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Iron Man 2 Battle Tactics

by yo go re

Since we always review exclusives in August, and I'm still waiting to get my massive shipment of SDCC exclusives from Rustin, it's an opportunity to pull an old exclusive out of the Minimate drawer and review that, instead.

Forced into a confrontation he knows he can't win, Tony Stark must somehow handle Whiplash's deadly assault while also keeping past errors in judgment from catching up with him...

Does that bio actually have anything to do with this figure? Yes, it's an accurate description of his overall character arc for the film, but does it have anything to do with this figure? This is Racetrack Tony Stark, and okay, he's forced into a confrontation with Whiplash, but what's all that stuff about past errors in judgment? Unless they mean "choosing to drive himself," it doesn't make any sense.

Tony's seen here in his fireproof racing jumpsuit, which is blue and black with a white "Stark" logo across the chest. These colors were probably chosen to better contrast with the red and yellow Iron Man armor. The jacket is a new piece, and all those details are sculpted on it: the colored panels and even the STARK letters. The details on his arms and legs are just painted, as you'd expect. The S-logo on his right shoulder and the number 11 on his left are crisp, but the blue panels on his legs are off-center. They're shown that way on the back of the box, too, but it's still not right. If you pull the jacket off, he has a black shirt with his ARC Reactor glowing underneath.

The face is nice, if unremarkable. I suppose the argument could be made that this is the expression he had when he was pointing at Justin Hammer through the tv, but it would have been more entertaining if he had the look of panic and terror when Whiplash had him pinned on the track. If you take off his hair, you can give him a big helmet that makes him look like he's in Daft Punk.

The secretive and seemingly all-knowing head of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury failed in his first attempt to recruit Tony Stark into his organization. Intent on success, his second attempt will prove much more difficult to resist.

Here's the real draw of this set! There had already been a Ultimate Nick Fury Minimate, which means he's based on Samuel L. Jackson, but this is the official thing. Now, Sam's had a Minimate before (as the Octopus from Frank Miller Presents Frank Miller's The Spirit), but this is the debut of an official Sam Jackson Nick Fury Minimate.

The likeness is fine, though the face on Ultimate Fury was better. He's dressed all in black - shoes, pants, shirt and coat - though he has a bit of grey paint to accentuate his sleeves and the laces of his boots. He's armed with a small silver pistol, but since he has no holster, he'll be holding it permanently. It's okay, he seems like the type.

Even high-powered Repulsors have a hard time breaching the advanced defenses of Tony Stark's Mark VI Iron Man armor - though Whiplash's deadly arsenal is certainly capable of causing some damage...

Interesting factoid: there's no mass market way to get Mark VI movie armor in Minimate form. The Battle Damaged version is only available in this set, while the non-BD Mark VI was released in a TRU two-pack. The entire movie was about him getting to the point of creating this armor, but the only toys of it are limited releases? That doesn't quite seem right.

Other than the chest cap, this figure is identical to the Mark IV armor - which means it has new legs, new upper arms, and technological details painted on the torso. He has one normal glove, and the "pointing" left hand. There are also two bare hands included in the tray, if you want to strip him down. The "battle damage" on the suit is limited to a few airbrushed spots of black paint, nothing sculptural.

The figure includes the same two helmets as the other Iron Man 2 Iron Men, and the same mussed hair as Racetrack Tony. The "damaged" apps on his face are really nice: he looks angry to begin with, with angled eyebrows and visible teeth, but then he's painted with a bleeding cut on his cheek and several other scrapes.

Though ultimately more offensively capable than the Iron Man armor, not even War Machine is invulnerable to every attack - and not even the best pilot alive can survive if pushed beyond its design specifications.

The War Machine in this set might as well be identical to the normal release: it's the same sculpt, has the same accessories (a missile launcher and a Gatling gun, both of which mount on the shoulders) and the black battle damage blend into the dark grey of the suit so thoroughly that the only way you'll know it's there is because the package and the name tells you so. It's a nice sculpt, sure, and though it's got new legs and upper arms, none of them are shared with Iron Man, but the fact remains that there's nothing particularly "battle damaged" about it.

The head is a different story, though. If you can pry the helmet off. It's on there ridiculously tightly, so you might want to carve a little plastic out of the hole in Rhodey's head. It helps. Anyway, the face beneath is just as angry as Tony's was, and is similarly scraped and bruised. If you want to take off the War Machine gloves, there's a set of bare hands for him, as well.

The Iron Man 2 Battle Tactics box set is a disappointing one, no doubt: Race Track Tony Stark and Nick Fury are good, but the Battle Damaged Iron Man and War Machine figures are pretty much valueless; this could have been a really nice two-pack, but instead you get roped into paying for two more figures with little to offer. Well-made figures, to be sure, but still ones that lack the unique value of Racetrack Tony and Nick Fury.

-- 08/01/11

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