Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced Tony Stark's famous Hulkbuster armoured suit to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the impressive Mark 44 armour has become a symbol of the film series. 76105 The Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition therefore seems like a fantastic celebration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's tenth anniversary.
However, this model received a fairly lukewarm reception after its announcement at New York Toy Fair in February. The set costs £119.99 or $119.99 so feels reasonably expensive in certain countries and the Hulkbuster lacks articulation which may limit its display value. Even so, this set has numerous positive attributes in my opinion so is worthy of further discussion.
This set contains an exclusive Iron Man minifigure, wearing his Mark 43 armour from Avengers: Age of Ultron. The same armour has already appeared in three sets based upon the movie but this rendition is unique, taking inspiration from the suit's design after being integrated with the Hulkbuster suit. I like the updated torso printing and the legs also feature some exposed wiring which is new.
Iron Man's helmet features a metallic gold faceplate and some black streaks. It looks perfect in relation to the film and the faceplate opens up, as usual. Unfortunately, a plain trans-clear head has been used underneath which seems odd as the modern Tony Stark head, introduced in the Avengers: Infinity War range, would have been more suitable. Nevertheless, this is a good minifigure and it comes with a tiny display stand.
The Completed Model
Several smaller models accompany the Hulkbuster, the most interesting of which is probably Veronica. This satellite service module deploys the armour and is constructed at a small scale but I think it looks good, incorporating four rare light bluish grey panels. Tony Stark's hot rod is instantly recognisable but feels out of place here and the fire extinguisher, which is larger in scale to match the Hulkbuster, could have been excluded too. A simple display stand for the Mark 43 armour is also provided.
Moreover, a black display base is included for the Hulkbuster. This does not provide structural support but it looks marvellous, featuring a lovely information plaque which resembles those from the Ultimate Collector Series. The plaque can fold down into the base or face forwards, as demonstrated below. A dark bluish grey platform and two robotic arms can also be attached on either side of the stand using Technic pins.
These yellow arms are articulated and look impressive when interacting with the Hulkbuster, although their most important function is probably storing the mech's alternative arm while it is not in use. Even so, the entire stand feels unnecessary to me and I would rather it had been left out, perhaps allowing the designer to improve areas of the Hulkbuster armour.
LEGO has produced three different versions of the Hulkbuster and this example is much larger than its minifigure-scale counterparts, measuring 25cm in height. Its proportions are reasonably accurate when compared with the source material but the arms and legs should have been bulkier, particularly around the shoulders. The model's dark red and pearl gold colour scheme looks fantastic though and many of the smaller details are excellent.
Unfortunately, the Hulkbuster's weight has increased in proportion to its size so some important points of articulation are excluded. Creating a dynamic pose is therefore rather difficult. The legs, for example, only include ankle joints and they can move sideways but there is no forward or backward motion. This ensures the stability of the model but I think LEGO should create some new hinges or ball joints which can tolerate more weight than the existing elements, thereby allowing larger mechs to move around.
The head is formed using a 6x6 dome which is decorated with a metallic gold and silver faceplate. This nestles neatly between two sections of chest armour and looks superb, following the design of smaller Hulkbuster sets which feature 4x4 domes. However, the head is unable to turn which is disappointing for display. Presumably that was not possible as the head also needs to open up, revealing Iron Man inside.
A pair of trans-light blue control panels are found inside the chest and there is room to place Iron Man between them. The minifigure is not actually to scale with the model but I am pleased that this function is included and the interior looks great, despite being relatively sparsely furnished. Stickers are applied on either side of the cockpit, providing some additional golden accents.
Dark red curved slopes form the chest armour which protects the front of the Hulkbuster. This design matches the source material reasonably closely but the space between the three armour segments is larger than would be ideal. The pearl gold details look magnificent though and they continue onto the sides of the torso, ensuring that the model looks complete when viewed from every angle.
Pushing a button on the back of the Hulkbuster activates a light brick inside its chest, representing the primary Arc Reactor which provides power to the armoured suit in conjunction with ten smaller reactors. The orange glow looks brilliant but a pale blue light would have been more appropriate in relation to the source material and that should certainly have been included.
The back of the torso is even more detailed than the front, including six glow-in-the-dark 1x1 round tiles which form additional Arc Reactors. These stand out against the surrounding armour and the pearl gold highlights look wonderful too. Unfortunately, a blue Technic pin is visible above the central reactors and the same elements appear on the shoulders which is disappointing as I believe those could have been concealed quite easily.
These glow-in-the-dark tiles are reasonably effective and they are situated correctly when compared with the source material, featuring repulsor units on each palm and thrusters on the back of the legs. Two further glowing pieces are found on the front of the legs but are now shown in the image below.
Numerous smaller pieces adorn the arms, creating some attractive mechanical detail. Their proportions could be improved though as the upper arms appear too narrow in relation to the Hulkbuster's design in the movie. However, that has allowed the designer to include extensive articulation which is very useful. The individual finger articulation is particularly impressive and you can adjust several smaller panels around the elbow joints.
An alternative jackhammer arm is also included, replicating a memorable moment from Avengers: Age of Ultron as Iron Man attempts to subdue the Hulk. These rectilinear fingers are individually articulated and the entire forearm can move back and forth using a simple rubber band mechanism. A method of remotely activating this jackhammer function would have been ideal but that may have compromised the articulation.
The legs are fairly stocky and the layered armour looks absolutely spectacular, especially around the knees where some pearl gold robot arms form linear actuators. The knees are not actually articulated though which is disappointing. Moreover, the space between the legs should be considerably narrower and it looks somewhat awkward in its present form, although such a wide stance does provide stability.
Mechanical details continues onto the sides of each leg but they look comparatively plain from the rear. There a couple of two hinged panels though which conceal additional thrusters. These are represented by glow-in-the-dark 1x1 round plates rather than 1x1 round tiles and spares of both elements are found in this set.
The ankles include ball joints and rubber tyres are placed inside the feet, ensuring that the Hulkbuster will remain completely steady on flat surfaces. The articulated stabilisers on the back of each foot are equally useful in this respect and the display base also features rubber tyres underneath.
I have mixed feelings about 76105 The Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition. The level of detail is impressive and there are certain areas of the model which look perfect when compared with the source material. I love the glow-in-the-dark parts too but the Hulkbuster's proportions could probably be improved, especially around the upper arms which seem rather narrow.
Furthermore, the articulation is limited which is an inevitable result of the Hulkbuster's impressive size but makes it quite difficult to create dynamic poses. Its cost in Europe also seem expensive but the US price of $119.99 is reasonable in my opinion. I would therefore only recommend this set to those who are particularly interested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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