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The Incredible Hulk
by yo go re

You know you've run out of ideas when you start ripping off your own characters.

Bathed in cosmic rays, Ironclad found his body altered into a super-tough living metal. Betting on his unbreakable skin, and his new super strength, he targets the Hulk for a take down. His metal skin clangs as he rains blows down on the green Goliath, but even that won't be enough to keep the Hulk down for long.

Ironclad is the ersatz Thing in the villainous Fantastic Four known (ridiculously) as the U-Foes. If the little blurb on the cover of their first appearance in Incredible Hulk #254 is to be believed, they were named after the 1979 Graham Parker song "Waiting for the UFOs" (he pronouned UFO as if it were an actual word instead of three letters). In kayfabe, the name comes from the guy who got the group together: Simon Utrecht. Yeah, that's quite a stretch to excuse a crappy name.

This figure is based on the Incredible Hulk videogame, but his game design (unlike Bi-Beast) is basically the same as in the comics. In his first appearance, Ironclad was rough and craggy, more obviously based on the Thing. After losing control of his ability to alter his density, he sank into the center of the earth, where he was polished smooth and gained his familiar look. The videogame version matches that pretty closely - he's just missing his little skirt.

Ironclad's paint is really nice. His body is cast in silver plastic, much like Hasbro's Doctor Doom, but then he's got a bit of shading done in a metallic purplish blue, which does a good job of capturing the look of light reflecting off polished steel. He may not be wearing a skirt, but he does have shoes, now, with strappy bits running up to his knees, and what seems to be some sort of unitard with belt.

Sadly, Ironclad does have an action feature - in his case, a "one-two punch." Twist his waist, and he alternates punching with both arms. It works as promised, but honestly, plain joints would have been better. You can still pose his shoulders somewhat, as they click noisily through their preset positions, but the elbows are spring-loaded and tied directly to the mechanism inside, so they remain permanently bent. The wrists and hips are swivels, the knees are hinged, and he has balljointed ankles. The waist is a swivel, of course, as turning it is what activates the action feature.

You'll notice that Ironclad doesn't have any neck articulation, which makes much less sense here than it did for Bi-Beast. Yes, he has a distinctly square head, but they still could have given him a joint there. With the flat head, he looks like a Dick Tracy villain. And because of typical comicbook conventions, it turns out Ironclad's real name is Mike Steel.

The villain gets one accessory: a big chunk of concrete he can wear on either hand like a boxing glove. It's detailed pretty well, with a smooth texture between the large cracks on the surface, but a rougher feel where it was obviously ripped out of the ground. It's a very simple piece, made from soft rubber, and is made cooler by the fact that you can give it to any toy with the appropriately sized hand - or make Ironclad wear it like a hat.

Since the Incredible Hulk movie line is ostensibly in a 3¾" scale, Ironclad isn't really big enough to hang with your Marvel Legends - he's a dead even 6" tall, but the character is supposed to be huge. The same general size as the Hulk. Of course, you could always put Ironclad with the similarly undersized Thing and make him look better by comparison. Like that Thing, he looks like he'd be perfect for a 5" scale line, but as a villain we've never had before (and are unlikely to ever see again), Ironclad is worth picking up on the cheap.

-- 05/25/09

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