War Machine
By Hervé St-Louis
July 30, 2006 - 22:17

War Machine is James Rhodes, Tony Stark’s pilot who turned into a friend and body guard. When Tony Stark became an alcoholic, he trusted the Iron Man armour to Rhodes who replaced him. Not an engineer nor capable of repairing the armour or improving it, Rhodes did his best. Later, Tony Stark gave him one of his test armour so he could become a super hero on his own. Although their opinions have frequently diverged, War Machine is no longer but the student of Tony Stark. Rhodes first appeared in Iron Man # 118, in 1979. As Iron Man, first appeared in Iron Man #170, in 1983. As War Machine, he appeared in Iron Man #281, in 1992.  

This armour is based on the centurion design Iron Man sported in the mid-1980s. When Rhodes inherited the armour, it was painted black. Some details of the armour have changed as this one carries weapons and attachments that Iron Man’s didn’t.


The sculpt is mostly a repainted silver centurion Iron Man action figure with glued attachments to make it more like War Machine’s. It’s a smart way of reusing an older sculpt although die-hard fans may dislike reused parts. One thing is evident. War Machine looks dangerous here and ready to kick ass. He doesn’t look as mobile as some of the other Iron Man action figure and seems like a poor army grunt forced to carry all his equipment. Rhodes’ face looks black but much different from the classic look he was given by Bob Layton in the classic Iron Man comics.


The silver paint’s application on the thighs, abdomen and arms of the figure is fine. I would have preferred more metallic paint as this one will loose its shine in a few years if you play with it or rub it. Except for Rhodes’ face, the rest of the figure is in its base plastic colour.


War Machine is larger than most Marvel Legends action figures. He looks more imposing than the Modern Iron Man action figure too. This figure’s body density is more attuned to DC Direct action figures than Marvel Legends. Still, as War Machine is after all an armour, it makes sense for him to be larger than other characters.


Although War Machine carries a lot of gear, is top heavy and has a gigantic fan on his back, he is very stable and won’t fall. Adding the firepower attachments will make it difficult to balance him though. His articulations are tight and his soles are flat. He carries so much weight that it balances itself out. His legs are also thick enough to support him. The action figure stand he comes with is for flying action, not posing on his feet.


It’s difficult to count all of War Machine’s articulations. Without counting the moving parts of his armour and weapons, there are 38 articulations. He would have 39 if the abdominal part could really crunch. He has double shoulder armpit combo articulations that can extend his arm’s motion. He has double articulations at the elbows, hips, ankles and the knees. His neck moves separately from his head to. Other articulations are found in his forearms, wrists, palms, waist, calves, and toes.


War Machine is a mix of PVC for his body parts and torso and rubber parts for the armour plates covering the centurion Iron Man designs. The sculptors did a good job of covering many articulations with the rubber plates. The plates are glued on top of the PVC. It is possible to remove them, but they won’t go back. The chest plate which carries the Gatling gun and the rocket launcher can be removed as it’s only glued in the front.

The forearm guns on War Machine’s forearms are also glued, although they may have pegs hidden beneath (but I have no intention of breaking the figure to find out). Usually Marvel Legends action figures are safe for kids, but not this one. There are many small parts making it suitable for kids six and up only. Also, the glued parts won’t resist a kid’s tough play.


Besides the rocket launcher that fits on the right shoulder of the torso’s armour plate and the Gatling gun, which goes on the left end, War Machine comes with five firepower props that can be inserted in his soles, Gatling Gun or the palms where his repulsors shoot his enemies. There are no clear instructions as to what piece goes where. There are three rockets have fired that fit on top of the small rockets within the rocket launcher. Next, there’s a belt of bullets that fit within the Gatling gun. One can remove the Gatling gun and put it on War Machine’s left hand.

War Machine also comes with the right leg of Galactus which when assembled with other parts from figures released in this wave creates a huge 16 inch action figure. Of course, War Machine comes with a copy of Iron Man #281. This figure may be a repaint, but comes with plenty of goodies to make up for it!


Using the action figure base that comes with War Machine, You can suspend War Machine in the air. Well, you can try. The arm is not strong enough to carry the figure’s weight. Even if the joints were glued, the figure would crumble because of its weight.


War Machine came in a bubble pack that must be opened with scissors. I suggest that parents open the package because they are lots of small parts in the package that can be lost, even if they are held in place by wires and tape. That way if anything is missing from the package, you can ask for replacement parts from Toy Biz’s customer support.


This figure cost about $8 in large surface stores and more in specialty stores.


This figure was available only at the rate of one per case of twelve Marvel Legends action figures. That means that it’s rarer than say, Deathlok or Iceman. This character has a large following too so and the props made it a cool buy for collectors. It may be difficult to find it in large retail stores as it was released over a year ago. Specialty stores usually have older stock. I recommend this figure wholeheartedly.






Related Articles:
"Iron Man 2.0" - War Machine Evolved
War Machine Trailer
War Machine