Given that Tony Stark has 42 different Iron Man armor permutations on-screen just in the Iron Man 3 movie, you might think Hot Toys would never have to release an armor not seen in the movie again. But as it turns out, there’s a concept art version of one of the armors in a different color scheme that was just screaming to be made… and Hot Toys heard the call loud and clear! The limited Hot Toys Sneaky Iron Man Retro Version figure is available for order exclusively through Sideshow Collectibles–and trust me, die-hard Iron Man fans are gonna want to order this before it sells out…
[Disclaimer: Also, as it’s my philosophy that toys–even Hot Toys–are meant to be played with, many of my photos were taken outdoors. I know seeing a high-end action figure out in the rocks and grass and dirt may disturb some collectors, so I apologize in advance if anyone is offended. Anyway…]
I was totally thrown when Hot Toys announced the Retro Armor Sneaky Iron Man figure edition a few months ago out of nowhere, but that’s because I had forgotten in my old age that the dark-colored Iron Man Mark XV armor was red and gold in some of the concept art for the movie.
With that in mind and with no other authentic uses for the tooling for the Sneaky armor permutation, it makes complete sense for Hot Toys to give us a limited exclusive repaint of Sneaky Iron Man (especially with the original version selling out super-fast) that’s not only beautiful, but also relevant. Brilliant choice.
The box for MMS 396 comes shipped inside of the usual brown mailer box, which is as sturdy and functional as ever. Inside the shipper, however, is the real prize…The metallic slipcover covering the Retro Sneaky Iron Man box is absolutely stunning. The bright, shiny slipcover is so resplendent and attractive that a lot of collectors (including me) are going to want to find a place to display it even once the 1/6 Sneaky Iron Man figure is out of the box. Love it.
Under the slipcover is the actual box containing the Retro Armor Sneaky Iron Man MMS396 figure, which has the usual plastic tray packaging inside. It’s a nice yellow and red, but otherwise a bit plain–that’s fine, though, as the flashiness of that slipcover more than makes up for it.
There’s not a ton of accessories here, but there’s also not anything else I can think of that would make logical sense to include with this armor. In total, there’s three pairs of hands (fists, repulsor blasting and palms), plus a figure base with bendable rod for holding Iron Man up in various standing or flying poses.
As this figure is technically outside the House Party Protocol series, it has its own unique display base that differs from the standard HPP ones. It looks quite nice, in my opinion, though I imagine some folks might prefer the typical bases.
As with every Iron Man Hot Toys figure, detailed instructions for battery installation and handling of the figure are included. This is far from my first rodeo with an Iron Man MMS, but I still read the instructions fully every time to ensure I don’t needlessly damage the toy, and I highly recommend doing so.
If you’re familiar with the regular edition Sneaky Iron Man 1/6 figure that shipped in 2016, there are no surprises here as far as the sculpt goes. Personally, I love the sharp angles of this armor, especially on the chest plate and the thick lower legs.
The main thing that sets this figure apart from last year’s original release of Hot Toys Sneaky Iron Man is, of course, the color scheme. The entire armor has been totally changed up from the colors of the original release–and in my opinion, the new gold and red color scheme is a huge improvement over the drab greys of the original.
I’ve been hopelessly infatuated with chrome on high-end Marvel toys and products since the days of the legendary Bowen Designs Chrome Silver Surfer statue and Chrome Ultron mini-bust, so adding chrome to a high-end collectible is an easy way into my heart.
I had some concerns that the chrome portions of the Sneaky Iron Man Retro Armor Edition would make the plain gold painted areas look bad, but the effect is actually the opposite: the chrome and the painted areas complement each other wonderfully and add a depth of color to the piece. Masterful design!
The rear leg flaps can be opened up to show off the sculpted inner-workings of the leg armor. It’s actually really fun having the flaps opened, so I might be keep Retro Iron Man Mark 15 displayed in this manner.
The paint on the MMS 396 Sneaky Iron Man Retro Armor Version is as expertly chosen and applied as ever. Hot Toys is the undisputed king of high-end action figure paint deco for a reason, and the vibrant colors and perfect applications are it. Paint-wise, this is perfection.
As with all Iron Man MMS figures, Retro Sneaky Mark XV has various LED lights all over his body. You’ll have to install the 12 included batteries into his arms, head and back to make this functionality work, but it only takes about 5 minutes to get him fully set up for his electronics.
The back plate is actually really difficult to get off without the help of some sort of tool to pry it off, as there’s no easily accessible place for a finger to pull out from, so that was a little frustrating. The other three panels can be popped off easily in under a second each.
Notice that the left and right arms of the Iron Man Sneaky armor permutation are actually unique from each other–this is an interesting aesthetic, and the blue light on the left arm makes it stand out even more.
Overall: A gorgeous, limited-edition Hot Toys Iron Man figure repainted in classic colors with extra chrome pieces for the same price as the sold-out regular version of the figure…? Yeah, I had a few trivial nitpicks–but this is another excellent all-around entry in the Iron Man 3 Movie Masterpiece Series. As this color scheme of the Mark XV Armor doesn’t appear in the movies, MMS396 won’t be for everyone. But if you’re a hardcore Iron Man fan and this toy appeals to you, you will not be disappointed when you get this figure in-hand: it is downright phenomenal.