30 Minutes of Glory!
There’s no doubt that San Diego Comic-Con is the most well known pop-culture event of the year. I attended my first time in 2010, just before the event exploded in popularity…back then, tickets were easy to come by. Nowadays, you have to be equal parts savvy and incredibly lucky to get a ticket to the show. The hype surrounding this event is immeasurable…and why not? This is the event where all the big name movie stars come out every year!
My family and I were in going to be in beautiful southern California for a family vacation before SDCC started…no one believes me that it was a fluke that our stay in town overlapped with the start of one of the most prestigious “nerd” events in the world, but it’s true. I had contacted Iron Studios about an interview for the website, thinking it would be an email corrspondence thing, but, one thing led to another, and Renan Pizii (the owner of Iron Studios) says, “let’s do it at Comic Con.” I was granted special, but brief, access to the show floor on Preview Night to walk through the Iron Studios display booth with Renan. Pretty much the only thing going through my mind at that point was:
“HOLY SHIT…YES, I’M IN!”
We stay out in Coronado, which is a smaller “island” city (technically a peninsula) just across San Diego Bay from the convention centre. As an aside, Coronado is probably my favourite place on the planet, and whole-hardheartedly recommend to anyone to stay there when going to San Diego. So, preview night arrives, I double and triple check that I’ve packed everything I might need, and I hop on the ferry with a smattering of fellow Comic Con attendees. Immediately upon stepping off the boat on the other side of the bay, you can just feel the electricity in the air! The ferry arrives at the back side of convention centre, where several huge party yachts are docked and being prepped for the 4 insane days ahead. Strangely, there were like 60 outhouses lined up on the sidewalk out there…I found out later these were there for the “Next Day Line”…yes, people will camp out overnight for the chance to snag a seat in the legendary Hall H. There is actually an SDCC volunteer whose job it is to signal the end of the line so the masses can begin their overnight experience in an orderly fashion.
Google me, I’m a tall Brazilian guy, easy to find.
So, anyways, while chatting beforehand, Renan tells me to meet him at 6:30 pm in front of Gate B…”Google me, I’m a tall Brazilian guy, easy to find.” Ok, no problem, I will be there with bells on (if you want to call my pack full of camera gear bells). So, I google the guy, expecting a fairly dorky looking collector like myself…I type in the name, click search, and immediately think, “this can’t be right…” I did some digging…yes, turns out it is right…here is one of the images I find:
Oh, shit…no one told me I’m meeting a movie star! Look at this dude! Now feeling just a tad more self-conscious than before, I head off to brave the swarming crowds and meet Renan at Gate B as planned. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, Renan was very friendly and welcoming…despite the fact that I am fairly certain I was mispronouncing his name all night long! Inside I met Marcelo, also from Iron Studios, and he seemed like another great guy…his name I think I got right, 🙂
Well, enough of the preamble, let’s get onto the coverage! We get exclusive info about all of their display pieces, including the 1/4 scale Infinity War Thanos, 1/4 scale Iron Spider-Man, their brand new 1/4 scale Hulk, and the new Lobo 1/6 scale battle diorama. Check out our video tour below, then continue on to read our thoughts on Iron Studios upcoming collectibles.
Infinity War broke all kinds of box office records earlier this year. It was a movie 10 years in the making, and Marvel absolutely delivered! The movie was made especially epic by its big, bad villain, the Mad Titan, Thanos! Perfectly voiced by Josh Brolin, this cosmic badass showed us his unmatched might by dismantling the most powerful Avengers with seeming ease.
Iron Studios unveiled their ultimate tribute to the villain at SDCC with a spectacular 1/4 scale offering. The statue has immense presence…he’s fittingly huge, just like he was in the movie. Spider-Man next to him was placed on a riser, and still wasn’t taller than Thanos…this piece is a beast! But, the base is still relatively compact, so I imagine collectors will be able to find space for him. The likeness looks spot on, and the gauntlet with light-up Infinity Stones is front and centre, just where it should be. The statue will come with 2 portraits (one menacing, baring teeth and one with a closed mouth…much more serious looking…see it in the video above). Thanos stands atop a Wakandan themed base, where you can place a Captain America shield (the Wakandan version from the movie, of course). The costume has nice texturing, and the paint job looks impressive (some nice weathering on the boots). In case you’re wondering, the entire neck comes out for the switch-out heads, so there will be no ugly neck seam on this one. This statue should be sought after by big fans of the movie, it really looked great.
Iron Spider-Man, of course also from the wildly successful Infinity War, was a bit of a surprise reveal for the event…I had no idea they were working on this piece until a teaser on their Instagram a few days before SDCC. But, the piece has been in development for over a year. Iron Studios wanted to ensure they had the exact suit shown on screen, so that meant being very patient due to the frequent changes to the costume by the movie studios during production.
The piece on display was still an early prototype, however, and it was mentioned that the statue may feature light-up eyes. The Iron Spider-Man statue features all four mechanical arms deployed from the back of the suit, thus this bad boy will eat up some display real estate. Could be worth it, though…the statue looked very impressive, and who knows if there will be another 1/4 scale version of this suit to come out. There is a swap out unmasked portrait, that I must say, had a very good likeness to actor Tom Holland. Although a digital scan of the actor’s face is available, it takes some fine detailing by hand to complete for the statue. The red parts of the suit had a metallic gloss paint that really made this statue catch your eye. Very cool piece.
The Main Man was, in my opinion, the showstopper of the Iron Studios booth. The statue was designed by amazing comic book artist Ivan Reis (pronounced Hase…like case, with an H…this was new to me, as I know as much about speaking Portugese as I know how to dance ballet). I was totally blown away with how much detail they packed into this 1/6 scale piece (and don’t let the scale fool you, this piece is LARGE)! Just take a look at that customized SpazFrag666 space hog…it just oozes power, and looks like it could literally go 0 to 60 in instantaneous! Complete with armored shin plates, skull knee pads, “Bite Me Fanboy” leather jacket, and a plethora of chains and spikes, the Last Czarnian is looking like a total badass! And, they didn’t forget his trusty companion, Dawg, who is hitching a ride on the engine! Lobo is kicking the ass of not one, but two unfortunate alien dudes…one having his stomach ripped open by Lobo’s chain, and the other seeing the wrong end of a biker boot, green blood spewing from his mouth.
The statue will come with 3 heads that cover several eras of comics. You get the more modern design shown above, along with a classic Simon Bisely (based specifically on the “Portrait of a Bastich” TPB cover), and a dreadlocks coifed, cigar munching “Unbound” style portrait. This statue is phenomenal. It’s the type of piece that you will find something new every time you look at it. Apparently, it will be going up for PO very soon, so keep an eye out for it.
Hulk was another surprise reveal at SDCC. Renan stressed that this was a very early prototype, and they just started painting it about 4 days before the Con. So, the paint will be refined, and they mentioned they will definitely be adding details to the base. I could still sense his excitement about their plans for the statue, though. Renan said they wanted to do a big Hulk, and this thing most definitely is BIG! The Jade Giant definitely has the overwhelming sense of size and power that every Hulk statue should have. The teeth looked especially well done to me, that bit of browning along the edges really gives them a realistic look. Iron Studios did show me the other portrait for this guy (I am working on obtaining a photo…watch this space!), and it’s based on the classic Sal Buscema comic style. In my opinion, most collectors will prefer the Buscema portrait, it looked very accurate to the source material, and is perhaps a shade bigger than the one on display…it was tough to gauge the size, because it was not on the body when I saw it. Overall, I see some definite promise in this piece. It’s not perfect at the moment, but with some refinements, I think it will be a good looking Hulk. I am looking forward to seeing this one progress.
One thing I really like about Iron Studios is that they produce something for everyone. Whether you want a high-end 1/3 or 1/4 scale piece, an elaborate 1/6 diorama, or these smaller 1/10 pieces, they have you covered. Let’s face it, not everyone wants or can afford (either in price or in display space) the larger pieces. These Art Scale pieces can scratch the itch for those collectors…and there are already tons of these pieces available. Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Ghostbusters, and now Dungeons & Dragons (animated series) all have extensive lineups of characters. These are polystone statues, too, so you get that high quality museum feel in a smaller package.
The items that really caught my eye from the show were Aquaman and Black Manta, based on the upcoming Aquaman feature film. These costumes were also designed by Ivan Reis, and these are very comic accurate…notably Aquaman’s orange scaled shirt, totally different from the outfit he wore in the Justice League movie. I had a feeling that Warner Brothers would want to alter Black Manta’s helmet, but I am glad to say that I was wrong on that front. These are separate statues that can be displayed separately or together as a diorama. Both have a very cool looking water effect on their bases, and Aquaman’s pants have a unique almost rainbow sparkle to them (I know that probably sounds silly, but it looks so cool!).
I’ve often caught myself saying, “if only that was bigger” about these statues, but hey, a good statue is a good statue. The 1/10 series deserves your attention, because there are some real gems here.
Here is a collection of all the photos we took of the Iron Studios pieces…at least the ones that turned out. Conditions were rough for photographers…swarming crowds, tight aisle spaces, poor lighting, and reflection in the glass enclosures meant that we didn’t get the level of quality in our photos that we wanted…but, hopefully you enjoy them anyway!
The Iron Studios display area was part of the much larger Sideshow Collectibles booth. Sideshow, being the distributor for many collectibles producers, was featuring items from Prime 1 Studio, Blitzway, Cool Props, and Hot Toys. Unfortunately, time did not permit me to get photos of the entire booth, but I was able to snap some pics of Sideshow’s own Marvel Comics offerings. Here is a rundown of my thoughts on the few pieces I took a good look at:
- Rogue really impressed, and was their best piece on display, in my opinion. She is definitely on my potential buy list. She’s a ‘maquette’, so we know her price tag will be high, but she could be worth it.
- The new Thor looked amazing! Fantastic base, tremendous action pose, excellent base. Literally nothing not to like about it.
- Daredevil was striking. I mean, I already had it on pre-order, but I am a Daredevil nut. But, seeing it in person, I was pretty glad that I have this one coming…really looking forward to it now.
- Elektra, similar to Daredevil, was a piece that I had on order before the event, but mostly because I wanted an Elektra. But, wow, she really blew me away! Loved the skin tones, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the factory can reproduce the paintwork. She could be a gem.
- Miles Morales looked good. I love the pose. The Venom base is fine, but, admittedly, it’s what is holding me back. I don’t love that base.
- The Magneto maquette looked very nice. Great vibrant colours on his suit. He was displayed with the exclusive unmasked portrait, which is nicer than I was expecting. But, I wanted to see him with his iconic helmet. Still, I walked away impressed.
- X-23 looked fantastic. Extremely dynamic, and a great, almost feral, facial expression. Her base is a sentinel hand, similar to the recent Wolverine. I am curious to see her price point compared to Rogue. X-23 appears to be every bit as complex as Rogue, but as far as we know, she will fall into the Premium Format line.
- Psylocke was a bit of a disappointment. From the neck down, she is a great looking statue. I really liked the vibrant blues on her costume. But, the portrait was just not doing it for me…didn’t like it at all. I also feel like her pose is too similar to the original premium format figure…Sideshow could have shown some more creativity here. Still and reasonable looking statue overall.
- The Spider-Man legendary scale figure was a huge letdown. Surely it is still in development, but it had an ugly seam around the neck, and just gave off a “child’s Halloween costume” vibe. Don’t get me wrong, it’d be a sweet Halloween costume for a kid, but for an expected cost in the $2,000 range (given the history of the Legendary Scale line), it simply did not look good enough. This piece needs some work.
You can find all of my Sideshow photos below (again, these are the ones that sort of turned out).