At the start of the year, the LEGO Group released its latest version of Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster armor from the MCU. As a massive Iron Man fan and an even bigger enjoyer of the brick-built versions of the Golden Avenger, I finally picked up the kit to add to my collection. Comparing it to some of the previous versions, I go hands on below to see just why the new LEGO Hulkbuster is the best one yet.
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Hands-on with the new LEGO Hulkbuster
The new LEGO Hulkbuster is just the latest in a fairly long series of builds starting all the way back in 2015. Though this is certainly the most detailed and, dare I say, the best version of the beefy Iron Man suit that builders have ever been able to assemble.
Arriving at the $49.99 price point when it launched on January 1, the latest iteration has 385 pieces. It is based specifically on Avengers: Infinity War, and the overall design and included minifigures lean into that.
As for the minifigures, the $50 price point is also justified with four different characters from the MCU. In a pretty fair matchup numbers wise, the included Bruce Banner minifig is joined by Okoye to take on the pair of outriders who also make the cut. The former two are exclusive to the latest iteration of the LEGO Hulkbuster, too. Okoye is making only her third-ever release in the brick-built form to date, while Banner rocks a 2-sided head that includes one mid-transformation into the Hulk.
The latter sports two different designs, one with golden claws and the other with the more common backpack of arms that really give the figures that alien dog design. These are hardly special in a LEGO Marvel Infinity Saga set these days, but getting two different designs certainly helps keep things fresh.
But circling back to the actual build, the LEGO Group is going all-in on assembling just the Hulkbuster. There are no side builds to give the outriders a more fair fight, or anything of the sorts. It’s just a mecha set I couldn’t be happier to see nearly every single brick in the 385 allotted pieces go toward giving the suit a proper recreation.
Back when the LEGO Group launched the Infinity Saga of Marvel sets back in 2021, the whole point of it was to do better justice to some of the more iconic elements of the films. We saw plenty of other builds get that treatment, and now the company is doubling down to give builders a near-flawless recreation of the Hulkbuster.
Diving in for a closer look, it’s clear right off the bat that this set is putting display over play. Things like knees that don’t have joints are one thing that LEGO does with even more play-focused sets, but the design of the new Hulkbuster really just leans into getting as much of the in-universe design right as possible. The torso has some of the best shaping I’ve seen from a brick-built mech, with a series of techniques and chosen bricks that, frankly, combine into a beautiful final product.
The sacrifices of no movable knees or even a rotating waist all stack up to delivering a build that still looks incredible and is more intricate than we’d have gotten otherwise. The arms are still plenty posable, with articulation for all of the posing, punching, and playing that kids or collectors could want to do.
But the set isn’t perfect. There had to be at least a single area where the LEGO Group dropped the ball, and for me that’s the cockpit. It’s the one thing that has remained pretty standard across all of the LEGO Hulkbusters in the past, with a helmet up top that folds up to complement a chest section that can swing down to reveal the internal minifigure. This time around, the latter play feature has been removed and instead its just a little seat for you to slot Bruce into. Even worse, when the Hulkbuster head is closed, you can still see the figure’s hands. It’s not a massive deal in the long run, but with such a near perfect set, the flaws do shine a bit brighter.
I’m going to try and be objective here, but look, it’s LEGO Iron Man and a girl has to have some biases, okay? This is the first LEGO set I’ve spent any cash on in a few months, and I really do have to say that it was worth every penny. The $50 price point is certainly on the steeper end for a kit that isn’t even 400 pieces, but the overall final build and included figures go a long ways toward making this set a must-have.
The Hulkbuster a notable build for both collectors like myself who adore the LEGO Marvel releases and kids who want to recreate their favorite scenes from the Infinity Saga. The value for what you get on paper is just really solid, and that’s not even considering just how good the build actually is. I’ve bought every one of the red and gold LEGO Hulkbuster sets that have been released, sans the UCS-style one that launched last fall. This new 2023 version is easily the best we’ve seen, and it really isn’t even close.
Honestly, the figures are just a bonus. In a market where the LEGO Group is trying to get every penny out of builders, this actually feels like a set that was meant to be at the $50 price point all along. It’s as solid of a value as you can get and an even better recreation of the iconic Hulkbuster.
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