Hot Toys T2 Endoskeleton

If I've learned anything doing these reviews, it's that Terminator fans are perhaps the most psychotically devoted movie fans I've ever seen.  Star Wars? Nope, they can't even compete.  Terminator fans are some SERIOUS fans.  I suspect the Sarah Connor Chronicles has a shot at really doing well in the ratings because of that, as long as the show is well written and well acted.  Word of mouth amongst the fan base is going to be a huge factor - great word of mouth, and the audience will be much larger than the usual sci-fi television show.  Of course, bad word of mouth means a swift death.

Thankfully, I'm reviewing something tonight that should have no problems getting high marks - the Hot Toys Terminator 2 Endoskeleton.  There have been plenty of sixth scale Endoskeletons produced over the years, but because of the quality that Hot Toys has shown with Aliens, Predator and Robocop, collectors have had big expectations with this figure.

This is also a fairly reasonably priced Hot Toys released (considering the cost of some of the others) at around $110 - $120.

Packaging - ***1/2
Hot Toys does a nice job with their packaging, although I do find the outer sleeve that fits over the fifth panel box to be a bit of overkill.  But unlike the recently reviewed Rambo from Hot Toys, there were no twisties holding in the Endo, so if I have to put up with that outer sleeve to get no twisties inside, I'll gladly make the trade.

The contents of the interior tray are held in place with the usual two top plastic trays.  Again, this makes me much happier than twisties, or tape, or dental floss used to hold things in.

I would like a bit more text, especially since there's plenty of real estate for it with this type of box, but that's a minor complaint.

Sculpting - ****
For the most part, this is a tremendously impressive sculpt job.  The texture gives the realistic impression of steel, and the various internal and external proportions are extremely good.  The sculpt and articulation work amazingly well together - I'll be blabbering about that in detail in the Articulation section - and I think this is the best Endo sculpt we've ever gotten.

While I'll get into more detail in the Articulation section on the working pistons, I wanted to mention here that the 'hoses' you see around his neck aren't rubber or plastic at all...they're metal!  They're made from stretchy metal tubing, which works great with trying to pose the figure.  There's more play in them this way, and this is the one area where I didn't worry about breaking them when I was moving the shoulders and head.

The paint does rub off them a bit though, which is the downside of being made of something that hard.  Ah well, there's always a price to be paid.

The sculpting on the teeth is very realistic, and the various mechanical parts look great.  There are lots of great little touches, like the big toe on each foot being *slightly* larger than the other four identical toes.

These are called 'model kits', just like most Hot Toys releases.  But unlike Predator, Alien or Robocop, there's no actual assembly.  The figure comes complete, and you just stick a weapon in his highly articulated hands.  I don't know how they're getting away with the model kits label on these, but I was happy that I didn't have to try to put any of this complex guy together myself.

Some folks may find the scale a tad small for them.  He stands almost exactly 12" tall, and in person (and standing next to other sixth scale figures), he does seem a bit puny to me.  Now, logically I realize that this is probably accurate, since he is the skeleton of a T-800 after all.  There would be plenty of flesh packed on this body, then boots and clothes, pushing him up several inches IRL.  But ignoring logic, which is far too easy to do, it still seems to me that he's a bit short.

I'm also sure that some serious fans will find various minor technical flaws in the appearance.  But I don't think you're going to see a better overall interpretation of this character produced.

Paint - ***
If there was one disappointment with the figure, it was with the paint.  And I don't think you can really call it a disappointment - that sounds too harsh.

The photos I'd seen of this particular version on sites like at Sideshow showed a very shiny, bright, light colored paint, representing very clean steel.  What we got instead was a very dark, gun metal gray color.  It still reflects light (as you can see in the photos) but not at the degree I was expecting or would really like.

There's no slop anywhere on the paint job, but I'm also not real keen on the black areas on the hydraulics.  The lower housings for the pistons have quite a bit of black on them, and look out of place to me and draw too much attention to themselves.

The head is also a fair bit shinier and more bright metallic in color than the rest of the body.  I'm not quite sure what's up there, and had the entire body been more like the head I would have been much happier.

Articulation - ****
We've all seen amazing sculpts and amazing paint jobs, but articulation is usually pretty straight forward.  But articulation is often standardized across the board, especially in the sixth scale world.  That makes the work on a figure like this all the more impressive.

There is a ball jointed neck, jointed jaw, pin elbows and knees, double pin shoulders (one into the torso, and one through that pin, perpendicular to it) that allows the arm to rotate forward and back, as well as out from the body, cut biceps and calves, ball jointed hips, ball jointed ankles and wrists, and a ball jointed waist.  If that's not enough, each toe is individually articulated, and each finger AND the thumb has three - count them, three! - pin joints.  The lowest knuckle on the finger is a fourth joint that runs in the opposite direction, so that each finger (not the thumb) can also tilt up and down in relation to the palm of the hand!

Okay, so that's a buttload of articulation, but does any of it function?  The big problem with the Endo's design is that he has all these pistons on his body, at the neck, shoulders, waist, hips, knees, ankles...can any of these joints actually move any where?

And that's where the real marvel comes in. Yes, they can!  The pistons still do restrict the movement, but not nearly at the level you might expect.  They are designed to work in a very realistic way, and to allow for as much movement as possible.  It's really quite impressive, and you'll find yourself marveling over it for hours.  Or at least minutes.

It does raise one problem, but it's not something I'm holding against the figure.  This guy is FRAGILE.  Yes, I'm talking uppercase fragile.  Take some time getting to understand each of the joints, especially those with pistons involved.  Don't go blindly twisting and turning because breaking the thin plastic rods is definitely a possibility.  Once you get a feel for just how far they can turn, you'll be able to pose the figure with much less risk.

There is one pose that they show on the box that I simply couldn't find a way to do.  Because the cut biceps appear to be the only way to turn the arms, and because of the way the palms face inward, there was no way to hold the plasma rifle with the left arm holding it at the stock.  You'll notice I put the left arm on top, in anticipation of the recoil.  But they clearly have him holding it the other way in the box photos, and I have no idea how they managed to pull that off.  EDIT - word from some collectors is that theirs does have a cut joint, so mine must be stuck.  While the joint being there is good - the fact mine is stuck is still an issue.  Can't be much of an issue either way though, since he was getting four stars in this category anyway!

Accessories - ***1/2
There's a nice, healthy assortment of evil doing weapons here, although at this price point, I can think of a couple more things I'd like.

While a massive mechanical creature like this can easily squash your head like a grape between his palms, he's much more impressive when heavily armed.

On the small arms side, he comes with a laser sighted handgun.  While it qualifies as 'small arms', it's definitely an impressive piece of hardware.  It's well sculpted and quite realistic.

Stepping up we have the Plasma Rifle.  The sculpt is great, and this is a classic Terminator weapon, but the lightweight nature of most Hot Toys weapons hurts it a bit.  The paint wash also doesn't do a ton for me, since it appears more toy-like and less realistic than the other weapons.

Finally, there's the impressive Vulcan M134.  The Vulcan is a real weapon of course, usually used on helicopters or Hummers.  It's one of those completely unrealistic and implausible weapons used in Hollywood films in most cases - Jesse Ventura wouldn't be able to blast the crap out of a Predator with it tucked under his arm - but at least in the case of the Terminator films, the characters carrying the weapon could theoretically do it.

This Vulcan is also a somewhat futuristic sculpt.  It looks terrific, and the sculpt and paint really go well with the nekkid Terminator Endo.  While the other two weapons are cool, I suspect this will be the one most folks use in their displays.

Finally, there's the usual display base with small name plate.  Again, if someone doesn't know this is an Endoskeleton, they have been living under a rock on the far side of the moon for several decades, but at least the nameplates are somewhat unobtrusive.

Light Up Feature - ***1/2
This feature is pretty straight forward - push a button in the center of his back, the eyes light up.  The button stays in so you don't have to hold it, and the eyes are nice and bright.

My favorite aspect of the feature is that the batteries are easy to get to.  There's a little door on his back that just pops open to reveal the two watch batteries, no screwdriver necessary.

Fun Factor - *
Let's face it, this isn't a figure to be played with.  Just posing it, I was in constant fear of hearing a 'snap'.  That doesn't mean it isn't a lot of fun for the adult fan, but it's pretty muted fun.  And kids?  Don't even think about it.

Value - ***
Hot Toys figures generally run $80 - $150, depending on the character and the intricacy.  For example, Robocop ran $110 - $130, depending on the retailer.

I'm grading this guy on the current usual price at online retailers - around $110.  At that price point, you're getting quite a complicated, well engineered, high touch assembly figure.  That's a solid value.

Now, if you end up paying closer to $130, like I did here and with Robocop, you can knock of another half to full star.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Have I made myself clear enough on this point yet?  BE CAREFUL!  I'm not complaining mind you, and the naturally fragile nature of something like this won't hurt the overall score.  I'm just trying to warn you, and save you some heart ache.  Don't squeeze anything, don't pull on anything abruptly, and definitely don't twist any joints without paying extreme attention to the many little pistons.

Overall - ***1/2
You'll spend the first half hour after opening this guy up just marveling at the engineering of the articulation.  This is truly an impressive figure, and I really, really wanted to give it a full four stars.  I've had a lot of terrific items in this last month, but this one really stands out, and is going to be on my list for consideration as one of the best 12" figures of the year.

That being said, my personal issues with the paint held back my final choice on the overall score.  If you can overlook the gun metal color, I doubt you'd find any other major issues.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt -  ****
Paint - ***
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Light Up Feature - ***1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value -  ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Check out these sponsors to buy your Endoskeleton:

- Sideshow has him ( ) in stock at $130.

- CornerStoreComics has him in stock at $110.49.  They also should be receiving the 18" version from NECA very soon, as will Amazing Toyz.

Related Links -
If you're looking for Terminator product reviews, look no further:

- the last one I did was on the Sarah Conner sixth scale figure from Sideshow.

- then there's the guest review of the Hot Toys Kyle Reese, T-1000, the Kotobukiya TX, the Aoshima T-800 skeleton, Mcfarlane 12" Terminator 3, and the Hot Toys T-800.

- and for the fans of smaller figures, there's the T2 mini-figures

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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