Iron Man Mark IV - Iron Man 2
following is a guest review. The review
and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford
or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the
|The latest figure from Hot Toys
in their very successful Iron Man series is just hitting - the Mark IV!
Jeff Parker joins us tonight with his look at this great figure - Jeff?
A big thanks to Michael as always for keeping this site so essential.
So here we are with another incarnation of the Iron Man power suit… I
know for some people the relentless march of Hot Toys Iron Man
merchandise is wearing a little thin, while for others (yeah… guilty as
charged) each new suit brings us one step closer to having that elusive
complete line up. The MK VI must be due soon and the MK V was just
unveiled at the beginning of the year, so we now we know the complete
set from movies 1 + 2 will be achievable.
There was also a rather exciting development at the Hot Toys 10th
anniversary exhibition at Tokyo this December, in the form of an
unveiling of a 1/6th Iron Monger figure seen here
(pics courtesy of moeyo.com)… so start saving those pennies!
It would seem that John Favreau wont be back for the third movie
as the lure of the Disney dollar proved too much of a pull. It’s a
shame as a directorial trilogy is always nice… but lets face it part 2
wasn’t quite as good as part 1, and if Favreau looked at Sam Raimi as a
model for Marvel movie trilogies, then its not surprising he took to
But before we get too wrapped up in movie 3, here we have the MK IV,
and it’s a beauty. However the question many non-completeists will be
asking them selves is, if they already have the MK I, MK II, MK III,
MKIII Silly Thing and MK III battle damaged… do you really need the MK
Well, only you can know that, but if you are the kind of person who
thinks the Aston Martin DB5 is far superior to the DB6 while others
scratch their heads wondering what’s the difference (it’s all in those
cool rear tail fins for your information), then you might be the same
kind of person who sees all the cool engineering on the different suits
to be as unique as the difference between a Ferrari 308 GTB in either
Euro or US spec, and if so take a seat, cos we’re gonna take a long
lingering look at this baby.
We have had some of the most impressive packaging that Hot Toys has
ever created lavished on the various Iron Man figures, and the best
boxes were on the first three releases. The rest have all been strong,
and I really liked the MECH Test box as well, but although the boxes
for IM2 are well designed and constructed, they just don’t give me the
WOW factor of the earlier designs.
But we’re only talking the difference of half a star; they are still
very visually striking. I did notice that this box finishes the
continuation of the reveal of the next figure in the line on the side
panel, here we get the front picture wrapping around onto the left side
panel, instead of a reveal of the MK VI suit… perhaps it’s because they
are now slightly out of sink with the MK V only just announced.
So what we do get is the old school metallic slip over sleeve with an
illustration on the front and photos of the figure on the back. Inside
there is a dark red box with a large die-cut window on the front and a
full list of production credits on the back. The figure is held in a
double layered vac formed tray with the main figure, various hands and
the Tony Stark head on top, then the more fiddly extras and the display
stand in a tray beneath.
So, another very nice box, but just not one of my all time favourites.
Sculpting - The Suit ****; Tony
The Iron Man figures have truly set a new level of detail and
engineering with this series, however, to the untrained eye the suits
might all look virtually the same, well the red and gold ones anyway!
But take a closer look and the detailing is all pretty different, and
not only that the proportions are far more reflective of the human
form, with a slimmer chest area (as you will see in my comp shots). Hot
Toys have spent a lot of time studying these suits to make them as
supremely accurate as possible, whilst at the same time giving as much
articulation as is realistically achievable, engineered in a way that
compliments the intrinsic design of the actual source material. Every
time I have reviewed these suits I have tried to give a big shout out
to the guys responsible for the engineering development, and it ain’t
gonna stop now!
So we must all once again bow down to the holy trinity of Jason Woo,
Dickson Ip and Eddy Lau, but they deserve as much credit in the
articulation section as they do here. The digital modelling and
subsequent fabrication is second to none in this field today, the
detailing and observations are fine tuned to utter perfection, with
every millimetre appearing to be note perfect. If you look at the MK IV
next to the MK III you will see that it really is a totally different
beast and a completely new sculpt, in fact the only re-use I can see is
on the projecting ‘machine gun’ drums at the hips from the earlier
battle damaged version and the basic construction of the boot/foot.
Apart from that it’s all-new from the ankle up.
The Tony Stark head sculpt is by KoJun and I have to say I like this
sculpt a lot, but I don’t think its quite as strong as the work he did
on the MECH test version I reviewed here.
However, when a sculpt is this close it can be difficult pin-pointing
just what is off with it, but I think on this occasion the eyes have
it… or should I say ‘don’t quite have it’.
This incarnation does come with a rather natty pair of shades to help
recreate the scene where he’s sitting in the doughnut
(if you haven’t seen the movie that might seem like a strange
statement… but the fact you are reading this review would lead me to
believe you have), and once the shades are in place it looks pretty
darn spot on. Of course, the fact that he needs his sunglasses on to
look his absolute best is not an ideal situation, but it’s one I can
live with. In fact this is one of the rare occasions where I think I’ll
be displaying a power suit with the human head on. Lets face it, it
helps add a little variety to your display, I already have the battle
damaged one all helmeted up, and the soon to be released MK’s V + VI
will be in the full armour too, so I think this version deserves to be
displayed with the Stark head on full display.
The expression is the stern side of neutral, eyes straight forward with
the hint of a frown. KoJuns detailing on the hair of his head and
goatee beard are as finely carried out as always, and the texturing of
the skin and wrinkles, both on his forehead and around his eyes is most
impressive. As I said above, there is something just a little off this
time in the final portrait, but even though it’s not perfect, it is
still unmistakably RDJ as TS, and with those shades in place it is
actually ‘almost’ perfect!
The paintwork is (as it’s been in the past) pretty amazing. The
accuracy of the division lines and the depth of colours achieved are
pretty damned striking.
And even though the new portrait is not quite 100% perfect in the
sculpt department, at least the paint app is!
The head has all the naturalistic flesh tones and subtle variations in
colour that we know expect, as standard from Hot Toys, and JC doesn’t
disappoint yet again. The hair is a relatively flat dark brown matte
tone with glossy highlights on the hair that stands proudest, it’s an
effect that works well in helping let the sculpt catch the light. And
of course the eyes are his trademark 1/6th windows to the soul, glossy
and accurate with delicate microscopic eyelashes.
But the paint job continues over pretty much every surface of this
figure, as his shiny power suit is finished in a glossy cherry red with
gold details and even a few black accents to add definition along some
of the division lines on the armour. The chest panel can also be taken
off and the rear air-breaks on his shoulders opened to reveal some
silver and steel details painted onto a matte black background. I did
find that when I freed up the articulation at the waist there were two
small spots at the back where the lacquer had lifted off of the red
base coat near his spine. But as this area is covered most of the time,
and it fits with the subtle weathering and scratches that pepper the
rest of the suit, it was of no real concern to me.
So to sum up, the juxtaposition of the warm earthy flesh tones of the
head coupled with the sleek technology of the hi-tech suit make this
another visually striking figure, and great addition to the line up so
...but if you do consider it an outfit… then it kicks all kinds of
shiny metal ass!
These interpretations of the
power suits do not pose as well as a standard True Type, but no sane
person would ever really consider that possible.
Well, consider how Robert Downy Jnr (RDJ) looked in the movie when he
wore an actual suit in the party scene from IM2, it kind of worked, but
he was way too chunky and clunky to actually look like a dynamic
superhero. So what HT has pulled off is a middle ground between the
severely hampered articulation of a guy in a suit and the fluid
mobility of a CGI model that can get into more positions than Debbie at
a Dallas reunion.
So what you need to do is open the box, get the figure out… THEN STOP!
Now read the instruction sheet thoroughly, it has a few pointers on the
do’s and don’ts for this particular version of Iron Man, and he also
has a couple of new tricks up his sleeve, quite literally! Like the
fact that the panels on his lower arm can be removed and replaced with
ones that have tiny ballistics sticking out ready to fire, you’ll need
to use the small spatula tool supplied to help prise them off. But the
coolest new feature is the waist articulation. I did find that freeing
mine up was a little nerve wracking as it seemed to be stuck fast, but
with some firm but gentle manipulation I managed to lift and separate
the sections of his torso giving a subtle (but oh so cool) curve to the
spine for some great poses. The rest of the articulation is a variation
on what we had before. So expect double knees, elbows that go to about
90 degrees, fully articulated hands (like on War Machine), a myriad of
tiny opening details on air-breaks and panels on his back and shins and
a reasonable range at the neck. In fact they have altered the neck
articulation slightly so he can tuck his chin in more, for that ‘you
really do not want to rumble with me’ look. Sadly the head can’t look
up acutely, but so far none of the suits have been able to achieve
this. As I touched on above, the chest panel can also be lifted off
with the help of the spatula tool, to reveal the underlying mechanics
surrounding the ARC reactor.
The best way to familiarise yourself with this guys full potential
range of mobility is to just sit and play with him, manipulate the
joints gently till you get a feel for just how far you can and can’t
push things, but once you feel confident, there is a very impressive
range… not perfect, but considering the engineering involved, it’s
bloody close, and I am still loving those new poseable fingers on the
So, I’m giving this guy a full score because of the amazing engineering
involved to get the articulation we have, but be realistic, don’t
expect True Type flexibility.
I have to say that I consider the inclusion of a Tony Stark head or
mask reveal very much a bonus, but Hot Toys made a rod for there own
back by starting to include them with the early releases. In fact it
became such a rod, that when they ran into difficulties getting the RDJ
sculpt for the BD MK III suit approved by the
licensees, the backlash from collectors was… well… disproportionate to
say the least. This time however it would seem that they liked what
they saw, which is a relief… for all of us.
So the main accessory is the new head and the collar that fits into the
neck hole when in use, then of course there are the sunglasses I
mentioned above, they fit the head snugly and are made to a very
convincing scale. To further compliment the sunglasses scene from the
movie we also get a doughnut in a box (nice)… and the likeness on the
doughnut is stunning ;). Most of the other accessories are alternate
hands or small weapons panels that can clip into place to alter the
look of the figure.
However there is another cool selling point for this release in the
form of a light up stand. It’s constructed to look like the display
stands that Tony exhibits the power suits on in his workshop/laboratory. It’s
a nice piece of kit, the base plate stands proud of a matte grey plinth
and has a strip of lighting running around its edge. You have to remove
a panel in the base to insert the batteries, but once in place it
lights up brightly. I would love to see these become standard issue
with all Iron Man figures, or perhaps Hot Toys should even think of
releasing a laboratory environment to display the full line up in!
The top section is sculpted to show the industrial hydraulic foot
plates that hold the suit in position and between them a clear plastic
rod which holds a pincer like grip, this can be positioned at different
heights for either standing poses or even mid-flight. The grip and
plastic rod are of the same design as the one that came with the MECH
test Tony figure.
So a nice pertinent selection that is well put together… and that
doughnut is cute touch!
Up Feature - ****
In a continuation of the trend set by the earlier figures, this has
light up repulsor palms, chest and eyes plus the illumination feature
on the base. All the batteries come in place for the actual figure; you
just need to pull out the small clear plastic dividers that protrude
from the relevant sections. Then flick on the switches which are
concealed in the upper inside arm for the hands, under the rear right
side air break for the chest and the back of the neck for the eyes.
Once activated they all light up brightly. As does the strip on the
base, you need to insert three AAA batteries and flick the switch at
the rear of the plinth, but again it lights up good and bright.
When you invest in one of the actual Iron Man figures you are paying
not only for a licence, but also for some sublime research and
development. At this present time I don’t know of any other company
that invests as much attention into not only the exterior aesthetics of
the pieces they make, but also on the minutiae of articulation, hidden
elements and light up features. So when you see a price of $180 it’s no
wonder some folks baulk at the idea. Of course just because the RRP is
$180 doesn’t mean you need to be spending that, if you pre-ordered you
may have been lucky enough to save $10 to $15 on that price.
But I can still see how many sane people would consider that someone
spending the best part of $200 on an action figure should be sectioned…
However if you are part of the hi-end collecting community then these
kinds of prices are increasingly common place, and at least on a figure
like this you can see where that money has been spent. So I couldn’t
justify a full score, but it’s just too good a piece of work to take
away any more than ½ a star!
Factor - ***1/2
OK, here we have another near perfect 1/6th representation of the Iron
Man suit, it poses well, its painted perfectly and the sculpting is
I certainly wouldn’t want a kid to get its hands on him as although the
construction is robust enough for a careful collector, in the hands of
a minor I’d give him about half a day of boisterous play.
But if you are that ‘careful collector’ then he is a joy to put on your
shelf, and you’ll have a ton of fun finding that optimum pose!
This is a costly figure, and the MK V and MK VI promise to be even more
expensive when they are released. However, as seems to be the case with
most of Hot Toys ongoing series of figures (think Rambo, Terminator,
Batman etc) they improve a little with each new release. And though
this figure isn’t quite as loaded with features as the battle damaged
MK III it still brings its own share of new modifications and
engineering to make it have its own individual feel within the line up.
Another winner for me… but you may be less forgiving of the price.
Where to buy
has him available for pre-order at the RRP of $179.99. You can also
find him with Michael’s sponsor’s here, no bargains to be found at the
Collector- in stock- $179.99
Bad Toy Store- in stock- $179.99
you can try
eBay where prices seem to be between $185 to $250, so be
prepared to shell (head) out for this one!
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.