Review by Prometheum5
Iron Man 3 came out in 2013 and paved the way for a level of Iron Man merchandising heretoforeunseen. The Iron Legion made its debut in force against the threat of the Mandarin and the Extremis supersoldiers, and new Iron Man suits appearing in a movie can only mean one thing: new Iron Man toys! Hot Toys announced some new developments for their Iron Man 3 line, first of which is the Diecast Movie Masterpiece Series of 1/6 scale figures. The new Diecast line promised an improved level of detail and sophistication punctuated by a hefty use of good old fashioned metal.
The Iron Patriot made its debut in Iron Man 3, a rebranded armor that wears its patriotic mission of peace on its sleeve. The Iron Patriot started life as War Machine Mk II, designed from the ground up by Tony Stark to replace the hackjob that was the first War Machine suit. Iron Patriot is the first regular release in the diecast line.
The boxes for the Iron Man 3 diecast releases borrow in style from older Hot Toys releases, like their old Terminator Salvation line. The outer box features bold graphics with layered printing over a clear acetate shell.
The blue and red bits of the box slide off to reveal a gray styrofoam coffin that houses the main figure and accessories. A plastic tray underneath houses the display stand, flight rod, and batteries.
Out of the box, Iron Patriot stands almost thirteen inches tall in 1/6 scale. The paint and detail are flawless, but what is immediately apparent is the weight! When Hot Toys said the new figures would feature diecast bits, they were not kidding. It feels like most of the toy is made from diecast, because it is solid and hefty.
From the back we can see more of the Patriot’s complex paint scheme, and that awesome new gun. The original movie War Machine suit featured a minigun similar to that of the comic book suit, but the new model features a sleek, modern weapon to match the new suit’s look.
Before we go any further, we’ve got to install the batteries for the LED features. This is a bit of a revelation itself from Hot Toys. Previously, HT would ship figures with the batteries installed, but prevented from draining with a removable plastic tab. The problem is that, over time, those batteries start to leak. A few instances of collectors with older Iron Man HT releases full of corroded and exploding batteries was enough to scare me into removing the batteries from all but the most recent of my Iron Legion. Unfortunately, there are many boxed and sealed figures out there that may now be full of leaky and corroded batteries, making the prospect of buying a sealed older HT Iron Man release a bit scary. To alleviate these concerns, Hot Toys seems to have started shipping the newest Iron Man releases with the batteries in a separate tray, which is terrific. HT even included a little screwdriver for all of the battery compartments!
The batteries all go in easy enough. Once installed, the LEDs are bright and white as we’ve come to expect. They really complete the look, but I will probably take them back out before I put this guy on the shelf.
Packing the batteries separate is a great little tweak, but Hot Toys has also made some pretty drastic changes to the figure itself. It seems that adding diecast gave HT an opportunity to start over from scratch on the newest Iron Man armor figures, rethinking every joint for added function and detail. One subtle spot where the difference is apparent is in the elbows. Previous HT Iron Man figures had rubber covers at the elbows to simulate the segmented armor sleeve present there. Iron Patriot has a new design, mostly made of metal, where the elbows are solid parts that are double jointed and can pull out to get a little extra range of motion like on many modern Japanese diecast robot toys. The blue elbow armor is made of multiple parts that slide and ride along the ribbed elbow joint so they look about right at any bend of the joint. The articulated hands continue to be excellent.
The torso features extendable joints like on previous HT Iron Man releases, with a floating armor panel under the chest and a spring-loaded panel in the belly for a more seamless look and added motion. Patriot’s torso extends a bit more and seems to have a much wider range of motion than previous suits, making it a very dynamic figure.
The single most important change on the Iron Patriot from previous releases is at the hips. Until now, Hot Toys used a soft rubber part for the skirt/crotch armor to allow some flexibility for the hips, but it was never enough. On older Iron Man releases, the rubber part could even scuff of fade. It was a decent idea that never worked as well as it should have.
Now, Hot Toys has thrown all that old design aside and started over. Iron Patriot features multiple hinged plastic armor parts that can move out of the way to allow a vastly superior range of motion. It’s so cool finally to be able to pose a HT Iron Man suit in some real deep, dynamic poses. The skirt bits all feel plenty solid and seem to lock in place for neutral poses, but easily move around for some articulation action.
I have to add a little addendum here. Fellow CDX reviewer siningy pointed out that I had initially missed yet another revelatory new feature hidden in IP's hips. There is a button on his butt that unlocks another first for Hot Toys' Iron Man armor figures.
Pressing the button unlocks the hip joint part, allowing for the whole hip unit to extend, like the pull-out hips on Bandai's SH Figuarts toys. The action is very solid, and the hips lock nicely in place when not extended.
The extension allows for even better hip articulation!
Finally, we have a Hot Toys Iron Man toy that can make a real go at the iconic poster pose. It's not quite perfect, but with some tweaking it's real close. Thanks to siningy for bringing this up, because it adds so much to an already incredible figure.
Iron Patriot also features much improved ankles, with a greater range of motion and tighter joints. Not too many of the previous HT Iron Men can do a running pose like this and stay standing for long.
Before we go hog wild with cool poses, let’s talk details. The sliding gun features multiple points of articulation and can be set at any position along the rail that runs between both shoulders on the Patriot’s back.
The detail on the gun and sliding arm are superb. There are little decals and fine paintwork all over, making it a little mecha model unto itself.
Check out that DANGER decal!
The hard, angular shapes of the shoulder gun match the sleek, angular look of Rhodey’s new suit. Also visible here are some of the terrific details and decals on the suit, including the ‘Lt Col James Rhodes’ pilot marking and all that fine, fine paint chipping detail.
In addition to the shoulder gun, Iron Patriot’s accessories include a couple sets of hands and a second head with removable facemask and lifelike Don Cheadle as James Rhodes sculpt. Shown here with the saluting hand, Rhodey is stern and determined, not quite as dead and neutral as most licensed headsculpts. One thing worth mentioning here is that the magnetic feature for the mask is not quite as nice as on previous HT Iron Men. It’s my one real complaint with the whole toy, the magnets don’t seem quite strong enough for the mask so it tends to flop around. There are little rubber grips on the inside of the mask to help keep it in place on top of the helmet, but it’s still pretty temperamental.
Iron Patriot features Hot Toys’ third Don Cheadle as Rhodey sculpt, and I think it’s their best yet. There is much more life to the sculpt, especially in the eyes. The sculpts from the original War Machine and the Iron Man Mk II Armor Unleashed version looked a bit dead, or at least lost. The new sculpt is looking forward, ready to answer his country and his best friend’s calls.
A second mask is included for the open face head, with the armor segments not quite aligned. I think this mask is supposed to make it look like it’s in the process of sliding into place, but I’m not entirely sure.
The last accessory is a swappable arm panel with the Patriot’s wrist gun deployed. It’s a much smaller and more subtle weapon than on the previous War Machine. Considering this suit was designed by Tony Stark from the ground up, I’m sure it’s a much more devastating and capable weapon than Justin Hammer’s kitbashed effort.
Among the optional hands are a pair of repulsor firing hands with the wrists bent at an angle. This type of hand seems to be standard now for HT Iron Men, and continue to look great.
So, we’ve gone through all the little bits, and they are great. The whole package is even better than the sum of its parts. Iron Patriot is a hefty, solid toy, loaded with detail, articulation, and smart engineering, finished off with an incredibly detailed and sharply finished paint job. The articulation is second to none in the line so far, and it feels much more like a toy than previous releases, in all the best ways.
The display stand has a hole to mount the included flight rod. In order to support the Patriot’s massive weight, the flight rod itself is now a piece of metal tubing, and the gripper has been redesigned to add extra support. Still, it’s an awful lot of toy to leave in mid-air for long.
The improved movement at the neck, shoulders, and waist make for much more natural and dynamic flight poses.
Seriously, this toy rocks.
With his new suit all freshly painted, Rhodey is ready to defend his best friend!
Many sixth scale collectors were skeptical of the new diecast metal direction, but I am happy to say that those concerns are unfounded. I have had my Iron Patriot for about a month now and handle it regularly without any signs of paint shipping or wear so far. The new materials and improved engineering have breathed new life into Hot Toys’ Iron Man line and my personal interest in reviewing the new releases. Hot Toys had always made little tweaks to the suits as the line went on, but the Diecast Series really marks a hard turn, making drastic changes to fundamental aspects of Hot Toys’ design approach. This kind of improvement and all that metal comes with a price, however. Iron Patriot here retails for $309.99 on Sideshow Collectibles. That’s a lot of money for a toy, no question about it. That said, for the diehard Iron Man fan, Hot Toys has shown that things really can get better, and Iron Patriot is the start of that. I can’t wait to see how the Mk 42 and future releases turn out!
|Posted 16 June, 2014 - 06:11 by Prometheum5|