I recently added another item to my collection of toys and figures. When I buy a toy, an important criterion is that it must fully resemble the character on-screen. Most of the small Iron Man figures have terrible paint jobs and awful details that make the character look, well, disgusting. That explains the awe when I came across this Iron Man 12-inch figure at a hobby shop. I didn’t know Iron Man figures of such details exist!!!

Iron Man Mark III is the “first” armour that Tony Stark wore for his battle against the villains (Mark 1 was the primitive bulky suit that led to Tony’s escape from the terrorist. Mark 2 was the silver unpainted armour that Tony wore for his first test flight).

The one that I bought is called “Battle Damage”, which reflects the state at the end of the movie while fighting Iron Monger. As such, this figure, unlike the other Iron Man variants (also produced by Hot Toys), has the following additional accessories:

– interchangeable chest armour
– interchangeable heads: one allowing the eyes to light up, the other allowing the front mask to be removed, revealing Tony’s face
– an additional naked hand (Tony removed his armour glove during the movie when he thought he had defeated Iron Monger)
– a display stand modeled after the rooftop of the Arc Reactor building in the final battle scene, including cracked glasses
– details of scratches all around the armour figure (good thing, so I don’t have to take extreme good care of the paint work)

(in some exclusive editions, the package even cos with a crushed helmet. Iron Monger crushed it at the final scene, leaving Tony’s head exposed. I didn’t get that because it was about $150 more expensive than this edition, not worth it)

What’s amazing about this collector’s figure is that it comes with numerous articulations and features in the armour that are faithful to the movie.

– light-up eyes, chest and palms
– removing the chest armour reveals internal details
– the face armour reveals internal details
– expendable wrist gauntlet as shield, as portrayed in the final battle scene
– micro munitions pod on both shoulders. He used it during his first battle scene when the terrorists held civilians hostage, the ammo locks only at the terrorists and fires with accuracy.
– countermeasure dispenser at the hips. He deployed it when fired upon by the 2 US planes chasing after him, and also at the final battle scene to temporarily blind Iron Monger.
– air flaps at the back of armour, as detailed as the movie.
– airbrake deployment system at the legs

The figure is built with plastic, metal and rubber, to allow flexibility of posing and still maintain faithfulness to the joint details.

I was actually contemplating between this figure and the Mark 4 version, worn by Tony in Iron Man 2. I like the movie look and toy design of Mark 4, which comes improved with torso articulation and movable fingers. But I like the playability of Mark 3 Battle Damage with more interchangeable accessories. Besides, Mark 4 is still in pre-order phase while Mark 3 Battle Damage is only made publicly available recently. If I were to wait a few more months, this version might be either out of stock or the value might have increased.

We can’t blame the makers, Hot Toys, for the delay. It takes months to properly sculpt and develop such detailed figures, and more months to create the mould to mass produce. As of current, the Mark 5 (briefcase version) and Mark 6 (with the new triangular arc reactor chest) is still under development, and probably will reach mass production in 1-2 years. Hot Toys is also the licensee of several other movie collectible figures like Prince of Persia, Terminator, so they have a plate full of projects (and fans) to satisfy.

With much thought and procrastination, I decided to get this Mark 3 Battle Damage before it becomes unavailable.

Generally, I like the quality of the product. My few nitpicks:
– the chest armour colour is slightly darker than the rest of the body.
– the arm articulation is rather restrictive, so there are many poses that I cannot achieve.
– I cannot deploy the shoulder munitions pod unless I remove the armour.
– limited articulation at the hips.
– limited articulation at the neck. I would like the head to be able to tilt even higher so that I can do a pose of Iron Man flying.
– Tony looks “dead” with his eye levels permanently raised.
– naked hand is longer than the armour hand.
– I would love to have the feet soles to be lit up too.

My favourite parts of the figure would have to be the legs and the back. Apart from the details of the airbrake systems, the legs are designed such that the joints are movable and yet there are armour details to cover the ball joints. The back of the armour unfolds to reveal all the intricate mechanical details of the air flaps.

Analysing the design of this figure arouses my curiosity about how a real Iron Man suit could have allowed the wearer to move flexibly. Hot Toys have really made an effort to include all the armour details and yet giving room to allow articulation. And I am proud to own a piece of comic and movie history.


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