MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“T’Challa grew up in space and became Star-Lord, now leading adventures throughout the galaxy.”
Some of the concepts in What If…? are simple minor changes to a specific story, some are straight forward concepts injected into the overall narrative of the MCU, but some are….well, they’re kind of out there. Of the more out there ideas, perhaps the most successful is “What If…T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?,” an episode that out of nowhere decides to mix Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy. Why? Reasons, that’s why. It’s maybe a little limited in its ultimate scope and at times almost feels like a parody of its self, but it’s ultimately a fun story, and one of the first season’s more memorable episodes. It makes its main character a pretty natural choice for our first selection of figures, and I’m going to be taking a look at him today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
T’Challa Star-Lord is figure 1 in the Watcher Series of Marvel Legends. He’s based on the character’s appearance in the second and ninth episodes of the show. The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation. T’Challa’s articulation scheme follows the rather established format for the line, but it ultimately feels like it’s not really fully optimized. The articulation is there, the layout is there, the range isn’t terrible, but ultimately, it just doesn’t feel like it flows. The elbows have a tendency to stick, and getting both halves of the joint to articulate can be frustrating. The knees are similar, though to a lesser extent, and the ankles are also prone to sticking as well, though in a slightly different way. In general, it’s just not super pleasant to pose this guy. T’Challa’s sculpt is an almost all-new affair. The hands are re-used from the Vol 2 Star-Lord, which seems like it’s not a big deal on the outset, but that’s…well I’ll get to it momentarily. The rest of the sculpt is new. While the assortment as a whole is clearly inspired by the animation style of the show, T’Challa’s sculpt is the most directly based on the animation model. This tweaks the figure’s the proportions, as well as leaving him a lot simpler on the detail front. It makes the articulation stand out a lot more, which isn’t the best from an aesthetic standpoint. It also means he doesn’t quite blend in as well with the other MCU figures, which is a might limiting. The head is clearly meant to be the animated T’Challa likeness, but it’s a little off, notably with how the hair is shaped. It’s just not quite right. Also, remember the hands that are re-used? Well, they still have all the very realistic detailing, plus they’re pretty large, which means they just generally don’t match up with the rest of the figure. The paint work on this guy is at least pretty decent. It’s fairly cleanly handled and generally follows the show design well. It’s not the most thrilling design, but it is what it is. T’Challa is packed with two element guns (re-used from the prior Star-Lords), an alternate helmeted head, and the head to the Watcher Build-A-Figure. The helmeted head isn’t bad as far as the helmet goes, but for some reason they’ve given him this weird raised hairpiece, which doesn’t match the animation at all, and just generally looks silly, leaving him with two heads that both just don’t really jibe with me.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The Star-Lord T’Challa concept is definitely a weird one that I really wasn’t sure about at first, but the final episode was entertaining enough. The prototype for this guy wasn’t one I was super impressed by, but I was hoping he might be better in-hand. Unfortunately, that didn’t wind up being the case. I don’t think he’s a bad figure, but he just feels like his various parts just don’t gel together the way they should. Generally, he’s just kind of underwhelming. To give him a little bit of credit, he did grow on me a little during the review process, so he’s not a total loss. That said, he’s definitely the weakest of this particular set.
Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.