FRONTLINE CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY
With the MCU really entering it’s post-Endgame slate, and building up some of the more minor characters, it’s sort of nice to take a step back and look at how far some of these characters have come. Before they were respectively a hero who is the idol of millions and all-around very hard to replace icon and a sleeper-agent assassin-turned repentant hero, Steve Rogers and James “Bucky” Barnes were just two best friends, dragged into Hydra’s off-shoot of World War II. Fortunately, DST gave us a pairing of the two before all those changes, just so we can reminisce!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Frontline Captain America and Bucky were released in Series 40 of Marvel Minimates, as well as the TRU-exclusive The First Avenger tie-in assortment, both of which hit in the early summer of 2011.
FRONTLINE CAPTAIN AMERICA
Frontline Captain America, or Rescue Cap as he’s been dubbed elsewhere, serves as Cap’s Mark I equivalent, a hastily thrown together get-up borne out of necessity. It’s a call-back not only to the Jack Kirby days when Steve would be seen from time to time in his military fatigues with the Cap costume peaking out, but also to Cap’s WW2 era costume from The Ultimates. It also brings to mind some memories of the hero of Joe Johnson’s other WW2 era super hero movie, The Rocketeer. Though short-lived in the movie, its presence during Cap’s first real action scene makes it quite memorable. The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. Cap uses two add-on pieces: his helmet and his jacket. The helmet is shared with his assortment-mate Gabe Jones, and works well as a pretty standard helmet. It sits closer to the head than the previously used Sgt Rock helmet, making it so that hair is not visible, and he doesn’t look bald with it in place. If you want to get picky, the helmet really should have some goggles on it, but he does lose them in the movie, so it’s not completely inaccurate. The jacket is unique to this figure, and features all of the gear Cap was carrying during his raid on the POW camp. There’s a lot of really great detail work going on there. I might have preferred the belt to have been a separate piece, but it still works quite well the way it is here. He also gets a slightly tweaked left hand, designed for attaching his shield. The paintwork on Frontline Cap is a little bit of a mixed bag. The linework on his face and torso is really sharp, and the colors are all pretty well chosen. That said, there’s a fair bit of bleed over on his jacket, and the lines on his legs are somewhat ill-defined. The closeness of some of the colors on the palette helps to mask it a bit, though. On the plus side, the face presents a reasonable likeness of Chris Evans as Cap, and I quite like the more intense expression. Frontline Cap is packed with his original, non-circular shield, which can be placed either on his hand or on his back. He also includes a handgun (re-used from Blackhawk) and an extra hairpiece for an unhelmeted look.
For the first film, Bucky wasn’t a super soldier like Cap, but he wasn’t quite the comics version of the kid sidekick either. The movie instead aimed to more foreshadow his eventual return as the Winter Soldier, setting him up as the Howling Commandos’ sharp-shooter. In terms of design, he actually got a pretty close adaptation of his original comics design, albeit with a more proper military flair to it and some more toned down colors. Bucky has add-ons for his hair and jacket. Both of these were new to this particular figure. Interestingly, the hair on the prototype was a different piece, the same one used on Dr. Reed from the Creature From the Black Lagoon boxed set. No idea why they made the change, and personally I would have preferred the re-used piece. As it stands, this one’s not terrible, though. It just sits a little low for my liking. The jacket piece seems a bit bulky, truth be told, and I think he might have looked better with it just painted on his chest block instead. Bucky’s paint is reasonable, but not without its flaws. The slop is a little less of an issue here than it was with Cap, but it’s still somewhat present. The likeness on the face isn’t a nice as I’d like. It appears that something happened in-between the control art and the final ‘mate, which has caused his eyes to be sort of oddly placed. It looks rather strange. Sgt. Barnes is decently accessorized, including his sniper rifle and the same style of handgun included with Steve.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked this set up when it was new, courtesy of Cosmic Comix. Though non-standard, this is really a winning version of Cap. There are some slight flaws, but he’s an overall very cool figure, and he’s really my favorite design for the character. I’m glad he was such an early inclusion. This was only Bucky’s second ‘mate, and after the slightly flawed first one, I’d hoped this one would turn out better. Though far from terrible, this figure has a lot of smaller issues that add up to a rather forgettable Minimate.