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Hulkbuster Iron Man

Iron Man: Armored Avenger
by yo go re

Next summer, when Iron Man dons his Hulkbuster armor in Avengers 2: Avenge Harder, it won't really be the first time such an armor has been seen in the movie continuity.

Tony Stark is always thinking ahead about how best to protect Earth. One of the dangers that has preoccupied him for years is the one posed by the Hulk. Stark built the Hulkbuster Iron Man armor, an immensely powerful suit designed specifically to take down the Hulk and prevent him from threatening the planet.

To tie in with Iron Man 2, Kmart had an exclusive "Proving Ground" three-pack, which featured a repainted Iron Monger with a new head. And then after the movie, in the short-lived Armored Avenger spin-off line, there was this version. They may not have appeared on film, but they were definitely part of the same world.

This figure is actually a repaint of one from the first movie's "Concept Series" - well, two or three. The mold was first painted black and bronze as the Subterranean Armor, and later in red and black as the Heavy Artillery Armor, then finally as a TRU-exclusive Arctic Crusader in blue and black as part of the Iron Man 2 line. Anyway, none of those were particularly easy to find (not that this Hulkbuster was, either), so using their bulky mold as the basis for a red and gold Hulkbuster is okay by us.

And "bulky" is is. Yes, there's extra armor on the shoulders, chest, hips, shins and feet, but even the limbs are larger than they were on the standard body. He's clearly not just wearing oversized boots and gloves, this suit is chunkier from the inside out. All the shapes are the same as the movie armor, just made bigger.

Same goes for the head, though you may rarely see it - something this armor has that none of the other uses did is a removable helmet that fits over the existing helmet, fitting perfectly into the ring of armor around the neck. The original thing was (digitally) sculpted by Jay Kushwara, but it's unclear whether the helmet was made at the same time as the rest, or designed to integrate with the existing body later.

Knowing that the figure was digitally sculpted, we have to wonder if one particular quirk of its articulation would exist had it been created traditionally: no matter how you pose him, you can't get his feet flat on the ground. There seems to be a tilt out to the side, so his weight rests on the interior arches, and there's no natural way of posing him that will correct for it. His articulation is all the same as the normal armors, but he's also got hinges to lift that shoulder armor out of the way.

In addition to the new helmet, Hulkbuster gets a little extra mass from a backpack that originally came with the Heavy Artillery suit - fittingly, the package calls it a Heavy Artillery Launcher. It has four... things... sticking out the corners: the top two swivel, while the bottom two are on balljoints. Presumably they're meant to be guns or something, but only one of them actually fires a projectile. Eh, use your imagination. Maybe they're antennae designed to absorb ambient gamma radiation, which would weaken Hulk the longer they fought.

Compared to a real Hulkbuster, this armor isn't very impressive - and it's sure to be dwarfed by the Avengers 2 build-a-figure we'll have next year - but it's cool to remember that there was already a movieverse Hulkbuster out there.

-- 12/29/14

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