Iron Studios X-Men Vs. Sentinel BDS 1:10 Art Scale Statue #1 ReviewJose Lopez
In the Beginning
At it’s core, the X-Men has always been about the plight of mutants to survive an increasingly bleak battle against the regular human race. In order to even the playing ground, the humans created mutant-hunting machines that could do their fighting for them. Cue the iconic Sentinels, giant robots that have been around nearly as long as the X-Men comic book series itself. Of all the enemies that the mutant heroes have faced, the Sentinels represent the ultimate threat that the X-Men were created to withstand: extermination.
Brazilian-based Iron Studios has been chugging along at their X-Men Vs. Sentinel Battle Diorama Series for over a year now, with this Diorama #1 statue being the first large piece to be released. There’s a single release, giving collectors the Sentinel robot and the base alone, but excluding the individual X-Men members. There’s also the “Versus” version, which is what we’re taking a look at here. This includes five additional statues of X-Men members that are positioned in battle with the Sentinel.
The Sentinels premiered back in 1965’s X-Men, issue #14. Created by the architects of much of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the robotic villains have since become a staple of the X-Men universe as a whole. There have been many variations over the decades, with the Sentinels going from larger than life to human-sized to nanoscale, even! Advanced versions of the Sentinels, like Nimrod and Bastion, have also reared their ugly heads here and there. In the end, though, the concept of the Sentinels always returns to those bulky, giant killer robots that has become deservedly iconic.
As for the X-Men, the series was relaunched back in 1991, splitting into two distinct titles, X-Men and The Uncanny X-Men. To accommodate this, the team itself was split into two rosters, each taking one of the Xavier School colors as their designation. So we had a Blue Squad and a Gold Squad. The members in this particular statue are all from the Blue Squad, wearing costumes redesigned by superstar artist Jim Lee, who was the penciller of the X-Men at the time. We have Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, the Beast and Jubilee. Fans of the Fox Channel animated series that aired around the same time should also recognize these specific looks for the characters, as most of that show’s designs took their cues from that era’s comics.
The statue comes split between two massive boxes, which are quite the sight to behold. Both packages are both wide and tall, which makes getting them into your house a chore. Each box looks great, though, adorned with promotional photos of the X-Men vs. Sentinel Diorama and various logos and information. The boxes are designated Part 1 and Part 2, in case you want to open yours in a very strict order.
Everything inside is packed within styrofoam trays very securely and safely. I didn’t find any loose or floating pieces anywhere, though I did discover some damage on the piece itself once I opened everything up, which I’ll get to in the next section.
The various pieces of the statue are composed mainly of Polystone, though there are several pieces made of a soft, resilient plastic. I assume they used plastic for the sections they found to be highly prone to breakage, which makes complete sense. The entire piece is well-made and well-painted, as I’ll get into later. That said, even with the above-grade packaging, my first statue did arrive damaged, forcing me to return it and exchange it for a replacement.
There was some damage to Wolverine’s portrait, several sections of the base and, most noticeably, the Sentinel’s torso section, which was broken off completely from the neck. Mine was not an isolated incident, with many similar breakages of the neck area showing up among collectors online. As best as I can tell, this seems to be a result of the torso being solid, but the head being hollow, with the differentiation in weight making the area susceptible to breaking in transit.
My second go at this piece was without incident, however, and was in perfect condition.
Okay, there’s a lot to unpack here, but I’ll give it a somewhat abbreviated go. The sculpting on this entire piece is amazing, first of all. There is not one element of these statues that isn’t exceptional and I can stare at this thing for hours on end and not become bored. Let’s break it down by character.
The Sentinel itself is the centerpiece and it certainly deserves to be so. Standing at around 31 inches alone, this is a beautifully-sculpted take on the classic X-Men villain. The Sentinel is composed of seven separate pieces, held together by a combination of magnets, rods and gravity. These were all very easy to put together and have given me no cause to worry about their stability over the few months I’ve owned the piece.
Every rivet and gear is represented here, giving me the impression that it could get up and move if it so desired. There is plenty of battle-damage to be found, truly selling the robot being in the midst of a fight. Special mention of the literal hole in the torso, carved out by Wolverine himself, is a must. I find no end to my enjoyment of staring through it directly to the other side.
Cyclops is probably my least favorite of the individual X-Men due to an awkward pose given to him. I’m not sure what he’s meant to be doing, honestly. The details of the figure are nonetheless excellent, as is the translucent resin optic blast attachment that slots into his visor. The blast attaches to the Sentinel leg via magnets. Scott Summers himself securely slots into the base via a metal rod, as do all of his teammates.
Wolverine is a favorite piece here, posed as he is to give the impression that he just carved his way though the Sentinel’s midsection. The character’s stocky build and sharp claws are on display, as is his berserker rage thanks to a wonderfully feral portrait. Logan is probably the most precariously placed figure in this Diorama and as a result, really sells the battle occurring.
Rogue is likely my favorite posed X-Man, with the mutant heroine swooping in for a super strong uppercut to the Sentinel’s head. Everything from the windswept curly hair and bandana to the folds in her jacket sell the movement and velocity of the figure.
The Beast is another well-done piece, giving us the usually contemplative scientist at his most brutal, tearing out sections of his opponent. The X-Man has a really solid portrait and there is next-level attention to musculature going on here, especially in the figure’s feet.
Finally, Jubilee captures the teenaged junior member of the team quite nicely. Probably the least dynamic of the five, but no less impressive. I would have enjoyed a different FX piece to better represent her mutant fireworks abilities, but it works okay as is. This Jubilee statue is the only one of the five X-Men included here that is exclusive to this specific release. The rest are available for purchase separately.
One of my favorite parts of this entire release has to be the base. Coming in two separate larger pieces, with several smaller elements that are attached on top, the base truly sells the situation. As wonderful as the Sentinel is, it’s the idea of him crashing through the front entrance of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters that makes this such a dynamic diorama.
The outside, giving us the front steps of the mansion, is nicely rendered with plenty of destruction under the Sentinel’s left foot. Small elements such as an overturned trash can, shattered lion statues and the luckiest light stand in the world sell the reality of the sculpture.
The inside is my favorite, though. The splintered floorboards shooting out and up from the Sentinel’s right foot sell the weight of the monster, while the broken front door and cracked column supports all make this situation feel dire and alive. Extra attention to X-Men lore make massive X-Fans like myself feel acknowledged, with things like the fallen class portrait of the original five X-Men and their mentor, Professor Xavier, as well as the secret underground entrance to the Danger Room found hidden under the base.
Just as the sculpt, the paint work found over the entirety of this piece is exceptional. Each individual X-Man looks great, with plenty of wear and mud evident on their costumes. Rogue’s portrait could have been done better, in my opinion, and I did think Jubilee’s portrait was a little soft. That said, the team are each well-done and there is no detail left untouched.
The base is just rife with tiny elements that come together to create a masterpiece. Where the paint really shines is in the interior mansion half, with expertly done splintered wood, floorboards and columns. The battle-damaged Sentinel is amazing. The wear and tear on display, from the actual destroyed parts to the dried grease in between its gears, looks extremely realistic and just brings this giant monstrosity to life.
Along with the instruction manual and adhesive pads for the bottom of the base, the only extra included is an alternate FX piece for the Wolverine figure. A swappable clawed right hand, this time with a translucent resin “Swoosh” effect attached, gives a slightly more comic book feel to Wolverine’s attack. It’s a fun, if unnecessary, bonus piece.
In the End
The Sentinel itself is a tour de force. Add in the five additional X-Men and the diorama base and you have even more of a masterpiece. Iron Studios has crafted the ultimate representation of this X-Men/Sentinel rivalry and I absolutely love it. Considering they have two more diorama releases coming, complete with different iterations of the Sentinel and new members of the X-Men, and my continued love for this first entry is even more impressive. X-Fans will definitely not be disappointed with this ultimate X-Men collectible.