A.I.M. SCIENTIST & A.I.M. TROOPER
MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“A.I.M., or Advanced Idea Mechanics, is a scientific organization bent on designing the technology that can take over the world. Combined with the brute force of the Shock Trooper, the A.I.M. scientists innovate international design in the pursuit of world domination.”
Though in many ways the Legends brand was revitalized from the time Hasbro slapped “Infinite Series” on the box, there was still a little bit of a learning curve in those earlier days of the line. In particular, swap figures, something they’d introduced during the Return of Marvel Legends era, which replaced one figure in early assortments with another for refreshment cases, still persisted throughout Infinite Series’ first year (and the shared names would continue for a few more after that). One of the earliest Infinite Series offerings, the Captain America-themed Mandroid Series, was perhaps most affected. Though both versions of the Agents of Hydra (Red Skull and a Hydra Agent) and the Soldiers of A.I.M. (Zemo and an A.I.M. Soldier) shipped side by side in early cases, the revision cases that hit a few months later strangely chose to repack only the non-army builder versions, leaving the army builders with a rather hefty after market value. Hasbro first tackled this issue with the TRU exclusive “Agents of Hydra” two-pack from last year, which offered up one of the two army builders. It was initially scarce, due to TRU’s spotty distribution, but with them out of the way, it’s actually become quite easy to get. Hasbro has wisely chosen to follow that set up with a complimentary A.I.M. two-pack.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The Soldiers of A.I.M. two-pack is an Entertainment Earth “exclusive” (meaning it’s available to all of the retail establishments that order through EE). EE has picked up most of the former TRU-exclusives (including unsold stock of the Hydra pack), so It’s not hard to imagine this pair were originally slated for a TRU release.
Pairing off with the Hydra Agent from the other pack is the A.I.M. Scientist. He’s more or less a reissue of the A.I.M. Soldier from the Mandroid series. That being said, there the Hydra Agent’s differences were really limited to just the accessories, the Scientist’s changes go a little further. Basic construction is the same. He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation. He uses the jumpsuit-ed body from the original, which works just as well now as it did the first time. The only notable tweak is that his head seems to sit a little lower on the neck, which is a definite improvement. Of course, it’s possible that my original was just slightly mis-molded. The paint work has had some changes as well. He’s the same basic yellow as the last one (so they’ll match up fine for army builders), but his visor and gloves are now black, and the “skirt” of his belt piece is molded yellow rather than painted, so it actually matches this time. While I was initially a little bummed by the switch to black for the visor, I actually find myself preferring how it looks overall. Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff: the accessories! Now, it’s worth noting that this set’s accessories are a lot less figure specific than the Hydra set’s were, so I’ve tried to group them as best I could. Like the prior release, this figure includes a bandolier, a large blaster, and a small blaster. These are all the same as before (apart from a little extra detailing on the bandolier), and are still fun additions. I particularly like “A.I.M.” being printed on the sides of the guns. He also includes a shoulder harness molded in brown, and a second head (repainted from Paladin). The head could just as easily go with the other figure (especially since it was on the other body in its original release, but I think it really works here, in a Bill, Agent of A.I.M. sort of way.
The second figure is sort of a counterpart to the Hydra Enforcer, dubbed a Shock Trooper by the back of the packaging. He’s not your standard A.I.M. guy, that’s for sure. He too is complete re-use, but is a rather crafty selection of parts. He’s built on Paladin’s body (which was itself re-worked from Blade, who was in turn re-worked from ASM2 Electro), with Scourge’s head thrown on it (sort of pairing off with the Taskmaster head from the Hydra set), all done up in A.I.M.’s signature black and yellow. A new coat of paint makes these parts look surprisingly new. And while he’s still got a very distinct look about him, he also lends himself far more to being a troop builder than I felt the Enforcer did. This guy comes packed with a knife and pistol, done up in colors to match him, as well as one of Deadpools rifles, again colored to match. For variety’s sake, the Trooper also includes another shoulder harness (this time in a grey/blue), Deathlok’s backpack in yellow, and another standard issue A.I.M. beekeeper’s mask. The last piece looks a little goofy on this guy, but I appreciate the option to further A.I.M.-ize him, and I even more appreciate the ability to make my prior A.I.M. Soldiers properly match up with this new set.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Since I actually found an A.I.M. Soldier, there wasn’t as much of a dire need to get this set as there was with the Hydra pack, so when they were shown off, I knew I’d want one, but I was kind of ambivalent to the whole thing. Then I saw it in person, and my mind changed. And then I opened it up and my mind changed even more. The Hydra set may have been more essential to me, but this one’s more fun. The improvements to the standard A.I.M. guy are enough to make him the superior offering when compared to the original release, and I find myself really, really liking the Trooper, far more than I did the Enforcer, and far more than I’d expected to. Hasbro’s inventiveness is really well showcased here.
I grabbed this pair from my friends at All Time Toys. As of this writing, this pack is still in-stock, so if you’re interested in this, or any other Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.