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 my favorite figures so far this year is the T-800 from Termintor 2, released by Hot Toys. I did my review a short while ago, but tonight Jeff Parker is giving us his take on it. Tell us all about it, Jeff!

A big thank you to Michael, who scored this guy and reviewed him about a month ago, it was a comprehensive low-down, so, did I really need to stick my two cents in? Hell yeah, when something is this good I wasn’t gonna leave it off my hectic rota of cool 1/6th figures that MUST be reviewed!

OK, I’ve already gone on record in the past saying that James Cameron is not my personal director du jour. I’m invariably entertained by his movies, he certainly knows how to make a crowd pleaser and put aheluvalot of bums on seats, but I guess the fact that he directed the worlds two biggest grossing movies of all time spells that out big time. My problem has always been his lack of originality… well, apart from his seminal Terminator movie that is, of course even that isn’t perfect and is flawed in many ways (try making any time-travel movie and you open a nest of ‘quantum mechanical’ vipers, plus there’s the unfortunate setting in the early 80’s, a time famous for its crimes against fashion, music and of course big hair) but it still remains the movie of his I can watch without feeling like I’ve seen it all before somewhere else. Which of inevitably brings us on to Terminator: 2 (T2), but the déjà vu is excusable here, because at least Cameron was referencing himself, and as sequels go it’s gotta be up there with some of the best, in fact along with ALIENS it’s arguable he managed to make two of the finest sci-fi sequels ever made (though Kershner has him beat with Empire imho).

In the movie the titular Terminator, the machine that absolutely would never stop, would never rest until it’s mark was wiped from the face of the Earth, all of a sudden became protector, hero, almost verging on a father figure. Supposedly this was part of Arnie's stipulation, as with his star status rising rapidly at the time, he wanted to be seen as a good guy, not just a relentless killing machine. And it has to be said respect is due to Cameron, as the change in dynamics could have turned out pretty saccharine, but it certainly didn’t end up that way.

It’s also worth pointing out, that though T2 is an also ran compared to the original Terminator (for me), to many other people (mostly those too young to remember the impact the original had when it hit cinemas) it is THE Terminator movie. It was bigger, brasher and a lot more polished than its predecessor, and the fact Arnie got to be the hero made him even more of an icon than he already was! And when Hot Toys carried out a poll on their website as to which version the fans wanted to see first, then this version won by a huge landslide.

So, if you are a fan of the man mountain that is Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, the man who has spent the last seven years as the republican Governor of California (it really could only happen in America), then this is just about the most iconic version of him that you could wish to have for your shelf. And it sure don’t hurt that it turned out to be one of Hot Toys finest figures to date!

Packaging - ***
I’m sorry; this just did not float my boat. It’s a nice solid bit of design, but the reliance on photos of the figure and the monochrome colour-way just don’t get me too excited.

I’d guess that with Mr Cameron’s notoriety rising ever higher, he perhaps understands the power and iconography of his own back catalogue, and as such the use of images from the movie in promoting related items is probably so prohibitively expensive that Hot Toys thought better of it… and I say good for them.

Jim Cameron’s pockets are lined more than well enough already, and greedy licensors can go **** themselves (and no, that is not a 4 star rating!). However the final design they settled on is to my way of thinking just a little dull. I’m sure it might come into it’s own once a few more figures from the movie have fleshed the line out, making the display options (well for the MIB'ers anyway) a little more impactful.

It’s basically an outer slipcase box that slides on/off over the top (and only the top, as it has a lid). It has a monochrome image of the figures face wearing the shades on the front alongside an embossed T2 logo. The stock the images are printed onto is an iridescent silver colour which helps give depth to the photos but sadly it also kills the contrast, it reminds me of the silver gelatine prints I used to do in the dark room, back in the halcyon days before digital photography (gets misty eyed and floats away for a while). The inner box has a large window on the front showing the fully constructed and clothed figure, well, I say showing. Hot Toys have actually peen pretty conservative with the size of the box here (which I hasten to add I think is a good thing) meaning that with figure measuring in at a little over 12” (Arnie is 6’2”, well done HT!) the top of the head is just clipped, so he peeks from beneath the fop edge.

The back of the inner box shows another large head shot of the figure but without the shades. It’s testament to the combined work of Yulli and JC Hong that the 1/6th sculpt can be blown up this big and still look so darned impressive. The untrained eye, at first glance would invariably think it was an actual photo of Arnie in character.

Inside the box the figure and accessories are held secure in a black vac-formed tray without the need for any twisties.

So, as I said a solid piece of design, well put together and constructed of sturdy cardboard, just not one my favourites from Dixon Chan & Monster Jnr (who have in the past been responsible for many of the most memorable bits of packaging for HT, well, for me anyway).

Sculpting - ****
The more you do a thing, the better you get at that thing, and Yulli, the chief sculptor at Hot Toys has shown this to be true time after time. It’s most evident on her Sly Stallone sculpts which started out strong but soon went to being sublime. And here she does it again!

Last year I reviewed her work on the figure of Major ‘Dutch' Schaefer from Predator, and I still maintain it’s a sculpt that would take a lot of beating… but somehow she’s done it, she has managed to trump herself. But I guess if anyone is going to better a Yulli sculpt, who better to do it than Yulli.

The expression is so spot-on, and is captured to utter consummate perfection; she has made what is for now the definitive 1/6th sculpt of Arnie… (Well, till she does the next one). The face is fixed in a ruthlessly determined stare, brow furrowed, mouth slightly down turned and eyes staring straight forward. The deft detailing on the skin texturing and fine lines and wrinkles is nothing short of amazing, especially when you consider the scale. The hair is also worthy of note, as getting spiky hair to look convincing at ANY scale can be quite a challenge, but here it is carried out with breathtaking efficiency. It really does bear the closest of scrutiny, and looks incredibly accurate to the way Arnie wore it in the movie. The top section over his forehead goes straight up, and then as it spreads over the top it begins to gently lie down before radiating flat at the back. He also comes with a selection of six hands two fists, two in a general resting pose and two gripping to interact with the various accessories.

Quite simply this is a stunning portrait of Arnie, and one destined to be a much sought after classic for years to come, mark my words.

Paint - ****
We all now know that Hot Toys head painter (in all senses of the word), Mr JC Hong is adept in the art of figure painting, but we should never lose sight of just how outstanding his work is. There are companies creating 1/1 busts that don’t measure up to this work.

So once again we get faultless application with skin texturing and colouration that carries on from the head right over the body. The subtle variations in tone show gentle mottling and texturing that really bring the figure to life. The eyes are as always crisp, clean and glossy and the hair is kept simple to let Yulli’s work shine through. Just another tick in the box next to ‘perfect paint app achieved’, amazing!

Outfit - ****
If you said the name Arnold Schwarzenegger to just about anyone, I’d guess the first image to pop into their head would be this guy. OK, I know some obsessive fan boys out there might take exception, and lisp loudly at me “I’d think of Dutch/Conan”, some of the more obtuse might even say Douglas Quaid, and I’m certain at least one will think of Mr Freeze, if so… shame on you! Further more if you thought Dr. Alex Hesse, what the hell is freakin wrong with you?

So, the point I’m making is this; Arnie in a pair of shades and bikers leathers is without a doubt the most enduring and iconic image of the guy, meaning it was important to get the look just right. But hey, we’re dealing wit Hot Toys here, they are after all past masters of taking an individual and by the use of some kind of ancient Chinese magic (probably mixed in with a little Voodoo) actually managing to shrink the individual down to one-sixth their size, clothes and all, and then cloning them ad nauseam!
Well, it seems that way to me!

Once again we get a jaw droppingly, ‘soul sold to the devil’, ‘how the hell do they do it’, amazing outfit, I mean, do they actually have miniature tailors working around the clock to produce bespoke outfits for each figure!

Well, it seems that way to me! I’ll stop there, I wouldn’t want it to become a catchphrase.

Anyway, It consists of moulded boots, but moulded oh so well. Leather trousers with working pockets and belt, a choice of grey or black T-shirt and black leather bikers jacket. The cut and tailoring on all these is supremely well engineered and all the garments fit snugly to the new base figure, giving a very realistic silhouette. The standout piece for me is undeniably the jacket. The fine observations on the working scaled zips, pockets, laces and studs are nothing short of fantastic. And the scaling/thickness or the faux leather used is pretty darn close to how we saw the T800 dressed in the movie. The work here is certainly more impressive than the Wolverine leather jacket, I still rate that garment in a lot of ways, but the scaling of the fabric thickness is much more impressive here. Take care with the base figure when dressing and undressing, and it’s best to remove the hands when removing the jacket, and also the head if you want to swap over the T-shirts. I swapped them to take a few photos, but mine will be staying in the grey T for display purposes. However I have a feeling a few of the hardcore fans might be getting multiples of this figure so they can exploit the display options with the T’s and accessories, and I can’t blame them.

Articulation - ***1/2
When HT delivered the Dutch figure linked to above, they developed an all-new muscular body for him, but as cool as the aesthetic is of the rubber muscle bods they just don’t have the range of articulation you get from a more solid, molded body. So HT went away and developed yet another new base ‘Arnie’ bod, this is much more like the Wolverine body, meaning we get a cracking body-sculpt with well-engineered and concealed articulation. Of course it’s not as effective as fully articulated base True Type but the fact that it matches the T800 build and silhouette so well, means it a pay-off I’m more than happy with.

All the standard joints we expect are here, but simplified to be less obtrusive in terms of the final look. I took a few photos HERE that I montaged together to illustrate the positioning of the new bodies joints, but I warn you, they’re pretty disturbing (does Homer Simpson shudder!)
The upper body is fitted with a close fitting molded rubber cover so the shoulders look much more natural but aren’t able to shrug, it splits mid torso and at the waist so it can lean back and bend forwards with a convincing curve rather than a sudden 45% bend. The elbows are a plugged hinge joint, so it can twist and bend to 90 degrees while the wrists are of the usual TT design. The neck has a great range like Wolverine, I’d advise popping the head off (which is easy) then position the neck to the desired pose and pop the head back on and reposition. It moves to look up, down and can tilt from side to side, and because it’s covered in the rubber skin from the chest right up to the top the neck all the joints are concealed making for some very realistic and convincing poses. The legs are also more bulked up to suit the T800’s proportions, showing a thicker set and heavier musculature. The upper thigh comes quite high over the hip ball joint, so this coupled with the leather pants means he’s not going to get into any relaxed, cross legged positions any time soon, but the T800 isn’t famous for lounging around, in fact he moves like a… well, robot. Meaning the body here is pretty much perfect for the character it represents.

I’m not however awarding a full score, as the slight lack of articulation on the arms does mean you have to be a little creative with the gun poses. Don’t worry; it’s nothing serious, just not as good as a standard TT, which has become my benchmark. I’m not taking away too much though as any company willing to produce newly engineered and character specific bodies deserves a ton of praise, and for that I salute you Hoy Toys, it’s an amazing looking figure.

Accessories - ****
This release comes with-
- Automatic pistol (Colt/Detonics M1911A1 Series 70 Hybrid to be precise)
- Sawn off Winchester shotgun (even has the engraving)
- Alternate fully articulated endo-skeleton left arm
- Alternate black T-shirt
- 4 alternate hands (on top of the 2 he comes fitted with a total of 6)
- Gold rose box
- Bouquet of 6 red roses
- Black sunglasses
- Figure stand

That’s not a bad selection, but during the course of the movie the T800 uses a pretty impressive and it has to be said extensive arsenal, just check it all out HERE.

So to be fair they hardly scratch the surface. Now this might be for one of any number of reasons. Perhaps all the R&D put into the new body, the full set of bikers leathers, 2 guns, a box of roses, spare T and the fully articulated endo-arm meant that for the official asking price of $164.99, HT thought we were getting quite a bit of bang for buck as it was… and to be fair they have a point.

However, I know I’m not alone in thinking the T800 is deserving of a second version, perhaps even a DX, as not only do we need the grenade launchers and mini gun, we want to see alternate heads with different degrees of battle damage and glowing red eyes, c’mon HT, you’ve just got to have this planned ;)

The accessories we do get are all well detailed and put together, you can cock the Winchester and see the shot gun shell nestled inside, the Colt has a removable magazine plus a working hammer and cocking mechanism. The Winchester can also be hidden inside the rose box to mimic the iconic scene when he flings it open to start blasting the T1000 in the shopping mall (that sounds like a euphemism!), the roses are held together by a plastic wrap, but this slips off easy if you want to scatter them individually on the ground like in the movie. The hands all swapped over fine on mine but spare pegs are includes should you have a mishap.

I did have quite a job swapping over to the endo-the arm, the peg was just so darn tight I had to give it onehelluva yank to free it up. Ironically the right arm that doesn’t need to swap out was easy to pull off, in fact when I bent it acutely it could work its way loose. Also take care when pushing the endo-arm back in, and make sure you grip it with a solid part of the arm as the articulated robotic parts are all quite fragile. The shades slip on easily, and like the ones we get with the HT military figures they fit perfectly, and at 1/6th scale that is quite an achievement. It’s also cool that the lenses are dark rather than solid molded black plastic, as with the right light conditions you can catch glimpses of the eyes behind the lenses, making for a realistic image when photographed.

Lastly we get the classic HT figure stand, emblazoned with the movie logo and the character name, nice for those that like’em, but mine will stay in the box. So, even though there is a whole world of options for this guy to have even more extras, the selection we do get is still most impressive, and a top score selection at that.

Value - ***1/2
Had this guy come with just one of the bigger guns, I guess the smaller grenade launcher would have made sense as it would have been a straight re-use of the Comedians gun, and had we perhaps also got a lightly battle damaged sculpt  (leaving the option of badly mashed up one for a later figure still open) then this guy would have got a full score. As it is you still get a damn good selection of goodies along-side what is one of the best sculpted, painted and dressed figures to date, so I’m only keeping him a little off of the full shebang.
One thing I will say though, and I often warn people not to ‘invest’ in action figures, they are NOT stocks and shares. However, even if HT do decide to give us an all singing, all dancing uber version of the T800 at some time later down the line. As long as this figure keeps some original elements (and I’m guessing he will) then I think when we look back on this review in a year or so from now, we might find ourselves feeling a little bit sick that we didn’t perhaps ‘invest’ in a couple of them when they were still $165.

Fun Factor - ****
I tend to keep 98.6% of my reviews exclusively to hi-end 1/6th, it’s my thang, it’s the way I roll, it’s my raison d'être, it’s… I’ll stop there!

So, when looking at the ‘fun factor’ I tend to keep my scoring based much more on how much ‘joy’ the product will bring a collector, rather than a kid! Only a fool would give this to a kid because:
A- It’s totally inappropriate.
B- It’s an adult collectible and as such is too fragile to be ‘played’ with.
C- It’s too good and too expensive for the little blighters!

So, basing my score on this, he gets a glowing full score. I haven’t had as much fun posing a figure in quite a while, and pretty much all the iconic poses can be achieved. But now I need a 1/6th Harley Fat Boy, I’m off to eBay!

Overall - ****
There have already been many versions of this figure released by various companies at differing scales, some a good sight bigger than this one. I know Sideshow have already given us a Premium Format (PF) figure of T2-T800, but if you want the REAL premium version of this character then in terms of likeness this is your ONLY choice, it improves on pretty much all of the earlier versions without exception, and actually manages to make the uber expensive Cinemaquette (CMQ) look like a very mediocre (and very expensive) Arnie look-alike suffering a bad hair day!

And even though they are at a bigger scale, the leap in quality with this diminutive counterpart is so vast it makes the fact that this is obtainable for $165 (less if you get lucky) seem like an out and out bargain. I mean, if you had the choice of the CMQ or this and over a thousand bucks in the bank, what’s it gonna be?
I rest my case!

Throw into the mix the outstanding paint work here, the cool selection of accessories and that newly developed body, and this is a full score figure without a doubt. Instant classic!

Where to Buy -
Sideshow were asking the RRP of $164.99 and he went in the blink of an eye, but you can try the wait list as ‘he might be back’! 

Or you can try Michael’s sponsors below-
Big Bad Toy Store - $154.99

or try eBay where I’ve seen him for prices between $150 to $190.Sadly I can’t find these with any of Michaels sponsors, but if you search on eBay you’ll find them for the prices I quoted above. Good luck hunting them down.

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

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