The color black is arguably the most famous color in cinematic history. Early on, the color was used to denote power, evil, and menace. Dracula, bandits, other baddies wore black. Then, rebels and outsiders like Johnny Cash and James Dean made the color black edgy and cool. The Terminator wore a black trench-coat, then a black leather jacket. Pretty soon, even good guys started wearing black. Batman, Zoro, even Chuck Norris rock the color black. Men In Black, Ninjas, Blade, The Punisher, the list goes on and on. So, what, if anything, could make Iron Man, a slick billionaire, in slick billion-dollar mecha-suit, even cooler? How about a super high-quality, limited edition, all black, stealth version of Tony Stark’s Mark VII, Iron Man suit, made by our friends over at Hot Toys? How about, sorry, son, I know that all the kids are getting new sneakers for the first day of school this year, but, daddy needs a new collectible, and you’re just going to outgrow them, anyway? Daddy’s Iron Man figure will last a lifetime, or, until mommy flips out and makes him sell it on eBay, so that we can afford your insulin this month. How about, let’s get to the review before mommy takes half of Stealth Mode Iron Man and half of my laptop?
The carpet matches the drapes. They don’t just slap a picture of the character on the box and call it a day. Nope. Hot Toys creates a box that matches not only the theme of the action figure that it houses, but that also matches the theme of what specific version of the character that the figure is modeled after. This version of the Mark VII armor is decked out in super-sleek stealth armor, and so is the box. The first layer of packaging is a protective sleeve. The sleeve sports a slick, black design, that is half opaque, half translucent (just like the stealth chest armor), giving you a peek at the box design, underneath. Pulling off the sleeve reveals a black box, covered with a white-font, inner-guts-of-the-armor design . Simple, but thoughtful.
As usual, Hot Toys gets an A+ for packaging. Not one zip-tie, twisty-doodle, overly-sticky sticker or pesky retinal-scan lock. Hardcore collectors unite in praise! You can open up every single part of the kit, play with the figure and accessories, put everything back, and nobody would even be able to tell that your box had lost its innocence, or that you made Iron Man a sandwich, while your wife signed up for Tinder.
Basically, it’s a ninja-robot edition of Tony Stark’s Mark VII armor -as featured in Avengers: Age Of Ultron movie. The figure stands about 12 inches, in height, and is decked out, head-to-toe, in metallic, and matte-black-colored body armor, splashed sparingly with “digital camo” designs. The chest armor is translucent (and removable) to give you a small peek under the hood. The multi-layered and multi-shade paint job was a great idea, because, black tends to hide details, and this way, the lines of the suit still have some “pop” to them.
The little things matter:
Hot Toys delivers again with massive amounts of detail, articulation, and accessories. Iron Man is the near-impossible creation of a bad-ass genius, multi-billionaire scientist, so, if you’re going to pay homage to anyone of his suits, you better do it right, and Hot Toys did just that. Pretty much everything that you see (within reason) on the suit that you would see in the movie, is on this collectible figure – from forearm missiles and light-up repulsors in the palms and arc reactor in the chest, to working air flaps on the shoulders, back, and calves, totaling over 30-points of articulation, 3 different light-up features, interchangeable shoulder flaps, and three different hand options. Even the eyes light up!
When you articulate Iron Man’s joints, the armor panels lift and move, just like in the movies, to accommodate the position changes. You can see it on the tops of his feet, knees, and shoulders. For real art-critics and nit-pickers, I point to the back of his calves, where, when you raise the air flaps, you can see into the armor, where Hot Toys has detailed the inner-workings of what makes the suit tick. The same goes for the removable chest armor, and other areas, as well.
The right moves and a solid dance floor:
Over 30 points of articulation, 3 interchangeable body part locations, and a sturdy, flexible stand with a strong spring-loaded clamp, make for some seriously awesome poses, because, action figures are meant for action poses! Who wants Iron Man standing on his or her coffee table like he’s holding an awkward prom picture pose outside of his girlfriend’s house, while her mom tries to figure out how the camera works on her iPhone? Using the stand’s flex arm, and a thin excuse to touch Iron Man’s inner thighs, I was able to make him look like he was turning mid-air to shoot someone behind him, blasting off at mach speed, flying in a horizontal position, and much more. Seriously, the stand was a great addition to this product. The figure holds up well, even without the stand. I stood him up on my dining room table, and he didn’t fall, despite me bumping and shaking the table, within reason.
Adding to the versatility of Stealth Mode Iron Man, is the ability to put him in different modes of rest, flight, and combat. The standard shoulder flaps can be swapped out for the ones ready to fire missiles. The forearm armor can be switched up to the open position, revealing Iron Man’s mini rockets, at the ready. There are three different fist options, ranging from static-open, static-closed, and bendable fingers (at both finger joints).
Let there be light:
The static-open and bendable hand options both have light-up repulsors. There is a separate light switch for each hand, the chest arc reactor, and the eyes. The contrast between the stealth-black, menacing armor, and the bright, white LED lights piercing from his eyes, chest and hands, really makes for some great show-factor. I might even go as far as to say that this figure is a respectable conversation piece for anyone’s coffee table. It’s not just a toy, it’s a collector’s item.
Every part of the figure that lights up, has its own battery compartment. Get out your eye-glass kit screwdriver, stock up on replacement batteries, and take a few deep breaths. Battery installation takes a steady hand and a little patience. The panels are easy enough to access, but need to be unscrewed, and be careful not to lose the screws, they’re tiny! It also take a little finesse to get the multiple batteries in without the last one popping out. I’m not a designer, but, I’m thinking that it would be nice to have a centralized battery compartment, maybe in the back or abdomen, that powers all of the features. Hot Toys gets a check plus for giving each feature its own switch, though, as sometimes it’s cool to have the arc reactor (which should always be on) lit up, without having his hands lit up in battle mode, etc.
As slick as this figure looks, it doesn’t quite standout when in a stationary display with its light-up features turned off. Particularly if your shelves/cabinets are dark and in a poorly lit basement or den. Only in a well lit area, or light colored background, will you see the sheen, layers of color, and overall fine detail this figure has. It’s also really difficult to photograph. Any artificial lighting just glares of the shiny bits, making it hard to pick up finer details. I tried really hard to get some decent photos, but most (as I’m sure you noticed) came out dark. To truly do this figure justice, I would have needed a professional photography set-up and mutli-lighting rig. But then that’s not real, in-home conditions, now is it? Sideshow does sell lighted display cases, in this instance, it would be a reason to get one.
The stand really is a nice piece. Especially if you want to have Iron Man up in the air, in actions poses, you just clamp him at the waist, and away he goes. But it is bulky, taking up a lot of shelf space, and the clasp doesn’t angle thus limiting your posing options. But, the pole does bend so you do have some versatility. Also, the base of the stand, while structurally sound, has a finish of paper on top, and feels a little on the cheap-side, although it looks just fine, and doesn’t take away from the whole show.
As with anything that has a ton of moving parts, be careful, and take your time moving the joints, make sure that you’re not bending something that’s not meant to be bent, and you should be fine. I actually made the error of popping the right leg off by accident when trying to position the legs a certain way. Luckily, the hip was on a ball joint that popped back in. Nothing scarier than thinking you just broke a $300.00+ item. So, again, be careful.
Sideshow / Hot Toys has made a business in releasing one Iron Man armory figure after another. But, if you like high-end collectibles and you like Iron Man, you will love this figure. It’s design is detailed and thoughtful, it’s versatile, pose-able, has great features, and, well, it’s black. Everything is better in black.
I used to think that paying two or three hundred dollars for an action figure was insane. Then, Hot Toys came into my life, and I gained a new respect for action figure collectibles; no longer just toys for boys, but as legitimate works of art. If there’s ever a chance of me getting to let my action figures rise from the gallows of my man cave, to proudly display in a formal room, that doesn’t end in “basement”, it’s with the striking, life-like design of a Hot Toy collectible. Whether this this is your very first Iron Man or if you’re adding to your Iron Man army builder set, this is a must get. Remember, once you go black…
Currently, the figure is not available to order. It’s so rare and so special that if you want it, you gotta join a waitlist, which you can only get to via this hidden page HERE.
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