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Ursa Major

Iron Man Legends
by yo go re

Does a bear shift in the woods?

It's awfully convenient the way mutant powers tend to be narratively concise. Of course Mikhail Uriokivich, the Russian mutant, has the ability to turn into a bear. Of course he does. Why wouldn't his power turn him into the creature that's so often synonymous with his homeland? If mutations were truly random, there'd be just as good a chance he'd have the ability to turn into, I don't know, a camel or something. But how would that ever fit easily into stereotypes? So instead, большой медведь, the Great Bear.

Ursa Major is the Build-A-Figure for the first series of Iron Man Marvel Legends. Buy six of the seven figures (Modular Armor Iron Man has so many new, unique molds there's no room in the budget for BAF extras) and you can assemble the team muscle from Russia's answer to the Avengers, the Winter Guard.

Until getting this figure in hand, we figured he'd be another use of the Sasquatch/​Wendigo mold, but nope, it's all new - guess Hasbro felt they needed a second "giant furry creature" sculpt in their library. The proportions are certainly different: Ursa Major is stockier, with more of a belly, shorter legs, and limbs without all the shaggy fur at the extremities. The figure is 7⅞" tall, so he's shorter than the Canadian BAFs, and while they had areas of their body that appeared mostly hairless, Ursa's got the fur all over. Like a real bear, he's got stubby fingers and toes with large, curled claws coming off them. (My figure has two of the same feet: that's why our Ironheart review erroneously said she came with the left leg.)

Ursa Major retains his intelligence when he transforms into his animal form (or most of it, at least - he does sometimes go a little "berserker" in particularly tough battles). In any case, he's not just a mindless beast. That said, he recognizes the value of intimidation in a fight, so it makes sense the toy is sculpted with its mouth wide open in a roar, baring its teeth and probably spraying spittle everywhere. The tongue is done as a separate piece attached through the back, like Kingpin or Caliban; in fact, that's the piece that plugs onto the neck's balljoint.

Technically that's a barbell joint for the neck - you know, the kind with a ball-and-socket going into the head and a second going into the body. He's also got swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists, a balljointed chest and hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The chest joint tilts all over the place easily enough, but it doesn't want to turn at all - it feels like the plastic bar wants to snap rather than twist, which isn't good. Ursa Major is a heavy toy, as solid as he looks, but the joints are strong enough to hold him up reliably. That's good fun!

Some comics show Ursa Major somehow still wearing his military uniform when he changes into a bear, but that makes no sense, so let's just assume it was a mistake. Being bare naked, you might think there isn't much opportunity for paint on this toy, and you'd mostly be right: he's molded in brown, with some darker airbrushing to accentuate his muscles. The claws get paint apps so they don't blend into the fur, and his blank white eyes have dark circles around them to really make them pop! This is still basically just a plain brown toy, but the small touches do make it interesting.

Depending on how accommodating you're willing to be, Ursa Major completes a team. Other members have come and gone over the years, but the core of the Winter Guard has usually been Red Guardian, Darkstar, Crimson Dynamo, and Ursa Major. And while there have been enough Red Guardians that one of them surely wore this suit while with the team, the Crimson Dynamo was the Mark IV, not the Mark II, so you'd have to be willing to excuse its presence in your lineup. (You could probably use the Mark V, but everyone knows it sucks.) So you can build a Winter Guard, but not the Winter Guard. Still, Ursa Major is a fun BAF, and is definitely a character we've never had before.

Vault Guardsman | Stealth Iron Man | Darkstar | Ironheart | Hologram Iron Man | Ultron

-- 09/09/21

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