Of the sets Lego released to tie into the release of Avengers: Endgame, the one I was most looking forward to was the War Machine Buster. Because, honestly, a Hulkbuster in the style of War Machine has the potential to be one of the coolest suits of armour in the entire MCU. Because it's a Hulkbuster that's heavily armed with dangerous and powerful weaponry, which is exactly what you need when you're going up against Thanos and his armies. But unfortunately the fact this set was revealed before the film's release means it's still rather disappointing.
The War Machine Buster is a great set, but its main problem is that it's a completely original creation. In other words, as people who have seen the film will know, it doesn't appear in Avengers: Endgame. Which is a shame, really, because it would have been quite the spectacle - even in a scene as action packed as the final battle. We see a new version of the War Machine armour, but there's no time to focus on it in any detail. The suit is bigger, bulkier, and has a different colour scheme, and that opens up new questions we couldn't possibly expect the film to answer. In practical terms it might as well be the same armour Rhodey was wearing before, when the Avengers compound fell on him.
But a War Machine variant of the Hulkbuster? Totally different story. We've seen the Hulkbusters before, including a brief cameo at the start of Endgame, so there aren't any lingering questions. Oh it's just a grey, more heavily armed version of one of the original Hulkbuster suits, opening the door for War Machine to use some really spectacular weaponry he might not have been able to support before. Weaponry like the long-rumoured proton cannon that has yet to make a concrete MCU appearance.
But alas it seems the War Machine Buster was a Lego creation, presumably developed to prevent sets from being used to spoil the film in any shape or form. After all, only one of the five Endgame sets actually appears in the movie, and even then the battle of Avengers Compound is very different in Lego form. Far less destructive, and contains no clue that the Thanos they fight is a time traveller from 2014. And the War Machine Buster was a handy way to include a new War Machine minifigure, sporting his white quantum suit.
2019 vs 2018
Plus it has Ant-Man, who was included for reasons unknown. Perhaps the other sets were full up, but at least Lego finally gave us a film-accurate version of the Ant-Man helmet. Shame it's not the white quantum helmets we see in the final film.
Very angry cousins
If you bought last year's Hulkbuster, then the War Machine Buster won't be a huge shock. The two are roughly the same scale and share a similar design, though the latter is naturally more armoured and has had some changes made to its arms. The legs and feet are generally the same, though they have had a few minor tweaks here and there. Like the WMB's posable toes, which I assume are supposed to help anchor the armour and protect it from the recoil involved in firing certain powerful weapons.
The arms are totally different, though. Rather than the basic Technic pieced covered by armour, you actually have to build the whole arm and not just the hands. It's all part of the armoured War Machine aesthetic from the looks of things, as are the bulkier hands that double as single-shot guns. I'm not a huge fan of the redesigned hands, though. The lack of stickers is more than welcome, but there's a serious lack of movement. You can only move them in a 30-degree circle at the wrist, unlike the standard Hulkbuster that has a ball-and-socket connection that offers much greater levels of movement. The way the thumbs have attached have changed too, and no longer can you make a thumbs up gesture.
It can still do this, though, which is hilarious and definitely not a strange thing to see an adult has done with his Lego sets:
Yeah, suck it, Thanos! You want some of this?
The torso is still functionally the same, albeit with lots more pieces involved and no mechanical gears that you's find on the 2018 Hulkbuster. The main thing here is that the armour opens up the same way, letting you slip a minifigure in nice and easily. The WMB has a bit of empty space at the back, though, and Lego has cleverly utilised this as storage space for spare ammo.
If you've ever had a set with a firing mechanism you'll know that there are always too many spare studs that could be used to annoy your relative/child/parent/next door neighbour, but not enough space to store them all. WMB had spares, as all sets inevitably do, but there is room to keep another 8 studs in the back, and that's just enough to reload all the weapons a second time.
Speaking of which, see those wrist guns? They're designed to be removed and attached to the War Machine minifigure when it's not inside the giant mech. Obviously I went out of my way to dig out some replacements so that the armour wouldn't ever be incomplete, though unfortunately I did not have any silver guns in my box of bits. Fortunately the black guns match the War Machine aesthetic much better, and don't look as weird when you put all the armours together. And yes, I did go out and buy all the War Machine variants once after building Iron Man's Hall of Armor. I will have them all, dammit.
From the left: Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Civil War, Infinity War, Endgame. The big one, as we explained, isn't in any of them.
While it's disappointing that the War Machine Buster never appeared in Endgame, and will likely never make the leap to the big screen, it's still a nice set to have - especially if you have an interest in Iron Man armours in general. Plus it's only £30, and far from the most expensive set in the Endgame range. In fact this and the Captain America bike together still cost £5 less than the £55 Hall of Armor with all its many Iron Man suits. And you know, it's a Hulkbuster that has better weaponry than its predecessors, and that naturally means it's more fun to play with.