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Captain America Armor

Iron Man
by yo go re

Round about the time Marvel's Civil War was going on, an image appeared online, showing a previous piece of Iron Man art by Marc Silvestri recolored to sport Captain America's trademark colors. Some folks thought it was a fake, put together by fans (it wasn't). Others thought it was a spoiler for the end of Civil War, with Steve Rogers donning the suit (it wasn't that, either). All it was was someone playing around with a nice piece of art to create something new, but it was also too good an idea to pass up forever (something that probably sounds pretty familiar to comic fans).

Programmed with every possible piece of information about the fighting style used by Captain America, this armor allows Iron Man to mimic the moves of his friend and fellow hero. With the power of the armor, and the moves of the world's foremost fighter, nothing can stand in his way!

Hasbro's Iron Man toyline is a huge success, but that means they've had to dive head-first into the variation pool pretty quickly. Of course, Iron Man may be the only character for whom all those silly new suits make sense, so it's not such a bad thing. Along with Torpedo Armor, Satellite Armor and the made-up things like that, we also got the Captain America Armor. Since it's the only one to actually appear in the comics, it's obviously the hardest to find right now.

This figure shares its mold with the standard MkII and III armors, so everything we've said about those continues to hold true. The design is as true to the movie as it can be, with vaguely anatomical shapes to to the various plates of armor, but still remaining obviously a machine, not a living metal thing. The fine detail, such as the bolts on his chest and shoulders or the vents on his back, is captured well. There's even sculpting on the insides of his joints, for when they're exposed.

The paint is what makes this figure what it is, but unfortunately, that's where things fall apart. So far every Captain America Armor Iron Man I've seen has had one major paint flaw or another. Now, the original art was a recolored version of the so-called "Extremis" Armor, which is close to the movie's, but has some definite differences; Hasbro's done its best to copy the comic, but some things just can't line up. But that's not the issue, here. No, we're talking paint smears, sloppy lines, poor coverage and more. The silver on the biceps has a red tint from the plastic beneath, and one of the arms has a big red blotch near the pit. The trunk is mostly problem-free - the blue is much lighter on the toy than on the prototype images - but the back of his knees are a mess. This is still the best CAAIM I've found yet, and thankfully for the most part you'll be able to see the biggest problems before you buy.

Iron Man stands 6¼" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. It's the same articulation seen on every other Iron Man figure, pretty much, so if you have any of them yet, you know what to expect. His wrist pegs (molded in blue, so they really stand out blatantly from the red gloves) seem a little too long, meaning the hands don't rest right up against the forearms. On the plus side, that means you can actually get him into a halfway decent "repulsor blast" pose, despite the big cuff on the back of his hands. All the joints are tight, and will hold whatever poe you like.

Captain America Armor Iron Man comes with one "missile launcher" (i.e., repulsor cannon), just like most the plain armors, done up in silver and blue. That's nice, but the key accessory is the shield. Yes, this is the same mold all the ML Captains America came with, but isn't that the way it should be? If this suit is programmed with all Cap's fighting skills, shouldn't the shield be as close a duplicate as possible? It can either clip onto his forearm, as you'd expect, or sling on his back with some trouble.

Silvestri's original drawing of Iron Man showed up as the cover of Civil War: The Initiative #1 in April of 2007, proving that it wasn't the fake some people claimed it was. Of course, as we said above, the recolored version was just too good an idea to pass up, so it was used in February of 2008 as the cover for a What If...? special focusing on Civil War. The issue featured two short stories, as well as a framing device set at Steve Rogers' grave, and the first tale, "What If Captain America Led All The Heroes Against Registration?", saw Steve donning a red, white and blue set of armor to help lead the fight against the government - yes, it's an entire story inspired by a single piece of art. Don't be so shocked: DC used to do that kind of thing all the time back in Silver Age. And it really is some nice art.

Honestly, I'm surprised this figure got made. It's not that Captain America Armor Iron Man doesn't deserve a toy, but that this is the type of thing you might expect to see as a small convention exclusive, not hanging on the pegs at your local retailer. But hey, all the better! That means you don't have to pay scalper prices for him. Well, in theory. He is still the fastest seller in his assortment. It's a decent toy, and comes straight from the comics, but you really must see it in person before buying: the paint issues are endemic, so it's really a question of finding the one that has the fewest glaring problems.

-- 01/07/09

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