The Hulkbuster returns in Avengers: Infinity War and LEGO has accordingly produced an updated version of the famed armoured suit, 76104 The Hulkbuster Smash-Up. This 375-piece set looks much more detailed than its predecessor from 2015, 76031 The Hulk Buster Smash, so I have been looking forward to building it.
Furthermore, the price of £29.99 in the UK or $29.99 in the US seems remarkably reasonable for a Marvel Super Heroes set of this size, especially one which includes four such appealing minifigures!
Bruce Banner remains unchanged since making his first appearance in 76084 The Ultimate Battle for Asgard last year. This is somewhat disappointing as we have already seen him wearing different attire in the trailers for Avengers: Infinity War, although the change in his design was perhaps not significant enough to warrant an entirely new minifigure.
However, a better hair piece could probably have been found as this tousled style looks too long when compared with the character in Avengers: Infinity War. I love the double-sided head though, showing a mild expression on one side while the other features bright green eyes and gritted teeth as Bruce loses control of his anger and transforms into the Hulk!
While the Bruce Banner minifigure remains the same as it was last year, Falcon has been completely redesigned since 76050 Crossbones' Hazard Heist was released in 2016. The textured hair piece looks great in relation to the movie and I love the new double-sided head, featuring red-tinted goggles and a serious expression on one side while the other side is printed with a confident smile and some facial hair.
Falcon's wings were represented by a single printed piece in 76050 Crossbones' Hazard Heist but are now constructed using a range of hinge plates. The original figure felt more streamlined but this design is a lot better in other respects, including a greater level of detail and excellent articulation. Moreover, a section of Falcon's backpack can be detached to depict Redwing which is fun, despite its simplicity.
Removing the wings reveals a metallic silver pack on the back of the torso. The black, dark bluish grey and dark red colour scheme looks great and I am impressed with the intricacy of the design, although dual-moulded arms would have been a welcome addition to the figure as Falcon usually has short sleeves. It is also a shame that the hero's dual machine pistols are absent, particularly since an ideal element already exists.
The Marvel Super Heroes range has included many excellent minifigures since 2012 but a few have been disappointing. Unfortunately, Proxima Midnight falls into the latter category in my opinion as the figure looks very plain when compared with the source material. This is due primarily to the lack of leg printing but the pearl gold arm is also far too prominent so should perhaps been represented by some gold printing on a white arm instead.
On the other hand, I like the blue hair piece and the moulded horns, which are integrated with the hair, look fantastic. The black mask perhaps covers too much of Proxima Midnight's pale skin but the angry and smiling expressions feel appropriate for the character and her red eyes are perfect. A spear with blades at either end completes the minifigure which is fine, although a trident would probably have been more suitable.
During my earlier review of 76101 Outrider Dropship Attack I mentioned that the Outrider minifigures have too many arms in relation to the aliens in the movie. In fact, a recent poster for Avengers: Infinity War appears to show an Outrider with six arms so perhaps there are variants of these creatures, some of whom have more arms than others! That being the case, the minifigure looks tremendous and all six arms are articulated which is useful for display.
The metallic gold printing on both sides of the head and torso looks superb but it would be better still if this continued onto the legs. Nevertheless, I like the dark red mouth very much and appreciate the relative ease with which one can build an army of these warriors as I have no doubt that many Marvel fans will wish to do so, myself included.
The Completed Model
Wakandan technology has now appeared in several Marvel Super Heroes sets and its visual style has been established quite effectively across the range. I like the combination of black and trans-purple on this turret and the white highlights, represented by stickers, look good too. Squeezing the sides of the barrel will launch a black Zamor sphere to a distance of about 50cm but there is no rotation so the turret can only fire at targets directly ahead.
A pair of Technic liftarms are fitted to the sides of the turret. These look out of place but are vital to the structure of the model and allow you to put the weapon out of operation by breaking it, as shown below. A container at the base of the turret opens to reveal the orange Soul Stone, suggesting that this elusive Infinity Stone has been hidden in Wakanda and that it will finally be revealed in Avengers: Infinity War.
This rendition of the Hulkbuster armour is slightly larger than that in 76031 The Hulk Buster Smash and includes far more detail, although this is partly attributable to the use of stickers. I think the combination of dark red, pearl gold and black works well and the proportions of the model are perfect, matching the Hulkbuster's stocky design in the movie.
In addition, the model includes ball joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips and ankles so you can create some really dynamic poses. The fingers and toes are also individually articulated which is brilliant but there is no rotation at the waist, unfortunately. That would have been very useful in allowing the figure to look from side to side as the head cannot turn, just as on both the 2015 Hulkbuster and even 76105 The Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition.
The Hulkbuster's legs are rather short in relation to its torso, effectively conveying a sense of its stocky design. I like the fixed angle of the knees and the stickers add some nice detail without being intrusive. In fact, most of the mechanical detail in this area is depicted by exposed click hinge elements which looks marvellous and I like the individually articulated toes too, marking a significant departure from 76031 The Hulk Buster Smash.
Trans-light blue bricks represent the repulsor emitters beneath the feet and two auxiliary repulsors are found on the back of each leg, just above the ankle joint. These are accurate to the film and disguise the awkward colours of the ball joints at the hips and ankles. Dark bluish grey dominates the back of the figure which is not accurate to the trailers, although many other products share this grey colour scheme so perhaps the Hulkbuster will be equipped with a backpack at some point in the film.
Additional stickers form repulsor emitters on each palm. These look great in conjunction with the poseable fingers but it would have been even better if the fingers could splay to create a more realistic pose, as though the Hulkbuster is firing its repulsors. Swapping the tan gears on each shoulder for grey or black pieces might also have improved the model.
A trans-light blue cylinder is fitted to the back of the Hulkbuster armour, loosely representing another repulsor emitter. Rotating the cylinder will cause the right arm to move up and down which works very smoothly but makes it slightly more difficult to pose the shoulder. Fortunately, the designer has taken this into consideration and the instructions show how removing a 2x2 round tile at the base of the cylinder will deactivate the function.
The Avengers: Infinity War Hulkbuster looks a lot curvier than that from Avengers: Age of Ultron, featuring heavy armour plating that seems to flow over the shoulders and towards the Arc Reactor at the centre of the chest. This has not been recreated perfectly but I like the use of curved slopes and stickers as well as the domed helmet which is printed with exceptional detail so looks fantastic in relation to the movie.
The helmet opens on a hinge along with three chest panels, revealing a space for a minifigure to stand inside. The interior is reasonably plain but I appreciate the glowing heads-up display formed by a trans-light blue 2x2 slider and the exposed tan gears do not interfere with the positioning of the figure at all.
76031 The Hulk Buster Smash was one of my favourite sets from Avengers: Age of Ultron and I have therefore been somewhat sceptical about whether a new rendition of the armoured suit would be able to significantly improve upon the original. Thankfully, those concerns have proven to be unfounded as this set far surpasses that from 2015 in my opinion, including a much higher level of detail and greater poseability.
The minifigure selection is also very impressive on the whole, with Falcon standing out as being among the best figures from the entire Infinity War range. Proxima Midnight, on the other hand, is a little disappointing. Nevertheless, this is an excellent set and its price of £29.99 or $29.99 feels quite reasonable so I have no hesitation in recommending it.
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