Gonna take a short break from the onslaught of LEGO Batman Movie Sets and give some love to Marvel with this review of 76077 Iron Man: Detroit Steel Strikes. This set piqued my attention for several reasons – it has a mech, it marked the long-awaited debut of Agent Coulson and Lola and I was rather intrigued by the new Iron Man helmet.
With a pricetag that was just about right, it was a no-brainer picking this up when it got released on LEGO.com here in Australia. One of the biggest misconceptions Down Under is that we tend to get shafted when it comes to LEGO availability and release date.
While there is some truth in that, but on occasion, we do get sets ahead of the USA and Detroit Steel Strikes is one of those rare cases. This set will be released in the US in March, so it actually feels quite good getting access to it before the Yanks!
Name: Iron Man: Detroit Steel Strikes
Set Number: 76077
Price: AU$49.99 | US$29.99 | £29.99 (Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK])
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: Marvel Super Heroes
Year of Release: 2017
I’m a big fan of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series, so I had been looking forward to this set for the longest of times, purely because it features the minifigure version of Agent Coulson, a beloved character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as Lola, his iconic red car.
It’s been almost a 9-year wait (since the Original Iron Man movie) for us to get an Agent Coulson minifigure, but I’m mostly glad that they finally did it.
Here’s a look at the sticker sheet. Most of the stickers are applied to the Detroit Steel mech, except for the set of 4 red semi-circle ones. I usually can tolerate stickers… but this set of 4 really pissed me off.
Yes. These 4 stickers go on the INSIDE of the wheel arch parts. Let that sink in. Holy crap, these were so difficult to apply, and you can see what a crap job I did.
I seriously don’t know what possessed LEGO to think this was a good idea. Worst part of the set by far. Thankfully, it gets so much better after this. Let’s take a look at the minifigures in the set.
The set comes with 3 minifigures, Invincible Iron Man, Justin Hammer and Agent Coulson, all of which are exclusive to this set.
The Invincible Iron Man minifigure is the most interesting characters in this set, mostly because of his brand new helmet. Tony Stark is decked out in his Model 51 armour, which features a dramatic new look that’s sharper and more angular than previous suits.
In the comics, the Model 51 Armour does a little bit of everything, boasting the capability to transform and alter its shape and features based on the need at hand – all while retaining the iconic look and red and gold colours.
The Invincible Iron Man minifigure does away with the traditional Iron Man helmet where the faceplate can flip open, to this brand new helmet that’s just one solid piece. It’s a bit like a bucket that goes over Tony Stark’s head, and it took me awhile to get used to it.
It really challenges your perception of what Iron Man looks like, and sometimes seems a little juvenile or “Junior-ish”, but I’m all for mixing things up.
The painting on the helmet is fantastic, and I mostly like how different it looks. Fans who collect Iron Man suits of armour are sure to want to add this to their collection just for the novelty of it. For what it’s worth, I still prefer the original Iron Man helmet.
The suit features a lot less detail than recent Iron Man armours, which is nice as it places more emphasis on distinct lines, with lots of “free space” that gives it a less busy, more comic booky look to it.
I don’t like that there’s no leg and arm printing, which is almost unacceptable in 2017.
Iron Man also features some new weaponry, what LEGO calls “Power Blast” elements. These transparent blue bolts of energy are gripped by a minifigure’s hands and actually feature a really ingenious design.
You basically press the tails inwards, and they spring out of the hands with reasonably strong force.
I thought it was pretty silly at first, but it actually works incredibly well. It’s quite fun to play it and is so much more well designed than LEGO’s previous superhero play feature – the super jumpers. Check out this slow motion video of the Power Blast in action.
Joining Iron Man is Justin Hammer, leader of Hammer Industries. Like his arch-nemesis, Tony he’s also decked out in a power armour that matches the Detroit Steel mech’s design. Like Iron Man, he also has the snazzy new helmet which bears a slightly more sinister design.
The minifigure design is just okay – it’s very brash, loud and has too much “America” going on for me that it just looks messy.
Here’s a look at Justin Hammer and Tony Stark’s faces under their helmets – they also come with hairpieces, which is nice as you can switch between looks.
Both minifigures have alternate faces and back printing as well.
Agent Phil Coulson is the star of the set for me. Appearance-wise, Coulson isn’t the most exciting, but they nailed his secret agent business suit look down to a T. I really love his nametag, which has a minifig head on it, which I thought was a pretty cute touch.
I really like Coulson’s face, with his black aviator sunglasses and stern expression.
He also has a dual-sided head, this time with a slightly happier expressions sans sunglasses where he sports a bluetooth headset, or some kind of communicator.
I’m quite happy with all three minifigures, with Iron Man and Agent Coulson being the strongest ones in the trio. Justin Hammer is just okay for me, although I am looking forward to repurposing his torso to create some sort of Captain America armour (without the helmet) which I can see working out well.
Phil Coulson has been a long time coming, especially seeing how most people (and Nick Fury!) consider him to be an Avenger. Now that he’s part of the Marvel LEGO Universe, I can confidently say that the entire Avengers lineup is now finally complete.
You first assemble Lola, Agent Coulson’s beloved red 1962 Chevrolet Corvette. It’s a beauty, and is one of the most striking minifig-scale cars that LEGO have ever designed.
Without having to rely on large moulds, the LEGO designers have done an awesome job with Lola and her curves. The back in particular has a rally gentle slope which gives the car a very pleasant shape.
The front is a little flat with the red tiles jutting out slightly above the lights which looks great. The curved windshield is also pretty damn stunning.
Here’s a look at Lola’s back. The gears and knobs are a little unsightly, but they’re there to activate a play feature. I’m pretty sure you can easily remove them if they’re a little too much.
One of the most surprising things about Lola was that the license plate and grill is a printed piece! Really did not expect this, and this was super nice of LEGO. It’s proof that they can print on LEGO if they want to. It’s a really nice touch and elevates the entire vehicle to a whole new level.
Oh and just like in Agents of SHIELD, Lola has a flying mode as well. All four wheels easily rotate to activate its hover mode. The mechanism works well, but it can sometimes feel a little loose, especially if the wheels are in between modes.
The axles are a little unsightly, but given that Lola’s flight capabilities is one of her signature features, I don’t think its appropriate to mod them out and turn Lola into a regular car.
Up next is Detroit Steel, the armoured mech suit piloted by Justine Hammer. Like his minifigure counterpart, Detroit Steel has an all-American, ultra patriotic colour scheme which I think works pretty well.
Dark blue is my favourite LEGO colour, and it blends incredibly well with dark red, grey and white parts.
Like all LEGO mechs, Detroit Steel is super-posable and is a lot of fun. LEGO have employed a lot of parts and techniques from the buildable figures range, especially in the arms and shoulderpads.
Edit: So I seemed to have attached the shoulderpads wrongly! They’re supposed to be a lot higher up. Thanks starwarsfolder12 for the heads up!
The cockpit is a tight fit, with Justin Hammer having to hold his arms to his sides when it closes.
For weaponry, Detroit Steel is armed to the teeth. On his left arm, he has a gatling gun which fires a consecutive volley of stud shooters, and is one of my favourite LEGO play features.
It’s seriously so satisfying emptying the entire clip. Of course, it’s not fun having to pick up the studs later, but heck, doesn’t matter, had gatling gun.
On his right arm, he has a saw attachment, which you can use to slice open Iron Man’s armour. The saw blade looks a little small and it looks kinda awkward and not well proportioned, so it’s not my favourite thing about Detroit Steel.
Another small flaw is Detroit Steel’s clawed hands, which are on the small side, so it’s quite tricky gripping Iron Man or any other minifigure in it.
Not a deal breaker, but squeezing Iron Man into the clawed fingers took a lot more effort than I would’ve liked and also kinda limits the poses you can get Detroit Steel into.
From the back, Detroit Steel actually looks pretty good. I really like the trans-orange thrusters on its legs.
Speaking of legs… notice anything odd here?
I thought it was pretty funny that Detroit Steel’s feet look like he’s wearing stillettos/high heels. Maybe he dances at night when the economy isn’t doing too well.
All jokes aside, it’s a really great design and I love all the different lines and angles on each feet.
While it’s not particularly small, Detroit Steel feels quite skeletal. Almost like it’s more an exoskeleton rather than a full-blown mech.
Here’s a size comparison with the Hulkbuster suit, which I consider to be the gold standard of minifigure-scale mechs in recent times. You can see that the lack of armour and heft makes it look quite skinny, even though they’re both around the same size.
What I liked:
- Finally, an Agent Coulson minifigure
- The new Iron Man look wasn’t as bad as I was expecting
- Lola is gorgeous
What I didn’t like:
- Those stupid damn stickers inside the wheel arch
- Detroit Steel could’ve been improved
Final thoughts: For a AU$50 set, there’s whole lot to love with this set. Even though I paid full price for it, I feel like I got my money’s worth. For starters, 3 exclusives minifigures is always a very attractive prospect.
It helps that the set finally fulfills Marvel fans’ desires for a Phil Coulson minifigure, which allows us to finally check him off the wanted list. Finally. Invincible Iron Man is also a breath of fresh air.
The new “bucket” helmet works remarkably well. It retains the familiar countours of Iron Man’s face, but because it’s not limited to the form factor of the opening and closing face portion, the printing on the helmet allows it to look startlingly different than any other Iron Man suits before it.
Justin Hammer is the weakest minifigure – I mean, it’s nice that we finally get the face of Hammer Industries as a minifigure, but the noisy and cluttered minifigure design leaves a lot to be desired.
Lola is just a revelation, perfectly melding play features with a great design that’s pulled off using contemporary design techniques and elements.
The Detroit Steel Mech is a little too small and skeletal for my tastes. While I love mechs, it just feels like it could’ve been improved with more parts to give it slightly more mass. The saw attachment is also not very attractive – I would rather it have a more chainsaw-like look rather than the current buzzsaw.
That said, it’s not detrimental to this set. When taken as a whole, Detroit Steel Strikes has pretty much everything you could want from a mid-range Marvel Super Heroes set.
With a great lineup of minifigures, a fantastic looking Lola, and a Detroit Steel mech, which though it may be flawed, makes for an ideal display piece – you can’t go wrong with it.
I think that younger kids are especially going to enjoy this set, given that it’s packed with a whole raft of play features that are actually enjoyable. Also, kids love mechs – they’re pretty much LEGO action figures, and tend to be very well-received with LEGO’s core audience.
If you’re a Marvel Super Heroes fan, I can’t help but recommend Iron Man: Detroit Steel Strikes. It’s a set at a perfect price point, packs plenty of value and most of all, is a lot of fun.
This is also one of those rare Super Heroes sets that don’t completely rely on minifigures as a crutch to appeal to fans.
Thank you for reading! Iron Man Detroit Steel Strikes will reach retail stores sometime in March. If you’re lucky enough to live in Australia, the UK or Europe, you can buy it from LEGO’s online store and gloat to your American friends.
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Let me know in the comments if you’re looking forward to getting your hands on Detroit Steel Strikes!