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Mars Attacks - Hot Toys

Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys


Back in 1962, when collecting bubble gum cards was still cool (yea, I'm looking at you, you Magic nerd), Topps released a series of cards depicting the fictional (one would have to assume) invasion of Earth by evil Martians. Inspired by the cover of EC Comics Weird Science #16, they created a series of trading cards that raised the hackles of the more prurient parents of the time. The implied sex and far more obvious violence was sufficient to get the cards pulled fairly soon after their release.

That meant they would forever have a place as hot collectibles, but with the release of Tim Burton's film Mars Attacks, they gained an even stronger foothold as recognized pop culture icons.

Back at the time of the film's release, Trendmaster's gave us a series of pretty decent action figures, including some cool talking versions. Now Hot Toys has picked up the license, releasing a Martian Soldier and a Martian Ambassador.

There were no exclusives that I know of with either of these figures, and they are some of Hot Toys cheaper releases. While retail was around $120, you can find them at many places for less than $110, and even pretty damn close to an even $100. For Hot Toys these days, that's practically dollar store pricing.

They haven't announced any further releases, but we can only hope that we'll at least get the Martian girl. This is one of those rare licenses where I think only thee or maybe four figures tops are even possible, and with these first two you really do have something worth displaying with other licenses in your sci-fi section.
Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***1/2
The packaging has a terrific retro feel to it, with nifty splash graphics and the original font. While these Martians are clearly based on the movie, the packaging ties back to the original card series in style and design.

It's all collector friendly too, of course, and you can easily remove and replace the figures and accessories with no real damage.

I'd be happier if the box itself was a little sturdier, but it's not as bad as what we had with the Watchmen figures.

Sculpting - ****
I really love the head sculpts on both these figures. Makes sense, since it's the same head sculpt.

I don't mind the re-use, since all Martians look alike anyway. With the articulated jaw, eyes and tongue (more on that later), you can still give them their own unique expression.

There's a ton of great detail here too, especially in the brainy matter. The bony head has a realistic texture, and the sharply defined eyes, nose and teeth all add realism to the appearance.

The body is a combination of hard plastic pieces (like the torso) and rubber covered sections (like the limbs). This allows them to hide the articulation, and yet it doesn't restrict the movement as much as some of their past 'skin' attempts.

The various additions that are used to discriminate between the Ambassador and Soldier are all well done. They have a different shoulder piece, and the Soldier has his tanks and tubes. The Ambassador has a neat belt instead, and even without his robes, it's easy to tell them apart.

If you saw the movie, you'll remember that the Martians were shorter than the humans. These figures stand about 10" tall, which translates to 5' in sixth scale. That seems about right to me, and makes it possible for them to fit in with most other lines.

Paint - ***
While I'm very happy with the sculpting, the paint doesn't do it for me quite the same way.

The various green pieces of his space suit are made from different materials - I already mentioned that in the sculpt section. As sometimes happens, the green color isn't consistent between the different plastics. This is probably due to the different porosities, but you can pretend it's dirt and wear, if you need to rationalize.

The paint work on the head sculpt is better, although in the close up photos it will look a little cartoony and broad. In person, the detailing looks better, although it's still not what I'd consider perfect.

Articulation - ***1/2
These figures are far more articulated than I had expected, although there are two additional joints I would have liked to give it the full four stars.

Starting at the top, you get movable eyes along with a jointed jaw and tongue! This isn't the PERS system though, where the eyes are adjusted to almost any position. Instead, there's a small wheel fairly well concealed on the back of the head that allows them to turn left to right. There's no up and down, but that's a minor quibble.

The jaw and tongue also move, although if you want to use the included helmet, the jaw will have to be somewhat closed.

At the top of the neck is a ball joint, but this has very little tilt movement. At the bottom of the neck is a pin joint that allows the neck to move forward and back, but again, no tilt. A bit better of a neck joint would have allowed for more personality in the poses, something that this license really cries out for.

The shoulders are ball joints, and the arms can pop off pretty easily. The elbows are pin joints, and the wrists are the traditional post/pin style.

Like the elbows, the knees are pin joints, but also like the elbows, they are covered and hidden by the soft rubber suit. This works great, and interferes very little with the range of movement.

And just like the wrists, the ankles are a pin/post arrangement. However, I couldn't get the foot to rotate around the joint properly to allow for it to sit flat on the floor in deeper stances, my second and only additional issue with the overall articulation scheme.

I hadn't mentioned the hips, because this is the only joint that is not the same on both figures. I suspect that both use a ball inside the torso to hold the leg in place, but only the soldier's hips are rounded to allow for full movement. The Ambassadors are cut close to the body on an angle, so the leg can only move forward and back.

Accessories - ***1/2
I'm putting the space helmet into the Outfit category, rather than include it here.

That still leaves a fair number of extras, however. There's the two additional sets of hands, a left and right gun gripping hand, and a left and right relaxed pose hand. The left relaxed pose is pointing...sort of.

These hands swap pretty easily, although I did find that the pegs tended to pop out of the arms more often than the hands popped off the pegs. On top of that, the small pegs that fit into the hands are easier to damage, so the extra set of pegs is a welcome addition. In fact, I popped the two extra pegs onto the two extra hands I'm most likely to use, and left them there.

There's also a display stand of course, although you don't need it unless you a) live in an earthquake zone or b) like the look of a pole up the back of your figures.

Each figure also comes with a deadly weapon of mass destruction. The Ambassador has a smaller pistol style ray gun, while his Soldier counterpart has a rifle version. These have a nice, cartoony look to their design, and fit perfectly in the designed hands.

Outfit - Soldier ***; Ambassador ***1/2
For the soldier, there's only one item here - his helmet. The tanks on his back do not appear to be removable, removing them from this category. His helmet is slightly wider at the base than the Ambassador's to allow it to fit properly on the torso.

The Ambassador has a helmet of course, made from a very clear, very tough plastic. It's hinged at the top, with the seam running along each side. It's easy to put on and take off, although it does restrict some of the mouth poses. Personally, I prefer both of the figures without the helmets, but your mileage may vary.

As I said, that's it for the Soldier, but the Ambassador adds one more item - his long, thick, flowing robe. This is made from a very heavy material, so thick that it actually helps keep him standing. You can pose it trailing out behind him (the back section is quite long), or you can spread it out around his feet a bit more evenly. The collar has a thick, sturdy wire set in the edge, making it possible to pose in many ways. I preferred flowing out from the shoulders, but you could have it standing up straighter, or simply down his back. And as more than one astute reader pointed out, it really should be rolled up to match the film - duh.

The robe is also joined together at the front and under the arms with a very thin yet very tight piece of Velcro. This is the stuff they need to start using on smaller patches of clothing! It holds firm, yet doesn't bulge outward. This Velcro runs the full height of the robe, so you can actually take it apart and have three separate cloth pieces.

While you don't need the robe to differentiate the two Martians (the doo-dads on the body do that well enough), I'm going to be displaying my Ambassador wearing it - it's that nicely done.

Fun Factor - ***
I would have given a kidney to have figures like these two when I was 12. These are great for any kid into sci-fi, monsters or sixth scale action figures. If they are in to all three, they'll be in heaven!

Value - **1/2
I had expected a ton of re-use with these two figures, and ended up seeing a lot less. That's a big plus to me, especially considering the relatively low price of just a bit over $100 at most retailers.

The heads are obviously the same, as are the hands and other assorted body parts. But there are key differences in the torso's accouterments, the hips, and the accessories that make these well worth the price.

Things to Watch Out For -
While Hot Toys did provide a couple extra wrist pegs, these are the itty bitty kind and require careful handling.

Overall - ***1/2
I really like these. I love corny horror and sci-fi, and I'm always thrilled when I can add some sort of sixth scale representation of a silly monster to the mix. Don't believe me? Just wait for my review of the Horror of Beach Party!

While I enjoyed Burton's film, the best thing about it was the look of the Martians. Having them captured in this format - and captured with such high quality - is a treat I don't expect I'll see with most B movies.  All the more to appreciate when I do!

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

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Urban Collector has them for $107 each.

- Alter Ego Comics has each for $108.

- Big Bad Toy Store has them for $113 each.

- Sideshow has them for $120 each.

- or you can hit ebay looking for a bargain.

Related Links -
Other Mars Attacks reviews include:

- Hot Toys already did their Cosbaby figures as well.

Discussion:
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Mars Attacks Martian action figures by Hot Toys


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

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