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Iron Spider

Spider-Man: 60 Amazing Years
by yo go re

There's only been one 6"-scale Iron Spider action figure before, and it was in the first year of Hasbro's Marvel license? 2007? Wonder if this one from a full 15 years later will be better?

In support of the Superhuman Registration Act, Spider-Man joins forces with Tony Stark and receives a new Stark-Tech Iron Spider costume.

Well one thing that's immediately not better is the bio text. That info up above is only available in the marketing copy for the figure, not anywhere on the box. Now obviously we throw the box into the recycling as soon as the figures are reviewed, making even printed text ephemeral, but just as we hated clamshells because you should not need a tool to open your toys, we hate this decision because you shouldn't need internet access to know who your toys are. They've got enough room to put copyright info in a thousand languages, but not enough for character info in even one.

The figure is a new mold. The gold sections on the chest and shoulders are raised above the surface, while the comparitively "plain" arms and legs have a softer level of detail than usual superhero sculpts - making clear this is armor, not cloth. Thin armor, but armor nonetheless. And speaking of thin, this body is. It's more "Pizza Spidey" than "Retro Spidey," if you follow. It's suitable for a Spider-Man, even one who's been wrapped up in iron blankets by his uncle Tony.

The back of the suit has the pack where the Iron Spider's famous legs will eventually plug in. It's always been weird that he only has three of them, right? The movies were smart, they gave him four, because why would you not give him four? Are spiders famous for having seven legs? Of course not! On the old toy, the pack's sockets were aligned with one at the top, two at the bottom, but this one has two up one down, which means the arms end up having to overlap one another if they're going to look even remotely correct from the front.

The '07 Iron Spider was very bright: the metallic red was intense, and the yellow was right off a lemon. This one still gets the metallic sheen, but the red is darker and the yellow is actually gold the way a Tony Stark design should be. The eyes of the mask still act like goggles rather than lenses, bulging out above the surface of the mask, but the head is a better shape this time than before. The red on the torso is a bit deeper than the limbs - literally deeper, almost like the color is beneath the surface, rather than on it. Is it a question of PVC vs. ABS?

Articulation in the body is good. The toy has swivel/hinged ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinge elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, pec hinges, a hinged neck and balljointed head. He also has both fists and thwip hands, so you can choose how you want him to fight. Given the timing of Hasbro's first Iron Spider, it had to have been one of the figures that was in the works under ToyBiz (same as their first series of ML), so any oddities of its articulation can be laid back there, not on Hasbro; this one keeps pace with all the modern toys anyway.

And then there are the Iron Spider arms. The waldoes. They're the same kind of gold as the rest of the suit, so they blend in, and the sculpt is nice, but the articulation is actually pretty bad. For one thing, most of the joints are fake: if you look at each individual arm, they're designed with six joints, but half of them are just sculptural elements, not functional. In fact, it's literally every other joint - they move where they join the body, then you skip one, then you have a real joint, then you skip one, then you have a real joint, then you skip the last one. Just make them joints, don't waste time pretending.

Additionally, while the joints we do get are swivel/hinges, they're like the NECA Planet of the Apes elbows, where the swivel was designed going the wrong way, so turning it means you can no longer access the hinge. It's bad design, it's an easy mistake to see during the design process and fix, and it makes the already half-useless arms even worse. Considering this is one mold used three times, they absolutely should have just make the things that look like swivels be swivels, the things that look like hinges be hinges, and given us arms that work the way they're supposed to work instead of utterly halfassing it.

This Iron Spider figure is better than the old one, obviously, but while the body is a huge step up, the arms are a minor improvement at best and we should have gotten better. That old review closed by saying fans had a lot to look forward to, and history's proven us absolutely right about that, but that level of quality we've come to expect over the last decade and a half also means this Iron Spider's arms are a gigantic disappointment that drag the figure down.

-- 11/22/22

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