War Machine - Iron Man 2
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
|Let's take another look at one of the best figures of the year - tell us all about it, Jeff!
Mike was faster than a speeding bullet from a shoulder mounted mini-gun in getting his WM review done, but anything this awesome needs at least two reviews… and maybe a few more.
may have been the Dark Knight figures that helped confirm Hot Toys
status at the very top of the 1/6th collectibles arena, but it was the
incredible attention to detail on the Iron Man series of that has
contributed towards cementing that status. Hot Toys have been
delivering one incredible figure after another in the ongoing series,
and though I’ve loved the Mech Test Tony, Whiplash and indeed the Black
Widow figures in the line, it is the armoured versions of the Iron Man
suit that have set the standard by which all engineered, armoured and
even robotic figures will now be judged.
The character of War
Machine has been a long standing member of the cast in the Iron Man
comics, he made his first appearance way back in 1979, and he’s always
been the alter ego of Tony’s long suffering buddy James Rupert Rhodes
(Rhodey). He was originally devised as a supporting character, but as
the stories developed so did their friendship, even leading to Rhodey
taking on the mantle of Iron Man himself on two occasions. Once when
Tony fell off the wagon and plunged head long into a downward spiral of
alcoholic fug, and the second time was when Tony was reported to have
died. Needless to say the reports of his demise were much exaggerated,
so when he came back and resumed his role, Rhodey became War Machine
again, standing as a superhero in his own right.
He even got his own comic title making him very much his own man, and far less of a tin-clad sidekick.
what we are looking at today is the representation of how he looked in
the movie Iron Man 2. I liked the movie a lot, it’s no where near as
good as the first, but as a popcorn superhero flick it certainly ticks
all the boxes, and the extended Monaco race track scenes, coupled with
ScarJo in her skin-tight outfit certainly pulled back a lot of kudos
So, how did Rhodey end up with the suit, well, after
Tony makes a drunken arse of himself at a party at Stark towers he is
forced to don the MK II suit in order to ‘metaphorically’ put Tony to
bed. However, after the ensuing debacle he takes the suit back to the
US military where it is quickly deconstructed, reverse engineered,
reformed, refitted and set to work. Justin Hammer, Tony’s old foil,
adds many of its new additions… but unbeknownst to Rhodey, Ivan Vanko
has fitted a few key features as well… and not all of them are for
So, we know Hot Toys are up to job of creating
the Iron man armour in 1/6th, they have proven that handsomely on MK’s
I thru III, but what would they do with the bulked up War Machine… and
could they bring anything new to this version?
|Packaging - ***1/2
I had never seen the boxes we got with the first three IM figures this
would have gotten a full score, but I have, so it doesn’t!
a great box; it has a lot going for it and TF Wong & Monster Jnr
have delivered a perfectly respectable piece of packaging that has many
cool features. The outer metallic sleeve continues to tease with a
small glimpse of the next figure that is due in the series. The side
panel of Whiplashes box had an image of Black Widow, then Black Widows
box had Whiplash on the left (her predecessor) and War Machine on the
right. And now War Machine has Black Widow on the left and the MK IV on
the right, so now we know what is next in the line… please when the MK
VI is released let it have the MK V on the side… pretty please!
outer sleeve has a large image of the character lifted from the movie
on the front and detail shots of the full figure on the back. The inner
box has a large die-cut shaped window on the front and a full list of
production credits on the back. It lets us know that once again we must
give thanks to the combined vision of Howard Chan and JC Hong who were
the creative producers, as they always are…. thanks guys, you have
enriched the lives of 1/6th collectors all over the world… whilst
simultaneously making a lot of them broke in the process… I salute you!
It also lets us know that the great Rhodey/Cheadle portrait was
sculpted by KoJun and the sublime paintwork was devised by master
painter extraordinaire Mr JC Hong. There are a lot of other names
there, all important in putting this fantastic piece of merchandise in
our feverish hands. But there are a few names that on this occasion
need to be writ large… they need to celebrated, in fact should any of
these people ever visit you; you should bow down whilst placing palm
leaves at their feet to walk upon!
Well, they were
responsible for the designing and engineering of this AMAZING figure,
they are Ray Ling and Ho Wong, I also gave them a big shout out when I
reviewed the first MK III figure here
and lets face it, that still stands up as another AMAZING piece of
work… but even in the comparatively short time since that came out,
things have yet again moved on!
But back to all that later, I’m just looking at the box here!
So, as I said, a nice box, an attractive box, but when compared to the first three, it’s just not quite up here!
Sculpting - ****
only bit of actual flesh we get to see is the exposed face of Rhodey
within the helmet with the lift up faceplate. The mechanics of the
reveal work well, once again utilising magnets within the head and
small strips of metal attached to the inside of the face plate.
You simply lift it and slide it back over the head whilst lowering the
jaw guard. The face itself is a great representation of Cheadle in character
and appears to have undergone a few fine revisions since we first saw
the proto type. It’s a strong piece of work that is unmistakably the
actor, the expression is determined yet thoughtful and the detailing on
the skin texture and the subtle ridges on the lips is just amazing,
right down the pock marks next to his left eye and on his left cheek.
the rest of the sculpting is covered in the actual nuts and bolts of
the actual outfit. I would imagine a good 90% of this was sculpted and
modelled digitally, but I also have no doubt a good wodge of time would
have been spent on problem solving… but solve those problems they have!
Just check out this image here
and you can see just how well observed every little detail is. If you
think of the red and gold Iron Man suits as the souped-up Corvettes of
the series, then this is undoubtedly the bomb proof Humvee. Everything
has a slightly more retro and cobbled together feel to it, and he is
certainly bulkier than the sleek Stark suits. I would be writing for
hours and this review would be another ten pages longer if I tried to
describe every groove, screw, rivet and cog, so put simply I wont even
try, I’ll let the photos do the talking. But it is one of those
figures, much like the Terminator Endo-Skeletons that you can sit with
for ages, just drinking in all the amazing little details. So just let
me guide you towards some of my favourite areas, like the fine tooling
on the Mini-gun and its articulated arm, then the flip out articulated
machine guns on the forearms and lastly the knees… yes the knees. OK, I
know knees aren’t usually things of architectural and engineering
beauty, but these really are. There’s a double knee joint disguised by
a concealed cut line in the top of the shin and a semi-circular
rotating joint where it joins the lower thigh… nice.
there is so much to recommend I feel like isolating a few areas is
almost a folly, it’s actually the way the whole thing comes together
that is so damned impressive, and the whole thing certainly deserves
the highest score available.
As is per
normal the paint apps here are all credited to JC Hong, but as I said
above there is only a small area that needs his deft touch as far as
the human element is concerned. So we get the usual sublime work on the
African-American flesh tones and subtle graduations help to define the
lips and the areas around the eyes. The eyebrows are picked out with
gentle feathering at the edges to help them blend in and the eyes are
as always super glossy so as to catch the light and really bring the
face to life.
The rest of the armour is a dark grey metallic
colour with a textured finish, there are accent tones of steel to add
interest and contrast to some of the panels and joints. The consistency
of colour carries on over the whole body, regardless of the base
material used in the construction, and the division lines are all super
crisp with no slop evident at all. Knowing how complex some of Hot Toys
recent paint jobs have been, this could be seen as a relatively
straightforward job, but that would be a huge disservice to the people
who have laboured to make this look so faultless. The continuity over
the whole figure needs to be seen up close to be fully appreciated.
There are also three areas where stencilled lettering is painted onto
the armour, but if you look at that pic again here
you can see that another two were left off, they appear to be classic
US Air force symbols, so I’m guessing it is some element of legal
ownership that has lead to their omission, and to be fair it’s a detail
that only the most hardcore and eagle eyed will pick up on, so I
still have no qualms in awarding this figure another top mark.
This is yet another small engineering masterpiece, sure his
mobility is inhibited in some areas, but you can bet your sweet ass
that if you were dressed in this armour you’d struggle to get into most
positions. If it weren’t for the fact that nearly 100% of the screen
seen, suited up action was 3D generated, then the movie would have been
a very different beast. So you have to approach this figure with a
modicum of realistic expectation. And if you do, I think you will be
knocked out and greatly rewarded. There are a couple of places where
the newly bulked up anatomy of War Machine makes his movements slightly
less impressive than the MK II and III, most notably the large
collar/yokes on either side of the head, making it harder for the head
to turn and also the shoulders to lift and turn. It can still perform
these movements, but just not as freely as the previous IM suits. The
best thing to do is just sit with it for a while and gently manipulate
the joints into different positions and get a feel for its strengths
and limitations. You wont get any truly deep stances, but there are a
1001 poses in there just waiting to be discovered with a little work
The feet have a pin joint at the mid-point and
movable shields and flaps. The calf area has lifting hinged flaps with
protruding exhaust ports, then the knees are double jointed as I
described above. The hips have a disguised cut joint at the top of the
thigh and a ball joint where they attach to the pelvis. The waist is
separated into three armadillo like overlapping panels, of which the
lower two have a tiny amount of movement and the top one has a far
greater range, it can also slip up under the chest armour to give more
space when leaning forward and can also turn freely from side to side.
shoulder yokes or collars conceal rocket launchers, there is a tool
supplied to aide in their use, but I found they worked just fine as
long as you have tiny bit of fingernail. You simply slide down the
silver covers which release the clips that hold them down, then just
use your nail or the tool to help lift up and out the launcher. The
left hand side one then swivels to the side to expose the six
non-functioning warheads. The other side holds, and I quote- “It's
completely elegant, it's bafflingly beautiful, and it's capable of
reducing the population of any standing structure to zero. I call it-
The Ex-Wife” this is funnily enough completely elegant and bafflingly
beautiful in its tiny construction, it lifts out on miniscule
articulated hinged arms with a tiny positionable fire plate at the
front. You have to manually insert the missile, which is packed
separately and resembles a 1/6th ballpoint pen. Once I had put it in I
did find myself wondering how to get it out again, but you will find
that the rear of the tube it sits in has a hinged door, this can be
lifted to simply push it forward from behind.
The mini gun sits
on a sliding plate that can be positioned over the right or left
shoulder and the arm that protrudes from it can turn where it joins the
plate and the other end has a universal joint that can spin in both
directions. The six tethered barrels and the rear of the gun itself can
turn to help keep the ammo feed chute untangled, in short this a very
well thought through part of the engineering, as I said in my review
for the bust version here it was the
perfecting of this area and the ‘ex-wife’ launcher that delayed the
release of this figure… and it was worth every second.
also find that there are concealed vents on either side of the back
section, these simply lift out on a hinge to expose the exhaust ports.
The shoulders use the same basic design as the previous MK’s II + III
but the high yoke/collar means they cant be raised quite as high, but
combined with the ability to turn at the top of the bicep it means a
good range is still achievable. The elbow is hinged allowing for a good
90 degree bend and the hands push onto the light up ball joint at the
wrist, and as I’ve said, since I put the articulated hands on they have
stayed in place. Each finger and the thumb have moving joints at every
position that a hand should have… at 1/6th… we are living in very cool
times I tells yers, and even the armour covering the back of the hands
is hinged so it can move out to get more dynamic positions.
The forearms have the specially modified FN F2000 Tactical machine guns bolted to them (you can read about the full line up that Justin Hammer bolts onto the suit here),
these are held in place by two pegs that protrude from hinged flaps. I
did find the left arm was held a little loosely on mine, but my
patented cure-all of the small blob of Blu-tack saved the day once
Lastly we have the head and neck, it can look from side
to side and nod up and down, but as I have mentioned those high
yoke/collars impede its movement a bit. The reveal helmet also has the
removable faceplate as I went over at the beginning of the sculpting
So, there you have it!
Is it limited? Yes, a
little! Should that bother me? No! Why? Because it is an amazingly,
beautifully, breathtakingly put together piece of 1/6th engineering,
and to give it anything but a full score would be morally wrong, its
nothing short of a triumph and an instant classic in this particular
field… if you were or are on the fence, I urge you to own one!
he comes with a nice selection of hands, but to be honest I love the
new articulated hands so much I literally haven’t changed mine since I
put them on. We get the usual selection of two fists, two relaxed and
two with fingers splayed in a repulsor-firing pose and now we also get
the two with fully jointed fingers that I now favour. The coolest
accessory is however the alternate head with the face reveal. I already
described it above, and it is a very nicely put together little piece
of kit that swaps over pretty easily.
There are other bits
that are included separately, like the ‘ex-wife’ missile, the mini-gun
and the two FN F2000 tactical machine guns that bolt to his forearms,
and I guess you could consider them to be parts of his accessory haul.
But they are also essential pieces of the War Machine aesthetic,
without them he simply wouldn’t be War Machine!
So, I’ll keep the score high, but they are essentials rather than extras.
we get the classic black figure stand, helpful for those that like it,
but as usual mine has stayed in the box. There is also a small plastic
tool, like a tiny screwdriver/spatula, this is intended to aid the more
sausage fingered amongst you to operate the rocket launchers on his
shoulders, but as I say below in articulation I found they operated
fine as long as you have fingernails.
Could he have come with
any other extras… well on this occasion I guess not. At least not when
you look at War Machine as a standalone character, but a rather cool
extra might have been an extra Rhodey head in the MK II helmet, as by
simply adding this to the original MKII figure you’d have a whole new
display option. But I guess there might still be a chance that we’ll
get a new version of the MK II released with the new sculpt. If you’ve
tried picking up a MK II on eBay (or any where else for that matter)
you’ll see just how scarce they are, so a re-release might go down
Light Up Feature - ****
all the IM suits this also has the light up function, the chest ARC
light shines incredibly brightly by flicking the switch in the middle
of the upper back, then the eyes can also be illuminated by flicking
the switch on the back of his neck, this should be a soft white to red
diffused glow like this
but is more of a solid red, but hey, at this scale I’m willing to cut
some slack. To be honest I’ve just been thrilled that the lights have
functioned on all the suits so far, to let myself be too overtly
bothered by the particular intensity of colour… of course the pedant in
you may differ!
Lastly the palm repulsors in all but the fisted
hands can illuminate by flicking on the switches on the forearms, these
are accessed by opening up the machine guns away from the arm on their
All four areas have their own control switch and all the
batteries were included, to get them to function you will have to
remove the small clear plastic battery dividers that protrude from the
ain’t a thing that ever comes cheap, and this guy was a hefty $180 if
you paid the full RRP from Sideshow. But in the skewed world of 1/6th
hi-end collectors that I dwell in, even that seems like a very fair
price. However if you jumped quick and pre-ordered when it was first
unveiled then you could have secured one for as little as $160, and at
a price like that then I’m willing to give a full score!
see all the love and attention to detail that has been lavished on this
in every implied nut and bolt, in every articulated hinge and light up
ARC reactor. The R&D time alone must have gone into hundreds if not
thousands of hours, and it has all paid off big-time!
yourself, is a 12” plastic figure ever truly worth $160… well I guess
it is when you know you’ll have to pay twice that in six months to get
Factor - ****
you, as a geek and a fan not to make the sounds of machine guns and
functioning hydraulics every time you re pose this figure… I know
because my wife caught me doing it… I guess there are more embarrassing
things to be caught doing, but not many!
So when it comes to
fun, this is up there with the rest of the Iron Man mech suited
figures, he poses well, is solid in his construction and will look
amazing when backed up with the MK VI, which must be due out soon.
Yeah he ain’t
cheap, but considering the hi degree of quality and finish neither is
it extortionate. When you take all the factors into consideration this
ends up coming out smelling pretty rosy, there is not one serious
problem I have encountered that would keep this from a full score.
Would I have liked even better articulation?
Why yes I would, but not at the expense of inaccuracies!
And as such they have struck a perfect balance!
Would I have liked it to be cheaper?
yeah, but this comes with a hefty license from Marvel Studios, and if a
cheaper price had lead to less cool engineering, fewer points of
articulation and lower quality product, then I’m fine as is!
So could this be figure of the year?
it’s been something of a vintage year again has 2010, we’ve had the
amazing T800 and T1000 from T2, the über cool Space Adam from Winson
Ma, the fantastic battle damaged Iron Man MK III and Mech-Test Tony,
the very impressive (and somewhat surprising) Blade II and not
forgetting the underdogs like Aldo Raine and the sublime Kamui Gaiden…
But ultimately this is a MAJOR contender.
And the fact it has to be considered for figure of the year it simply has to finish with a top score!
Where to buy
Sideshow have long sold out, as have most of Michaels sponsors. I did however find it was still available as a pre-order with BBTS for $174.99, and in stock at Fanboy Collectibles for just $170.
Your only other alternative at the moment is to hit eBay
where I’ve seen buy it now prices as low as $170 and as high as $260,
but what ever you pay I have a strong feeling that this one will be
gone soon, and talked about for years to come!
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.