Avengers: Age of Ultron was such an incredible thrill ride of a Summer blockbuster. Filled with all your favourite Marvel Superheroes in an all-out battle royale against Ultron’s mechanical army, I had a blast catching it in the cinema 2 weeks ago.
The most enjoyable part of the movie for me, was the epic clash between an enraged Hulk and Iron Man in his Hulk Buster suit – a cinematic action-packed masterpiece that contains some of the best fan-service, stunning fight choreography and CGI effects.
The fight wasn’t even necessary to the plot, but I’m glad that Joss Whedon decided to include it as pure blockbuster eye candy.
The Hulk Buster Smash LEGO set is based on that very fight between Iron Man and The Hulk, and like the scene is a whole lot of fun. Let’s jump into my review of what is possibly, the standout set from the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie tie-in theme. Caution: Mild spoilers ahead.
Name: The Hulk Buster Smash
Set Number: 76031
Price: AU$49.99 (Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA])
Exclusive to: N/A
Minifigs: 3 + 1 Hulk Bigfig
Theme: Marvel Super Heroes – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Year of Release: 2015
Instructions: Book 1
I really enjoy building LEGO Mechs so The Hulk Buster Smash was naturally one of my most anticipated sets from the Age of Ultron theme. The Hulk Buster Suit has always been a personal favourite of mine ever since I read World War Hulk and got acquainted with Tony Stark’s answer to the Incredible Hulk.
The Hulk Buster Suit’s popularity has caused the set to become quite scarce on the market. It’s not impossible to find it in stores, but they’re not as numerous as you might imagine a regular non-retailer exclusive set to be. As I write this review, the set is currently sold out online on LEGO.com in both Australia and the US.
If you spot this set being discounted in Australia, I’d pounce on it immediately. In fact, it’s actually pretty good value at RRP too.
I don’t usually post pictures of the instruction manuals, but I really liked the manual in this set. First of all, you only get one (thick) booklet unlike other sets which tend to unnecessarily split the instructions up into two or more books. Please LEGO – more manuals like this.
This is one of my favourite things to stumble upon when opening a LEGO set – a minimal sticker sheet! These stickers are used in the encosure that Tony Stark tries to contain The Hulk in.
Let’s take a look at the minifigures included in the set. We get a very generous helping of 3 minifigures and a Hulk bigfig.
For a $50 licensed set, there’s plenty to rejoice in as you get Iron Man, Scarlet Witch and Ultron Prime. The latter two are exclusive to this set, which means you have fewer reasons to not pick this set up, especially if you’re a fan of Marvel and The Avengers.
First up, we take a closer look at Iron Man in his Mark 43 armour. The MK43 suit of armour can be considered the default Iron Man armour in Age of Ultron as it shows up in two other sets in this theme.
Being common doesn’t detract from the minifigure at all – the printing on his legs and torso is remarkably sharp. I really love the bright reds and dull golden accents which are especially prominent on his legs. His helmet has a few thin black lines which give it a decent bit variation from other Iron Man suits.
The back printing is equally crisp and has all the necessary armour details. It’s not so much a criticism but more of a “it would be great if LEGO could” suggestion – covering Iron Man’s arms with print would go a long way in updating the Iron Man minifigure for 2015.
Here’s Iron Man with his face mask popped open, revealing the standard Tony Stark smug/teeth baring face. Like the Iron Man minifig, Tony’s face has hardly been changed, so his minifigure is relatively par for the course.
Here’s a comparison with the Mark 45 Armour (left) which is exclusive to 76029 Iron Man vs Ultron. They both have their merits, but I prefer the Mk 45 as it looks sleeker and isn’t as blocky as the Mk 43. Both armours are still fine specimens and arguably the best and most detailed Iron Man minifigures ever produced.
Here’s the Scarlet Witch, who starts out as a villain before coming to her senses and teaming up with the Avengers to take Ultron down. Wanda Maximoff was one of my favourite characters in Age of Ultron, and her minifigure is an absolute delight.
Wanda is dressed in a very stylish red leather jacket worn over a black dress, and as usual the printing is sharp and detailed. Unfortunately, the fleshy bits on her legs are a little off-coloured compared to her flesh skin tone, which is a very common issue with minifigures. The printing on her dress which extends down her legs is aligned almost perfectly, which scores her huge points in my book.
While her torso printing is incredibly sharp, after spending enough time staring at the minifigure, I began to notice that her upper body looks slightly imbalanced due to the negative space which flanks her waist. It’s not a flaw per se – there just seems to be a lot more negative space than I’m used to.
Back printing is present and looks spectacular. Her torso is seriously versatile, you could easily swap it out for your other minifigures – the red leather jacket and black dress combo is super stylish.
Scarlet Witch also has an alternate face where she has bright red eyes and a very angry look. If her expression looks familiar, you’re not wrong – she has the exact same head as Supergirl from 76040 Brainiac Attack!
Scarlet Witch comes with two transparent light blue “psi blades”, which I’m guessing is supposed to represent her telekinetic powers. The blue colour is odd as in the movies, her powers usually manifest themselves with red effects. Eh, at least she has something to hold on to.
Here’s Ultron Prime, looking all red and angry. The printing on his torso and legs are spectacular as usual, with tiny bits of robotic details covering his entire body.
There’s a “this isn’t even my final form” joke in here somewhere. Ultron Prime also distinguishes himself from his Sentry counterparts with a snazzy collar accessory.
I think Ultron looks much better in red than he does in blue. In Age of Ultron, he can assume control of any of his Ultron Sentries and turns red as a visual indication to the viewer. The Ultron Prime minifigure does a great job of capturing the sinister undertones of his onscreen character.
Here’s a look at Ultron Prime’s back printing and also the back of his head. Ultron Prime is a really good looking minifigure, although he does look a bit more cartoonish than he does on the big screen – which isn’t too out of the ordinary since its a toy and all.
Here’s the big green star of the set – The Incredible Hulk. Bruce Banner’s angrier and greener counterpart has undergone some slight cosmetic changes – he’s in a slightly duller shade of green compared to previous versions to better match his appearance in the movies. He’s also got a more roughed up hairstyle to go with his new skin.
I like the new colour, I think it goes quite well with the The Hulk and gives him a more realistic looking appearance. His toes are now printed instead of moulded into his feet and he looks like he lost some weight, compared to the older Hulk bigfig.
I’m not a fan of his new purple pants which have some really tacky geometric designs on them in addition to the Avengers logo. It just seems out of place and I much prefer the regular shabby pants that he has on. I for one cannot recall seeing these pants of The Hulk in the movie.
While LEGO have gotten the colour right, I can’t help but feel like this version of the Hulk is slightly inferior compared to previous versions.
I’m not a fan of all the visible gaps peppered around his body. It just looks like sloppy manufacturing and design on LEGO’s part, especially since you could barely see the seams on the older Hulk bigfigs.
At the very least, The Hulk retains his ability to grasp minifigures by their legs and toss ’em around like ragdolls.
On to the build – the first thing you assemble is this little enclosure that Tony Stark designed to try and contain The Hulk. Good luck with that! In the movie, Tony Stark deploys a metal cage from a satellite in orbit with the hopes of containing the Hulk in a metal prison.
The LEGO model that you build is a poor imitation of the movie’s cool sequence, but still manages to look like an enclosure. Levitating above the Hulk is the Scarlet Witch, who was responsible for pissing the Hulk off and turning him on The Avengers.
Here’s The Hulk smashing Tony’s metal prison open.
I wish that they had made the metal cage a little larger so that it could completely contain The Hulk. More grey slopes and perhaps another flap or two raised higher would’ve looked a lot more interesting than what was provided in the set.
Tony Stark’s Hulk Buster suit is the heart and soul of this set and boy does it deliver in spades! As mechs go, the Hulk Buster sit isn’t the most complex but that’s perfectly fine since the end result is so satisfying.
I really like how LEGO captured the suit’s squat and stocky build. It looks chunky enough to convincingly withstand a few hits from a rampaging Hulk.
The articulation of the Hulk Buster Suit is equally as satisfying. There’s a lot of fun to be had posing the Hulk Buster Suit and I’m glad to report that it doesn’t suffer from flimsy parts that plague certain LEGO Mechs. It should hold up to quite a bit of abuse, especially if young children are going to play with it.
There are twin stud launchers on the Hulk Buster’s right arm, which gives it an extra bit of playability. The stud launchers (it actually launches transparent blue 1 X 1 round bricks) are probably the most flimsy component of the Hulk Buster since they have a tendency to pop themselves out of the launchers at the slightest touch.
The most gorgeous component of the Hulk Buster Suit is his printed dome helmet. It’s a piece of beauty and a brilliant decision by the LEGO designers as it wouldn’t look anywhere near as good if the dome was a sticker. Shudders.
This is my favourite part of the Hulk Buster Suit – flip open the helmet and you’ll find a comfy little space for Iron Man to sit in, just like in the movie!
Hulk Buster’s hands can even be shaped into a fist and looks great.
Here’s a side by side comparison with the Ideas Exo Suit. As you can see, the Hulk Buster isn’t the largest of LEGO mechs, but still manages to hold its own and look pretty bad ass.
Plenty of nice details on the back such as back thrusters to give the Hulk Buster some added propulsion when he needs to smash himself into The Hulk.
The only thing I don’t quite like about the suit is the awkward technic axles that stick out from its hips. They look really out of place and part of me wondered if it wasn’t possible for LEGO to make them less visible or substitute them with other parts.
All the fun with this set consists of pitting the Hulk Buster armour against The Incredible Hulk. Thanks to the suit being extremely poseable, there’s limitless possibilities when it comes to striking different poses with The Hulk.
I have to admit that the size difference between them isn’t quite screen-accurate, but I’m really just nitpicking at this point.
What I liked:
- Great bunch of exclusive minifigures in this set
- Hulk Buster Armour is one of the most satisfying LEGO mechs I’ve ever built
- An insane amount of value contained in this set
What I didn’t like:
- The seams in the hulk bigfig
- Not much else!
Final thoughts: There’s so much to like about The Hulk Buster Smash. In spite of being a licensed set, I didn’t once feel that the set was overpriced in anyway. For $50, you get a Hulk-ton of value with the minifigs, Hulk bigfig and one of the best mechs that LEGO have ever designed.
Ultron Prime and Scarlet Witch are great exclusives – both are impeccably designed and convincingly raise the bar of minifig printing and design. Iron Man is decent but if you’re collecting all the Age of Ultron sets, you’re going to end up with like 3 of them so it’s hard to get excited about him.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of the new Hulk redesign, but it doesn’t detract from its positive qualities. Being The Hulk, he’s still going to be really popular with fans, especially since this is the most affordable and easiest way to get your hands on him.
The Hulk Buster Armour is the crown jewel of this set and is both a joy to build and play with. There’s always reason to celebrate when LEGO designs a mech that doesn’t have parts falling out, while being fully articulate and poseable at the same time. It looks great and has a very eye catching dark red and gold colour scheme, making it an obvious choice for any LEGO display.
The Hulk Buster Smash is a must-buy set if you’re a fan of Marvel Super Heroes. There’s absolutely no reason to skip out on it thanks to its very affordable price point – availability issues aside.
With all the right ingredients of a standout LEGO set – packed with value, high playability and displayability, fun to construct and features some of the most popular Marvel characters, you’re not going to be disappointed one bit with The Hulk Buster Smash.