WOLVERINE & THUNDERBIRD
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers out there! And, to all my non-American readers, happy Thursday! Hey, there’s nothing wrong with some general positivity, right? Today, I’m wrapping up my Giant Size X-Men Minimates, which includes Thunderbird, the team’s Native American member. Him being half of the set I’m looking at today is really just a coincidence, but it works out, I guess. And hey, it gives me a chance to post this Bulletin Bits strip, featuring Thunderbird’s brother Warpath!
Alright, so let’s have a look at Thunderbird and his pack-mate Wolverine!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Wolverine and Thunderbird are the fourth and final set in Series 68 of Marvel Minimates. These two make for an interesting pair. While Thunderbird famously died during the team’s second mission (spoiler on a 41 year old comic, I guess), Chris Claremont has gone on record that both Thunderbird and Wolverine were on the chopping block for issue 95’s fatality. Wolverine was ultimately only saved by having a slightly more defined power set than Thunderbird. Imagine how different the X-Men might have been had those roles been reversed!
Wolverine is no stranger to Minimates, with this particular ‘mate being his 59th entry in the line. It’s also out fifth version of his basic Tiger-Stipe look, but it’s the first one in a little while, and, as with the others in this series, he’s specifically patterned after Dave Cockrum’s illustrations. The figure is about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. He has add-ons for his mask, shoulder pads, clawed hands, and boots. All of these pieces are from the Series 28 version of this costume. While that was 7 years ago, the pieces still work, so the re-use is more than warranted. The mask could, I suppose, be a little more streamlined, as it was in the ‘70s, but at this scale it’s negligible. Wolverine’s paintwork is pretty great all-around. The colors are a good match for the classic Wolverine, and the line work does a very nice job of translating Cockrum’s drawings into the ‘mate form. I will say, he definitely looks better with the mask on than without. There’s something about the unmasked look that’s a little off. Of course, I’ve got plenty of unmasked Wolverines, so a good masked one is fine by me. Wolverine includes an extra hairpiece for his unmasked look, as well as a clear display stand. It feels rather on the light side, especially compared to some of the others in the series. At the very least, a spare set of normal hands should be standard, and I would have also appreciated the hanging mask piece from the Series 47 Wolverine, just to give him some extra display options.
This marks Thunderbird’s second time as a Minimate, after his figure in the GSXM boxed set. Given his relative obscurity, it’s not really much of a surprise. That being said, that figure’s been rather outdated for quite some time now, so an update is very much appreciated. The figure uses add ons for his hair, sleeves, belt, and boots. The belt is a standard piece, but the rest of the parts are new to this figure. They look pretty good, and certainly do a nice job of capturing Thunderbird’s look from the comics. This new method of construction works a fair bit better than the way the costume was handled not he first Thunderbird ‘mate. The paint work on Thunderbird is pretty well handled. The colors are certainly vibrant, and I appreciate that his skin tone is a little different from the rest of the figures in the series. I also appreciate the Cockrum-style shading on the various parts of the costume. It takes him from a potentially “meh” ‘mate to a pretty interesting one. Thunderbird’s only accessory is a clear display stand. That being said, I can think of pretty much nothing else that a Thunderbird figure really should have, so he doesn’t feel unnecessarily light (the fact that he has quite a few new pieces helps a fair bit too).
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This is probably the set from this series I was the least excited for. I’ve got plenty of Wolverines, and as cool as Thunderbird is, he’s never been near the top of the list of figures I needed. In hand, I do really like both of them to be sure. Wolverine will be my definitive version, and Thunderbird definitely feels like a solid ‘mate all-around. That being said, compared to the more parts heavy sets in the series, these two do feel like the come up a bit short, especially since half of the set is a character we’ve gotten 58 times before, in a costume we’ve gotten four times before, built entirely out of re-used parts. This set could definitely have used a little something extra to help it pop. It’s not bad at all, but it is a little less exciting than the others.