Big boys come out and play
This was an impulse purchase from almost a year ago. It was supposed to be released in July and the first batch seemed to have some serious QC issues. I got mine in September through Amiami which ridiculously overcharges on foreign toys. Apparently it is now unable to sell Hot Toys stuff so while there is no more convenient avenue for me to destroy my wallet it also means goodbye to crazy prices.
Somehow they went back to the nondescript outer packaging design.
The inner box retains the expensive-looking design though.
Styrofoam box, as all die-cast toys come in. I wonder whether it’s because normal plastic trays won’t be able to hold up the weight.
Carefully removing the lid reveals the figure and its main accessories.
Underneath is a plastic tray containing the stand and a set of batteries with a screwdriver. Other than the label the stand is identical to the one used for War Machine/Iron Patriot and only meant for holding the figure in a standing pose. The instructions warn not to use even their own dynamic stand. The stand uses three AAA batteries which are not included.
To get to the switch and battery compartment in the head you have to remove the mask, then the top of the helmet by prying the temples outward. To make things worse installing the batteries in the head is a real pain as the magnets on top keep attracting the batteries.
The batteries for the arc reactor are installed in the back, which uses a large screw and is a bit of an eyesore. Furthermore the screw is a bit too large for the included screwdriver and comes tightly screwed so one has to be careful not to strip the screw head.
Batteries for the repulsor lights go on the insides of the upper arms where the switches are also located. Again the screws are a tad large and can be stripped easily.
Overall views. As is expected from the brand, the sculpt and paint job are great though I have a few areas to nitpick about. I wish the panel lines were done in a less conspicuous colour like brown instead as they are very thick and look like someone went over them with a Gundam Marker. There are also noticeable seams on the arms. The forearms are supposed to be swappable, but they could have made the seams follow along the panel lines for a less noticeable result.
Notice I did not remove the protective plastic around the hips – this is because the thighs are rubbing tightly against the waist area which is made of flexible plastic so I decided to leave them on to minimise paint rubbing.
The details inside the arc reactor are jaw-dropping. If I’m not mistaken parts of the upper body are die-cast.
The gold portions of the shoulder pauldrons are die-cast. For some reason they can slide up and down over the inner silver parts but they cause a lot of paint scratching around the edges. They are also on a two-spring system where one spring provides tension for the pauldron to flap up and down while another inner spring keeps the pauldron pressed against the shoulder. As the upper arms and the inner silver portion of the pauldrons are plastic, there doesn’t seem to be any issue with paint scratching around here.
On the back you can make out the oxidised metal effect around the back flaps. The underpants area is made of flexible plastic. I heard that in older Iron Man figures their red underpants tended to fade over time. I hope it isn’t an issue on this figure but I expected a little more from a die-cast figure as War Machine didn’t have soft plastic around this area. There is an outline around the butt which marks the position of a button for unlocking the extending hip joint, something lacking in the other figures.
Legs. The thighs and parts of the calves are die-cast. The lower portion of the knee guards have springs to keep them against the ratcheting knee joints when bending the legs. The covers around the ankles are movable. Feet are plastic and while the ankle joints are not ratcheted (a wise decision in terms of posability) they are a bit too loose to support such a heavy figure. They are also supposedly able to extend to improve articulation range but I can’t get mine to do it.
You get a pair of fully articulated hands and a second pair with the wrist in a different position, and their corresponding hand guards.
Also, here are the parts for swapping into the battle-damaged appearance which will be covered in the next part.
With the LEDs turned on. The arc reactor is blindingly bright as the LED is pointing forward. Since LEDs are highly directional light sources, the eyes are really dim in comparison as the LED is located in the centre of the head.
The back flaps are movable, and while they reveal some nice detailing, the insides of the flaps are plain gray and you can see ejector pin marks.
This guy is fairly articulated, with a few extending joints to maintain its appearance. The head is on a ball joint, and the base of the neck is slightly movable.
Pull the torso to extend it and you can make it crunch its abs slightly.
The shoulder joint can easily extend outwards to get out of the way of the chest and back armour.
The shoulders can also swing forward a little. To minimise the risk of paint scratching I usually lift the back flaps out and adjust the arms so that the shoulder pauldrons don’t crash against the edges of the flaps in the closed position.
Here is the joint in action from another angle. The circular gear-like detail on the outer edge of the shoulders is made of flexible plastic. The arms themselves are also mounted on ball joints.
The elbows offer a serviceable 90 degrees bend. There are standard upper arm swivels, and the arms can also raise up to 90 degrees, completely beating the War Machine/IP figures which need their elbows extended and cannot raise their arms as high. According to the manual the waist can rotate up to 45 degrees but it doesn’t seem possible to get it to rotate that far.
The front of the hips are rendered as movable flaps. The hip joints don’t offer much sideways range, and they tend to force the hips to extend, so the locking mechanism doesn’t really do much to keep the hips retracted. However, in the extended position they will properly remain locked. Though it doesn’t work perfectly, it’s still an improvement over the War Machine/IP figures. The ankles have enough sideways range to keep the feet planted.
You can raise the legs 90 degrees to the front, and the double knee joints are ratcheted and provide a great amount of range. The ankle covers are also movable, and there is a toe joint.
Other than the name plate the base is identical to the other die-cast releases with the awkwardly positioned areas for the figure to stand on.
With everything lit up.
With a less flexible torso it isn’t as capable of dynamic poses.
However with some
wisdom effort and courage it is possible to get the figure into the floor punch pose.
Like what I mentioned in my War Machine review, this is a really expensive display piece and could be one of the best representations of the character that ironically feels really good in hand thanks to the die-cast components. In this particular case though you’re probably not just paying extra for the die-cast label but also for the workmanship that went into Robert Downey Jr.’s headsculpt. In terms of playability, the smaller SH Figuarts rendition is a much more fun figure at a much more reasonable price point, and you can get it into all sorts of dynamic poses without fear of destroying its paint job or just worrying about joints breaking. I don’t have any major complaints about this figure, and its quality is a step up compared to my War Machine figure so I guess this guy deserves the full five stars.
This time round I knew what to expect about the paint job on die-cast toys and from prior experience with the similarly designed War Machine I handled the figure extra carefully so I managed to avoid much of the catastrophic paint chipping that happened to the thighs of my other figure. Despite the initial horror stories regarding broken shoulders it seems the issue has been fixed in later batches.
The battle-damaged version will be covered in the next post.