Endoskeleton from Hot Toys review
Date: May 30th, 2007
By: Jeff Parker
Way back in July 2004 I wrote this review about the Aoshima version of the Endoskeleton, at the time I was very impressed, and to be fair I still am. But a lot of water has passed under the bridge in 1/6 scale collecting in the three years since I wrote that.
Aoshimas big selling point was that their figure was 80% metal and an awesome, heavy beast it was too. But back then another company 'Hot Toys' was knocking out their 'Famous Type' figures. I don't think it would be too far from the point to call them 'bootlegs'.
But they were bootlegs that far outshone most of the licensed 1/6 product about at the time (just compare their Matrix, Neo to the N2 one available then).
Fast-forward to today and Hot Toys are just about the hottest ticket in 1/6 collecting. Some distracters might say 'but their human facial sculpts aren't so good' and in some ways this might be a valid criticism, but when you look at how good the work they've done on Stallone as Rocky and Rambo and also Depp as Jack Sparrow is, it seems to me that licensing issues with the actors from some earlier releases are at the root of that particular argument.
Medicom and Sideshow may have had the crown for a few years, and many of their products continue to dazzle, and both have some fantastic licences worth their weight in gold. But for sheer vision and tackling things most manufacturers would run a mile from, Hot Toys philosophy seems to be 'bring it on! They are fast playing catch-up... in fact in some areas they have sprinted past their peers.
Many of us were amazed when they announced that later this year you'll be able to get a 1/6 Power Loader from Aliens, and having seen the quality of their ED-209, Robo-Cop, Predators, Aliens and now this Endoskeleton, my hopes are very high. They seem to be that rare company that bring out production models that have improved since the prototype photos are taken.
But getting back on topic, just how much is it possible to improve on the Aoshima piece?
Packaging - ****
This fits roughly with all the Movie Masterpiece range that have gone before (bar ED) and exactly with the two Terminator figures they've given us already. So we have the old metallic slipcase over your classic flap fronted box.
The figure lies in a formed black plastic tray next to his four accessories, he's then covered with a formed clear window to hold him in place followed by a flat window for extra protection, not a twisty in sight.
Sure, we're getting more and more elaborate boxes these days, but this cardboard can does its job perfectly well, and is refreshingly compact. So as I gave both the other figures in this series 4 stars he deserves the same. There are plenty of photos of the figure as well, though like the other Terminator figures no movie stills or posters.
Sculpting - ****
When I reviewed the Aoshima version I said... and I quote "What can I say? This is as accurate as it gets."
I was wrong, oh so wrong. This Hot Toys version is a fantastic, near perfect realisation of a 1/6 Endoskeleton, and his time I fail to see how a mass produced production model could be improved at this scale (but I'd love to be sitting here in another 3 years telling you it has).
Every facet of the original has been scrutinized and reproduced here, every rivet and every bolt. Hell, even his fingers and toes are articulated, and with his hands I don't just mean where the finger meets the palm, no! Every joint is articulated. It would be almost impossible (It wouldn't really, but it sounds dramatic and I'm too lazy) to list every joint here, but suffice to say his range of movement is amazing. All the pistons work as well, and as an added bonus, like their T800, his eyes light up... what more do you people want!
Paint - ****
As this is a steel coloured robot, it makes sense that they've made him out of a base steel coloured plastic. But they've added a fine wash that has flooded all the detailed lines of the sculpt, picking them out fantastically without colouring the basic body. And there's also some nice subtle airbrushing on the pistons and head that give it that 'real world' authenticity. And finally they've painted the teeth a very convincing enamel colour, an area that I commented on when reviewing the Aoshima version, as they left the teeth steel coloured.
All in all very nice, not as complex a job as some of their other releases, like the Predators for example. But as always perfect for the subject matter, you'll find some comp photos I did with the old Aoshima, and also some amazing photo's taken by my good friend Edwint over at MEDI-WORLD.
Articulation - ****
Hot Toys have actually managed to cram more detail into this version than Aoshima did, they have also achieved even better articulation, so it's a win, win situation for us collectors.
This figure is obviously a lot lighter and a lot more delicate, at least in principal. I haven't heard any horror stories pertaining to this figure yet, but a common problem with the Aoshima version was that the small pegs on his shoulders would snap leaving the metal spring attached flailing.
But because this figure is so light and you perceive it as so fragile you automatically treat it with kid gloves. It feels like a tiny baby bird that could just disintegrate before your eyes. But in reality is surprisingly robust, and stands really well, even managing some pretty cool poses without needing his stand.
Hot Toys claim there are 52 points of articulation, and I'm not going to argue, but if you include pistons and each finger and toe I count way more.
I know I put listing his joints off earlier, but to briefly sum up we have a ball jointed neck, universal shoulders, cut bicep, pinned elbows, cut forearm, ball wrist, pinned fingers and thumbs (all joints), pinned/rocking upper torso, cut waist/spine, ball hips, pinned knees, cut shin, ball ankle, pinned rocker motion on foot and pinned individual toes. That's without going into the multiple pistons, hinges and springs, not to mention his opening/closing jaw. Amazing!
Accessories - ****
He comes with 3 guns and a stand. The stand is the same configuration as has been released with most other Movie Masterpiece figures. His three guns are, the classic plasma rifle (virtually identical but slightly better sculpted than Aoshimas), silver automatic pistol with laser sight (same as the one released with their T800) and a futuristic re-imagining of the Vulcan M134, seen in some of the flashback scenes in the movies.
This last piece is great addition but take cake posing him with it, he's more than up to the job but it's relatively heavy for the delicate fingers of an unstoppable, indestructible, killing machine, I'd advise a small blob of blu-tack in his palms to take some of the strain.
Well, I guess a silicone Arnie flesh suit might have been nice, and it'll come some day.
In fact I guess it's only a matter of time before we see some great customs based around this figure. But this edition surprises no one by coming butt nekid!
Fun factor - ****
Way too delicate for kids, but who couldn't have fun with a 12" fully poseable Endoskeleton with light up eyes, come on! I have played with this guy for hours and I'm 40 and should know better.
Value for money - ***1/2
Well I couldn't give every category 4 stars. I paid $135 the equivalent of £68 for the figure and $35 or £18 for tracked shipping from Hong Kong, so as most UK retailers are charging £99 upwards I feel I got a good deal, especially as I'd still be waiting a few more months to get it from them.
When you first get him out of his box his weight, or lack of it will hit you. But what you're paying for here is sculpting, design and engineering, not to mention the licence, but if he was selling for $99, it would have been a 4 star score across the board.
Push a small button in the middle of his back and the eyes light up bright red and will stay that way till you push the button again.
Looks very cool!
Overall - ****
I toyed with ***1/2, but that was only because of the price. But the more I thought about it I realised I don't own any other figure with this degree of detailed, engineered articulation, Robo-cop had quite a bit and I'm hoping for great things from their power-loader. But until you've sat and played with it for a while and got a feel for its intricacy you can't appreciate just how much love and effort HT have poured into this. They deserve a full score.
Things to watch out for!
No problems, but it is supremely fragile, so care at all times, especially with the fingers and don't leave his eye's switched on. Also if displaying for any length of time I'd advise you use the stand. If he did ever take a shelf dive you'd be picking up a thousand tiny pieces... doesn't bear thinking about.
Where to buy
I got mine from an eBay trader called cgmythmaker, I also got my Takara Batman from him last year. It was bubble wrapped and boxed very well and made it to me in mint condition in only a few days from payment, thanks.
Forbidden Planet also has him up for £99 and Sideshow Collectibles still have it on pre-order for $129.