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Stealth Operations Suit

Iron Man
by yo go re

Yeah, let's just make one thing clear right upfront: this is War Machine. Looks like War Machine, works like War Machine... it's War Machine. They can call it whatever they want - which, in this case, is "Iron Man Stealth Operations Suit" - but we all know the truth.

Slower, but more heavily armored than the Iron Man armor, Stealth Operations Suit the Stealth Operations Suit boasts a much broader array of weapons, from repulsor rays to rocket launchers. Jim Rhodes pilots it on missions too sensitive for the high profile Iron Man to tackle.

See? Even the bio on the back knows this is War Machine. Why the misdirection, why the ruse? Probably because they want to hang on to the name for future use: actor Terrence Howard has admitted one of the main reasons he took the role of Jim Rhodes was because he was familiar with where the story was going. He knew Rhodey would eventually become War Machine, and wanted to be onboard for it. So we'll probably see WM in a future movie - however, there's nothing saying that the suit will actually look like this or even be called that, so why muddy the waters? The fans recognize what it is, and that's all that matters.

The suit is basically the standard Dammit, Rhodey, what did I specifically tell you about being more of a badass than me?! Iron Man armor with a new paint job: in the comics, there were some changes to the surface details, but that hasn't been done here. After all, the goal is to make it look like a movie-universe version of the armor, not a copy of the comics. The figure stands just over 6¼" tall, and is nicely articulated, with a ball-and-socket head, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, balljointed wrists, balljointed torso, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees and balljointed ankles. You might expect hinged toes, since the sculpt seems to suggest there's a joint there, but this is a fine amount.

needs more frown The sculpt is good, capturing the "curved yet angular" look of the movie armor. Iron Man Prototype is the only figure with a human head, so War Machine's mask/helmet isn't removable. Well, you can "remove" it in the sense of "you can pop it off the neck," but that's not a play feature. His blue eyes (or eye slits, at any rate) look nice against the silver faceplate. They also match the big blue dot in the center of his chest.

Yes, the Stealth Operations Suit has been painted in a very stealthy black and silver color scheme, which is almost as good as the solid blue usually associated with "Stealth Iron Man." The black has a slight sparkle to it, but not too much, and the silver had a dark wash to keep it from glistening brightly. Actually, that wash is one thing to watch out for BOOSH! when you buy this figure: it's not that it's spotty or applied too heavily, but you may have to go through a few samples before you find one that has the same level of wash on both legs.

Though the dark colors may help with the whole "stealth" thing, carrying around an entire militia's worth of armaments probably doesn't. Wandering into a sensitive area and lighting things up with a shoulder-mounted chain gun isn't exactly the dfinition of "low profile," you know? Anything but. Still, War Machine is loaded with weapons, and this figure follows suit. He has the afore-mentioned Gatling gun on his left shoulder, and a rocket launcher on his right. There are also two snap-on cannons for his forearms. The shoulder-mounted ordnance is mounted on pegs that can either rotate up into firing position, It's hard out here for a War Machine or fold down against his back. The figure includes two "flame" projectiles - one orange, one blue - that can be fired from either weapon.

The War Machine Stealth Operations Suit is a Wal*Mart exclusive, and is proving a bit tough to find right now. Keep an eye out for those big, free-standing PDQ displays - the pre-packaged cardboard displays that are often deposited in the middle of main aisles. The Iron Man PDQ is red, as you might imagine, and has one full side dedicated to nothing but this exclusive (the other sides are role-play sets, Superhero Squad four-packs, and the 12" IM figure). And fans of this type of repaint should check out the Target exclusive, which is basically a movie version of Silver Centurion Iron Man. Whether you think of this as Stealth Ops Iron Man, War Machine, or any other name you want to give him, it's a good figure, and will stand in nicely for everyone who missed out on the ML9 version.


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