With the recent release of LEGO Marvel 76210 Hulkbuster, Blocks smashes through the history and evolution of this iconic mech…
During a relief mission to stop the evil forces of Hydra gaining access to a deadly bioweapon, the Avengers team-up doesn’t go quite as planned and Hulk goes berserk. Tony Stark had prepared for this eventuality though, and in one of the most memorable sequences from Avengers: Age of Ultron, he goes head-to-head with the Hulk using his Hulkbuster armour.
Programmed to release anywhere from a satellite in space, the Hulkbuster is strong enough to survive Hulk’s gamma-fuelled rage. It’s basically a big mech and its modularity is what makes it so perfect as a LEGO model. So, how many Hulkbusters are there? And which one isn’t based on the movies? Blocks is going through the blueprints of the evolution that led to 76210 Hulkbuster…
Although it first appears in Age of Ultron from 2015, the Hulkbuster didn’t become a LEGO model until three years later. 76105 The Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition was definitely worth the wait though and is still one of the best versions. It captures the chunkiness of the mech yet doesn’t sacrifice pose-ability, with each limb on ball-joints that don’t look out of place on the armour. Dark red and pearl-gold combine perfectly and it even comes with a stand for Tony to tinker around with it.
That year was a great year for Iron Man fans though because a second Hulkbuster arrived to tie-in with Avengers: Infinity War. However, this is when Bruce Banner is having some issues with the Big Guy and borrows the Hulkbuster to help the team. 76104 The Hulkbuster Smash Up is a small play set, so not much is dedicated to the actual mech. Constraction shoulder elements and curved plates help to make the mech look nicely smooth, but the arms are just too disproportionate to the rest of the body.
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Disproportions are also the bane of 76164 Iron Man Hulkbuster vs. A.I.M. Agent (yes, the Hulkbusters love incredibly long titles). This is currently the only version of the mech that is not inspired by the movies, instead coming from the comics – the minifigures certainly look inspired by Iron Man comics from the late 1980s. However, although the idea of going up against Advanced Idea Mechanics is very creative, the actual mech looks really strange. A flat cockpit element is used for the mech’s head, which makes it look as if Hulk has busted the mech rather than the other way around.
And things didn’t improve in 2022 when a collector’s edition was announced. Typically these types of Marvel sets are met with a lot of interest, yet LEGO fans have deeply criticised 76210 Hulkbuster (reviewed in Issue 99). Bigger does not always mean better, even for the brick, and considering its whopping price tag, 76210 is not accurate enough to the source material. The shoulders are far too high, the feet are too small, and some of the key pearl-gold detailing is missing.
Fans have been far more excited for this year’s fifth iteration – 76247 The Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda. Once again inspired by Infinity War, it packs in detail with playability, and a great exclusive Bruce Banner minifigure featuring green Hulked out eyes. The LEGO Hulkbuster is one of a few examples where improvements are not always made yearly, with the designers experiments not always going to plan. Which is your favourite? Come smash your way onto the Blocks social media channels to let us know!