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Review of Whiplash Mark II - Iron Man 2 sixth scale action figure

Hot Toys
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Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

While Hot Toys has done almost every conceivable version of Iron Man from not only his own three movies but his appearances in other films, they still had one more armored bad guy that they had ignored.  In Iron Man 2, he is confronted by Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke. When it comes to building self powered suits of destruction, Mr. Vanko is no slouch, and at the end of the film faces off against War Machine and Iron Man in a contraption of his own design. While Hot Toys has already given us Vanko in his early look from the film, they had left this armored bad ass version by the wayside. Until now.

This figure is part of their die cast series, although it's more like Robocop than some of the other Iron Man die cast figures in that regard.  In other words, there's more plastic than metal here, but there's enough to notice.

This guy is shipping now, and can be had at most retailers for around $400. It' a pretty steep price, but when it comes to Iron Man, the villain side of the display tends to be a little light. Is it worth the price tag to add another baddie? Let's see...

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ****
As I mentioned in last week's review of the Mark II War Machine, the boxes are designed to work with the greater weight of the die cast figures. These are not a shoe box design, and the two halves are actually the square top with the graphics and plastic cover, and the lower square with the logo and name. Slip the top off the bottom, and inside is a very sturdy hard Styrofoam box, with a plastic tray hidden beneath.  This holds the figure and accessories very securely, and the box is made from very sturdy, high quality materials.  And yet, it's all still collector friendly!  You will have to pull off quite a few plastic wraps this time, as they used additional protection on the limbs and body, but it's a minor annoyance at best.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ****
There are two sculpts here - the sculpted armor, and the extra Rourke/Vanko portrait. Both are exceptional.

However, the majority of my score here is based on the overall work on the armor.  The detailing is amazing, perhaps one of the best we've seen. The sheer number of pieces that have gone into the assembly of this figure is mind blowing. The realism of the pistons, plates, rivets, welds, and even the battle damage on the extra chest piece is some of their best work.

Vanko isn't the flashy, high gloss kinda guy that Tony Stark is, and it shows in this rougher, more utilitarian design and execution. It's not something that I was able to appreciate on screen, where the shots are long and the action fast, but holding this figure in hand I'm impressed with the dichotomy between the two designs.

All of that is not to say that the included Vanko portrait isn't killer as well.  The realism of the skin, eyes and hair is just what you'd expect from Hot Toys, and they've gone with enough of an active expression to avoid any mannequin impression. I don't know that this sculpt is any better than the one from 5 years ago - I think they nailed it pretty well back then - but including it is a huge boost for this figure for a couple reasons, which I'll get into later in the review.

He's a big boy too, coming in at about 13 inches tall fully upright. He has the bulk and size to look like a match for Iron Man and War Machine, even two on one.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - ****
The portrait has the super realistic skin tone, clear eyes, and softly feathered hair you've come to expect with every Hot Toys portrait. Their paint is the perfect example of the work complementing and improving on the sculpt, rather than detracting from it.

Perhaps more important is the work they've done on the armor. There's just the right amount of damage and distress added to the surface, and the damage on the extra chest piece looks exceptional in large part due to the paint application.

Because of this paint work, the plastic and metal pieces blend seamlessly, with the entire armored suit having the same consistent metallic appearance.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - ****
They've always done terrific articulated armor suits with the Iron Man license, but they really went out there this time.

By articulating many of the armored plates and sections, they've given the standard joints - hips, shoulders, knees, elbows - a much better range of movement. As an example, the shoulder armor moves up and out as two separate pieces, allowing the arms to raise an almost full 90 degrees from the body. With the bicep, elbow and wrist joints, this allows for a ton of realistic arm poses.

Another area that's really outstanding is the ankles.  As in the movie, they've given him plates on either side of the ankle that can drop down, complete with spring action spikes that would drive into the ground and give him tremendous support in a battle. Other key areas, like the plates at the waist or the pistons at the elbows and knees, move smoothly to allow for deeper stances and more poses.

It's not the same as a completely unencumbered TrueType body of course, and you'll still have poses you want to get but can't quite make. The instructions will guide you to how far the various joints are designed to move, and whether there are any special restrictions.  Still, the amount of articulation here is truly impressive, and you should have no trouble posing and re-posing this guy a million times.

There was one area of articulation that was a bit of a downer, but not enough to damage the score.  The fingers are all triple jointed, like what we've seen with other recent Iron Man releases.  That's great...but this time there's no side to side movement, with each finger pretty much tight against the next. That means there's no way to splay them out, making them slightly less posable than I had expected. Again, it's not a deal breaker, but worth noting.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - ***
Unfortunately, this is one category where he comes up a bit short.  There's not a lot extra here, but the inclusion of that additional unmasked portrait is huge.

The reason is because many collectors skip the light up feature, worrying that leaving in the batteries long term could cause a problem. If you fall into that camp, you can swap this head on, put the mask in place, and reveal the cool Rourke portrait to onlookers as they gawk at his beauty.

The heads swap easily on the body, but there's only one face plate that swaps between. It's held in place with magnets on either head, and can also sit open on Vanko's portrait thanks to more magnets.  It sits back a bit further than on the Iron Man open face heads, another plus in my book.

Along with the second head, Ivan has a battle damaged chest plate. These also swap easily, and once again it's the magic of magnetism that keeps them in place.

Ivan has to have his whips, and these fit neatly into holes at either wrist.  They are also quite thick, and unlikely to tear or break.  There are two 'flashes', or blue electric lightning charges, that wrap around these whips. They aren't as long as the whips themselves, so you can adjust them to what looks best to your eye.

Finally, he has a display stand. It's not the usual simple black base, but rather a sculpted diorama from the park where the final battle took place. It's fairly scene specific, and a nice addition since he doesn't have a lot of other extras.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Light Feature - **
The only thing holding this guy back from a perfect score is the light feature, and hopefully you won't have the same issues I did.

The first issue you're going to have, sorry to say.  While the eyes, chest and back (yes, there's also a light to illuminate the panels on his back) all look great, the wrists aren't going to give much light to the whips. That's probably not really a surprise to anyone that's had figures with light up sabers before, since you'll know that the lights simply aren't bright enough to carry very far through the plastic.  Still, I had hoped they'd make it to the ends of the hands, and on mine, they do not. You can see in the photo below, with almost no room light, how far they go. You may get better results with brand new batteries (remember, this is with the ones they supply), but it's not going to light up the whole whip.

But as I said, that's not all that surprising. The light for the chest, back and eyes are bright, and the battery compartments and switches are generally easy to get to.  I had a heck of a time getting the batteries into the deep compartments on his back (for the chest and back), but it is doable. Unfortunately, I ended up with a quality problem that really hurt the score here.

I know the back lights up brightly because it did when I put the batteries in.  You'll notice there's no photo of this effect however. That's because once I had the batteries in, I went to switch the light back off until I was ready to shoot...and the switch dropped off into the interior of the body. I'm hoping this isn't a consistent problem, and I've only had it happen one other time with any light up figure from Hot Toys - the Flynn on the lightcycle from Tron: Legacy. That time I contacted Hot Toys about it and they replaced the figure. I'll contact them again this time and I expect the same outcome, but it's still important to note that it happened.  I'm assuming I ended up with one where the switch just wasn't glued as well as it should have been, and that the majority will be fine. Still, at four hundred bucks, you should get perfection out of the box.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
For the adult collector, the fun in a figure like this comes from displaying it, and working to find just that right pose.  Using the Vanko head, combining him with Iron Man and War Machine in different ways, and employing all that cool articulation, you'll be able to constantly redesign your display, having a great time in the process.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Value - *1/2
In my recent review of the die cast War Machine, I mentioned that the cost of this style figure has shot up in a very short period of time.  The MKII War Machine was a whopping $340 - and now this MKII Whiplash is $400. While he is larger, we aren't talking Igor larger.  There is far less die cast here than with the recent Iron Man/War Machine versions, and it's noticeable. While he has his whips and a second portrait, that's still pretty light at this price point. I'm betting he gets hurt by his proximity to the release of the Hulkbuster too, a figure that fans are likely to want far more than this guy, and will want to save their pennies to get.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
I'd say the switches, but mine fell off with barely a touch, so being careful wouldn't have helped. As always with this sort of figure, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the instructions to avoid over taxing any of the joints or damaging the armor.

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Overall - ***
If you're on an Iron Man budget, $400 is a lot to spend, particularly with key releases like Hulkbuster right around the corner. That price might be the deal breaker for you, and that wouldn't be surprising.

The issue I had with the light hurts my overall, but I'm betting it's a one off deal.  As I said, I own dozens of light up figures from Hot Toys, and I've only seen this happen once before.  And since this figure isn't an exclusive or super limited version, I don't think I'll have any trouble getting a replacement. Still, it would be remiss of me not to mention it, and for it not to effect my Overall.

Had that switch not had problems, this figure would have picked up another half star here. The sculpt, paint and articulation really are amazing, and he's a terrific addition to the villains side of the MCU display.

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

Iron Man Whiplash Mark II action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Sideshow has this guy in stock right now for $400.

Related Links -
Other die cast Hot Toys figures include the recent War Machine MKII, as well as the earlier War Machine, the Iron Patroit, and the Iron Man MK42. And if you're a big fan of Whiplash, check out their first release based on his early movie appearance.

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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Iron Man Whiplash Mark II 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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