Ironman: Grey – LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190)

I have this weird quirk where occasionally get a bit obsessive about things, so after my brother got me Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201) and I started exploring the subject a bit further, that ticking in my brain began again and I needed to resolve it. you know, it’s that weird cycle of pondering how useful parts could be, how much fun building could be, how a model compares to another or whether the minifigures have any value later on. That and of course the ongoing situation where you sometimes just don’t know what to buy because everything you actually wanted seems out of stock and then you compromise and settle on something else. All these reasons contributed to the LEGO Super Heroes Iron Monger Mayhem (76190) finding its way into my home.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Box

Pricing and Contents

Unlike the green Hydra Stomper, this set is not exclusive to LEGO‘s own stores and a handful of retail partners and thus widely available. That doesn’t mean that it comes cheap, though. At 40 Euro suggested retail price it is still a bit of an investment even if for 479 pieces this technically isn’t a terrible price. However, with those mechs you always have to subtract a considerable number of those parts for the underlying structural elements for the joints and such vs. the “real” value of other elements used for actual shaping.

With the set being sold through regular channels, of course there’s the hope of discounts and typically those shave off around 10 Euro, bringing the cost down to a more acceptable 30 Euro. It still feels a tad expensive, but is okay for what’s on offer. Still, it would have been nice if this started out as something like a 32 Euro package and then the discounts would bring it below 25 Euro. The latter is not impossible, but rare and most likely will be limited to special events like this week’s Black/ Cyber/ Whatever week/ day.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Overview

Minifigures and Extras

The minifigures are unique to this set and should garner some interest from collectors, but undoubtedly Ironman himself will be the most coveted of the three. Completists will certainly want him, even if there’s already a myriad of variants out there. Still, I guess there’s always  still some mark of his armor that we haven’t seen yet and they can keep inventing new designs. This one is supposedly an Mk. 3 design, though I can’t really say much about it (yes, my general lack of knowledge of the Marvel universe striking again). To my uneducated eyes it looks believable, but I’ll leave that discussion to the real fans. The prints are at least very detailed and of good quality, surprisingly enough even in the white spots.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Minifigures

The Pepper Potts and Obadiah Stane figures are much less elaborate, but also well done. The evil dude hasn’t been done before and should prove popular, plus, which is perhaps something not to be underestimated, both figures look very generically usable with their suit & tie outfits. Having old Obadiah walk around your LEGO city as a regular business man is certainly not a far fetched idea. Same for the lady, give or take a few head and hair substitutions.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Blast Elements

The set comes with a full deck of Trans Light Blue “energy effects” as they are called on Bricklink to simulate the blasts of Ironman taking off or throwing his energy plasma at bad guys. An additional large “pedestal” piece, only introduced this year is also included and you can see the noticeable difference in transparency.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Chest with Studs

A very welcome addition is the Black chest/ crate. The Reddish Brown and Medium Nougat versions are widespread enough, but other colors are much less common, often having been done only for a handful of sets. This Black one hasn’t been produced in over 15 years and only resurfaced this year. It wouldn’t be much trouble to buy some off Bricklink, but it’s still nice to be able add one to the collection this way without the extra hassle. the box serves as a container for the studs and tiles used by the shooters and comes with a number pad keyboard tile in the updated 2020/ 2021 design for the “locking mechanism”.

Piece Mania

To get this out of the way: One of the reasons I committed to this set were the Pearl Dark Grey elements. It’s a nice color to have to simulate all kinds of technical do-dads like cast-iron motors, Steampunk greebles and of course it would also make for a stunning car finish if only LEGO ever got around to produce more elements in this color. This model is at least a start with the recolored wedge piece and windshield. Other items include the 1 x 1 round studs and the 1 x 2 ingot/ gold bar element which I was so excited about to get some earlier this year when they were fresh on the market.

Another highlight are some Flat Silver pieces like the bar holder clip, another 2021 novelty recolor and the droid arms. Again more fodder for building fancy machinery and slowly things are beginning to get a bit consistent and make sense. Really nothing worse than having to settle for greys when you really want that metallic sheen to bring out details, if you know what I mean.

The Mech

Now let’s get one thing out of the way right away: In researching the original Iron Monger from the comics and movies I quickly realized that this mech barely qualifies to be called that. The proportions are all wrong with in particular the body in relation to the head not being bulky enough. The model likely would need to be a lot larger than the about 27 cm it is so it had more room to attach some larger wedge pieces and more slopes to truly give it the necessary volume.

However, that notwithstanding I’m not unhappy with the way this turned out. for one, it makes for a nice generic retro-themed mech and with that being the case it reminded me a lot of the one from the movie The Iron Giant, a truly underappreciated gem of classical animation. Especially the central structure of the trunk with the narrow hips, the rounded head and the exposed mechanical components struck a chord with me and are reminiscent of the film version even if they are not even trying to be exact renditions of that.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Front Left View

Similar to the green mech this one has very limited posing options. This time this isn’t so much about there not being provision for poseability – after all, this one has decent arm joints – but rather again the armor plates blocking each other and on top of it here the fake hydraulic pistons and scissor hinges further complicating matters. Like it or not, this is again pretty much a collectible display model that you should not touch too much after you have found a nice way to arrange everything. The package artwork is really misleading and that’s true for most of these mechs. Actually playing with them would be a pain and not very enjoyable except for a few static scenarios where the big guys are just standing around and firing off studs.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Aft Left View

The detailing around the back is sufficient, with the two large pistons dominating the view. However, there clearly is not enough armor to protect the backside and this quite generally seems to be a problem with this model. If at all, it only represents the Iron Monger in half-finished state with several of the armor segments being missing or wrongly shaped. Most notably the distinct triangular “groin” armor shielding the lower section around the hip turntable is more or less absent on both the front and rear. This should have been easy enough to rectify with some wedge pieces to make it at least more dense and bulky.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Aft Right View

On a similar note, the upper torso is not nearly bulbous enough, either. That would have been more difficult to get right, but here, too, I think just working some magic on the flanks with wedges or curved slopes might have greatly improved the overall look.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Front Right View

Speaking of major omissions – I can’t fathom why on earth the 3 x 3 tile for the arc reactor plate is not printed. not only is it highly regrettable, but it really also makes no sense technically, given that this element is specifically manufactured from Glow-in-the-Dark White just for this set, anyway. Applying the transparent sticker with the frame would not be the end of the world, but this is really a situation where one can only wonder about LEGO‘s strange logic.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Detail Arm

The details on the arms and legs are adequate, but given the overall lack or articulation I feel that there could just have been a bit more in this department as well the large exposed ball joints and rigid knee construction are still very obvious and at the end of the day I’m always in favor of more details over more functions.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Detail Leg

The cockpit is inevitably way too large due to the disproportionate head and lack of volume on the chest armor. Everything should look much more restricted and things get even weirder when you place a minifigure inside. Point in case: The model is already too large for proper minifig scale, but still too small to correctly render many of the critical shapes and details.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Cockpit

Concluding Thoughts

A brief tongue-in-cheek summary of this review could be: Was the box labeled wrongly? This ultimately has very little in the way of actually representing the Iron Monger mech// armor suit and as such this comes across as a bit of a misnomer and trying to cash in on fans. I’m not going to say it’s a total rip-off, but fans of the movies and comics will no doubt be disappointed. The irony is that you can recognize some details, but the overall shaping of the central section is just not anywhere close to the real thing.

That said, and I already mentioned it, as a generic mech of a certain type this fares well enough, though even in this case I think most Ninjago mechs do better overall. It would be an interesting challenge to enhance this model to be more accurate and true to the films and that’s perfectly possible. At the same time you could totally go the other way, as somehow I feel oddly tempted to indeed try to use this as a basis for one of The Iron Giant robots.

I think your buying decision will really come down to where you stand on these matters. I can’t really recommend this to Marvel fans, but more generically inclined mech aficionados might get some enjoyment out of this, especially if they plan on fixing soem of the shortcomings.

Ironman: Green – LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201)

The weird times we live in have some odd consequences for my LEGO consumption as well. When you go to the same shop week after week and the stock on the shelves just won’t change much simply because they are hopelessly backlogged on orders due to such short supply, you really begin to ponder picking up sets you otherwise might not have considered. The Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201) is such a set, even though at heart I’m still far from a Marvel fan.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Box

Pricing and Contents

The purchase of this set came about as a dare challenge to my brother, who likes to poke fun at my LEGO obsession. I won’t go into the details of this weird dynamic, but suffice it to say that he sprang the money for it and that afternoon I was a happy boy when we left the drugstore with the package that had been lying there all those weeks already.

This set is semi-exclusive here in Germany, meaning you can only get it from LEGO directly and a few select retail partners. That makes any discussion of price moot on some level and with 30 Euro for 343 pieces it’s really not that much different than what you’re used to with most regular sets. We got lucky that week we bought it and only paid 25 Euro, which certainly helped to commit to this even if i didn’t have it on my radar before.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Overview

I’m sure that with more widespread distribution we’d see even better discounts. While the price-to-value ratio overall feels okay and on paper the usual metrics of price per piece and such add up, at the end of the day my impression is that 25 Euro is closer to what the set really should cost to begin with. The mech ultimately turns out pretty small and it doesn’t feel like there is enough volume to justify a higher price.

The Minifigures

No doubt the minifigures will be attractive to Marvel collectors and they appear all to be exclusive to this set and judging from Bricklink, their price can only go up from an already high base price. If you want all three, simply buying the whole set might be more cost effective. Since I still couldn’t get myself to sign up for at least a month or two to Disney+ to watch all the stuff, I’m still completely ignorant of the actual story threads. Based on the figure designs there seem to be a few things reversed, but not in a completely bonkers way. I’ll leave the details to the geeks that have actual knowledge of the comics and series.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Minifigures

The details are well-executed with some fine prints and in particular Steve Rogers in his regular army uniform before his Captain America days will be highly desirable. Red Skull has been done a number of times, but apparently this is the first time he also has prints on his feet. It’s also interesting that the Tesseract has been represented with a transparent Minecraft figure head. Some people have taken issue with this particular version of Captain Carter only being in this set and not the recent Collectible Minifigure series, but that’s life, I guess (and LEGO‘s usual sneaky tactics of scattering stuff across multiple sets so you have to buy them).

The Mech

The mech follows the mold established by the many smaller Ironman Hulkbuster models we got over the years. Now that blanket statement doesn’t do you much good since I haven’t reviewed any of them , but if you ever owned one of those, you pretty much know where this is going. The individual sub-assemblies are based on standardized building methods you have seen a million times, and to get this out of the way, overall poseability therefore is limited. The main trunk for instance is a solid piece with no turntable separating the hips and the upper abdomen/ thorax, so he can only ever stare forward.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Front Left View

The arms are more moveable on a theoretical level at least, but the massive armor plates easily get in the way. The shoulders are okay, but the elbows never allow to stretch the arms out fully. The legs have rigid knees, so they are always at an angle. This is not the end of the world, but has a noticeable impact on the model’s posture as it always leans forward ever so slightly. This basically can’t be changed as otherwise the mech loses balance and tips over backward. It’s not that its jet backpack would be particularly heavy or any of that, but more the combination of all the appendages somehow interacting unfavorably.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Aft Left View

One thing that bothered me a bit from the outset was the color scheme. Initially I was under the impression that the model would come with Bright Green elements instead of the regular Green. Once I got to grips with that reality, I still wished it had at least a few such pieces and at the same time also a few other ones in Dark Tan or Olive Green. Since this is based on some sort of alternative timeline in which the bad guys from Hydra somehow have managed to assemble this Hulkbuster knock-off back in the 1940s, my theory would have to be that during wartime materials were in short supply and they had to scrape it together from different sources.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Aft Right View

This doesn’t mean everything has to look like it was sourced from the scrapyard, but some color variations would certainly have enlivened the model and broken up the uniform green. It would also have helped to disguise the weak print on the face mask. It’s seriously lacking in opacity and neither the white areas nor the green looks correct. This is even more regrettable as somehow it would have been cool if the eyes would also be a Glow-in-the-Dark element. As it is, only a 1 x 2 plate hidden behind a Trans Light Blue tile on the chest plate is actually glowing. This kind of works, but only if you really have exposed it to a strong light source like a flashlight. Just letting it stand there in regular daylight will barely register.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Front Right View

The cockpit does not have any extra details and can hold a minifigure in standing position. that’s where Steve Rogers‘ printed on belts and buckles come into play to make him appear strapped in. That’s okay, but I definitely would have preferred some more detailing. Sadly, though, even that would not raise the play value by much as the whole model is simply stiff like a stick and does not offer many ways to set up play scenarios

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Cockpit Interior

All that being the case, the one benefit of this mech being rigid like a frozen fish is that it is also quite robust. It’s easy enough to rip off the lower arms when moving them because they are only attached with ratcheted hinges, but the rest is quite massive and will not break at the first fall.

Concluding Thoughts

While I bought this (or my brother, to be exact) more or less just as a way to fill a gap when there were no other sets I wanted available at decent prices, this is still pretty decent, come to think of it. Compared to other Marvel sets the price isn’t inflated exorbitantly and while the model as a whole feels a bit small-ish, by that weird LEGO logic we have become accustomed to the value isn’t bad. Once you throw the very distinctly unique minifigures into the mix this gets even better. Splitting the investment with a friend who collects them should make this very viable.

On its own merits as in “a mech being a mech” this is not the best option, though. There’s still a ton of Ninjago mechs out there that offer much more complexity, are way larger and much better poseable plus they come with even more figures and better play value. This Hulkbuster wannabe really only works with the Marvel context in mind or if you are looking for a retro-themed, steampunk-ish model that fits into an alternate WW II scenario.

The First Avenger(s)

Full disclosure: I honestly don’t care much for comic hero movies or for that matter the original comics themselves for a million reasons, so take everything I’m going to say about the first issue of the LEGO Marvel Avengers magazine with a grain of salt.

LEGO Magazine, Avengers, September 2020, Cover

Being blissfully ignorant of most of the Marvel movies of course I cannot say much about the merits of the story and lore in this one. I literally just bought it out of curiosity because it’s fresh on the market and I wanted to see how it holds up. The comic seems to be drawn well enough and allegedly it’s a unique story, but I’m totally clueless as to whether there’s any truth to that claim.

Outside that this one follows the same pattern as the other LEGO magazines from Blue Ocean. There’s some puzzles, some “hero profile” pages and a few other little tidbits to keep kids occupied. The posters are at best mediocre, with the Spiderman vs. Venom one being at least bearable. The Avengers one is a complete fail, though, in my view. I still don’t understand why they go through all the trouble of drawing those comics and then don’t use all that graphical fidelity to their advantage on the posters as well.

LEGO Magazine, Avengers, September 2020, Comic

The real value of this magazine is the minifigure. Well, strike that. The actual value are the extra web parts. I don’t have any of them yet and they even included the new angled posing stud. Yippee! This all will sure come in handy if and when I should ever build some old house covered in cob webs or similar. Other than that I guess the Spiderman figure is okay, though it appears the most basic one that they probably have used in a ton of sets.

LEGO Magazine, Avengers, September 2020, Minifigure

With all that said, I don’t quite know whether I’ll be buying this regularly. I suppose it will depend on the extra value I get out of the minifigures and the parts that come with them or whatever they plan on including in the future. It seems an almost sure bet, though, that this will be hugely popular with little superhero nerd kids, which at the end of the day all of them are on some level. So I guess it’s okay to buy this then.