I suppose somewhat obviously the
most important element you need to get
right when making a superhero movie is casting your superhero! If he or
she can’t hold the movie together then you have nothing (yes I’m
talking to you Halle Berry, Nicholas Cage and the entire cast of The
But on this occasion the stars aligned perfectly, not only did we get a
respected all star cast with Robert Downy Jnr turning in a stellar
performance as the international playboy Tony Stark, but we also had Stan
Winston Studios finally bringing ‘Ol
to fully realised 3D life, and what a job they did. The suit became a
character in itself, with every joint, rivet and piston being brought
together to give the feeling of a finely tuned and fully working piece
of über engineering.
Hot Toys (HT) will eventually bring us the other two suits used in the
movie, the MK 2 then the MK 1, I guess the reverse order makes sense as
the MK 3 was the most used and definitely the most iconic with its gold
and red colour-way. However it’s still the MK 1 that has me personally
most excited, with its cobbled together ‘Scrap heap challenge’*
aesthetic, I think it might be up there as one of the strongest figures
Nonetheless, the big question was, as impressive as the Stan Wiston
Studio suits were, did HT stand any kind of chance of doing them
justice in fully articulated 1/6 scale?
Now I, like many of you had bought the earlier Robo-Cop figure they
released a couple of years back, it was and indeed still is a
fantastically put together figure, but it had a very limited range of
articulation, this wasn’t such a big problem for Robo-Cop as he
lumbered around the movie like Frankenstein’s monster in a suit of
armour, but IRONMAN called for a far more dynamic range of movements,
could it possibly deliver?
(* Junk Yard Wars in the USA)
I have been praising up Hot Toys packaging recently, the ALIEN Nostromo
Astronauts were two of my recent favourites, but others like the Bank
Robber Joker and the consistently excellent M-Icon range James Dean
have continued to keep their boxes at the top of the hi-end
manufacturers, but this one has set yet another benchmark.
This time around the design was
helmed by T.F.Wong along with Monster JR, it’s in effect a complete
wrap around double layer instead of the traditional slip case sleeve.
The front is held in place by magnets and an overlap on the die-cut
circular ‘power-source heart’, you simply lift the front panel and
unwrap it panel by panel anti-clockwise. The outer design mimics the
red and gold armour along with close ups and detail shots of the
figure, the inside also has a wealth of pics showing some of the hidden
features like the opening flaps on the upper back and shins along with
the pop-up missile launchers on the lower arms, but the really cool
part is that once the outer front cover is lifted it exposes the inner
workings of the suit, rows of servos, pistons and riveted joints. The
quality of finish is also top notch with all the edges smooth and stuck
down perfectly. Just another great bit of design!
Inside the box the figure lies
in a vac formed tray, no twisties are needed and his alternate hands
and head are arranged around him. Behind the plastic tray, Polly bagged
to the card is a sheet of instructions informing you how to use the
articulated and light-up elements.
I’m not going to faff around, this is just as perfect as it can be!
I’ve always said that from a straightforward sculpting angle an
armoured character is virtually always going to be easier than one with
a lot of flesh on show, but I don’t want to detract from this
outstanding work… plus we get a Tony Stark head as well!
I don’t think this is one of Hot
Toys very best human head sculpts, but by god, compared to many of
their competitors work it is still pretty astounding, and it’s
definitely Downy Jnr… sorry, Tony Stark!
So kicking off with the human
head, it’s once again cast in the translucent base plastic, it gives a
very convincing effect and is over painted in very subtle skin tones
and shading, they have gone for a steely, determined expression, eyes
looking straight forward. The hair is expertly handled in a swept back
style with tons of sculpted detail, the paint on the hairline isn’t
quite as sharp as on some others, but the softness actually works well
in mimicking the shadow you get between flesh and hair, the fine
sculptural work on his goatee is nice as well, picked out beautifully
in the paint apps.
How ever, as very nice as it is
to have the extra head, I’m pretty sure most will be using it for a
separate Tony Stark kit bash, because this figure looks so very cool
with the full armour in place, it’s worth note that the Stark head has
a different fixture to the Norman TT heads, but I found a big blob of
blu-Tak did the trick just fine for my photos.
So just how good is the armour,
well I can not find a single fault, I still have my old EMPIRE
magazine from September 07, which famously had two exclusive preview
images of the suit
http://www.firstshowing.net/img/ironman-punch-500-june.jpg generated by
ILM, I have scrutinised both and I kid you not, this is faultless. In
some photo’s I’ve found of the Stan Winston ‘actual’
suit it may be a little broader across the trunk, but all the
detail is here, every panel is reproduced in 1/6th perfection. Even all
the tiny screw heads have been covered with colour co-ordinated covers.
The outstanding areas for me are the details inside the opening calf
area and the exquisitely observed details on the chest light and
collar-bone areas, I could attempt to wax lyrical for another page, but
I shall just have to hope my photos can convey just how extremely cool
it all is.
I feel I ought to add a special
mention for the crew, given credit on the box for engineering this
thing; Fred Leung, Ho Wong, Jason Woo, Gary Wong and Ray Ling, I salute
Apart from the very impressive
paint apps on the ‘real’ head, which I pretty much went over above, all
the other work is on the armour, we basically have a three colour
palette, Hot-Rod red, gold and steel, all are nice flat tones and the
lines between colours are faultless as virtually all are individual
separate panels, the only place where paint buts up to more paint is
limited to the knees, chin, lower arms and back, but even here the
lines are super crisp.
The chest panel is stuck on as a
separate piece and it has some small steel elements visible protruding
from the sides, around the light and at the collar bone, again all
But the thing I am most impressed by is the depth of colour on the red,
considering we have different types of plastic from hard ABS through to
a more softer pliable material the colour is consistent throughout, a
top job that needs to be looked at up close to be fully appreciated.
Articualtion - ***1/2
When I first saw photos of the MK 3 prototype I bet I wasn’t alone in
studying them and trying to work out where all the articulation would
be hidden. Well I say hidden, the suit is a mass of joints and
articulated panels, but translating these joints from an ‘impossibly’
articulated CG character into a 1/6 representation that could keep the
fan-boys happy … well, that’s the thing!
So, to break this down from the feet up, we have a mid foot joint and a
ball jointed ankle, this is limited to a side to side range of about 5
degrees but can tilt back by about 20 degrees for flying poses, there
are two moving flaps above the front of the foot and one at the rear.
The back of the calf can open up, there’s a top flap then two doors on
each leg that need to be gently prised open with your nail or a craft
knife, these swing aside to show the servos within (in the real world
there would be very little room for your leg, but hey, go with it).
Next up is a double knee meaning you get a very impressive backwards
bend, now my favourite joint, the hips/groin, what we have is lower
abdominal armour and separate trunks made of a pliable softer material
allowing for some movement when the thighs are brought up. The hips are
snap-on ball jointed much like the ALIEN figures but then these are
attached to the thighs by means of a push in peg so they can turn as
well, lovely bit of engineering with a great range of movement. There
is a very small degree of movement between the trunks and abdomen but
little or none between the abdomen and chest.
On his back he has four opening
aerodynamic panels, one of these conceals the switch for the chest and
eye lights. The shoulders are fully functioning universal joints with
very impressive shoulder protectors that have a spring loaded floating
joint so they can be moved to the desired position when posing the
upper arm… sweet!
Now the elbow, this is pretty
limited but can still achieve about an 80-degree bend, it’s covered in
a rubber sheath much like the Robo-Cop cited earlier. I originally
thought a double elbow should have been an easy job for Hot Toys but of
course that would have but too much stress on the wires that needed to
be housed inside, as the upper arm has a very well hidden battery
compartment and the lower arm has a tiny switch that illuminates the
clear plastic ball joints at the end of each arm. The selection of six
hands can easily pop onto this ball joint giving a good range of
movement and it also means that the 4 in open palmed positions can
light up incredibly brightly, on top of the forearms are two mini
rocket-launchers, you have to pull apart the two sides then flip out
the top panel under which are two non functioning projectiles on each
Lastly there is the head post,
this like the hand posts can illuminate, so when the switch behind the
rear air-brake is flipped on, both the head post and the chest light
glow brightly as well.
But the trade off here, which is
my only real gripe is that the wires which again need to be concealed
give the neck very little movement, so the head can’t look up as
acutely as would have been nice for flying poses, but perhaps (pretty
please Hot Toys) we might get a battle damaged MK 3 with a removable
face plate, the chest could still light, but a non lighting head would
give much more room for engineering a more extreme positionable neck.
So, to sum up, this far exceeds my expectations and if I were awarding
my score for engineering and problem solving it would be full marks.
But taking into account I’m really looking at functionality then I feel
the few areas of limited articulation just need to hold this back a
little, but seriously, wow!
Not since the Endo skeleton last
year have we seen a figure this well conceived and engineered, amazing!
As a special note, in the kneeling photos where I have the figure
looking up acutely I removed the head and positioned it on the post,
this pose is only achievable by doing this.
He has a good selection of hands, two fists, two relaxed, and lastly
two with fingers splayed repulsor
beam stylee, then there’s the Tony Stark head and lastly the
stand. Usually I don’t use stands, but this figure is quite lightweight
so to avoid any shelf diving, plus for the occasional take off/landing
pose it works pretty darn well. I feel I should point out that I can
get him to stand just fine and all the joints are firm but smooth,
it’ll make sense when you have it in hand, so the stand is far from
essential, but for this figure it’s handier than some others.
Outfit - ****
Strictly speaking this figure doesn’t come with an outfit, every
element of the armour is an intrinsic part of the sculpted body, but
judging it as a ‘supposed’ suit then it’s top marks from me, virtually
For me this is the best ‘fun’ figure in terms of ‘playing’ I’ve had in
a long, long time. I loved my old Marvel Icon figure, and I came so
very close to picking up the Hasbro 12” version that Michael has already covered but now
I’m glad to say I held out, this is one of those ‘essential’ figures
for those ‘seriously’ into 1/6 scale, if you only buy one figure this
year make it this one… well at least till the MK1 comes out!
You can see every single cent you paid right there in front of you,
this thing will sell out faster than Bono when he met George Bush Jnr,
it is as near to perfection as you could get at this scale (well, until
HT decide they can better it at this scale). I based my full score on
the official RRP of $160, but I’d still give it full marks even if you
pay up to $180, though I have a feeling that those of you late to the
table may be paying a whole lot more!
I considered dropping a ¼ of a
star because of the lack of accessories and the neck articulation, but
I just couldn’t do it.
This is one of those rare
figures where you will not begrudge a single cent that you paid for it.
It has me even more eager to see the Mark 1 and 2.
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ****
Fun factor: ***1/2
Where to Buy -
Sadly SS have sold out, but you can try the
waitlist where he’s going
for $159.99 .
Ego have sold out, but they still have the MK 1 and MK 2 up
Planet in the UK have sold out so your only other port
of call is eBay
where he’s proving very, very popular and going for
between $180 right up to $260. This is going to be like the Takara
Batman all over again.