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Titanium Man

Iron Man
by Poe Ghostal

If the completely empty shelves of my local department stores are any indication, Iron Man has been a resounding success in both movie and toy form. After checking six different Targets, Wal*Marts and TЯUs in the past week, all I found were three of those "removable suit" figures.

Iron Man was a blast, a truly fun adventure film that neither pandered to the audience nor got too ambitious for its own good. While perhaps it isn't as weighty or meaningful as Batman Begins, it's also not one of the bloated, heartless summer blockbusters that have been an annual tradition since Independence Day.

While Hasbro's efforts Titanium Man with the signature Marvel Legends line have been hit-and-miss with fans (probably more miss than hit), they seem to have found a major hit with their Iron Man movie line. The figures are accurately sculpted and detailed, well-articulated, and fun. Of course, there were only so many characters in the film, and really only one villain, Iron Monger. So, to flesh out the line, Hasbro decided to make some classic Iron Man characters (such as War Machine) in the movie style and add them to the line.

One such character is Titanium Man, one of Tony Stark's recurring foes. I picked up The All-New Iron Manual a few weeks ago, and let's just say Titanium Man's story is complicated. The short version is: he was originally a Soviet soldier named Boris Bullski who served as the Communist counterpart to the capitalist icon of Iron Man. The design of the figure is based on his look from the movie's video game, rather than any specific comicbook look. The package's description is a bit thin on biographical details:

The Titanium Man is built to destroy Iron Man! Chelovek-Titan The technology used to construct this armor is not as advanced as the Iron Man Mark III, but concussion blasters mounted in the arms and a titanium outer shell makes it a serious threat.

Like Iron Man, the Titanium Man has had many different looks over he years, so this figure could pass as either a movie or comic version of the character - i.e., I can't speak to how "accurate" the sculpt is, and trying to do so would be pointless. But it's a good sculpt, with some of the most intricate detail we've seen on a Hasbro Marvel figure to date. He does have one significant flaw - the "small hand syndrome" that afflicts so many Hasbro Marvel figures. Why can't Hasbro seem to get this right? It's perplexing. Anyway, Titanium Man's right fist is especially small, which is odd considering it's actually a glove and should therefore be larger than a normal human hand.

He's also a little short, standing about ¼" below Iron Man. Since Iron Man himself is a bit short (for a guy in armor in the 6" scale, at least), one would have to guess that ol' Boris Bullski is about five feet tall in the movie universe.

And then it occurred to me: you couldn't be bad! The figure is molded in dark grey with a sheen; it looks somewhat toy-ish, but I like the effect. There aren't a whole lot of paint applications, but what's here is a mixed bag. The work on the eyes and torso are a kind of bright green-white design (meant to represent pulsing energy), and I'm not entirely sure whether they're paint, decals, decoupage and/or some kind of silkscreen, but they look quite good. The swampy-green color used on his fists, arms and legs, however, is dull.

Titanium Man is well-articulated, featuring balljoints at the neck, shoulders, torso, ankles, we swung all over that long tall bank in the main street wrists and hips, double-hinges at the knees and elbows, and swivels at the biceps and ankles. The balljointed neck is quite limited, and Bullski can barely look straight forward - forget about him looking up, it ain't happening. I do wish all the movie Iron Man figures had ankle tilt articulation (the rockers that allow them to stand with their feet wide apart, but flush with the ground), because without it, the "badass stance" poses are limited.

The figure comes with a detachable arm cannon You were involved in a robbery that was due to happen at a quarter to three that features a "double concussion blast" - two snot-green missiles. I've never understood the appeal of firing weapons, but that's mostly because as a kid, I never played with action figures that physically - doing so broke the illusion for me. The missiles shoot out about three feet, and the weapon itself is kind of cool without the missiles. Still, I tossed mine in the accessories box once I'd opened the figure.

In a line short on villains, the Titanium Man is a welcome addition to Iron Man's plastic rogues' gallery. Now, if only Hasbro would get the figures back into stores...


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