Marcus Wright
Terminator: Salvation 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."

Jeff Parker checks in tonight with a look at Marcus Wright from Hot Toys - take it away, Jeff!

Thanks as always to Michael, now he has already covered Marcus and I think it’s fair to say he liked him… but not quite as much as I do. He also pointed out, it would be pretty tough to have Terminator story without at least one of the Connor clan in it, and Terminator: Salvation (T:S) focuses on Sarah’s baby boy John.

However, although the movie ‘features’ JC, it revolves much more around another character, you could in effect call it ‘his’ journey, which certainly makes it more his ‘story’. It’s a little known ‘sub plot’ that there are parallels with T: S and the Wizard of Oz. Each of the people Marcus comes into contact needs something from him, and he in turn helps them find what they need, be it courage for Kyle, love for Blaire and brains for the whole of the resistance in the form of ‘intelligence’ and of course we all know who ends up with his ‘actual’ heart! Marcus even had the backs of his boots painted red as a nod to the ruby slippers (sadly not picked up on here).

So, it’s Marcus’ voyage of discovery, his trip down the yellow brick road and the way he interacts with a young Kyle Reese, JC and other members of the resistance that lays at the very heart of the movie, and indeed might well influence the way the resistance ‘view’ the machines. Not just as the enemy! But as useful tools in their own right, in the ongoing war against Skynet.

Marcus is played by Sam Worthington, if you’re not familiar with him you soon will be, as not only did he manage to get the best part in T:S (apparently Bale was originally meant to play Marcus, but wanted the JC part… go figure?), but soon he’ll be staring in Jim Cameron’s Avatar and then the Louis Leterrier helmed Clash Of The Titans (lets hope it’s better than his Incredible Hulk movie), it’s also rumoured he’ll be working with Mc G again as Captain Nemo in his version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and the latest breaking news I heard was that he’ll be filling Mel Gibsons battered ‘boots’ for the ‘re-booting’ of Mad Max. So if all goes according to plan, Worthington will soon be another fan-boy favourite up there with the likes of… well, Christian Bale!

But right now we are here to look at him as Marcus Wright, a man with a mysterious past, a man who had wronged society, but a man given a last chance for redemption, but is enough of the man left?

Packaging - ****
All the Endoskeleton T: S figures have followed the same basic design, and I’m pleased to say the human… or ‘nearly’ human figures have followed suit.

So we get a gun metal coloured Styrofoam case that splits in two down a central seam running along its edge. One side holds the jacket and coat on formed plastic mannequins while the other side holds the figure and the other accessories. These are very attractive boxes that do a great job of protecting the contents, and the added narrow, slip over sleeve gives some space to carry full colour images of the figure and his accessories. This is a range of packaging that has divided collectors, but whether you love it or loathe it, it’s definitely this year’s most distinctive line. And for the record… I love it!

Sculpting - ****
Well, if 2008 was the year of the Bat for Hot Toys, 2009 is proving to be their year of the Terminator, as so far we’ve had no fewer than eight figures from T: S. Admittedly four of those are variations on the T-600 (I haven’t included the exclusives), one is more diorama than figure and two of them are of John Connor in different outfits. So it’s obvious Hot Toys have invested a lot of faith in this movie, and the crop of figures have been pretty spectacular… arguably even better than the movie itself!

This is the first Hot Toys figure to be sculpted by GOX (Eom Jae Sung), and it’s a very, very impressive start. This even manages to nudge a whisker ahead of Kojun’s fantastic work on JC for me, and that’s quite a task!

When HT first unveiled the Marcus sculpt it was met with a mixed response, so they went away and re-did the whole head sculpt. I’ve heard some people say they still preferred the first version, and I have to say… ARE YOU MAD! This is a fantastic bit of work, and if Hot Toys manage to land either the Avatar or Clash of the Titans licenses, then this will be a great starting point for them… and if they don’t, well your kit bashing starts right here.

Sam Worthington has quite an interesting face, not interesting like say Alan Rickman or Harrison Ford, but it shows more character than a lot of the current crop of pretty boys. It’s a face that has proved to be popular with casting agents and directors alike, and he has shown a good cross section to his range in his choices of role, if you take the time to check out his back catalogue. 

After seeing Terminator: Salvation my wife said she thought he had something of a young Paul Newman about him (in style, rather than looks), and I can kind of see where she’s coming from, but only just.

This revised sculpt is a pretty damn good likeness and captures Marcus with a determined expression, slightly frowning. He has quite wide set, heavy lidded eyes which are observed well here. If I had a problem it would be that Sam’s face does appear slightly broader and the tip of his nose is slightly softer and round, but it’s more evident in some photo’s than others, and this is still a fantastically well carried out sculpt, with jaw dropping work on the skin textures, slight stubble and hair, which is worn in close French crop.

One of the accessories included is also the damaged head, they’ve taken the ‘normal’ version and sculpted the ripped flesh and exposed Endo skull into it. The damage is suitably stomach churning and looks very close to that in the movie, I love the crispness of the detail work and the depth of the cavity that goes deep into the skull. Marcus was supposed to be a new type of terminator, one we haven’t seen before, a hybrid version, fusing living tissue to the technology of the T-series alloy Endo skeleton. So while he has an organic heart and brain, he also has super human strength and the ability to heal much faster than a mere human. This means the exposed Endo skull isn’t exactly like the T-700 or T-800 but there are definite similarities. There appears to be more detail on the jaw bone area and the cheek shows cables and wires, but the differentiation between the metal and organic material is subtle, but also clean and well defined.

This character has quite a tough time in the movie, and his body takes quite a pounding, so much so that we get to see more of his Endoskeleton than perhaps he would have liked us to, but not enough in my view… I wanted HT to get the chance to give us a full Marcus Endo, but alas t’was not to be! 

So to reflect his physical punishment the sculpting doesn’t end with the two heads, but carries on down to both arms. The right arm is undamaged, but because both arms are bare, HT decided to make them with hidden joints in a similar way to their earlier Abe Sapiene figure

However his left arm is heavily damaged exposing a lot of the Endo-skeleton below, and this was one of the areas that blew me away with this figure. When I first saw the proto I thought it would be a rubber arm with a wire armature, this would have been OK with me, but you always end up with quite a limited articulation range, and I figured the crispness and clarity of the underlying mechanical features might end up being pretty soft… but I was in for a very pleasant surprise! 

Though the articulation does suffer a little, what they have done is make a very realistic skin textured rubber sheath that fits tightly over a solid articulated Endo-skeletal arm, it makes for a fantastic finished effect and you can see deep into the cavities where the flesh has been torn away to expose the steel and pistons below. Both the arms have lots of detailed work on the skin areas as well, hinting at the muscles, sinews and bone/metal beneath. Hell, if you look close enough you can see the veins and pores! So even though I’m something of an articulation junkie, I’d much rather have these innovatively designed arms, regardless of the fact I’m gonna be putting a blue coat over them… oh the irony!

We also get a selection of six hands. Two are fisted, these are the only ones that don’t have the knitted wraps to mimic his fingerless gloves, all the others have material carefully glued onto them. They consist of two relaxed (these are on the figure in the box), then there is a right gun grip and a right knife grip, considering the knife has quite a skinny hilt, the hand grips it nice and tight. So I can’t find much to fault on the heads or hands, certainly not enough to merit the docking of any stars.

Paint - ****
Even though we have a new talent on sculpting duties, it’s still JC Hong on paint control. Does the guy ever sleep?

We all know Hot Toys paint apps just keep going from strength to strength, but it’s important we don’t become complacent about it and just take it for granted as if it’s the norm… hell, just look at most of the competition and it’s plainly still something special.  Sometimes you just need to sit back and marvel at how good the work is here. I received Marcus at the same time, as John Connor and both are exceptional, the skin tones are nice and matte, and so don’t have that waxy look. The subtle differentiations in the flesh are amazingly lifelike, showing not only a light stubble growth but also some implied dirt and grime. The eyes are also beautifully applied showing crisp division lines between the pupils and the colours of the iris. 

The hair is a pretty flat application and could have perhaps benefited from a secondary tone, but the colour and finish of the application work well with the underlying sculpt, allowing for plenty of details to shine through. The second damaged head duplicates the paint application on the undamaged side, but is vastly different on the left side. Here we have lots of the Endo-skull showing through, so there’s a base steel colour with darker details picked out, then areas have washes and blood spattering effects to tie them together. For me this all works pretty damn well, the blood line running over the top of the skull could perhaps do with knocking back a little, but it still gets the desired effect. I forget how much blood was actually evident in the movie, but the translucence of the paint used adds to a quality finish.
Both the arms are also painted, the undamaged one just has some washes and what might be a little subtle sponging to mimic grime, while the left also has this effect on the outer skin but additionally has solid steel colours on the mechanical parts inside. To blend these both together there is a layer of deep maroon muscle colour and again washes of the translucent blood-paint that also spills over onto some areas of the metal. For a 1/6th figure it all comes together beautifully, and is a small but hugely impressive bit of observation. So for me it’s full marks without a doubt!

Articulation - *** 1/2
Most of Marcus’ body is the basic True-Type so the legs and torso have all the articulation you could need, but as I have already said, the arms are specially designed for the unique look of this character. 

The right shoulder can turn/spin a full 180 degrees (however, the tight T-shirt sleeves will hamper this when clothed) they can also bend up away from the body to 90 degrees and the elbow can bend by 90 degrees on three ratcheted positions. But the cool part is the battle damaged arm, It has the same degree of mobility as the right arm, but the elbow is a smooth action, and on mine it was plenty stiff enough to hold any position between that 90 degree range. Under the ripped flesh of the upper arm you can see the cut joint of the Endo-skeletal arm, this is still a working joint so you can also swivel it both towards and away from the body, this was an added and unexpected bonus for me. The wrists are the usual cut ball joint on two posts, and HT have been listening to the collectors as he comes with two extras in case of breakage, neither of which I have needed, but you never know when they might come in handy… handy, get it… Oh I give up.

Lastly there’s the neck joint, he has a fully sculpted neck so there’s no movement at the top, but the base offers a good range where it joins the body. I know Michael felt the neck looked too long, but I found with some gentle futzing it looked just fine. I just pulled the T-shirt collar up to his chin then let it fall back, I found it just automatically came to rest in a natural position and pretty much stayed there, even when posing him.
So, not as perfect as a regular TT in terms of over-all ‘extreme’ mobility, but the fact that HT went that extra mile and created these unique arms gets a big thumbs up from me, and that extra ‘visible’ movement on the Endo arm is pretty exceptional…and cool!

Oufit - ****
Although Marcus’ outfit is unique to him, you can see many elements have a nod towards some of the classic outfits of the series. His grey cap- sleeved T-shirt is a similar style and colour to the one Arnie wore in the original movie, and although not identical his long great-coat is reminiscent to the trench-coat Kyle also wears in the original. His leather Jacket and pants are obviously inspired by Arnies ‘biker chic’ in all 3, especially T2. And lastly his boots and gaiters, these are virtually identical to the ones Kyle Reese wears in his future resistance uniform again from the original.

So, although this outfit pays homage to the previous movies, all the given elements are very far from copies.
The boots are of a classic ‘engineers’ utility design, you’ll have to add the flashes of ren on the heel yourself, they are covered by mock leather gaiters, these are of differing heights, but both have working buckles up the sides (for added authenticity both the top straps should be left undone). These also cover the lower parts of the trousers which are nicely scuffed and weathered with 2 working zipped pockets on the hips and one on his rear, there are also long zips running up the outside seam of both legs from the foot to mid thigh. The scale of all the zips used here is fantastic, and all the tiny zip pulls even have leather toggles attached. The right thigh also has a row of ammo loops for large shells or cartridges, but like in the movie these are empty. The fly is held shut by Velcro, but the way they are tailored means the leather doesn’t bunch up at all, so they lay nice and flat against his stomach. The T-shirt fits snugly, but not tightly and grips the tops of the arms well. Over this Marcus wears a leather and webbing harness with his knife sheath attached, all the tiny details like buckles, rivets and the implied dirt are observed beautifully here.

His long blue coat, that he originally scavenges from the body of a dead resistance fighter (hence the red arm band), is replicated extremely well, it’s double breasted in design but is worn open, both the pockets are working under the flaps and the tiny silver buttons running up both sides are each individually sewn on, there is even a row of small grey buttons running up the inside of the rear flap. The inside of the collar and the armband are made of a soft fleecy material, but do a great job of looking like chamois leather at this scale, the armband has two tiny working leather straps and a red embroidered insignia sewn directly onto it. The back of the coat has what would be an adjustable belt/sash, this fastens with a stud and helps pull the sides in together making the pleat down the centre of the back fold pretty convincingly for the scale. The finishing touches are the loose threads, dust, dirt and repairs that all come together to make this look like a garment that has been literally worn to death, and that’s actually quite an achievement for a mass produced production figure at this scale!

The leather jacket is a more dynamic item of clothing, and is worn to mirror a shift in Marcus’ sensibilities, as the realization sets in as to ‘what’ rather than ‘who’ he is. It’s a simple motif that helps spell out that Marcus is accepting he’s a Terminator, and a strange compulsion is calling him home, it’s also no coincidence that it also helps him ‘look’ like a Terminator… well, at least the Terminators “we’ve” gotten used to so far! 

Like the long coat, this is a tiny facsimile of the screen worn jacket; the chest pockets aren’t working but are still formed and flapped as if they are. They have small steel rivets to mimic studs, and these are also used down both sides of the front zip, the cuffs and on each of the belt loops. The zip running down the front appears like it could work, as does the collar strap, but as he wore the jacket open I don’t feel the need to see if it will do up. The left sleeve has the red insignia of the resistance sewn and buttoned to it whilst the right shoulder has an armored pad, which brings to mind the original Mad Max jacket, isn’t that ironic! 

The inside collar has an accurately observed band of suede lining it and both cuffs also have yellow bands, adding to it’s militaristic/regimental look. And lastly the rear of the left sleeve shows damage that matches that on the arm beneath, meaning you can see the Endo-skeleton elbow even when the jacket is on top. I think I’m going to try and get an extra body, T-shirt and leather jeans to build a second figure from this set, or if push comes to shove maybe I’ll just throw caution to the wind and get another full figure, but until I can do this I think the undamaged head and the long blue coat is a much more iconic look for this character. However all the elements of this figure are so strong; it seams a shame to leave any of them boxed! 

The only dilemma in this review is which garment should I decide is an accessory, as my criteria is usually what ever isn’t worn on the figure when boxed fits into the accessory category… so if that’s the case then both the jacket and coat are extras… but I’ll plump for the leather jacket as accessory, which leads us nicely onto…

Accessories - ****
Marcus comes with-
- Knife
- Shotgun (with lanyard)
- 3 sets of interchangeable hands.
- Battle damaged head
- Figure stand
- Leather jacket (or long coat depending on your viewpoint!)

Well, as I said, I’ll let you to decide for yourself on the jacket/coat front, but whichever way you decide I’ve already described both. I’ve also already been over the head… my only slight misgiving on the damaged head is that having seen the Albert Wesker figure from Resi Evil 5, then a glowing Endo-eye would have been a cool feature, but I suppose the fact that we get two heads here adds quite a lot of value, and the light up feature would have almost certainly added a few $’s to the price. The knife is of the ‘combat’ variety, but is well scaled and so doesn’t end up looking like a machete; it fits into the chest-mounted sheath snugly and can also be held well by the specially designed hand. It’s cool that HT have started doing specific hands for characters with smaller items to hold, in the past I’ve had to employ many a lump of Blu-Tack, but on this figure all the accessories can be held tightly. I already went over the other hands in sculpting, all are observed well, and I’m especially liking the knitted fabric wraps on all the hands (bar the fists).

The shot gun has a moving pump action and a row of shells stuck to the side, these aren’t removable, but it does also have the lanyard attached to its hilt that Marcus demonstrates to Kyle… nice little life lesson, might come in handy for him later… oh yeah, it did!
Then lastly we have the classic HT figure stand, nice if you like that kind of thing, I’ve never felt the need to use them unless essential, and luckily it’s not needed here!

Fun Factor - ***1/2
With the extra head and outfits Marcus is a ton of fun to play dress up with…ahem, I mean carefully adorn in his screen accurate outfit… but as I said above the only shame is to leave any the cool bits in the box.
As far as pure play value goes (which is kind of a moot point for a figure in this price range) then those arms, although über cool from an aesthetic angle, do mean some posing ability is lost, and are slightly more fragile. But from a dress, pose and display angle, then it’s almost as good as it gets!

Value - ****
You get a lot of kit in this set, two coats, two heads, extra hands, and a shot gun. They also developed a unique set of arms with working exposed Endo-skeleton elements, so for $150 that seems like quite a lot of R+D for your cash. This leads me to think that if you paid the RRP you can still feel like you’re getting your monies worth. However if you manage to pick this up for $140 or under then it’s a full score from me, and whilst it’s hard to think of a 12” figure for $135 being a bargain, in this present climate it’s actually approaching being just that!

Overall - ****
This figure just has to get full marks from me. Why? Well he just has so many display options, two very nicely put together jackets… but ironically he has arms that are so cool you might find yourself not using either of them! And you’ll also find yourself torn between which head to fit him with, in fact so torn you might ‘accidently’ find yourself ordering another, just to put paid to the dilemma!

So for a figure that’s so cool it actually has you (well me!) contemplating buying two, then you know it’s something special… but we all knew Hot Toys wouldn’t let the MMS100 go by as ‘just another figure’… actually, HT have never given us ‘just another figure’… so far anyway!

Scoring Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ****
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Sideshow did have Marcus for $149.99, but he’s now sold out, so it’s either time for the waitlist or to try some Mike’s sponsors where you could stand to save a bit of cash anyway:

- Alter Ego Comics $134.99
- Big Bad Toy Store $139.99
- Urban Collector $159.99
- Forbidden Planet £129.99

or try eBay where he seems to be demanding something between $140 to $175.

Figures from the collection of Jeff Parker

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