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Review of War Machine - Age of Ultron MKII

Hot Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

Tonight I'm checking out one of the Age of Ultron characters produced by Hot Toys - War Machine. While he might not be as beautiful as Scarlet Witch, or as bad ass as the Hulk, War Machine ends up playing a critical role in the film, and cements his inclusion in the Avengers moving forward.

This is not our first War Machine from Hot Toys.  In fact, while this is a die cast version (where a reasonable percentage of the armor is actual metal), it's not even our first Hot Toys die cast War Machine. That honor goes to the Iron Man 3 version, released last year.

When the first die cast War Machine was released, collectors who had the original all plastic version had a difficult conundrum. Stick with the original look, or go for the updated Iron Man 3 appearance with the new Rhodey sculpt?  Of course, now they're faced with the same problem - if you bought the earlier die cast War Machine and Iron Patriot, do you really need to go with this guy too?

It's a reasonable question in light of the cost, as well. This guy is exclusive to Sideshow, and will run you about $340. I'll discuss various differences with this release and earlier ones as we go along.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ****
Necessity is the mother of invention, and the extra weight of the die cast series forced the invention of a new package style.  The top slips off the bottom, and is made from a very heavy cardboard with a clear printed sleeved. Inside is a heavy duty Styrofoam tray for the figure and most of the accessories, with a smaller plastic tray below that for the stand and batteries.

It has all the best features of a high end package - it's completely collector friendly, it's very attractive, and it's very, very sturdy, getting the figure to your front door safe and sound.

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ****
All these Iron Man and War Machine variations are things of beauty. Sharp cut lines, extreme detail, and the use of dozens of individual pieces give a tremendous amount of realism to the overall armor. The scale between limbs, head and torso is excellent, and the sculpt works seamlessly with the articulation.

The figure includes a second head sculpt, unmasked, showing Rhodes face.  The work here is much, much better than the original sculpt provided with the first, all plastic, War Machine. It's very similar to what we saw with the die cast Iron Patriot - I'm betting they are the same, although minor tweaks are clearly possible - but getting this second, improved head sculpt is a big plus, since the first die cast War Machine lacked any Rhodey portrait.

The hands are sculpted to work with various poses, and the pair that is sculpted for blasting poses, with the hands bent backward, look terrific and work great.  It's interesting that Hot Toys hands are almost always out of scale, and yet the gloved or armored hands are generally much better.

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - ***1/2
The paint work is the usual exceptional quality, and the metallic armor color looks great. It's a bit on the drab side, which is always going to be a shortcoming for the standard War Machine. For me, it's one of the big reasons I still prefer the Iron Patriot.

While he's not the most colorful in the world, he's at least well done, using a two tone scheme. The various letters are sharp and even, and they've added just the right amount of wear and damage.

There seems to be something a little off with the eyes on the unmasked head, however. There's some bleed into the whites, and I'm not fully convinced that both pupils are perfectly lined up. It's a minor nit though, particularly in hand where it's less obvious.

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - ****
These die cast bodies are an engineering marvel. They've included all the features from the previous releases that make these so much more posable than early IM figures, including the shoulders and ankles that can be pulled lower to accommodate a greater range of movement, a torso that pulls up two positions, and hips that drop down much lower than on even the most recent MK42.  They've gone with the butt button, and pressing it allows the hips to drop very low, making difficult poses possible. With the hip plates AND the armor plates at the lower abdomen both articulated, you can bring both legs up to a full 90 degree angle.  This makes touching his toes even possible!

Some of the joints use ratchet joints as well, including the knees. This gives them extra strength, important for maintaining poses with all that weight. Lots of the smaller pieces of armor - like the aforementioned hip and groin plates, as well as those around the ankles and shoulders - are articulated, allowing you to move them out of the way of the main joint.

You should have no trouble finding excellent, dynamic pose after pose, unleashing all your creative potential.

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - ***1/2
Considering the price tag, there's not a ton of extras here, but there are some crucial additions.

On the weapons front, he has his attachable cannon, which is fully articulated and can be put on the back on either side. Looks great in place, but it's a little loose of a fit. The articulation works well, and you should be able to pose it properly with any stance.

He also has his wrist gun, which pops out on the left side. Instead of popping out, they give you a second piece of armor to swap out.  This is the same piece of armor that comes off to reveal the switch for that palm light, so it serves double duty.

One of the things lacking with the first die cast War Machine was an unmasked portrait of Rhodey. The first all plastic War Machine did have a portrait, and it was fine...for the time. However, when Iron Patriot hit, he was sporting a much improved head sculpt under a second, opening mask. It might be slightly tweaked here...but I don't think so.  I'm 99% positive that this is the a same sculpt we got with IP, and it's as nice the second time around as the first. If you didn't get the Patriot, this might be enough incentive to pick this guy up.

The heads swap easily enough, and there is a detachable mask that snaps in tightly. As with past releases, it's held in the open position by a couple strong magnets. This second head is particularly nice for those who don't use the light up feature - if you're not going to leave the batteries in the head to take advantage of the eyes, then you should swap this secondary head in to be able to pop off the mask and show off the underlying sculpt.

The armor around the jaw is also articulated, and can drop down slightly. It's a nice touch of course, and mirrors the action of the helmet in the movie.

There's a decent assortment of hands, including two fists, two sculpted for the perfect blasting pose (bent backward at the wrist already), and two with the fully articulated fingers.  There's one additional hand, this one in a sculpted salute.

Finally, there's a display stand, but not one of the uber cool flight stands. This one has a larger base with the Avengers logo, but uses only a basic crotch support for the figure.

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Light Feature - ***1/2
The figure sports the usual light feature, with the eyes, chest and palms illuminated.  They include 12 small watch batteries with the figure, but not installed - you have to do that, and they include a tiny screwdriver for that purpose. Not installing them at the factory is a very good thing, since these are usually cheaper batteries, and you don't want them leaking during transit.

The cheapness showed up with mine in a right palm that dimmed much sooner than anything else.  That's probably a bad battery, one with less life than the other 11. You'll end up replacing these pretty quickly.

The battery compartments and switches are all reasonably easy to get to, although you'll have to remove a piece of armor to turn the lights on (or off, obviously) in all four cases. None of this was difficulty or dicey however.

I did notice that the springs are a bit weaker - or perhaps shorter - this time around. That makes it easier to insert the batteries into the compartments, but I suspect they could jostle and lose contact during normal handling, so that might be something to watch for.

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - ****
All this articulation on such a dynamic figure makes for a ton of fun, even for the adult collector. You'll spend hours finding the best pose, and then change your mind tomorrow and start all over.

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Value - *1/2
This shouldn't be surprising, since "cheap" and "diecast Hot Toys figure" have never been in the same sentence. But the prices have kept rising in a very short period of time, making it a tough call.  The Iron Man 3 War Machine was $285...then the Iron Patriot was $300...then the MK42 was $310. Now this guy is a whopping $340.  That's due in part to the exclusivity with Sideshow, which also implies a lower production run. Still, with a pretty similar set up to the Iron Patriot including the extra head sculpt, it's tough to find the extra $40.

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not much, but you still want to pay attention to the various pieces of armor and be sure you get them out of the way when moving the arms and legs. They've designed some of them to pop off under pressure (I managed to pop off the jaw on the helmet and one hip pad), but they pop right back on.

Overall - ***1/2
This is a great figure, and it brings together a number of the best features of the previous three War Machine uniforms, including the second Rhodey head sculpt. But it's not a massive difference in design, especially from the Iron Patriot, and it lacks the bright, shiny color that sets that one apart.

There are minor differences of course, and if you're going for a full Age of Ultron line up, you'll need this guy. You'll also need this guy if you're a true completist, but at Hot Toys prices, that's a mighty hard compulsion to keep alive.

If you didn't pick up the first Iron Man 3 War Machine in die cast, this one is an easier pick up. I still prefer the Iron Patriot, but I'm going to use this guy with my Avengers line up, at least until the next movie hits and we get another version.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Light Feature -***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has this exclusive version for $340.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other diecast Iron Men variations include the Iron Man 3 War Machine, the Iron Patriot, and the newer MK42.  The MK43, also from Age of Ultron, should be popping up any day. And don't forget that Hot Toys also did an all plastic War Machine from his first appearance.

Other Iron Man related releases include the Mandarin, the Power Pose MKXLII, the Iron Monger, the Mark V, the Secret Project version, the MKVI, the very cool War Machine, the hot chick Black WidowWhiplash, the Mark III figure, Mark II figure, Mark I figure, and additional Tony Stark men's suit. There are also guest reviews of the Battle Damaged Iron Man and Mech Suit Tony Stark.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Age of Ultron War Machine MKII action figure by Hot Toys

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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