Saturday, October 23, 2010

Iron Man 2 Concept Series 3.75" 3-Pack: Proving Ground

This review was intended to be posted on Articulated Discussion but unfortunately, the site is closed for repair.  Hopefully, ithe gremlins don't keep it down too long.  For now though, the next two reviews I was gonna do over there are well, over here on Chase Variant, so pardon the change in format.  For those of you who don't frequent the fabulous site run by The Articulated One, well, this paragrapgh is gibberish.  Bleargh.  But get well soon, AD.  What would we do without TAO, the ORIGINAL Wes, and Dr (of dirty jibes) Nightmare?  Read stuff here, of course! :P  Just kidding.  But please read on still.

Oh and the site may e down, but you can still read the archived reviews, a whole bunch of which are ones I did for Iron Man 2 figures!  Yay!
While I've done reviews comparing two figures, I've never attempted three.  Can't help it this time.  I don't wanna be a tease with this trio of toy goodness by taking a look at them one by one.  I'll be trying to do what I'm worst at: keeping reviews short!  But with three figures on hand, prepare for a colossal armor-fest of Iron Man 2 proportions, featuring 3 very familiar sculpts!


Holographic Mark VI - Perhaps one of the more reused sculpts, there's no difference between this and the original Mark VI release and the Vibranium Armor IM from the Tactical Armor 3-pack but for one thing: this figure has been cast in translucent plastic.  What this means is the Holo Mark VI's joints are unhindered and move really smoothly compared to its painted counterparts, which most times had stuck/sticky joints coming out of the package.

Hulkbuster Iron Man - I think they put this version in the "Concept Series" mainly because of the re-use of the Iron Monger body with a new Hulkbuster head.  I really love the headsculpt, and it fits well with the torso.  But Iron Monger's limbs are simply too spindly to make a convincing Hulkbuster.  The problem doesn't lie so much with the size of his hands of feet, but rather how the limbs attach to the torso relative to the domed, neck-less head.  Dare I say it, but it kinda makes Hulkuster look like a fat, overweight middle-aged Tony Stark is piloting it.  Having a neckless and domed head also makes the figure's lower torso look like a giant pair of panties, something the orignal release movie Iron Monger head doesn't do because of its more head-like proportions.

Strangely enough, the more I play around with him the more his proportions seem to grow on me, to the point where I'm beginning to think the Hulkbuster looks pretty decent.


Recon War Machine - He's exactly the same as the movie series War Machine but for one major difference: his BFG Cannon is replace with a missile rack tht's also different from the comic series War Mack.  Sure, you could just take the missile rack from your comic series, repaint it a little, and plop it onto your Red Eyes War Mack for the perfect movie accurate 3.75" version, but it'll be a lot easier just to pick up this 3-pack for this guy.

For one, you wouldn't have to sacrifice a missile rack and leave one of your Rhodey's without it, and secondly, Recon WM's rack has been nicely painted to match the rest of the armor's camo scheme.

Paint aside, this sculpt of War Machine is the most movie accurate 3.75" one out there.  And did I mention I'm really lovin' the army paint job too? ;)



Holographic Mark VI - Lots of white lines, especially on the face.  Can see that they're going for the detail-in-the-hologram look, but it really just messes the face up a little too much with all the sections.  On the rest of the body, the lines look cool and make sense. (aAny more paint?)

Hulkbuster Iron Man - Ick. They didn't improve on the red paint that ruined the red and gold IM2 figures with its thickness, inconsistency, and plastic look/feel.  And with this much red on the Hulkbuster, it's also affected the gold paint, which isn't quite as sharp or crisp as it can be especially around the faceplate and palms.

If you compare this paint job to the movie Iron Monger, you'll see that this area is quite a let down for how great the sculpt is.  And just to illustrate how bad the paint was, most of his joints were painted stuck.  This guy's waist and bicep swivels were especially so stuck that if I didn't have Iron Monger, I wouldn't have known there were joints in those places. And it took great amounts of force to get them unstuck.


Recon War Machine - The best of the 3 armors by far.  Not only is the camo green an awesome idea and a unique enough variation to make me want it, but it was also done crisp and smooth with little or no smudges, spills, and blurry lines.  The choice of where to go green and where to go silver is also done to satisfying proportions.  But what impresses me most is that the colors looks like they were molded along with the plastic but they clearly aren't simply because of the camouflage patterns.



Holographic Mark VI - 7/10: Hate that damn swivel head that's supposed to be a ball-joint! Other than that, this sculpt has an excellent chest pivot, probably the best of the IM2 line, and has your standard (which means good) IM 2 articulation.
Hulkbuster Iron Man - 6/10: This thing hasn't got any head movement at all!  What's the deal with that?  And it's not a joint that was paint-dried shut--they simply glued down the new head piece and called it a day.  Major minus points because you just lose a lot of poses without the figure looking in the right direction.

Recon War Machine - 9/10: Ideal. Following in the tradition of the original movie War Machine sculpt, this figure has your standard PoAs and then some.  Shoulder guards and ball-jointed weapon mounts that run on hinged tracks on its back add to the playability of a much sought-after character.  Smaller weapons make for better range of motion for the shoulders than the BFG cannon that comes with the original War Mack (all the better to recon with...)  But the ball-jointed head  reduced to a swivel is poor but not unexpected.


Holographic Mark VI - 7/10: One use for this guy is as a computer hologram. (Duh. It's in his name...)  The other is a cloaking device field that makes him invisible. Looks awesome with some light shining through him!  But I don't know if you can get much more out of this guy.

Hulkbuster Iron Man - 8/10:  He's big, he's bad, he looks good fighttings other big toe-to-toe, especially the Incredible Hulk.  It's what he's supposed to do! ;)

Recon War Machine - 9/10: This guy works as a regular jungle camo War Machine, and looks great next to similarly themed GI Joes, especially the new Pursuit of Cobra "Jungle Assault" sub-series of figures. (Duke, Spirit, Recondo--even Jungle Vipers! To bad I don;t have any of the latter...)


Holographic Mark VI - 7.5/10: Translucent plastic--different compound from regular stuff.  It's softer, especially without paint.  Unfortunately this guy is a but bare becasue he comes with nothing, nada, zilch.  Luckily he's part of a 3 pack and costs lots less than if it would have been single carded.

Hulkbuster Iron Man -7.5/10: New head is great, but I feel cheated out of a neck joint. After all that trouble to tool something new, they just glue it on?  No stand, no cards, and a rather plastic looking beast.

Recon War Machine - 8/10: The main-man of the set, he's the only guy that has the hardware.  New missile launcher, great paint scheme. Took the trouble to do this guy up real nice.  Problem is he comes with two other guys you could do without.


Holographic Mark VI: 73/100 - This is a good toy.  But do we really need another repaint of the Mark VI or Mark IV armors?  No, and this guy is more than.  A new translucent plastic that's softer and naturally matte make for a nice change and should  what repaints are all about.  I'm sure we're all tired of red and gold versions of this sculpt having just a little bit more silver here, or a tad more gold there, especially when the red paint continues to look gummy.

Hulkbuster Iron Man: 71/100 - This is a good toy.  But considering the "original" (Movie Iron Monger) scored a 90, they really made a mess of this piece.  A lot of it has got to do with the head but I think more of it has to do with the fact that he's called Hulkbuster but sill looks like Iron Monger in a cheap Hulkbuster helmet during Halloween.  The use of the gummy red paint also hurts this figure.  A lot.

Recon War Machine - 90/100 - This is a wonderful toy!  The only reason I feel he might lose out to the original movie War Mack is because he looks a little, and I mean just a little, plastickyIt's also always tough to beat the original.  I dig RWM's army colors, but they kind of hide the brilliant little details of the sculpt rather than bring them out like the gunmetal and grey does.  But that's what army colors do--make you blend in better with the environment!  This figure though, makes this 3-pack worth getting--and how many versions of War Machine will we see compared to Iron Man?  Not many, so this one is a must have to be part of Rhodey's limited but powerful armory.


  1. ORIGINAL Wes my ass!

  2. Lol, it's like the Marvel Universe--there are so many versions of Wesses that no one can keep track!!! ;P


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