Hot Toys : The Avengers - Iron Man MKVII (7) -Review

Iron Man has been something of the proverbial ‘cash cow’ for Hot Toys since the first movie hit the big screens in 2008.  Whilst the Christopher Nolan ‘Dark Night’ franchise comes in at a close second, there has been more Iron Man character figures than any other produced by the company; at the time of writing this, at least 32 in 1/6th format (including ‘power pose’).  It has some of us asking whether there will be any end to the madness, and with the release of IM3 and the prospect of god knows how many Mark x,y and z; it seems they’re onto a financial winner… the 1/6th HT community just can’t help but lap it up.

My 1/6th Iron Man journey began with the pre-ordering of the MK42 suit in die-cast, which as of now is yet to be released.  It was however promptly after watching the 3rd Iron Man instalment, and leaving the cinema bitterly disappointed, that I changed my mind.  For me, if I’m going to spend short of £200 on a figure, it has to strike a certain chord with me, and sadly IM3 did not.  It was at this point that I decided if I was to ever have an Iron Man figure in my collection (and for me one is plenty) the MK7 would be that one.

Unfortunately I had now left it a little too late to pre-order from my regular supplier and stocks of the MK7 figure were disappearing fast.  I was fortunate in being able to source one from Man Of Action Figures in the United States before they disappeared completely, never to be seen again at reasonable prices.  For those of you who have not shopped with MAOF before, I can thoroughly recommend them for a fast and reliable service, and my MK7 arrived in perfect condition exactly when promised.

For me, the MK7 armour is the pinnacle (so far) of HT Iron Man figures.  Not only is it an excellent representation of what we see in the movie, it is the last of the armours that truly represent the original Iron Man look, which is all but gone by the appearance of the MK42.  The distinctive and balanced look of the red and gold colouring, and ‘traditional’ looking chest piece with circular arc-reactor is what makes Iron Man in my opinion, and this figure presented possibly (although we await what Avengers 2 may bring us) the last chance to have an IM figure in that format.  It is also, in my opinion, the only HT Iron Man figure produced thus far that actually looks realistic in that you could well believe a man (albeit a 1/6th scale one!) could fit inside the suit, the other versions were too slim in their proportions. 

So let’s take a closer look at what makes the MK7 such an attractive option:

The MK7 Iron Man as you’ll be aware comes from the smash hit 2012 movie ‘The Avengers’, and as such is part of its own franchise aside from the Iron Man films.  This is represented by the box art, a theme which is carried on throughout The Avengers figures.  If you’re the type of collector who saves the boxes, they do look quite nice lined up together if you’ve collected all of the characters.  For me personally, it’s just a means to get that figure in one piece to my door, and I rarely keep them, however this one I have as I have a feeling should I ever wish to part with my MK7 (unlikely), that it will hold its value well.

The box is actually quite deceptive as for its small size, it packs away the contents quite nicely.  Two plastic trays keep all of the parts in place, the top one holding the figure, hands and head and the bottom half keeping the stand and various interchangeable armour pieces safe.

Bearing in mind that this is only an MMS release, it does represent fantastic value for money with regards to the included pieces and the available armour combinations that can be achieved.  Inside of the box you will find:

  • Interchangeable head sculpt of Tony Stark with authentic likeness of Robert Downey Jr.
  • LED-lighted eyes and circle-shaped RT on chest (white light, battery operated)
  • One (1) interchangeable battle damaged mask
  • One (1) pair of damaged shoulder armour
  • One (1) removable chest armour
  • One (1) damaged chest armour
  • One (1) pair of detachable forearm rockets
  • One (1) pair of wrist laser on forearm armour
  • Two (2) pairs of interchangeable palms including:
  • One (1) pair with improved articulations, movable fingers and light-up repulsors
  • One (1) pair of forceful fists
  • Three (3) sets of interchangeable thigh armour (missile, armour & normal styles)
  • Fully deployed air flaps at back of the armour with built-in metal flaps
  • Articulated flaps at the back of armour on left and right legs
  • Figure stand with Mark VII nameplate and movie logo

The possible armour combinations, thanks to the many removable and interchangeable parts are almost too many to list, but throughout the review I will go through some of the common elements and leave you to experiment to find that perfect MK7 pose

Given the nature of this figure, we’ll ‘dissect’ and discuss each part of his body in detail, starting with:

The Head

The MK7 figure comes with a Tony Stark head sculpt and a light up head with two face plates, one being normal and the other representing the ‘battle damage’ look.  The MK7 differs from some of the previous versions in that the light up function is built into the head rather than the neck joint, having not owned any of the series prior to the MK7 I am uncertain for the reason behind the design change, but I would presume it is to allow greater pose-ability.  In terms of articulation the armoured head is able to rotate 360 degrees (not that you’d want to!) on the neck post, as well as tilt back a fair amount, useful for those horizontal ‘flying’ poses.  Unfortunately the head is not able to tilt downwards much, only a few degrees due to the pivoting ball-post on the neck being restricted.  There are some persons that have made a very quick and un-noticeable modification of cutting a slot to allow the post to pivot forwards and thus allowing the head to look downwards.

The face plates are held in place by a small magnet located at the top of the head, and are easy to remove by gently pulling forwards and then upwards.  On removal of the plate you are able to access the power switch for the light up feature, along with the battery compartment.  For first time use there is a small plastic tab that will need to be removed.  Some collectors may advise you to remove the batteries from Hot Toys figures as they can potentially leak and ruin your figure; personally with this particular figure that kind of negates the whole point as Iron Man is supposed to light up!  Just keep a watchful eye over your figure and periodically (6 months or so?) check the battery compartments by removing the covers for any signs of leakage.

Moving onto the Tony Stark head sculpt.  This one has divided opinion amongst the 1/6th community, and just like Marmite™ you either love it or hate it!  My personal opinion is that whilst the sculpt itself is excellent, accurately capturing the cheeky ‘smirk’ of Tony Stark (and that expression itself is something that has divided opinion) the paint work is somewhat lacklustre.  It seems to lack depth or contrast, and I suspect that is very much down the hair colour and blending into the flesh, it just doesn’t appear dark enough and is somewhat pastel like in appearance.  Now I know Tony Stark is a little older and not as ‘fresh faced’ as in the original 2008 movie, but he’s certainly not an old-timer just yet.  I may perform a subtle re-paint on the sculpt to bring out the details somewhat, or I may leave as it; at the moment I’m undecided.  The head also has an integral ball socket as opposed to the usual joint at the bottom of the neck, this means some minor modification is required if you wish to display this sculpt on say a TM21 body for example to kit-bash a Tony Stark standalone.  Finally, a soft plastic red collar is added which blends the head nicely into the armoured bodywork.

This brings us nicely onto the torso…

The MK7 suit follows on from the MK6 that we see towards the latter part of Iron Man 2.  Personally I wasn’t a big fan of the triangular shape of the MK6, so it’s nice to see the MK7 returning to the instantly recognisable circular reactor window.  A multitude of removable and interchangeable pieces on this part including the main chest armour piece (for a battle damage part), the shoulder mounted weapons pod and booster pack, plates on the chest covering booster jets, and plates that cover the shoulders when the weapons pod/booster pack has been jettisoned. 

Starting with the main chest plate, this piece is removable (held in place with two pegs) to reveal the arc reactor unit underneath and some general internal workings detailed in black and silver.  This chest plate is interchangeable with a battle damaged version which features paint chips and scratches, along with deep gouges into the ‘metal’; a tool is provided to remove the chest piece but not needed if you have fingernails! 

To the left and right of the chest plate are two further removable plates (marked L and R so you can’t mix them up!) that reveal thrusters which you see used in the movie to help the suit perform tight manoeuvres; these plates are configured as either on or off, no battle damage version is included.

The shoulders of the figure come in three possible configurations with those being weapon pods closed, weapon pods open and weapon pods jettisoned.  The weapon pod modules have two sets of flaps that are full articulated to the rear as part of the integrated ‘booster’ module we see used towards the end of movie and jettisoned as Tony falls back to earth after passing through the wormhole. 

The main body articulated flaps are also located at the rear of the figure and these are designed to be non-removable.  They incorporate that familiar metal ‘mesh’ and various internal workings as seen on the previous Iron Man figures.  Also located at the rear of the figure is the single screw which provides access to the battery compartment and the power switch located under the right weapon pod flap which controls the arc-reactor light functions.

In terms of articulation at the mid-section, it is somewhat limited with some rotation available at the waist but virtually no lean forward or backwards.  To assist with this somewhat Hot Toys have engineered a clever mechanism which allows you to pull the body upwards by a few millimetres (you will hear a positive click sound) which then allows a slightly greater degree of movement including some forward / backward articulation.  The lower portion of the waist, the ‘groin region’ is made from a soft rubber, although you wouldn’t be able to tell without giving it a gentle squeeze; this aids in articulating the legs without them binding on a hard material.

Let us now shift our focus onto the arms…

The MK7 figure comes with two sets of arms, and accessories and configuration options for them; an option of conventional arms with fore-arm rocket launcher, or battle damage with wrist laser… and anything in between.

Starting with the battle damage arms, these differ from the ‘conventional’ arms in a few key ways.  The first being that these arms do not light up, only the non-battle damage arms have the light up feature for the palm repulsors.  The second point of note is that these arms feature the wrist laser which are permanently deployed and cannot be removed, along with the fixed wrist guard.  And lastly the missile pod does not open on these arms either, so in short these arms are pretty much battle damage, wrist laser mode only. 

The, what I call ‘conventional’ arms, have a lot more in terms of configuration.  Firstly they are capable of displaying any of the three sets of hands provided with the figure, these being: articulated finger, open palm ‘repulsor blast’ and clenched fist.  Two different wrist guards are provided also, one being bent back slightly to allow that iconic open palm repulsor blast pose.  These arms contain a light up feature in each with the tiny power switch located in-line with the bicep towards the inside (against the body).    They also feature the fore-arm mounted missile system which you can either have opened with a missile on display, or in a closed state.  A small interchangeable piece is supplied which simply clips into place detailing a missile ready for launch.

Common across both sets of arms are the rubberised elbow joint which allows a shade over 90 degrees of movement, and the interchangeable shoulder armour pieces which are easily removed and swapped between both sets of arms depending on the look you are trying to achieve.  On my particular figure, I found the right arm was slightly more prone to popping off more easily than the left, a minor annoyance and nothing to be worried out.

Finally that leaves us with the legs…

Slightly bulkier and more ‘muscular’ looking that previous offerings, the legs also have several different configuration options including: Normal (weapon pods closed), Combat mode (weapon pods open, missiles ready for launch) and battle damage mode (weapon pods jettisoned).  Although the hips feature the familiar circular ‘flare dispensers’ seen in the first film and functional on the previous MK3 Iron Man; they do not function on this model. 

There is perhaps not as much articulation as would have been ideal on the lower half of the body, but then that would have sacrificed the ‘realism’ factor.  The only disappointing part is the inability to pull off that iconic Iron Man ‘landing pose’, however this has been a flaw on nearly all of the HT IM figures release so far, so nothing too surprising. 

As mentioned above, there are interchangeable pieces located on the thighs, which allow various looks to be achieved.  The default look is for the silver closed weapons pods to be attached, with the final battle damage look being those removed.  They are easily removed and held in place with a couple of plastic tabs.  With the gold coloured ‘jettisoned’ panels attached, they blend into the thigh virtually seamlessly.

At the back of the calf, the usual flaps are in place that open and show the inner workings of the lower leg, pistons and alike.  Two other flaps, which I presume are control surfaces are also located on the left and right hand sides of the calf, which open about 20 degrees.

A fairly decent amount of ankle articulation is made possible by overlapping armour sections that are also spring-loaded at the heel; this allows for a greater degree of motion, also aided by the articulated toe section on the foot.

The last and final piece of this boxed set is the stand, which disappointingly is the standard Hot Toys affair.  Now whilst I appreciate anything different is usually reserved for DX models or special editions, it is worth noting that this stand is not really big enough for the large and bulky frame of the MK7; the feet overshoot the edge of the stand!  Also it has a ‘crotch grabber’ piece which is not deep enough to fully grip the figure, so it is precariously balanced and not as stable as I would like.  I do feel he would have benefited from a slightly more bespoke stand with a larger surface area on the base.

If you purchased the Sideshow Exclusive version, included in your box set would have also been a small green see-through ‘holographic’ representation of the MK7 figure.  I did not purchase this version, and quite honestly I can’t see this piece being much of an attraction.  Personally I would have preferred to see a helmeted but open faceplate head sculpt revealing Tony underneath, much like with the special ‘Battle Damage’ MK7 edition which is due to be released very shortly.

So, in conclusion how do we feel about the Hot Toys MK7 Iron Man figure?  I can honestly say that I am in no way disappointed.  I’ve long neglected to add an Iron Man figure to my collection and I’m really pleased that I waited long enough for this figure to make an appearance as I don’t think any previous iterations of the armour can compete.  I will be very interested to see which direction Avengers 2 takes with the Iron Man armour, as general feedback from the fans seem to indicate MK42 style is not as popular as they’d hoped, so we may see a return to something slightly more conventional in appearance.  For me, I can’t see me adding another Iron Man to my collection, with the limited display space I have (currently 52 figures on display), there is room for only one… and this one is by far the best!

Special thanks to Man Of Action Figures again for the excellent service, and thank you for reading!

 

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