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Iron Man Mark II
Hot Toys

Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

I usually don't get to beat that invidious bastard Jeff Parker to a Hot Toys review, but I managed to pull it off this time with the Iron Man Mark II figure. Not by much though, and you'll see Jeff's guest review later this week. And while I got the regular version, Jeff got the Sideshow exclusive version. Yea, he's still an invidious bastard.

Normally I don't give you any clues up front as to what's to come in my review, but I just reviewed the Mark III suit last week, and if you expect this review to be a lot different, you're expecting something that ain't going to happen. Yep, I loved that one, and I love this one...maybe even more.

There's something about the look of the Mark II suit that I really like. Maybe it's the robotic appearance of all that silver armor. Maybe it's because it reminds me of the sc-fi classic Metropolis. Maybe it's because I loved my Marx Silver Knight figure when I was a kid. Or maybe it's just because this color looks more realistic to me than the gold and red. Whatever the case, I prefer the silver.

This one runs about the same $150 -$170 as the Mark III, but has some extra goodies and features too. Man, I can't wait to get the Mark I to put them all together on the shelf!

Packaging - ****
I already gave the Mark III packaging a perfect score, and this is the same box with merely different graphics. This is one of the coolest boxes I've seen, with a huge wrap around cover that goes all the way around the box, not just the two sides and front. The board used for these flaps is at least twice as thick as what Sideshow uses for the Star Wars packages, and also has the same cool magnetic closures. It's also completely collector friendly, with no need to damage anything to retrieve the figure. Looking for collectible packaging nirvana? This is it.
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot ToysIron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

Sculpting - ****
Did you like the appearance of the armor on the Mark III? Then you should like this one - they are basically the same.

It's not exactly the same, however. The major difference is that they've added the many small rivets that would hold the real suit together. The newer, more streamlined Mark III did not have these rivets on the surface.

Personally, I like the addition. It adds an additional tactile feature to the figure, and ups the realism all that much more.

It might look in the photos like the silver helmet is a little wider and more squat than the Mark III version, but its' not. In person, side by side, they look to be identical in size. I suspect any perceived size difference is a bit of an optical illusion being caused by the difference in color.

The rest of the armor is identical to the MKIII version, but that's not an issue. Hey, when it's perfect, why mess with it?

The additional head is Tony again, but this time in the helmet, with a movable mask. I'll discuss more around the movable aspect of the helmet later, so let's stick to the likeness here.

I prefer this likeness to the first Tony portrait that came with the Mark III. The nose is a little thinner here, and even in person it's obvious when you hold the two side by side that this is an improvement. It's still not a dead on Robert Downey Jr. as Stark likeness, but I think it's much closer.

It's also very realistic in appearance, as is always the case with a Hot Toys head sculpt these days. It does appear a little stretched top to bottom to me, but that's due in large part to the fact that it is designed to be exactly the same size as the normal helmet. With the mask closed, you'll have a hard time telling them apart.

Paint - ****
As well done and attractive as the red and gold armor was, I like the silver even more. A large part of this is simply personal preference.

There's absolutely no quality issues on the armor's paint work. The silver is bright, consistent and very metallic in appearance, and they've added a wash and/or air brushed black in key areas, bringing out appropriate details and shadows.

Once again, the small detail work on the fine wires, pistons and other mechanics inside the arms and calves is fantastic, and certainly matches your expectation for this price point.

I also like the paint work on the second head a bit better this time around. The extra Tony head with the Mark III had a bit heavier work on the eyebrows and facial hair, where here it seems a bit more realistic. As you'd expect these days with Hot Toys, the eyes and lips are simply amazing in their realism.

Beyond that, it's merely a matter of taste. For me, the silver looks more like actual armor, and also has a more dangerous, deadly and imposing appearance.

Articulation - ****
This figure sports the exact same exceptional articulation as the MKIII.

The ball jointed neck (a true ball and socket joint), works fantastic, and the heads swap fairly easily. Even with swappable heads, the neck joint isn't loose or wobbly, unlike some of the SS Prometheus figures or the Enterbay Bauer.

There are several other key areas that make the articulation on this figure exceptional. Much like their previous Robocop and Endoskeleton, Hot Toys employed some ingenious designs to maximize the poseablity of the figure without sacrificing any aesthetic value.

The shoulder pads, which consist of two separate pieces on both sides, move on hinges independent of each other and the arms, so that they can be posed in multiple ways in any single arm position, and do not interfere with the shoulder articulation in any way.

When I was discussing the MKIII, I said there was no waist or chest joints. That's actually wrong, and I was able to get the waist to turn on the MKII. However, it doesn't move a whole lot, and I'd be very careful trying to force it if yours is stuck.

The pin/post ball hips work fantastic, allowing for extremely natural stances, including very deep ones. These poses are aided by the excellent knees, which have a very unique design. The plastic knee actually retracts into the leg, and slides out as the leg is bent. This gives it a terrific range of movement, and looks extremely good even when fully bent.

The ankles are another engineering feat. Each of the small flaps at the front and back are on metal hinges so they can move out of the way of the foot itself, and the foot is designed so it can lay flat on the floor, even in deep stances. There's also a pin joint at the half foot point, adding even more to the posing potential.

Armored characters are rarely articulated well, due to the perceived constraints around designing joints that can work with such confining gear. Hot Toys proves that if you ignore the perception that it can't be done, you can do far more than others might expect.

As an additional feature, his extra masked head can open and close. I didn't know for sure how this was going to work, but the final design works pretty well.

The front of the mask is an independent, separate piece. It's held in place with strong magnets. When it is fully down over the face, and the chin guard is pushed up against it, it stays in place. Pull the chin guard down, and the theory is that the strong magnets at the top of the helmet pull the face plate upward.

It sorta, kinda works. The simple fact is that it doesn't really have to automatically open, at least not for me. You can easily position the mask yourself at the top of the helmet, and the magnets hold it in place reasonably well. Yea, bump him and you can knock it out of place, but it doesn't droop or slide down on it's own.

Like the MKIII suit, this one has opening sections on the calves, as well as pop up missiles on the forearms. Since I already provided photos of them with the MKIII, I didn't repeat it here. Check that review for more details.

The flight flaps on the back are also here, with several pin joints to allow you to pose them in various ways.

Accessories - ****
I thought they did pretty good with the MKIII. I mean, there was an extra head so you could make your own Tony Stark figure, plus four extra hands.

But the MKII even goes further than that. There's the four extra hands again, so to go along with the basic fists you have two slightly cupped hands (that light up) and two splayed hands (that also light up).

And yes, there's the extra head again, but instead of just being a Stark likeness, it's a Stark likeness in a helmet that opens and closes! Just how cool is that?

But that wasn't enough for Hot Toys. You see, if they were any other company, they'd take the opportunity for re-used parts (like the fact that the majority of the armor here is just a repaint, or that the hands are identical to the MKIII), charge the same they did the first time around, give you nothing extra, and make extra profit. That's what just about any other company would do in this situation.

But not Hot Toys. Recognizing that certain aspects of this figure cost less because of the re-use, they added in more stuff to give you that additional value. Part of that additional value was the magnetic helmet/visor, and another part is the additional encased power supply, Stark's original one he developed in the desert.

It's inscribed "Proof that Tony Stark has a heart", and this inscription is actually sculpted, not just painted or printed. The detail work on it in general is quite impressive, and it comes in a small acrylic case with a black base. The plastic top can be lifted off too, but the real highlight is that there's a switch on the back of the base that lights up the power source with another blue LED! Sweetness.

There's also a Sideshow exclusive version that includes a pedestal (mini-bust) stand that you can place your extra head upon for display. I have that one on order too...and I haven't decided if I'll keep it and sell off the regular one, or if I'll be satisfied with this one and cancel that order. Decisions, decisions. Damn you, Hot Toys.

Light Up Feature - ***1/2
Once again, the eyes, chest and palms light up with bright LED lights. There are three switches - one for each hand in the forearm (and the batteries for each hand are in the biceps), and a third switch hidden under one of the back 'wings' that lights the eyes and chest. The batteries for these lights are accessible via a panel that is screwed down on the back.

The fact that these lights are done separately is worth noting, since it cost the company additional money to give you nine batteries instead of three. But Hot Toys doesn't skimp when it comes to the quality and design of their figures, a point well worth mentioning.

I did knock off a slight amount here in comparison to the MKIII, because I did have some issues with the light bleeding down around the neck this time. That wasn't an issue with the MKIII, and part of it might be because of the highly reflective nature of the silver paint job. This may make any light that does escape simply more noticeable.

Let's not forget the aforementioned extra accessory that also lights up. More batteries included! Color me impressed with the overall quality of these lights.

Outfit - N/A
Unlike most HT sixth scale figures, there's no actual costume here. The body is sculpted plastic, and while the various flaps and panels open, nothing comes off except for the face plate on the extra head.

Fun Factor - ***
This isn't a toy, but the roots of this type of figure are clearly evident in it's design, engineering and quality. Sure, you can find a nice statue of Iron Man for a similar price, but then you'll never be able to add your own personality to the stance or pose. What fun is that?

Value - ***
You can get this guy for $150. You're getting all the great features of the first HT Iron Man, including the light up features AND an extra head, PLUS you get an additional accessory that lights up too! Yes, he's expensive, but you really are getting your money's worth next to other sixth scale figures in this price range from companies like Medicom.

Things To Watch Out For
I didn't have any trouble with anything breaking so far, but I'd still remind you to be careful. The armor is plastic, even if it's well designed and sturdy.

Overall - ****
In 2007, Hot Toys had a few Poppies (the Pop Culture Collectibles Industry Awards), with one gold, a bronze and a silver. People were noticing them, but they weren't dominating any category, even the 12" group.

Then in 2008, they crushed the competition, racking up multiple awards in categories like Best Company, Best Female Figure, Best 12" - 18" Male Figure, Best Vinyl, and even Best Bust. They ended up with 8 awards, quite an impressive feat.

But if they keep up their current level of work, I am betting they do even better in 2009. With the Mark I and rumored Iron Monger figures still to come this year, and rumors of a potential variant for SDCC, their Iron Man series is going to be tough to beat. And with other licenses like Hellboy and a potential film based X-men series, fans may be rejoicing long before the year is complete.

If the Iron Monger does become a reality, I'll have to pick one up. These figures make an outstanding display for any Iron Man fan, and you can be proud to display them in the nicest media room or home theater. Bring on the Mark I!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Light Up Feature - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Sponsor options include:

- Sideshow has an exclusive version with an extra accessory, and just happens to be on second chance right now. They're $160.

- CornerStoreComics has him for $150.

- Alter Ego Comics has this guy at $152.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

- and if your tastes do tend toward the statue more than the figure, check out the Kotobukiya fine art statue at Showcase Collectibles.

Related Links -
I've had my share of Iron Man related reviews:

- As I mentioned, I just reviewed the Hot Toys Mark III suit last week.

- I had a guest review of this Hot Toys MKIII figure back when it first hit international retailers.

- there's the very cool little 3 3/4" Marvel Universe version.


- the not quite as cool 12" Repulsor Iron Man.

- a couple 6" movie figures.

- the ML Silver Centurion version, as well as the Ultimate version.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 5

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Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Iron Man Mark II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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