Wednesday 11 November 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts War Machine Mark 2

With Bandai Tamashii Nations slowly running out of “main” Kamen Riders to produce for the S.H. Figuarts toy line, the last few years has seen the line expand into a number of different properties. And among the various other tokusatsu, anime and Star Wars figures, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven to be a particularly serious source of inspiration. We’ve so far had figures from both Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3, followed this year by the core Avengers as they appeared in Age of Ultron. Bandai show no signs of stopping there though, with both Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armour and Ultron himself due next year as well as a number of other figures (most importantly including Hawkeye and Black Widow) revealed at the Tamashii Nations 2015 event. But before we get to any of those, the first Tamashii web exclusive figure from the Avengers sub line is in fact War Machine Mark 2 – who in reality only appeared in the movie for a couple of minutes at the most. However with James “Rhodey” Rhodes becoming a key Avenger at the end of the film who will likely play a key role in Captain America 3: Civil War, this is as good an opportunity as ever to show just how much WARMARCHINEROX.

Despite being a web exclusive figure, War Machine surprisingly comes packaged in a transparent window box rather than the wholly cardboard ones most web exclusives have been using for the past few years. Why exactly Bandai have decided to be selective here I’m not sure, but I can only assume the reasoning behind this is to make the box completely identical to the previous Avengers releases. As well as featuring the Avengers ‘A’ logo in the top corner of the window, the box also features a unique War Machine logo at the bottom – a simplified version of the armour’s faceplate. Another interesting little touch is that the figure is labelled “War Machine Mark 2”, using a standard number two rather than the Roman numerals usually associated with the early Iron Man variants. The rest of the box is just the usual fare – various images of the figure splashed across the back and spines, with the figure and accessories loaded onto a single clear plastic tray inside.

As those obsessive over the finer details of the Iron Man armours probably already know, War Machine Mark 2 is actually a straight repaint of the Iron Patriot armour from Iron Man 3. Gone are the metallic red, white (actually silver, but whatever) and blues, in favour of the more familiar gunmetal grey/silver livery. This version of the suit is also rather different from the Mark 1 suit seen in Iron Man 2, not only sporting less external weaponry but a much slimmer build by comparison. While it doesn’t have quite the same hulking presence as its predecessor, the suit still has a much more angular and tank-like appearance to it – making it a nice contrast to the increasingly organic look of Iron Man. 

Fans often cite the Iron Man figures among the best of the S.H. Figuarts line, and War Machine feels like no exception to that rule. While the figure doesn’t exactly have a lot of paint variety the colours are bold and the paintwork sharp. The figure also has a good weight to it, which is no surprise given that the feet are diecast metal. The articulation is equally top notch - sporting a huge variety of ball-joints in all the right places. The side guards are also hinged - not that they're really big enough to get in the way of leg articulation anyway. It's more so that they can be comfortably tucked against the legs or flipped upwards. Finally the gun is a separate piece to the body, and can be pegged into either hole on the figure's back. It is articulated at two points - it can be flipped over the shoulder and is also able to rotate a full 360 degrees.

As a straight repaint, the Mark 2 also features identical accessories to those previously seen with the Iron Patriot. Not really that disappointing when you think War Machine didn’t do anything particularly unique in his short Age of Ultron appearance anyway. War Machine comes with a total of eight swappable hands – closed fists, two sets of open hands (one with the fingers together and the other apart) and an additional set with a peg attached for connecting the effect parts. With the exception of the effect part hands, each of these hands also require you to attach a small hand guard piece that initially come fixed to the default closed fists. It’s not exactly difficult to take these pieces on and off, but moving around such little pieces can be understandably tedious. Especially when the Mark 45 just had them permanently fixed to each hand anyway.

One of the most fun parts about the Iron Man Figuarts are the blast effect parts included though, and War Machine comes with plenty. Sadly the pieces themselves are the same across the board for pretty much all of the Iron Man figures (naturally these are the same as the Patriot’s, and 4/5 of them also come with the Mark 45), but at the very least it gives you some good variety for the figure itself. Altogether War Machine comes with four different “repulsor” hand blasts (two short and two long), two thruster parts for the feet and a shooting effect part that plugs into the shoulder cannon. The latter piece is exclusive to both the Patriot and the Mark 2. 

While not quite as impressive as the artillery-loaded Mark 1 (which featured a total of seven different effect parts), this is still a pretty respectable collection. It isn’t particularly common for Bandai to include effect parts with the figures, which is a shame because when they do they usually turn out great. War Machine’s gun blast effect is leagues ahead of Figma Solid Snake’s for example.

War Machine Mark 2 might not be an incredibly exciting release for anyone who picked up the Iron Patriot, but for those still relatively new to the S.H. Figuarts Iron Man figures this is a very enjoyable release. While the Mark 2 might not have the same bulk and overwhelming presence as the Mark 1, it’s still a design that feels different enough to the various Iron Man suits despite simply being an offshoot. A web exclusive release may feel unfortunate for some, but considering the suit is both a repaint and only appears in Age of Ultron for a matter of minutes it’s impressive this got released so quickly. It just goes to show how much faith Bandai have in these Marvel Cinematic Universe figures, and hopefully the recently revealed Hawkeye, Black Widow and Tony Stark figures won’t be too far behind this.


Ray said...

Lovely review I am a big fan of Iron man and War machine and this action figure looks great.

Rehinna said...

You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant! nerf gun review