MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)
Earlier this month, I took a look at Baron Helmut Zemo, who’s one of my favorite Captain America villains. Well, he’s my favorite Cap villain that’s not a crazy leaping Frenchman…or a robot with face for a torso…look, he’s nearer the top of the list than he is the bottom, alright? Anyway, I looked at Helmut, but he wasn’t the first Baron Zemo to face off against Cap. No, that would be his dad, Baron Heinrich Zemo, who, amongst other things, founded the Masters of Evil. Heinrich hasn’t been quite as prevalent to the toy world as his son, but he’s gotten a few entries. He was actually the only Baron Zemo to be released during Toy Biz’s lengthy tenure producing Marvel figures, and was even one of the last figures they produced.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Baron Zemo was released in Series 14 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, which was also commonly known as the “Mojo Series” after its Build-A-Figure. It was the penultimate series of the line, and ended up being rushed into production so that Toy Biz could get it out before passing the license off to Hasbro. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation. As with so many of Toy Biz’s Legends figures, there was a definite priority placed on the articulation over the integrity of the sculpt on this guy. For some, that was less of an issue, but on this guy? Oh boy, it’s pretty bad. Now, admittedly, there were some production things that made some problems crop up that weren’t on the initial prototype (mostly the neck), but this guy was always going to look sort of…weird. His shape is vaguely human, I guess. The hands and feet were definitely too large, the neck too long, the waist both too high and too thin, and the limbs too skinny. His clothes are both uncomfortably clingy and oddly loose, in a way that he would have to have them sewn on him that way. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I mean, if you take some of the pieces individually, there’s some good stuff there. The head is pretty good, and captures his comics design pretty well. The boots are also pretty nice, especially the fur lining. The holster’s okay, but the gun’s non removable, which is always very frustrating. Other than that, though, it’s pretty goofy. Did no one stand back, look at this guy, and go “that looks nothing like a human?” Because I did that. On top of the very questionable sculpt, there were also some major quality control issues on this series in particular. Most of the figures, Zemo included, were saddled with incredibly rubbery joints. It makes getting him to stand quite difficult, and leaves him always looking the slightest bit deflated. The paintwork on this guy is probably his strongest aspect. It’s still not perfect; the gold pieces in particular are a real mess, and the washes can be rather hit and miss. However, it’s still pretty passable. Zemo included the head and upper torso of Mojo, as well as a weird staff thing. The staff is kind of goofy; there’s a hole in the handle and a corresponding peg in his right hand, but he never holds it in a particularly convincing way.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I got most of Series 14 for as Christmas presents in 2006, and Zemo was amongst them. I was happy to have him at the time (Legends was my absolute favorite line to collect at that point), but even when he was new, I knew he was less than stellar in execution. This is definitely a figure I’d like to see Hasbro tackle at some point, especially since I liked their Helmut figure so much.