76083 Beware the Vulture is the larger of the two Spider-Man: Homecoming sets which have recently been released and is by far the more interesting in my opinion. The Vulture himself is exclusive to this set and comes with a huge wing assembly which looks tremendous in the official images, as does the colourful Shocker figure.
It is unusual to see all four main characters from a film in a single set but that certainly seems to be the case here. Furthermore, the relatively modest price of £44.99 or $39.99 increases its appeal very significantly and the set therefore seems likely to be among the most popular of the summer, depending on the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Spider-Man made his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe last year and a corresponding minifigure featured in 76067 Tanker Truck Takedown. This version is similar to the original but has not been limited by concept artwork so is more faithful to the source material. The head, torso and arms are printed with black webbing which looks splendid in contrast with the red and dark blue of Spider-Man's suit, as do the bright white eyes. Cannisters of web fluid line the belt while the symbols on the front and back of the torso have been updated to more accurately reflect Spider-Man's latest cinematic incarnation.
The legs are dual-moulded to form boots and some further detail is visible on the dark blue thighs which looks great. This is definitely my favourite Spider-Man minifigure to date but trailers for the film confirm that the web-slinger will also don his homemade outfit so I wonder whether that design could have featured as an alternative in this set. An identical figure appears in 76082 ATM Heist Battle, thereby providing an opportunity to maximise the variety of Spider-Man costumes by including the homemade version here.
Spider-Man is equipped with a full range of accessories in this set. The power blasts which first appeared in January are now available in white to serve as web bullets and they can be launched by pressing on the tail. A length of white string and a standard web are also included, although the net component found in several sets last year is absent which is a little disappointing. Of course, Peter Parker is not free of responsibility even when in the midst of battle and the minifigure therefore comes complete with a printed mobile phone tile too!
There has been relatively little variation in the design of Spider-Man minifigures since the first sets were released in 2003. Iron Man, on the other hand, wears a new suit almost every year and the Mark XLVII armour is the latest such upgrade. The designs on the torso and legs are similar to past Iron Man minifigures but for the new metallic silver printing which covers the abdomen, hips and thighs. It looks marvellous and is present on both sides of the torso but the legs are not dual-moulded which is a bit of a shame.
The faceplate opens and you can also remove the helmet entirely, revealing a trans-light blue head. I was expecting to find Tony Stark's face underneath so this was quite a surprise and seems to suggest that F.R.I.D.A.Y. will be in control of the suit at some point during the film. Iron Man's repulsors are represented using trans-light blue 1x1 round plates and 1x1 cylinders but the figure does not come with matching power blasts.
Vulture is one of Spider-Man's oldest enemies, having made his first appearance in 1963's The Amazing Spider-Man #2. It is therefore quite surprising that Michael Keaton's upcoming portrayal will mark the first film depiction of the character, although he was previously considered as a villain in the cancelled Spider-Man 4 which had been planned for release in 2011. Vulture wears the same helmet as Invincible Iron Man but it features a new printed design so looks almost entirely different in dark green. I was initially unsure about this but it looks brilliant in person and is fairly accurate to the design seen in the movie.
A comic book version of the Vulture appeared in 76059 Spider-Man: Doc Ock's Tentacle Trap last year and the head from that minifigure is reused here. It resembles Michael Keaton to a reasonable degree but there is no hair piece included which is a little disappointing. A dark tan version of the element worn by Peter Venkman and Grand Moff Tarkin, among others, would have been ideal. However, Vulture's fur-lined jacket is perfect, with straps crossing the front and back of the torso while the dark green legs are left without printing.
A trans-clear bracket fits around the Vulture's neck to attach his wings. They are highly detailed but appear too large for the minifigure, particularly when compared with the source material. The scaling seems more appropriate in person and is certainly suitable for play but those who wish to display a more accurate version of the Vulture might need to design their own wing assembly. I am intending to do just that and might publish an article with my findings at some point soon.
Trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming have revealed two characters taking on the mantle of the Shocker, played by Bokeem Woodbine and Logan Marshall-Green. This version features a reddish brown head which has appeared in five previous sets but is without the helmet shown in some promotional shots. That accessory would have been welcome but we see the Shocker in action without a mask in the trailers so it is not a necessity in my opinion.
The Shocker wears a black hooded jacket but is really distinguished from other minifigures by his bright yellow arms. I love the cross hatching printed on either side and the pearl silver gloves are perfect to replicate the vibro-shock gauntlets seen in the film. These slot over a standard pair of hands and can be removed with ease to grip other accessories if you prefer.
The Completed Model
The Vulture's wings span just over 20cm and are highly articulated, with hinges beside the minifigure as well as at the feather-like wing tips. These allow you to create some very dynamic poses as the wings shift to change direction and it is a bit of a shame that no stand is included to display the Vulture in flight. Nevertheless, you can stand him on the lower edges of the wings and the rear turbines, as shown below.
Stud shooters are fitted on either side of the Vulture. They can be removed to be held in his hands and you could fit a couple of other accessories in their place. Two stickers depict mechanical detail at the rear and a single thrust nozzle is situated underneath. The wing suit is protected by light bluish grey armour plating and I think the tesselated pentagonal tiles look great, providing a welcome contrast with the dark green which otherwise dominates the model.
Two multidirectional turbines are fitted to the back of the wing suit pack using ball joints. They are therefore very easy to pose and look brilliant when matched with the positioning of the wings, as though the Vulture is swooping from one direction to another. It is unfortunate that the 4x4 round plates have no turbines in the centre, although you could imagine that they are moving too fast to see.
The Shocker drives a white van in this set. I am not sure whether the vehicle is based on anything specific from the film but it looks pretty good on the whole, with a beefy profile and plenty of detail. To me it most closely resembles a refrigerated truck given the curvature of the rear storage section but it could just as easily be a standard van, albeit one driven by a supervillain and containing an enormous rotary cannon!
This truck clearly belongs in the heat of battle as patches of web are scattered across the model and the bonnet is dented to reveal part of the engine underneath. These details are formed using clear-backed stickers and the number plate is also reliant upon a sticker. You may notice that it contains the initials 'JR' for Justin Ramsden, the designer of the set.
Further stickers add some extra detail along either side of the truck and yellow stripes run from the cab to the rear. These yellow details are set behind some hinges which look rather awkward, although I am not sure how else the folding roof feature could have been implemented. A door covers the back of the model and I love the sticker but the shaping of the hatch is not ideal as it leaves some unsightly areas of the structure exposed.
Removing the roof of the cab reveals a steering wheel and room for only a single minifigure, despite the eight stud width of the model. The storage section hinges open and contains two crates, a large multi-stud shooter and the components required to assemble a rifle. These are fitted to the walls and the weapon matches that wielded by Kraven the Hunter in last year's 76057 Spider-Man: Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle.
The rotary stud shooter is mounted on a Technic liftarm so can be raised to fire over the cab. Additional ammunition is stored in one of the crates while the other contains the tech egg, a mysterious accessory consisting simply of a pearl silver 1x1 round plate and a trans-purple cone. These weapons are developed from Chitauri technology and appear to have been stolen from the Department of Damage Control, denoted here by the acronym DODC.
LEGO is often criticised for splitting the most desirable minifigures between several different sets but that is certainly not the case in this instance. Not only does 76083 Beware the Vulture include the primary hero and antagonist but also some popular supporting characters. The models are also very satisfying and offer considerable playability as well as some display value, despite a couple of minor issues.
However, the UK price of £44.99 seems comparatively expensive to me and I would suggest waiting for a reduction. There's currently a 16% price drop at Amazon.co.uk which brings the price down to a more acceptable £37.59.
The price point of $39.99 in the US is much more reasonable and on that basis this is a worthy addition to any Marvel Super Heroes collection, not least because of the excellent minifigure selection and high level of detail on both the Vulture's wings and the Shocker's truck.
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