It’s not very often that an actor embodies the spirit of the character that he’s playing so well, that it becomes hard to picture that actor as anyone else later. Since Iron Man, we’ve seen Robert Downey Jr. play a journalist, an Australian actor who plays a black soldier, a father-to-be trying to cross the country in time to see the birth of his child, he’s even played Sherlock Holmes but, whether he’s up on the big screen, or on TV getting interviewed on Late Night, sans the arc reactor, RDJ is still, and always will be, Tony Stark.
Downey has always been one of Hollywood’s good-looking bad boys. He’s got the looks, the money, the swag, the “Do whatever I want now, and apologize later, I don’t give a f#*k attitude,” as well as the charm to get away with it all. Who is more Tony Stark than that? Nobody. Not even Tony Stark, go figure that out.
Most superheroes have boring alter-egos. They try to blend into society, as to not have their true identity revealed. Clark Kent is a ho-hum reporter for the Daily Planet. Bruce Wayne is rich, but he’s a drag, and his only friend is his butler. However, Tony Stark’s ego has no f**ks to give. Even without the suit, he’s still a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, and he wants you to know it, dammit!
And, that’s why Hot Toys actually got away with making a Tony Stark figure. Minus the suit, he’s still cool as hell. He builds arc reactors, sleeps with super hot women, and even invents new elements. That’s right, he comes with no high-tech suits, no weapons, not even a power glove. Hot Toys made a 1/6th replica of the alter-ego of a superhero, which comes with some lab equipment. And it’s super cool!
Thankfully, Sideshow Collectibles has graciously sent us one of the figures, so that you don’t have to take my word for it. Let’s check it out!
Right off the bat, the packing sets the tone for what this figure is all about. Remember, this figure is all about the man behind the mask. In Iron Man 2, Tony learned that the palladium that powered the arc reactor in his chest was slowly poisoning him. Using clues from his deceased father, Tony had to create a new element that could power the arc reactor in his chest, or there wouldn’t be an Iron Man 3. The figure comes in a spiffy blue box, sporting half of the Captain America shield prototype that his dad created, and half of the new element that Tony created.
Sliding the box top off reveals what would make any good scientist a happy camper, or…scientist. A happy scientist. The figure and all of his accessories are very well-organized and neatly packaged without the mess of twisty-ties, zip ties or any other aggravating packaging that makes you want to scream like a chimp, and open everything up with a machete and a can opener, which ends up ruining your packaging, lowering the resale value, upping your blood pressure, and making your pets flinch every time you raise your hands above your waist. Kudos to Hot Toys for their thoughtful packaging, and not giving me sweat-filled flashbacks to opening up CD’s in the 90’s.
Tony stands about 12”, and is decked-out in all black, from his golf shirt, to his belt, pants and shoes. The head sculpt is incredibly life-like. Held in the right light, it’s like having a staring contest with RDJ, himself. Which he wins, because I turn away bashfully, every time. Damn, he’s sexy, and little intimidating. Closeups of his face reveal bone structure, multiple layers of skin tone, facial hair that can almost be counted strand-for-strand, even life-like eyes. The head-sculpt is hand-painted, and it shows. If this figure was any more realistic, I’d set an extra place setting at dinner for him. And I’d be sleeping on the couch…with Mr. Stark. Sorry, honey. I’m not sorry.
Although the clothes really aren’t the focal point of the figure, they’re well-made, yet simplistic, and the black color adds to Tony’s slick persona. The golf shirt is removable, and reveals a wife-beater underneath. If you pull off that layer, to reveal Tony’s bare chest, you can really see how detailed Sideshow got with this guy. Even his musculature, veins and skin texture are accurate. Tony sports an arc reactor in his chest, and it’s complete with a working LED inside (batteries included). Just turn him over (with your wife’s supervision), flip the switch on his back, and the arc reactor lights up, and can be seen through his shirt, which is totally baller. The batteries are replaceable, by unscrewing the little panel on his back. Just to point out how much detail Sideshow has thought of, you can see the spider-veins on his chest, that show him suffering from the palladium poisoning, just like in the movie.
With consideration that Tony doesn’t actually come with any Iron Man parts, Sideshow does include some pretty interesting accessories. Included with the figure are: A standalone arc reactor, the device that holds the arc-reactor element core in the scene where Tony creates the new element, safety goggles, Captain America’s shield prototype (comes with it’s own removable stand) that Stark comically uses to level the particle accelerator, 2 sets of blueprints, and an extra pair of hands with a closed grip position.
Hot Toys gets some much-deserved credit for the level of detail that has been executed, not only with Tony, but with the accessories. Taking a close look at Captain America’s shield, one can see each layer of metal, texture and paint that went into making the shield. There is even an abundance of detail on the back of the shield, which will never be seen by passers-by when it’s up on display. Even the device that holds the element core is painted with different metal shading, has lights (non working), buttons, wires and tubes. Everything is painted, textured and shaded to pop just like the props in the movie.
The figure gets few criticisms, but a few of them are:
Even though it is possible to pose the figure to stand on his own, it is a bit difficult, and it still feels unstable. Although it does come with a stand, it takes away from the realism and awesome detail of the figure, itself. There are 30 different points of articulation on Tony, but some of the joints are hard to move, and at some points, I felt like I was going to break the figure just by bending the elbows (though nothing actually broke, and the doll is very well made). Getting the shirt off was a bit of an ordeal, as the arms aren’t able to be bent straight up. Also, for all of the work that went into making the figure so life-like, the elbow and wrist joints, as well as the two-piece abdomen take away from the detail. It would be nice if they could figure out how to make the figure articulate without have to make such obvious joint separations. The arc-reactor and chest detail are so good, but, then you look down and see that Tony has been cut at the mid-section in order to be moveable. The skin overhang from the chest to the stomach is a bit distracting.
One other thing that was a bit awkward was trying to figure out how to set up the figure and all of the accessories. The arc reactor and element core-holder aren’t items that the figure holds, and they don’t come with any stands of their own, so you have to get a little creative on your own to set up a coherent display. It would be nice if the figure came with a mini-lab desk or a couple of stands for the accessories. Overall, none of the negatives are deal-breakers. There is just too much detail, and the accessories are too cool, for one to not be impressed with this collectible overall.
There is no way that a Christopher Reeves or Michael Keaton action figure could work as well as this. RDJ is the embodiment of who Tony Stark is. They have become synonymous with each other. And, Tony Stark, being a genius scientist, super rich, sexy lady-killer, fictional pop-culture icon, is almost a superhero in and of himself. Hot Toys couldn’t have picked a better alter ego to dare to give him his own line of collectibles to, and this figure is a spot-on tribute to the man behind the Iron mask.
Iron Man fans, don’t miss out on this collectible set and expand your Iron Man series collection! You can find it at Sideshow Collectibles here http://bit.ly/gettonystark
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