Review by Prometheum5
Iron Man 2 smashed into theaters in May of 2010, accompanied by an absolute wealth of merchandise, books, and most importantly, toys! Taking place 6 months after the end of the first film, Iron Man 2 sees Tony Stark upping the stakes and dealing with his new role in the world. The film features many more and varied mechanical designs, including three suits of Iron Man armor throughout the film, and the fearsome War Machine.
In the last few years, Hong Kong toy maker Hot Toys has stormed onto the licensed movie character toy field with its Movie Masterpiece Series (MMS). Each release in this line pushes the envelope of what is possible in plastic further and further, with life-like head sculpts and detailed outfits accurate down to the rivet and seam. The Iron Man 2 movie line has not disappointed.
Whiplash is the super-villain from Iron Man 2 (although not really the main ‘villain’), and he is awesome. The movie Whiplash character combines the mythos of two of Iron Man’s quintessential villains into one fearsome and deadly threat that fits the movie universe perfectly. The figure reviewed here depicts Whiplash when he debuts what we have seen him working on, as he attacks Tony Stark during a Formula 1 race. This is only halfway through the film, and Whiplash gets trounced, but it is awesome.
The box is the now-standard gorgeous, shiny Hot Toys fare. Iridescent holograph-ey printed graphics of both the character and toy adorn the outer sleeve, which slides off to reveal a matte black inner box with production credits for the toy and impossibly fine graphic printing. A window shows the toy safely secured in a vacuum-tray affair.
Removing the figure from the box, it almost feels like a ‘simple’ figure, but as I’ll show, it is anything but. There are not many accessories, just one extra set of fists, the whips, the whip energy effects, and the standard Hot Toys stand. A small instruction packet includes a battery that must be installed using a super-small screwdriver, and some notices on points to watch for on the figure.
Whiplash is only a standard Hot Toys figure from the waist down. The upper body features a larger construction and a silicone-like outer layer for musculature. Unlike previous skin suits, the Whiplash upper body is segmented, so that there are no points where the ‘skin’ would tear around articulation. The entire upper half of the figure is also fully painted, with skin tone and blemishes, as well as razor sharp printed tattoos. The effect is really stunning… every little bit of detail from the movie is there, down to the ruddy skin tone and tattoos printed on both sets of hands. No expense was spared, and it shows.
The head sculpt is one of Hot Toys’ best yet. Big, scary Mickey Rourke is reproduced in all his miniature plastic glory (horror?). The head is fully painted and matches the body perfectly. There is some incredible detail and character to the eyes and lips, as well as the convincing looking scar on his left cheek. The hair is a separate piece of softer plastic that almost seamlessly blends with the forehead and scalp area, and has a bewildering amount of little tiny hair tips. The only weak point is the painting on the grayed bits of hair. The photos make it look more harsh than it is, but it does stand out as not being quite as nicely painted as the rest of the figure. Vanko looks mad, and ready to fight. Around the neck is even a super fine string necklace with Vanko’s cross pendant.
Impressive as plastic Ivan Vanko’s upper body is, the real thrill of this figure is the Whiplash ‘suit’. Vanko’s tech is crude, and the battle rig is really just a harness for his upper body that allows him to power and wield the whips. I mentioned how impressed I was with the level of mechanical detail on the boots of the Mech Test Tony Stark in that review, but honestly, this is a whole’nother level of impressive. The harness is made of hard plastic with imitation leather working straps, and must have about a hundred individual parts, if not more. The level of detail is unreal, with very fine and precise moldings and just as fine a paint job. The imitation arc reactor lights up, and is a separate part from the figure body, unlike the Mech Test Tony, which featured a special light-fitted torso, which makes sense, since Tony’s reactor is in his chest, while Vanko just wears his as part of the suit. There are even individual straps on the arms to secure the harness and keep it from pinching his elbows (Vanko is a thinker!). The only things actually missing from the rig are the bits that attached the whips to the arm frames. Here, Whiplash just holds the whip handles, when in the film the handles were supported by the harness, and Vanko was really just ‘driving’ the frame.
The spine of the harness is fixed, but does not hinder torso articulation, and the shoulders cheat a bit by not actually being connected, but everything looks the part. Whiplash can only bend his elbows to 90 degrees, but I do not think that is inaccurate from the film.
The burnt up pit-crew suit looks convincing, and is nicely weathered and scorched round where the harness burnt it off. The untied boots are made from a soft material and look great. The ankles feature the standard Hot Toys double-ball, so they move very well and keep Whiplash upright with level feet, which is important since he is a bit top-heavy.
The crackling energy effects on the whips are pretty easy to install. There are a couple ‘holes’ to slide the whips through, and then some longer sections that you can weave in and out of the two cables of the whips to really complete the look. The whips and lightning are molded in very soft plastic, but the whips have just enough stiffness to them to hold some poses. The whip handles slide over the cables that extend from the back of the harness down the arms, and have a deep hole so that there is some slack to the cables, so when you extend the arms the cables do not disconnect or hinder articulation. The effect of the energy parts is awesome, and the figure really comes to life thanks to these parts.
All I’ve really done is gush over the impeccable and incredible detail of the figure, but what it really boils down to is that Whiplash is well enough made to accurately and convincingly recreate the scene from the film, as well as stage your own fights. This is one of the most complex toys Hot Toys has ever produced, and it does not disappoint.
I know Whiplash did not fight Iron Man in his Mk III suit, but I couldn’t help myself from pitting him against at least one Iron Man. Getting two figures together really emphasizes how incredible these toys are, and a sort of synergy develops when you realize you really can do just about anything with them and have it look good.
The quality on this figure was flawless, but it is worth mentioning that this is actually the second Whiplash I received. The first had an arm fall off out of the box from an assembly defect that could not be repaired without ruining the shoulder skin suit, but I have not seen anyone else with this problem, and the part did not fall off until I handled the figure for a minute, so it must have just been a fluke that made it through QC. That said, I cannot thank them enough for providing a replacement.
The Hot Toys Iron Man movie figures have been some of my favorite toys ever, and Whiplash is right up towards the top of the list. Incredible articulation, detail, design, and finish combine to make this a must-have collectible, as well as still a functioning collectors’ toy. The head sculpt, tattoo details, and working battle harness make this a piece with some serious shelf presence.
|Posted 30 November, 2010 - 22:27 by Prometheum5|