Battle Damaged Iron Man
Hot Toys

Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by 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."

Jeff checks in tonight with a look at another terrific Hot Toys Iron Man - take it away, Jeff!

In just a few weeks the juggernaut that is IRON MAN 2 will be hitting us right between the eyes. So far the only figures we have been guaranteed from Hot Toys are War Machine and Whiplash but we can all rest assured that we’ll at least get one more version of ol’ Shell head in his iconic red and gold colour-way before too long (EDIT- MK IV just announced!), but then of course there’s Nick Fury and Black Widow, not forgetting the MK V, MK VI and the suitcase suit as well, the potential is there for this to get very messy and oh so expensive!

However before we get to IM2 we still have two new figures from IM1 to look forward to from Hot Toys, there’s the much anticipated Mech Test Tony Stark and the figure we are looking at right here, right now, the upgraded, bashed and dinked version of the MK III suit. It’s billed as ‘the battle damaged’ version, but it is oh so much more than that. When you stand this new one next to the earlier version of the MK III you can see just how much of a difference there really is!

So, if you’re a shell-head completist, fancy an upgrade or if you’re thinking of making this your first Hot Toys IRON MAN figure… read on!
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys

Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***
The first three IRON MAN figures had some of the coolest boxes of last year, all three were a variation on a theme using side mounted magnetic panels that unwound to expose the mechanics of the suit, and although this new box sits well with its brethren, it has a distinctly individual feel as well.

Gone are the magnets, instead we have an embossed and die-cut slip over sleeve depicting the battered chest-plate, whilst the back has detailed shots of the figure with it’s multiple details and features. The inner box has the exposed mechanics found under the chest-plate of the figure on the front and yet more detail shots on the back, these are done in a graphic style to mimic the enhanced CG imagery Tony sees projected inside his helmet, a nice touch. This inner box is in effect split into two separate halves connected by a wide spine. When opened and laid out, the main figure, heads and hands are housed in the right hand side whilst the chest-plates, environment base, aerodynamic flaps and the extra exclusive battered helmet are all nestled securely in the left side. Between the two is the interconnecting spine that has the full production credits printed on it.

I have to admit the old magnetic boxes are still my favourite design, but with all the extra bits that needed to be packed with this guy I can see the need for a revamp, and although it’s not my favourite from the line so far, it is still undeniably a great bit of design that deserves a full score.

Sculpting - ****
When I first received this figure I had a feeling this review might be quite easy, as I originally thought there would be a lot of re-use from the first MK III, but how wrong I was! Well, I say that, obviously some of the outer sculpted elements have been re-used but virtually every limb and joint has been reworked and re-engineered to some degree. I won’t go too far into the articulated elements and action features here, as I’ll cover those in more depth later. Here I’m just looking at the basic aesthetic, however, that said the engineering is so well thought through and intrinsic to the look of this guy that it goes very much hand in hand with areas of the articulations design.

I guess it would make most sense for me to take for granted that you are either familiar with the first MK III figure, or you have read my review for it, as I think discussing it’s differences and where it varies will be much more straight forward. Also, the pictures included will ultimately paint the thousand words I would otherwise have to type… and I’m wordy enough as it is.
So, the legs are basically the same as before in most aspects and move in the same way too, though the calf and hip have newly designed elements for the revised action features. The groin area is the same and is still made of a softer vinyl material, as is the abdomen, but a revision of the way it is cut at the join means he can now move a little more in this region. The most notable difference when looking at the two MK III’s side by side is the chest area, as when the armour plate is in position it is a little wider, and of course it is removable.
Why is it removable?

Well we have two versions to choose from, there’s the undamaged version which has a few scratches shown with the paint app, and then there’s the properly mashed up and pummelled version which shows a whole raft of damage from paint scrapes right through to extreme dents and crumpling. Underneath these chest panels are some wonderfully observed details on all the mechanics and engineering that surround his ARC generator heart, these radiate out over his chest to his shoulders. And the tops of the shoulders are different as well, this is to allow the plates to fall over the top section of the chest plate, and to accommodate the mechanical motion of them sliding forward to allow the rocket launchers to pop up out of the cavities they conceal. The back and arms are again all pretty much the same in the way they look, but they shield a few more gizmos and doohickeys amongst their hinges and layers. The neck is also a tad longer, I had hoped this might add a little more to his range of movement, but sadly it hasn’t much, except in the looking from side to side motion. I was hoping he might be able to look up acutely for flying poses, but if anything its actually slightly more restricted with this new design, which is one of my few annoyances as I was really hoping for some good blast off poses.

To aid in your ‘dynamic’ posing of this fella there are 7 hands included, all bar one are reused from the first figure. Two are fists, two are slightly cupped for repulsor flying and two are palm and fingers spread wide for repulsor beam blasting poses and lastly there is an extra ungloved left hand, just in case you want to re-enact the scene where he takes the glove off in the middle of his battle with IRON MONGER… no, thought not… cute touch though you have to admit!

This exclusive set also comes with no fewer than three heads, first there’s the undamaged head with light up eye feature, this is essentially the same as the one that came with the first figure, but I did notice some subtle retooling around the mouth. The second head is the same face sculpt used on the MK II figure but with the rivets removed from the outside of the helmet. This is a nice sculpt that benefits from an even better paint app this time around. At one point it looked like we might get a rather spiffing new head sculpt from Ko Jun for this figure, but the good people in the movies licensing department wouldn’t approve it, why? Well, no one seems to be 100% sure, but after asking a few questions it would seem that actors (who are a notoriously vain species, it might surprise you to find out) very rarely like to approve sculpts that show them in anything but a very, very flattering light. So emotions, particularly angry and aggressive ones are seldom allowed, I guess at this point I should say thank you to Mr Gerard Butler as the figure of King Leonidas shows just how cool it is to get a sculpt showing a bit of emotion every now and then. Anyway, enough of ‘might-have-beens’, lets deal with the head we actually get. As I said, the sculpt is the same; showing Stark in a neutral/determined expression but the paint is 100% better here from every angle. The outside of this helmet shows more scratches and scorch marks and the face plate can be raised, as it is held in place by magnets. In fact you can lift it off entirely to reveal the Tony Stark face completely, and it gives you a chance to see all the great detailing on the inside of the mask as well.

Lastly there’s the exclusive ‘severely’ damaged helmet, there are some nice observations to show the extreme dents and bashes, and where as the other two are made up of separate sculpted sections brought together, this is one solid lump of vinyl. It does however have a ‘cup’ joint in the underside, so if you feel inclined it can be pushed onto the neck post, but the damage is so hard core, if a human head was inside, it would be pretty busted up… let me rephrase that… it would be lumpy soup!

So there you have it… well most of it… but my initial thoughts that there wouldn’t be too much to say in this section proved completely unfounded, if I had the inclination I could write another couple of pages on this category alone!

However, whichever way you look at it, even with the re-use of the old head sculpt, this is a definitely four-star item. In fact when viewed as a whole it’s nothing short of a small engineering marvel, and mini work of art to boot!

Paint - ****
I liked the paint app on the first version of the MK III, I really did, but this is just that little bit more redder and little bit more golden. The first had that fresh from the showroom, concourse look, the red was a deep colour almost approaching burgundy while the gold was more matte in appearance, looking like a brushed metal finish. But here on the new version the gold is deeper in tone showing iridescence not evident on the first, while the red is a more intense Ferrari/Hot Rod scarlet. The division lines are all beautifully crisp, but are also helped by the implied scuffs and scratches. He comes with two chest plates showing varying degrees of abuse, from light fistfight with Doctor Doom, right through to a heavy bombardment from the Hulk. The ‘undamaged’ one still shows a few scrapes and scratches, but these are achieved with the paint app as the basic panel itself is reasonably pristine. The heavily damaged one however shows a lot more warping, dents and impact marks. This is enhanced even further by the scratched and bashed up paint work that covers it. Both chest panels also have clear plastic lenses set into their centres so you can view the glowing ARC reactor clearly underneath. These panels lift off to expose a dark charcoal grey back ground with some super-fine work on the steel mechanical workings of the small servos, gears and micro circuits, and once again the paint app shows a deft touch, with no slop or overspill even on the tiniest details. I have to say I’m very impressed with the scratches and scrapes painted onto the figure here, most of the base plastic used seems to be red, this is evident by looking at the underside of panels like the shoulder guards or forearm cannons, but every millimetre of it is painted in a super dense rich red (or metallic gold where needed). The over all effect is very even, especially under artificial light, but in daylight with some super close scrutiny you can pick up on some slight variation in tone between a few of the panels, but you really will have to examine him very closely, with a very critical eye to pick up on it.

The Tony Stark face is as I said above the same as the one we got with the MK II figure, but he has received a brand new paint app from Mr JC Hong. You’ll find the flesh tones are warmer and the hair, eyebrows and eyes are all painted as beautifully as we have come to expect, this version also comes with a bloody scrape on the right hand side of his forehead and a scratch under his right eye.

So for me this is another outstanding job carried out on a very technically complex figure, and as such it’s a full score figure without a doubt!

Articulation - ***1/2
From an engineering angle, this deserves a full score for many reasons, but ultimately I’m judging it from all angles, so whilst the physical construction makes the mind boggle, it still has a few limitations (I actually asked Hot Toys how many separate pieces go into this figure, and was told it is over 300… yes you did read that right over 300!).

However, even with the few compromises that had to be made to keep the aesthetic, there are still some newly revised joints that are an improvement on the first incarnation, most notably the waist and elbows.

The augmentations here are marginal but both offer slightly improved mobility. The elbows for example no longer use the rubber sheathes to cover the joints, so they can easily achieve a 90 degree bend. The waist can now twist a little due to the way the vinyl armour has been re-cut/shaped at the point where it joins the trunks at the front and the back. The neck is now also a different design and is removable, it houses the batteries for the light up eye feature on the undamaged head in a similar way to the recent Bat Man DX and RE5 Wesker figures. This means each light up feature now has its own power supply where as on the first one the eyes and chest ARC shared a common source housed in his back. The rest of the articulation is all pretty much the same as the original figure reviewed here, there are however also a few extra whistles and bells on the ‘action features’. The back of the calves on the legs can still open, but the configuration is different, the top part lifts up, followed by the lower section which now also lifts in stead of opening out to the sides like it did before. Within the lower section are two smaller saloon doors, so when the lower section is in the down position they push up and swing open to expose the mechanics within (confused… you will be!). It’s actually all pretty straight forward when in hand, and describing it this way makes it sound much more complex than it actually is.

The aerodynamic flaps on the back also carry a lot more detail and articulation. These come packed separately in the box and the small pegs at the top of them need to be pushed into position. Then the main flaps are all basically the same configuration, but have finer multiple layers, the lower part, which is the larger of the two flaps has two hinges, the upper portion has three layers, an outer shell that lifts over a second plastic layer that has a third super thin laser cut metal wing beneath. The lower flap is two layers consisting of an outer plastic flap over another metal laser cut wing. You will need to exercise caution when opening and closing these, I found the left flaps on mine to be much stiffer, it all still moves but I wouldn’t like to see him in the hands of kid or even worse a sausage fingered klutz of an adult… be warned!

On the sides of the hips are two spring loaded ‘twist and pop out’ drums, Hot Toys described these as ‘retractable countermeasure dispensers’, I have to admit I forgot what these were for till I recently re-watched the movie, they were deployed when IRON MONGER had Tony in a bear-hug and they act like rotating machine guns, but regardless of there intended function the engineering here is just beautiful. From the closed position you just twist gently anti clockwise and they spring out, first the main drum is released then around the circumference of the chamfered edge are six pegs that also pop up to stand proud of the ring. For this feature to operate to its maximum potential you have to make sure the semi circular indents at the top of the outer thigh are aligned with the drum otherwise they can be blocked from opening properly. He also comes with two chest plates as described above, these are slightly wider than the first MK III’s to accommodate the details beneath, it certainly adds to his heroic silhouette. These have two male pegs on the inside; you simply align these with the corresponding couplings on the mechanical chest then push it into place. I found this worked fine just using my hands, but there is a special tool included, it’s a simple clear plastic spatula that you can use to gently jemmy the plate away from the figure when you want to swap over or just remove. Next there are the two shoulder mounted rocket launchers, now obviously these don’t actually fire rockets, but they do pop out of specially designed panels. You simply slide these panels forward to release the rocket canons that emerge on double hinged arms, the other end of the spatula included is also intended to be used here to help push them back into the closed position.

The neck, as I said above is of a new design and it has a push on ball joint at both ends. However, the nature of the vinyl collar it pushes into, coupled with the way the heads interact with the top ball joint mean the articulation is still sadly a little restricted here, so we still cant get a good looking up angle for those flying poses :(
The arms both have action features too, the left has the opening panels to show the forearm rocket launcher, this has a far more fluid motion now and the rockets face the right way as they emerge, rather than you having to fiddle about getting them to ‘flip’ in the right direction. The left arm has a ton more detail; first you lift the rocket launcher, then flip the lower section out on a hinge where you’ll notice there is another smaller section that also flips out on a smaller hinge. Above this is another section that lifts up in a scissor action, when all these elements are opened up you get to see all the cool details sculpted within. There’s no getting away from the fact these bits are fragile and fiddly, but cheez it does work well and look very impressive, just take it slowly and carefully!

The other big feature here are the light up elements which are all essentially the same as on the first figure but with a few tweaks to the positioning of their activation switches. The eye lights are now triggered by a switch at the top of the neck, the chest’s light is still concealed under the  rear air break on the right hand side of his back and the palm-repulsor beams are turned on with small switches on the inside of the upper arms, and once activated all glow intensely bright.

There, I think that about covers it in its rawest form, but rest assured you will have a lot of fun just exploring and familiarising yourself with the full range and potential this figure has, he’s a blast to play with!

Outfit – N/A
Tony is quite literally built into this suit, so as such, this category is a moot point.

Accessories - ****
Most of the accessories here comprise of parts of the figure that are interchangeable, so you can swap them over for different looks. The official Hot Toys spec sites-

- Two interchangeable chest panels
- Seven interchangeable hands, including 4 with light up replusor palms:
- Tony Stark, in damaged helmet with removable mask
- Non-damaged Iron Man helmet with light-up eyes function
- Deluxe Iron Man figure base
- Damaged helmet as accessory (exclusive version)

So pretty much all of these have been covered above, apart from the extra damaged helmet and the stand, and it’s a very nice stand, one of the few I will definitely be using. It’s made to mimic a section of the roof above the large ARC reactor at the Stark facility, the site of IRON MANS final face off with IRON MONGER. It’s a wedge shaped section with industrial style flooring at the front and shattered sheets of toughened glass at the rear. The front also bears the IRON MAN logotype sculpted in full colour out of a black background. The figure can stand and pose just fine on this without the need of a support stand, but one is supplied if you feel the need for it.

The extra ‘exclusive’ battered helmet is a nice extra, but is intended just as an extra accessory to be placed at the figures feet or perhaps used as a prop for your Tony Stark in his suit to hold, there is a plug on the inside, so you can actually fit it on the figures neck should you want to, but it has taken such a hefty battering that if Tony’s melon was still actually inside it, he’d spend the rest of his life in a vegative state. However, the sculpting is all still top notch and the paint shows some nice observations, with dry brushing showing some cool implied details and damage where the scarlet paint has been scuffed away to show the steel beneath.

So a great selection of bits and pieces that give you plenty of display options, a full score from me hands down, I awarded my score based on the exclusive set which I have, but to be honest the crumpled and bashed helmet has limited use without a full Tony Stark head sculpt being included, so it wouldn’t really affect the final score too much, but rather put a nice coat of varnish and a cherry on top of it.

Value - ***1/2
Considering the degree of R&D, plus all the super-fine work lavished on this figures many articulated elements and action features, even at the hefty RRP of $189.99 he feels like you are getting something approaching a reasonably good deal.

However, in the real world, where most non-toy collecting ‘normal’ people live, 190 big ones is a hefty sum for 12” figure.

So with my 1/6 aficionado head on I want to give this exceptional figure a full four star score, but with my self employed, married father of two head, I’m thinking three. So in a fit of schizophrenia I’m giving him a well-deserved 3.5!

But if you can manage to score him for $170 or under (and it is doable, check the where to buy section), then I think he’d definitely be worth a full score.

Fun Factor - ****
Care and a steady hand are the order of the day here, but if you can trust yourself with delicate models, there is one heluvalot to be appreciated here. And the interchangeable elements mean you will have a hard time deciding on what combination of accessories to use and what pose to actually put him in… but you will have a ton of fun arriving at your final choice.

Or if you are like me, you might find yourself spending a lot of time re-posing him every day, looking for that elusive ‘perfect pose’… while your wife or significant other watches from the sidelines, occasionally tutting and shaking her head. Some people just don’t know art when they see it!

Overall - ****
Hot Toys had some problems with this figure, but the problems weren’t with the engineering, instead they were to do with the licensor approving the final ‘reveal’ face for the helmet with the lifting face-plate.

It would seem Mr Downy Jnr, his agent or an over zealous studio bod took exception to showing the actor in anything but a passive expression. I admit this is a shame as the early preview pics of Ko Juns sculpt used in a Hong Kong magazine looked most impressive. They were never ‘officially’ shown in the Western media, but of course in these days of global communications, most of us hard-core collectors had seen in within hours of the magazine hitting the stands. However at the end of the day, if the licensor decides to pull the plug on something, you can guarantee there is pretty damned little anyone can do about it… ultimately these are the people you have to keep sweet to ensure they let you keep the license.

Well I’m glad to say HT did manage to keep them sweet, but at the cost of us actually getting the new Ko Jun head. And although it’s a shame, not least for Hot Toys, after all the hard work they put into making and then trying and re-trying to get it approved, we still get a fantastic looking figure out of it!

So for me this is definitely a figure that more than deserves the highest of praise, I look at it and it makes me smile, it’s the kind of figure that reminds me why I’m so into 1/6th, and if it can do that then how can it be worthy of anything less than a full score.

He is after all the perfect ‘man doll’, it’s basically a guy wrapped in a hybrid of a fighter jet and a sports car… what is not to like!

Where to Buy -
Sideshow sold out in a flash where they had the regular version for $189.99 or the exclusive for $194.99. Or you can try Michael’s sponsors below-
Urban Collector   - $169.99

Big Bad Toy Store   - $189.99 

or try eBay where I’ve seen a huge swing in prices ranging from $195 to $310.

Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys
Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys

Battle Damaged Iron Man action figure by Hot Toys

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

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