COSMIC SILVER SURFER & SWORDSMAN
Marvel Minimates is home to some off the wall choices in terms of characters, and especially pairings. The early Toys R Us-exclusive series were home to some of the most truly strange character pairings for the exclusive two-packs. Most of them tried to keep at least some sort of common thread between the characters included, but today’s set, Silver Surfer and Swordsman is perhaps one of the weirdest.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These two were released in the fifth series of TRU-exclusive Marvel Minimates. They were both designed to fit with, at the time, current boxed sets, those sets being Infinity Gauntlet and Thunderbolts, respectively.
COSMIC SILVER SURFER
Despite his status as a fairly major player on the cosmic side of Marvel, this is the second of only three Silver Surfer Minimates. His low number of releases is undoubtedly due to his largely unchanged look over the years. Sure, he’s had some minor stylistic tweaks, but only so much of that can be conveyed through a 2-inch block figure form. As such, Surfer’s debut ‘mate went unchallenged for a good five years (and, depending on who you talk to, he’s still the best version of the character). In 2009, however, there were a lot of new fans coming into Minimates, so it seemed about the right time for a new version, so we got this guy. Silver Surfer is, and always shall be, a vanilla ‘mate. There’s really no other way to properly do this guy. It’s worth noting, however, that the Minimate body has had some subtle changes over the years. In 2009, the necks got kind of short for a while, which throws off the design more than you might think. It makes Surfer look a little more powerhouse-y than usual. The paint is, of course, the key element here. The original Surfer ‘mate was more on the simplistic side of things, as was the style of the line at time. By the time this guy was released, Minimates were far more detailed. This guy gets a much more intensive paint job, which looks to be heavily influenced by Jim Starlin’s take on the character from Infinity Gauntlet. Given the release of a whole Infinity Gauntlet boxed set the month prior to this figure hitting TRU, it was a solid stylistic choice for DST. With that said, I can’t help but feel the figure ends up looking rather busy with all those lines and everything going on. The head and limbs aren’t so bad (in fact, I think the face on this Surfer is my favorite of the three), but the torso is just too much. He looks like he has a second face down there. Since he had no actual add-ons, Silver Surfer instead gets a bunch of accessories. Obviously, he gets his board, which had been tweaked from the original release to add a peg for him to be attached, as well as a peg hole on the opposite side, thus allowing for the attachment of the included flight stand. He also included a pair of hand blast effects and electricity effects, both molded in a very pleasing translucent purple.
Marvel has had five different characters who bore the name “Swordsman” (and that’s not getting into alternate universes). The one depicted here is Andreas von Strucker, originally one half of the Fenris Twins, Baron Von Strucker’s two children. Following the death of his sister Andrea, he took up the Swordsman title. He was never a particularly noteworthy character, but had the good fortune of being part of Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts team, which got a full line-up of Minimates. He was just along for the ride, I suppose. It probably helps that he has a pretty solid design. Swordsman featured sculpted add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt. The gloves are re-used from Captain America, but the helmet and belt were new pieces. Everything was well sculpted and sits well on the ‘mate body. I quite like the helmet in particular; they’ve done a very good job of translating it to the Minimate form. The belt is more basic fare, but is notable in it’s inclusion of a spot to keep his sword stashed. As with Silver Surfer, his head sits a little low on the neck, but this is less noticeable with the addition of the helmet. Swordsman’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff overall. The shade of purple they’ve chosen actually looks quite nice, and even photographs well (a rarity when it comes to purples), and the detailing on the chain mail is quite impressive. Under the mask, we get Andreas von Strucker’s ugly mug, and I do mean ugly. Though he’s got a peg hole in his head, there are painted on ears, meaning this is supposed to be Andreas after he shaved his head, though if you want to throw in your own hairpiece, the option’s there. For accessories, all Swordsman gets is a single sword, borrowed from the Defenders set’s Valkyrie. It’s a decent enough, but I do feel the extra hairpiece would have been a nice extra bit of value.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This set’s announcement frustrated me a bit. I was excited by both figures included, but up to that point, none of the TRU-exclusives had been particularly easy to get a hold of. Fortunately, I didn’t have much trouble with these two.Though not perfect, this Silver Surfer was much appreciated at the time of his release. If I’m honest, I don’t truly believe any of the three Surfers is better than the others; they all present a slightly different take on the character. If a more modern Surfer is what you’re looking for, then this one’s the one you’re after. Despite this not being a version of Swordsman I have any particular attachment to, I really like this ‘mate. He’s quite well put together, and it’s a design that just works well in this style. Now, one of these days I’d really like a proper Jacques Duquesne Swordsman, but that’s a whole other thing.