Kotobukiya ArtFX: Iron Man Mk VII

I’ve been thinking for the past little while about how to do the introduction to this review.  Well, I’m typing this now and I still have no clue.  Really, does Iron Man need an introduction?  Do I need to get into his history, character, design, etc.?  I don’t think so – if you’re reading this, you probably already know all that – hell, you probably know more than I do.  Frankly speaking, I was never into comic books as a kid and don’t follow Marvel, DC, nor any other comics or manga – it just wasn’t my thing.  But I’ve always liked Iron Man, maybe not so much Tony Stark, but Iron Man is cool.  Who doesn’t like a mechanised armour that can do all sorts of nifty weaponry and fly through the sky like a speeding bullet?

This version of Iron Man is dubbed the Mk VII (Mark 7) as seen in the recent The Avengers movie.  While this armour is the Mk VII, there has been a number of variations throughout the decades as to how each variation looked.  The older comic illustrations of Iron Man made him look more “tin can” like, IMO, whereas the more recent ones feel more high-tech.  I guess you can look at it similar to cars, whereas the older American cars are block-ish, pure power, but it lacks the finess, sleekness and many form factors found in cars today.

The recent Mk VII differs from the Mk VI in that the predecessor was more aggressive looking, sharper edges and most noticeably the Arc Reactor was triangular shaped.  The Mk VII returns to the Iron Man roots with a circular Arc Reactor with the armour being more contoured, yet feeling stream-lined.

Being a 1/6 scaled, this figure stands approximately 16 inches in height – it is definitely big and so is the box.  What I didn’t expect when I received Iron Man was that he came separated into four pieces, the torso, two arms and legs.  On the Mk VII, there are two black wires (or hydraulics?) connecting from the chest to the arms – Kotobukiya did a fairly good job on the manufacturing tolerance with this.  As you can see below, the black piece sticks out just a little, and when you connect the arms it’ll fit right up to the arms.  It’s a little hard to describe, but on the right arm, the black piece is a little longer, so when the arm is attached, it squeezes the black piece making it “bend” as if it’s following the movement of the arm.  I’m sorry my crappy pics and description isn’t doing it justice, but if you have this figure or get this figure, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  LOL

Since this is my first ArtFX figure and of Iron Man, I was surprised at the battery placement.  It is similar to the previous ArtFX Iron Man, but I never paid attention to that version.  The battery compartment is attached to the lower body and fits in the torso – the packaging came with a paper instruction on assembly.  It cautioned customers to be careful when inserting the top torso onto the legs and not to use too much force – just in case it damages the pin inside the torso (which inserts into the battery slot seen below).

Unfortunately, the torso didn’t slide on as smooth as I anticipated, you do require some force to push the torso down – as I’ve said, the manufacturing tolerance on this figure is pretty tight.  But it connected with a slight click and all was well.

Iron Man is one of those designs where it looks simple, but there are rather lots of complex and minute details – Kotobukiya did a great job capturing all these tiny details and the paint work is superb.  Though certain parts of the figure felt a little too glossy (mainly the chest area), I love the weathered look and shading on this figure – it really helps with the overall presentation and makes the details pop.

The helmet doesn’t change much between the armour variations, though the Mk VII seems a little more skeletal like, particularly the cheek bone area of the mask leading down to the chin.  It appears longer and more slender than the previous versions.

As I’ve said, I’m really impressed with the paint work on Iron Man Mk VII, it has a metallic / pearl like effect – but it doesn’t look completely new and “off the lot”.  The weathering and panel lining helps retain the fact, visually, that this is an amour used for battle, not displayed like a garage queen.  It looks shiny and cool, yet experienced.  ;-)

The Mk VII armor also has more “ribbed” area on the torso which gives off a sense of strength – like a muscle man – an iron man… wait, isn’t that what this is called?  Iron Man?  Everything about this pose screams “manly man” – the way the arms are curled slightly, biceps buldging, clenched fist, upright back – typical super hero.

It would’ve been nice if one of the repulsors in his hands lit up.  But then again, that wouldn’t really work out with his clenched fists pose.  It would’ve been nice if they had the pose with one hand open – but I guess that’d be too similar to the previous ArtFX Iron Man and too typical of a pose.  That said, I do love the details on the clenched fists and the rough panel lining – it’s messy up close with the macro – but from a distance it looks great.  Let’s face it, after all these “girly figure” reviews, it’s about time I put a little more manliness back to the site.  =P

The radial gear on the hips seems to be larger and more pronounced – and if I recall correctly, it was pretty cool watching this part spin up and lock into place in the movie.  The legs also look more skeletal like with muscular veins than the previous armour variations.  Looking at this version of Iron Man reminds me of my trip to the Ontario Science Centre awhile back whey they were showcasing The Human Body exhibit.

Obligatory “pantsu” shot!  /insert troll face

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken figure photos (since Liara’s review, and even that was crap) - I haven’t given much thought to the actual photos and it wasn’t till after I had uploaded the photos that I realized one of the rules I gave myself, try to keep things consistent!  Looking at this batch of photos with the mixed black and camo backgrounds made things very inconsistent and my eyes hurt.  Sorry viewers!  While I think a little mix and match is okay from time to time, but doing it throughout a review is a no-no for me.  The exposures were also off and the low key-ish photos weren’t necessary in some shots.  But being the lazy bastard that I am, I decided to just stick with this and move on – there are so many figures I want to review yet so little time I can spend.  =(

With that apology out of the way, let’s get on with the remainder of the review.  The boots, unlike the rest of the body, is definitely more boot-like rather than skeletal.  But the shape still emphasizes on muscular features, mainly the calf muscles.  A little detail on the boots are the fins on the sides which are sculpted in the opened position.  You can’t close it, so be careful with the part when handling the figure!  It’s small, sharp and since it’s PVC, it’s bendable and could possibly break if snagged on something.

The base that comes with the figure is in the shape of a huge slab of busted concrete – you can see Iron Man’s boots digging into the ground, as if he was knocked back but remained standing to perform a counter-attack.  The details and shading on the base is done very well and adds a little more life to the overall presentation of the figure.  I wouldn’t have mind if it came with an Arc Reactor base like the previous ArtFX Iron Man though.  That would’ve been pretty cool for displaying the figure in the dark.

I have to admit, one of the features that made me get this figure are the LED lights.  Hey, I’m a sucker for figures and toys with purty lights.  =P  The figure is advertised to have three modes, off, on and motion detection.  I thought that was a really cool feature, having Iron Man light up if there appears to be movements nearby – I know my son would definitely love that too.

Needless to say, I was a little disappointed when I got the figure and found out that the motion sensor is actually located at the back of the figure.  That kind of defeats the purpose of the motion sensor – what’s the point of lighting up when the movement is from behind?  You can’t see his LED lights from the back anyway!  It would’ve made sense if they could incoporate the sensor somewhere on the front, or maybe even on the base.  Maybe motion sensor is the wrong term, it’s more like a light sensor.  I don’t think it actually detects movement, but changes in light pattern.  The instruction indicated that for it to function, it still requires a degree of ambient lighting.  Boo-urns.  I’ve tested this and you definitely need a nice steady light source around the sensor for the detection to work.  Neat gimmick, but totally useless.

The on/off/motion detect switch is conveniently hidden under the left shoulder pad though – it’s a smart place to put the switch – but I have a feeling it compromised the figure’s ability to have moveable parts.  I’m pretty sure this shoulder armour opened up in the movie to fire an array of little missiles or other ballistics, but I can’t recall.  I know it was definitely there in the previous armours though.  That is one thing I found lacking on this figure – there aren’t any moveable parts or hatches that you can open to display Iron Man’s arsenal.  So in that respect, this figure is a little boring.

There has been many Iron Man figures out there to date, and many of them with LEDs.  Ever since I saw one of them, I’ve always wanted to do a shot like this – it’s just so Iron Man!  XD

So yes, I got this figure and did the review just so I could take these last few shots in low lighting, showcasing the LED action.  Yup, a whopping three LEDs.  Hmmm, whopping… all of a sudden I have a craving to go to Burger King and get a Whopper.  This is totally unrelated to the review, but that’s what I feel like at the moment.  LOL

I got this figure for roughly $150 CAD + shipping, for the size, quality and LED feature, it’s a fair price.  But interestingly enough, I saw pre-orders go up on Big Bad Toy Store for $110USD, much cheaper than the Japanese retailers.  The caveat is that they won’t get stock till October – so if you still want to pick one up, you can get it there.  I’m assuming they might be getting this from Kotobukiya USA rather than from Japan, thus the cheaper price, but who knows.

This is definitely one of the best Iron Man figures out there, whether you’re a fan of Iron Man or not, it’s definitely worth to pick up.  Kotobukiya seems to be stepping up their game lately with their unique line-ups and quality control, which is very nice.  Though they’re not my favourite figure manufacturer (that’s still reserved for Alter), I seem to be collecting a lot of their figures and have done a number of reviews on them.  Hey, Kotobukiya, how about giving me some sort of discount for all the figures I’m getting from you and the nice reviews?  =P

Yeah, I didn’t think so…  =(