REVIEW: Hot Toys PPS001 Power Pose Iron Man MKXLII
To REALLY Pose Or Not To Pose, That Is The Question...
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Hot Toys is best known for their hyper-realistic 1:6th scale Movie Masterpiece action figures (MMS), however the company has experimented in other formats, such as their adorable Cosbabies and the occassional statue and bust. More recently, Hot Toys has been aggressively branching out to include towering quarter scale figures (QS), 12 inch die-cast (MMSD), and the subject of this review, a new Power Pose Series (PPS). Launching with their ever-popular Iron Man movie license, Hot Toys' Power Pose Series is the odd marriage of statue and figure. Cast in 1:6th scale, each Power Pose figure has the size, feel and detail of a Hot Toys MMS action figure, but the dynamic, near static "Power Pose" is more indicant of a statue.
The first Power Pose release hitting retail later this month is the Iron Man Mark XLII as seen in the Tony Stark "armor-a-thon" feature film, Iron Man 3. The impressive gold, red and silver suit of armor is also seeing release as an upcoming Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Die-Cast action figure, so which verison to purchase is simply a question of how much are you willing to spend. The MMSD MKXLII will set you back around $300, while the PPS MKXLII will cost you closer to $150. Packaged in a large collector-friendly closed window box, the Power Pose MKXLII arrives just like any other Hot Toys action figure. The box is attractive with it's Iron Man graphic-adorned slip sleeve - the name of the character and the series it is in clearly visible on the front panel. Sliding off the protective cardboard sleeve reveals a clear window view of the figure, and all its components, inside. Again, like all Hot Toys figures, the Power Pose Iron Man is easily removed (and stowed away) on stacked plastic storage trays. In true Hot Toys fashion, initial presentation is top notch and classy, a good sign of things to come.
Once free, you'll find your Power Pose Iron Man pretty much ready to go. The figure comes pre-packed in his "flight" display stance, an excellent choice given this is the most dynamic pose of the two options available. With one leg outstretched and the other bent back, Iron Man in this "Power Pose" is ready to dish out repulsor beam damage while suspended on a clear plastic rod that attaches to the figure and base via a simple peg and hole affair.
Your other "Power Pose" display option is a little bit more layered, but no less complex. Start by popping off the entire right leg from the ball joint. From there remove the lower leg and plug it into the alternate thigh portion included with the figure. Pop the leg back on and presto - Iron Man's right leg is now straight for a new "standing" pose. Where the clear rod helped Iron Man fly, two black plastic pieces that plug into each foot help Iron Man stand. At first the pegs appear a smart solution, but the end result is overly awkward. Small figure parts like this always tend to get lost and the extra step of putting them on the figure just strikes me as an unneeded step. Further frustrating the situation is aligning Iron Man's newly pegged feet with the grooves on the base. A better solution for future figures would be strong magnets in the feet and base.
A statue... but with two possible display poses. That's Hot Toys' Power Pose Series in a nutshell. It's a concept I really like. For those that don't heavily play with their toys and are more concerned about a cool action pose or two, Power Pose is amazing. You actually do get some added articulation in the head, feet and armor plates. The Power Pose Iron Man isn't a totally static statue, just more of a stiff action figure. But coupled with Hot Toys' hyper-realistic action figure sculpting and paint apps, this Power Pose Iron Man really shines. If you were to display this figure with other fully articulated Hot Toys figures... you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The added bonus of swappable left hands (fisted and open), as well as a cool light-up feature (eyes, chest, right hand and open left hand) make this Power Pose figure an affordable, attractive alternative to an MMS action figure.
Serious Hot Toys MMS collectors will no doubt find the Power Pose Series a tough sell. "Why bother with a pre-posed statue if I can own a fully articulated action figure?" The answer, as far as I can tell, mostly boils down to cost. With Hot Toys MMS figures now hovering steady in the $250+ price range, the Iron Man Mark XLII Power Pose figure is an attractive alternative at $150. However, my theory is blown apart with the next Power Pose release - Red Snapper - priced at (wait for it)... $250. Granted it's a much larger Iron Man armor, but the affordable allure of the Power Pose Series goes out the window. I predict that primarily passionate Iron Man completists will be purchasing a Power Pose Red Snapper, and mainly because it's not being offered in any other figure format. What once was an option suddenly becomes a need. If the Power Pose Series continues down that path, I fear it will only alienate action figure fans.
The future of the Power Pose Series is hazy. In order for Power Pose to succeed, I feel it needs to offer a far more affordable alternative to Hot Toys' premium priced action figures. Personally I'd rather see the Power Pose Series produced at an even smaller scale, say 7-8 inches, retailing at around $70-$80. A hyper-detailed Hot Toys collectible at that size and price point would truly open up a new collectible market. As it is, the Power Pose Series Iron Man MKXLII - while nice - suffers from a branding identity crisis. If you can afford $150, $300 isn't too much more of a stretch, especially given the added benefits of full range of movement and die-cast construction. To REALLY pose or not to pose, that is the question...
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of Hot Toys