Monday 20 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Iron Man Mark VII

Figma Iron Man Mark VII

It's hard to believe its been over two years since Max Factory first announced that they would be adding the Avengers to their Figma line, but now three out of the four announced figures are finally available for collectors to get their hands on (whether we'll actually get Hulk is anyone's guess right now). Iron Man was originally meant to follow Thor in August 2014, but thanks to typical Good Smile Company delays was released in late September after Captain America (but because he's Figma 217 and Cap is 226, he gets reviewed first). Obviously this figure is modelled after Iron Man's appearance in The Avengers film, based off of the Mark VII armour he dons for the battle against Loki and the Chitauri. 

Box Front

Box BackInsert Tray

Since Figma have adopted a uniform style for their packaging there's been less and less to say about them, so this will be a pretty short paragraph. The Iron Man packaging's signature colour is a dullish gold, with the Avengers logo in the bottom black section alongside the usual Figma logos and number. The back then features a couple of promo shots of the figure, with the figure and its accessories sealed inside on a moulded clear plastic tray.

Obligatory ground pound pose

Figure frontFigure back

Ready for actionCasual Tony pose

Considering that the Figma line started out mostly made up of anime girls, they've come a long way to now be producing armoured figures such as this. They got some early practice with the likes of Metroid's Samus Aran (who was an exceptionally good figure) but Iron Man is on a whole other level. The overall sculpt is flawless. Every little detail and panel line has been superbly scaled down into this 165mm figure, and the colour combination of red, gold and silver ensures nothing goes unnoticed. All three of the Figma Avengers have commander higher than average prices for the line, with Iron Man taking the top spot at ¥7222 (although this is considerably less when buying from stores such as Amiami and Hobbylink Japan). While I'm forever skeptical about whether the extra cost is fully justified in these releases, this is the one where I feel like I'm getting something of additional quality.

The softer ABS and PVC plastic used for Figmas may seem like an odd choice for a heavily armoured superhero such as Iron Man, but there's no obvious flaws from its use. Max Factoru have even managed to incorporate the rounded Figma joints into the design fairly well! The only real area the plastic falls short is the arm gauntlets, which are an incredibly soft gummy plastic glued to each wrist. To properly pose the figure in flight/fighting poses results in these gauntlets getting in the way of the hands, and rather than put them on a hinge Max Factory for whaever reason thought it would be a good idea to hand them bend over the hands. Problem is, over time those gauntlets are blatantly going to stay bent...

Preparing to fireRepulsor rays

Shooting in all directions

The level of articulation engineered into this figure is also pretty incredible, and like Thor feels much heftier and more 'action figure-like' than your standard Figma release. Moving down the body we have a ball jointed head and neck, double ball-jointed shoulders, hinged arms, ball jointed wrists, TRIPLE jointed torso (two ball joints with a hinged ab in-between), ball jointed hips with a thigh swivel just below, hinged knees rounded off by ankle and toe joints at the bottom. The staple Iron Man 'ground pound' pose is something I have incredible difficulty pulling off with most highly-poseable figures, but here it seemed to just come naturally.

Taking flight

Into the airFighting and flying

But the real point of contention is Iron Man's accessory count, which is where you should probably prepare for a mini-rant of sort. Firstly, Good Smile Company have released two versions of Figma Iron Man - the mass release #217 version I am reviewing here and an EX-018 version exclusive to their online store. This exclusive one is known as the 'Full Spec Version' and comes with an array of additional parts not included with the retail one - opening back flaps, missile sections for the shoulders/forearms and most notably an alternate head sculpt with the faceplate lifted up to reveal Tony Stark's face. The downside was that the Full Spec version cost ¥8138, which combined with GSC's flat rate shipping of ¥2000 brings it to the price of around £60/$95. With Iron Man being an expensive Figma as it is, I just couldn't justify the extra cost.

So moving swiftly onwards, what accessories does the retail version have with it? In total there are five pairs of hands and four repulsor/propulsion blast effect parts (two for the hands and two for the feet). That's your lot other than the stand that comes packed with every Figma release. The hands come in two different types - three are standard Figma hands (in closed fists, slighly more open fists and open hands variety), while the other two are open hand "blast" and "flight" pairs that have a peg sticking out of them to attach the effect part. The interesting thing about these hands is that they attached to a static peg rather than connecting to the wrist's balljoint, so using them requires removing the joint as well as the hands attached.

I understand that licensing issues are what's making these Avengers Figma more expensive than usual, but releasing bare bones version at retail only to hog all the best stuff for an exclusive version is pretty low. And let's be honest, the only thing that's really driving up the cost of the Full Spec Version is the Tony Stark head. There's no real reason other that the other accessories couldn't have come with this version other than "more money", and its a real kick to those who bought it at retail to see a more 'complete' version also being flaunted around.

Iron Man and ThorIron Man vs Thor

Hammer beats suit

Figma Iron Man is quite a difficult figure to give a final rating too. Sculpt-wise its one of the nicest Figmas I've ever handled - Max Factory have done an absolutely superb replicating the Mark VII armour's details and other than the aforementioned wrist guard issue the robotic body works well with the softer style of plastic Figmas use. If you're someone looking to pick up all three of the Avengers or have a specific love for Mark VII (or like me, both) then you won't be disappointed with this figure. That said the price tag is still a bit of a downer, especially when a) S.H. Figuarts are offering cheaper versions of the Iron Man 2 & 3 suits of equal/better quality and b) getting this figure with a respectable amount of accessories requires paying out of the nose even moreso (I doubt this thing is going to be cheap on the aftermarket). 

All in all it's a fantastic figure, but whether you get what you pay for depends on which version you're buying and ultimately, what you're buying it for.

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