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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.