Terminator T-600, T-700, T-700 Diorama
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."

Earlier this week, I checked out the new T-600 and John Connor figures from Hot Toys. Tonight, guest reviewer extraordinairre checks out the T-600 along with the T-700 and T-700 Diorama - take it away, Jeff!

A big thank you to the man who makes all this possible… well, I mean, without him where would we get our ‘thrice’ weekly fix of toy related goodness?

I’ve been meaning to get onto a Terminator: Salvation (T: S) figure review for some time, but those infernal toy companies have been hitting us with such cool figures lately (especially Hoy Toys themselves) that I’ve pushed them back a couple of times. However with the very cool John Connor and Marcus Wright just around the corner, I decided it was time to sit my ass down and take a close look at the T: S Endo’s I have so far.

It seems like quite a while since I actually saw the movie, and as it was back at the beginning of June some of the details have begun to fade from my memory already… those senior brain cells ain’t what they used to be, but my over riding memory was that I enjoyed it!
Not hugely, and it certainly didn’t ‘rock my world’, but it had some cool set pieces, McG wasn’t as bad a director as I feared (this is a very veiled compliment), Sam Worthington stole the show as Christian Bale continued his earnest frowning, angst ridden shouty acting that seems to have endured him to so many fan boy hearts, and of course Arnie made a cameo, all be it in CGI form, as a naked rampaging T800.

But at the end of the day, what would any Terminator movie be without a whole bunch of hot Endoskeleton action?

So what ever your thoughts are on the quality of the movies story (especially when placed within the whole of the Terminators ever more complicated and convoluted time line), you still just had to love seeing marauding armies of Endoskeletons doing what they do best… terminating, or at least attempting to!

Hot Toys have already proved to us they had what it takes to make a super detailed and articulated Endoskeleton with the quite simply amazing T-800 that they gave us a couple of years ago, and to be fair there is a lot of re-use here on the T-700. In fact it’s worth pointing out here that there seems to be some contention on the whole place the T-700 actually does or does not frequent within the Terminator universe. It would seem to me that for some reason the T-700 concept was carried right through the movies genesis and production until the last minute when at the eleventh hour it was decided to make them T-800’s, all be it with a more roughly hewn finish.

It would also seem that both Hot Toys and Playmates had already manufactured the figures, printed the packaging and put their advertising in place by the time the T-700 idea had been dropped from the movie, so the argument of just what a T-700 is, seems to be one that will continue for some time.

The T-600 is however not in contention… well I say that, it might not be exactly as you imagined it from Reece’s description in the original movie, but it’s still a mean looking hunk of steel and pistons carrying enough firepower to destroy a small country, so what’s not to like?

Packaging - ****
Walter Gropius said that great beauty came from effective design. He meant you shouldn’t need to cover a thing in hearts and flowers, as these kinds of adornments just detract from the aesthetic of design purity. If a thing is designed in a clean unfussy way, to do the job for which it was intended, then it’s beauty should come from that, and that alone (that’s not to say I don’t like a little Art Nouveau flourish here and there myself, but you know what I’m getting at).

These boxes make me think of this principal, admittedly they have some industrial styling to give them some visual interest, but they still manage to be unfussy and answer the brief of what these figures really need for their packaging, whilst simultaneously managing to have a secondary use.

By their very nature all the Endo’s are fragile, with their working pistons and multiple tiny working joints, they demand a box that gives them premium protection, and what could be better that Styrofoam with it’s ability to absorb high-impact bangs and crashes. So HT have designed a bespoke Styrofoam case for each individual character that completely surrounds the figure with all their accessories in a very secure manner, but instead of just making it out of the usual soft white variety and concealing it within a cardboard sarcophagus they have designed it to be an intrinsic part of the packaging.

The outside is constructed to look like it’s been cast from a solid lump of gun-metal with the Terminator logo and character name machined into it. Over this is a full colour sleeve to hold everything shut, this isn’t a full sleeve as used on the other MMS figures, but is more of a wide band with a larger panel on the back. This gives HT an area to carry some detailed images of the contents and more clearly differentiate the figures when on the shelf, be it in your collection or a shop.

The other aspect I loved about these was that once opened the empty cases make for a great back-drops for either photography or display, and as the whole of the T: S range is carrying the same design, once you’ve built up a few figures in your collection, you can make a whole wall of the boxes!

Sculpting - ****
I have already sited mine and Michaels earlier T-800 Endoskeleton reviews, and in all fairness a lot of aspects on the two T-700 figures are very similar to this. The main difference being the deliberate rough finish and darker colouring. So I’ll point out where things differ, but for a good low-down on the T-700’s basic construction I’d advise reading both mine and Michael’s reviews for a more comprehensive understanding of just how detailed these things are.
So once you’ve read either of those there really isn’t anything to add to the straight T-700, other than it does have that rough, slightly pitted texture, making him look like a slightly less finished version of the T-800, more cast iron as opposed to polished steel, or at least like it’s due a visit to the chroming and finishing shop.
The basic body parts of the Factory T-700 dio are also lifted straight from the full figure, but it is basically just the upper torso and head. These parts are attached to a very industrial looking manufacturing frame, not dissimilar to the kind of thing you’d find in a large automated car manufacturing plant (if any are still running). There is a little simple construction needed on this dio, but you’ll have it together in the blink of an eye. The model itself is constructed of two very detailed pieces, being the base which just mimics the flat steel casing of an industrial machine, whilst the other part is the top of the rig, it looks like the kind of thing that would be held on an overhead conveyer belt, hence a third part, which is a clear Perspex tubular arm that slots into both parts to give the illusion of the top part just floating in mid air. This is also disguised by a mass of black wires that join the two sections together.

This top part is a yellow D shaped rig with a number of spoked arms aiming in towards the half constructed Endo’s spine, it has rows of buttons and lights that closely resemble the kinds of controls I remember from the industrial lathes and drills I used when studying metal engineering at school, it also has just the right amount of ‘intended’ grime to look well used. 

The half constructed Endo is mostly from the same moulds as the full figure T-700, but lacks some of the cables that link it to the head and arms, but as this doesn’t have any arms, and is part of a production line in an unfinished state, this all looks just about right. 

Chronologically the T-600 is obviously meant to be an earlier model, so whilst the T-700/800 is designed to mimic the human skeleton with very human proportions and a skull that also approximates that of an adult male, the T-600 seems to have been designed with the raison d'etre of striking fear into those that see it. So like Mr Potato head he’s packing his angry eyes and a build that makes Arnie look like a weenie teenager.

From a distance, without too many points of reference to give away it’s scale, and if it was wearing one of those ‘Michael Myers’ style rubber face masks it seems to favour, in addition to a good covering of oversized clothes, then you might… just might mistake one of these for a man.

However once you got within striking distance it would become painfully apparent that this guy is very far from human. The figure measures a smidge under 14” high, meaning he’d be about 6’10”ish in the real world. Now I know plenty of people are this height, but they still tend to draw glances when strolling down the street. I myself am 6’ 4” and still get kind, observant people telling me ‘aren’t you tall’ (thank you so much, I had no idea!). So, what I’m saying is as an infiltration unit, it was obviously found wanting, and would need a redesign further down the line.
Once again Hot Toys attention to detail here is just breathtaking, although this is a bigger more lumbering version of his later, leaner brethren, he still packs tons of impressive sculpting and articulation. I would need to write a small novella to fully describe every piston and joint, but suffice to say it actually manages an even better range of movement than the T-700/800’s whilst keeping incredibly close to the detailing seen on screen. This is one of those figures where the articulation is intrinsically linked to the sculpting, and the sculptor has to have their mind on that articulation at every stage of its development, as the engineering is all important and has a huge influence on what needs to be sculpted and how it should interact with the pieces it joins to.

I’m glad to say they have pulled it off like a dream, because this thing is just covered in tons of tiny detailing, like the castings on his chest-plate, which continue on his thighs and shins. There’s also some beautifully observed texturing that changes from panel to panel. The head looks very close to the actual full size prop, the eye sockets might be a smidge too big, but it’ pretty damn close, in fact his face brings to mind a cross between Iron Maidens Eddie character and the old Ray Harryhausen skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts, the skull shape is squatter and rounder to the T-800 making him look slightly more Neanderthal, but it still carries lots of hi-tech detailing .
So, to some up all three are fantastically well observed, and only the most anal of pedants could find too much to fault!

Paint - T-700 ***1/2 the other two****
The paint work on all three here is as far as I’m concerned (virtually) without fault.

The dio’s D shaped frame is made of the same base yellow plastic as the stand on the T-700 full figure, and both have some impressive weathering and grime. Everything else, and I mean everything is painted in metallic hues, both the T-700’s have matching dark gun metal paint finishes with steel high lights on the eye sockets, sides of the head and teeth… well I take it that the teeth should all be painted, but my T-700 full figure seems to have eluded the artists brush on his bottom set, I’m sure this is an aberration but it still merits the loss of half a star.

The T-600 seems to have a much more involved paint job than the other Endo’s, he still has a major amount of the gun metal grey on show, but here he has a lot of the details picked out in steel with a dry brush on the raised areas and bronzy rust colours in the low-lying areas. His fore-arms and pistons are given emphasis by being a cleaner steel colour but the whole thing is tied together with some airbrushed grime and mimicked oil spots… all very, very nice!

Articulation  - T-700 dio**, T-700 ***1/2, T-600 ****
Well, the T-700 dio is little more than a statue, it’s intended as a background filler, all be it a very impressive one, you can however position the head and open the jaw, not to mention also being able to rotate the upper part on the supporting arm, but I think most people will display it just as intended, motionless, eyes front, awaiting completion and activation.

The T-700 proper is absolutely identical in construction to the T-800, so once again for the full 10-4 it’s time to read those older reviews linked above.

Now onto the T-600, he has every bit of articulation those models had (bar the moving toes) but is a far more ambitiously engineered figure than either the T-700 or T-800 in almost every other way.

He can get a much wider stride, even managing a full sitting position (though it’s hard to imagine one of these guys kicking back at home on his couch) and he has the ability to move his hips much more as they are on improved ball joints. His shoulders also have a far better range of movement as they can shift forwards, backwards and have the ability to shrug up and down, it’s also worth some close scrutiny here as the shoulders have some fantastic details that don’t even become apparent till you start moving the joints to show how all the mechanics work. The neck and head can move more freely as well, this is facilitated by the fact that although it still has the freely moving spring/cables it lacks the rigid long piston rods that attach the base of the T-700/800’s skull to their shoulders. I’m also greatly impressed by the spring-loaded ankle articulation, as it’s a nice tight firm joint but still manages to move in all directions on three moving pistons… very nice!

The only slight design flaw I can find is that the T-600 has a large Vulcan cannon hard mounted onto its right arm, this is chain fed from a large ammunition drum that he carries strapped to his back. To attach the back-pack you have to pass a couple of shoulder straps and a belt around the figure to hold it all in place, it’s a little fiddly, but nothing major. However once in place it means you can’t actually get to the button situated in the middle of his back to turn his eye’s on. Now, don’t panic just yet, as I’m sure most of us will be displaying him without the eyes lit up (at least not for extended periods), but I did find that if you have a nice thin palette knife (or a butter knife would do) you can just slide it up between the back-pack and figure to ‘click’ it on. So, not a disaster, but a slight oversight it must be said! 

This aside though, I’m hugely impressed with this figure. I did just intend on getting one T-600, but I’m so smitten I may have to get at least one more, as those rubber masked editions just look too cool to pass up!

Outfit - N/A 
Well, the T-600 has some cloth straps and padding for his back-pack, but none of these guys are suited or booted!

Accessories - T-700 dio zilch, T-700 *, T-600 ****
The T-700 dio has nothing, not a bean, now this isn’t such a big deal as it’s a dio, but the full figure T-700 really feels like he’s lacking some fire-power, admittedly he comes with a pretty cool stand made to mimic the factory flooring but…
A- I don’t use stands And B- He needs a gun… NO… HE REALLY NEEDS A GUN!

Now, if you have the earlier T-800 release you’ll know he came packing some impressive heat, so you can always borrow one his… if you have it!

If not, it’s time to pick up a meaty looking assault rifle or mini-gun from you local 1/6th military supplier. To be fair HT have made this figure markedly cheaper, as it floats around the $100 mark in most places, which is to be highly applauded… but he still needs a gun!

The T-600 however does not need a gun… he has a gun, and it’s a nice big one! 

Strapped to his right arm is a hard-mounted Vulcan mini-gun, it’s supremely detailed and is attached by means of rigid ring which is mounted towards the rear of the weapon, this slips over the forearm and once you find the snug position the handle can fit into the Endo’s hand by wrapping the articulated fingers ‘carefully’ around the grip, there’s also a webbing strap with a clip-fastening to give it some extra support. Emerging from the side of the gun is the chain fed ammo supply which sweeps round to fit into a slot at the top of the back mounted drum. This is pretty simple and boxy on this standard version, but the drum is attached to a frame, which in turn has the webbing straps attached. These pass over the front and fasten by means of 4 tiny plastic clips.

Once in place it looks pretty hard-core, and makes him an imposing addition to the Endo line up. Would I like him to have more weapons… does the Pope s**t in the woods, of course I would, but in the movie this seemed to be the only weapon of choice for the T-600 so it has to be a full score. He also comes with a figure stand and on this occasion it is in ‘kit’ form, so it needs ‘snapping’ together. Like the T-700 it is designed to look like factory flooring, but this time metallic grey/black instead of yellow.

For those of you who like to use stands (sadly I am not amongst your number) then it’s a great looking piece, certainly more attractive than the standard black ones and it’ll make sure he doesn’t take a shelf dive… which would doubtless be catastrophic if it were to happen, I did however get mine to stand, kneel and sit in loads of poses with no need to use it!

Fun Factor -  ***1/2
Well, I seem to report virtually the same thing in this section every time… these are NOT for kids, although they are surprisingly robust considering how finely observed and intricate they are, there is no getting away from the fact that they are supremely fragile… or at least they would be in the wrong hands… i.e. the hands of a child or clumsy oaf!
But, if you are an Endo loving adult collector with a good control of his/her basic motor functions then it’s all good!
The T-700 dio offers little actual ‘play value’ but as none of these are really meant to be played with in the first place, that’s almost a moot point! 

The T-700 has a lot more potential for ‘play’ and would have got a full score… but where’s that gun?

However the T-600 has everything he needs to get you lying flat on your belly on your lounge carpet making your best machine gun noises and screaming ‘DIE JOHN CONNOR DIE, DIE!’… Well I did say they are not ‘meant, to be played with… I didn’t say you couldn’t!

Value - ***
All three of these were available from Sideshow with an RRP of-
T-700 dio- $79.99
T-700 figure- $119.99
T-600 figure- $169.99

Or an exclusive T-600 version with a rather suspect ‘environment’ base/stand for $179.99.

Now these are the ‘official’ prices, but with a little detective work you should find them for a bit less. I did ponder this score for a while, but was pretty happy that one size fitted all. 

Why? Well the dio has some re-use but is still a largely unique piece with some cool light up features. The T-700 is virtually faultless… (Except for the paint on the lower teeth on mine), and… WHERE’S THAT GUN? 

And lastly the T-600, I love this figure far more than I expected, the sculpting and engineering combine to make a fantastically articulated figure that’s a bit like the IRON MAN MK1 in so much as it can’t be fully appreciated until you actually have it in hand, he also come with a kick ass gun… but there is no getting away from the fact that $170 is a lot of moolah to lay down, what ever language you speak. However, like the MK 1 there is so much fantastic engineering and detail here that it only merits losing one star, well for me anyway, and at this price that’s saying something!

Light up Feature - ****
The dio has a row of 6 lights on the top rig and of course his eyes, the two full figures also have the light up eyes. All are bright, and so far my batteries are holding out well. I don’t know how expensive replacement batteries are in the US but here in the UK every ‘pound shop’ or ‘pound stretcher’ seems to sell large multi packs with a good selection for… you guessed it 1.

The dio has a button on the front below the torso while the two full figs have them on their backs. As I said above this can prove tricky to activate on the T-600 when he has the ammo drum strapped to his back… tricky, but far from impossible!

Overall - ***1/2
These are three fantastic representations of the Endoskeletons seen in the movie. All are highly detailed, well painted with two of them having some fantastic articulation, and for the prices they are selling for they seem very fair… well fair in the greater scheme of things, taking into account how much other hi-end figures cost these days. The dio really is more for your hard core fans and collectors, making a nice addition for your display, whilst the T-700 Endo is a fantastic representation, it also seems to serve as a way of letting people who missed out on the original T-800 to finally get their hands on the next best thing.

But the T-600 is a totally new creation, and HT are set to release it in a number of variations, but looking at the amount of R&D that went into him, I can’t blame them at all!

So what’s holding these back from a full score, well nothing huge, the dio lacks that fun element, the T-700… NEEDS A GUN and the T-600 is a bit on the expensive side, but as I said above, looking at how well it’s been engineered and produced it’s certainly not extortionate, and all three are ‘near’ perfect.

Scoring Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - T-700 ***1/2 the other two****
Articulation - T-700 dio**, T-700 ***1/2, T-600 ****
Accessories - T-700 dio zilch, T-700 *, T-600 ****
Outfit - N/A
Fun Factor - T-700 dio **1/2, T-700 ***1/2, T-600 ****
Value - ***
Light up Feature - ****
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
As I said above Sideshow did stock these at the prices listed, but all have sold out… but all is not lost, there’s still eBay or you can try some of Michael’s sponsors below:

Alter Ego Comics
Has the T-600 for $152.99

Urban Collector
Has the T-600 for $179.99 and the signature edition, concept T-600 for $168.99.

Or you might even find a bargain on eBay.

Figures from the collection of Jeff Parker

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