Chogokin x S.H.Figuarts Iron Man MK44 Hulkbuster
The Iron Man MK 44 Hulkbuster Armor made it’s official live action big-screen debut in the second Marvel Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, released in May of 2015. The Hulkbuster Armor, A.K.A Veronica, was made with the help of Bruce Banner for use in case Bruce ever lost control of his alter ego.
Series: Iron Man
Line: Chogokin x S.H.Figuarts
Material: ABS, PVC Die-cast
Release: Jan 2016
Original Price: ¥34,560JPY
Height: 245mm / 9.64inches
As a Tamashii Web Limited Edition item, the Hulkbuster comes packed in the standard brown shipping box. Inside you’ll find the actual box for Hulkbuster, it’s a moody and sophisticated design, with a very high-end feel to it. Unfortunately the brown shipper box was unable to protect the contents fully as you can see a dimple on the front of the packaging. Inside, there is a black Styrofoam box with a printed sleeve holding the two halves together, the Styrofoam box has the Avengers insignia embossed in the front, which I thought was a really nice touch. Taking the top half of the Styrofoam box off reveals the Hulkbuster toy sealed in a clamshell. All in all a very well thought out packaging design, worthy of the price tag.
The Hulkbuster Armor itself does not come with any accessories, but there is a tool included for prying out the batteries (LR41 x 8) that power the light-up gimmicks, which are included as well. I found this tool to be useful when activating the light-up gimmicks as the switches are very small, but we’ll get to that later in the review.
Design-wise, I think Bandai has taken some creative liberties with the proportions of the Hulkbuster when compared to the official movie design drawing (below). To me it feels like the head is slightly too large, and the mid-torso a little short and missing some bulk making the limbs look slightly long. This is a minor nitpick as the overall build and quality of the toy is top notch. The plastic quality is very good as can be expected from Bandai, and the whole toy has a very solid feel to it partly thanks to the die-cast components. In the marketing material Bandai advertised that the face, chest and shoulder gold trim parts as well as the knee arc reactor surround and soles of the feet are die-cast, and on closer inspection the shoulder joints, hip joints and ankle joints are also die-cast which leads me to believe there could be more inside the body where we can’t see it.
The S.H.Figuarts line is known for the articulation, and even at this size the Hulkbuster is no exception. The head is on a double ball joint with a separate ball jointed neck, there is a shoulder swing joint that swings up and slightly forward, ratcheted shoulder rotation and hinge joints with articulated shoulder pads,bicep swivel, double jointed elbows, double jointed forearm armor, ball jointed wrists and a hinge joint to allow for the signature repulsor firing pose, fully articulated fingers, universal jointed torso, ratcheted hip joints with S.H.Figuarts signature hip extension, thigh swivel joint, double jointed knees, universal jointed ankles, and hinged toe joints. All the joints are of appropriate tightness so you don’t feel like you might break something, whilst still being able to hold any poses you put it in, the only limitation is how far you are willing to push the boundaries before you run the risk of scratching the toy.
The whole figure is covered in paint from top to bottom, the red is a dark and rich metallic candy apple red which contrasts beautifully with gold. I couldn’t find a single flaw in my example, it’s pretty much 10 out of 10 in terms of execution.
The SHF Hulkbuster features light-up eyes, chest arc reactor and two arc reactor on the shins. Each of these have to be turned on individually, which is a bit of a pain in the butt especially as you need to take the head off to turn the eyes on, and prying off the back cover to turn on the chest light can potentially chip the paint. The cover for the legs pop off relatively easily. It’s a shame they didn’t incorporate lights for the palm of the hands, but I can imagine that would have added to the cost significantly .Here you can see the tiny switches I was talking about earlier.
The forearm armor folds out of the way to enable the repulsor fire pose, it’s a very lovely double folding action. When the knees are bent, the top half of the thigh armor moves with the knee which is well engineered and hides any would-be gaps.
Lastly, a few size comparisons with S.H.Figuarts Iron Man MK43, Marvel Legends BAF Hulkbuster, Marvel Legends Iron Man MK43, Marvel Select Hulkbuster, Marvel Select AOU Hulk, Marvel Legends Hulk and S.H.Figuarts Hulk. In terms of scale the SHF Hulkbuster looks perfect with the SHF Iron Man MK43, and it’s only slightly taller than the Marvel Legends BAF Hulkbuster. Here you can really see the difference in proportion between the different design directions by Bandai and Hasbro. When compared to the Marvel Select Hulkbuster, the SHF Hulkbuster stands over a head taller.
It’s not always possible to put an accurate scale on the Hulk, but the Marvel Select AOU definitely looks too big. Both the Marvel Legends and the S.H.Figuarts Hulk could work in my opinion.
I have been following the S.H.Figuarts Iron Man line since the beginning so I was never going to miss this release. There are several other options to get a Hulkbuster action figure in your collection, some of which cost just as much if not more (Hot Toys, King Arts, Sentinel), others not as much (Marvel Legends, Marvel Select, MAFEX), but if you want one from a maker that’s always been consistent with quality and engineering, it’s very hard to pass up on the S.H.Figuarts offering. It really comes down to your budget, what scale you’re after and which style you prefer. If you have the means, but you’re on the fence about this one, I’d say go for it, prices are already edging upwards!