Iron Man Mark VI Excluxive Edition
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 is back tonight with a look at a seriously prinked out Iron Man - tell us all about him, Jeff!

Thank you as always to the MK I of toy reviewers… Mr Mike Crawford!
I think I’ve used the analogy before, but what the heck, it’s a well known fact that the more you do a thing, the better and more adept you tend to become at doing that thing. Which is why it’s always been something of a mystery to me as to how Hollywood can get it so spectacularly wrong… time after time.

Meaning that in the law of diminishing movie land returns, it would seem that the abandonment of the Iron Man 3 movie by Jon Favreau doesn’t exactly bode well (but I’ll keep an open mind, as I loved Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang by Shane Black, and he’s now at the helm).
However, even if the movie turns out to be an absolute stinker, you can bet that the evolution of the power suit will be reproduced faithfully and indeed spectacularly by Hot Toys!

Yep, in a rather elegant fashion, with just a hint of swagger, Hot Toys have convincingly bucked the trend of diminishing returns, perhaps most notably with the incredible detail and engineering they are lavishing on the Iron Man series. Each new incarnation of the iconic suit brings with it its own new USP and special features. So here with the MK VI not only do we get the obvious aesthetic difference of the new and improved triangular ARC reactor, but we also get many interchangeable ‘battle damaged’ features. However, it does have to be said, that to the uninitiated there are now quite a few versions of the armour out there already. We now either have or will soon, the MK I, two versions of the MK II, two versions of the MK III and then there’s the MK IV, V and this the MK VI (and of course we also had the convention exclusive grey version). Bringing our total to nine, and that’s before we get to the supporting cast and the mech test version. This means we now have a very impressive shelf presence and a huge financial commitment from the dedicated shell heads. But what a collection!

I have to say, that my favourite design for the suit has always incorporated the circular ARC reactor on the chest, and as far as the movies go, then the MK V briefcase suit has kind of stolen my heart. But in terms of engineering and design features this new version even manages to slightly trump the MK IV with the inclusion of that interchangeable damaged left arm. But is that enough to make this an indispensable item… I’ll try and help you decide!

Packaging - ***1/2
As I have said in my reviews for all of the Iron Man 2, I like these boxes, there’s nothing wrong with them at all, but there is also no getting away from the fact that the packaging for the figures from movie 1 was so well designed and lavishly constructed that these always had a lot to live up to!

So for me this gets the same score as all the IM2 boxes that came before, it has the same slide on metallic sleeve (which this time has a stand-alone design, not intended to link to the others like the first 4 releases did). On the inside the figure can be seen through a large die-cut window alongside his accessories and extras while the back has a full production credits list. Inside the figure, accessories and environment base are all spread over two levels. The figure (constructed in undamaged mode) is on the top layer (no twisties needed) with various parts of the damaged armour panels arranged next to him, then the second level has the two stands and the extra missile launching sections that can fit onto the forearms.

So, a nice box, and indeed a cool box that has been well thought through in terms of how it holds all the multiple extras, but it’s still not up there with their very best work in my most humbliest of opinions!

Sculpting - ****
It’s almost impossible to look at this category without taking into account the engineering involved for the articulation, as these sections kind of go hand in hand.  Lets face it you can model the armour as accurately as you like, but if you end up with a glorified statue what is the point. Likewise you can make a base figure that poses better than Spiderman after an intensive bout of tantric yoga, but if the detailing of the suit isn’t there, what have you got?

So who do you appease, the articulation junkies or the accuracy pedants… well Hot Toys have gone for trying to keep both camps happy, and by Darwin they have pulled it off. Although some parts are hand tooled here, bits like the human head sculpt and elements of the battle damage. It would appear that the rest is designed and engineered digitally in 3D. It means that before they even get to a physical prototype, they can test the full potential of the joints, the range of mobility and the degree to which they will be able to mask and integrate the engineering for the articulation and light up features. So if you are an accuracy freak you will still be hard pressed to find much to complain about, and likewise the articulation is good enough to get into a hugely impressive degree of poses.

But back to the matter in hand, just what makes this figure stand out from the others? Well I said in my review for the MK IV… I believed that was the one that needed to be displayed in helmet ‘off’ mode so you could appreciate the awesome KoJun sculpt (albeit at it’s most awesomeness with the shades on). Well this is the one that NEEDS to displayed in battle damaged mode (OK, I admit the MK V might do so as well, but it’s not in hand yet!).

The overall look is of sublime attention to detail, the basic construction and engineering is the same as on the MK IV, but this time we get the triangular ARC reactor and a whole host of interchangeable sections of armour in various states of damage. The best bits are the extra arm that ‘clicks’ out at the shoulder. I found this to be an easy swap over, certainly easier than both the recent Terminator T800’s that swapped at the elbow, as both of them had me in a mild state of panic. The ripped open bicep on the damaged arm shows some great detailing on the exposed pistons and engineering beneath as does the damaged chest panel with its carefully cut out sections mimicking distressed holes made in the armour, through which we can see the working parts surrounding the ARC. The two magnetic face panels can now be used on both the heads, meaning the light up feature can be utilised with the battle damaged look as well. The gouging and scratching on the distressed helmet is now sculpted in relief, whereas on the previous battle damaged MK III it was done using paint and transfer effects, so this version is much more convincing when viewed up close. The ‘Stark’ face reveal beneath looks to be a re-use of the sculpt we got on the MK IV but reconfigured to squeeze inside the helmet. It’s a strong sculpt as I said before, but its not the very best work KoJun has done, in fact it’s not even his best work on Stark (that title belongs to the mech test version). However to be fair to Hot Toys, it would seem that they have spent a lot of time keeping Mr Downy Jnr’s ‘people’ content, going to great lengths to make sure they are happy with the portrayal of their ‘product’!

There is also a good selection of hands, which I’ll go over in the accessories section.

Ultimately there is little or nothing that I could find to fault here. The fine observation of the original suit from the movie is deftly translated to this supremely detailed and articulated representation… virtual perfection!

Paint - ****
You could actually reread my review for the MK IV here as once again Hot toys deliver a stunning paint app, but on this version we also get a lot more battle damage as well, on all those swappable panels and extra arm. The colours are again all accurate, deep and rich in tone whilst staying supremely accurate in the way they are applied. The division lines are crisp and the panels that can swap over are virtually seamless even when viewed up close.

The work on the exposed Stark face is as solid as we now routinely expect, and even though not much flesh is flashed, what we do see is natural and supremely well executed. A number of the armour panels are a different paint finish to the MK IV, like the gold thighs and the steel areas on the knees and biceps, these steel area help add amore balanced look to the over all armour for me.

I don’t actually remember the last time I gave Hot Toys anything but a full score in the painting category, almost certainly not since JC has been the MC.

Outfit - N/A
Everything here is sculpted!

Articulation - ****
The basic construction of the body and suit is essentially the same as on the MK IV which I reviewed here, so I’m gonna commit the cardinal sin, and be a right royal lazy bastard to boot, and say go read that review if you feel the need for a detailed break-down of the full range of mobility. The only real difference I will point out is that the mid torso articulation freed up a lot easier on this version with no damage to the paintwork at all. And the movement at this point was generally smoother all round. We also get the extra arm, but apart from the fact it can swap over with the regular arm, the actual articulation and light up features are identical. They have also added the shoulder mounted rocket launchers that we got on the BD MK III, and as you would expect the engineering and functionality has been improved on once again.

So, to put it succinctly and keeping it brief, the full range of movement isn’t anywhere near as good as a base naked True-Type, but considering all the amazing detail they have crammed in, it’s still hugely impressive, and highly deserves the full score I’m awarding it in recognition of just how much work has been lavished on the engineering!

Accessories - ***
Hot Toys are very very far from stupid, they realised early on that to keep the punters sweet with the multiple power suits they would need to give each release something unique to keep it vital and essential. It’s arguable that the differences between the Mk IV and VI are slight apart from shape of the ARC on the chest, and indeed they do share a lot of common elements, so to make this guy all the more desirable he comes a load of extra goodies.

We get a human Stark/Downy Jnr face reveal head (as described above), and because of the ingenious new design on the light up head we can now use both the clean and damaged face plate on both these heads. Next up is a set of alternate battle damaged panels, there is chest plate, thigh panels, parts for the bicep and shoulder pauldron on the right arm, and the whole of the left arm can de swapped over (note you will have to use the panels on the forearm of the undamaged arm or the alternate missile launching sections to make it look complete). Although there is no full Stark head sculpt they have still included the collar so you can use one of the previously released heads with this body. He also has a good selection of hands, 2 fists, 2 relaxed and two splayed, however like I said on the War Machine and MK IV reviews, the inclusion of the articulated hands with each and every joint movable, it almost renders the static hands redundant. The articulated air breaks with their laser cut metal wings and plastic panels are packed separately needing to be pushed into place on the upper shoulder blade areas. These are hard to consider as accessories, but do need to be attached for the figure to look complete.

On this exclusive version you also get a section of the forearm armour to fit onto your ‘bashed’ Tony Stark figure, it even has a couple of extra wrist pegs so it will fit various models of the base True Type. It’s a nice little addition, not a deal breaker, but it does add to the impressive array of cool little bits and pieces we have gotten from this line.

Lastly we get two stands, one is the classic black oval design whilst the other is an environment base showing a felled Hammer drone on a patch of wasteland. It has a long clear plastic rod that inserts into a hole near the rear of the base and an adjustable pincer grip to hold the figure. The design of this means you can display the figure either standing on the base or hovering above it in a mid landing/takeoff pose.

Light up feature - ****    
Just like all the other power suits thus far, this guy has the light up repulsor palms on all but the fisted hands, ARC reactor on his chest and the eyes on the helmet. All the batteries are fitted within the figure, so need to get your screwdriver out just yet. Simply pull out the small clear plastic dividers that stick out from the relevant sections. Then flick on the tiny switches that are hidden in the upper inside arm for the palms, under the rear right side air break for the ARC and the back of the neck for the eyes. Once turned on they all illuminate brightly.
Definitely the icing on the cake for these figures, and a beautifully well-executed feature that doesn’t impact negatively in any way!

Fun Factor - ****
We all know by now that the price-point and fragile nature of these hi-end figures means that they are in no way, shape, manner or form intended to get into the hands of kids, so I won’t even bother saying it again… although I just did!

However, for those collectors that are used to the kind of strain on their wallets that being a dedicated collector of the Iron Man power suits brings with it, then this is another solid entry in the line up for us. He poses well after familiarising yourself with the complex machinations of all his joints… it may seem like they are plotting against you at first, but once you get everything aligned it works very well indeed, and the added bonus of all those interchangeable damaged sections make this a lot of fun assembling and posing. I’ve found all the power suits to be exciting to un-box, and supremely rewarding in setting up to find that perfect pose… And they freakin light up!

Value for money - ***
The cool extra features they keep adding to these suits don’t come cheap; in fact they come at quite a price. This exclusive version has an RRP of $214.99 (the regular is $209.99) meaning that the price for Hot Toys premium figures have solidly punched through the $200 glass ceiling with a metal clad fist.

Of course what you get for your money is the at the very pinnacle of what hi-end companies are putting out at this time, and even when viewed up close and scrutinised, this is nothing short of a miniature work of art.

But even for those lovers and devotees of this scale, the $200+ price tag does keep this in a rather exclusive place… is that a bad thing?

Well I guess you could take that up with Aston Martin or Ferrari, but the cold fact of life is that the best and most desired thing available in any field, from automobiles and jewellery right though to property and collectibles, demands the heftiest price tag… and sometimes, just sometimes it can prove to be quite the investment.

That said, if you were canny and moved early, you could well have secured one of these bad boys for as little as $185 to $190, and if so I’d be tempted to push the score up by another star.

Overall- *** 3/4
Well I just explained in detail that this thing is not cheap. If you are looking for a bargain move along (or nip down to your local toy store for a smaller scale fix). This means the only thing counting against this release is the price; every other aspect has been hit clean out of the ballpark.

But once you reconcile your self with the cost, and lets face it you’ll have to if you want one, because prices generally only keep heading North, then you can really start to appreciate how amazing this figure is. The whole package is well thought through, designed and beautifully executed, and the only figures likely to best it are… you guessed it, the soon to be released MK V (my personal favourite in terms of design) and the newly announced reboot of the MK II ‘unleashed’. Well no one ever said being a shell head was meant to be cheap, so start saving!

Where to buy
Sideshow have long sold out of both the regular and exclusive versions and I couldn’t find it with a any of the sites sponsors. There are however still plenty of the regular versions out there on eBay with prices already elevated to between $ 270 to $440, and I did find one seller doing the exclusive armour item for $99 on its own… cheeeez!

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

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