SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


Iron Man Mark IV and War Machine
Diamond Select Toys

War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys


Last week, I checked out the new Walmart exclusive Iron Man and War Machine, done up by Hasbro in a 6 - 7" Marvel Legends scale.  But these aren't the only two of their kind - Diamond Select Toys has their own versions, more in the 7" scale than the 6, released in April.

There's a couple versions of these, and I'm looking at the set that includes removable masks with movie character likenesses underneath.  The Iron Man Mark IV is a Borders Exclusive (in theory), but I believe the War Machine is also available through Previews. I picked both of these up at my local Borders though for around around $16 each.

This is the Mark IV as well, not the Mark VI.  There is a Mark VI coming from Diamond Select, but I haven't seen it as of yet.

Packaging - ***
This is the same packaging used for the overall Marvel Select series from DST. It's definitely big, and if you're looking for something ecologically friendly, this ain't it. You could manage to fit the included figure and accessories in something smaller, but then they wouldn't be able to show off the display stand as well. Six to one, half a dozen to the other.

Of course, it's not collector friendly, and like most bubble/card packages you'll have to tear it up to get them out.


War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys
War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys

Sculpting - ***1/2
With the masks in place, both figures look like their on screen counterparts. The armor looks terrific, with lots of fine detail and sharp cuts. The slightly larger scale - these stand slightly over 7" tall - make them slightly more appropriate for the 7" scale figures, and also allows for a bit more detail work to show through. These suits are the better sculpt - no doubt about it.

The faces under the masks are decent portraits, but not outstanding. The Don Cheadle likeness is much better than the Robert Downy Jr. (who looks slightly Asian again - not sure why sculptors have that problem with him), but even Don has a very blank, zombie like stare. I'm not sure that the removable mask is really the big selling point here, especially with RDJ.

Speaking of the underlying portraits, the 'flip up' visors work quite well. There are two small posts on the top sides of the masks, and these can be fitted into two small holes on either the sides of the forehead (down) or on top of the helmet (up). Be careful with the posts though, because a mis-alignment could result in bending or breaking one.

The character likenesses might be amusing, but neither one is really strong enough to cause me to want to have these displayed with the masks up, and the RDJ sculpt is the weaker of the two. In fact, if I were judging these on the face sculpt alone, I'd drop another full star on the RDJ version. If I were trying to decide between these or the Walmart exclusives, the character likeness would not be a deciding factor.

While the suit sculpts look amazing, they aren't as well designed to work with the articulation as the Walmart set. This is particularly true of the hips, where there is far less mobility and range of movement.

Both do stand great on their own however, especially in a few key stances. 

Paint - War Machine ***1/2; Iron Man ***
Again, it's really the portraits under the masks that bring these scores down a bit.

With the masks over the faces, the paint work looks excellent. The various colors on the suits are bright and sharply defined, with nice cuts at the edges. Just as with the Walmart set, I'm not thrilled with the silly stickers used for the power supplies, but it's a minor complaint.

The bright red and gold metallic paint on the Iron Man suit is a big improvement over the Walmart version, where the flat paint gives him that toy-ish look.

A bigger issue with the paint is on Iron Man's joints, where the red tends to rub off, particularly around the hips. This gets back to the issue of the sculpt and articulation not working together as well as they should, and the bright red paint is the loser.

Pull the masks off, and you get varying degrees of quality. The skin tends to ride up on the interior edges of the helmet, and the bland paint work adds to the zombie appearance, especially on Cheadle. Or perhaps Don just figured out what happens when nature calls inside the suit.

Articulation - ***
There's more articulation than you might expect with a suit like this, but not as much as the Walmart exclusive versions from Hasbro.

The ball jointed neck works well, and I already discussed the cool flip up face mask.

The shoulder armor on Iron Man is articulated, so he can raise his arms high above the plane of the shoulders, but this is not the case with War Machine. His bulky pads are part of the arm sculpt itself, and greatly limit the movement in the shoulders, even with a cut joint below them. In fact, my WM had a stuck left shoulder that ended up breaking - you'll notice that the left arm is in the same pose in all the shots. I'll have to try to return him at Borders, and hopefully they'll swap me for a new one.

The elbows are single joints, not double, and the wrists on WM are also unarticulated. I can't even get them to turn, let alone move forward and back. However, the wrists on IM are ball joints (that allow the hands to turn with some very slight tilt action), and he comes with a second set that swap pretty easily.

Both figures have the ab-crunch, and it allows both to turn left and right. There's not much tilt ability, however.

The hips on War Machine work slightly better than IM's and he can take fairly deep stances. IM's are very restricted by the design, and while you can futz the ball around to allow something a bit deeper, you'll probably end up scratching the red paint, as I mentioned earlier.

The knees are single pin, as are the ankles. You can get some key poses with this articulation, but it isn't as natural or as versatile as what you'll see on the Hasbro set.

Although both figures tend to have less articulation than the Hasbro counterpart, there's one very noticeable addition. Iron Man includes articulated 'wings' on his back, at the shoulder blades. The fact that they flip up isn't obvious at first, but it works well and gives him another cool look for the shelf.

In the end though, I had to fight with the joints much more to get the poses I wanted, and nothing was qutie as natural as I would have liked.

Accessories - ***1/2
When it comes to accessories, these two are a little lighter in number, but do include one that's much larger.

Iron Man comes with one extra set of hands, and these swap on the large, sturdy ball jointed wrist pegs quite easily. While you aren't getting a ton of hand poses, you get the couple most critical ones.

War Machine has his larger gun that fits on his back, which isn't *quite* as articulated as the Hasbro version, but still allows for tilting forward and back as well as turning side to side. It pops into a slot on the right shoulder, and can't be moved across the back to the other side. It's a bit sturdier than the Hasbro version, however.

Both figures include a display base, which includes a chunk of floor and wall. These are color matched to their outfits, so that the interior designers will be happy as well. They have a good high tech mechanical appearance, so they could be used for other lines as well.

Fun Factor - ***
Because of the slightly more limited articulation and slightly less cool play accessories, I'm docking the set slightly here. These are really more for the fanboy than the boy.

Value - **1/2
While these figures are a couple bucks more than the Walmart figures, they include the very large display stands. Considering that these are specialty market, not major major mass market Walmart items, that makes them at least as good of a deal as their cousins.

Things to Watch Out For -
I snapped a shoulder joint on my War Machine, and it was very firmly painted stuck. No amount of freezing or hot water was going to fix this baby, so take care.

You'll also want to be gentle when working with the removable helmets. The small plastic posts can be easily damaged.

Overall - Iron Man ***; War Machine ***1/2
I'm not particularly thrilled with the breaking arm on War Machine, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt this time. I'm assuming the next one I get from Borders will not have this issue - if he does, I'll have to come back here and deduct another half star.

But assuming I ended up with an aberration, he's a solid figure. I don't like him quite as much as the Hasbro version, but he is slightly bigger, has the Cheadle portrait, and includes the display base.

The Iron Man Mark IV is also less appealing to me than the Walmart Mark VI. This is a bigger gap, since the articulation on this IM is inferior, and has other issues like the chipping paint.

To wrap up - I prefer the Hasbro Walmart versions in general. However, there are a couple things the DST versions have that may create a different result for you. They are slightly bigger, so you may feel the scale match up is better with other 6 - 7" lines. They have the portraits, albeit not perfect renditions. And they have the included display bases, which can even be used for other figures. If these three things are critical to you, then you'll be happier with the DST results.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - War Machine ***1/2; Iron Man ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - War Machine ***1/2; Iron Man ***

Where to Buy -
The unmasked variant Iron Man is a Borders Exclusive (or at least that's what the package says), but you can find the regular versions (as well as the unmasked IM) at some places online -

-Urban Collector is soliciting him for a June release for $16.

-Things From Another World has War Machine available for $16.

-Big Bad Toy Store has them both at $18.

- Entertainment Earth has War Machine and Iron Man for $18 each as well.

- Forbidden Planet has them at 15 GBP each.

Related Links -
I've reviewed lots of Iron Man goodies over the years - 

- most recently though, I looked at the 6" counterparts to these figures that are Walmart exclusives.

- the only other IM2 review so far is the Kotobukiya ArtFX statue.

- and if you're looking for even better Iron Man figures and money is no object, check out the Hot Toys Mark I, Mark II and Mark III. They'll be doing a whole host of figures based on the new movie as well!

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR LOTS MORE PHOTOS!

Share this review with others! 
  Digg it!    StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!      Reddit

War Machine Iron Man 2 action figure by Diamond Select Toys


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

This page copyright 2000 - 2010, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions! Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com