Spider-Man 3
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 checking out Spidey tonight! I hit this guy up here, but now Jeff adds in with his thoughts - take it away, Jeff!

Us geeks all tend to have our thang, the one character that kind of defines us from an early age. And though I never developed super powers I did share a surname with the forever misunderstood adolescent hero Peter Parker. But that was just a bonus, because as a kid whose most formative years were the 1970’s, he was my favoured super hero. Yeah, I loved all the other classics from both Marvel and DC, but Spidey was just different… he was mine!

For a start all other super heroes were adults. Kids or teenagers were only ever seen as sidekicks or hangers on, but Spidey was a kid, well Peter Parker was a teenager, something I aspired to be. Adults’ were/are just grey beings who made everything boring… without even trying. And he was always struggling with his real world duties and commitments while trying to keep a New York state of mind, and protecting the metropolis from the clutches of a whole horde of super-villains. Then add to the fact that he had just about the coolest outfit. Minimal, but striking, and you had my childhood hero!

And so it is that to this day Spidey has remained a firm favourite. Over the years I must have collected hundreds of figures, some lost to the mists of time but some still in my possession. Even the desk in my studio looks like a small shrine to this day, and I have a small Spidey corner in my dinning room like this as well. I guess what I’m trying to point out is that with my love of all things Spider-Man, coupled with my love of Hot Toys figures, my expectations were riding pretty high for this to turn out well.

So after what seemed like an interminable wait I finally got him a couple of months ago, but Mike had his review up so quickly I decided to sit on it for a while and just savour him. Give myself time to get a real feeling for what I liked and disliked about him. And I’m pleased to report there is very little that I actually disliked at all!

I’ve enjoyed the Sam Raimi movies, but have to admit that the third one was a HUGE disappointment for me. Spidey 2 was almost perfect and the first movie was solid, but boy was part 3 a mess. We all know that Raimi didn’t want to feature Venom, but was pressurised into it by Sony… and sadly it shows big time! That’s not to say I had a problem with any of the character designs, as that was all note perfect… so perhaps the less I say about the actual movie the better.

The good news is that the Spidey costume was virtually identical (apart from a little battle damage here and there) throughout the movies. So if you liked ANY of them, or were just a dyed-in-the-wool web-head (the type that existed before the internet) then this might just be the figure you are looking for!

Packaging - ****
I love this box. I’m often enthusiastic about Hot Tots graphic design, but boy do I love this box!

It once again follows the now classic construction of all the Hot Toys Marvel boxes that have come before, from Wolverine right up to the oversized version for the Ghost Rider and Hell-cycle.

So it’s a lift off lid, the top half being made to look as if the chest area of the suit has been stretched taut over it. The spider icon is a separate matte black 3D die-cut piece stuck onto the front, and the rest of the top half has a rather nifty blind varnished honeycombed pattern to really make the mesh like appearance of the suit stand out. Over this is a slightly embossed matrix of the iconic webbing design that we all know and love. The rear has an image of the figure alongside a full list of the production credits (letting us know this beauty was crafted by TF Wong and Monster Jnr), and once the lid is removed you will discover a full colour card overlay with both an image of the figure and a brief biography.

Inside Spidey is held between three vac formed layers of plastic, alongside his accessories, in a completely 100% collector friendly package… I LOVE THIS BOX!

Sculpting - ****
There’s not actually a whole lot sculpted here… well, not in the traditional sense of a detailed character head anyway! What we do get is fine selection of ten hands consisting of -

- 2 fists
- 2 relaxed
- 2 fingers splayed
- 2 web slinging (‘El Diablo’ stylee)
- 2 web swinging grip

There are also the various webs and the ‘stonework’ plinth, but I’ll cover those in accessories. All the hands are obviously specific to Spidey because of the raised webbing design of his implied gloves, but also because of the character specific poses they are in. I found they swapped over fine and worked well for all the classic iconic poses you could want.

The head beneath the mask has minimal detailing and just follows a generic head-shape. The raised bump for the nose works well in pushing the mask forward enough to look convincing beneath the webbing, I do however feel the chin could have been given a little more definition. In many poses it works fine, for example looking up, or if the head is pushed forward. But when just standing in a neutral pose, with the head in a relaxed position, it can be a little weak from some angles. I don’t think it needs a full ‘Desperate Dan/Bruce Campbell’ extreme protuberance, but a couple of millimetres more could have added even more to his posing potential.

However, it is kind of me wishing for something between what I want from a classic comic Spidey and what we saw on screen. As lets face it, it wasn’t actually that well defined in the movie, as can be seen both here  and indeed here. So I guess the answer for me is just to find a pose where the neck juts forward and the chin is slightly raised… and let’s face it, there are plenty of poses like that!

So, not a lot of sculpting, but what we do get is actually pretty faultless when compared to what we saw in the movie, and I have to admit I like this figure a little more every time I pick him up and repose him, it’s a hugely tactile figure to play with!

Paint - ****
Because of the lack of a portrait head sculpt the paint is also pretty minimal. But again they make sure we get some stunningly observed superfine detailing. First up are the iconic lenses on the suit (which I think I’m right in thinking were developed by Oakley for the movie worn costume), they have the black frame and the white/silver matrix effect beneath the polished smooth lens. These are handled nicely, nay perfectly and the texturing of the mesh is beautifully realised for the scale.

However the thing that actually made me sit up and look is the work on the hands. Of course they have picked out the webbing, and yes of course it is super accurate with no slop, but the amazing detail is the micro ‘honeycombed’ mesh design that covers the whole of the surface. How many companies would have gone that far… not many, I can assure you!

The application here is of course mechanical, but it is also faultless… This tiny detail alone deserves the highest of accolades… well to me anyway!

The plinth is also given a stone effect paint job, but I’ll cover that in accessories.

Articulation ***1/2
Under that skin-tight all in one is a classic True-Type, and we all know how versatile and poseable that is! However as I mentioned in the outfit section, the ‘potentially’ fragile nature of the fabrication does mean you should exercise caution when attempting any of the more extreme or deep stances. That said, I did put him through his paces; after all, what’s the point of having Spidey if you can’t pose him?

I found that the suits webbing was hardier than you might fear and I had no problem getting him into the poses for the photos you see here. Of course I have no way of knowing how it will fare should I pose him repeatedly for months on end, or how the passage of time will impact on the materials it has been made of, but right now it looks great and seems to be holding up perfectly… it is however very early days!

So in a nutshell, the only restrictions are from the outfit, and even then it’s more to do with me not wanting to push the figure to his limits rather than the outfit hampering his actual ability to strike a pose. And as such he gets about as close to perfect as I could realistically expect. And trust me, with care, you’ll have a ball getting this guy into just the right pose for your display.

Outfit - ****+
Spidey was and indeed ‘is’ all about getting the suit right! As I mentioned above I have collected a lot of Spider-Man figures over the years, with a special eye on the 1/6th variety. I did however never bother with the Medicom ones from Spiderman 3; I just thought they were plain ugly! I loved the comic version they made (I own 2) but the pleather clad ‘shiny’ gimp Spidey was never going be troubling my collection.

So when I first saw the Hot Toys proto pics of this version my heart did skip a rather massive beat. Of course I’m not stupid and I could see there was room for improvement… most notably those distressing rubber boots. But the actual outfit looked like the ‘classic’ one I had always been waiting for.

But then fast forward to the figure I now hold in my grubby mitts and even the boots have been re-designed and tailored to be a completely fabric and rubber mesh construction… That’s why we love you Hot Toys!

I mean, seriously, I never thought it could… let alone would be executed this exceptionally at 1/6th scale. The whole body-glove fits tightly and snugly to the base True-Type, and the seams and edging are almost invisible to all but the most scrutinous of eagle eyes. Both the red and blue areas have the tiny honeycomb effect running over the entire surface, and the raised silicone/webbing is just a marvel to behold (pun intended). Both the black and the red spider icons on the chest and back respectively are raised-relief ‘stuck-on’ items, but they are welded fast to the fabric, in much the same way as the webbing. I don’t how they did it… but they freakin did it!

Of course this is just me waxing lyrical about the figure of a character I have loved since childhood, so maybe I’m seeing it through rose tinted specs, but I don’t think I am… this really is rather special.

But keeping it real, I would imagine the main concern for most of us is just how long is that webbing mesh on the suit going to last… and for now I can’t answer that! But after posing this figure repeatedly over the last few weeks there is no sign of any problems developing yet, and I haven’t held back in my choice of poses!

Whenever pertinent, I always like to name the creative people that are responsible for the product we end up with, and on this occasion I think it’s fair to say that Lim Young Jin and his team are the most important people in getting this to look just right. He also helped developed the skin-tight stealth suit that came with the Bruce Lee DX04, so I guess when Hot Toys need skin tight, he’s the ‘go to guy’, and here he has shown some truly exceptional work.

All I can say is that as of this moment, I hold in my hands a more accurate 1/6th scale facsimile of the movie worn costume than I ever thought I would own. And that has just got to be praised to the high heavens!


Accessories - ***
To start with there are lots of hands, which I pretty much covered above. Then there are the webs, which are of course essential for the red and blue guy, and luckily we do get a comprehensive selection.
Consisting of-

- 1 long shooting web with ‘umbrella’ end.
- 2 medium classic shooting webs
- 2 long swinging web ropes
- 2 short web rope ends

I found attaching all of them to be reasonably straight forward and all worked well in conjunction with the relevant hands. The shooting webs have disks/washers that fit between the hand and end of the wrist by simply putting the peg through them, and the swinging webs have narrow tips that simply push into small pre-made holes in the ‘swing-grip’ hands.

The one item I’m not hugely keen on is the stonework plinth, modelled to look like some semi-gothic out-cropping from a New York tall building. I mean, it’s OK, but the sculpting is a little non-descript and under-defined which is exacerbated by a dull generic paint app. I think it’s meant to mimic this image, and in all fairness it does its job insomuch as it’s a nice little bonus, but it doesn’t truly inspire any great feelings of worth and I certainly won’t be using it as a display piece!

The biggest omission for many was the lack of a Peter Parker head sculpt, but for this version it really was an unrealistic expectation. The reason being, that Hot Toys went all out to do a complete fabric costume. Something that no mass-produced manufacturer has ever pulled off before! And in doing that (and doing it well) they ended up with a situation where the suit is a one piece garment that the figure is physically sewn into… so there is no way you could use the head anyway.

That’s not to say I’m not hoping for a variation in the future, perhaps a battle damaged or a DX version, but for now I can see why we didn’t get one. And I’d personally much rather have this state of the art interpretation pushing what Hot Toys can do with 1/6th tailoring, rather than a half-baked compromise purely so we could swap over the heads.

Fun Factor - ****
I love Spidey, have done for a long, long time, so for me this is without a doubt the best articulated version of the character ever! I love the old Toy Biz 18” super-poseable version that came out with Spiderman 2. I even have 2 of them as well, one for work and one for home (yes I went through the pain of removing him twice from the packaging… anyone out there who owns one will probably still have nightmarish ‘flashbacks’ of the two billion twisty-ties they used). And yes he does pose like a dream… but he has two things against him

1- He’s 18” not 12”… 1/6th beats scale like rock blunts scissors or paper wraps stone- FACT!

2- He’s sculpted. No fabric outfit!

Meaning this new version of Spider-Man takes the crown…YES!

Of course if this did end up in the hands of a junior web-head, he’s gonna look like crap in a matter of hours. But in the hands of an adult Spidey fan, he will put a mile wide grin on your face.

Value for money - ***1/2
At $150 he’s at what is increasingly seen as the low end of high-end prices, well, for Hot Toys anyway. True, it doesn’t come with what at first might appear a great haul of accessories, but what we do get is pertinent to this character.

However you can see where all the money has been spent here, and it is on the R&D for that amazing outfit. I defy anyone to fully appreciate just how well executed this is, and how competently this complex outfit has been made to look at this scale, without actually having it in your hands. So at $150 it’s hard to give a full score… but I was sorely tempted.

If Hot Toys do get round to an improved version further down the line that’ll be an even bigger bonus for us web-heads. However, if this turns out to be the truest and most faithful ‘fully fabric’ interpretation of the classic outfit they make, unencumbered by visible joints, or a need for any awkward head swaps. Then there’s a chance this just might end up being a much sought after grail piece by many people… of course it might not. But what ever the outcome I am oh so glad I have it in my collection right now.

Overall- ****
It is arguable that he is not 110% perfect. But with my fears allayed (based on the photos that were shown of the prototype figure) I am completely knocked out by this figure. I know we are in heady times for 1/6th collectors, with so many cool new figures coming, not only from Hot Toys but a whole raft of new companies that have an eye on their crown. But with this single figure (that may look simple to the uninitiated) they have once again thrown down a gauntlet that will be difficult to challenge!

Here we have a fabric dressed 1/6th facsimile of the screen seen superhero. The suit is an absolute work of art, the poseability is better than I feared and even though I would have liked a Maguire head sculpt, I can see why we didn’t get one and we still have a fair amount of accessories anyway.

If Hot Toys do manage to better this with a DX in the future I will be orgasmic… but I’m ecstatic as it is! And I know there’s stiff competition… but this is probably gonna be my favourite figure of the year, all kinds of AMAZING Spider-Man!

Where to buy
Sideshow did have this up for the RRP of $149.99, and of course even at that price he sold out quicker than the proverbial streak of light.  Many of Mike’s sponsors did carry it, but all have now gone, so I’m sorry to say your best option is probably eBay, where prices range between $190 to $350.

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

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