I was amazed by, desired, coveted, skipped, and eventually bought this cheap Iron Man from Hasbro. At one point it looked like it was meant for the Chinese market with a roughly $1 cost and a $2 retail, but I believe it was around $4 when sold here in certain lower-dollar toy channels. The bagged 4-inch figures were harder to find than the more impressive boxed 6-inch figures which cost about $5-$6, but this format is pretty charming. For whatever reason, American toys stopped being the best thing they could be for $5 or $10 and instead mutated into pretty amazing collector-oriented, fan-friendly things with lots of bells and whistles. Back in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, a lot of toys were just a figure with minimal articulation or gear. Some lines like Micronauts really upped the quality ante, while Kenner Star Wars were about as simple (and somewhat cheap) as you could get. This Iron Man is mostly cheap, but kind of fascinating.
This is meant to appeal to lower-income markets for kids - this isn't a collector figure, so if you're already rolling your eyes that's probably the point. Hasbro doesn't want to sell 30- and 40-year old fans a $4 figure, they want to put this in kids' hands so they don't buy the bootleg at the store across the street.
The sculpt is nothing special - Hasbro made many other, better, sturdier figures. Some even had gear! This sculpt seems to be specific to this assortment and has a little bit of flex to the plastic, unlike the harder PVC with The Retro Collection or Marvel Legends 375. He stands, he sits, he has no gear - it's just a suit, molded in red. I found he fit in all the 3 3/4-inch scale vehicles I had without any real fuss, which is one of the reasons I suddenly decided I wanted to have some of these guys. I wanted a cheap toy - the irony being I had to pay $7.95 shipped to get him off Amazon because after checking a bunch of Walgreens and grocery stores in my area, with $5.59 gas, it was just cheaper to bite the bullet and pay eBay prices. Guaranteed success isn't nearly as fun as hunting, but after several go-nowhere/reset/empty aisles in 108-degree heat it just didn't make sense to keep spending gas money.
I bought the entire line of 6 but Iron Man showed up first - he was also the last one I wanted to get, based on how they looked. But he is fascinating - the sculpt is very 1980s, cheap toy/knock-off in appearance. Those hands can't hold gear, there are no accessories, and his limbs are unpainted. But the head and torso are different - it's a MCU-esque deco with a painted gold face mask with blue eyes, and a most unusual torso. The body has this (off-center) printed pattern where they basically just used the Photoreal face printing from the higher-end action figures. Instead of giving you a tiny photo-real face, they put a detailed illustration of the ARC reactor and armor plates on the body. It's a really neat experiment in toy design that, so far, I don't believe Hasbro has rolled out elsewhere. This particular sample ain't perfect, but it certainly cracks open the door of possibilities for future toys.
Comparing this figure to Marvel Legends 375, there's no question - the $10-$12 Marvel Legends 375 offering is more impressive. It has more paint and better packaging - this guy comes in a clear plastic bag, which lowers freight costs and may reduce waste (depending on what does or doesn't get recycled.) It also seems to be evidence of an alternate reality where toy collecting didn't become some sort of investment sport in the 1990s, and Hasbro just kept making toys for kids. At some point they'd probably have an expansive line of cheap Marvel toys, and purely for cost reasons I find this figure (and format) impressive. I was really hoping Hasbro would do Star Wars like this, because I'd buy a lot of cheap Stormtroopers. A lot of the original Kenner Star Wars figures had very little paint too - you could see Darth Vader, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and the Emperor's Royal Guard being made with minimal articulation and only one or two paint applications. It looks like these toys have left Arizona shelves and possibly the United States, but you can find some online for roughly cost plus shipping. I'm not going to recommend them to you because you probably would be interested in the fancier and more easily found figures, but I am one of those people who misses toys that were meant for kids being the center of the universe. I'd love to see a few more licenses try this. Other figures in this line (which are en route as of my writing this) include Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, and Black Panther. From the pictures Spider-Man and Thor look almost like licensed bootlegs, so I am quite excited to see them out of the package for once.
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