Iron Man 2 - Iron Man Mark VI and War Machine Busts
Hot Toys

Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by 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."

Time for some more Iron Man goodness - Jeff is checking out their latest busts. Take it away, Jeff!

Thank you as always to the irrepressible and inimitable Mr. Crawford.

Investing in a license for a movie franchise before the movie has been shown is a little like playing Poker. So it’s all about balance and playing your hand as wisely as you can. And luckily for Hot Toys they’ve shown themselves to be nothing short of card sharks under the guidance of Howard Chan, for every Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans, there is an Iron Man and Bat Man to off set that balance, and lets face it, what gambler remembers the losses… let the good times roll.

And so with IMDB telling us that Iron Man 3 isn’t due till 2012 at the earliest, that gives Hot Toys a chance to take their time over whatever releases they still plan to give us from Iron Man 2… if any!

As far as 1/6th goes, then a limited re-release of the MKII with a Rhodey face sculpt would be an easy option, and I’m pretty sure a mech-suited Whiplash would make a few fans very happy indeed. I myself have said I’d love to see at least one variation of the Hammer Drone done as well.

However, before I get ahead of myself, we haven’t even been 100% promised a version of my favourite suit from the movie yet, namely the portable suitcase MK V, surely one is in the works, maybe even a DX with a Tony Stark racing driver kit and an opening articulated briefcase… well I can wish!

We do however know that a bust is coming soon of the MK V suit, so we are guaranteed at least one version of it as a collectible. I reviewed the first Hot Toys Iron Man 2 bust of the MK IV here and now I have the War Machine and limited convention release of the MK VI to look over.

I admit I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof waiting to get hold of my 1/6th War Machine (jeez, those early in-hand pics do look impressive), but till then I shall have to content myself with these, are they up to the job?
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys

Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***1/2
Following the lead of the first IM2 bust this comes in a good sturdy cardboard box with die-cut windows on the front (that make me think of Transformers) and 2 smaller ones on the sides so you can get a good look at the contents, both also have a full colour photos of the busts on the back, oh and the MK VI has metallic silver edging around all the windows, it’s the only one to have this feature so far, so it seems to be there to differentiate it as the con exclusive.

Inside the contents are securely held by a clear vac formed tray that is moulded front and back to hold everything tight while it’s being shipped to you. The whole shebang is collector friendly, so you can have them out on display, then put them back and no one will be any the wiser… not that I condone such activity of course… but you could!

So, like the first busts packaging, these are a pair of nice boxes but they are more about protecting the contents than about ground breaking design, but the fact you get a good look at the contents is a nice bonus.

Sculpting - ****
Like I said in the previous bust review, Hot Toys really know how to treat the Iron Man licence, they have made an art form out of translating the complex hi-tech suits into complex hi-end collectibles. The MK VI is virtually identical to the MK IV except for in the clavicle and chest area. The most obvious change is in the shape of the window showing the ARC reactor, as it is now triangular and has geometric lines engraved into the chest panel around it. The detailing on the actual light up area is very impressive and all the ‘implied’ engineering is there to see, rather than just sticking a bulb in there like many other companies might have been happy with. Apart from that though, they are pretty much the same.

But for War Machine everything, and I mean absolutely every surface, nut, bolt and screw head is absolutely different and unique to this bust. The whole thing has a much more bulked up, industrial and militaristic feel to it, as I guess it should! The detailing all looks faultless to my eyes, with the layered metal amour fitting together like a complex jig-saw around the deep set ARC reactor on his chest. Then the wide bulky shoulder yokes pass over to the back where they join to the rig that holds the integrated drum that feeds the mini gun. It looks like this is intended to be a modular system, as if the mini-gun is just one of any number of weapons systems that could un-clip, lift off and be replaced with another. The detailing on the back is fantastic as well, I know one of the reasons the 1/6th figure was delayed was so they could perfect some of the mechanical details, and one of these details was this back section, you can see the revised version for the 1/6th version here,  which shows that this bigger scale already had the details rendered near perfectly. The feed chute for the ammo chain is slotted into the middle of the back and joins to the rear section of mini guns body, from which the six tethered barrels protrude. This section at the back also has a cut joint meaning it can turn to keep the chute untangled when you position the arm. The arm that holds the gun has a universal joint at the point that joins to the weapon, so it can spin on the horizontal plane and also turn on the vertical. The other end of the arm has a spinning joint so the arm can swing to fire over either the left or right shoulder but it can also turn at 90 degrees to the back so the gun can rest in an up-turned position. That probably all sounds a lot more complicated than it is, but what it actually adds up to is a lot of poseability. The detailing on all the tiny cogs and gears covering the joints of the gun arm is fantastically detailed, as is every aspect of this bust. I particularly love the design of the large heavy-duty armoured epaulets that shield the shoulders and the bulked up cladding on the biceps.
Both the busts are mounted onto the same plinth, as was the MK IV, this also has an industrial looking theme and has the movie logo on the front alongside the suits designated number or name.

So I’m giving both busts a full score as the detailing and actual sculpting is all top class, but I have to admit that the War Machine one deserves an extra gold star for merit, just outstanding!

Paint - ****
All the paint here is just about as good as it gets, the MK VI once again shares a lot of its details with that of the MK IV, so we get the deep red covering most of the surfaces with a brushed golden colour serving as a secondary tone, but we also have a third brushed steel colour introduced, this is used to add accents to the biceps and the small blade shaped flashes in the serratus anterior regions on either side of the pectoral areas (I new all those long hours in biology classes would be of use one day!). It also has all the engraved division lines picked out in matte black and a few silver scratches painted in here and there to add a little implied damage in a few key points over the red areas.

War Machine is predominantly a deep grey gunmetal colour, it has a deep iridescent quality, quite similar to last years con exclusive of the Silly Thing Grey MK III suit, sort of a MK III.5, which I reviewed here.Various. Other aspects of the sculpt are picked out in a brushed steel colour to add definition to the differing sections, the metallic tones used here are very convincing.
All the division lines are accurate and crisp, adding up to a bust that does actually manage to look like a hefty lump of cast metal. There are also three strategic places where white lettering is stencilled directly onto the armoured panels and this is also done faultlessly.

So, considering these are mere scale busts, they have had a lot of love and attention shown to them, but did we really expect anything less?

Articulation - War Machine ****, MK VI N/A
I never truly expect any articulation from a bust. I expect it to be a static representation of a character capturing a moment in time or in the style of a maquette to work as an accurate reference piece, these are of the later category. But, like on the first IM bust, both the heads can turn a little, but that’s not really a big feature, more just a bi-product of how they are constructed.
However, with War Machine’s large back mounted mini-gun we get a few more display options for him. The weapon is mounted on an arm with well engineered universal joints that I described in detail above, so with a little work you can get the gun into a good number of positions.

Accessories - N/A
I guess one could argue that the gun is an accessory for the War Machine bust, but I’m looking at it as more an intrinsic part of the design and sculpt that needs to be clipped into place.

Value - War Machine ***1/2, MK VI ***
At the RRP of $74.99 each these are a full $10 more than the MK IV that I reviewed first.  You can see that a lot more engineering work and extra sculpting had to be done for War Machine, but the hike in price is purely to cover the limited numbers that the MK VI is being made in. So while the increase is bearable with War Machine it does make the MK VI look a little like the poor relation. It’s still a beautiful piece of work, but would seem even more attractive if it were $10 cheaper.

Fun Factor ***
Like I said last time, busts aren’t actually fun, they are display items, so you can’t truly play with them. However as the ranks of the differing designated suits are swelling, the combined light from them is know almost enough to give your room a little ambient glow… it could get very expensive in the battery department though, but it’ll be worth it!

So if you are any kind of ‘Shell Head’ then I’m sure lining these up on your desk is gonna bring a wry smile to your face every time you look at them, and that’s gotta be worth quite a bit!

Overall- War Machine****, MK VI ***1/2
The extra bulk, engineering and the fact its just such a damn cool looking bit of hardware makes the War Machine bust come out the overall winner, even though more expensive than the first bust you can see where all the money has been spent, but I can’t say he same for the MK VI. Apart from its triangular ARC reactor in its chest it is just too similar to the MK IV to merit the price hike. I would guess a good few thousand were made of the MK IV so it would have made it’s money back pretty quickly, but with the MK VI being a convention exclusive, means the numbers manufactured would have been far lower, so it’s easy to see that HT had to make their outlay on R&D back from somewhere, but the similarity in their aesthetic makes it hard to actually see why the prices should be so different. Of course this has no baring on the secondary market prices where the ‘exclusive’ nature of the MK VI has pushed prices up on eBay to elevate this to a buy it now price of between $95 to $200, so if it starts selling at the higher end of these inflated prices it sure makes the RRP of $74.99 seem like a good deal, which I hasten to add Sideshow still has it available for!

Where to buy
Because the MK VI was a con exclusive the only place it was officially available in North America was through Sideshow, and as luck would have it they still have it listed as in stock and available for the RRP of $74.99 where as the War Machine bust, which wasn’t an exclusive, so I would believe was made in larger numbers has long sold out, showing that I think most people agree with my deductions that the bulked up tank that is the War Machine was the one you just had to own!

You could still hit lucky thought and maybe save a few $’s as one of Michael’s sponsors still has it, namely Urban Collector - $70.99, but you might have to act fast!
Alternatively you can hit eBay.

Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys
Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys

Iron Man 2 Iron Man War Machine busts by Hot Toys

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

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