An amazing showpiece for Iron Man and building block fans...
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Building block toys have been a staple of toyboxes for centuries. In the past few generations, wooden square blocks have given way to interlocking plastic pieces that rarely resemble the basic geometric shapes they once did. Mega Bloks is a global powerhouse in creative toys that have brought new blocks to the market with their Iron Man 2 line of playsets. The centerpiece is the Iron Man 2 Hall of Armor. Proclaiming 218 pieces on the front of the box, this playset comes with 2 figures, Stark's JARVIS computer, an armor wall for displaying the various suits of Iron Man armor you accumulate, a device for giving your figures flight, and a hollow bust of Iron Man which also serves as a playset wall. Whether it's closed for storage or open for display and play, this playset is an amazing focal piece.
The box is made with a metallic sheen that invokes the metallic nature of the Iron Man armor. The plastic bust and large baseplate are visible on the outside of the box, and tucked inside are three plastic bags. The first bag contains the instruction book and sticker sheet while the other two bags contain the remainder of the blocks. The tiniest pieces are bagged within the bags to help keep them from getting completely lost while building the playset.
While you will need to cut about a dozen pieces of tape to get the box open, only 3 twist ties keep the baseplate and bust from falling off. Unlike some other toys on the market today, you won't kill yourself trying to get this open.
The actual build of the playset is fairly easy and straightforward. You build the basic floorplan, the second floor, attach the front bust piece, build up the wall of armor, and add the final details. Anyone determined to get it done quickly will have no problem getting it together in less than an hour, while someone else with small kids looking to share the experience can spend an entire afternoon on the build.
One frustrating problem came with the wall of armor. The top connector piece is very thin and made of several long pieces. No matter how much I tried to make the pieces work, the pieces would not all connect at once. After some trial and error, I found that a few of the long pieces used in the build wouldn't fit the nubs at the tops of the translucent blue columns. While this may be an issue with the pieces being new and still incredibly rigid, it was a bit of a hassle to find a configuration where enough pieces would fit and hold the overall connector in place.
There are many moving parts in the playset that allow it to be an interactive experience. First of all, a working trapdoor is in the second floor area, operated by an easy to use lever. Secondly, the JARVIS computer arm slides, rotates, and swivels, allowing for a wide array of movement. And finally, a flying mechanism using two pieces of string allow for the figures to simulate flying from the first to the second floor. There is an additional harness that can connect to an object like a doorknob and allow for flight outside of the playset, extending the playtime possibilities of the set.
Finally, the back piece of the wall of armor is reversible, so that collectors with more armor types may use the "blank" side and showcase their pieces. The included Mark II and Mark VI armor figures have 12 points of articulation and allow for a wide variety of poses. They are also well proportioned and look more like their movie counterparts than the blocky style most figures accompanying these playsets seem to be in.
There are only two drawbacks to the entire set. First, there are many small pieces that will be easily lost by those who do not keep a close eye on their pieces. Playing with this set outside or in deep shag carpet is a recipe for disaster. Secondly, a vast majority of the pieces have been designed with specific uses in mind. While it makes this set look fantastic, these shapes don't allow for much use outside of what they were intended for here. The wrench will always be a wrench and can't be further disassembled or reassembled into something else.
Overall, the set is incredibly fun for children and adults and it fairly easy to assemble. A few caveats aside, fans of Iron Man and interlocking building blocks will find this to be an amazing showpiece. Many parents, like me, will find themselves waiting for the kids to go to sleep just to get a chance to play with it. The Mega Bloks Iron Man 2 Hall of Armor Playset is available now for a retail price of $29.99
Review and Photos by Doug "DiRT" Turner
Review Sample Courtesy of MEGA Brands