PHOTOBER THE 29TH – Marvel Legends War Machine

Toy Biz did a comics War Machine when Marvel Legends was their toy line. Sort of. It was based not on the regular War Machine or Iron Man comics, but Marvel’s MAX imprint which was a different thing. It was sort of a comics-style War Machine, but important details were off, and while I made the best of it at the time, it never quite scratched the itch. It took a really long time, but Hasbro has finally corrected Toy Biz’s mistake and given me the large, comics-based War Machine figure of my dreams.Honorable mention though to the Iron Man 2 toyline which, at the sub-4-inch scale did a really nice comics War Machine too. Revenge of The Fallen and Iron Man 2 were both cases of Hasbro riding extremely high on the unexpected merchandising successes of the respective franchises’ first movie toylines and so preparing boatloads of product in preparation for lighting to strike twice. It, uh, didn’t quite. But that, again, is another episode.

Supporters on Patreon make content like this possible! If you’d like to join, get your name on a credit page, access to early first looks, and help me continue to make more galleries and other assorted nonsense, click here or on the image above to head to Patreon and sign up!

War Machine is one of the $30 “deluxe” Marvel Legends, which in practice mostly seems to mean it comes with more extra stuff than normal. I haven’t handled a ton of current Marvel Legends in any sense of “recently”, but the build feels pretty standard from what I remember the last time I picked any of these figures up. The sculpting and detail is fantastic, and this nails the look of the armor. A minor gripe I have in the appearance lies with the silver parts of the limbs having a certain translucency to them; it makes the “soft” parts of the suit look pearl instead of silver. But since some of the joints in this plastic color arrived fused anyway, I guess throwing a coat of paint on top of that might not have been a great option anyway.

The suit’s helmet is great. Sharp detail all around, and perfectly reproduces the “expression” of the faceplate. The neck joint gives a surprising range of movement as well on its double-ended ball joint.

The optional Rhodey head is also very nice. His appearance naturally changed somewhat depending on the artist in a given stretch of the comic, but this likeness feels like a good effort at getting the spirit of what he looked like when he had this suit, if not an exact reproduction of any specific interpretation. The neck joint gives a similar high range of movement, and maybe a little better since the base of the head doesn’t actually sit flush with the top of the neck. An awkward gap is visible at the back if you go looking, though.

Poseability is good overall, hitting most of the points I’d expect. I found myself looking for a cuff swivel, instead of or even in addition to the wrist swivel, but there either isn’t one or it’s much more fused in place on both arms than I’m willing to risk freeing. I’m more assuming the latter. It’s not a huge strike against it, especially on the left arm, but it would be nice on the right to be able to reorient the small guns without also having to do it from the bicep swivel. But I thought the shoulder armor was handled nicely, being part of the arm’s swivel movement, so the shoulder cover stays with the shoulder through a full rotation. Having the armor then hinged to move up out of the way of the outward arm movement would have made it about perfect, but no such luck; the armor has a soft plastic tab so it just bends to make way for the arm.

The waist joint can rotate freely. It can stop at mostly-natural human limits, or go to full body-horror levels of displacement. Leg poseability is probably everything you’d expect, with the only downside to it being the small feet and relatively heavy upper body making balance in complex poses challenging. Don’t even ask how long I had to spend to get this thing to stay standing on one foot long enough for a photo.

The weapons that define War Machine’s silhouette slide on tracks up the back. They’re very good about staying in place wherever you want to leave them. The weapons themselves are additionally ball jointed to the connecting arms so they can mainly swivel out to the given side, but there’s a tiny bit of extra wiggle room in there too.

The accessories, besides the head of James Rhodes, are all effect parts, most of which I’m quite pleased with. The piece for the micro-missile launcher is a nice, complex add-on, with three rockets in flight from flame plumes that have a fantastic paint job on them. As a bonus, the missiles are themselves removable from the blast effect element, though I’m not sure what you’d end up doing with either them or the blast part if you separated them. The vulcan gun has a somewhat generic effect piece, but it’s at least nicely painted, and from the right angles catches the light well enough to genuinely look like it’s glowing.

I’m not as hot on the arm gun pieces. The biggest is meant to look like he’s sweeping his arm and leaving an arc of gunfire. While I recognize the intent, I can’t say the effect entirely feels like it works in practice. The color shift from one end to the other is pretty abrupt too, which isn’t helping the illusion. Otherwise, there’s two tiny muzzle flashes which while they look fine, they also tend to get in each other’s way more than a bit. Finally, they include some mostly-colorless smoke-wisps to show the guns have just been fired. I like the idea, and between the two small effect pieces I think these play better. But I honestly probably could have lived without any of these pieces.

Finally, there’s the boot rockets. This is the biggest set of parts in the whole package, and I hate them the most. Now, I like the idea of them fine. You plug the rocket effects in the boots, and then you can set them in the wide-bottomed flame pillars which should hold everything up and give a blast off effect. But I find the jet blasts don’t want to stay pegged in the boots very well. And the same issue of a heavy upper body is then intensified here, making War Machine hard to balance in this state since the boot jets don’t lock in any way in the pillars. Meanwhile, if you can find a display stand that’ll hold the figure up in an agreeable pose, you could at least use the boot jets for an in-flight effect even if you might be better off skipping takeoff.

Now, don’t get me wrong given that I just ragged on easily over half the accessory load, the figure itself is fantastic, and despite having some issues I cared enough about to voice here, this is still for any practical purpose the War Machine figure I’ve always wanted. I’m so thrilled that it exists and I can have one. It’s also photogenic as heck. I debated virtually the entire month whether to actually feature it in Photober, so it got photographed very last-minute as I finally gave in and put it on the list. I’m so, so glad I did. It was a ton of fun to shoot and I love the way this looked in all the different poses I came up with. It’s a little imperfect, but it’s absolutely good enough for me.

Two more Photobers to go! Come back Friday for Photober the 30th, and then we’ll close out the month with the finale on Saturday, the 31st of Photober!