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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Ultron Prime - Avengers Age of Ultron
Sixth Scale Action Figure

Hot Toys
Date Published: 2016-06-24
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

While Age of Ultron wasn't as strong as the first Avengers, I still really enjoyed it, particularly the voice acting of James Spader. As recent Marvel villains go, I liked Ultron quite a bit, and as I've said many times before, I'd rather have new and different characters on the shelf than the umpteenth version of Iron Man or Captain America.

Hot Toys helped fans like me out with their release of the sixth scale Ultron Prime. This is Ultron at his best, perfect for battling your entire Avengers team.  He's just started shipping, and sells for around $360 - $375, depending on the retailer.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ***
This is a standard slip cover over a window box, and they've maintained the Avengers style that we've seen with characters like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. They did alter things up a bit inside, redesigning the plastic trays slightly. It's all still collector friendly, and it all still keeps everything very safe and sound.

Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ***
This is a tough category for me, because the big issue becomes less of an issue when the light up feature is turned on...but turning it on (and off) is such a big pain in the ass, you'll rarely do it.

Let's start with the work from the neck down - four star stuff here all around. Terrific detailing everywhere, and they've really worked hard to marry the sculpt and articulation in a seamless way. Some pieces are made from a softer material, like in the neck and upper back, to reduce restrictions, and other areas, particularly around the shoulders and hips, are made to move out of the way of the various joints.

Making plastic look like metal can be tricky, and no, there's no die cast of any sort here. Getting that metallic look requires high quality work on both the sculpt and the paint, and without one, the other will fail. The sculpt here has a cleanly defined look that you associate with milled steel, or in this case, milled adamantium. Perhaps the most impressive work is around the waist and lower torso, where there is a huge amount of detail, and yet the upper body can still tilt and lean to some degree.

But from the neck up, I have a major issue. While the detailing is just as perfect as the rest of the body, there's that expression. That weird, odd expression. They squinted his eyes, which should be a good thing - it better represents his anger and attitude. Or so you'd think. And I think that's true...when the light is on. But when the light is off, he looks oddly sad, almost like he's crying. I personally think it's because the outer pointed edge on the eye is turned upward, not downward, and that's what is creating the effect. Whatever the case, it bugs me quite a bit. Obviously, your mileage may vary.

As I said, other than my issue with the expression, the overall sculpting is excellent. I love that the mouth is articulated, and that the upper teeth are sculpted inside. He's a big boy too, standing at about 16 1/4" tall when fully upright. He'll tower nicely over the rest of your Avengers team, until Scarlet Witch gets done with him anyway.

Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - ****
While I might have my nits to pick with the sculpt, I love the metallic paint job. This is Ultron when he's at his prime - get it? - and therefore there's no damage, no wear, no injury. The paint work is uber clean and spotless, super consistent from part to part. Even when different materials are used, the paint is consistent, which can be tricky because different plastics will absorb the color and finish in different ways. They've created a seamless look, and the high quality paint adds to the realistic impression of a metallic body.

The photo below has the lights on to show the improvement with the expression under those conditions.

Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - ****
I have to hand it to Hot Toys - they know how to engineer fantastic articulation with an armored or robotic figure. They could easily give up and say it's just too hard to create a highly posable figure with this sort of body design, but they don't. Instead, they pull out every trick in the book and a few new ones to keep the posability at a maximum.

Of course, as soon as I say that, I have to point out that the neck is a little restricted. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, and you can still get some decent tilt and lean. But it's not as free flowing as a standard sixth scale figure.

The shoulders work well, and they have a cut joint on the bicep as well as a spring loaded joint on the shoulder armor, both of which allows the arms far greater mobility. The elbows are only a single pin, but can be bent to a much tighter angle than I expected, and the rotating hinge wrists work great. Each finger has three joints, and all are properly placed. You should be able to create most hand poses, and that's a good thing since he doesn't have any additional hands.

As I mentioned earlier, the torso works better than anticipated, with some minor forward and backward movement, and even a little side to side tilt. The waist itself doesn't turn however, so you're going to be working with a straight forward chest in your poses. You can get him to turn a little at the chest, but take some care.

The hips have some other armor pieces that can be lifted or moved out of the way of the joints, and the hips can even be popped outward a bit to allow for even greater mobility. This popping in and out worked smoother here than I've seen with some of the Iron Man figures, and required less force.

The knees are double pin, the ankles rotating hinge with rocker movement, and there's even a half foot pin joint. And let's not forget the articulated jaw, which opens the mouth to expose those upper teeth! Overall there's plenty of articulation, and it all works extremely well with what could have been a cumbersome body type.

Note - It might take a little effort to get the rocker going in the ankles. They do have a very good rocker movement though, but I had to break it loose first, something that is always rather nerve wracking. Once I did, he was able to put his feet flat on the ground in even deep stances.

Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - *
The only accessory with this figure is a large base, with a red light up feature. While batteries are included for the lights in the figure itself, you'll need to supply three AAA batteries for the base.  It's nice - I like the raised A and the metal rod is sturdy enough for air borne poses - but considering the extremely high price point, you're getting far, far less than most people would expect.

Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Light Feature - **1/2
Another light feature from Hot Toys that is all kinds of a hot mess. They pretty much had this perfected a couple years ago, but now seem to be regressing.

This is what Ultron looks like in the film - here's a shot squinting, here's a shot with rounder eyes. His eyes are red, just like the rest of the lighting in his body and arms.  Not sort of red, not a little red, they are red.  There IS a blue-ish white ring, so if he were truly human, I suppose you'd say his iris' were white or blue (depending on the brightness) and his schlera is red, rather than white. Either way, the eye should be predominately red.

And instead, they are predominately white. Very bright. so bright that the light leaks out and highlights other areas like the mouth when it is open. To be fair, there is a little bit of red in there, and you can see it in macro photos...but it's not the predominate color. The white LED is simply overpowering the red colored edges, and that's always going to be true. Just think about the red and blue lightsabers, and the difference in their intensity.

This is not really the biggest problem with the light feature, however.  You have to give Hot Toys some credit for at least trying to get the two colors to show, and they did manage to get both colors in the mix. No, the biggest problem remains one of usefulness.  There are four different battery compartments and switches, and none of them are easy to access.  Popping the covers off the head and back requires using some sort of thin, flat edge. They provide a plastic one, which is much less likely to scratch that beautiful plastic paint job, but it still can mark it.  Doing it repeatedly, which is necessary to turn the lights on and off, is simply not a good idea.

Getting the batteries in place is a chore all its own.  The compartments are deep inside the armor, and the fit is tight.  Plan on taking some time and don't start if you're already impatient or frustrated - the process won't be a calming one.

Once you get the batteries in, you'll need to remove the covers to turn all four lights on or off. It's not a smart design, and they have to stick with putting the switches outside the covers or in some other way that's easier to reach. They've managed it with some of the Iron Man releases (at least for some of the lights) and they should try to do it whenever possible with other, similar characters.

The light feature, especially with the eyes, was a critical aspect of this character. You really can't skip it, and he just doesn't look the same without them turned on. I've included a couple photos with them off, just so you can see how much less impressive he is when they are not illuminated. Skipping the light feature here to reduce the price wasn't really an option. But there are ways to better design it to allow for easier access (removable head with the switch on the bottom for example) and this is an area where they need to put in some additional effort.

Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
The light feature might not be a lot of fun, but the rest of the figure sports some great articulation that allows for lots of posing and re-posing. This guy will add a villain to your Avengers display, someone for the team to surround and beat. Every good guy needs an arch enemy, and Ultron is the perfect match up for your AoU characters.

Value - *1/2
This guy is expensive - really expensive. At $375, he's quite an investment in your sixth scale collection.  I just reviewed Star Ace's Hagrid earlier this week, who is in this same price ball park, running $350 - $380. Both of these figures are big, right around 16". Hand both of these figures and their accessories to an average person and tell them you paid the same, which was the better value? They'll pick Hagrid 9 times out of 10. Why? Because while he as some sculpt issues - damn that tiny nose - he comes with quite a few extras, and a great costume. While the sculpting, paint, and articulation are huge selling points for Ultron, it's harder for these things to translate into 'value' for the average consumer.

You can argue that Ultron makes up for any lack of accessories with the light feature, which would be a very valid argument if the light feature was useful. As it stands, I think this figure needed to be closer to $300, similar to the Hulk, even with the large number of small parts and pieces necessary for his construction.

Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
It is always important to be careful with the screws on the battery compartments, but this time I found them particularly soft and easy to strip. Be absolutely sure you use a properly sized screwdriver, one that fits tightly. Do not use the small drivers that Hot Toys has included with some of their other figures, because these are too small and will be more likely to damage the screw.

Overall - ***
I suspect that I will get a lot of readers who don't agree with me on this review.  The reason it will be a lot rather than just a few is because they are going to be in two separate camps on either side, never to meet in the middle.  One camp will say "you're nuts, the light feature is fine the way it is, the eyes couldn't be closer in color to the screen version, what's the point in getting accessories, and sure, $375 is a lot of money, but so is everything". The other camp will say "you're nuts, $375 for that lame character? No accessories, another poor light feature, who would pay that kind of money for it?".

For me, the truth lies in the middle. The figure is impressive on the shelf, especially with the lights on.  While I wish they'd merely gone with bright red eyes and not tried to get fancy, I can live with the color. I also wish the expression looked a tad less weepy when the eyes aren't illuminated, but again, I can live.  While the price point is high, I can justify 85% of it. And the exceptional paint job, overall sculpt details, and well designed articulation make up for deficiencies in other areas.

He might not be a four star figure, but he is a solid release, and he's certainly not the worst Hot Toys figure I've ever bought.  He's not even the worst Hot Toys Age of Ultron figure I've bought, and there haven't been that many of them.

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

Avengers Ultron Prime sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- is at $360.

- comes in at $360.

- has him at $375.

- Sideshow is at $375 as well.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other Hot Toys Marvel figures include the very cool Stan Lee, the Winter Soldier version of Nick Fury, the Iron Legion, Ant-Man, Vision, Quicksilver and his sister Scarlet Witch. And don't forget Pepper Potts and the MK IV set. Other related characters include Maria Hill, AoU Captain America, the Winter Soldier, Red Skull, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, Hulk, and Bruce Banner. I've also covered a ton of Iron Man releases, and one of my favorites is the die cast MK43.

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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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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