Hot Toys’ Age of Ultron: The Best Iron Man Of All Time, Thanos On Floating Asteroid Throne Thingy, And Other Avengers
Hot Toys has had wild success with its licensed Marvel collectibles and figures since Iron Man first arrived on the scene in 2008. After tackling the films based on Captain America and the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Hong Kong manufacturer is readying its upcoming line of figures based on Avengers: Age of Ultron for release in 2015. Though we'd gotten a peek at the first Iron Man figure earlier in the week, the look of the remaining Avengers roster remained a secret... until now.
At Toy Soul 2014, Hot Toys debuted the full Avengers roster from the upcoming film, giving us our first in-depth looks at all the new designs. More importantly however, it gave us our first look at Hulkbuster Iron Man and big bad lurking in the shadows for the past three movies, Thanos.
The good news is, characters like Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye will have some substantial differences from previous incarnations. The same however cannot be said for Thor, Hulk and the standard Iron Man figures. It should be noted that everything on display at Toy Soul is still pending final approval, and will likely go through some more changes before release. Still, the early builds of a few of these figures doesn't have me too enthused. Before we get into the Avengers though, let's see what's in store for Thanos.
Thanks to both Hot Toys and Toy People, we've gotten our first up close look at the Mad Titan himself. The first sixth-scale Thanos is based on his appearance at the conclusion of Guardians of the Galaxy, complete with the big, floating asteroid throne thing. There are a lot of tremendous and intricate details in the costuming, and as first attempts go, this is quite impressive. Would an Infinity Gauntlet accessory have been cool? Sure. We'll likely get that in 2019.
Interestingly enough, the facial sculpt lacks some of the definition we've come to know from the comics. The grumpy pseudo-Brolin face aside, the chin structure that has been a trademark of the hulking space lord is fairly indistinct. It appears to be more of a facial scaring that extends well above his cheekbones, which is something that we haven't seen in the comic version of the character before as it typically ends beneath his lower lip.
The showstopper of the line (at least until we get an Ultron or two) is the new Hulkbuster Iron Man. It's simply gigantic. The Avengers Hulk came in at just over 16 inches, and this looks to be just a tad bigger than that. It's fairly difficult to tell as Hot Toys had it displayed on its own, and not immediately next to another figure for size comparison. The normal sixth-scale characters come in at around 12 inches tall, so ostensibly, the Hulkbuster could be 18-20 inches tall.
As you can see, it does indeed light up in all the appropriate spots like base model Iron Man armors, as well as a wealth of new areas like the knees and back. What the earliest pictures here don't show is that there is indeed an Iron Man underneath the large helmet. I've only seen one slightly blurry picture, but it appears a tiny little MK XLIII is sculpted into the chest in the same way Obidiah Stane was sculpted into the Iron Monger from Iron Man.
The detailing on this thing is out of control, but it's bulk and the fact that it lights up does not bode well for wallets. No pricing has been revealed as of yet, but normal Iron Man figures fetch upwards of $300, and the Iron Monger retailed for $480 six years ago. The Hot Toys Back to the Future DeLorean probably provides the closest estimate, and that thing is currently running for $690. So in addition to having to build a new wing onto your house, you'll likely have to drop the mortgage payment of a small home in the rural midwest on this thing to own it.
In addition to the Hulkbuster, Hot Toys also announced a quarter-scale Iron Man MK XLIII. Coming in at just about 20 inches tall, the figure looks almost identical to the sixth-scale figure, save for some additional armor tooling to show off exposed engineering. The MK XLIII is just a different colorway of the XLII for Iron Man 3 (there's a lot more red on the chest and abdomen), so it's understandable to be completely unimpressed with a repaint, even if it is 20 inches tall.
Hot Toys has pretty much beaten the Iron Man armors to death (though it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon), and the recently announced Boba Fett from Return of the Jedi quarter-scale figure is retailing for $470. This Iron Man appears to come with way less accessories and features than that Fett by the way. You can get a virtually identical figure with more accessories and a cool base at sixth-scale for $130 less, so this Iron Man is really only for the most devoted Iron Man fans with huge expendable incomes.
Though you can't exactly consider the sixth-scale Iron Man MK XLIII a steal at $345, it can be argued that it's a better value than the quarter-scale figure. This will be the first AoU figure out the gate, and will even come with a very special base featuring a damaged Ultron MK I. And look, there's even going to be a standard helmet, a battle damaged helmet and one with a new Tony Stark head sculpt. Again though, this is just a repaint of the existing MK XLII that's already been released. Yes, this Iron Man is die cast, which does bump up the price a bit, but like many of the other Avengers figures in this line-up, has been seen elsewhere before.
Though you may be tired of all the Iron Man figures Hot Toys has released, at least there are enough variations in the form that you could almost forgive the company for putting out so many similar figures. The same cannot be said for Thor. In the above picture, you can see the Thor: The Dark World figure released earlier this year, and on the right is the newer Age of Ultron Thor. Notice any differences? Yeah, they're pretty tough to spot. It's almost as if there aren't any at all.
But there are a few. Namely, in AoU, he's wearing a sleeveless shirt underneath his armor. The head sculpt is fairly identical (at least at this point in development), though there are some minor flourishes in the circular armor embellishments, and the riveting on the vest appears to be highlighted a bit more in this version. It still doesn't look like you'll be able to pose his arms, which has been an issue with Hot Toys' Thor figures since the first appearance. In order to keep Hemsworth's physique in tact, he's still going to be stuck in a stiff arm pose. It's a shame.
Likewise, the Hulk fares a similar fate. The AoU version above on the left is virtually indistinguishable from the original Avengers Hulk (lighting influences on his skin color notwithstanding). The only real difference is that now the Hulk gets a pair of official Avenger shorts. There might be some slight alterations to the hair sculpt, but it's a little hard to tell at the moment. The veins on his arms are the same. The grimace is the same. Even the chest model is so similar that it's hard to quantify the ~$400 price all over again.
Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye appears to be rocking the same head sculpt as well, which has been a running theme so far with these Avengers figures. However, the ridiculous overcoat he's got is joined by some crazy boots with spikes on the side. Say what you will about how goofy that coat is (and I have), but the tailoring is at least nice for a toy that's only 12 inches tall. It's not immediately clear how removable this coat is going to be, as it looks like his forearm guard and finger tabs appear to be resting above the sleeves. That doesn't leave a lot of maneuverability in seeing what's under the jacket, but his arms still look fairly flexible. His bow looks to be very similar to the previous entry as well, but for a new coat of paint, and he's still got the same Oakleys.
Captain America's AoU uniform is heavily influenced from the STRIKE suit he wore in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but it looks way cooler now. Though the belt and shoulder straps are the same, and the pants just have a few new flourishes, the torso's been given a bit of an overhaul. This outfit is a thousand times better than the original Avengers uniform. He's also got new hands showing off a different glove sculpt that we've seen.
The head and helmet are pretty close, and at this point, I'm wondering if Hot Toys is just re-using existing tooling in the preliminary samples, or if it's really going to release another wave of figures with almost no differences in the faces. Tony Stark's gotten something like ten or eleven different heads over the years, but for some reason, the rest of the Avengers just keep rocking the same look.
Where we finally get to see something entirely new (almost) top to bottom, is with Black Widow. Her uniform hasn't changed that much since Winter Soldier, but at least there's some new blue and red highlights breaking up the straight black catsuit. She'll be going back to shorter hair again inAoU, but like all her previous models, she'll still be rocking "real" hair instead of sculpted.
Her gauntlets look different for the first time in a few movies, which is nice, but the real story is the new batons she'll be wielding. Previously all she had to rely on in the films were her Widow's Bite gloves and Glock pistols (which have been the same mold and model each and every time), but now we've finally gotten a new melee weapon for the former Soviet spy. Though she's always been one of the more low maintenance figures, Hot Toys has always done a nice job making Black Widow one of the standouts in each and every line she's appeared in.
Overall, the line is only looking decent so far. It's not as exemplary or exciting as it was when Hot Toys first started putting out the original Avengers figures. Part of that has to do with just how many the manufacturer has released over the past few years, and the other part has to do with how little difference there is year-to-year and movie-to-movie.
There's still plenty of time for the figures to change between today and the planned release over the course of the next year. As it stands now, Thanos and Hulkbuster are really the only figures that bring anything new to the table. However, the original Avengers figures are so hard to find at a reasonable price these days, most collectors won't mind all the similarities to previous releases.
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