Hot Toys - T-800 T2 DX-10 - Review

'3 billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997.  The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day.  They lived only to face a new nightmare, the war against the Machines...'

DSCF9476Those are the immortal first few lines of James Cameron's epic 1991 sequel in the Terminator franchise, namely Terminator 2: Judgement day.  I would say that to many, they are instantly recognised and associated with this film, along with many quotes like no other movie could, which invokes instant recollection.  The film has gone far beyond the simple title of action blockbuster and now rightfully so finds its place in history as one of the all time Hollywood classic films produced and released within the 20th century; an icon of American culture.

If I recall correctly, I was about 13 years old when I first saw Terminator 2, and it's one of those films that really struck a chord with me as a teenage boy.  I have more interest in this franchise than any other, so much so, I even enjoyed Terminator 3; now that's saying something!

I started collecting and kit-bashing 1/6th scale figures in May 2011, which was slightly too late for the first Hot Toys Terminator 2 T-800 figure release.  Shortly after most retailers sold out, the inevitable happened and they started appearing on eBay for up to hundreds of pounds more than their original recommended retail price; such is often the way in this hobby.

You can imagine my excitement when Hot Toys announced they were going to release a second, improved version, their 'DX' line.  It took me less than a day to decide I must have him, so I placed my pre-order with Collectable Kitbash, and patiently waited for his arrival.  At roughly the same time, I had also pre-ordered Black Widow and Dark Knight Rises figures; all of which were my first Hot Toys purchases, ironically even though the DX-10 was released after the DX-12, it is the T2 figure I have first in my hands...

The Hot Toys DX-10 figure is comprised of the following items:

  • Brand new; advanced muscular body with double joints at the elbows for greater articulation.
  • Authentic sculpt, likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800
  • PERS System.
  • Removable scalp piece with port access cover, damping assembly and chip.
  • (4) Pairs of hands, 3 of which are gloved.
  • 1911 pistol, Winchester 1887 shotgun, M-79 grenade launcher, M134 'mini-gun', 40mm grenades in bandoleer.
  • Ammo bag, sunglasses, pliers and light up display base stand.

So let's have a closer look at what make this latest Hot Toys release so special:

DSCF9256First of all, let's start with the box.  Now, unlike many I rarely keep my figure boxes, they simply take up too much space.  I'm the kind of person who displays my figures in an open cabinet, likes to play with them a little and change the poses etc... I have no intention of ever putting them back in the box, or parting company with them.  These are of course those who feel the box is an important part of the figure, and who may never take their brand new figure out of it and for those people, this box is a work of art.

The styling used is very much in keeping with the black leather biker look, in such a way that the box is covered with a fine textured faux leather effect with matching silver stud covers as would be found on the T2's bikers jacket, these also cleverly double as the metal part for the magnetic latches.  This coupled with the striking embossed T2 logo and silver lettering makes for a very classy piece of what can basically be considered as artwork.

Upon opening the box lid you are presented with an inner, foam backed liner that has the T2 logo as the centrepiece and some have not noticed but the two parts of this logo slide apart to reveal an image of the T-800 himself underneath, a nice touch.  Removal of this piece finally reveals the T-800 in all of his glory, shrouded in some pretty deep protective foam, his head plastic bagged to prevent any paint damage during storage and transit.  At this point, two further cardboard pieces need to be removed, one which warns you to read the instructions before assembly (recommended) and the second which details the features of this model.  Once these are removed you can access the plastic tray which contains the smaller parts of this figure set, which include the sunglasses, pliers, chip and relevant assembly parts.  A word of caution here:  some of these pieces are tiny, be careful not to lose them!

DSCF9260The foam which protects the T-800 can be lifted out to reveal the inner plastic tray that houses parts such as the display stand, the various weaponry items (of which there are many!) and a further selection of hands, four sets in total for this DX version.

Like a child at Christmas, I sit and look at the array of pieces in front of me and don't really know where to start, but I'll begin with the figure itself and work our way through from there.  Gently prizing the T-800 from the foam lining you get an instant feeling of gratification and a sense of pride in your new purchase.  You may have been one of the many (I was one of them!) who experienced doubt as to whether you had made the right choice, especially as rumours and initial pictures started to surface of the change in head sculpt from the prototype initially shown.  Let me tell you here and now, those feelings of doubt will disappear the moment you pull him out of the box and you can't help but applaud yourself, for congratulations – you made the right choice!

The first thing you will notice is the weight.  This feels realistic by the sheer weight and solid feel that the figure has in hand compared to any other figure in my collection.  This will of course be down to the newly designed muscle body that Hot Toys developed especially for this figure, and we'll see shortly just how robust the construction of this is.

So I mentioned above the doubts that had been cast in peoples minds regarding the head sculpt.  Some of the initial reaction was that this likeness was too young for Arnold to portray in the film.  Most of these conclusions were drawn from photos that unfortunately did not paint this head sculpt in the best of lights.  Some of them were pretty 'hit and miss' with a few of them looking awful and some angles which made the head look slightly strange.  Let me assure you now, that in hand you will see none of that.  Perhaps it's just a strange quirk that this figure doesn't photograph well, or maybe the majority of pictures taken were just not taken very well, but none of the negative opinions stand up when you've got this figure in your hand.

DSCF9291A number of comments were made regarding the PERS system which had seemed to almost ruin the look of this head.  I personally cannot see any issue with the eyes whatsoever.  It is fact that with PERS, you are able to position the eyes in some pretty unnatural poses, and you have to understand that the angle and tilt of the head need to follow the direction of the eyes also, so again, so poor photography has led to the conclusion that the PERS system has attributed a major flaw to this head sculpt; not true.  Some persons have also mentioned that they don't see the point in having the PERS when he will be wearing his shades anyway.  Well, my answer to that would be to be truly 'movie accurate' if you're going to be posing him with his mini-gun or M-79 on your shelf, he lost his shades long before this point.  If you want a T-800 on your shelf with shades on, get the original version and tuck the box of roses under his arm!

There is a split-point at the back of the head to allow access to the joystick to control the orientation of the eyes.  This again was exaggerated by some of the photographs and in hand does not appear as prominent as I thought it would be.  I would like to say however, I have been particular impressed by Hot Toys innovation in the way they have tackled the head and PERS system on the Dark Knight Rises DX-12 figure (which I'm currently awaiting) and would like to see this method used on other figures in the future, it does away with the need for a split section in the head.

Whilst we're focussing on the head, let's take a moment to look at one of the features that make this release considered 'DX worthy', the access port to the chip.  Now, there has been some mild criticism of the inclusion of this on the DX-10, stating that it would have been best to either lower the cost or include something else with the set.  I can kind of understand why people may feel this way, firstly the feature is more gimmick than anything really usable, and second the entire scene in T2 where the chip is removed so they can reprogram the T-800 from 'read only' to be able to learn is not even shown in the original theatrical release; it appears only in the directors cut.  Nevertheless, it is still quite a neat little feature that adds a certain special something to this release and really shows off Hot Toys ability to pull some extra tricks from their sleeve.

DSCF9483Atop of the head, if you look carefully you can see a section of the hair that is removable, it should just pop straight out although those of you without fingernails may need to use some tweezers.  Now you can attach the peeled back 'scalp' piece that comes in the smaller tray, and re-enact that sequence of 'rotate the two locking cylinders counter clockwise... now open the port cover... now remove the shock damping assembly... you can now access the CPU....'.  The only thing you won't be doing is pulling the CPU from within the head, unfortunately that bit is not quite accurate and would have required quite some depth in the recess to achieve that!  I did see on a YouTube review someone mention you cannot keep the shock damping assembly and port cover in the head, this is not true, you can; the chip is the only piece that will not fit inside with everything else on.

Moving on from the head lets look at the clothing that the T-800 has been provided with.  Now unfortunately I have not seen the original MMS release so I have no real frame of comparison, however I was fortunate enough to had been given the leather jacket some months ago (which I no longer own), but from what I do recall these leathers are different from the previous release.  They do seem a little 'new and clean' from what I remember of the original jacket, which had more of a weathered feel to it.  Also, Hot Toys claim that these are real leather, but I'm getting the distinct feeling in comparing the material to a dolls figure female set that these are imitation, or 'pleather' being plastic leather.  If anyone knows any different, then please get in touch and let me know!  My only real concern is that if it's not real leather, will this jacket and trousers degrade over time?  With such a tight fit over the torso I'm worried about over-stressing at the elbows etc, so will need to keep a close eye on these.

The jacket is not designed to be zipped up at the front, although it does incorporate a functioning zipper, the large frame size of the DX-10 body does not permit doing so, don't attempt it, you will probably break something!  The usual leather tassels and studs are present as they were on the previous release, with some truly excellent tailoring to get the perfect scale.  A small word of warning on the metal button 'stud' covers, they can come loose and fall off, I had two part company with the jacket during the photo shoot of this figure.  A tiny droplet of superglue will secure them nicely back in place.

Underneath the jacket we have the t-shirt which obviously is only going to really fit well on a figure of these proportions...  put it on a Soldier Story body and it's going to look like a ladies night-shirt.  Terminator 2 aficionados will note that the T-800 starts the film with a black t-shirt, and changes into a grey-ish one found in the garage during the 'chip re-programming' scene.  And that is exactly the t-shirt that Hot Toys have given us.  In general, this figure captures the T-800 at various points throughout the movie, unfortunately depending on how you pose him, he's not always going to be 100% accurate, but hey, who's really going to notice?

The trousers, or pants for our American friends, are made from the same material and again superb 'movie accurate' detailing will be found on these also.  They are very tight around the thigh area, and this somewhat restricts the articulation of the figure, although for the most part the T-800 wasn't pulling off what could be described as any gymnastics in the movie, so that won't be a problem for posing your figure... unless you want to re-enact the goofy 'prove it, stand on one leg' scene!  The fastening on the trousers is Velcro with a real leather belt with metal buckle around the waist.  You will need to loosen the buckle an amount if you wish to tuck the .45 calibre pistol in the waistband of the trousers ala-movie style.

The boots are the moulded boot-feet (or beet) variety which means that they are designed for pegs only.  Bit of a shame on two accounts, firstly, it would have been nice if they've been real leather, especially for the prices Hot Toys extort from us these days, and secondly we would have a pair of feet for the figure as a nude – great for re-enacting the opening scenes of the movie... 'I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle'!.  They however nicely weathered with fine details such as stitching on the sole, buckles etc...

DSCF9296You will notice that in some of our photos, we've stripped the T-800 bare of his clothing to reveal what lies beneath, the all new and advanced muscular TT body.  This body features much advancement over the original T2 T-800 body which mainly focuses on providing better articulation.  Whereas the original T2 and T1 Hot Toys bodies were very similar, and you could even swap out the lower fore-arms for example with each other, this version is NOT compatible with any previous releases.  It maintains the usual compatible features however such as the standard ball-jointed neck post, ankles and the same wrist pin design, so it does allow you to use this body as a loose item for other kit-bashes.  Interestingly, whilst on this subject, Hot Toys have recently released this body and two others as separate carded items which was a very clever move.  This will mean the DX-10 body won't quite attract the high prices on eBay that previous muscle bodies did as a loose item, when a plentiful supply of carded ones appear on the scene; although I imagine they will be snapped up pretty quickly.

A notable feature on the new muscular body is the use double jointed elbows which allow the arm to fold back far further than the 90-100 degrees of the previous model.  This does however have one slight downside, the figure does not look as good with the jacket off as the joint is fairly visible compared to the previous version.  I believe that the majority of people will leave this figure with the jacket on, so that won't necessarily pose a problem on this figure, but maybe on kit-bashes utilising this body, you'd want exposed arms so it's a point that you will have to consider.  On the body related topic, a total of 4 pairs of hands are provided with the figure, along with a spare bagged pair of wrist pins.

We move on now to take a look at the weapons that are provided with this figure, and in no means are these scarce!  The iconic 'Mini Gun', shotgun, pistol and grenade launcher, they are all here and faithfully reproduced in 1/6th scale.

Starting chronologically with the first weapon we see the T-800 using throughout the film, and that is the .45 calibre 1911 framed pistol taken from the biker in the opening sequences of the film.  The gun itself is actually a hybrid model, with a Colt series 70 slide, and a Detonics frame which gives it a fairly unique look.  The 1/6th version is a beautiful piece and really does look like the real-deal.  It may be made from plastic, but it looks like its produced in metal with some very realistic weathering and scratches on the slide.  Moving parts include the slide itself and the hammer, along with the usual removable magazine.  Only one magazine is provided, but to be honest you'd struggle to find somewhere to put a second.

DSCF9494The next weapon, taken shortly thereafter is the Winchester 1887 lever action sawn-off shotgun.  This weapon is distinctively 'Terminator' and I remember as a child imitating the loud ker-clack action with any toy gun that remotely resembled it.  We've seen this one before (along with the pistol) on the original T2 release, except this time, we haven't got a box of roses to hide it in.  It is wonderfully detailed as you will see from our pictures, with the Winchester logo clearly visible on the side of the receiver, the excellent metal and woodwork effects; it really is a great piece.  To me, this shotgun only belongs with Arnie, and I couldn't visualise it being used on any other kit-bash, but maybe that's just me.

The next piece up is something that we've been crying out for more of, and hey presto it arrives with the DX-10, and that is the M79 grenade launcher.  Hot Toys have released a few of these, with their early military line-up and The Watchmen: Comedian figure also came with one; but you find these soon get snapped up then re-appear on eBay for a high price.  This one is just as good as any I've seen, and is probably based on the same moulds, which would make sense.  Again the woodwork and metal effects are fantastic on this piece, with the moving parts being the breach opening action, the folding sights and barrel release lever.  A note on mine, and not sure if this has affected others but the lever that operates the barrel lock, the entire lever can come out, there is nothing keeping it in when the barrel is not closed and locked in place; a word of warning on that one, it's a very small part!  Also provided to accompany the M79 is bandoleer of 12 shiny gold HE rounds, as seen worn across the chest in the movie.  These fit perfectly into the barrel, so you can lock and load one of these with the only thing being missing is that authentic 'bloop' sound.

Finally, and leaving the best until last we have the M134 'Mini Gun'.  This beast has made a few outings in Hollywood movies, and it wouldn't be the first time Arnold would been seen brandishing one either.  In reality, with a cyclic rate of 4000 rounds per minute, there was no way that the T-800 could have carried enough ammunition for the duration he is seen firing in the film.  But guess what, it's film and we don't care!  (Additionally where was the large car battery needed to turn the electric motor?!)  There have been a few variants of this on the market, which have made there way to T-800 kit-bash before an official 'Hot Toys' movie version was released, and again I imagine the 1/6th community was very happy to see some alternatives arrive on the scene that would lower the price on the loose parts market.  This model is very finely detailed with superb weathering and really does complete the figure.  The only moving parts are the rotating barrels, but then that is to be expected.  A minor flaw which I expect is present on all of the Hot Toys variants produced is that when looking at the barrels, they are not parallel to each other, and in some cases slightly twisted.  It's not something that stands out unless you're really looking, but it is a minor disappointment from a quality control perspective.  The 'ammunition' is fed into the gun by means of a flexible, rubber in this case, feeder strip which is seen protruding from a black tactical shoulder bag in the movie, and you get this same tactical shoulder bag with the DX-10.  It has numerous pockets with zippers and Velcro and not only do I find it holds the ammunition as intended, but also is a fantastic place to store the spare hands and the pliers, chip and scalp piece in the smaller side pockets; excellent!

That pretty much sums up the DX-10 (in 3,581 words!), and I hope I've covered the figure in enough detail; hopefully the pictures will help explain where words cannot.  This was my second Hot Toys purchase, both of them being characters from the T2 film, Sarah Connor being the first (review here).  I paid a total of £164.99 for the DX-10, plus shipping costs, so it was by no means one of the cheaper Hot Toys purchases (the MMS figures usually retail around £129.99 - £134.99 in the UK), but in my eyes it was worth every penny spent.

It has taken me about six weeks to complete this review due to other commitments, the Christmas period.  Many people have since already purchased the DX-10, but for those who have not yet decided, I hope this review will help towards making your final decision.  In my opinion, you won't be disappointed.

Controversially, a few days after this figure was released, Hot Toys announced DX-13 the 'Battle Damaged' version of the T-800 as he appears towards the latter parts of the movie.  Priced at £209.99 in the UK, for those of us who have already spent money on the DX-10, you have to ask whether it is really worth spending that amount of money on yet another T2 figure, especially one so fundamentally similar, albeit with the damage.  However, with the sheer amount of parts that will be provided with that figure, it does make itself worthy of the DX badge, and most likely the asking price too.

Until next time,
Hasta La Vista...

The Hot Toys DX-10 was purchased from Collectable Kitbash.  Please click on the link above to visit their store.

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