LEGO Marvel Avengers 76170 Iron Man vs. Thanos [Review]

Younger Builders….ASSEMBLE! The LEGO “4+” line is aimed at junior builders, with simplified designs and larger pieces. Marvel Avengers 76170 Iron Man vs. Thanos is one of them, and will be available March 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99. But this is a Marvel set, and that means a wider range of fans are going to consider it as well. Is there anything here to tempt them? And what about non-Marvel builders? Come along as we examine just what LEGO has squeezed into this 103 piece set.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The box and contents

The packaging for this set is pretty standard for the Marvel Avengers theme. Large logos in the corners, a group shot of illustrated minifigure heroes along the side, and a clear product shot in the center. This set also has that big “4+” logo, serving both as a draw for people looking for age-appropriate sets, and as a warning to older builders who are looking for a more complex model.

The back of the thumb-punch box is very plain, with the set contents laid out against a white background. The “Learn to build” branding calls out the larger pieces and basic construction style. The play feature of Thanos’ missile firing cannon gets an inset picture along the bottom edge.

Inside the box are two numbered part bags, two instruction booklets, and a loose large grey ship base.

The parts

Although there are only 103 parts in this set, LEGO did sneak in a few interesting ones. First, there are new “jet blast” energy effects in transparent light blue and orange. These have a 1×2 stud connection in the center, just right for attaching a minifigure to. There are also a couple of printed elements. The dark blue pentagonal tile first appeared in the 76141 Thanos Mech, but the arc-reactor hood element is new for this set. Unfortunately my review copy had some scratches when it came out of the box, but that doesn’t detract much from the look. The gold pin striping looks good, and the arc reactor design just cries out to be incorporated into other Iron Man themed creations.

Iron Man’s Jet

The main vehicle in this set is a jet with Iron Man’s colors and styling. The build is very much “stack bricks on the giant ship base“, which does feel fitting for a 4+ set. It has two disc shooters built into the rear of the wings that fire off 2×2 round tiles, adjustable wing flaps in dark red, and a transparent light blue wraparound windscreen. The printed arc-reactor slope gets placed front and center, giving the jet a nice dose of Stark branding.

From the back and bottom, the design isn’t quite as sweet. The rear feels unfinished, and the bottom is completely bare. A couple of 2×2 round boat tiles in transparent blue could have added a bit of color and let the model slide along the ground easily during play.

Considering Iron Man can fly on his own, having a jet seems like a bit of overkill. But Tony Stark is fond of his hot rods, and this aircraft does feel like the sort of thing he’d be willing to zip around in just for fun.

Thanos’ Cannon and the Infinity Gauntlet

To combat Iron Man, Thanos has broken out a spring-loaded missile launcher. As noted earlier, the printed tile here first appeared in the 76141 Thanos Mech set, and the overall shape of this cannon feels very close to the torso of that set, too. The dark blue and gold colors are Thanos’ signature hues, though, so maybe that’s…inevitable. The transparent light blue accents are new, and add a nice “energy effect” feel to things.

The Thanos minifigure can be placed on top of the gun if you want.  The cannon is mounted on a swivel, so it can be spun around to better aim things. It would have been nice to have a second hinge to allow for the elevation to be adjusted, too. But as long as Iron Man is coming directly at Thanos along the ground everything should work out just fine.

Also in the “maybe I didn’t think this cunning plan all the way through” category is this stand for the Infinity Gauntlet. The transparent bars look like they’re meant to keep people from grabbing the glove, but they don’t go all the way around, so they’re really just a decorative element.  I do like the little stand, though. The dark grey window arch that the gauntlet rests on is not super common, having only appeared in two sets in that color previously.

The complete set does make for a complete little battle scene. Who has control of the gauntlet? Is Iron Man trying to get it away from Thanos? Is Thanos trying to get it back? Either way there’s sure to be some fireworks. And possibly a few projectiles lost under the couch as a result.

The minifigures

As you’d expect, this set comes with two minifigures, Iron Man and Thanos. Neither is unique to this set, unfortunately. Thanos had a previous appearance in the 76141 Thanos Mech, and this version of Iron Man has shown up three times since 2020, including the 76140 Iron Man Mech. Each comes equipped with an energy effect “jet blast”, with Iron Man’s in transparent light blue and Thanos’ in transparent orange. The jet blast makes sense for Iron Man, but Thanos can’t fly, and isn’t known for wearing any sort of boot jets. So while it’s a cool piece, it seems out of place. It would have made more sense to give Thanos a big sword or something.

I’m also just not fond of this Iron Man helmet design. The lines on either side of the mouth make it look like he’s trying to whistle. But the suit in general does look great, with nice leg printing and a highly detailed dual-sided torso and head print. Thanos is also a pretty good looking figure, with a torso print that echoes the design on his cannon’s printed tiles.  It would have been nice to see him get an alternate expression, but maybe Thanos should always look pissed off.


Conclusion and recommendation

When writing these reviews I try and keep the intended audience for a set in mind. In this case, this is a 4+ set aimed at younger builders. And, from that perspective, it’s not bad. You get enough stuff to create a battle scene, a couple of good looking minifigures, and a simple but fun building experience. The main sticking point is the one that plagues all the 4+ sets, though – it’s far too expensive for what you get. At $20 US for 103 parts, you’re looking at over 19 cents a piece, which is more than double what you see in other licensed sets. Even pricing this at $15 US would only bring that ratio down to 15 cents, which still feels like a gouge. I think adult collectors would be better served waiting for a steep sale on this, or passing on it entirely.  There are better Marvel LEGO sets options – for example the $10 US mech sets that also have these minifigures in them. Those may be a little goofy, but at least they’re reasonably priced.

Marvel Avengers 76170 Iron Man vs. Thanos will be available March 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99. It will also be available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

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