MODERN AGE (TOY BIZ)
“As a research assistant at Darkmoor Research Centre, Brian Braddock was a typical physics student. During a botched theft at the facility, Brian was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident he suffered while trying to escape. The legendary Merlin the Magician saved Brian’s life and bestowed upon him a mystical suit that gives him superhuman powers, transforming him into Captain Britain. While the suit Captain Britain wears gives him superhuman strength, the ability to fly and erect mystical force shields, he is powerless without it. As Britain’s honorary protector, keeping the UK safe from peril, Captain Britain is a formidable opponent for any foe.”
At the beginning of their lengthy run with the Marvel license, Toy Biz initially focussed on the Marvel Universe as a whole, before splitting things up into several different lines, most of which were themed around one of the handful of Marvel cartoons which launched during the ’90s. By the end of the decade, those cartoons were all pretty much wrapped up, but there was still a fair bit of steam in the 5-inch locomotive, so they did several single-assortment series, each with its own theme. In 1999, they paired two off, a Silver Age and a Modern Age line, covering Marvel’s history through a mix a bigger name and minor characters. On the more minor side, it was through these assortments that Captain Britain got his first action figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Captain Britain was among the four figures in the Modern Age line. As the only character created post-1975, he was probably the best representation of the assortment’s purpose, especially since he was wearing an ’80s era costume. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. Captain Britain was built on the body that began its life as Archangel II, a favorite of Toy Biz’s. By this point, it had gotten some minor retooling to change-up the posing on the hands and to remove the remains of the wing-flapping mechanism from that figure, meaning he actually looks a bit better than most of the others who used this body. The head is also re-used, coming from the Iron Man line’s Blacklash figure, though as with the Guardian figure that also used this head, the ponytail has been removed. While internally its a nice enough assortment of parts, compared to the rest of Toy Biz’s stuff, it did make poor Brian rather small when compared to his comic book incarnation. This wouldn’t be the last time Toy Biz would make a diminutive Captain Britain, either. Did no one check the style guide for his height? His paintwork was really cool…when he was new anyway. On my figure, it really didn’t hold up to time, and definitely shows a lot more wear and tear than my other figures from the same era. I have to wonder if it was something to do with the slightly metallic finish? It certainly looked really nice when he came out of the package. He’s done up in his Alan Davis-designed costume, which is his best one, really, and certainly the most lasting design. Like others that use this mold, the details of the costume don’t quite match up to what’s sculpted, but it’s minor here. Captain Britain was packed with an energy staff (recolored from Gambit) and Lockheed (repacked from Magik), but my figure has neither at this juncture.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I got this figure when it was relatively new via a trip to the KB Toys outlet that was near the spot where my family vacationed. I didn’t know a ton about the character, but I sure thought this figure looked cool. At the time, I also got an animated Superman, so I recall the two of them facing off a lot during that trip. Small stature and slightly ratty hold-up of the paint do drag him down a bit, but even in his current state I do really like him and I still have those fond memories!