#2173: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Genius industrialist and inventor Tony Stark creates a suit of armor for himself, powered by the arc reactor in his chest, becoming the hero, Iron Man.”

When I opened up my last 6-inch-scaled Classic Iron Man review of the year, back in February, I remarked that a re-do of Tony’s classic armor hadn’t crossed Hasbro’s list for Marvel Legends just yet.  Well…I was wrong as you can see.  A week later, they unveiled the figure I’m looking at today, which just makes me look good and foolish, doesn’t it?  Well, if looking good and foolish means that I get a cool new Iron Man figure, I guess I won’t complain so much about it.  Best not to look a gift horse in the mouth and all that.  So, hey, let’s look at this here Iron Man, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is the second of the two single-packed “80 Years of Marvel” Legends figures. Like Thor, he’s available at mass retail and ships in a case all to himself.  He’s based on Tony’s classic armor, which is the one he wore for the better part of 20 years, making it a natural choice for a celebration of Marvel’s history.  It’s a look that’s never too far from the line.  Toy Biz, of course, kicked off the line with their take on it, which was kind of the gold standard for a while.  Hasbro themselves have tackled this design before, with a two-pack release in ’07, and then a repaint of that sculpt in ’13.  Both of those sculpts are definitely products of their times, though, and another go seems appropriate.  This figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Iron Man is an all-new sculpt, and oh boy is it a nice one.  This one takes the general larger size of the original Toy Biz figure, and gives it the slightly better proportions of the first Hasbro attempt, and the end result is something that looks a fair bit more human, but also still looks like it could conceivably house a human being.  It’s also our first comics Iron Man in a bit that’s not completely dwarfed by all of the Captain America figures Hasbro’s offering.  While there’s a bit of a theme to the trinity of Avengers released here being based on the art of Alex Ross, Iron Man takes a bit of a deviation, at least in regards to how he is straight out of the box.  The head he comes wearing doesn’t actually follow Ross’s take (which is itself a bit of a deviation from usual illustrations), and instead goes for a more standard “classic” Iron Man head, representing his helmet post horns and rivets, going for that nice, sleek 70s style.  I’d hasten to say it’s the best rendition of this helmet we’ve gotten on an action figure.  There’s a second helmeted head, which is more directly based on Ross’s illustrations, which draw a little more inspiration from the time when Tony added a nose to the helmet in the mid-70s, all because Stan Lee made some one off remark about some of the art coming back.  While I certainly appreciate the aim to more closely capture the Ross art, and I like Ross’s work on the page, I don’t really know that the helmet translates all that well into an action figure.  Iron Man’s paintwork continues the trend we saw with Thor and Cap, where it’s a little more subdued in its coloring than other figures from the main line.  It’s a little less noticeable with Iron Man, since metallic colors aren’t too out of the ordinary for him, even on a classic-inspired figure.  It certainly looks clean and sleek, which is always what you want with this particular design.  Iron Man is packed with one more head, this time unmasked.  It again follows the Ross stylings, which means that it’s a Tony Stark that’s heavily modeled on Timothy Dalton.  Honestly, it’s something of a Legends tradition, so I’m all about it.  It’s technically a little large to properly fit within the helmeted head, but I don’t mind too much, because it’s really just so nice.  Iron Man is also packed with two sets of hands in fists and repulser hand poses, as well as two repulser effects pieces, which take a page out of the Siege playbook and can be broken down into three separate pieces each.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I love me some classic Iron Man, and I really wanted a solid version for my Legends shelf, enough so that I was willing to go outside of Legends for the Mezco version.  As it turns out, that one was more of a place holder for this guy.  I honestly didn’t expect Hasbro to turn him around so quickly, but I’m really glad they did.  I dug the Mezco version for what it was, I dug the Toy Biz version for being as cool as it was for the time, but this is my definitive Iron Man.  There’s just so much I like about this figure, and he’s got to be one of Hasbro’s most cleanly put together sculpts.  I hope we can at least see a Stealth variant, because I love this sculpt so much.  Definitely the highlight of the three 80th singles, and that’s coming from someone who loved Cap and Thor a lot as well.

I picked up Iron Man from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#2172: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Back in the early days of Marvel Legends, Thor figures weren’t the most common things to crop up.  He did manage to get two figures over the course of the Toy Biz days, but the early run of Hasbro only added one more, due to him being dead for a while at the time.  Since the return of Legends, his figures have been more of the modern persuasion; our last classic Thor was 12 years ago.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s paying tribute to a lot of classic designs, courtesy of their celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary, and Thor got in on some of that classic love.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is one of the two widely released single-packed “80 Years of Marvel” Legends figures, shipped in solid cases of himself.  As noted above, this Thor is the classic version of the character, and is designed to match up with the Walmart-Exclusive Cap from earlier this year, being loosely patterned on Alex Ross’s illustrations of the main trio of Avengers.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Thor is sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s a sculpt that, more than anything Hasbro has done in this line, feels like it’s specifically designed to replace the Toy Biz Giant Man Series Thor, which was the pinnacle of Toy Biz Thors.  It makes sense, I suppose, since for most collectors, that’s the figure this one’s going to be directly competing with anyway, given just how long it’s been since our last classic Thor.  Whatever the case, this sculpt is very, very nice.  It’s clean, and bold, and captures the appropriate aesthetic of the classic comics design, while still managing to work in some smaller details on the costume to help sell it as an actual cloth costume, and not just something that’s painted on.  In particular, I really like the seam running down the center of his tunic, as well as the wrinkles in his tights on his legs.  Those add some nice realism to the figure.  Unlike every comic Thor since the ROML release, this one doesn’t feel oversized when compared to his compatriots.  He’s still got some bulk on him, but he’s not inhuman in scale.  Thor’s got a sculpted cape, which Hasbro’s gone with a dynamic flow for.  It continues the pleasant trend of Hasbro turning in some really solid capes; it’s got enough pose to it to be fun with action poses, but not enough to look too weird when he’s just standing at attention.  It’s also not too overly heavy, so he can stand alright on his own.  Thor’s paintwork is very similar in styling to the Cap figure, as you might well expect.  Application is clean and crisp, and all of the important details are covered, but it’s worth noting that the colors are ever so slightly subdued when compared to other “classic” figures.  It’s certainly not a bad look, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hasbro had a more classically hued re-release in mind somewhere down the line.  Thor is packed with Mjolnir, which like its user is an all-new, far less ridiculously sized sculpt.  The length of the handle surprised me at first, because I’ve become accustomed to the longer handles we’ve been getting, but this actually works pretty well, and I love how “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” looks on the face of it. In addition to the hammer, Thor also has two different left hands, one in a fist and one in open gesture.  It’s definitely a lighter selection than I’d expected based on the other two he pairs with and his higher price point, but I suppose it’s the sizing that’s supposed to make up for that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As beautiful as he was, I never found the old Walmart Thor, nor was I much of a fan of the version that preceded it.  My Legends Thor was the armored one from the Blob Series, until he was replaced by the Marvel Now variant a few years ago.  I liked that figure a lot, but he wasn’t a classic Thor, and my Avengers have been skewing more and more classic all the time.  This figure finally makes classic Thor readily available again, and I have to say, he’s a very nicely rendered version.  Definitely the nicest Legends Thor out there, possibly just the best Thor figure you can get.  I do wish he wasn’t so light on accessories, but that’s the only thing I can hold against him.

I picked up Thor from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2165: Hulk vs. Wolverine

HULK VS. WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

First debuting on the final page of The Incredible Hulk 180, and then making his proper first appearance in the following issue, Wolverine was designed from the very beginning with the intent of spinning him out of the Hulk’s series, though the decision to join him up with the X-Men would come a bit later.  Though Wolverine and the Hulk have largely become separate entities entirely, they still do have the occasional run-in as a throw-back, and their first battle has definitely become one of Marvel’s most memorable moments.  Fitting then that Hasbro would commemorate the meeting in their “80 years of Marvel” sub-line of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk and Wolverine are one of the two comic-based “80 Years” two-packs, each of which pairs off one smaller figure with one Build-A-Figure sized figure.  The two figures here are more or less patterned on their appearnces in Hulk #181, albeit filtered through the line’s already established style.  Interestingly, while this is hardly our first time getting a first appearance Wolverine, this *is* the first time he’s been packed with a Hulk.  Kinda crazy.

HULK

“Powered by gamma radiation, the incredible, rage-filled Hulk smashes his way through any challenge and clobbers any enemy.”

While we’ve had a decent number of Legends Hulks in recent years, but they’ve mostly been movie-based.  Overlooking 2015’s Indestructible Hulk (which was a repainted movie figure), our last proper comics Hulk was the Ed McGuinness Hulk from the fan’s choice packs in 2010.  It’s about time for some updating.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  This Hulk uses a newly-implemented body, which has already technically seen use on two exclusive Hulks, but was designed for this figure.  Given the various larger bodies we’ve gotten for some recent Build-a-Figures, I was expecting to see some sort of reuse, but I’m not unhappy to get the new body, especially since it gives Hulk butterfly shoulders, something you don’t usually see on larger figures, and definitely a huge plus when it comes to posing.  The general design of this figure’s sculpt is very reminiscent of Hulk’s ’70s design aesthetic, rather than more recent roided out takes on the character.  The figure includes a torn up shirt as an add-on; while he didn’t sport this while fighting Wolverine, it was a common place item for him to be wearing.  It’s held in place only by gravity and perhaps the back of his head, depending on how you have him posed, meaning that it’s also very easily removed if it’s not your speed.  The paint on Hulk is fairly nuanced in its application, with the skin in particular showing some really solid work on the accenting.  There’s a slightly lighter green hue which shows itself throughout all of the exposed skin.  Hulk is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, one in open gesture.

WOLVERINE

“A super-powered agent of the Canadian government, the Wolverine is a skilled fighter with razor sharp claws and a fierce temper.”

In his first appearance, Wolverine was sporting a wildly different mask than the one he would have for the rest of his career.  He was meant to keep it, but Gil Kane accidentally changed it for the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1, and interior artist Dave Cockrum decided he liked it enough to keep as the character’s permanent look, thereby making this particular design more of a novelty then anything.  It’s gotten one Legends release before, courtesy of Toy Biz’s Face Off sub-line, but it was due for an update.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. This Wolverine is built on the same upgraded body as he last few, with a new head and shoulderpads to more properly capture the earlier design.  They’re sufficiently different enough from the normal pieces to make him stand out as his own variant, which is always a good thing.  For his color scheme, Wolverine very closely matches the brighter colors of his initial appearance, again giving him a nice standout appearance from other Wolverine figures, especially the tiger-stripe Wolverine.  The figure is packed with hands with and without his claws, which weren’t 100% retractable at the time of his first appearance, but are still a nice extra to have.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With all the announcements for the 80 Years sub-line floating about, this one got a little buried for me.  I knew it was coming, but I never really had the chance to focus in on it.  Its arrival was also jammed in alongside several other Legends releases, but I was happy enough to get it.  The Hulk is the definite star here, and will serve as the definitive version of the character for most collectors, myself included.  They really brought their A-game for him.  Wolverine’s more of a place holder to justify the larger set, but I can’t complain about getting him, nor can I say he’s not a good figure.  He’s formula, but it’s a good formula.

I grabbed this pair from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2140: Captain America & Peggy Carter

CAPTAIN AMERICA & PEGGY CARTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

When it comes to the MCU, I’m a very big Captain America fan.  His solo outings are all highly ranked among my favorites, with The First Avenger and Winter Soldier being two of my very favorite amongst the line.  I have a particular soft spot for TFA, which helped to remind me just how much I liked the character, and is my go-to MCU film for re-watching.  The fact that the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line only gave us Red Skull left me really feeling the lack not just of one of Cap’s coolest looks, but also of one of the MCU’s most important characters.  Fortunately, the 80 Years of Marvel line is swooping in and offering up both of those very things, in one convenient package.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Peggy are one of the two exclusive 80 Years of Marvel two-packs (the other being Iron Man and Iron Spider from Infinity War), and they are available via Amazon.  While I’m still iffy on how many of these things are being handed off as exclusives, at least this one is relatively easy to acquire.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Driven to help out his country during World War II, Steve Rogers enlists in the military as part of Project Rebirth. After he impresses the scientist in charge of the project, Steve is injected with Super Soldier Serum, increasing his strength and physique. He becomes the patriotic hero Captain America, fighting for freedom throughout the world.”

Before he became a full-fledged costumed hero, but after he’d given up being a patriotic monkey, Steve throws togething this distinctive number to go and rescue the POWs from the Hydra camp, in perhaps my favorite sequence of the movie.  Hasbro wasn’t doing dedicated Legends for the movies when The First Avenger hit, so obviously there was no chance for a Rescue Cap there, but even worse, they didn’t even include one in their smaller-scale line.  To get this look previously, you either had to settle for the Minimate or shell out the big bucks for the Hot Toys version.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Cap is sporting an all-new sculpt, though it’s one that’s already been earmarked for re-use for the upcoming Legendary Riders WWII Cap figure.  It’s clearly been designed for accuracy to this particular look first and foremost, however.  After a number of MCU Cap figures that were a little bit scrawny, this one does a respectable job of looking the part.  The neck is a touch longer than I’d like, and some of the details on the uniform are softer than other recent offerings, but by and large, it’s a solid sculpt, and does the design justice.  Cap includes two different heads, which are slightly difficult to differentiate at first glance.  The one he comes wearing is a more straight-forward un-helmeted head, which has Evans with his pre-Winter Soldier hair.  It’s a decent likeness, though again softer than some recent sculpts.  As an added bonus, it’s the first Evans head to be compatible with the Quantum Suit body, which I was certainly happy about.  The second head has a far more compact hairstyle, meant to fit under the included helmet.  While they could have probably gotten away with just including a separate head with the helmet permanently attached, this way he can carry the empty helmet when using the non-helmet haired head.  I can certainly appreciate that.  Cap’s paintwork is all pretty standard.  The basics are all covered, and he’s using the face printing technique, which works pretty well here.  He’s packed with his original shield, a pistol, and a knife.  Both the pistol and the knife can be stashed on the figure, while the shield pretty much always goes on the arm.  Also included is the unpainted version of his standard shield.  It’s just a repaint of the Studios shield mold, meaning it has the star at the center, which isn’t technically accurate, but it’s close enough for such a relatively minor extra, and I’m honestly just happy to see it turn up at all.

PEGGY CARTER

A British agent with the Strategic Scientific Reserve, Peggy Carter is a capable soldier and strategist. She is part of Project Rebirth, which developed the Super Soldier Serum that was injected into Steve Rogers. When Project Rebirth ends, Peggy continues to assist Steve as he becomes the world’s first superhero, Captain America.”

The lack of a proper Peggy Carter figure has been one of the most glaring problems for just about every MCU-based line (barring Minimates, which was previously the only way to get Peggy).  Heck, we got a figure of the MCU version of *Sharon* Carter before Peggy.  Do you know how crazy that is?  It’s mega crazy, let me tell you.  It’s about time she finally got her due, with a figure based on her primary appearance from The First Avenger.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  While she has the expected issues of restricted hip articulation thanks to the skirt, beyond that she’s actually surprisingly well articulated.  The waist joint in particular has some really solid range, effectively negating the lack of any mid-torso joint.  Definitely a good example of tailoring the articulation to the design.  Peggy’s sporting an all-new sculpt, and one I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing again soon (unless Hasbro feels like giving us a TV show Peggy, which I certainly wouldn’t mind).  It’s another strong offering, working the articulation in well, while still getting down a pretty realistic set of proportions and properly adapting the details of the uniform.  While the head’s not a spot-on Hayley Atwell likeness, it’s strong enough to sell who this is meant to be, and it’s about on par with the Evans likeness on Cap.  Peggy’s paintwork is decent for the most part.  The face paint is a bit messy on mine, and there was some excess glue from the hair, but boy do I love that the got the seams on the backs of her legs.  That’s a really cool touch!  Peggy includes a Thompson machine gun, or at least I’m saying that she does.  It’s packed next to Cap in the packaging, but Peggy clearly is meant to hold something, and does use a Thompson in the film, so I’m counting it as hers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I love The First Avenger.  I love Rescue Cap.  I love Peggy.  There was no way I wasn’t buying this set as soon as I got the chance.  That made it slightly distressing when we went so long without any release information on this set.  It was one of the first 80 Years offerings shown off, but ended up as one of the last to be placed.  It kind of worked out in my favor, though, since the announcement that it would be at Amazon came alongside it being in-stock at Amazon, meaning I had it two days after it was officially solicited.  That was very nice.  This set isn’t without flaws.  Cap’s sculpt is a little softer than I’d like, and Peggy’s face paint is iffy, but honestly I’m just beyond thrilled to finally have both of them in my collection.

#2139: Luis & Ghost

X-CON LUIS & GHOST

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

After the monumental undertaking and twists and turns and misfortune of getting the first Ant-Man film to the screen, its sequel Ant-Man & The Wasp had a comparatively much easier time.  Perhaps because of that, the film seems to have faded into the background a little quicker than its predecessor.  Of course, there’s also a good chance that it was due to it being right in the middle of a run of six films in two years, and the fact that it was honestly the least overarching-MCU-plot relevant of those six.  I will admit that while I enjoyed it in theaters, I honestly haven’t given it a whole lot of thought since then.  So, I guess it’s Marvel Legends‘ job to come along and remind me, with today’s pairing of Luis and Ghost!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Luis and Ghost make up the final movie-based pairing from the basic two-pack assortment of the 80 Years of Marvel sub-line of Marvel Legends.  As noted above, they are based on Ant-Man & The Wasp, and round out the versions of the title characters released alongside the movie last year.

GHOST

“Ava Starr gained the ability to become intangible after a quantum accident.  She began working for SHIELD at a young age, under the codename Ghost.  Years later, she realizes she is slowly dying and makes plans to harness the energy of the Quantum Realm, putting her into direct conflict with Hank Pym, Hope Van Dyne, and Scott Lang.”

In the comics, Ghost is a mysterious enigma wrapped in a question, and is more or less agreed to be male.  For the film, Ghost was made definitively female and given an actual backstory, which works far better for an antagonist you’re hinging the movie on.  It also made her a far more interesting character than the first film’s primary antagonist, which was certainly a plus.  She was really the main thing I was sad to miss when the initial product for the film hit, so she was a very strong choice for this pairing.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Ghost is an all-new sculpt, based on her design from the movie.  Though her backstory may have changed, the movie’s costume design for Ghost is actually not a bad adaptation, merging the two main designs from the comics into one fairly pleasing design.  The figure translates that design pretty well, with reasonable proportions and some really solid texture work.  She’s not quite as posable as I might like, but she’s certainly not bad.  Ghost’s paintwork is fairly monochromatic, but it works for the character, and it’s overall fairly well-rendered.  The figure also includes a spare unmasked head and a pulled-down hood, for the look she sports for most of the film’s back-half.

X-CON LUIS

“The best friend of Scott Lang, also known as Ant-Man, Luis is a fast-talking, wise-cracking former thief.  After he, Scott, and two of their other friends are hired to help Hank Pym steal his own technology, the group bands together to form their own company, X-Con Security Consultants.”

Created for the first film, Luis’s inclusion was met with near unanimous praise, and led to introduction in the comics just a few months later.  Unsurprisingly, he was given an even larger role for the sequel, which has him participating in Scott’s security consultancy firm that the film had adapted from the comics.  Given how popular the character is, it’s not a huge shock that he found a spot here, even if he’s not super toyetic.  The figure stands a little over 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Luis is built on the Coulson body, with a new head, right hand, feet, and jacket.  The head’s a decent likeness of Michael Peña; it’s not spot-on, but it definitely captures the spirit of the character.  The new jacket is interesting, because it’s actually the first closed up suit jacket we’ve gotten, and despite being new to the figure, his X-Con tag isn’t scultped in place.  The new feet give Luis a pair of slightly less formal shoes, which I guess is a nice touch, though it’s definitely something I wouldn’t have missed if they’d skipped it.  The new parts are all well and good, but end up suffering a bit due to the Coulson body, which is too skinny and a bit too tall for Luis, which makes the head in particular stand out, since it was clearly meant for a more properly proportioned body.  Luis’ paintwork is fairly decent, but I think the face print doesn’t quite work as well for him as it does for others.  Luis is packed with some fun accessories, even if they aren’t necessarily just for him.  He’s got the shrunken down Pym building (complete with handle and wheels), and the ant that Hope and Hank swap for Scott.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kind of like the film it’s based on, this set definitely took a bit of a back seat to the rest of the 80 Years offerings.  I was certainly excited to see Ghost get a figure, and the idea of getting Luis certainly has a degree of novelty to it.  That being said, the execution of Luis doesn’t really work out as well as you might hope.  He’s not bad, but he’s certainly one of the weaker Legends of late.  Ghost is a pretty solid figure in her own right, but it’s tough to say if it’s really worth buying the set just for her.  If you like the film and you like the characters, this isn’t a bad set, but I don’t see it grabbing a lot of casual fans.

Luis and Ghost came from my sponsors at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2138: Grandmaster & Korg

GRANDMASTER & KORG

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

While none of the Thor films have been short on world-building and colorful and interesting side characters, Ragnarok really stepped things up even further, with some of the most colorful side characters we’ve seen so far.  The entire Sakaar segment of the story is really just a showcase of the MCU’s quirkier side, following very much in the footsteps of Guardians before it.  Part of the success really just came from letting actors with well-established quirks play the characters as they liked, which resulted in to of the film’s most entertaining characters, the Grandmaster and Korg!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Like yesterday’s pairing, Grandmaster and Korg are part of the MCU-based line-up of two packs for the “80 Years of Marvel” sub-line of Marvel Legends.  It’s the second Ragnarok set, which definitely gives the whole line-up a decidedly Ragnarok-heavy feel.  I guess they wanted to make up for leaving it out of the Ten Years celebration.  Though the two characters never actually meet in the film, Grandmaster and Korg are actually a pretty sensible pairing, seeing as Grandmaster is the ruler of Sakaar and Korg is the leader of the (ill-planned) resistance efforts.

GRANDMASTER

“The ancient and tyrannical ruler of Sakaar enjoys gaming, gambling, and manipulation.  He runs the Contest of Champions, pitting warriors from across the galaxy against each other in a fight to the death.”

In the comic version of Planet Hulk (which the Sakaar segment of Ragnarok adapts), the ruler of Sakaar is actually the Red King, a rather different type of character than the Grandmaster.  Red King is admittedly a slightly generic character (his name is “Red King” for Pete’s sake), so a slightly more charismatic take on the Grandmaster was included instead, which really just worked out well for everyone.  Pretty much right on top of this figure’s release, there was also a Grandmaster included in a Summer Con-exclusive two pack alongside his brother the Collector.  Apart from the facial expression, the two are pretty much identical.  This figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  At his core, Grandmaster is built on the Nick Fury body introduced early on this year.  He uses the legs and left hand from that figure, with the rest of his parts being all-new (well, apart from being shared with the previously mentioned exclusive).  The legs are honestly a pretty clever re-use, since the new color is enough to sell them as an entirely different style of pants.  The rest of the parts really work to sell the Grandmaster’s rather flamboyant design.  The robe is handled via an overlay piece which can be removed if you so choose, not that I can imagine anyone would want to.  There’s a very nice flow the how it’s sculpted to hang, which looks quite natural and manages to not get in the way of his articulation too much.  The head on this version of Grandmaster sports a more reserved expression than the exclusive, and at first I was a little bummed about that, but in person I actually quite like this look.  Grandmaster’s appropriately bright and colorful in the paint department, which definitely makes him a figure that pops.  The application is all nice and clean, and the face looks quite realistic.  Grandmaster is packed with his melting prong from the movie.

KORG

“A Kronan warrior on the planet Sakaar, Korg is forced to compete in the Contest of Champions.  When he meets fellow warrior Thor, he allies with the Asgardian to escape Sakaar and defeat Hela.”

Korg was lifted wholesale from Planet Hulk, having no connection to Thor in the comics (what with Thor being dead during the stories that introduced Korg and all).  That said, Thor’s very first foes were actually Kronans, and we had even seen one in The Dark World, which made Korg a pretty solid choice for inclusion in Ragnarok.  It also gave director Taika Waititi a chance to be super goofy, which, like the Grandmaster thing above, really worked out well for everyone.  The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he sports 30 points of articulation.  Korg’s got a brand-new sculpt, and I’m hard-pressed to figure out exactly what else Hasbro could do with this, so my guess is it’ll be a one-off.  It’s a very impressive piece of work; it takes the strong work we saw on the Thing figure from last year and adds even more of a realistic element to it.  It follows the design from the movie quite closely, and even manages to work in the articulation pretty well.  Korg’s paintwork is a fairly nuanced affair.  He’s one of the less colorful characters from the film, but that doesn’t stop Hasbro from getting down the color scheme he does have, and offering up some pretty solid accent work on his rocky skin and leather gear.  Korg is packed with his mace-like thing, which he holds in the least threatening way possible, as the character would.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Honestly, when Ragnarok was released, I never thought either of these two would get Legends releases, which is part of why I tracked down most of the Minimates.  But even the Minimates didn’t have a Korg, which was certainly a bummer.  So, Hasbro showing off this pairing last year meant for a definite buy from me.  Grandmaster is a pretty solid figure, no doubt, but Korg completely steals the show.  He’s definitely one of the best MCU figures Hasbro’s put out, and I really like him a lot.  He was really worth the wait.

Grandmaster and Korg came from my sponsors at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2137: Hela & Skurge

HELA & SKURGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Thor: The Dark World‘s biggest flaw by far was its exceptionally weak villain, especially in comparison the the very charismatic villain of his first outing.  For Thor’s third go at this movie-going thing, Marvel aimed to amend that issue.  In tandem, they were also looking to address their lack of female villains up to that point.  Enter Hela and her henchman Skurge, who proved to be a far more entertaining pair than the last movie’s walking nap and guy whose name is close enough to Skurge that I always confuse them.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hela and Skurge are part of the MCU-based line-up of two packs for the “80 Years of Marvel” sub-line of Marvel Legends.  This set more than the others really feels a lot like a leftover “Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years” set, with its one-new-one-retooled break-down.  Given the lack of Ragnarok coverage in “The First Ten Years,” I wouldn’t be shocked to find out this was actually a displaced pairing.

HELA

“The ambitious Goddess of Death, Hela returns to Asgard to claim the throne after the death of her father, Odin.  To further her dark goals, she raises an army of fallen Asgardian warriors to fight for her as her Berserkers.”

Unlike a lot of MCU villains, Hela actually did get a movie-based figure from Ragnarok‘s tie-in Legends assortment, and it was even a fairly accurate one.  That said, anyone who wasn’t Thor or Loki from that line-up was actually pretty hard to find, so she’s been rather in-demand since.  Additionally, Hela has quite a few variations to her look over the course of the movie, so another shot at getting a few more of those is certainly welcome.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She re-uses the body from the previous release, which seems fair enough.  It’s fairly accurate to her appearance from the movie.  She seems a little bit large if I’m honest, but the Thor figures are frequently a little over-scaled, and it’s not like Cate Blanchett is overly short or anything.  The cape is also re-used, and I’m a bit less of a fan of this piece.  It’s not badly sculpted, but it has a lot of trouble staying in place on her, which makes posing her while she’s wearing it quite tricky.  The first Hela included two different head sculpts, but this one ups the ante with three of them, all distinct from the previous two.  She comes wearing her “battle head” with the horns and all.  It’s an impressively ornate piece, and I quite like the teeth-gritting expression.  It’s outside of the realm of what we usually see on female figures, and works really nicely with this particular look.  Hela also gets two heads without the headgear.  The first has her disheveled appearance from her debut scene in the film, complete with messy hair and piercing stare.  This one’s my favorite of the three, and a great piece for recreating that specific moment of the film.  There’s also a slightly more cleaned up head, which isn’t quite as exciting, but is a solid piece in its own right.  Hela’s paint work fixes a few issues with the prior release, namely a few inaccurate placements of color, as well as just making the whole thing look a little cleaner and brighter.  I love the metallic green they’ve chosen, and this figure definitely highlights how quickly Hasbro’s improved on the face printing.  In addition to the three heads, Hela also includes a spare hand holding Mjolnir (perfect for pairing with the first unhelmeted head) and the eternal flame (re-used from the Infinity War Scarlet Witch).

SKURGE

“An Asgardian warrior desperate to prove himself, Skurge’s survival instinct leads him to join Hela and become her Executioner.  Skurge must wrestle with desire for self-preservation in the face of Hela’s violence against his home.”

In the comics, he’s a pretty straight-forward violence-loving brute, but for Ragnarok, Skurge took on a slightly different persona, slightly ineffective and a lot more cowardly.  It was actually a pretty effective move (especially after Kurse pretty much occupied the character’s comic role in the prior film), and one very definitely helped by the character being played by Karl Urban, who can make pretty much anything work.  I was quite bummed by his absence from the Legends line-up, so his inclusion here was certainly a plus.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Skurge is sporting an all-new sculpt, which makes sense, because who exactly would he be sharing with.  Stylisitically, he’s very similar to the movie-tie-in Ragnarok figures, with some slightly off proportions and a slightly more rudimentary construction in a few spots (which just further supports him being an older piece that was delayed).  There’s still a lot of really strong work, though, especially on the various parts of the armor.  The head’s also got a decent likeness of Urban, which is certainly a plus.  His paint is on par with Hela.  Again, the metallic colors used on the armor are really nice, and the face printing works well for the character.  Skurge is packed with two sets of hands (in basic gripping and trigger fingers), his axe, and his twin M-16s “Des” and “Troy.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The initial Ragnarok hit when I was between jobs, so I was much more limited on what I could pick up from it, meaning I didn’t get that first Hela figure.  I was holding out for a possible re-release, and this one was just the ticket, improving on a few of that figure’s flaws.  I’m definitely glad I waited on her.  Skurge was my most wanted figure that we didn’t get at the time, and I’m definitely glad that he found his way out.  His figure’s not perfect, but there’s certainly a lot I like about him.  Additionally, this is just a really solid pairing, and definitely feels like a really strong addition to the ever-growing Ragnarok line-up.

Hela and Skurge came from my sponsors at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2133: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“As World War II unfolds, and super-powered beings emerge across the world, the patriotic hero Captain America is revealed, ushering in a new age of Marvels.”

It seems like not too long ago, in a review of another Captain America figure no less, I discussed the ramifications of making a good figure into a store exclusive.  Really, when your get down to it, it’s not really about being exclusive to any store at all, but more one store in particular, who seems to be getting a lot of exclusives at the moment, and doesn’t have the greatest history of backing toy exclusives.  The store, of course, it Walmart, who for some inexplicable reason have managed to net their second Captain America exclusive of the year in a year when Captain America hype is about as high as its ever been.  Seems like poor planning if you ask me, but no one did, so I guess I’ll stop rambling about it.  How about I ramble about something I’m a little more qualified to ramble on about: actual toy reviews!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the Marvel: 80 Years sub-line of Marvel Legends.  The 80 Years line is effectively just taking the place of last years Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years line, but with comic figures thrown into the mix as well.  Alongside Iron Man and Thor, Cap is part of a trio of figures inspired by the work of famed comics painter Alex Ross.  While those two are standard releases showing up pretty much everywhere, he’s only at Walmart.  Since there’s no markings of him being an exclusive, there are rumors that he may be offered up to other retailers at a later time, but as of right now they’re just unfounded rumors.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  The last couple of comic-based Caps were based on the Reaper body, and this figure is at the very least Reaper adjacent.  He shares his forearms, legs beneath the hips, and his belt with the Red Onslaught Cap (and by extension Red Guardian and Secret War Cap).  Those are the good parts of the Reaper body, so that’s all well and good.  He then gets a new head, torso, upper arms, pelvis, and hips, which make him look sufficiently new.  After years of the thug face (which hit critical mass with the Red Onslaught Cap), we finally get a new set of features for the comic book Steve Rogers.  There’s some definite Ross-influence occurring here, and that’s certainly a plus, since it plays true to the classic version of the character.  It’s a nice sculpt, and more than just the face, I also really like the texturing and stitching on his mask.  The new torso and shoulders give us a detail we haven’t seen on Cap since the early Hasbro days: sculpted scale-mail.  The lack of the scales was one of the major prevailing complaints about the RO Cap (well, after that hideous head), and Hasbro had even addressed it somewhat with the paint change-up on the Vintage reissue of the figure, but this time around they’ve gone all out and actually sculpted them properly.  As someone who runs hot and cold on the scales, I have to say, they really add a lot to this figure, as goes that three dimensional star.  There’s just a lot of pop.  Cap’s paintwork continues the Ross inspiration, going for a slightly darker palette than we usually see for a comics Cap.  It’s not a bad look, but I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing a repaint in slightly brighter colors.  As it is, there’s plenty of very strong work on this figure, and I definitely dig the metallic accents on the scales.  Cap is packed with two sets of hands, his trusty shield, a throwing effect with hand attached, and a second head.  The usual gripping hands are included here, but in addition, we *finally* get some fists for a Reaper-based release, which was majorly overdue, and is low-key one of my favorite things about this guy.  The shield is the same one Hasbro’s been using for a few years for the comic figures.  It’s a little undersized, and the star is off-center on mine, but it’s a serviceable piece.  It can be mounted on the throwing effect, which is the same one first introduced on the Secret War Cap, and is definitely a fun extra.  The second head gives Cap a slightly more stern expression.  I’m not certain if it’s based on a specific take on the character, but I don’t like it quite as much as the standard.  I honestly would have preferred an unmasked head, but I can see this one getting some play if you’re really jonesing for a John Walker Cap.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since being disappointed by the Red Onslaught Cap, I’ve been waiting for Hasbro to do a more proper Classic Cap, and when this figure was shown off at Toy Fair, I was psyched.  I was less psyched when he was confirmed as a Walmart-exclusive.  While this one ended up being much easier for me to find than the Endgame version, it was still a little bit of a hassle tracking him down, and I can foresee him being one that a chunk of people miss.  Hopefully Hasbro will have another release of this mold in their back pocket for those who can’t track him down.  In the meantime, this is the best comic-styled Cap we’ve ever gotten, and I really dig him.