Iron Man 3 may not the best of anything to do with Iron Man (what they did with The Mandarin was sinful, and the other main bad guy, played by Guy Pierce, was an egomaniac who killed lots of people just because Tony Stark stood him up on a business date…really?), but the film did feature the largest & coolest assortment of Iron Man armors on screen (which did all get blown up by Tony for no apparent reason, but they were cool in the fleeting moments they were featured). The film also saw Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts kicking some butt… by turning into a human furnace thanks to that Extremis thing, which was sort of lame, but still – girl power and what not. Speaking of Pepper, lets take a moment and acknowledge what an underrated character she is. Pepper is an integral part of Tony Stark’s life. She runs Stark Enterprises and keeps Tony in check. She may not be a legitimate superhero, but what a super-heroic feat it is to juggle those two things. How’s the saying go: behind every great man is a great woman.
Now, the Iron Man property itself has been the bread and butter for HOT TOYS and Sideshow Collectibles. A long line of Iron Man armors and characters have made their way to astonishingly detailed, high-end collectibles figures, with each entry in the ongoing line being highly sought after, selling out, and often going for twice as much on auction and collector sites. Because there are enough people who are Tony Stark rich (and some pretending to be), HOT TOYS has two new 1/6th scale figures – available now – to add to the Iron Man collectible family: Iron Man 3′s Pepper Potts and Iron Man Armor Mark IX.
Sideshow Collectibles was kind enough to send us this awesome two-pack for review. Head on past the jump to look at spiffy photos, read up on our detailed two-part take, and maybe have some laughs along the way.
Given the severe lack of women in Marvel getting their own equal share of toys and collectibles (I’m looking at you, Hasbro), HOT TOYS has been working hard to right that wrong. From the Marvel-verse, they’ve had a couple of Black Widow figures, an “Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Maria Hill figure, a Guardians of the Galaxy Gamora…and, now, Pepper Potts joins the line of 1/6th scale figurines.
The figure is based on the likeness of Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in the film, and features a newly developed head sculpt with long straight light reddish-blonde real fabric hair, finely tailored costume, an interchangeable Iron Man Mark IX right arm with LED light-up function, and figure stand.
HOT TOYS puts almost as much effort into their packaging as they do their figures, always using the right balance of graphics and logos/lettering to make for an eye-appealing display. With figure two-packs, it’s double your pleasure, double your fun. Coming in at 11 inches wide by 20 inches tall, it’s a big ol’ box. The size of it alone instantly warrants/demands your attention. The main art on the front displays Pepper, cradling a damaged Iron Man helmet with the Mark IX armor standing protectively behind, while Tony Stark’s mansion is being demolished in the foreground – it’s like a cover to the most romantic metal album cover of all time. That art is nicely broken up with an orange strip going through the middle of the scene with the films logo and product description.
Slipping off the over-sized shoe-box styled package, is a graphical insert featuring Tony Stark’s heart – aka the Arc Reactor. Taking out the insert reveals Pepper and Mark IX armor encased in a plastic clam-shell. And not one of those clam-shells that require scissors or some sort of Iron Man-level tech to open. Each piece of plastic that houses the figures and their accessories (of which there is a lot) is a separate plastic layer that can be pulled apart. This means the figures are well protected, and that the packaging can be reused. Even rich guys and gals want to protect their investment.
THE FIGURE (Pepper Potts)
Let’s go ahead attempt to skip any over gender stereotypes/assumptions, thinking only boys want male heroes and girls only want the lady heroes. If you’re a fan of Marvel then every character, male or female, can and should be inclusive/desired. Having said that, it is a little weird for a grown-ass man to be admiring what could be considered a glorified Barbie Doll. This is a figure with hips, perky bosoms, and real rooted hair – so again, it’s slightly awkward to handle and ogle over without fear that Chris Hanson will pop up outta nowhere and say “Have a seat.” Regardless, fans of the character (and anyone that has an unhealthy obsession with Gwyneth Paltrow) will be quite pleased.
Without question, the very first thing that strikes a “whoa” response is the head sculpt. This figure looks more like Gwyneth Paltrow than Gwyneth Paltrow (if that makes any sense… it doesn’t). Soft skin, high cheek bones, feminine chin, luscious lips, bold beautiful eyes, cute freckles, and (rooted) blond/reddish hair with bangs – all of which mirrors how the actress looks EXACTLY. It’s actually kind of eerie how lifelike this face/head sculpt is – you’ll almost believe this figure will come to life and start talking to you about healthy living and how it’s important to steam out one’s vagina (if that reference is lost on you, don’t bother Googling it… you’ll just be weirded out).
The frame and structure of the body is slender and curvy in all the right places, modeled after Paltrow’s skinny “I’m a Vegan and proud of it” figure. She is clothed in black business pants, un-tucked white blouse, and open toed high-heels (check this out – figure designers were so precise in their true-form accuracy, they even made sure that the big toe on Platrow’s left foot was slightly bent inward – an affliction from wearing pointed toe shoes). If you want to get frisky (or maybe re-enact the end of IM3), her blouse is removable, and you’ll find her wearing a black sports bra just like in the movie. All of her garb is real fabric and hand-tailored looking 100% like their life size counterpart.
Oh, and removing those clothes… take your pesky pervy-ness elsewhere and save yourself the trouble – this figure is not anatomically correct. Although, it has been said that if a vegetarian goes without meat for a long period of time; their nipples and genitals disappear (or so I’ve been told). So if that’s true then maybe this figure is more accurate than initially realized. Joking aside, while there may not be sexual parts (like their really needs to be anyway), the skin on this figure isn’t some hard paint plastic – it’s a rubberized material. So not only did HOT TOYS make Pepper Potts look like Gwyneth Paltrow, they made it feel like her too!
Given such a small figure (less plastic and what not), there is room for more accessories than what is usually included with 1/6th scale figures. Pepper Potts comes with quite the assortment. Included in this figure *cue the drum roll* is an attachable full-detailed Iron Man (right) arm w/light up repulsor hand, a manila folder w/ numbers and stats on A.I.M. (with wee tiny but legible text), 2 Iron Man helmets – 1 with w/ enclosed faceplate w/ light up eyes, and the 2nd featuring an open removable faceplate with alternative and equally detailed Pepper Pots head sculpt. Last, but not least, the accessories everybody wants – a pair of Gwyneth Paltrow’s bare *in best Honest Trailer voice* FEEEEET. So, if you’re a foot fetishist, there you go, that’s your selling point right there.
Out of all those accessories, there is one more accessory remaining, which happens to be the biggest and most equipped of them all. That’s right, the suit itself – the Mark IX armor – might as well be considered an accessory. While Pepper can be purchased individually, the Mark IX can only be obtained in this combo set – so, that makes it an accessory (to murder! ha, just kidding – couldn’t help myself). But let’s talk about this for it really is, a 1/6th scale figure.
THE FIGURE (IX Armor)
The featured Armor in Iron Man 3 was the Mark XLVII. Sure, it featured cool nanotechnology that allowed each piece to fly by the will of Tony Stark’s mind/jazz hands, which made it super convenient. The look of it, though, was off-putting. It was like the Ketchup and Mustard got into a fight and Mustard won. Thankfully, this Pepper did not come packaged with that suit. Someone at HOT TOYS had enough sense to think “That suit sorta kind of sucks” and went with IX suit instead – the suit which can be seen in the film’s final showdown.
The HOT TOYS figure features a sophisticated sculpted armored body, specially applied metallic red, gold and silver colored paint with weathering effects, great articulations with armor parts linkage designs, LED light-up functions on various parts of armor, and large circular display base.
Only keen-eyed collectors would take notice of this, but the IX armor figure is a re-purposed (and highly sought after) Stealth Armor Iron Man (Armor VII) figure released earlier this year, sans some bells and whistles. Regardless of the figure being what is basically a re-paint, it features a 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 and back, totaling over 30-points of articulation, three different light-up features, interchangeable shoulder flaps, and three different hand options. Even the eyes light up!
Out of all those various suits of armor featured in the movie, including the mainly featured Mark XLVII (that mustard/ketchup one), there is nothing that quite competes with classic red and gold color scheme. It’s a classic look; one that is easily recognized. Someone sees this displayed and they’re gonna know “hey, that’s Iron Man” versus, let’s say, the Igor or Striker armor, which aren’t as identifiable unless you’ve seen the movie. Last thing you want is for friends/family to be like “is that a droid from Star Wars…. or is that a Pokemon?” Of course, if you know anyone that would utter such nonsense, well, you just don’t need those kind of people in your life. But anyways, classic Iron Man is classic for a reason. So let it be said again, thank the maker that someone at HOT TOYS decided on this Iron Man armor to be paired with Pepper as opposed to the Mark XLVII.
Adding to the figure’s versatility 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). The base also comes with a bendable pole with a pincher to secure around the figure and hold it up, allowing for mid-flight poses.
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 gold/red armor and the bright, white LED lights piercing from his eyes, chest and hands, really makes for some great show-factor.
Honestly, the best thing about this figure, is the paint scheme. There’s a lot Iron Man armors that have made their way to the design table of HOT TOYS, with most of them being the classic Gold and Red colors. The majority of these figures, however, are (I find) too clean and pristine. This one, has some character too it. It’s been worn, it’s been through a fight…it’s said no to a Gwyneth Paltrow vaginal steam bath. The weathering, dings, oil streaks, and burn marks give the finalized look extra life.
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM (The Not So Good Stuff – Both Pepper and IX Armor)
Regarding Pepper, there really aren’t many quibbles to be had. If you’re really picky, a gripe can be made about how the wrists show visible ball joints vs having skin on the forearms overlapping an hiding them – anytime joints are exposed, it takes away from the realism. The figure also pretty much requires the stand to display, as the high heels don’t offer much support and the figure will easily topple over (just like in real life, folks). The last thing is the hair; the more you handle this figure – or, good god, if you drop it – that perfectly steam-pressed hair will get messed up and there is no way to get those strands back to their original form (so be careful!). Beyond that, this is a practically perfect figure in every conceivable way – hyper-realistic, real clothes, and very well accessorized (the actual accessories, I mean, not the figure’s private parts, you perv).
Now, the Iron Man figure, however, has some complaints – well, really only one. If you’ve never owned a HOT TOYS Iron Man figure before, then you should know, 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. It’s an unnecessarily frustrating process.
It’s been mentioned twice now just how much better a decision it was pairing Pepper with the IX armor instead of the VIII armor, but let’s acknowledge why, specifically, that is. It’s not so much that the VII armor looks like Bob Ross painted it while on acid (“We’re gonna paint a not-so-happy armor and if you tell anyone about it, I’ll cut you”) – it’s that there is two scenes in the movie in which Pepper dons Iron Man Armor: the first being towards the beginning when Stark’s house gets bombed and Tony saves Pepper by covering her in his VII armor, and the second scene is when Pepper forcefully dons the IX armor (well, parts of it anyway) and saves Tony. As women heroes surge in popularity and get their equal share in collectibles and other merchandise, would you rather a figure set showing a damsel in distress being saved by a male hero or would you rather a set that allows you to recreate a scene where the girl saves the hero? The answer should be clear.
As far as the figures themselves go, there is really little, if anything, to bemoan. This is truly an awesome, eye-popping, jaw-dropping, and “whoa” enducing figure set. Both figures are prime examples of what make the HOT TOYS Iron man line so popular – it’s their commitment to hyper-realism and 100% screen accuracy without compromise. If you’re new to the Iron Man line or if this is your first HOT TOYS purchase (or even if you’re a repeat customer), you’ll be astonished.
The price point on this figure set will set you back more than a few metal shavings; costing $439.00. Keep in mind, that Sideshow keeps things manageable by offering a payment plan for as little as $99.00 a month.
You want one of the better Iron Man suits on the market – this is it! And, you get Pepper Potts with it? Come on, you know everything is better with a little dash of pepper.
This stupendous set is available now for pre-order HERE.
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