The Lego Marvel The Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda is arguably the best Hulkbuster yet, but a few drawbacks mean we’re still awaiting that definitive offering. Still, it's an easy recommendation that will look good on display. If you're buying for a younger Lego fan, the buildable-figure playability will go down well. But a little more articulation and a better helmet/cockpit configuration are key areas for improvement.
One of the best-looking Hulkbusters
Decent articulation (knees aside)
Sturdy enough to pose without pieces falling off
Knees are locked in place
Bruce is visible when sat in the cockpit
Helmet should sit higher
Awkward Helmet mechanism
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Model number: 76247
Number of pieces: 385
Dimensions: Approximately 41 x 23 x 53 inches (16 x 9 x 21 cm)
Recommended age: 8+
There have been a variety of Hulkbuster Lego Marvel sets over the years and The Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda (76247) represents the Iron Man Armor’s return to playset scale, following the release of last year’s 4049-piece Hulkbuster (76210). That gigantic set remains Lego Marvel’s most expensive – and perhaps divisive – build ever at $549.99/£474.99, so if you don't have shares in Stark Industries, this decidedly smaller 2023 set’s much more palatable $49.99/£44.99 asking price will certainly be a welcome alternative.
But for it to be considered one of the best Lego Marvel sets, it also needs to better the many Hulkbuster playsets that have come before it. The Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda is Lego’s first Hulkbuster in the Mark 48 guise (AKA Mark XLVIII or Hulkbuster 2.0), as seen in one of the best Marvel movies, Avengers: Infinity War, and while it's by no means perfect, it stands as one of Lego's most faithful-looking incarnations to date. Here's how Banner's modified Iron Man armor fared during our test...
Lego Marvel Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda: Build
- 385 pieces
- Quick, 80-minute build
- Challenging sticker placement
The Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda is an enjoyable build that can easily come together in a single sitting. It took us a little less than one hour and 20 minutes to construct its 385 pieces, split across three stages. You begin by putting together the Hulkbuster’s torso, before moving onto the legs and feet. The final stage constructs the arms, hands and pauldrons, and the four Minifigures are evenly spread throughout.
If you’ve ever put together a buildable figure or mech, you’ll be working in familiar territory. While the build doesn’t involve any particularly complicated techniques, it can prove a little fiddly at times. The ball joint in each ankle requires a surprising amount of force to put together, so adult supervision may be required. The set also includes 14 stickers, many of which taper slightly at one end or need to be applied to curved pieces. This can make them challenging to position correctly and since they are an integral part of the Hulkbuster’s frontage, great care must be taken when applying them.
The set’s relatively small size and lack of much internal structure means it comes together at an enjoyable pace. SNOT bricks and various hinges are used to precisely form the many difficult angles and the pauldrons are a highlight. They’re hinged so they don’t impede the shoulder joint, allowing for a decent range of movement.
One area that would benefit from improved functionality is the helmet. When there’s no Minifigure inside, there’s nothing to stop it dipping into the cockpit, where it can prove fiddly to retrieve. The helmet suffers further thanks to its hinge mechanism, built from two droid arms. The arms clip onto the helmet, creating one hinge and then the body, creating a second hinge. Two hinges complicates what should be a relatively simple open and shut mechanism.
Lego Marvel Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda: Design
- Great-looking representation at this scale
- Disappointing gap reveals cockpit
- Helmet sits too low
Most previous Hulkbusters have depicted the Mark 44 suit from Avengers: Age of Ultron, but this version is modelled after the Mark 48 suit from Avengers: Infinity War. The armor has a sleeker, curved design that you’d think would be harder to portray in brick form, but this is definitely one of the most faithful Hulkbusters Lego has created. Sure, the head could sit prouder, and the legs could look more streamlined, but overall, the designers have done a fantastic job considering the scale they had to work with.
While this is a Minifigure playset, it’s far from Minifigure scale. A more accurately sized build would be much smaller. However, playsets are rarely Minifigure scale and the larger size has been used to add more detail, accommodate a figure and produce a more visually pleasing aesthetic.
The Hulkbuster features seven points of articulation – not including 14 hinged digits across the hands and feet. This allows for a decent range of motion, although it’s a shame the knees are locked. Lego’s pivoting and hinged joints don’t offer the freedom of movement of ball joints – only featured in the ankles – but what they lack in flexibility they more than make up for in sturdiness. Once a joint is moved, it stays put and although the figure has a tendency to fall backwards if not positioned correctly – particularly in a neutral stance – it’s capable of standing solidly of its own accord and can meet a surprising variety of poses.
An element that’s hard to unsee is Bruce Banner’s bright pink hands, clearly visible thanks to a sizable gap beneath the printed visor. As such, the set is best displayed without a Minifigure inside. The set comes with four Minifigures: Bruce Banner, Okoye and two outriders. Bruce is hardly the most visually interesting Avenger so the simple back and torso printing does the job, but what makes this figure really stand out is the alternate face print that depicts the physicist, mid transformation.
Okoye is much the same as she appeared in the Black Panther: War on the Water set, complete with that lovely, super-fine back-of-head printing. The only real difference is the addition of a gold pauldron. It’s a great figure, it’s just a shame there’s still no leg printing. We’ve seen plenty of Outriders in other sets so you’ll likely know what to expect. The head and torso printing (both front and back) are great, but again, leg and even arm printing would really take these figures to the next level.
Should you buy the Lego Marvel Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda?
Once you get past the helmet and cockpit this is an excellent Hulkbuster and arguably Lego’s best. It does a good job of replicating the source material’s challenging aesthetic and although it can tip backwards, it’s surprisingly stable once you get it posed right. The lack of knee articulation is a shame, but plenty of dynamic poses are still possible and plentiful enough to entertain children.
Four very nice Minifigures is a respectable haul, but considering the price-per-piece ratio, we would have welcomed a Dora Milaje warrior for Okoye to command. If you’re torn between this and the behemoth-sized Hulkbuster, we’d recommend going for this playset and saving your studs for the Daily Bugle or Sanctum Sanctorum.
Other Lego Marvel sets to consider
If you just can’t get enough Wakanda, you could pick up the Black Panther: War on the Water set from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie. It has an MSRP of $89.99/£79.99 and features the Royal Sea Leopard, two drones and five Minifigures.
If you’re looking for a larger Lego Marvel set that will provide a challenging build and an outstanding display piece, consider the Sanctum Sanctorum, which earned five stars in our review and has an MSRP of $249.99/£214.99.
Mike is a freelance writer for Space.com with over ten years experience. He also serves as Deputy Editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine. As you might expect, he's an avid photographer, but he's also a bit of a sci-fi buff so you're just as likely to find him reviewing Star Wars Lego as the latest cameras.