Iron Man's gargantuan Hulkbuster armour has become a perennial feature of the Marvel Super Heroes range, returning with fresh construction techniques and functions on multiple occasions. 76124 War Machine Buster looks unusual when compared with previous models, providing War Machine with his own equivalent of the famous Hulkbuster armoured suit.
Hopefully this model will be sufficiently distinct to warrant an entirely new set, especially since 76104 The Hulkbuster Smash-Up only became available during 2018. The minifigure selection is definitely interesting, encompassing unique versions of War Machine and Ant-Man which both appear rather impressive in official images.
Please note that this review is spoiler free.
Promotional material for Avengers: Endgame has repeatedly featured numerous heroes wearing white attire, speculatively known as Quantum Realm suits. War Machine therefore appears rather strange in relation to previous renditions of the character, although I think the new armoured suits look great. This colour scheme is perfectly accurate and I love the Avengers emblem on the torso.
Furthermore, the minifigure features some lovely textured detail across both sides of the torso and the legs, although this is partially concealed by the stud shooter mounted on War Machine's back. He also wields another pearl silver stud shooter which is unusual. The helmet is predominantly black so differs considerably from earlier designs that incorporated more metallic silver printing.
Removing the helmet reveals a head from 5005256 Marvel Super Heroes Minifigure Collection. I think this double-sided element is ideal for James Rhodes so its return is welcome, including a smile on one side and an intricately detailed heads-up display on the other. This brilliant design complements recent Iron Man minifigures which also feature a heads-up display.
Two previous Ant-Man minifigures have been produced but the latest version is definitely my favourite, featuring an updated helmet which originally appeared in 76117 Batman Mech vs. Poison Ivy Mech but was presumably designed for this character. The moulded detail is impressive and I like the red printed designs, particularly since they include highlights that represent reflective areas on the lenses.
Scott Lang's head was initially created for Henry Turner from 71042 Silent Mary and works effectively here, featuring cheerful and frightened expressions. The minifigure also comes with a dark brown hair piece and wears the same Quantum Realm suit as War Machine, as one may expect given Ant-Man's prior experience within the Quantum Realm.
Several minifigures share identical torso and legs across the Avengers: Endgame subtheme. This has provoked some disappointment as more varied designs might have the potential to be more interesting, although the consistent appearance of the Quantum Realm suit seems faithful to the movie based upon its marketing.
Outriders were introduced during Avengers: Infinity War and also appear in four Avengers: Endgame sets. These characters are accordingly ideal for army building and I think they look fantastic, featuring metallic gold highlights which stand out against the black components underneath. Their dark red mouths are similarly striking and seem rather intimidating!
These mindless creatures vary quite considerably in appearance, featuring different numbers of limbs. That is reflected here as four additional arms are attached to the back of one minifigure while the other only includes two arms. The second Outrider does wear pearl dark grey shoulder armour though and a pair of golden claws are fitted to its hands so both aliens appear equally threatening during battle.
The Completed Model
War Machine inflicted considerable casualties upon the Outrider army during Avengers: Infinity War but was overpowered by stronger opponents such as Cull Obsidian. It seems that his armour has therefore been upgraded for Avengers: Endgame, matching the proportions of the Hulkbuster armour introduced during Avengers: Age of Ultron but featuring a primarily dark bluish grey colour scheme.
This model appears outwardly similar to 76104 The Hulkbuster Smash-Up and does share numerous features with its predecessor. Both figures measure 14cm in height, although the War Machine Buster incorporates a large Gatling gun and a missile pod on its shoulders. The core structure is comparable though and a few building techniques will feel familiar to those who have assembled other Hulkbuster sets.
Unfortunately, the most notable difference between these models is probably my least favourite aspect of 76124 War Machine Buster. The ankles, hips and shoulders offer excellent articulation but the elbow joints cannot bend, instead only allowing the forearms to rotate. That does not affect running poses but restricts other display options quite significantly. Waist articulation would have been welcome too.
The head is formed using a printed dome and looks wonderful, featuring a metallic silver faceplate with red eyes. The pearl silver ingots on either side are an interesting detail and this set also includes some pearl dark grey ingot elements which are only available elsewhere in 70834 Metalbeard's Heavy Metal Motor Trike. Stickers provide further detail, identifying this as the Mark 4.5 armour and its occupant as James Rhodes.
War Machine can be placed inside with ease. The surrounding armour feels sturdier than 76104 The Hulkbuster Smash-Up and I love the angular lines beside the trans-red Arc Reactor. Furthermore, the interior provides storage for additional stud shooter ammunition, making superb use of every available space without compromising the external structure.
Corresponding with its heavily armed occupant, the War Machine Buster includes a rotary stud shooter alongside two flick-fire missiles. They are connected to ball joints which provide a great range of motion but such versatility is of limited use without head articulation. However, integrating a rotating head might be difficult as the dome is also required to open, thereby revealing War Machine inside.
Each arm is attached using a large ball joint and the shoulder armour can be adjusted to accommodate various positions. The fingers are also individually articulated, allowing you to create a fist or open both hands to reveal repulsors. In addition, you can attach War Machine's stud shooters to the wrists which looks surprisingly effective but would be more impressive with proper elbow joints.
There is reasonable detail on the back of this model too, although the red elements seem out of place. Nevertheless, I like the pearl silver 1x1 round plates attached here and the smooth surfaces are nicely finished using inverted curved slopes and tiles. This certainly represents a notable improvement when compared with 76104 The Hulkbuster Smash-Up.
Additional curved slopes are found on the legs, creating a streamlined design which seems appropriate for modern Iron Man and War Machine armours. The prominent knee protectors look fantastic and I like the trans-red highlights on the shins. Knee joints are absent but are not entirely necessary in my opinion as a stocky stance appears perfectly suitable for the War Machine Buster.
76124 War Machine Buster is an outstanding addition to the expanding pantheon of LEGO Hulkbuster models. Its dark bluish grey colour scheme is distinctive and looks fantastic while the heavy armament which has become synonymous with War Machine has been integrated effectively. The rotating stud shooter is particularly appealing and provides superb play value.
However, the absence of comprehensive elbow articulation is extremely disappointing. This severely restricts the display potential and its exclusion is particularly bewildering as 76104 The Hulkbuster Smash-Up included full elbow articulation. Moreover, the US price of $34.99 represents an increase over the set released during 2018, despite their similar content. The price of £29.99 in the UK remains unchanged though and I think that represents good value when compared with other Marvel Super Heroes sets.
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