I’ve always dreamed of being privileged and rich enough to buy and own a Hot Toys figure of my own. Ever since I laid eyes on the their line of Iron Man suits, I fell in love. You really can’t get much closer to the CGI suits seen on-screen than this.
Unfortunately, such quality comes at a (very) high price.
This Mark IV armor was released in 2010 at roughly $200. In the three years since then, I only managed to procure it at roughly $550. I knew I was paying up the ass hardcore, but I had to have this figure. It’s been a dream, and the Mark IV has always been my favorite suit for its uniform and conservative look; just red and gold, circle arc reactor, I consider it the Iron Man suit.
Mind, I bought this figure in new and mint condition. I was pretty stoked at first; it was totally worth the 200% inflation I paid on top of the original release price.
But then I had to go and open the box…
I highly regret doing so. I’ve heard so much praise for Hot Toys, I didn’t think in a million years they could go wrong somehow.
But my Mark IV certainly did. Excitement quickly dialed down to disappointment. To make a long story short, I simply got a bad batch. And it’s a rather dated figure at this point, which has never left the confines of its plastic prison, meaning electronics weren’t meant to last that long untouched.
Where to begin…well, I suppose I should start with the most what the feth how do you feth this up defect I experienced.
The head piece of the Mark IV, specifically the neck joint, is supposed to be a hinge joint that attaches to the main torso, and a ball joint that connects to the neck post. (shown above, that little piece attached to the bottom of the neck)
Some dark magic was cast upon my particular figure, for as it turns out, the hinge joint piece is missing the (what I assume to be) metal bar that would keep it attached to the torso.
The ball joint is where the neck should come off, not that hinge piece. As a result, my Iron Man (literally) has a screw loose in his neck. Swapping the helmet out for the Stark head is a pain in the arse since I have to remove the ball joint with pliers. That little ball joint/hinge piece shown above that’s attached to the neck and head should be attached to the empty torso segment shown.
How Hot Toys screws this up and forgets to put something like that in, I don’t even know. And I’ll be damned before I start trying to pick the torso apart to add a metal bar in.
The next fault isn’t so much on Hot Toys part as it is on the fact that this is an old figure.
When I bought the thing, it was mint in box, and since its release in 2010, has never had its LEDs used. Hot Toys takes the liberty of including batteries in the figure for you, but that turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing.
Unfortunate as it were, the batteries had already begun to decay by the time I got around to opening the figure. Even with the clear plastic tabs slotted in to prevent this, some of the electrical systems in the arms and neck became faulty due to the batteries leaking some dark toxic magic. (Or maybe they were just crap to begin with, I wouldn’t doubt it)
Either way, the repulsor lights for the palms only work about half the time; usually they’re either very dim or don’t light up at all. I’ve already bought a new set of batteries for them, but that scarcely helped. You have to vigorously shake, move, or flick the arm to have them stabilize, and even then, any further movement will make them go out again.
The head is the worst though. At some point the LED pretty much just doesn’t work anymore. I’ve tried slapping it around a bit, but more often than not it’ll flicker for a moment and immediately go out again when I reattach the head to the neck post.
The way the head light works in the first place is having the neck post light upwards, then having the helmet consist of light-piping clear effects, so the light goes upwards and out the eyes.
This more or less results in rather dim eye lights even when it worked well; the newer Iron Man figures actually have the LED in the head though, which I think is a massive improvement.
My next gripe is with the flares function that Iron Man has in his hips. While a nice gimmick, the quality control on this figure is continuously demonstrated as absolutely abhorring.
The left flare emitter doesn’t quite close all the way down; the right one has no problems, but notice the spikes that come out of the flares when they’re open. They’re supposed to spin in and lock close, and have the spikes retract as well.
Unfortunate as it is, they don’t lock for the left flare emitter. While the entire thing does spin in and close, the spikes don’t stay closed, which can prove to be more than just a passive annoyance when posing and messing with the legs.
I should not have to put anything back together, or have anything fall apart in the first place, on a figure of this caliber. But as fate would have it, Hot Toys still made me do so and made it happen anyways.
Upon opening the package and having Iron Man stand on his feet and attaching the air brakes onto his back…the lower half of one of the air brakes promptly decides to unscrew itself and fall apart.
Yeah, I’m not even kidding.
The larger air brake flaps shown above with the metal sheet pieces are connected on hinges, with a metal screw/bolt keeping them together. Right out of the package, the bolt falls out and the metal and plastic pieces come apart, effectively separating the air brakes into three different pieces.
Thankfully this was fixable; it required a little more effort than I would have been comfortable with, but things managed to snap back in place.
‘Kay I think that’s all of it. I hope. Man I don’t even want to think of any more defects with this thing. I paid up the arse for this hardcore and had my hopes and expectations dashed, thrown on the ground and set to fire.
Alright let’s go back to the slightly more positive things, the parts of this figure that weren’t completely hashed by the manufacturer.
For starters, the Tony Stark head is actually a pretty nice sculpt. Hot Toys is always making leaps and bounds with their face sculpts, and by now the Mark VII has a slightly more accurate screen-to-life sculpt of Robert Downey Jr., but the Mark IV’s head is by no means bad.
Upon removing the helmeted head and replacing it with Tony’s, you get an extra neck wrap piece that has to go in; it’s not there with the armored version, but must be used with the fleshie neck lest it look out of place.
Not gonna lie, my mind was more than a little blown when I saw how much texture and detail the skin of the face has. The hair, eyes, beard…I’d say it’s pretty spot on, though there’s just something off about it…
I’ve seen other reviews agree with me on this one – something’s just a little strange about Tony’s head; maybe the expression, the insets of the eyes, something’s a tad askew.
But that hardly matters, this is still one of the most amazing figure representations of a real-life actor I’ve ever seen. The eyes literally stare into your soul.
Stark comes with a pair of his sunglasses as seen in the movie, to complete his look. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the arm articulation to actually reach up and pull off/put on his glasses, but what can you do in a suit of armor like this.
They actually fit like a key in a lock on Tony’s face – I’m earnestly impressed by how well they go on and how stable they are.
The shades are even real – you can see through them. Only thing lacking is that they don’t fold.
Not my favorite shot. You’d be surprised at how difficult it is to get a good one of Iron Man with his hand out; it always ends up looking cheesy and strange somehow.
YOUR ASS IS NEXT
The shades actually complete Tony’s look entirely. What seemed off about his face before now looks totally natural – this is Tony Stark. While it’s a little off-putting that a figure like this requires its glasses to look its best, I can overlook it.
The helmet is actually his head, just in case that wasn’t clear. It’s the actual piece that goes on his neck post, not a separate empty container.
Having Stark hold the thing at his side can be a tad tricky. I’ve found that it requires the use of the individually articulated manipulators (will be elaborated upon later) and it isn’t particularly stable.
I am rather fond of the pose though; I think it’s a perfect way to display both the excellently sculpted RDJ head and the iconic helmet at the same time.
Kind of one of the most amazing movie nods Hot Toys could give the Mark IV.
The figure’s not actually that articulated, unfortunately. This was one of the smallest scenes in the film, yet somehow managed to earn a cameo piece in the Hot Toys figure. Nonetheless it’s pretty awesome.
One box of fresh donuts and probably the most realistic miniature glazed chocolate doughnut the world will ever see. I’m fairly certain you can buy more custom-made donuts to fill the box online.
Stark can hold the one little ring fairly well; it takes a little bit of fiddling with the articulated hand and some center of balance, but generally he can get a pretty firm and realistic grip on the thing.
Ready to party.
Yeah the box actually closes and whatnot. I love Hot Toys for making their things as close-to-life as possible. I know figures that would rather give you an open and a closed version of this donut box rather than a realistic one as portrayed here.
Included are a fair share of extra manipulators.
You get a set of open relaxed palms, open repulsor-blast palms, fists, and free-movement jointed hands.
One would wonder why the other hands are needed at all when you have the awesome jointed hands (which I personally thought was a great touch to the figure itself and adds a lot of play value) but the preset hands have a certain air about them that make them seem more…plausible. Having the free-jointed hands in the open-repulsor position or in a fist just doesn’t look as good.
Each hand minus the pair of fists have a clear piece in the palm for the light-up LED effect; the actual LEDs are in the arm and simply project the light through the clear hands, much like the head unit, which uses the same concept.
The preset hands are also lined in black (which I think looks really nice) and made of a softer (possibly PVC) material, whereas the jointed hand is made of hard plastic or some-such.
A slight gripe I have with the hands that disappointed me a fair amount was that when the open repulsor hands are attached to the wrists, they can only bend upwards so far. You can’t really achieve the iconic Iron Man pose with the lack of significant wrist articulation.
Thankfully the newer armors rectify this by giving the dedicated repulsor hands a 90 degree wrist bend.
The in-movie suits, made often from CGI, are naturally pretty detailed in their own right. Hot Toys tries to include some of the mechanical complexity we see of the armor’s endoskeleton in their figure, though it isn’t anything as crazy as the Mark II’s Armor Unleashed incarnation.
The rear flight stabilizer flaps were already shown above (when I ranted about them falling off right out of the package) but you also get a nice bit of circuitry and wiring on the back of the thighs.
The flaps pull outwards first, then open up on a hinge. Nothing wrong with this neat little feature, though I oftentimes forget it’s there.
Chest plate is also removable to view the main Arc Reactor component and the under armor detail. It honestly doesn’t look bad at all; I’m particularly impressed by the detail on the Arc Reactor housing.
I feel it does look a little out of place having one exposed plate on a full set of armor though, so I don’t often bother taking the plate off.
Included is a neat little spatula for prying open and off those armor plates and openings mentioned above. Just goes to show how seriously Hot Toys takes their stuff; this is no child’s play. Can’t mess with this serious business with your fingers alone.
Just kidding. Everything is open-able by fingers, there’s no risk to paint scratching or damage to the figure, really.
Speaking of which, the most impressive part of this figure is likely the cosmetics.
The paint used on it is very well done, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. It looks beautiful, shiny, smooth, and could even be passed off as real metal if the light catches it correctly.
Won’t have to worry about scratching this baby either; the paint is actually quite durable and holds up quite well. If this figure lacks anything in play value, it manages to pull off just standing there and looking badass incredibly well.
Notice that the armor actually has some small sliver scratches and nicks on it as is. This is deliberate by Hot Toys, not any actual damage or manufacturer defect (I’ve gotten enough of those already from this figure).
I suppose it’s a way to give the figure a little more life and texture, to show it’s actually been used, not fresh off the conveyer belt.
The only gripe I have with the painting, however, is in the crotch area.
Unfortunately, that area is made of a different, softer material than the rest of the armor (like the hands, possibly PVC).
Thus the paint used is different, and doesn’t match the consistency of the rest of the suit that well. Given it’s such a large section, this is hard to overlook, and I know my figure isn’t the only one that suffers from this.
While I understand leg movement necessitates the softer material for the crotch, I can’t help but constantly think that Tony’s wearing a dull red diaper. Compared to the rest of the vibrant metallic red, the single groin area is a dull, matted pink.
As far as articulation goes, the figure is able to pull of the basics, but really nothing too extreme or mind-shatteringly impressive. You get ninety degree elbow and leg bends, nothing fancy.
There aren’t really any huge restrictions I can point out, and I don’t put any blame on the figure for not being able to do yoga; it’s a suit of armor after all.
Included in the abdomen section is a pretty impressive little feature that allows the figure’s lower torso plates to split open and bend forwards or backwards. I thought this was rather innovative, and gives the figure some really nice sense of movement and bend to the otherwise static torso.
The section is normally locked when pushed down; pulling it up will unlock the plates and permit articulation. The upper area as it is can also turn, allowing torso rotation. I will point out, however, that the promos for this figure lied on a certain key point that I was really looking forward to:
This promotional image was single-handedly the most badass pose I’ve seen Iron Man in, and I was ever so excited to pose mine in the display this way.
Unfortunate as it is, either the prototype had more articulation or Hot Toys cheated using some dark gypsy magic, the actual figure can’t pull off the iconic three-point landing. I, along with many others, I’m sure, have tried, but managing it successfully would involve very unhealthy strains on the leg joints, something I would rather avoid.
The chest Arc Reactor is also the brightest bit on the suit. Totally outshines the palms and eyes. I find it a bit inconsistent to have such a bright light for the chest and rather dim ones for the rest of the LEDs, but I suppose the entire suit is built around that reactor.
I’m not even kidding, that thing is so bright I can use it as a pseudo flashlight – it’s right up there with my iPod flashlight.
Another small bit of accessories that come with the armor are the forearm missiles…that aren’t really seen on the Mark IV itself any time in the movie.
The Mark VI sports them, as shown in the final climatic fight scene of Iron Man 2, so I’m assuming it’s drawn from there.
These are very minute add-ons – normally you’d barely notice them. Unfortunate that only the arm missiles are included and not the ones that pop out next to his neck on the shoulders.
These are put on by exchanging the normal arm plates for the missile-activated ones. Not gonna lie prying the original plates off is somewhat tedious, so I don’t do it often. Besides, repulsor palms all the way.
The extra armor actually doesn’t fit completely snug either. On one of the arms it’s somewhat raised and the pieces just don’t seem to fit flush. This is rather irking, another manufacturer defect, I presume, as I doubt this would be a common error for Hot Toys.
Another minor production gripe I have with these accessories is that the missiles themselves…aren’t glued on straight. Like what.
Some of them are actually crooked pretty hardcore (see first image of the missile armor). At this point I don’t even have to reiterate how boned I got with this particular figure. Guess sometimes you just run out of luck and get a bad card.
Included is a display stand with the movie logo [Iron Man 2] and the suit designation.
Thankfully nothing wrong with this post; I actually rather enjoy it.
I like the design and especially the little triangle plaque that reads Mark IV. The prongs that actually hold the figure up work fairly well; the height can be adjusted as you see fit.
The prongs themselves can either hold Iron Man up by the groin or actually go into the groin, if his legs are set far enough apart. (They go into the gap at the inner thigh when the legs are far apart) At that point the post just acts as a third leg for more stability.
And because one stand wasn’t enough, we need two.
And this one lights up. Modeled after the bases which Tony’s armors stand upon in his house, I’m fairly certain one of these bases is included in every incarnation of the armor by Hot Toys.
Yes, it does legitimately light up around the edges, though I find the effect somewhat underwhelming. Not that there’s anything wrong with the lights in their function, it just doesn’t look that impressive. Needs the full hall of armor display.
There is a clear pole with a clamp (that’s padded with foam on the insides so it doesn’t harm the figure of course) that can act as either a standing support or an action base to mount Iron Man in aerial action.
The base itself is rather detailed though, with slots for Iron Man’s feet to display the armor in standby mode. No, the feet do not lock in, he simply stands upon them.
Held up by said clear pole in an attempt to imitate the iconic flying stance.
Yeah it doesn’t work out so well. Quite legitimately the best shot and angle I could try to get of it.
I don’t think the action base was designed with this sort of flight posing in mind. It doesn’t have much in the way of motion; after all it’s just a clamp on a clear pole.
Let’s just pretend he’s flying, yes?
Overall, what can I say? This was my first Hot Toys experience. And needless to say at this point, it certainly wasn’t my best..with any figure I’ve ever come to hold in my grimy hands.
Despite all of it though, my view on Hot Toys still hasn’t changed. I still revere them as gods, unparalleled in their figure accuracy and quality. While I may not have experienced the “quality” part this time around though, I’m willing to delude myself for the moment and say I merely got a bad batch.
I refuse to believe this is their quality standard, and I severely doubt it actually is.
So now that I’m done with the figure (review and photo wise), do I intend to let my dream-figure-gone-wrong sit idly in the glass tower and slowly accumulate a thin layer of dust?
I think not.
I paid a really hiked up price for this dated figure, and having it deliver far below my expectations, I can’t really justify keeping it. Therefore, like many other collectables I’ve come to own, I will be selling it off in favor of using the money on a brand-new Mark VII suit.
When I first took the $550 plunge on this figure, I was contemplating the then-not-yet-released Mark VII as well, but eventually settled on this one for aesthetics (I preferred the uniform red and gold scheme).
However, at this point, the Mark VII has more advanced technologies and is a good $100 cheaper than this suit on the market, so it’d make more sense to just spring for second choice and rid myself of this abomination. Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time.