I recently finished the Piececool Hulkbuster!
After seeing that Piececool has released this model, I had to get it, being a huge fan of all things Marvel. It seems to me that Piececool has really upped their game lately with Hulkbuster, the new Star Wars models, and the other Marvel Models that were recently announced.
WHERE TO BUY
The first thing that many people have asked is "where do I buy this thing?", as it's not easy to find. I'll cover this first. I was able to buy it on Ali Express from a store called "Superb Toy Store". Usually I buy my models from CrazyToys if they are coming from China, as they are excellent sellers, but they didn't have this model listed. I have never bought from Superb Toy Store in the past, but I couldn't find Hulkbuster on CrazyToys. So I took a chance. The model came in only 10 days, and it was packed excellent. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast this came, and I'll consider buying from Super Toy Store again in the future.
For those of you who prefer to buy from CrazyToys, it is not listed on their site. This is due to exclusivity agreements stipulating that they are not allowed to market the model outside of China. However, my understanding is that if you directly email CrazyToys, you can contact James, request the Piececool Hulkbuster, and he will give you a Paypal address to send payment. And yes, the Paypal address looks fishy, as it doesn't have "CrazyToys" within the address, but my understanding it that it's legit. Of course, I didn't take this route, but this what others are telling me if you prefer to buy through CrazyToys.
SPECIFICATIONS ARE INTIMIDATING, BUT IT'S NOT THAT BAD
The specs on this model are in my opinion intimidating.... 629 pieces 14 full sheets and 2 small sheets
It's a large model at about 9.5" or 24cm
For comparison, the Generation 1 Optimus Prime is a very well known advanced model. It has 569 and only 8 sheets. Optimus took me about 40+ hours and it was pretty difficult with plenty of challenges. Hulkbuster took me about 30+ hours and was not nearly as difficult as Optimus. So while the specs on Hulkbuster look intimidating, it really wasn't. I can recommend this model for beginners, but more on that later.
This is a rather heavy model. It feels substantial and solid. It’s huge in general with a lot of metal, but there are also 6 good sized neodymium magnets that certainly add to the weight and feeling of solidity.
USE OF MAGNETS
I’ve built more than 90 models by now. I'm not sure why, but this is the first that I’ve build with magnets. It won’t be the last as I see lots of advantages. Sure, the magnets allow motion, but that’s not why I like the magnets. Will any of us “play” with these models? Or even pose them? In my case, that’s a no. So I’m not a fan of the magnets so that I can pose his arms. The reason that I really like the magnets is that this is a very secure way to hold components together that also doesn't create any weaknesses. Those arms are pretty heavy! If they were attached with 4-5 tabs, they wouldn’t be as secure as these magnets and using tabs could allow the arms get wiggly over time or during assembly.
Without magnets, if a tab securing an arm in place broke, you might be totally screwed, as glue likely wouldn’t hold the arm reliably. Also, magnets allow you to set parts aside from each other during the building process and you don’t have to worry about a huge assembly developing some wiggle or wobble as you handle the mostly assembled model during the build. Once you make the arms, torso, groin and legs, you set them aside until the very end. Then just pop them together as the final step. No need for excessive handling during assembly to possibly loosen any joints. Pretty neat and very secure.
The details in this model are stunning. The back of this guy looks just as amazing as the front! There’s tons of detail on the back, making it just as interesting.
NOT TOO TEDIUS
While this was a longer build, there were some aspects about the building process that made this not-so-tedious. With the arms and legs, I’d say that 80% or more of the parts are symmetric, meaning that it doesn’t matter if the component is used on the left or right limb. The exceptions are the hands, shoulder, ankle, and hip joints.
This means that when you build the left arm/leg, you are also building about the 80% of the parts that you need for the right arm/leg at the same time. So you get most of this grunt work out of the way and don’t really even think about it. Then when it’s time to build the other arm/leg, it comes together very fast! It’s a good feeling to breeze through the opposite arm or leg, and it gives you a feeling of less tedium.
IF YOU ARE A BEGINNER, DON'T RULE OUT THIS MODEL AS TOO DIFFICULT
Honestly, I don’t feel that this model is out of the realm of a beginner. There weren’t any processes that I’d say were over the top challenging or difficult. Everything fits without any major coaxing and the instructions are good. I certainly wouldn’t want this to be one of the first 5 models that I ever built, as this is a pretty expensive model to make a fatal mistake on. However, I feel that if someone has successfully built other humanoid Metal Earth or similar models (Iron Man, War Machine, the Armor Series, etc), you can build Hulkbuster. It will take a lot more time, but not necessarily more skill.
This is another area where Piececool has always been strong. Remember that Piececool, Tenyo, and Metal earth are all the same. They operate under the parent company Wist. Piececool has the Chinese market, Tenyo has the Japanese market, and Metal Earth has the rest of the worldwide market. So you should expect these Instructions to be just as concise and of the same format as Metal Earth instructions.
The instructions are not in English, but they are still good. I highly recommend using the Google Translate app on any model that is not presented in English. Use the phone app, as this utilizes your camera. Just hover over the text, and your camera inserts the translation. Very handy! Google Translate deciphered everything that I needed very accurately for this model. Also, there weren't any confusing portions that English instructions would have cleared up, regardless.
QUALITY OF METAL
The metal is good quality, but the steel as well as brass pieces are painted and then lacquered. Sometimes I had this paint and lacquer flaking off of tabs. Not a big deal, as it only happened to tabs. I guess I’m used to silver pieces being raw steel rather than painted silver. Only an observation, not a flaw. If you want to prevent this flaking from being visible, you can use a Red Sharpie to paint over the red portions that might flake. The steel portions that flake won't matter, as the steel is the same color as the paint.
ONLY ONE DISAPPOINTMENT, AND I'M BEING PICKY
I really wish that they had not painted the eyes. I wish that they just put some black metal portions to be mounted one the face so that the eyes look 3D rather than just painted on. With all of the tremendous detail in this model, I feel that having 3 dimensional eyes (just a couple of simple parts in the same shape as the black paint) would have been a better idea, my opinion.
If you build this model, when you are finished I wouldn’t recommend picking it up by the torso. The groin and legs are held in place with 2 strong magnets, but the magnet that is inside the groin doesn’t sit flat, so it’s doesn’t have the same strength as the arm magnets. If you picked up this model by the torso, you could create a risk of the groin and legs losing their hold and falling, which would be terrible, of course. Under normal circumstances, I don't think that the legs would ever spontaneously fall off if you held it by the torso. But if the legs were bumped on accident, I predict that they would fall. I won’t trust that magnet, so I’ve been picking him up by the groin and torso at the same time to be sure that those legs don’t fall.
I DON'T HAVE A LOT A LOT OF BUILDING TIPS TO SHARE
Normally I post more building tips on a model with blog posts like these. But truthfully, there were no parts mis-numbered, no portions that weren't clear, and no mistakes within the instructions. There weren't any pitfalls that I feel I need to warn anyone about, and that's a rarity. This speaks heavily to the excellent work that Piececool has been putting out lately, and certainly one of the big reasons that I'm stating that this is not out of the question for a beginner.
Time Involved vs Reward - 9 Tedium vs Reward - 9 Quality of Metal - 8 Quality of Instructions - 9 Final Appearance - 10 Overall feeling of satisfaction at the end - 10
This model is highly recommended! Again, don't be too intimidated to tackle this model even if you are a beginner. If you can build smaller humanoid models, you can build this guy.