In our last post, we looked at the birth of the Marvel Super Heroes line – The Avengers, and some of the sets which directly followed those brand-new Marvel sets in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In today’s post, we are going to look a little closer to the present – delving through 2015 and 2016 – where there are some even stronger releases which I feel you should know about! Then, in our third and final blog post, we will see our 2017 and 2018 – bringing us slap-bang into 2019 where we find ourselves today. Sound good to you guys? It sounds good to me! So, pull on that cape, and get ready for another deep dive into the best LEGO Marvel sets of 2015-2016.
76029: Iron Man vs Ultron
As my thoughts on the Captain America set from The Avengers should have highlighted – I love a good army builder, and sometimes getting your hands on multiple figures cheap can be beneficial. That is what I love so much about ‘Iron Man vs Ultron’. Yes, we do get one non-army builder – the Iron Man Mark 43 suit, but this is an intricately detailed suit with nice leg and torso prints so I don’t mind having multiples of this one. It is certainly one of the more detailed Iron Man Minifigs that we have seen thus far in the Marvel line.
We then get three Ultron drones – something which I really appreciate, as the sequence set in Sokovia where the Avengers fight these drones sees several hundred of them assaulting the group. As such, being able to get three drones in a cheap fashion is fantastic. The builds here are nothing to write home about – but the ability to quickly amass an Ultron legion is what makes this set a winner for me.
76031: The Hulk Buster Smash
Ah, the Hulk Buster. An armour which many fans were excited to see Tony call in during the sequences which took place in Africa. I’ve always had an affinity for big mechanised suits – with the AMP suits from James Cameron’s Avatar and Halo’s Cyclops’s being just two of my favourites. Here, the star of the set really is the Hulk Buster itself. It is incredibly well built – with ball joints allowing for a high level of articulation whilst most of the build also feels incredibly bulky and rugged.
Sure, there are areas where additional detail work would have been nice as it sometimes feels a little skeleton – but LEGO did what they could to create a large figure which could still fit a minifigure inside. I really appreciate the way the chest plate folds down and the helmet opens – allowing more than adequate room for Tony Stark to be placed inside. This was hands-down my favourite build in all the Age of Ultron line-up – and I am glad that the Infinity War sets gave us an opportunity to see this suit, albeit improved somewhat and detracted from in other ways, released again.
Now, the figures here are not too much to write about. We do get a brand-new bigfig of The Hulk, however, which I do appreciate as the olive-green tone used here is much more accurate than the first version of the character we got. I also appreciate the new head sculpt here to better resemble how the character appears on screen. We get a re-pack of Iron Man, and an interesting version of Ultron – but the other standout here is Scarlet Witch. This set was the only way to get her, and whilst a better version would come later down the line for the Captain America Civil War sets (which we will touch on later in this article), it was still nice to get another popular Marvel character forever immortalised in LEGO form. Between Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver, the Avengers roster could significantly increase because of this wave.
76036: Carnage’s SHIELD Sky Attack
We’ve already spoken, at length, about how awesome Marvel army builders can be – but this Ultimate Spider-Man themed set gave fans a character which I think had been wanted for ages. A generic S.H.I.E.L.D Agent. Fans already got their hands on generic Hydra Goons through the AOU sets – so receiving a S.H.I.E.L.D agent was an unexpected but nice nod to the fact that the two factions are traditionally seen opposing each other. Carnage is an awesome Minifigure – like Venom but with arm printing, which is incredibly rare and always a plus. And then to round the set out we got Miles Morales – who has arguably only become even more popular with fans since Into The Spider-Verse hit cinema screens. These figures, combined with the cool S.H.I.E.L.D vehicle, made for a cool £10 set which was a real hit at its time of release.
76038: Attack on Avengers Tower
At this point, it should be apparent that I love sets which can be argued as dual purpose – fitting within both a Marvel display, and within more conventional LEGO City displays. Stark Tower – presented as Avengers Tower in this AOU set, is a fundamental example of how this can be done well. The interior space with this build, whilst limited, managed to successfully capture every key beat from the sequences which took place in the film.
We have everything from the bar area, to the medical zone where Hawkeye is treated after one of the battle sequences. We even get the area where Ultron is assembled, and a subtle nod to the Iron Legion launch bay which we have seen in concept art. All of this – combined with quite a recognisable structure thanks to clever curvature and fantastic graphics designs on the stickers, makes a fantastic building.
The figures here are an interesting combination. We get the AOU versions of Thor and Iron Man who are available in other sets – but then we get three other characters which are cool. First off, we get two members of the Iron Legion. Now, as any LEGO fan will know – new versions of Iron Man are always incredibly popular with collectors, so this figure was great just for getting the Iron Man helmet in a different colour. And the character itself is a pretty nice addition to the line-up of characters from AOU – so all together, very welcome.
Then we also got the first version of Ultron – complete with a nicely designed transparent head. This character is important in the film – and I think the ‘No Strings on Me’ scene was incredibly memorable across the marketing, so I am glad we got the character here. Overall, an incredibly strong addition to the line-up.
76042: The SHIELD Helicarrier
I don’t want to talk too much about this set – as I could easily right another Blog Post on it alone. But, I strongly believe a D2C set should be something worthy of scale and recognition. Something which is iconic to the franchise. The SHIELD Helicarrier was certainly that – and LEGO’s execution was perfect. This model currently sits on my coffee table – where I have no doubt it will stay for years to come. Arguably the best Marvel set made to date.
76049: Avenjet Space Mission
Now we’ve touched on a lot of Movie sets – but LEGO did make some fantastic comic-inspired sets during this period. One such set was the Avenjet Space Mission – with the main draw being Thanos. This figure was perfect – with lots of additional details, dual-moulded legs and a fantastic head sculpt. The perfect representation of Thanos – and much stronger, I would argue, than later variants we saw. We also got Captain Marvel here – a great figure with both a helmetless and helmeted head sculpt. And we also saw Hyperion, and space variants of Captain America and Iron Man. These were fun Minifigures – and these, combined with a really well detailed vehicle which had a lot of great functionality, made for a fun playset which I think was received incredibly well by Marvel fans.
76051: Super Hero Airport Battle
For the Civil War sets we received in 2016, the standout is undoubtedly the Super Hero Airport Battle. Firstly – let’s talk about the builds. We had a fantastic, well-detailed control tower which used some creative graphics including the ‘No Minifigure’ security detail which I think came out fantastic. LEGO were also even able to add a play function for a LEGO nanofigure here – something which I think had not been done before, and thus was very innovative and very creative. We also received a fantastic, albeit it shrunk, build of the Quinjet within this set. The darker blue colours chosen here looked fantastic on the smaller version of the vehicle – really complimenting its new size.
Furthermore, LEGO’s designers really made the most of their limited space – packing this small vehicle with a plethora of action features to put in on par with its larger counterparts. We also got a small Airport shuttle vehicle which was a nice addition, and then the fantastic build of Giantman – which was an amazing addition. LEGO’s designers made a real, conscientious effort to make this character look like a scaled-up Minifigure, and the results are phenomenal. This ‘big’ bigfig is one of the highlights of this set for certain.
The LEGO minifigures here were the other highlight. We got Captain America and the Winter Soldier (Who had appeared in other sets), but we also got several other characters – the first being a new Iron Man. His suit was not too dis-similar from his last outing in Age of Ultron, but it is always nice to add a new variant of Iron Man to our Halls of Armour. We also then got a brand-new version of War Machine – the first to be released since the Iron Man 3 sets. This figure was a crisp, sharper print then the previous one – and looked fantastic sporting his stealthy black armour.
We then got Sharon Carter – an unexpected but welcome addition to the roster considering she was a recurring character from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And lastly, a vastly improved Scarlett Witch with a new hair piece and a fabric piece to create an effective long coat style costume. Overall, the builds and the figures in this set were solid – making what I believe is arguably still one of the strongest Marvel sets to have ever been released. This is the real definition of a fun playset.
76057: Spider-Man: Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle
I’ve spoken a lot about sets being able to fulfill for multiple purposes across my past two articles – and this next set really is the summary of that. Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle gave us a beautiful half of a suspension bridge which is something which we scarcely ever see in LEGO. The build was intricately detailed – with an attention to not only the play features incorporated, but also to the general architecture of the piece to make it feel as authentic and realistic as possible. Little greebling details like the signs in the archways really help to set this off as a piece which has aesthetic appeal as well as play appeal.
What’s more, LEGO also made this set incredibly easy to inter-connect, providing fans with an opportunity to make a full-length bridge at a cheaper cost than more traditional MOC techniques may have perhaps allowed. I did this myself – and the resulting aesthetic is a beautiful one, so I highly recommend trying this if you haven’t.
The assortment of characters here were also crucial. We got our traditional Ultimate Spider-Man – but then we were also treated to an incredible assortment of Spider-Man characters, including many iconic ones. These included Scarlet Spider, Spider Girl, Aunt May, Green Goblin, Kraven and Scorpion. So many iconic characters in one set was truly breath-taking – and LEGO really went all out. Goblin and Scarlet Spider even received arm printing to complement their looks – whilst Scorpion received a special tail piece and Kraven received a special fur collar piece. All in all, LEGO absolutely nailed this set – making a Spider-Man set which created a beautiful structure and included enough iconic figures to make any Knowhere-based Collector envious.
76060: Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum
Lastly on my list to talk about today is Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. The Minifigures here were solid – but they are not my reason for picking this set, so I am not going to touch on them too much. Rather, here I really appreciated the attention to detail which the build received. Very rarely do we see LEGO release vignette-style builds, so that was a refreshing change. The build of the Sanctum was intricate – with numerous features including a top hat, a skull and books helping to really make the environment feel lived in. The build for the Sanctum’s window was incredibly clever giving it wasn’t a specialised piece, and I also appreciated how easily some of the play features blended within the structure of the build itself. This set was rather unique in the way it managed to achieve that – and I feel that, alone, earns it a place in LEGO history.
That sums up our tour of LEGO Marvel sets of 2015-2016! Lots of awesome new characters and wonderful builds which will go down in history as fantastic LEGO sets.
Make sure to come back for part three – where we will look at the Best LEGO Marvel Sets between 2017 until present day! Until then, take care, and have yourself a fantastic week wherever you may be!