Flight Test Tony Stark
Review by Prometheum5
In the last few years, Hong Kong toy maker Hot Toys has stormed onto the licensed movie character 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 movie line has been one of the most prolific, with figures from the second film highly anticipated.
The 2008 Iron Man film took the comic book movie industry by storm with its phenomenal writing, convincing effects, accurate portrayal, and human characters. That, and about a zillion dollars in profit. Most all of you have seen it by now, and I’ve no words for the ones that haven’t, but I will reiterate that the movie is excellently written and genuinely emotional, and at times downright funny. One of the most memorable scenes in the film takes place in Tony’s garage, when he is testing the thrust capabilities of the newly created prototype Iron Man jet boots. The scene is quite funny, and really emphasizes Stark’s genius and suave when he succeeds.
With the Tony Stark Test Flight figure, Hot Toys has replicated that scene in its entirety, instead of just offering a figure of Stark in his test gear. This figure feels a bit different from the usual MMS releases. Even the box is different: instead of the usual colorful graphics and foldout design of the previous Iron Man MMS boxes, the Flight Test Tony comes in a classy matte black box with fine dark grey printing and silver foil lettering. The box opens to reveal a more familiar display card with information about the figure, including the credits of who worked on it.
The figure and accessories are safely packed in vacuum-formed plastic trays, and Stark is carefully wrapped in multiple pieces of plastic wrap to ensure none of the delicate armor parts are damaged in the box. Underneath the trays is a plastic bag containing a small instruction pamphlet for all the various lights and batteries in the figure, and a fold-out cardboard backdrop.
Once we unpack and assemble everything, we have: Stark in his test gear with two pairs of hands, a pair of loafers for when you want to remove the armor boots (if you’re crazy), a display base, cardboard backdrop, spare leg armor metal clasps, robotic assistant arm with optional fake wires to attach to the base, and a flight stand clamp and rod. Take note when opening the box that the clear flight rod is actually taped to the underside of the accessory tray, something I did not notice at first and panicked, thinking I was missing a part. Big thanks to them for helping me clear this up...
The display base and backdrop setup are really quite cool. Instead of the usual boring ‘utilitarian’ Hot Toys stand, we are treated to an elevated square base with a classy nameplate and a textured and painted floor to match the test area in Stark’s garage. This floor pattern matches up with the floor of the cardboard backdrop, which is beautifully printed on heavy-weight board and replicates the view of Tony’s garage behind him with a really convincing perspective and lighting effect. One thing I noticed was that because the base is elevated, the floor does not match up with the backdrop. It would have been nice if some sort of clip system was used to make the backdrop floor level with the stand, but this is a minor gripe.
Before we get to Stark proper, let’s talk about the robotic arm assistant, affectionately called ‘Dummy’. This could have been a throwaway prop item, but when Hot Toys goes out to make a toy, they go all the way. The plastic is lightweight, but Dummy is fully posable, and features the same level of fit, finish, and detail as the regular figures.
All of the wires and hoses are rubber, and the plastic pistons move as the arm elevates. The fire-extinguisher end is affixed to Dummy’s claw by a scale twisty-tie, I think accurate to the movie. A note on the instruction pamphlet points out that, while the claw is articulated, the twisty-tie is necessary to hold the extinguisher end in place. Dummy can move wherever you want, and fits perfectly between the base and the backdrop behind Stark to dress up the scene.
Now we’ve come to the meat of the review (as if the stuff above wasn’t good!): the Tony Stark figure. Stark features a detailed and accurate costume with prototype Iron Man arm and leg units that feature a dizzying array of detail, light up features in the chest, hands, and feet, and a typical Hot Toys body with a convincingly human level of articulation and poise. The figure also features a Kojun head sculpt that, to my eye, is just about the best licensed likeness on the market today, maybe just behind the MMS Joke/Heat Ledger sculpt from the DX Joker release. Stark’s face looks determined as he sets forth to develop an entirely new form of human travel. The sculpt even features separate parts to accurately replicate the way his hair falls, but I’ve no idea where those parts attach, as they are seamless. The paint is also stunning, with subtle coloration to the skin, and just the right touch of gloss in the almost real eyes.
No expense or detail was spared on the outfit. The shirt, pants, and belt with pouches fit realistically. The power rig setup around Tony’s life-saving Arc Reactor features accurate detail including a plethora of wires and tubes that all go somewhere. Some of the wires are even functional, and take power from the batteries in the control box to the glove repulsor unit lights. The wiring harness on the back even features scale electrical tape, and it looks damn good.
The armor parts really show off Hot Toys’ manufacturing and finishing prowess and attention to detail. The boots and arm units feature an ungodly amount of detail, with layers of fine parts to replicate all of the hoses and pistons and actuators we saw in the film.
The parts are all painted crisply and finely, and look like they came right out of the movie. The one drawback from all this detail is in the ankle articulation: namely, there isn’t any. The combination of the electronics for the foot repulsor units and the wild detail throughout the foot area, along with the opening action with interior detail and tiny metal clasps to keep the boots shut combine to block off any potential articulation, besides an ever so slight amount of toe movement. It does not really matter, since this figure is designed to be displayed using the flight stand.
The combination of the electronics for the foot repulsor units and the wild detail throughout the foot area, along with the opening action with interior detail and tiny metal clasps to keep the boots shut combine to block off any potential articulation, besides an ever so slight amount of toe movement. It does not really matter, since this figure is designed to be displayed using the flight stand.
Even though this figure has a ton of moving parts and is quite detailed, it is robust and durable, and fun to mess around with. The backdrop and Dummy make the perfect combination to portray all sorts of test-flight hi-jinks.
The question of value always comes up in these high-end 1/6 scale reviews, especially since Hot Toys figures are some of the most expensive. The Flight Test Tony figure seems to retail for about $160.00 US, and I think it is absolutely worth that. You will not find a more detailed or convincing Iron Man toy out there, or even movie toy for that matter, besides some of the other MMS line. When Hot Toys sets out to make a figure, they don’t stop halfway, as this figure proves. This could have been a slightly boring and niche figure that stood awkwardly on the shelf, but the complete diorama package out of the box works to make this something special. If you are an Iron Man fan, a 1/6 toy fan, or just someone that likes damn cool toys, this unique figure set is not to be missed.
|Posted 15 June, 2010 - 13:49 by Prometheum5|