As a longtime comic book fan and collector of comic related items, I'm always on the lookout for the next cool item. As an Iron Man fan, I've been collecting various items related to the Armored Avenger for years, including Iron Man helmets.
There are tons of choices if you're looking to purchase one that you can wear and even more options if you're a do it yourself and want to craft your own.
But what makes for the ultimate Iron Man helmet?
For me, this is one that you can wear and which looks professional. Fans who make their own helmet come up with some amazing custom work and even full suits. Many of them are now being made with 3D printing processes, which is really cool and durable, plus light but does require sanding, fitment and painting.
But as a busy dad with limited time, I prefer to purchase one. You can purchase them from folks who make them custom or you can get officially licensed models.
A lot of the customs can be fitted with servo motors to actually make the face plate move up and down just like in the Iron Man movies, which is cool but ultimately can be both very fragile and very expensive.
So another metric I use for my own ultimate helmet is durability and a reasonable price. My wife purchased an amazing Mark 3 Iron Man helmet from Windlass Studios, which is actually made of metal and requires regular polishing to maintain its' sheen. It was cheap but it also wasn't over the top expensive.
You can wear it and because it's made of metal you really feel like you're wearing something designed by Tony Stark.
I wore it to a costume party and felt a sore neck the rest of the night, not that I'm complaining, it's a very cool piece and I'm lucky to have a wife who is so thoughtful and supports my geekiness. Actually, she gave me another, which is a chromed version of the Mark 1 version from the comics and is very cool as well and also quite heavy.
Not long ago, I heard the rumor that Marvel Legends would be making their own replica wearable helmet and was instantly intrigued because of their reputation with collectors. Since I review products on my websites, I knew this one had to go in my collection as well as on my website dedicated to Iron Man.
To make a long story short, after a few minor delays and false starts, the Marvel Legends Electronic Iron Man Helmet arrived on my doorstep.
First off, the box is beautiful and features full color glossy photos of what's inside and the features it comes with. As a collector, sometimes boxes are nice enough that they look great on the shelf next to the product. That's definitely the case with this one.
The helmet itself is made of plastic, which obviously means it's light weight, giving it extra points for being wearable and qualifying as Ultimate.
Inside, there's an adjustable strap which lets you fit it to your head size much like a football helmet. There's also a flap on the back which folds up to allow you to more easily put it on. The faceplate is removable (secured by strong magnets) and features authentic styling on the inside much like that in the Iron Man films.
Once you remove the faceplate, you can place it in the other “open face” position, also held with strong magnets. If you are at a party and want to have easier access for eating and drinking without removing the helmet, you can extend and lower the “jaw” portion of the helmet, much like the birthday party scene in Iron Man 2.
The paint job is really nice in “hot rod” red and gold and does not scratch very easily, which is nice since once you get one of these you'll be putting it on a lot and so will people who come over-it's really a great conversation piece.
Another great feature that makes it fit my Ultimate category of Iron Man helmets is the fact that it's priced under 100 dollars.
This is particularly attractive because apart from the excellent paint job and attention to detail, it's electronic. When you put the faceplate on or press a hidden button, the eyes are lit blue by LED lights, which are dimmable to make it easier to see when it's on your head.
At the same time, a small speaker plays a sound file that is much like the movie version of the suit being activated. When you remove the face plate, another sound file is played that is reminiscent of the one from the movies when the helmet is opened.
So, between pricing, design, weight and light and sound effects, the Ultimate version for me is the Marvel Legends Electronic Iron Man Helmet. We live in an amazing time when we can have such cool comic book collectibles, indeed.