Tony Stark’s red and gold armor is one of the most recognizable costumes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We have seen a few different variations in the films, from his original grey suit cobbled together from his own weapons in Iron Man, to the whole collection of suits in Iron Man 3, to the incredible Hulkbuster armor in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Still, this just scratches the surface of everything that Iron Man’s armor can do in the comics. Tony Stark is a genius, after all, and he’s designed tech for every possible eventuality.
In honor of everyone’s favorite Marvel playboy, we rounded up 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Iron Man’s Suit.
12 Every Suit Has The Same Basic Gadgets
Although Stark has created a huge number of different suits for every condition, there are some things that are the same for (almost) every suit. They are all made of extremely strong materials, although the majority are not actually made of iron, or even true metal. Each has a self-contained environment for protection, and are powered by multiple sources in case one fails (like a solar option).
The weapons systems change depending on the primary function of the suit, but almost every suit has repulsors in the hands, allowing Iron Man to shoot a charged blast from the palms. The suits can fly, courtesy of jets in the bottom of the boots, and are bullet-proof. They are also connected to various communication and radar systems, and usually linked to JARVIS, Tony Stark’s artificial intelligence system.
11 There Are 53 Different Suits (At Least)
Iron Man continually creates new, better suits, as well as suits for specific purposes. Some of these include new technology, or are created for specific conditions (including the Stealth, Underwater, Hulkbuster and Space suits in this list, as well as Arctic and Symbiotic suits). Stark is officially at Model 53 within Earth-616, the Marvel comic universe but these aren’t the only suits he has created.
Each Model has gone through various different stages before the final design, allowing for multiple versions of each suit. He has also created suits for other people (like Pepper Potts’ Rescue suit), as well as having created other suits in alternate universes within the Marvel-verse, and within the MCU (where we are up to Mark 45).
10 The Suit Isn’t Always Red And Gold
Although Iron Man’s colors are known as red and gold, like many other superheroes, this has been known to change. His first ever suit (Model 1) was grey, simply because it was made of metal salvaged from weapons in a dire situation. He just didn’t have the time to make it pretty!
Since then, however, he has made a range of different colored suits. There have been red and silver (Silver Centurion Armor), silvery blue (Artic Armor), and black suits (Stealth Armor). He has also made a suit that is entirely gold. Usually, the suit is a different color because it relates to the function or the storyline. For example, his black suit is a “stealth” suit. The bright red and gold isn’t exactly ideal for sneaking around.
9 The Origin Story Has Changed
Tony Stark’s basic origin story has stayed constant over the years. A genius engineer, he owns Stark Industries, a weapons manufacturer created by his parents. On a trip into a warzone, something goes wrong, there is an explosion, and Tony is kidnapped by the enemy and left with shrapnel lodged near his heart. He creates a device to keep the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him, as well as building a suit in order to break free from his kidnappers.
While the key elements have never changed, the details have. Originally, he built his suit during the Vietnam War, and battled communist forces. This was later retconned to the Gulf War, bringing him into a more modern conflict. Most recently (and in the films), his suit and superhero person were a result of the war in Afghanistan.
8 It Allows Him To Lift 100 Tons
One of the properties of Tony’s suits are to increase his strength, but different versions of the armor do this to different degrees. The Extremis Armor is one of Tony’s most powerful suits. Created when a bio-tech weapon was released on the world, the suit combines the usual external plates with an under-sheath made with nano-tech.
As well as the (many) amazing properties of the undersheath, the Extremis armor increases his strength to the point that he is able to lift up to 100 tons – about the same as a relatively calm Hulk. His most powerful armor (in terms of sheer strength), though, is the Hulkbuster. Designed specifically to take down the Hulk, it lets him lift up to 175 tons.
7 Pepper Potts Has A Suit
Tony Stark’s long-time executive assistant Pepper Potts has come a long way from her first appearances as the simple love interest for Iron Man. While the two are still romantically linked, Potts has become a superhero in her own right, known as Rescue.
In a story similar to Tony’s, she was severely injured, and given cybernetic enhancements to survive (created primarily by Tony himself). Tony also made her a suit of armor: the Mark 1616. Her suit is primarily for search and rescue operations and defense so doesn’t come with the kind of weaponry that most of his do. However, it does include defensive weaponry and a range of useful gadgets.
6 He Can Fly Into Outer Space
The majority of Iron Man’s suits only allow him to fly within the atmosphere of Earth – as we saw in the MCU, when he discovered that the suit will shut down at a certain height. However, he has created Space Armor to overcome this for missions that don’t take place on Earth.
The biggest difference between this armor and his other suits is the enhanced life support systems, greater durability, and more powerful propulsion systems that allow him to fly into space quickly. This armor also allowed him to join the Guardians of the Galaxy in the rebooted Marvel NOW comics, sparking speculation that he could make an appearance in the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
5 There is a Black Stealth Suit
There are two suits designed specifically for stealth missions, both of which are entirely black. The first was the Model 7, created after Iron Man was caught on approach to a space station (using the Space Armor). The Stealth Armor doesn’t have the same level of durability or strength that most of the suits do, and can’t be broken down easily. As it is not designed for combat, but for spying, it has far fewer weapons than most. Instead, it has radar-absorption, ECM jamming, upgraded cameras and sensory equipment, and super-coolers for the boot jets (so that their heat cannot be detected).
A later, updated version of the armor (Model 42) was much more robust, and included tasers and silent weaponry, as well as holographic and light-bending properties for better disguise.
4 There Is An Underwater Suit (And Wolverine Stole It)
In fact, there are multiple suits that are designed for use underwater. The Model 6 is Stark’s original Hydro Armor, designed to be used up to 3 miles under the sea. The suit was designed with special underwater weapons, including mini-torpedoes, turbines for the boots jets, and the ability to mimic the defensive capabilities of an octopus (ink cloud) or electric eel. The suit also has a diver-suit-style bubble around the head. A later version of this suit was created (the Model 35), but was stolen by Wolverine when he needed to go talk to Namor.
Other underwater suits include the Model 33, which attacked Namor on its own, after being triggered remotely.
3 There Are Real-Life Iron Man Suits
Various cosplayers have created amazing versions of the Iron Man armor, but these aren’t the only people working on a real-life suit. Unsurprisingly, the military has long been working on exoskeletons and suits for use in war zones, and the Department of Defense has a suit that is scheduled to unveil its version in 2018. The TALOS (Tactical Light Operator Suit) is a battery-powered exoskeleton that can be worn by soldiers in the field. It increases their strength (allowing them to carry and lift 33 lbs extra), prevents bullet wounds with a form of liquid body armor, provides oxygen, has heating and cooling systems, and embedding computers. The TALOS is still in development, but it’s impressively close to the real thing. (Even if it can’t fly.)
2 One Suit Turns Into A Flying Car
Tony Stark is still a playboy at heart sometimes, and created himself a suit that was also a flying red sports car (just for fun). The Model 53, it could be used as a normal car, but could also be turned into a flying car by using repulsor turbines on the undercarriage.
With the push of a button, the car could then be transformed into an Iron Man suit, complete with all the usual weaponry. The car re-forms around the driver, with the legs coming out from behind and the arms from the front of the vehicle. Presumably this couldn’t be done with a passenger, but we never find out. The car was destroyed when battling Warbringer, and not re-created as Tony claimed it had been a one-off design.
1 There is a Green Lantern Suit
In a rare DC/Marvel crossover for their Amalgam Comics (an imprint that combined characters from both universes), Iron Man was merged with Green Lantern to create a character known as Iron Lantern. The Iron Lantern (aka Hal Stark), owned an aircraft business (rather than a weapons manufacturer) and was working on a new craft when it took off with him inside, and crash landed on a new planet.
The crash left him with shrapnel in his body, and he created himself the classic magnet and suit to survive, but using parts of an alien ship, rather than his own weaponry. The Iron Lantern suit combines the powers of the classic Iron Man armor with the powers of the Green Lantern: force fields, telepathy, plasma bolts, and the creation of energy constructs.
Can you think of anything else you should know about Iron Man's suit? Let us know in the comments!
You can see Tony Stark and his Iron Man Suit in action in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, which releases on May 6, 2016.