Looks like Tony Stark is getting an armor upgrade just in time for his cataclysmic battle with big bad ‘bot, Ultron. With five months to go until Avengers: Age of Ultron invades theaters, Hot Toys has unveiled images of its first tie-in collectible figure, which reveals Iron Man’s new iron-plated duds, the Mark XLIII suit. Modeled directly on a fully-costumed Robert Downey Jr. as he’ll appear in the flick, the figure may only offer a 1/6 scale peek, but that’s still big enough to spot some of the differences between this latest outfit and Stark’s previous examples of superhero wear.

The original, rudimentary suit in the first Iron Man movie

Certainly, the Mark XLIII is light years removed from the Mark 1 suit that Stark donned at the beginning of the very first Iron Man. Though, to be fair, that bulky grey outfit was built with scant resources under less-than-ideal conditions (i.e. a cave in Afghanistan).

The Mark III is the point at which Stark hit upon the red-and-gold combination we’ve come to know and love. That suit also housed such standard elements as the J.A.R.V.I.S.-enabled navigation system and the hand-blasting Repulsors that can aid in flight and defense. Both of those have been retained for the Mark XLIII armor, along with the Unibeam repulsor located on Iron Man’s chest.

That Unibeam used to rest on top of the Arc Reactor that powered the suit and, more importantly, kept Stark alive, ensuring that the bit of shrapnel that punctured his chest didn’t reach his heart. At the end ofIron Man 3, though, Stark goes under the surgeon’s knife to get those shards removed once and for all. So with Tony supposedly “cured,” what function does the Arc Reactor serve in the Mark XLIII armor apart from being a super-powerful battery? That’ll be an interesting plot point for Ultron director Joss Whedon to pick up on.

During Iron Man 2, Stark went through Marks IV-VI (Mark V was the famous suitcase suit), where the primary evolution was the development of a Vibranium Arc Reactor that avoided Tony’s premature death from Palladium poisoning. The Mark VI also added an armor piercing wristrocket and a 200-Pettawatt laser weapon to its arsenal, which will almost certainly be boosted a few Petawatts in the Mark XLIII.

The much-improved suit in Iron Man 2

Iron Man 3 brought on a cavalcade of Iron Man suits in the movie’s climactic battle, in which Stark’s remote-controlled Iron Legion squad took on the Extremis-powered Aldrich Killian. These suits ranged from the Mark XVI “Nightclub” armor (designed for maximum stealth) to the Mark XL “Shotgun” get-up (designed for maximum hyper-sonic flight speed). Unfortunately, none of those outfits survived the final battle, with Stark himself detonating them as a gesture of love to perpetually endangered girlfriend, Pepper Potts. Of course, the fact that he’s built additional suits since then — including the Mark XLIII — indicates that he didn’t waste much time getting back in the R&D lab.

Note the scratches and dings on the arms and legs

The main thing to note about Hot Toys’ Mark XLIII collectible is the visible wear and tear, suggesting that this figure represents Stark after he’s gone a few rounds with Ultron — further confirmed by the detachable, defeated form of Ultron Mark 1 that lies beneath him. (A special edition of the collectible will also feature an Iron Man helmet that shows off even more battle-sustained distress.)

Image of the damaged Ultron Mark I

But this version of Ultron also looks somewhat similar to the busted-up robot that appears in the trailer that broke the Internet in October, announcing the impending “extinction” of the Avengers. So does this collectible set preserve a moment in the movie where Tony believes he’s vanquished the Ultron menace? And, if so, how much more damage will the Mark XLIII take as the film approaches its conclusion? Unless he’s got the Mark XLIV handy, Stark might end the movie by fighting Ultron his skivvies.

Watch the trailer for Age of Ultron:

Photo credit: Hot Toys, Everett


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