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Tony Stark The Mechanic - Exclusive
Iron Man 3 - Hot Toys

Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys


Iron Man 3 wasn't Citizen Kane. It wasn't even the Citizen Kane of comic book movies. But it was better than Iron Man 2, and it did a great job of moving Tony Stark forward as a character, setting things in motion for the upcoming Avengers 2.

Hot Toys continues to do everything they can to make the bucks off this license, and the films have certainly provided them a cornucopia of potential looks for both the Iron Man suit and Tony Stark himself.

With their release of the 'mechanic' version of Tony Stark, Hot Toys fulfills two missing areas on your display. First, they give you a Tony look that's very recognizable from the film, and yet doesn't rely heavily on an Iron Man suit. And second, they give us a battle damaged Tony, looking like he's had a rough day.

The figure has just started shipping over the last month, and retails for around $215 or so, depending on the store. There are two versions as well - the normal release, plus a Sideshow exclusive (which is what I'm reviewing here) that includes an extra accessory.

Packaging - ***
This is about as basic as Hot Toys packaging gets. It's still better than some other companies produce, but there's nothing here particularly unique or exciting.

It is completely collector friendly of course, and you can easily take the figure and all the accessories out without causing any real damage. Everything is packed safely too, so no fear of damage when it's being shipped to you. There's very little waste as well, which is a plus in our excessively worried 'green' society.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys

To keep the white shirt safe from staining, and to do the same for the underlying body, they've added more plastic wrap this time. There's some inside the hoodie, as well as a layer beneath the shirt and around the neck. You can get all of this out without removing the hoodie if you so desire - just pop off the head. It comes off easy enough (as you'd expect), and then the plastic can be taken off over the neck post, easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Sculpting - ***1/2
For some reason, Robert Downey Jr. is one of those hard to capture likenesses. Hot Toys has had some success...and sometimes, not so much.

I like this one, especially in person. Get too up close in macro photos, and you'll start to see a few issues, but in hand with my old eyeballs, he looks damn good.

It helps that this is a damaged face sculpt, something we haven't really gotten before with Tony Stark. It's also a slightly older Downey, at least since his first appearance in Iron Man. That allows them to leverage their ability with skin texture, wrinkles and lines to a greater extent.

The hair looks great as well, with some fine detailing in the strands and cut. Something about the facial hair looks a bit off to me this time, but it's a very minor nit at best.

Paint - ****
Hot Toys + Paint = Wow. It's a pretty simple formula, at least when you write it out. I can guarantee it's not that easy in practice, and yet they manage to get consistent paint operations time after time, figure after figure.

While we've grown accustomed to their excellent skin tones and subtle work on the eyes and lips, it's the bloody damage that sets this one apart. Too often, painted blood looks nothing like blood and everything like paint. There's no realism to the color, flow, or thickness, and it hurts what could otherwise be a cool figure.

Not so with Hot Toys paint work. Everything I just mentioned - the flow, the color, even the variation in thickness - is very realistic and life-like. They avoided going overboard too, adding just enough color to make the damage obvious without being cartoony.

Articulation - ***
While the TrueType remains, in general, one of the very best bodies on the market, this time around it's exhibiting a few issues.

The underlying body is slightly less articulated than usual, perhaps to allow you to display him without the hoodie and still have reasonably realistic arms. There's no cut biceps, and the elbows are VERY tight. In fact, getting them to move was very difficult, and I was concerned that they could snap.

The lower body articulation is great, but along with the elbows, the shoulders had some trouble. While there's nothing here that should restrict them from moving up over his head, the arms seemed unable to go above the chest. It is possible that they are simply too tight, like the elbows, but with the recent problems with the Amazing Spider-man figure and broken shoulders, I wasn't going to push it.

On the plus side, the neck articulation works great, and there was a bonus I didn't expect - the armored right hand has every finger articulated with multiple joints! They are tight enough to allow him to hold things in that hand, as well as take just about any pose. The second armored hand - the one that is splayed wide - is not articulated, but I hadn't expected even this one to have so much posing potential.

Accessories - ****
Here is where this figure really shines. Hot Toys pulled out all the stops in giving you some very cool, very specific character based extras.

First, let's talk about the usual suspects. There's a total of eight hands, if you count both relaxed palms he comes wearing, plus the two armored hands, one attached initially to the armored forearm, and the second available as a swap. To go with this second hand, there's also a second piece of armor for the back of the hand that wraps around the wrist.

Along with those four, there's also three more unarmored hands, each in different poses designed to work with the various accessories.

Finally, the eighth hand is the one with the glove and armature, posed in a splayed position. This hand comes with its own, smaller wrist post, and it's important that you pay attention to whcih post you use with which hand. The smaller post only works with this unique gloved hand, and the other hands all work with the standard posts. There are a couple extra standard posts too, just in case.

Like most Hot toys figures, he also comes with the standard display stand, complete with name plate. Nothing super exciting - and not required to keep him standing - but good for those that like the consistency.

Tony has a ton of extras that are unique to this character. One of my favorites is the 'augmented cognition' headset. This is actually two pieces: an inner black head band with sensors that rest on the forehead and a clear plastic eye piece, and the larger wrap around clear plastic 'helmet'. Both fit over the head easily - no fear of anything snapping - and the look terrific in place.

He has three guns...technically. Only one of them is the traditional weapon, and it's a machine gun, with removable magazine. It's not a super complex sculpt, and there's no moving parts, but it's properly scaled and looks good in his hand.

There's also the futuristic looking nail gun, which has an amazing sculpt and excellent paint work. Usually this is not the sort of accessory that ends up in my display, but I think he'll be carrying it no matter what the pose.

The final gun is the stun gun, homemade of course, with the large button and two electrodes. It's definitely a close quarters sort of weapon, but worked well enough in the film.

Along with these three guns, he has a variety of tools. There's the folding pliers (which do fold and unfold), a plumb bob on a string (which can also make for a nice weapon), the blue Christmas ornament (another weapon in the right hands), and the bottle of red liquid, complete with removable syringe.

There are two pieces of armor as well - the armored left leg and the armored right arm. The left leg is made up of two pieces: a boot that replaces the entire foot, and the single piece of calf armor that slips over the leg and pants.

The arm is designed to replace the entire forearm. You have to remove the normal forearm at the elbow, then pop this armored version in place. But be warned - the elbow joint is VERY tight, making that first swap seem impossible. You can do it (and some heat on the upper arm might help), but take your time and be patient.

The armored arm is actually two pieces. There's a small elbow stub that you can work with when putting the arm on or taking it off, and then there's the larger armored section, which is held in place with a magnet. That's a nice touch, since you don't want to have the armored section in your hand while you're applying pressure to insert the post. If it was all one piece, the risk of damaging it would go way up.

Once in place, the armor looks terrific, and I suspect that most people will end up using these in their display permanently. 

What am I forgetting? Ah yes, - the red watch! You'll remember that this watch played a key - if cutesy - role in the movie. As I recall, it was Hello Kitty on screen...or something else equally cute. There is a sticker suppled (with a couple extras in case you goof up) that you attach to the face that includes the digital numbers and some pretty flowers, but not what we saw in the movie. I suspect the licensing costs were too high to justify including it, and since it's so tiny, I'm fine with that. At least we got the bright red color, and most people won't notice anything about it beyond that.

To go along with the other screen direct extras, there's a newspaper with the headline "Tony Stark is missing". This paper folds up and fits inside the cool backpack, along with the other accessories. The instructions give you one way to load them up, although it's not quite a perfect fit for all of them.

Finally, the regular version comes with his cool aviator sunglasses. Like most Hot Toys glasses, they are properly scaled and look great on his face. The instructions do say not to leave them on for long periods, as this might damage the paint.

If you picked up the exclusive version, you get one more extra - the homemade wrist repulsor. This is a two piece item as well, with a collar that yo slip on over the wrist, then you attach one of the included hands, then you attach the repulsor itself to the collar. It's a nice extra, especially since the exclusive is about the same price as the regular figure at some retailers.

Outfit - ****
The outfit is pretty basic, but the tailoring is impeccable.

There's the white and black undershirt, complete with company logo on the breast. The underlying light shows throw the material just fine, even in room light. The instructions recommend you don't remove the shirt - sounds like a good idea to me.

There's his jeans of course, and a terrific shoe sculpt. The shoes are a bit restrictive on the ankles (the armored ankle has a better range of movement), but the sculpt makes up for it in beauty.

Finally, he has his oh so important hoodie. Again, the tailoring and fit are excellent, and the hood is actually well proportioned. He can wear it up and it doesn't look goofy (see most Jedi cloaks), and the zippers and pockets are all in proper proportion. The hood also has a thin wire around the outside edge, making it easier to get it to lay and pose.

As I said, not a super complex outfit, but because of the very high quality materials, high end workmanship, and excellent fit, it has a  realism that adds quite a bit to this figure's overall appeal.

Light Feature - ***1/2
There are two light features - his chest, and his right armored palms.

Working the palms is easy, since the battery compartment and switch are on the inside of the arm. The light is bright, the batteries are included, and the switch is easy to reach - the light up trifecta.

The chest isn't quite as easy to work with. I wanted to do everything I could to keep the hoodie on, since I have no intention of displaying him without it. It also has one of the very tiny, in scale zippers, which looks great but can be a real bear to get re-attached once it's fully opened. The trick was how to get to the battery compartment and switch on his back without removing it.

It is possible. The toughest part is getting the small strip of plastic pulled out of his back that blocks the batteries from touching the connectors, designed to preserve battery life in transit. I was able to eventually pull it free, and then you can easily flip the switch through the clothing.

When it comes time to swap batteries, the hoodie will have to come off, but I don't expect that to be an issue for some time.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
All the extra accessories really make this a fun figure, whether you're an adult collector or just a really spoiled kid. You'll be able to change the display and his pose over and over without ever having it look the same twice.

Value - **
It appears that $215 - $225 is the new average price for a Hot Toys figure, based on the last few releases. It looks like we'll get a couple more in 2014 that are around $200, but prices below that appear to be almost non-existent.

Mandarin was this same price, and I docked him another half star in this category. Fortunately for Tony, he comes with a huge amount of very cool extras, making the cost a bit more justified, although not completely.

Things to Watch Out For -
Be very careful swapping the left arm and the hands. The very hard, brittle plastic in combination with the very tight joints could result in a tearful experience.

Overall - ***1/2
I love the number and quality of the accessories and outfit with this figure. I grew up on the 12" figures of the 60's and 70's, like G.I. Joe and Marx's Best of the West, and their best feature was the number and variety of extras. Whenever I come across a figure like this, it brings back that nostalgic glee I had as a kid, opening up Sam Cobra or the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb.

I am a bit concerned by the articulation. It is much too hard to swap the right arm, and the potential brittleness of the underlying body had me worried. The lack of movement in the shoulders and elbows is concerning, since this isn't the first figure where we've seen this crop up.

But once I had him in a pose or two, I was very happy to add him to the Iron Man display.  I may swap him to another TrueType at some point, but for now, he's good to go.

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

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has the exclusive version for $225.

- CornerStoreComics has an excellent price at $207.

- Alter Ego Comics comes in at $215.

- Big Bad Toy Store is at $225 as well.

- Fanboy Collectibles has him at $225.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered a ton of Hot Toys Iron Man figures, including the recent Mandarin and the Power Pose Iron Man. Scroll through the list of reviews or use the search function to find the dozens of other reviews.

Discussion:
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Tony Stark Mechanic Iron Man 3 action figure by Hot Toys


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

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