Any good flick incorporates several ingredients into its production. The quality and quantity-the sensible employment of each element is integral to gracing the viewer with the dignity of not having to lie to their mom about her cooking. Huh? Iron Man 2 was a skootch soupy. At times, it tediously trod through the turbulent broth of poorly-rationed action, absent-minded plot devices, and the somewhat uninspired inclusion of a main character who spent most of the movie alone in his room, playing with his (Hot) Toys, while everybody else was really busy, really confused, and trying to make a movie.
Luckily for you, Iron Man suits don’t need a cohesive story arc, or a room full of writers with glowing repulsors pointed at their heads. A Hot Toys replica suit is like a nerd-seeking RPG filled with all killer and no filler. Once again, Hot Toys has set the bar for awesomely-selfish purchases that reduce Valentine’s Day budgets to nickel-funds for that person that you forgot to do that thing with that time. One time, Tony Stark tried to be thoughtful, so bought Pepper Potts strawberries, which she’s deathly allergic to. He forgot this, because Mr. Stark only has two true loves: forging his baller metal exoskeletons, and, himself. Sideshow understands the mind of a billionaire genius, and their efforts to embody Stark’s obsessive work ethic, continue to show through this 1/6th scale replica of the Mark IV Iron Man Suit.
The box is akin to Stark’s personality. At a glance, it’s polished, colorful, fearless, and charmingly-selfish. What you see is what you get-a giant picture of the Mark IV. Nothing elaborate, but damn, is it sexy! Sawing open the-WHOA WHOA WHOA!!! Put down the pruning shears and the bottle of xanax! Actually, better let me hold that bottle…for safety…Unboxing a Sideshow figure is a breeze; it’s almost therapeutic. Woosah, wooosaaahhhh. No zip-ties, no sticky-seals ripping off the top layer of cardboard, bringing you to a tearful fit of rage, and making you consider putting your face through a few layers of sheetrock, as therapy. No fuss, no muss. Unbox with ease, and with little care-needed. It would be a task, even for the pickiest of collectors, to detect that the superhero had occasionally fled his sarcophagus and patronized a tube site or two. A Hot Toys box is like a time machine for the figure. Save on your therapy bill, and go with Hot Toys.
If Tony Stark had a smaller budget, and some time to kill, this is what his mini model of the Mark IV would look like. The figure really is quite a parallel to the movie suit. It has the matching lines, an art-forger-quality paint job; even the joints and other animated parts are pretty darn spot-on.
Of course, there will be some compromises on a model figure vs. the “real” thing. We’re talking 200 million studio-dollars worth of CGI airbrushing and overlay vs. a retail figure priced slightly above 200 dollars (which, in my opinion, is worth every single “lip-tsssk” from your spouse, every time he/she walks past Iron Man’s room, which is also, annoyingly, the room in which you begrudgingly license your baby to sleep)
Sorry guys; size does matter. Fortunately for you, Hot Toys gets a full 12 inches to work with, and Nerd Bastards doesn’t have to follow the MPAA film-rating system. Standing proudly at about a foot tall, the attention to detail on this figure cannot be praised enough.
Many of the finer wardrobe deets are near movie-quality: screws, bolts, flex material, joints, even the inner-workings of the suit are displayed behind all of the movable panels. Air flaps at the upper and lower back, calves, and heels are fully-deployable, and an open position reveals more guts of the suit. Even the bottom of the feet boast detailed treads and paneling. Who’s ever going to see the bottom of feet, besides me, while I’m licking them (not sexually, it’s just how I clean all of my collectables when my wife’s out of town)?
The chest armor is removable, exposing yet more innards. LED’s ignite the aggressive eye sockets, the Arc Reactor, and the repulsors on 2 out of 3 of the interchangeable sets of hands that come with the figure (batteries included). This is a great feature. A fully-lit Iron Man looks oh-so-sweet up there on your display, and it will totally make all of your stuffed animals so jelly.
Heeeaaads, shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes. Mr. Mark IV boasts 30 points of articulation, including some movement at the waist, so that you can strike, strike, strike a pose, and lose a few more friends. Not enough to twerk with, but, enough to not know what a sleepover is. The neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, thighs, knees and ankles all move, plus, the figure can either stand on its own, or it can be cradled by the junk, using the included stand.
CRITICISM (The Not So Good Stuff)
Even though IV is sober enough to stand on its own, it does a little work, and the resulting posture does feel somewhat unstable (understandable for a small figure). Although it does come with a stand, the crotch-grabber takes away from the realism and awesome detail of the figure. It would be nice to either have a stand with a clear plastic clamp for fly-poses, or a glass base that Iron Man’s feet could click into, making for a secure, realistic display, especially when housed in glass display cases.
Every illuminated appendage has it’s own battery compartment. Get out your eyeglass-kit screwdriver, and take a few deep breaths. Battery installation takes a steady hand and a little patience. The panels are easy enough access, but be careful not to lose the screws, they’re tiny, and the ensuing search-party isn’t really the best use of your local police department’s K-9 unit.. It requires a little finesse to get multiple batteries in without the last one popping out. It would be nice to have one centralized battery compartment-maybe in the thorax or abdomen-that houses one larger battery which powers all of the lights. Hot toys does get a check-plus, however, for giving each light a switch, as it’s also fun to have just the arc reactor beaming, without having the hands lit up in “battle-mode,” etc.
As with any small figure with many moving parts, just show a little care when posing joints, or when deploying air flaps. Tiny parts can break off. All things considered, it really is a well-made figure. Use some common-sense, and you should be more than fine.
Sideshow/Hot Toys has made a secondary business of steadily churning out Iron Man variants. Some suit strains are direct reproductions of their onscreen counterparts, and some are completely original designs exclusive to Hot Toys/Sideshow. There are so many flavors that the thought of having to choose only one can generate acute decidophobia. The “settling on one” mentality, for the sensible fan, boils down to empirical taste. On the contrary, with the everlasting “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” woe of the “Hall of Armor” completest, there is no try, only do. So, if you found yourself shamelessly snatch-and-stashing candle holders and spoons in Skyrim, then you’re going to want to scoop this one up, just on principle, alone.
What Marks the IV as especially unique? What has etched it into the minds of many die-hard fans as the classic iteration of the Iron suit? It’s the trying design of dodging decadence; adding a just-so measure of style, paint, utility, etc.. It’s the rewarding balance of yin and yang that makes this suit the total package-the quintessential red and gold anti-Armageddon ensemble. For those new to Hot Toys and to the Iron Man collection, this figure is great jumping-on point.
Iron Man Mark IV retails for $234.99. The figure is currently on a Wait List off Sideshow’s website. For this and other Iron Man armors, visit www.sideshowtoy.com
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