Iron Man MKI 2.0
Hot Toys

   "The 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 guest author."

One of the better Hot Toys figures from last year was the revised Iron Man MK1 outfit, labeled '2.0'. Jeff is here to give us the lowdown - take it away, Jeff!

A big thank you to Michael as always, and welcome to 2013 (I have no idea when this will go up, but it might be my first review of the year!).

Way back in the mists of July of 2009 I reviewed the first version of this figure to hit the collecting community, and it hit many as something of an unexpected surprise. I’d personally said it was the one I was most looking forward from the then announced line-up, as with its cobbled together beat-up, junk-yard aesthetic, it appealed even more than the super sleek Ferraris that were to follow. And it would seem it hit something of a note with the collecting community as well.

You have to remember that four years ago the economy was already well into a down turn, but it didn’t seem to have bitten quite as hard or affected people quite as deeply as it did in the following months and years. Back then it was possible to pick up a top quality figure like this for $ 170, admittedly that is still a lot of money, but it all becomes relative as one becomes numb to the pain. However, his popularity and scarceness of availability soon drove those RRP’s skyward on the secondary markets, and as always he became worth whatever someone was willing to pay (which was often well North of $400).

The figure managed to keep his popularity, as with each new generation of power-suit released we basically got a souped-up version of what had come before, but the MKI always stood out as something just a little bit special. So with the secondary market prices going crazy, it stood to reason that we needed a new version, and a new version we got!

In essence this is pretty much the same as the first version, and as that one was so well designed and constructed, there seemed little point in fixing something that wasn’t broke. However in the great tradition of Hot Toys wanting to tweak at least a few elements on their re-releases, this time around we get a far superior sculpt on the Tony Stark ‘reveal’ head, a new diorama base, a sculpted flame to attach to his arm, and if you were lucky enough to secure an exclusive version, we also get a holographic projection of the MK I suit for Tony to paw over back at his lab!

However, if you do already own the first release of this striking figure, do you need a second… lets see!!

Packaging - ****
This is a nice bit of design, no two ways about it, but it has a lot to live up to! The first box was amongst the first wave of Iron Man figures, which will be remembered for the uber cool designs they sported. If you were collecting them back then you will remember the thick cardboard die-cut panel on the front that unwound from a magnetic clasp on the side to expose the mechanical workings of the suit beneath. And the box for the MKI even had an outer slipcase to mimic the shipping crate that the suit was sent home in.

The new box still has a very cool look, and again features an outer sleeve, but this one is designed to look like welded panels of the armour with die-cut gaps through which we can see the inner box. The inner part is covered in a mottled dark brown effect that mimics the leather under-suit that Tony wore whilst wearing this armour. The front flap of this box can be lifted to display the figure through the die-cut acetate fronted window. Inside the figure and accessories are held securely between layers of vac-formed trays and all is as collector friendly as you’d expect.

So even though I still prefer that original box (lets face it, it’s become a modern classic in certain circles). I still have to hold more than a grudging respect for this one, and it is therefore still worthy of a full score… well, to me anyway!

Sculpting - ****
As far as the actual suit is concerned this is pretty much a re-use of what came before, and I shall cover that later… well, I say cover, what I’ll actually do is be lazy and link o my review of the first one.

So here we are just purely looking at the portrait of Robert Downey Jnr as Tony Stark. It has to be said that this is the element that leaps out as being most improved in this re-release, and it showcases just what a quantum leap Hot Toys has mad in terms of general likeness, fine detail on the skin texturing and the quality of the paint app that brings all these aspects to life. At the time of release I liked the first portrait, it wasn’t perfect, but judged against the general quality available back then it did its job admirably (certainly when compared to the larger scaled SS Premium Format figure which bore an uncanny resemblance to Tim Curry).

This time around we get 1/6th sculpting master KoJun producing the portrait, and he manages to show just how adept he has become at capturing some of the more subtle nuances in Downey Jnr’s face. Here he is shown with an angry and focussed expression that fits the figures demeanour well (I take it everyone reading has seen the movie). His brow is furrowed and his determined features carry all of the usual fine detailing on the pores and creases within the skin. The hair is sweaty and hangs down over his forehead from within the helmet, which isn’t removable but does have the same lift up flap design as the first version. It comes packed separately and just needs to be clipped into place.

So all in all I’m impressed with this sculpt, there’s nothing to complain about, but the bitter sweet irony is that for most it will displayed with the face-plate down anyway.

Paint - ****
Once again we get a faultless paint app, I know, it gets a little predictable, but what can I say? Not only is the armour painted to look convincingly like sheets of scrap steel, welded together with its jig-saw like appearance of industrial panels still bearing the distressed graphics and stencilled logos of their previous incarnations, but we also get a killer pain app on the portrait.

I shall focus this section on the face, as the paint for the armour is best covered in that section.

As usual the master of ceremonies here was JC Hong and he’s managed to pull off another top job. All is right in the world when he’s at the helm, and with his constant top billing on the packaging alongside the HT CEO Howard Chan it seems to be a safe bet he’s sticking with the company. As lets face it, if I were the competition I’d be trying to poach him away with the offer of a big juicy carrot hanging under his nose. Yes, other companies are fast playing catch up, but until they can manage to put out the number of units that Hot Toys do, with such consistently high quality, then their position at the head of top table seems to be unchallenged!

Here the skin colouration illustrates that Stark has been in a sweaty dirty environment, and all the tones used compliment this fact with a warm earthy paint job. The hair is picked out crisply where it hangs down, and the eyes are given the usual sparkle. Top job, and when viewed alongside the amazing work on the armour this just has to be a full score, outstanding yet again!

Accessories - ***1/2
The original figure came with little more than the actual outfit he stood up in. OK there was a stand and a selection of hands but that was it. This time we are slightly better serviced with-

1 x faceplate, Packed separately, but more necessity rather than accessory.
4 x hands in various positions
1 x diorama figure stand
1 x flame to attach to arm
1 x holographic projection of MK I suit

Apart from the new portrait, the other cool new addition here is the themed figure stand. It’s sculpted to look like a patch of the desert floor near the cave that Stark emerges from when first dressed in the outfit. It has a few pieces of debris like ammo cases, scraps of wood and a Stark Industries container. You can attach a crotch hammock style stand to prop the figure against, but he stands just fine without it, so I used my base purely to set the scene with the figure stepping up onto it.

The plume of fire that attaches to the flamethrower attachments at his wrist is also rather cool, and when well lit from behind it can look pretty convincing. However, it is quite a weighty item and I found the arm slowly drooped when displayed with it attached. So, cool for a few photo-shoots rather than a long-term display item… in my case anyway!

The selection of hands is the same as before, consisting of two fists and two relaxed, not many I grant you, but for this particular figure they more than suffice. And as this set of armour used leather gloves rather than segmented armoured hand coverings, the articulated hands weren’t so much of an option either.

The ‘exclusive’ bonus with this figure is the holographic projection of the suit. It’s made of a translucent green plastic, and as you would expect from Hot Toys, it comes packing a ton of detail into what is a pretty small-scale figure. It works like the flame, in so much as the fine detail is better appreciated when illuminated from below or back lit (try downloading a torch app for your phone or tablet and you’ll see what I mean). It’s a cute bonus item to use if you plan on setting up a diorama of Tony’s lab with the new ‘Hall of Armour’ display cases, the ‘Mech Test Tony’ set and maybe even the suit up gantry. But like all the best ‘exclusives’ it is a cute bonus, rather than an essential item.

Articulation - **1/2
This category once again emulates my old review, so go read that for more details. But it’s fair to say that if you were loaded into this armour I doubt you’d be particularly agile, bear that in mind whilst you read it!

Outfit - ****
OK, I said I would be lazy here, and I’m sorry to say I shall be! I had hoped to pull the first version out of storage so I could do a few side by side comp shots for the review, but the cataloguing of my collection needs to enter a new phase in the New Year, I was able to locate virtually all of my Iron Man collection within minutes… but the MK I was not there, I have a feeling that because of some full boxes he worked his way into ‘General Marvel’ figures along with Whiplash, who was also AWOL! So I’m just going to have to trust the old pics from both Mike’s and my old reviews.

I’m reasonably confident that this is pretty much an exact re-use of the first figures armour, that you can check out here. Which also means you can fall back on that old review for a reasonably comprehensive breakdown on its functionality. Suffice to say this is just as outstanding as that one, and showcases to anyone of a certain age how the toys we wanted as kids are now available to us as adults… as long as you were the kind of kid who kept the faith and still appreciates these mini marvels all those years later.

Although the armour’s actual sculpt is the same, it does seem that the paint app shows a degree of improvement, with slightly more grime and weathering being applied. The areas where the stencilled graphics and weathered and peeling paint are featured show a more subtle and convincing finish to the distressed look of their predecessors.

But to sum up, just as I did in my previous review for this amazing figure, it must be regarded as a small work of art, both in the detail of the sculpt and in the beautifully realised engineering involved.  If you missed out last time around, don’t make the same mistake twice, this is a bona fide classic!

Light Up Feature - ****
What is an Iron man figure without an illuminating ARC reactor set into his chest? That’s right, he’s perfectly acceptable… however, if you CAN include one without compromising on accuracy (and in this case it enhances it) then it’s a fine feature to include. Inside the drum on the right hand side of his rear mounted ‘apparatus’ is the power source, simply undo it and pull it out from beneath. Pull out the small plastic battery divider and then push and twist it back into position. You will then see a small and well-camouflaged button to its left that you simply push in to illuminate the lights.

There is the bright white one in the chest and a smaller red one on the inner panel of the left arm.  Both lit up brightly on mine and stayed bright throughout my photo shoot.

Value - ****
At $219.99 this is a whole $50 more than the original. Of course Hot Toys have spent a reasonable amount on the development and sculpting of the new elements, and manufacturing costs have risen steeply in the three and a half years since that first figures release. So in the present climate I actually see that as a not too unreasonable increase in price. Now, anyone who reads my reviews on a regular basis will be aware that the sticking point for me on awarding full scores is often the cost. However, even though this is a figure that requires the outlay of two Benjamin’s and a Jackson, I still have absolutely no qualms in awarding a full score here. If you get the chance to look over this figure and have a little play with all those cool articulated panels on his armour, do it, and you will see why I’m so very impressed! This coupled with the cool new sculpt makes for an essential figure in your collection, and one that has consistently stayed in the top ten of my favourite 1/6th figures of all time, well, so far anyway! And of course this one is an improvement on the one I base that claim on, so in short I’d say buy while you still can, it is in my opinion a true classic!

Fun Factor - ***1/2
I posed the question at the beginning of this review as to whether you actually need a second version (assuming you have the first) and the truthful answer is no! If like most you plan to display your figure with the faceplate lowered, then the amazing new sculpt becomes a moot issue anyway. However, if you are a dyed in the wool aficionado of all things ‘Shell Head’ then those extra tweaks might just sway you. And when I finally get around to making a display of the full line up (it’ll be about the time I accidentally become a multi-millionaire and move into that sprawling mansion I’ve promised myself) then this version to display in an action pose and the old one to place in a Stark ‘Hall of Armour’ set-up seems like quite an appealing idea. And with second versions of the MK II and MK III now in my collection it could become a reality!

And as far as fun goes, nothing has changed since I got that first version, its an amazing looking figure and even with his limited range of movement he poses and displays incredibly well.

The one thing it would be prudent to mention here is that being so incredibly detailed there is always the potential for breakages should large clumsy or small inquisitive hands get laid upon it… be cautious!

Overall- ****
I guess it might have become apparent that I’m more than a little fond of this particular figure. The attention to detail on the finer points of engineering and sculpting are literally second to none. The addition of the new portrait and the cool diorama base, not to mention the attachable flame and bonus hologram mean this figure still manages to put a big grin on my face.

Of course the biggest change from that first release is just how much prices have jumped since then, and with a real ‘$’ in your pocket difference of $50 it might be the factor that makes those with the first one decide to just stick with it. However, if you were one of those patiently watching the old ones on eBay, just waiting for the right moment to pounce, well, then this release must have been like manna from heaven.

It certainly put-paid to greedy scalpers (at least for a while), as after all this is toy collecting, not stocks and shares!

Where to Buy -
Sideshow still have the regular version (with no hologram accessory) available at the full RRP of $219.99 here.

However, I did find it with some site sponsors for a slightly better price. Fanboy has him here for a very competitive $199.99 and BBTS has it for the same price-here. Or you can try eBay where BIN prices are between $210 up to $250.

This product was provided for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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