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Vault Review: Iron Man 2
S.H. Figuarts War Machine

fawm0The problem with having a favorite character is that it’s hard not to build an army of them on your toy shelves.  Just when I thought I’d bought my last movie War Machine figure, Bandai hooks me with a new SH Figuarts version that I just couldn’t ignore.

Japanes figures are definitely more expensive, but my saving grace was that I had little to no connection to most of the properties.  Those good old days seem to be ending though.  Great articulated Godzilla characters, Sailor Moon, and Power Rangers have already taken up the majority of my pre-orders.  Now my superhero love isn’t even safe with the upcoming Avengers Figmas and SH Figuarts kicking it off with their new Iron Man movie figures.  My wallet is doomed.

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Sculpt wise War Machine is pretty much what you’d expect.  There’s not a lot of leeway when trying to be accurate to the specific movie design, but you can definitely see the sculpt has its own personality when compared to his Marvel Legends sized counterpart.  The Figuarts version is oddly not bulkier than the Hasbro, even though he’s much squarer.

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The biggest difference between the two figures is the articulation and how it was integrated into the design.  Where the Hasbro version is limited by his sculpt, Bandai found ways around those issues.  One of the biggest examples of this is the lower torso.  The Hasbro figure’s abs and crotch are a single piece, where as the Figuarts’ abs are three double ball joints covered by layered armor pieces.  This allows him to bend forward, back, and side to side further and more naturally.

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Paint wise the Figuarts has a bit more detail as well.  The majority of the body is made up of a dark metal gray with tiny sparkles to give it a metallic feel.  Most of the paint apps and tampos have been done in silver with that same metallic effect.  My favorite area is his eyes which are on a separate piece that sits behind his faceplate.  They’ve been painted yellow and outlined in red for a glowing effect.

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Like I mentioned, he has the standard amazing articulation of most Figuarts, and we see the return of metal feet to allow for better posing.  His head, neck and wrists are ball joints.  His abs are three double ball joints, and his shoulders are double ball joints as well.  The hips are also ball joints that are attached with hinges.  His elbows and knees are double hinges, while the ankles and toe joints are single hinges.

War Machine’s shoulder weapons are also articulated.  The missile launchers are on hinges, and the Gatling gun is on two swivel hinges.
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24 comments to Vault Review: Iron Man 2
S.H. Figuarts War Machine

  • Paul

    I’m so glad you reviewed this guy as I’ve been trolling for information on him ever since he was released.

    I’ve been looking for a “definitive” 5-6 inch War Machine and Iron Man figure to add to the collection. The Hasbro Armored Avenger line has done a good job to scratch that itch, but I’ve still been looking at the more premium lines. I’ve a bit unsure between these SH Figuarts figures and the Revoltech figures as I don’t own any toys from either line. Though you don’t compare the two here, your pics and review have given me so many positives on the Figuarts version that I think I might drop the dollars on it. It certainly seems like he’s worth the extra money over the Hasbro version.

    In general, do you have any thoughts on SH Figuarts vs Revoltech?

    • The last picture is Revoltech Iron Man Mark 3 sitting with Rhodey. Scale wise they fit in pretty well with each other, with Iron Man being just a tiny bit shorter and slimmer than Figuarts War Machine.

      I bought the Revoltech because I liked the light-up feature and wanted the extra Tony head. The Mark 3 is also my favorite version of his costume, so it worked out nicely. Unfortunately the figure itself is lacking when it comes to plastic and paint quality. The two worst things being his red paint is a bit sticky, and his abs are made out of a soft foam-like material. (Here’s my review if you want more details. http://www.itsalltrue.net/?p=17687 )

      If you want a sturdy figure that moves well, I’d suggest getting the Figuarts versions. They’re definitely a higher quality than the Revoltech (at least the one I have). I would have bought an Iron Man to go with WM, but I’m waiting on their version of the Mark 3. The only other figures that might give these guys a run for their money are the Figmas, but who knows when those will actually be out.

      • Paul

        Yeah, I considered waiting for the Figma Avengers, but as War Machine is my favorite and he didn’t appear in the Avengers movie, I’m guessing he won’t get a figure. That kind of knocked Figma out for me.

        All of this has pretty much sealed it for me. Figuarts it is! Now comes the task of trying to find a cheap online retailer now that the first run has sold out at most of the cheaper online import retailers….Maybe I’ll be lucky and Toys R Us will sell them like they do with the Figuarts DBZ and Power Ranger figures…

  • I don’t have the Figuarts War Machine, but just looking at the comparison pics, I’d still go with the Hasbro version over the Figuarts. Screen accuracy goes a long way for me, and the Figuarts version is too noticeably stylized for my tastes. It’s not a bad looking figure by any means, it’s just that when I look at it, it screams “Stylized Japanese version of War Machine,” rather than “Definitive War Machine.”

    • Vault

      Yeah, this is definitely one of those figures that’s going to cause different gut reactions with people. I’m really looking forward to putting the Figuarts with more Japanese Marvel figures, but the Hasbro one still looks great with his Marvel Legends counterparts. It really just depends on what kind of shelf your going for I think.

  • manekochan

    Playing with this thing, he is ridiculously flexible and he doesn’t have that flimsy feeling that a lot of the import figures have. He’s super fun to pose, too, to the point that I ambitiously tired to make him break-dance. Incidentally, that’s what led to Vault snapping pic #2. Though a little bit of his “fabulous” wore off in the move from computer desk to photo room…

  • antacost

    What is that three balled stand from that I see in some of your photos? I’ve been wanting a flying stand for Ghidorah, and that one seems to work pretty good.

  • Bigbot

    Really like the review. This version definitely looks better than the Hasbro version with all the accessories and effect parts. However, the Hasbro version ain’t bad either. I can’t justify paying over $45 just for the extra accessories.

    • Vault

      Thanks, Bigbot! I’m really surprised at how well the Hasbro one holds up, especially when compared to the Figuarts. Hasbro did a great job on the articulation, sculpt, and accessories. I just wish they could consistently hit this level with all of their products.

  • Brainlock

    is it me, or is his chest lit up in the couch pic?

    Decent review, but I can’t afford this right now. Too bad Hasbro (and Mattel) can’t take any cues from the superior Japanese toys on articulation, instead of dropping it due to “cost cutting”. right. Had to laugh at the “dance off” pic. “You just got served!” LOL

    Any plans to review the movie line? I know there are several repaints, but there are also a few newer molds, like “Col. James Rhodes” (aka movie Iron Patriot, since Osborne’s repainted Extremis armor took that name in the first half of that wave), the Mark 42 movie armor, and the Heroic Age/Bleeding Edge armor.

    • orionpax636

      Apologies if it’s been pointed out on this site before, but it’s a bit unfair to compare the articulation and features of a Figuarts figure to those on a Hasbro 6 inch figure. I used to think the same until another collector explained the Japanese collector market to me. I agree that at the very least US manufacturers would do well to emulate a few Japanese engineering features, but really US manufacturers and Japanese manufacturers operate off of completely different business models that have different ideas of who their consumer base is.

      Looking at Figuarts in particular, you very rarely see figures grouped as waves or see as much mold re-use as US companies tend to do. They can cost more towards each particular figure and aren’t really bound by balancing development/design budgets across multiple figures in a wave. The amount of character specific molding like Bandai Japan can do per figure is mind blowing compared to what US companies are bound by. The Japanese companies know they can spend more on their adult collectible marketed figures and US companies will always be conscious of how big the children market is compared to the collectors market.

      The biggest example of this can be seen when you compare the Power Ranger toys Bandai Japan offers in Japan to what Bandai America offers the US. (It’s also worth mention that Bandai Japan and Bandai America are very separate entities.) Japan gets bigger, more complex Zords and Figuarts for the Rangers themselves, and the US gets more simplified Zords and is only now getting super-articulated Rangers.

      Bringing it back to War Machine, the Figuarts version is a lot better because even with import costs aside, Bandai was probably able to put twice the budget into it than Hasbro could with theirs. I’m actually shocked that a figure as decent as Hasbro’s War Machine got made seeing as how it will probably see little mold re-use and got a lot more accessories than other comparable 6″ figures.

      • For many years, the Japanese market has gotten only non-poseable vinyl figures for their Sentai toys. They also don’t get figures of the villains. What’s funny about that is that they used to get better toys. Back in the 80s and early-mid nineties, they got figures comparable to what the US was getting for Power Rangers. The original 8″ super-articulated MMPR figures were based off molds created for the Turboranger series from 1989. There were also the 3 3/4″ figures that were made for the Super Sentai line that featured articulation comparable to a GI Joe figure (minus the balljointed neck). In America, they were only ever released with the vehicles (Power Bikes, Shark Cycles, Galaxy Gliders, etc.). For several years, Bandai Japan released “fliphead” figures, based on the Bandai US Automorphin figures.

        The S.H. Figuarts line is a fairly new development, only having been created in 2008, with the first Sentai Figuart (Shinken Red) released in 2011. It’s also not aimed at the same audience as other Sentai toys. The kids are still getting the vinyl dolls (because “little kids don’t care about articulation.” Pfft). The Figuarts are aimed at adult collectors. That’s why so many of the figures are released as web exclusives.

        There has been a good deal of parts reuse, and at least some attempt at releasing full teams. However, it’s not easy to get them all. For example, all of the Dekarangers use one of two bodies (one male, one female, much like with a Power Rangers series). The core 5 Rangers have all been released (no word on Dekabreak or Dekamaster, to say nothing of Dekabright, Dekaswan, or Dekagold), but only Dekared was released at retail. The rest were all web exclusives. The common theme seems to be that only Reds and Sixths can get released at retail, with some rare exceptions. Shinken Red and Shinken Gold were available in stores, but Yellow, Pink, Blue, Green, and Princess Shinken Red were all online only. Red Buster could be found in stores, but none of the rest of his team. Akibaranger, the Sentai parody, got all of its members released at retail, though they’re only a three member team. The only other figure from that series released so far, the enemy foot soldier “Corporate Drone,” was a web exclusive. For Gokaiger, Bandai tried releasing all of the male Rangers at retail (Red, Blue, Green, and Silver), though Pink and Yellow were still web exclusives. Bouken Red was released in stores over a year ago, and now Bandai is releasing the rest of the Boukengers (at least the core team) in two-packs.

        Bandai is now using Akibaranger as an advertising tool for its Sentai Figuarts. The market for Sentai merchandise is, currently, not as large in Japan as the market for Kamen Rider (S.H.Figuarts started as a Kamen Rider line and later expanded to Sentai and anime. The line is considered a spin-off of the Souchaku Henshin line, which was a Kamen Rider line that featured “civilian” forms of the Riders that armor could be attached to to make their Rider form). Older Sentai characters have been appearing on the show and are being given new accessories that are then being included with the Figuarts of that character. RyuRanger and KibaRanger of Dairanger, TyrannoRanger and DragonRanger of ZyuRanger, and HurricaneRed of Hurricanger are all being released in the coming months with their Akibaranger accessories.

        As a result of both the Zyuranger appearance on Akibaranger and the MMPR 20th anniversary, the entire Zyuranger team is getting released in Figuarts form. However, in Japan, everyone besides Green and Red (Dragon and Tyranno) will be an online exclusive. In america, they’ll all be available through the specialty market.

        Akibaranger has indicated that there will be a full team release for Jetman (Red Hawk and Black Condor are already available, though, due to parts reuse, Black Condor’s Wing Gauntlet is not correct, being a reuse of the Red Hawk mold rather than its own unique style as in the show). However, Yellow Owl would seem to be based on the same mold as the rest of the team, making his appearance somewhat inaccurate. Yellow Owl is known for being noticeably pudgier than most Sentai heroes.

        So, my point, if I have one in here, is that, yes, the Japanese and American markets are a bit different, but it wasn’t always the case, and not always as much as orionpax indicates. In the 90s, Bandai US and Bandai Japan readily shared molds (it wasn’t until Operation Overdrive in 2007 that Bandai US began releasing their own exclusive Zords). Even in Japan, the holy land of outrageously awesome toys, kids’ toys are not always seen as worth investing resources in (“kids’ll be happy with half-painted vinyl). Even the adult collector lines like Figuarts aren’t exempt from economics. There’s the parts reuse I’ve mention, and even on ocassion minor paint apps will go missing. People have even asked Bandai why some Riders have all the details on their gloves painted and some not, and the response is basically “money.”

        Fianlly, Bandai US has managed to pull their head out of their ass a bit recently. Not only are they releasing the awesome Legacy Morpher, they are importing some Japanese items for sale at TRU. The Shinkenranger Figuarts were released last year, and now Shinken Oh (the Samurai Megazord in America) is on shelves. It looks like Figuarts will be available through the specialty market for the foreseeable future, and the Zyurangers and KibaRanger will be getting new packaging for MMPR (Red, Dragon, and Kiba required new packaging for the US, since Bluefin doesn’t have the rights to Akibaranger, and those figures some with Akibaranger accessories that had to be removed for the US release, but changing the packaging on anything they don’t have to is a new move for Bandai/Tamashii).

        • orionpax636

          Thanks for that clarification. I confess that I don’t have a full grasp of all the differences and variation between Japanese/US releases and child/collector offerings with the Rangers, as I’m only a marginal fan of those. That property does give an interesting example to study the differences, though.

          Also, point taken that Bandai America has taken good steps towards better quality US offerings, albeit with some stumbles. Importing collector-focused Japanese figures is seemingly a small gesture, but an appreciated one, Figuarts on brick/mortar shelves are hard to pass up. And although many hardcore Ranger fans don’t like them, the Armored Might figures have impressive size and articulation for Bandai America product (I dig ’em). I really liked what they attempted for Thundercats too at the larger scales (6″ and up), it’s just a shame that the property fizzled for whatever reason.

        • Paul

          Wow! Very interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing!

          I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the SH Figuarts Iron Man stuff (and who knows what else down the line) will also be released at TRU. It might be a no-brainer for them to stock it as they stock anything else with the Iron Man name on it, though they might also say, “We don’t want those. We already have a million Iron Man figures on the pegs. If those aren’t selling, no one will want to pay double the price.” Plus, the fact that there’s one Shinken Red available at my TRU (it’s been there for a long time) could be viewed by some as “no interest.”

  • orionpax636

    Thanks for that clarification. I confess that I’m not that clear on the US/Japan and kids/collector differences on the Ranger offerings, as I’m only a marginal fan of that property. The Rangers example does offer a good window through which to compare the differences, though. I would point out, however, that a few Figuarts lines (some of the Kamen series as well as Dragon Ball Z) are examples of what I pointed out in terms of tons of unique sculpts, with probably only internal joints and connectors being shared across figures.

    Also, point taken on the improvements of Bandai America’s offerings. A decision like simply importing Japan’s toys seems like a small one, but Figuarts offered on US brick/mortar shelves are hard to pass up. I also enjoyed the recent Armored Might Ranger figures, though the proportions aren’t favored by a lot of hardcore Ranger fans. I thought what Bandai America tried to accomplish with Thundercats was encouraging (especially at 6″ and above) and was disappointed when the property fizzled out for whatever reason.

    • orionpax636

      Dammit, double post! Apologies for this, my initial reply didn’t show up for some reason…