Review of War Machine - Iron Man 2
Sixth Scale Action Figure
Date Published: 2010-11-03
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 4
out of 4
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I recently re-watched Iron Man 2, upon its release on Blu-ray. Sadly, the movie doesn't hold up well to repeat viewings, and
I found it far less engaging the second time around. Still, there's some great looking characters in the movie, many of which
have already gotten sixth scale representation from Hot Toys.
They continue to crank out the exceptional figures for the Iron Man license, and 20 years from now it just might be considered
their high point, at least from an overall body of work. The complexity of the various Iron Man outfits and their willingness
to give us a broader range of characters has been a hallmark for this license.
The latest release is War Machine, based on his appearance in Iron Man 2 of course. Much like the Arnie T-800 from Terminator,
this figure sold out at most locations as soon as it was announced several months ago, an indication that collectors know just
how good a figure like this will be well in advance. Hot Toys has built the type of reputation that can sell out a product,
especially one based on a well loved character or a particularly complex uniform, long before it ever ships. That's great for
them, but it makes things tricky for collectors.
It used to be possible to do a 'wait and see', a popular choice for collectors considering the high price tag on Hot Toys
items. That's becoming less and less possible, but at least the risk of getting a poorly executed production figure has also
War Machine is sold out at most retailers, especially at those where he was $160 or so. Some retailers still have
available pre-orders (this figure is *just* starting to ship internationally, so US domestic retailers will be a bit later),
but the price is higher, more in the $170 - $180 range.
Packaging - ****
Nothing to complain about here, that's for sure. The shiny, gun metal exterior sleeve looks good and is sturdy enough to last.
Inside is a fairly basic window box, which contains the single plastic tray and plastic cover. Everything is safely stored and
entirely collector friendly.
One of the nice features this time around is the inclusion of fairly detailed instructions. They are still a little confusing
at times, but the combination of text and photos works pretty well.
Sculpting - ****
The most crucial aspect of this figure is the armor, and they've hit another home run. The sheer level of detail is simply
Some areas are completely smooth, like the face plate. Others, like the rest of the helmet, have a slight texture, similar to
what an iron alloy might have. This mix of textures gives the figure a more realistic appearance, as though multiple metals
where used in the manufacture.
The sculpt is also very sharp and clean, giving the overall impression of machined parts. Everything comes together tightly,
and the various moving pieces all have enough clearance to open and close cleanly.
There are a few inconsistencies in the details. The cannons on his shoulders, when hidden, seem to ride up higher than they
did in the film. The barrel of the Gatling gun looks a tad different. There are a number of these minor issues that a side by
side photo comparison can reveal, but without getting into that much detail, you'll be extremely happy with the final result.
The other major sculpting element is the secondary head, with removable faceplate. The faceplate attaches to the helmet with
strong magnets, and can remain in place either covering his face or sitting above on his forehead. In the photo of the
portrait, I removed it entirely so you could see the face clearly, but in the first large photo you'll see it in place as
you'd normally display it. It stays there pretty well, and looks quite good. In fact, I'll be using this version as my
permanent display option, because the light up eyes aren't as critical to me.
Is it a perfect movie Rhodes? I don't think so. It's a bit better than some of the Tony Stark portraits that Hot Toys has
done, but not quite at the level of their best work. Something seems off about the nose in particular. But like all their
work, it's a tremendously realistic sculpt with skin texturing, finely detailed eyebrows, and almost living eyes.
BTW, other than the light up feature there is nothing discernible between the two helmets. With the faceplate in place and
the chin guard raised, the two helmets look identical.
Paint - ****
There are two main aspects to the paint work on this figure - the gun metal appearance of the overall uniform, and the work on
the exposed face of Rhodey.
As you'd expect, the paint work is some of the most realistic you'll ever see in this scale. The eyes are tremendously
lifelike, with an even, straight upward gaze. The skin tone is perfect, and the lips and eyebrows are so real someone could
easily mistake a photo of this figure for a real person.
The armor has a more mechanical look, as expected. There are varying shades of gray, and even some slight wear. Nothing is
over done - just a scuff here or there - but it gives the suit a lived in look.
There's a few spots of color here and there, and some of the small tampo-style details you expect in this style of figure.
Everything exudes the same level of care and attention that you've come to assume from Hot Toys.
Articulation - ****
The engineering work that goes into the Hot Toys Iron Man suits and Terminator endoskeletons is truly remarkable. Once again,
they've created a fully functioning figure with a good range of movement, and done it without sacrificing the appearance of
The neck is a traditional ball joint, but the armor/cannons on his shoulders tend to reduce mobility. The two heads swap
easily enough. The ball jointed shoulders and hips work quite well, especially the hips, where there's a much greater range of
movement than I expected. There's single pin elbows and double pin knees as well, and the ball jointed wrists allow for good
movement and easy swapping of the hands.
The feet have a complex set of joints that allow for both forward and backward movement as well as side to side tilting. The
plate over the foot is also jointed, and there's a half foot pin joint as well, giving the foot a much greater range of
movement. He can take a fairly deep stance and yet keep both flat feet on the ground.
There's also a torso joint just above the mid-section that allows him to turn and tilt slightly. The one joint that's missing
that is most noticeable is the swivel bicep or swivel elbow. Without that joint, you can't bring the hands across the front of
There are other jointed or articulated aspects of the armor: the opening and rotating grenade launchers, the folding guns,
the jet exhausts that open on his back and calves, the armor covers on his feet, shoulders and wrists, and even the moving
lower jaw on the helmet with the removable faceplate. Add in the articulation on the Gatling gun and the articulated fingers
on the one set of hands (more about that in the next section), and you've got quite a bit of posing potential.
Some of the joints are a bit restricted by the armor, but far less than you'd anticipate. Hot Toys does a great job of
melding the sculpt and articulation together in a very workable and functional design.
Accessories - ****
War Machine doesn't have a lot of extras that you won't be including in his standard look, but everything that's here makes
sense and applies to the character in the movie in a very specific way.
As is usual with a Hot Toys figure, there's plenty of extra hands. He comes wearing standard fists, and these are the only
hands without a clear plastic palm, effectively blocking their ability to shine.
There are two additional sets in blast poses - slightly curled fingers and splayed fingers. These also work great in just
about any relaxed stance.
Just to make sure you're completely covered for any possibility, there's another set of hands that appear splayed on first
glance. The are the top set in my photo of the group of hands. In fact, these hands have individually articulated fingers -
the fingers have three joints each, while the thumb has two. Hot Toys took advantage of the mechanical nature of the character
to produce the coolest articulated hands I've ever seen. They take perfect, natural poses, and the joints are extremely sturdy
and solid - and the palms light up too! It doesn't matter if he's blasting someone, holding a fist, or just flipping off Tony,
these hands can do just about anything and do it well. As far as I'm concerned, I'll be popping these hands on and keeping
them there permanently, as there's no need to swap to the others as long as you're willing to take the time to pose them.
I already mentioned both the helmeted and open visor portraits in the previous sections. I'll be using the version that can
open, since the light up eyes aren't that critical of a feature for me. Of course, your mileage may vary.
War Machine requires weapons to be an actual war machine, and he's got them. There's the Gatling gun that attaches to his
back, complete with ammo. The gun can rest over either shoulder, and the mount slides across the back of his shoulders for
positioning. The softer ammo strip attaches to the gun and to the center of his back as well, but this connection tends to
come loose. It was one of only two annoyances I had as I was working with the figure.
The second annoyance deals with the guns that attach to the back of his forearms. These look great in place, and fold up out
of the way surprisingly well. Folded up, they also hide the small on/off switches for the hands. However, they tend to fall
off their posts, and while I hesitate to glue them in place, it might come to that. I tried attaching them on either side (the
actual correct way is to have the yellow stripe facing down when folded up, or facing in toward his body when folded down),
but neither way worked better than the other.
Loaded up with these three weapons, he's an impressive looking opponent. But wait - he also comes with the 'ex-wife'!
This small missile fits inside a launcher (but doesn't actually launch - ah, the irony!) hidden in the left shoulder cannon.
There's also the usual display stand, although there's no reason you have to use it unless you're going for a flying pose.
Finally, they've included a 'function stick'. Yea, that's what I thought too. This is a little plastic standard screw driver
that can be used to open the battery compartment, as well as pry up the various closed sections of his armor, like the
shoulder launchers and the thrusters on his back. Before attempting, read the instructions carefully.
Light Feature - ***
The light feature that existed in all the previous Iron Man figures is once again present, but with a slight twist.
The eyes, chest and hands all light up, as you'd expect. The eyes are red, while the hands and chest are the traditional
bright blue. The blue LED's are much brighter than the red, due in part to the way our eyes discern red and blue. I shot
a photo in the dark with one hand up and all three lit to show the difference in brightness.
Unlike past releases though, all three have their own individual switches. Because there are two hands, that means four
switches in all. They are very tiny, and I found that fat fingers won't do. You'll need something small (the function stick!)
to push them easily.
The switch for the head is located just below the neckline, while the two switches for the hands are underneath the forearms,
hidden by the folded guns. The final switch for the chest is on the upper back. There are corresponding plastic dams that you
need to remove in all four spots to allow the batteries to connect. And yes, the batteries are all included.
Swapping the batteries is probably going to be a bit tricky, even with the handy function stick. I like the separate
switches, since it gives you the greatest control over which of the four lights are on at any one time. But the red eyes don't
do a lot for me, and I'll be using the second removable faceplate head for the most part.
With some past figures, especially in the Terminator series, there's noticeable dimming of the lights after only a few
seconds of being on. I didn't see that issue here, although with the eyes it's harder to tell. There was also no light bleed
around the neck or wrists.
Outfit - N/A
While he's technically wearing an outfit, this has already been covered already as part of the Sculpting and Paint.
Fun Factor - ***1/2
With the sturdy construction, you COULD give this to a 10 - 12 year old fan. They would still have to respect the cost of the
item of course, and banging it against the wall would be a no-no, but this is as close to a 'toy' as Hot Toys ever gets.
And for the adult collector who loves to pose their figures? This guy is great fun, with a butt load of accessories and
decent articulation to accentuate their imagination.
Value - **1/2
Hard to believe a $160 figure (or more, depending on the retailer) can get an average value score, but considering the
engineering that goes into these, I think it's actually a fair price. Through in the multitude of hands (including the very
cool articulated set), the light up feature AND the second portrait, and I'm satisfied with the price.
Things to Watch Out For -
They've given you much more detailed instructions than usual - use them. Some of the various armor plates can be a bit tricky
to work with, and nothing has to be forced if you do it right.
Overall - ****
When it comes to the best line of the year, it's going to be hard to pick anything other than Hot Toys Iron Man series. With
almost a half dozen figures released, and most of them NOT Iron Man or Tony Stark, Hot Toys really expanded the series in
2010. And with War Machine, they're going out on quite a high.
This figure is also going to be tough to beat for best 12 - 18" male - he's that good. There's stiff competition this year,
but it's hard to overlook the sheer engineering brilliance that it requires to bring something like this to life.
Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - N/A
Light Up Feature - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ****
Where to Buy
Online options include these site sponsors:
has him on pre-order for $170.
has him on pre-order for $175.
- or you can search
ebay for a deal.
Related Links -
I've covered many of the various Iron man goodies -
- most recent was the Hot Toys Black Widow.
- the previous release was just a few weeks earlier: Whiplash.
- prior to that, I looked at the Mark III figure, Mark II figure, Mark
I figure, and additional Tony Stark men's suit.
There are also guest reviews of the Battle Damaged Iron
Man and Mech Suit Tony Stark.
Other Iron Man products include:
- Kotobukiya did a nice Mark IV statue.
- I got a great Sideshow 1:1 Iron Man bust, but lots
of other folks got ones with serious paint issues.
- if you're looking for something on the cheaper and smaller side, check out the 3 3/4" Marvel
Universe Iron Man, the 6" movie figures, or the
12" Repulsor Iron Man.
- Marvel Legends has had it's share of Iron Man version, including the Silver
Centurion in series 7, vs. Mandarin in the Face
Offs, the classic version in series 1 (Toybiz), and
the series 1 (Hasbro) Ultimate Iron Man.
- in the Marvel Select line, there's the Ultimate Iron
- and if you're looking for funky, there's always the Hot
Toys Iron Man cosbabies.
You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case
any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.
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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.