Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Good Concept With Middling Execution, The 2013 Iron Patriot Ornament Is A Mixed Bag!

The Good: Great sculpt, Competitively priced, Good balance
The Bad: No light effect, Sloppy paint job at joints
The Basics: A good Hallmark ornament, the “Iron Patriot” ornament is enough to please fans of Iron Man 3, but not the serious ornament collectors.

Every year, it seems there are some Hallmark ornament releases that coincide with the DVD release of a popular film, in addition to the ornaments that highlight current summer blockbusters. This year, Iron Man 3 arguably launched Summer Blockbuster Season and so Hallmark’s decision to release an Iron Man 3 ornament months later targets the DVD-buying audience for the movie. Rather smartly, Hallmark did not focus on any one of the Tony Stark Iron Man suits and for the Iron Man 3 ornament, they took a somewhat riskier leap and produced the Iron Patriot suit from the film.

Hallmark's "Iron Patriot" ornament is good, but not great, even if it has nothing to do with Christmas. Unfortunately, it had a lot of potential, but the execution robbed it of its shot at perfection.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, “Iron Patriot” is a holiday ornament that features James Rhodes in the Iron Patriot suit from Iron Man 3 (reviewed here!). It is the Iron Patriot soaring up into the sky that is the subject of the Iron Patriot ornament. This is a colorful ornament made entirely of solid plastic.


“Iron Patriot” recreates Rhodey in his Iron Patriot suit from Iron Man 3 as he soars through the sky or stops abruptly to blast someone with his shoulder cannon. The ornament, released in 2013, is a pretty remarkable ornament that is perfect in the detailing. The ornament falls apart, though, with the coloring detailing. In addition to not having a strongly metallic sheen to the paint (though the gunmetal colored portions are all right), the Iron Patriot was remarkably sloppy on the paint job, especially at the joints and seams, at least on the two I looked at. Iron Patriot in this incarnation looks just like the cinematic version of Iron Patriot with the Iron Patriot armor molded to look assembled and like most of the panels have more than one function. The armor looks like it could be blown away, save that the character looks strong enough to take most hits! This does not look like a comic book character, but rather the virtual Iron Patriot suit seen flying about in Iron Man 3! Measuring four inches tall, three and a quarter inches wide and three inches deep (he is kind of splayed out, which enhances the illusion that the character is hovering), this “Iron Patriot” seems to be selling very well at the original issue price of $14.95.

The Hallmark “Iron Patriot” ornament is made of a durable plastic and has James Rhodes (Or, one supposes, the President) in the Iron Patriot suit. He is cast in a pearlescent gunmetal gray and flatter red and blue plastics that generally looks good for the character. The proportions are all wonderful and this Iron Patriot sculpt looks like it may have come from a digital model of the character it is so precise. The detailing for the sculpt is pretty incredible, especially on the shoulder-mounted cannon and the eyes and the forearm armor.

As for the coloring, the seams look very sloppy on the two I picked up, but it is hard to notice at a distance. On the other hand, the detailing on the insignias is actually very impressive and in that regard, the Iron Patriot ornament looks very cool.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, “Iron Patriot” could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but it does not. Given how some of the better Iron Man ornaments have come with a sound chip, it is disappointing that this does not have the ability to deliver dialogue from the film or feature light-up eyes.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake “Iron Patriot” ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate superhero Christmas Tree, the “Iron Patriot” ornament is a good addition and is indispensable for a complete, full-universe, Marvel Comics themed tree.

The ornament has a metal hook loop that comes out of the top center of Iron Patriot’s shoulders (right below where the neck is). Trom that position, the Iron Patriot hangs perfectly level, making it look like he is ascending or decending to fire off his weapons!


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament. Since then, they have delved into virtually every other collectible franchise in an attempt to cash in on every major license. The Iron Patriot series is part of the Marvel Comics ornament collection that has been growing since the buyout of Marvel by Disney, though this year there are only the two Marvel-themed ornaments. This is one of the few ornaments that I cannot even hazard a guess on the investment potential of. Locally, it has been selling well, arguably because it is one of the least-expensive Hallmark genre ornaments this year. However, Iron Patriot is a comparatively obscure sidekick character and unless more is made of the character in the future films, without producing more Iron Patriot ornaments, it is hard to bet on this one appreciating in value significantly in the coming years.


Were it not for the sloppy paint job, the Iron Patriot ornament would be at least a point higher, but given how the detailing is not as precise as some and it has exceptionally limited consumer appeal, it is hard to enthusiastically recommend the Iron Man 3 Iron Patriot ornament.

For other Marvel Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 Captain America The Avengers ornament
2012 Iron Man The Avengers ornament
2012 Thor The Avengers ornament
2012 The Amazing Spider-Man ornament
2011 Spider-Man ornament
2011 Thor ornament
2010 Defender Of Justice Iron Man 2 ornament


For other ornament reviews, please check out my Ornament Review Index Page!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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