword coming off the right forearm, and another spring-loaded claw for the left; this one is attached to an elastic cord that runs through a loop on the forearm armor. Both suits of armor add a lot of weight to the back of the figure, which makes him want to tip over - of at least lean way back.
While the modular armor is a fun idea, it's still not enough
to sell a pseudo-animated 5⅜" Iron Man. That honor goes to the actual star of the set, the titular Hall of Armor.
First appearing in 1979's Iron Man #118, the "Hall of Armor" is the place where Tony stores all his unused armors - basically a garage for things that are shaped like people instead of being shaped like cars. It's just an excuse for the artist to draw a bunch of cool suits all standing in a row, but it's also a great way to display toys. After all, what visual difference is there between an empty Iron Man armor and one that has someone inside it? Action figures may represent the latter, but there's nothing to set them apart from the former.
Out of the box, a bit of assembly is required. The hexagonal base plate is surrounded by five individual pods and a ramp/doorway. The pods are molded from a very sturdy plastic, dense and heavy and not the slightest bit flimsy. You might expect some corners to be cut on a display base like this, but not at all! Each one, numbered 2-6 (the fold-down entrayway is #1), is made from two pieces: the red outer shell, and the grey interior, which has been molded with a honeycomb pattern and a "unibeam" shape in the center. There are pegs in the bottom of each alcove, sized for Disney Toybox figures' feet. They can even slide back and forth for the best positioning.
Other than their numbers, the pods are identical -
each has posts on the left side and hooks on the right, so they can clip together to form hinges. Each also has two pegs and two holes, which would allow then to plug together face-to-face if that was something you wanted. It also allows them to plug into the floor and ceiling parts. The floor's got a raised circular platform in the center, with footpegs on it, so the Iron Man can turn to face any direction in the display. The roof piece features an articulated arm that can plug into the back of either torso armor chunk, to make it look like the machines are dressing Tony in his armor, as well as an aperture that opens and closes like a camera lens so Iron Man can fly out.
The fact that the walls are hinged allows you to choose how you want to display the Hall of Armor. A completely flat surface? A little bit of a curve? Two flat pieces that dip back to form a small bay? A fully enclosed tube? They're all viable options, and they all look good. Since all the pods are modular, you can go as wide as you want... or as tall.
There are short pegs on the top of each pod, and holes on the bottom. That means if you buy more than one set, you can stack them for a multi-layered display! You can include a second floorplate, if you want, or leave it out for a double-height hall. Or maybe use the ceiling, so the floor can open or close as need be.
And all that's pretty cool, but ultimately meaningless since no one is army-building ToyBox figures. However: when you stand the included Iron Man in there, you'll find there's a lot of excess room above his head. He does look nice enough, but it's still odd that the pods are so roomy, no? Well, it's probably not intentional, but they're sized a whole lot better for Marvel Legends. Yes, if you buy this Disney Store exclusive set, you can toss the Armor-Up Iron Man and fill the slots with your 6" ToyBiz and Hasbro figures. And the level of detailing is so good, they don't look out of place at all!
Shockingly, this set only retailed for $45 - the included figure may not be our cup of tea, but considering how useful the diorama is, that's not a bad price at all. Then it went on sale for just $30 in late November, and the Disney Store website had a coupon code for 20% off, bringing the total down to a scant $24! Add to that a "free shipping over $75" deal and you've got an unbeatable deal. I wasn't sure how well the set would work with Marvel Legends, so I only took a chance on two of them; now that I've got them in hand, I almost wish I'd done a few more. It certainly beats papercraft.