Marking my return to this otherwise dead blog is a little review of the Hot Toys MMS Diecast War Machine Mk 2. I’m new to the Hot Toys line so I think this is one of their first few diecast figures. A normal figure by them already costs a kidney so this one naturally cost a couple.
I only have one other Hot Toys figure with me and this one seems to have a little more printed on the shipping box. The package is exquisite, comprising of a plastic-covered cover and a silver-covered cardboard bottom. Both the plastic covering and the inner cardboard layers are printed resulting in a nice almost 3D effect.
The lid is quite tight and has to be removed really carefully to avoid breaking it.On a tray packed behind the box is the display base and a set of batteries with a screwdriver. The base comes with a solid-looking pole and a spring-loaded clip which fits on the pole and can be secured by tightening a screw. The instruction manual discourages using other figure stands due to the weight of this figure. The button batteries are for the figure which has 4 light-up locations while the base requires 3 AA batteries which are not included. When you open the battery compartment of the base for the first time it has a packet of dessicant inside. The eyes light up and the battery compartment and switch are hidden underneath the head cover. The railgun can mount anywhere on the back mount but the peg is too loose and it falls off with the slightest disturbance. There are a whopping 5 joints on the gun itself. All of them are some form of swivel. The chest reactor light switch and battery compartment are accessed from the back by removing a diecast panel. Unfortunately the panel will scratch the silver paint along the sides. Sadly, paint-scratching happens way too much on this figure. Batteries for the repulsor ray hands go on the backs of the upper arms. On the right arm the switch can be accessed by removing the ammo container on the back. For the left arm, the switch is on the side with the replaceable wrist-mounted gun. When you first handle the figure, you will be impressed by how much it weighs. I don’t have a weighing scale with me though. There is a fairly generous amount of diecast used on it and you can feel the cold metal especially on the body, upper arms and the legs. The paintjob is probably the best and worst part on this figure. It looks gorgeous but chips way too easily. In fact after playing with the toy once I found the thighs chipped and the chipped area can be made even bigger just by rubbing your finger over the affected area. Unlike the gaudy Iron Patriot this version does not come with a human face replacement. The chest reactor is beautifully detailed but on my figure when you switch the light on you can see some dirt right smack across the reactor. The edge of the red lining isn’t very smooth either and leaks light when the LED is switched on. Very nice stamp printing which also gets scratched way too easily. The worst offender is probably the hip area. I’ve heard that in the older Iron Man figures a soft material is used which fades over time. On this figure however all the hip panels are rigid plastic but mounted on joints sort of like a modern Gundam model and can move out of the way. The problem is that the side panels tend to get stuck inside the tops of the thighs causing the markings to get damaged. I think much of the leg is diecast but the centre of gravity isn’t shifted too low as most of the body also diecast. The wrist-mounted gun is deployed by replacing the side panel. The right arm does not have the same functionality. Individually jointed fingers. The only other accessories this figure comes with are 5 extra hands: a pair of fists with opaque repulsor rays, a pair of open hands designed for repulsor ray firing poses and a saluting right hand. This figure is fairly well-articulated if you read through the manual or watch instructional videos online and understand thoroughly how every joint works. However due to its own weight it also causes a few stability issues. The head is on a double joint with the inner collar made of a soft material. The waist joint extends and allows for increased range of motion. The abdomen is spring-loaded and collapses inwards for ab crunches. It might cause some paint scratching though. The waist rotates at the uppermost joint. The arms have double joints but don’t bend more than 80 degrees. Extend the upper joint and it increases to just over 90 degrees. The shoulders can only raise about 45 degrees, but lift the spring-loaded shoulder armour and pull the shoulder joint downwards. This increases its range slightly. However the spring-loaded shoulder armour might cause some paint scratching on the upper arms and the sides of the body. While it’s convenient it really causes more damage than be useful. Perhaps the springs could have been softer. Getting the legs to pose is a tricky challenge because of the weight of the figure. It has an extending hip which does not have a solid locking mechanism causing the entire hip to swing all over the place. As mentioned earlier the hip panels are on joints but the side panels get into all sorts of unwanted positions scratching up the thighs and the decals. There is a thigh swivel, and the knees are double ratchet joints that only move up to 90 degrees. The armour around the ankles are movable, and the ankle can extend to allow the feet to tilt or swing. The ankle joints are not ratcheted. While it allows for fine adjustment they are too weak to hold up the figure reliably and it is a nerve-wracking experience when you leave the figure to stand on its own. There is a toe joint as well. The sides of the base light up. The light is noticeable but not very bright. I’m not sure if it’s because of the batteries I used. And here it is all lit up. Again I’m not sure if the included batteries are weak or the lights just aren’t blindingly bright. The lights on the palms are actually located inside the arms and are quite bright if you remove the hands and stare into the wrist ball pegs. The brightness of the palms depends on your viewing angle and how you position the hands. Even with the room lights dimmed they aren’t that bright. The manual cautions against bringing the legs too close together as the tops of the thighs will scratch each other on the inside. They should have just warned you not to move anything in the first place as everything else scratches just as easily.
I just noticed in this pic that the right shoulder armour is wedged inside the shoulder. It might have caused some chipped paint. I finally pulled off a decent kneeling pose at the expense of scratched up side panels and thighs because the extending hips just swing all over when you don’t want them to.
In the end the very notion of diecast really just means a hefty price premium. Even with solid materials and without things like rubber suits articulation isn’t brilliant and is hampered by the figure’s own weight; the paint job looks gorgeous but gets ruined way too easily. With Hot Toys aspiring to produce every single design from the movies I think the Diecast line should only be looked at if you are willing to fork out extra money. All you get is a heavier figure of which its heft you ironically can’t enjoy as it can only stand and look pretty if you can’t bear to ruin its gorgeous paintjob. Besides they aren’t giving you many play options other than a measly set of hands anyway.
I don’t know if it’s just my computer but this new editor is really confusing to use. The cursor jumps all over the place when I press Enter and pictures keep getting selected together with text when I press keys like Shift+Home or End. Resizing the pictures is really too much trouble now. There are weird empty lines between my pictures that don’t show up in the preview, and after saving many of my line breaks disappear.