Iron Man 2 - MKV
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."

I had my review of the Iron Man MKV suit a week or so ago, and now Jeff Parker is checking in with his look at this amazing figure - take it away, Jeff!

Here we are finally with the last of the Iron Man power suits, well, at least of the ones featured in the first two movies. Of course that’s not to say we won’t get any variations of what has already been released. The updated MK II is still due sometime soon and Hot Toys also announced they are revisiting the MK I, my personal favourite… in terms of figures that is! But although the ad hoc junk yard aesthetic pleases me as a 1/6th scale action figure, my favourite in the movies is definitely what we have here, the MK V.

I’ve already gone on record as saying Iron Man 2 didn’t thrill me quite as much as the first movie, but the Monaco race track showdown with Whiplash is definitely my favourite scene of both movies combined. Not only was the briefcase ‘suit-up’ moment so cool it hurt, but the actual design of the armour was far more streamlined and close fitting due to the compact nature of its portable design.

That sleek nature seems to have been quite a challenge, as the wait from the first announcement and the proto pics being showed has been interminably long! In fact the wait was nearly a whole year, and I can imagine that the interim threw up a lot of R&D problems for Hot Toys to find solutions to. So the big question is, were they up to the job, and was it really worth the wait?

Packaging - ***1/2
This is very much part of the ongoing series, and as such isn’t really that exciting any more as we pretty much know what to expect. It’s the classic full colour printed foil card outer sleeve with a still image of the MK V suit from the movie on the front with full body shots of the figure on the reverse. Inside we have a large die-cut window on the front through which we can see the figure and a full production credit list is on the back. Open this up and you can slip out the vac formed trays that hold the figure alongside its accessories. Everything is 100% collector friendly and very well put together.

So, even though there is nothing particularly unique or innovative about this box, it still does its job well, looks attractive and fits well with the rest of Iron Man 2 line-up.

Sculpting - ***3/4
Like all the power suits that came before it, this is ALL about the armour, and as such this category actually makes the ‘outfit’ section redundant. Some of the previous suits have come with extra Tony Stark/Downy Jnr portraits, but on this occasion it’s just left to the suit to take centre stage. He does also come with some rather cool accessories and extra battle damaged pieces to swap over, but more on that in accessories later.

As I said a above this is a much sleeker version of the suit, looking a little like a high-tech Spidey with his lean silhouette. So like the previous suits it is kind of hard separating sculpting from the engineering and articulation, but I’ll try.

In short it’s an incredibly close representation of the CG suit as it appeared in the movie, and it’s a design that didn’t wander too far from the original concept painting seen here.

As well as rewatching the Monaco scene on my Blu-Ray (about twenty times… never a chore) I also selected a few stills that I found on line for reference here:

Pic 1 
Pic 2 
Pic 3 
Pic 4 
Pic 5
Now I don’t normally use quite so many links as reference points, but this figure is so complex in its construction that I thought it important for you to have them when comparing against the figure.

Because this was a ‘non-flight suit’ (as far as we know) there aren’t as many opening sections, like the rear of the calves or the extending air-break flaps on his back, but he is still a damned impressive piece of engineering. The tooling on the armour sculpt is all very mechanical, and as such I’m pretty confident that 99% of this must have been modelled digitally, but it is still just a beautiful thing to behold! Every rivet and panel is executed to perfection. I particularly like the tire-tread panels that radiate over the chest into the arms and the sliding spring-loaded articulation that is concealed here is actually invisible until you move it. Likewise all the concealed detail on the underside of the chest plate is exquisitely rendered.

The left arm and that chest-plate that I just mentioned can swap over to alternate battle damaged versions that show the devastating effect that Whiplash’s ARC powered whips have on this more compact (and it has to be said less protective) version of the suit. The sculpt mimics the way the metal has been split, melted and literally torn apart to expose the wires, support frame, cables and indeed his blue racing driver suit beneath. His back is also sleeker, but is still made up of numerous interlocking panels.

The mask is traversed with more crisp sculpted lines that spread out over the face plate and around the head. This is because of the collapsible nature of the suit, and as you will no doubt remember from the movie, it physically wrapped itself around his body. Covering Stark’s face last as the intersecting panels extended and locked into position.

In short this is another showcase sculpt that illustrates exactly why Hot Toys are so very revered by collectors the world over. And even without a Downy Jnr portrait, what we do get is so devastatingly good it would be nigh on impossible not to award a full score.

Paint - ***3/4
The classic Iron Man look is of course the iconic red and gold, but here the gold is completely banished in place of steel, which actually works remarkably well against the glossy cherry red paint.

The steel falls into two distinct types, the exterior armour parts are slightly more matte, but still have a deep metallic lustre to the finish. The second tone which is shinier is used on the small mechanical details between the panels and over the underside of the chest around the ARC. I’m impressed by the quality of the paint, but I have to admit I wish the exterior armoured steel areas could have been a little more chrome/polished steel in their appearance, rather than the dull brushed steel we get. I’m sure it’s a difficult finish to achieve on plastic, especially plastic that has to be able to move and occasionally rub against other panels… but I’m just saying!

The red parts are a solid deep glossy colour and all the panels match up well. The damaged arm also shows a lot of burning, gouging and scratches and where the metal is torn away there are flashes of the blue and black Stark racing suit and glove visible beneath.

There is absolutely zero slop anywhere on the entire body, and on a figure this complex that would usually be crying out for a full score; and had the steel areas managed to mimic the actual shiny polished look they had on screen just a tad closer, then it would have got one. However, its colour is a whisker off so I’m keeping it a whisker off of a full score.

Articulation - ****
I know the power-suits never have what one could describe as a truly comprehensive range of articulation, but I also NEVER cease to be amazed at just how much they do actually move and pose; especially with the huge amount of complex engineering, articulated elements and light up features that they manage to crowbar in.

So, from the ground up. We have a split-pin mid foot, 2 moving flaps over the front and one at the rear of the heel and the whole foot can rock from side to side. The knee has a very impressively designed double joint that even opens up and splits the red knee pad when fully bent backwards. The hips are pretty much the same as what came before with rotating peg joints where the thigh joins the hip, then the hip is a fully functional universal joint. These joints are disguised with a vinyl panel that acts like a pair of trunks, and affords some flexibility when lifting the legs into deeper stances. The stomach ‘abs’ area can be lifted to separate and give a much better degree motion, especially when combined with the joint between the torso and chest. The chest panel and the small articulated panel below the ARC can both be swapped out for the battle damaged look. I found this small panel difficult to hold firm when swapped, but my panacea for all small mechanical failures, the miniscule ‘blob of blu-tack’ rescues the day once again!

The shoulders have a universal ball joint with spring-loaded articulated shoulder pauldrons. The elbows have a 90 degree range of bend and the joint is hidden with a ribbed rubber sheath (ah, those wonderful ribbed rubber sheaths have saved many a situation). Once we get to the wrist, that is usually the end of the articulation story for most figures, and although we do still get the usual pop-on illuminated ball joint that helps in the posing of the two ‘battle damaged’ left hands and indeed the fists, this time we also get the two fully articulated hands. As with all the power suits released from Iron Man 2 he is issued with the super funky hands that have made redundant the ‘pre-posed’ selection we used to get before… why? Well now they have every single joint in every finger and the thumb fully able to move and pose, and it’s impressive stuff. Then lastly we have the neck, it has a ball joint both where it joins the shoulders and where it disappears into the head, this all affords a solid range of movement looking in all directions.

So, as I said, don’t expect the full TT range of mobility, that would be unrealistic. However, when approached with sensible expectations I’m pretty sure you’ll be knocked out, amazing stuff!

Accessories - ***1/2
As I mentioned above, we get no actual Tony Stark portrait here, but we have had a couple of good ones recently with both the Mech-Test and MK IV figures (I used the MK IV head in a few of my pics… you DON’T however get it with the set). What we do get is the extra hands which consist of the fully articulated ones described above a pair of tight fists (which are attached when you receive the figure) and the two battle damaged left hands.

We also get the swap out damaged left arm and the panels that fit to the chest.

Next up is the uber cool brief-case that the suit erupts from, this is beautifully executed with deep accurate crisp modelling and it even comes with a pair of (long chained) working handcuffs to keep it safe when being transported. Sadly it doesn’t actually open up to show any articulated elements, but I still live in hope we might get a figure of Tony in his Stark racing suit, and maybe, just maybe we’ll get an articulated version with that one. Of course it’s impossible to make a MK V suit that actually wraps itself around the figure, but I’m confident HT could make something that mimics a half transition… well I can dream, and with Hot Toys dedication to this particular license I don’t think its too far fetched!

Lastly we get a figure stand/base that is the same configuration as the one we received with the MK IV which I covered here. So like that version it represents the foot-plates in Stark’s personal suit ‘museum’ line-up from his laboratory/workshop. It also lights up and has the clear post and a positionable waist gripper so you can pose him standing or in mid take off/landing mode, even though we don’t ever actually see the MK V take flight.

So for me it’s a good selection, made even better with the inclusion of that MK V briefcase, which although ‘nonsensical’ in conjunction with the actual power-suit, it does make a rather cool prop for any of your Tony Stark kit bashes. However, even though we get those groovy battle damaged pieces I do miss having the extra Stark head portrait that we received with the other suits, and had they included the MK V faceplate in mid transition then it would have been a home run. As it is I’m impressed, but not quite four stars impressed!

Light Up Feature - ****
No complaints from me here. The small switches are all well concealed at the back of the neck for the eyes, the middle of the shoulder-blades for the chest ARC and at the mid fore-arm for the palm repulsors. All worked fine and illuminated brightly on mine during a lengthy photo shoot.

Outfit - N/A
He is the suit!

Fun Factor - ****
For this category I ain’t gotta give a damn about the cost… it can go hang! And I just LURVE this guy to pieces. I did plan to pose him with Whiplash, but sadly my storage/cataloguing of my collection let me down. I found my box with all the other Iron Man figures, but ol’ Mr Whippy wasn’t in there… TYPICAL!

Even so, I still had a blast getting to grips with his full range of articulation and rooting out some cool poses. Of course the potentially fragile nature of the engineering means that only a fool, and a rich fool at that, would ever think of giving this to child… but if you are that rich fool, and you did give it to child, that is one very lucky child! Did you want to adopt me…? I’m an orphan you know!

Value for money - ***
On the Sideshow site this has a hefty RRP of $209.99, and in the present high-end 1/6th pricing climate that is increasingly becoming par for the course, especially with the big licensed figures that undoubtedly need a ton of costly R&D to be done. However, in the present global ‘economic climate’ 210 big ones is also increasingly hard to find for a lot of people!

It’s the same price as the MK VI and the upcoming MK II ‘unleashed’, but it is however a full $30 more than the MK IV and all of those came or will come with Stark or Rhodey portraits. Of course the finished product is a small work of art, both in terms of sculpting and engineering, but the lack of that human sculpt and the JC Hong paint app that would accompany it does sadly contribute to the price seeming just a tad too steep on this occasion. And the fact it still hasn’t sold out at the time of writing this review may be testament to that fact!

Overall- *** 3/4
I really, really like this figure. It’s from my favourite scene, it’s expertly crafted and sleeker than Megan Fox in wet cat suit… but sadly, much like Megan Fox it comes at price. And like so many figures I have reviewed lately it is only the price that keeps it shy of the full score.

In oh so many ways this is an exceptional figure, and it is of a design and build-quality that most would have thought near impossible to achieve just a few short years ago! So, are we all getting a little blasť about the degree of detail we now expect as commonplace these days? Well, maybe, but as long the quality keeps on improving the way it has been, you won’t catch me complaining too much!

Where to buy
This is still available from the Sideshow site for the RRP of $209.99 here. Or check out Mikes sponsors who have it at the prices listed below-

Alter Ego - $188.99

Fan Boy - $194.99

Urban Collector - $209.99 

BBTS - $190 t0 $210 

Or check out eBay where prices are hovering around the $180 to $215 area.

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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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