GABE JONES & HYDRA FLAME TROOPER
When it came time to do the Minimates for The First Avenger, the film’s titular character was featured in most of the sets, but he did get to take a break for a few packs. This includes today’s focus pack, which is perhaps the most obscure pairing of the bunch, Howling Commando Gabe Jones and the Hydra Flame Trooper.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Gabe and the Hydra Flame Trooper were one of the two Toys R Us-exclusive pairings for The First Avenger, alongside Golden Age Cap & Dum Dum Dugan.
Gabe is perhaps a less distinctive member of the Howling Commandos than Dum Dum, but he’s an important one nonetheless, and one that’s stuck around for quite a while. He also has the notoriety of being Marvel’s first African American hero, albeit not quite one of the “super” variety. The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Gabe is constructed using two add-on pieces. The first is his helmet, which is shared with Frontline Captain America. It’s a decent, standard-issue piece, so it works well enough. His second add-on piece is his vest, a unique piece to this particular figure. It’s definitely another solid piece, and it has some pretty excellent detail work, especially on the bandolier. Like others in this particular set, there’s a holster attached; I still like them better as separate pieces, but it doesn’t look terrible. The paintwork on Gabe is pretty standard stuff. The application is all pretty cleanly handled. He’s a little bit drab, but that’s just his design. His face is sporting a pretty decent likeness of Derek Luke, but, as with Dugan, the likeness isn’t that far removed from Gabe’s comic incarnation, should you want to swap this head onto one of the comic book agent bodies. Gabe is packed with a rather large machine gun, just like the one he was carrying around in the film. He can hold it surprisingly well, given that it’s a two-hander. He also includes a standard issue side-arm, which is the same as the one included with Cap and Bucky.
HYDRA FLAME TROOPER
The Hydra Flame Trooper, like the basic Hydra Agents packed with Peggy and Howard, was first offered up as part of the single-packed army builders case, before being offered up a second time here. It’s actually a pretty sensible way of filling in the line-up, since I doubt anyone’s really going to complain about a duplicate here. The figure uses four add-on pieces for the mask/goggles, chest cap, and flamethrowers. The mask is the same one used on the basic Agents, which is good for consistency’s sake. The chest cap and flamethrowers are big and bulky, and a little bit restricting, but that was the case in the movie as well, so it’s not really a complaint here. Lastly, the figure swaps out the upper legs for a pair of more detailed ones, used from the Hammerdrones. The Flame Trooper’s paintwork is pretty straightforward stuff, really. It’s black, with thin white detialing. It actually looks quite good, and makes for rather a striking figure. The Flame Trooper included no accessories, but given all of the sculpted extras, I suppose that’s excusable.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I grabbed these two from a TRU on a road trip with my my family back in 2011. Gabe isn’t the star figure in this assortment, but he’s exactly the sort of figure you like to see come out of movie assortments. A fun second-tier character who wouldn’t otherwise get a figure. The Hydra Flame trooper is another fun addition to the Hydra army, based on one of the cooler designs from the movie.