Every time there's a new Marvel movie we can expect to see a bunch of tie-in Lego sets, and the bigger the movie, the more there tend to be. Avengers: Endgame is without a doubt the biggest Marvel movie ever made, and as you'd expect there are few big new sets that you can go out and buy to enjoy. We were able to get our hands on a couple of them to see what's what, and today we're looking at Iron Man's Hall of Armor set.
We're going to keep this review nice and spoiler free, so if you haven't seen the film yet, don't worry! We're not going to spoil what may or not be in the film.
Hall of Armor jumps us back to the days of Iron Man 3 when Tony's Malibu mansion was still standing. Also the days before he blew up all his many suits to try and impress Pepper, and make it look as though he was giving up being Iron Man. With that in mind we get to see some of the suits that appeared in it and earlier films, including the original Mark 1, the Mark 5 (from the suitcase), the Mark 41 (the unarmoured 'Bones' suit), the Mark 50 (from Infinity War), and the Mark 38 (Igor, the heavy lifter).
As you may expect from looking at it, this isn't the most taxing build in the world. The bulk of it involves putting together the armour bays, and they all have the exact same basic design. There are a few smaller details that make them slightly different, but as a general rule if you can build one you should be able to build them all without much extra effort. Thankfully, the smaller details mean you don't get to the end of a section and find Lego suddenly announcing you need six more of the same thing, forcing you back a few pages while you try to figure out whether it's more efficient to build them one at a time or do each stage multiple times before you move on.
The trickiest part to put together was Igor, as the fancy Iron Man armour of the set, though he's frankly not that difficult. There are a lot of points of motion, though, which can make him a little bit unstable should you try some posing. It's also worth bearing in mind that his chest plate always seems out of place without a minifig inside, and even then you can still see the legs poking out. Plus his face isn't very well designed.
There's a single printed element for his eyes, while the rest of his face is represented by a kneeplate type piece. Igor does have a slightly different look to the rest of the Iron Man suits, but it doesn't look anything close to how Lego have stylised it. Then again, this is the same company that had the first awkwardly built Hulkbuster, so it probably shouldn't be surprising.
Combined with the Hulkbuster (2018 version) Igor also looks like a grumpy child. Perhaps mama Hulkbuster told baby Igor that they couldn't go to McDonald's for dinner.
But for those of you who take issue with following instructions linearly, you'll be happy to hear that you can build Igor whenever you like. He has his own instruction booklet and the bag hasn't been sullied by parts for the rest of the build. I built him first, naturally.
Unfortunately this set is another example of Lego adding transparent stickers onto transparent panels, in an attempt to get an hologram effect that we see at various points throughout the MCU movies. But it just doesn't work. The detailing on the stickers is incredibly faint, and you can only make them out about five per cent of the time. The rest of the time all you see the moulding on the opposite side of the panels. It's a really bad effect that Lego shouldn't have implemented, and while stickers are bad enough at the best of times, this just looks god damn awful. The sooner Lego scraps it the better.
Sadly all the stickers use this effect, even the ones attached to opaque blue Igor, so we can't even revel in the normal opaque stickers. At least the only thing that can go wrong there is that they get put on a bit wonky. Or upside down, as was the case with my 2018 Hulkbuster.
The most important thing to remember about the Hall of Armor is that it makes a nice little set piece by itself, but it still seems lacking. Tony Stark had an entire vault of armours that he called on for Iron Man 3's big climax. 34 in that sequence, to be exact, bringing the grand total up to 42. Then count the armours from subsequent films and you'll realise the set is actually quite lacking. We haven't seen every single Iron Man armour make it into a Lego set, but the Hall of Armor is basically a monument to the fact that you don't have them all. If you're anything like me this set is going to make you head straight onto eBay, Bricklink, and all the other Lego-specific sites to try and get them all. Then you might want to get the all five War Machines, the Ultrons, Spider-Man, and the non-MCU Iron Men. Let's not even go into all the 'custom' Iron Man minifigures that exist, we'd be here all week and you'd end up spending more than a year's rent.
With all the things you could buy to make the set look complete, you'll find you're quickly running out of room. Which is why people on Reddit and similar sites have been building their own versions to accommodate them all. Many of them just involve stacking the different armour bays on top of each other, while others have developed far more elaborate playsets that house all the suits and even include maintenance areas for the small scale hulkbusters.
Retired Lego is expensive enough at the best of times, but now you also have to compete with other people who might be doing the exact same thing. It's almost enough to make you switch to the cheaper fake Iron Men that exist. Almost, but not quite.
A Few Points of Interest
- The accessories scattered about the set include a place to store Tony Stark's hairpiece. In plain view I might add, suggesting Tony really wears a wig. Then again this is the Lego universe, and if The Lego Movie 2 taught us anything it's that minifigures can canonically remove their hair whenever they feel like it.
- The choice of Iron Man minifigures is a little weird. Mark I and V I get, as does the absence of the previously VI and VII, but where's Marks II through IV? What reason was there to include Mark 41 and 50, which was released several times in last year's Infinity War sets? Most of all, why is Iron Man the only Avenger that doesn't get the white suit outside of a hard-to-find polybag?
- Does Tony Stark really need a jetpack? He literally has suits for this, and one of them live inside his chest.
- I don't recall Tony Stark having a satellite dish in his workshop, but I guess that's how JARVIS and FRIDAY remotely operate the suits. As we saw in Infinity War, they don't live inside them. Not all the time anyway.
- Why are the Outriders here? They weren't in Iron Man 3. Was this just to tie it into Endgame?