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Iron Man toys show evolution of his armor
• Mask and Repulsor Gauntlet ($19.99). This set is the only dud in the Iron Man lineup. Considering Hasbro’s previous successes with role-playing items, it should not be this lame. Instead of a great Iron Man mask like the Transformers’ Optimus Prime Voice Changer Helmet, owners get a cheap piece of plastic held in place with a stretchy Velcro band.
The gauntlet has promise, as the owner uses a Velcro strap to attach it to his wrist and can pull a trigger to fire six hard-plastic coin-shaped projectiles. Unfortunately, the missiles’ weak velocity delivers a range of only a few feet.
The low-tech feel of the gauntlet also makes little sense because Hasbro easily could have tapped into its Nerf technology. A better design would shoot foam projectiles with a battery-powered propulsion system to present a satisfying experience without poking out an eye.
• N.R.F. 425 Blaster ($19.99). Developed by Stark Industries, this rapid-fire hand-held weapon slightly updates the Nerf Mag Strike gun seen in 2006. Basically, a red-and-yellow paint scheme differentiates it, but the gun still delivers a potent piece of the Nerf arsenal.
It combines air power and a magazine loaded with 10 soft foam darts with plastic suction-cup tips. Owners pump the weapon, and an air chamber fills, ready to propel the darts. Pull the trigger, and the effect is a gratifying maelstrom of foam firepower.
A welcome addition to the package is a 12-inch-by-20-inch sticker sheet featuring the Iron Monger and four targets. Parents will appreciate that the sheet includes some test strips to make sure the stickers — which work best on smooth surfaces such as mirrors — won’t strip paint from the walls.
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About the Author
A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
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