IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)
“A long-time friend and confidant of Tony Stark, chopper pilot Jim Rhodes was rewarded for his loyalty with his own suit of technological combat armor, turning him into a one man War Machine! Now armed with an impressive array of cutting-edge weaponry almost the equal of Iron Man’s, War Machine battles shoulder-to-shoulder with the armored avenger in his secret war against the forces of the Mandarin!”
And, just like that, we’re back to Marvel. That’s gonna be happening a lot. So, today, I’ll be going back to a ‘90s Marvel line that I feel I haven’t looked at enough: Iron Man! With just four series (plus a fifth one that was cancelled), it’s hardly one of Toy Biz’s longer-running entries, but four series of an Iron Man line more than a decade before the general public cared about Iron Man is far from the worst thing. Attempting to capitalize on the success of the then-current cartoon, the line provided us with most of ol’ Shellhead’s supporting players from the show, including Tony’s wingman, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes, aka War Machine!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
War Machine was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line. This was the very first War Machine figure ever produced (though not the first James Rhodes; Rhodey was still Iron Man at the time of Secret Wars, meaning that figure is technically him). The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. War Machine is based on the second version of the armor, which was the first one worn by Rhodey. It’s the version seen in the cartoon, and is one of the best known versions of the character. As I noted in my review of Space Armor Iron Man, the Iron Man line’s armored figures were handled in a slightly unique way; each of them was a basic figure, with extra clip-on armor parts to really complete their look. War Machine was actually one of the more faithful basic figures, and can essentially function without the extra pieces if need be, which is a definite plus in his favor. The sculpt is generally pretty sharp, and the details of the armor match up pretty well with both the show and the comics, though some parts are more condensed and streamlined. There are the armor ports, of course, which still look a little goofy, but they’re far from the worst thing. There were 10 clip-on armor pieces included with War Machine: Chest plate, back plate, belt (front and back), shoulder pads, gauntlets, and shin covers. These pieces serve to enhance the look of the figure, and really make for quite a faithful War Machine figure. War Machine had one of the better paint schemes of the armored figures; all of the basic paint is nice and clean, and the armor, by virtue of it’s silver coloring, is less prone to issues with chipping and such, which plagued the more colorful Iron Men. In addition to the clip-on armor, War Machine also included two cannons to be mounted on his shoulders, one of which has missile launching feature.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
As with a number of the ‘90s Marvel lines, I had to play a little bit of catch-up on the first series of Iron Man figures. By the time I was really collecting the line for myself, they were onto Series 2. While I was able to track down a few of the Series 1 figures, I had to settle for Series 4’s War Machine II as my main version of the character. I’ve been looking for this guy for a little while, but the armored figures from this line aren’t always the easiest to find, especially when you primarily go for loose offerings, like I do. I was pleasantly surprised to find a loose but complete War Machine at Pop Culture Exchange, for under $5, no less. He’s definitely a strong offering for the line, and I’m very happy to have finally tracked him down!