#2170: Tigra

TIGRA

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“Greer Nelson was subjected to treatments meant to enhance her physical prowess and make her the greatest female athlete in the world – but something else happened. She was transformed into a fur-covered cat woman, and gifted with all the graces of a feline – heightened speed and agility, enhanced senses, and dangerously sharp claws. As Tigra, she can be as playful as a kitten, but when trouble arises she becomes a savage warrior. The symbol on her belt joins Tigra with Earth’s mightiest heroes, and she heeds the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

Back before the Avengers had a whole bank of movies to make them a household name, Marvel had tried their hand at expanding their outreach via animation.  Hoping to capture some of the success of X-Men: The Animated SeriesSpider-Man: The Animated Series, and the Marvel Action Hour, they launched Avengers: United They Stand.  It was…not a success.  It lasted just one 13-episode season and never had much of a following to speak of.  Me?  Well, I loved it, and the toyline it spawned, which provided figures for the team’s more obscure members, like today’s focus Tigra!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tigra was part of the second series of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line, though as I always note with these guys, the numbering was really just clerical; both series shipped to stores at the same time.  This figure would mark Tigra’s second figure ever, and her first that wasn’t just a straight repaint of someone else.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and has 13 points of articulation.  The UTS figures were by and large notable for their inclusion of a decent amount of articulation for the scale, and Tigra is the first figure I’ve looked at to truly showcase this.  It’s not perfect, as she misses out on things like elbows and is still saddled with those dreaded v-hips that Toy Biz was so fond of for female figures,but the inclusion of wrists, and more than just cut shoulders was downright revolutionary at the time.  Tigra sculpt is sort of an interesting concept; they were clearly going for something dynamic, as is dictated by the sway to the hair and the slight twist to her waist and legs.  It doesn’t quite work out for a dynamic pose and also means she’s stuck in a wonky pose when just standing.  It’s not terrible, though, and honestly isn’t any worse than some of the really stiff poses from earlier in Toy Biz’s run.  The detailing on the sculpt follows the styling of the cartoon, but does inject some more realism into it, with some solid texturing on the hair and fur.  It’s definitely solid for the time.  Also pretty solid for the time is the paintwork, which gives Tigra her distinctive stripes and is generally pretty cleanly applied. She’s got an Avengers insignia on her shorts…and also on the backs of her hands?  Guess she really wanted to be on brand.  Tigra was packed with a base with a training robot attached.  The robot had magnets in its hands which matched with the ones in Tigra’s hands, allowing for her to “spar” with it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures first started hitting shelves, they were a little scarce.  Tigra had the honor of being the first of them added to my collection, alongside Falcon.  It’s always given me a special appreciation for the character, given I had her longer than any of the others, and I’d been so desperately searching at that point.  She’s perhaps not the greatest figure the line had to offer, but she’s still pretty decent, and certainly not bad when compared to the other figures in Tigra’s limited run of toys.

#2085: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“One of the original members of the Avengers, Steve Rogers – better known as Captain America – has always been the ultimate Wielding Soldier. Wearing the patriotic colors of the American flag, and wielding his trusty shield, he fights alongside his teammates in the name of truth and justice.”

Well, this isn’t a Spider-Man review.  What gives?  Fear not, dear readers, the Molten Man series reviews will return tomorrow,  but I’m taking a slight detour in honor of Steve Rogers’ birthday, July 4th!  Oh, also it’s some American holiday as well.  Whatever the case, I’m taking a look at a Captain America figure, because that’s how I do.  In the ’90s, Captain America figures were nowhere near as plentiful as they are now, and somewhat astoundingly, Toy Biz’s huge 5-inch line only spawned five figures of him over the course of the whole decade.  Today, I’m looking at one that just barely squeaked in under the radar in 1999, as part of the tie-in line for Avengers: United They Stand.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was part of the first series of the Avengers: United They Stand line (though, like other Toy Biz tie-in lines from the same time, both Series 1 and 2 hit shelves simultaneously).  Though not a series regular in the cartoon, Cap did have a prominent guest star appearance, and would have been joined by fellow guest star Iron Man had Series 3 ever been produced.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  If the sculpt on this guy looks familiar, it’s because I’ve looked at most of it before.  In a line otherwise made up of entirely new sculpts, Cap re-used the body of the Electro Spark Cap from the ’90s Spider-Man line.  Sort of an interesting choice, since it didn’t really match Cap’s design from the show, and all of the packaging actually showed the Marvel Vs Capcom Cap instead.  As I noted the first time I reviewed the sculpt, It’s quite large and exaggerated, which does make him look rather goofy.  He gets a new head and an Avengers belt buckle to differentiate him.  The head is a decent enough piece, and certainly feels more like your usual Captain America than the Electro Spark one, but it’s also really small, especially when compared to the body.  This only furthers the body’s proportion issues.  Cap’s paintwork is actually quite bright and eye-catching, and an improvement over the prior use of this mold.  There are some minor issues with bleed-over, but they’re as prefaced: minor.  Cap was packed with his usual shield, once again saddled with a gimmick, but this time not one that total destroys the aesthetics.  It’s just got a little magnet imbedded on one side, which triggers an “explosion” on the included droid accessory, where part of it pops out.  It never worked super well, but it also didn’t really ruin the figure, so I can’t complain.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The United They Stand figures were pretty hard to find when they were released, so I got them as I found them.  Cap was nearer the end of my completion of the set, fourth to last.  I found him on a trip with my parents to a Kmart, which was sort of out of the ordinary for us.  It also marked an important change in my collecting, as my parents both tried to assure me that I pretty much already had this figure.  They were right, but still bought the figure for me, starting me down a path of buying nearly identical variants of the characters I like.

#1823: Wonder Man

WONDER MAN

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“Simon Williams became Wonder Man as a result of scientific experiments that bombarded his body with tonic energy. Now his eyes glow with power and he possesses superhuman strength, speed and durability. Originally an enemy of the Avengers, Wonder Man soon realized he had been manipulated into attacking the team and now he uses his amazing powers as a full-fledged Avenger. Wearing his Avengers symbol ring, this mighty hero will always heed the call, “Avengers Assemble!””

After the success of X-Men: The Animated Series, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and the Iron Man and Fantastic Four segments of the Marvel Action Hour, in 1999, Marvel tried their luck again, with a cartoon based on The Avengers.  Titled Avengers: United They Stand, the show placed its focus on the typically more supporting Avengers, rather than the likes of Cap, Thor, and Iron Man.  Also, unlike prior Marvel cartoons, it leaned heavily on selling the toys, leading to some…interesting design choices.  It wasn’t incredibly well-received with the fanbase, and only ended up lasting a single, 13-episode season.  But, like I said, it was definitely designed to sell toys, so it got a pretty decent run of those.  Today, I’m looking at my favorite member of the team from the show, Wonder Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The initial assortment of Avengers: United They Stand figures were spilt into two series.  Wonder Man was officially part of the second, but they were all released at the same time, so it didn’t really matter in the end.  Anyway, Wonder Man was a big guy on the show, and that’s reflected with this figure, who stood just shy of 6 inches tall and had 9 points of articulation.  Wonder Man’s movement is an interesting mix.  He’s got ball-joints hips, and hinged ankles, which weren’t standard issue at the time, giving him a leg (heh) up, but due to his two separate action features, the arms are limited just to cut joints at the shoulders, and rather restricted ones at that.  On the plus side, his sculpt was actually a pretty good one.  The only other figure I’ve looked at from this line, Ultron, took some liberties with the show’s design (to the figure’s benefit, in Toy Biz’s defense), but Wonder Man follows the trend of the rest of the line, crafting a fairly show accurate figure.  He still departs from the show design a little bit, just so he can fit in a little bit better with some of Toy Biz’s other figures from the time, but you can definitely see where the inspiration for the figure came from.  He’s definitely a stylized figure, but I feel it works pretty well.  The head in particular really seems to get down the character’s personality quite well.  Wonder Man’s paint work is actually pretty impressive.  Not only is the base application very clean, but he’s also got some nice variation in the finish on areas such as the boots, and some very well-rendered accenting on his legs, arms, and face.  They even included the distinctive red reflection on his sunglasses!  Mine’s taken a little bit of beating, of course, but has certainly held up better than other figures from the same era.  Winder Man was packed with a life-sized version of his Avengers ring from the cartoon (not entirely sure why, but there it was), and nothing else.  It makes him one of the lightest packed figures from the line, but he’s also the largest, so I guess it works out.  He does have the two action features previously mentioned.  The first is a light-up feature, which lights up his hands and sunglasses.  Why?  Not a clue.  I’d say it was related to his ionic abilities, but those are usually purple, and these light-up red.  The second is a punching feature on his right arm.  It’s rather basic; push down the lever on his back, and the arm swings up.  Again, I have to ask “why?”  Certainly there were better, less-articulation-restricting features to work in?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I am an unabashed lover of United They Stand.  I vividly remember awaiting its premiere, and, of course, its accompanying toys.  I wanted the whole line-up, and made detailed lists of the exact order I’d be buying them in.  Wonder Man was at the very top of the list; my absolute most wanted figure in the set.  Unfortunately, United They Stand marked the first time I really ran into troubles with distribution and scarcity on such a line, so I kind of had to take the figures in the order my dad was able to find them for me.  Wonder Man ended up as the fourth figure I added to my collection, procured for me by my dad after he stopped at lord knows how many stores on his way home from work.  This guy remained a favorite of mine for quite a while.  Ultimately, he’s not without his flaws. Most of them are related to those shoulders, and just how locked in place they are.  That said, I still kinda love this figure, and I still kinda love the show he’s from.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0006: Ultron

0040

Alright, it’s time for another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today’s figure is another Toy Biz Marvel entry, though this one’s from a bit later in the reviews.  Let’s have a second look at Avengers: United They Stand’s Ultron!

Ah, yes, Avengers: United They Stand.  Poor A:UTS. it gets a lot of hate and I’m not certain it deserves it.  Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest depiction of the Avengers to grace the small screen(That honor goes to the more recent Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), but I didn’t think it was all that bad.  The designs and animation may be late 90s over complication at its finest, but I thought the characterization was actually nicely done, and I loved the fact that the focus was on the slightly lesser known Avengers instead of Cap, Iron Man, and Thor.  One of my other favorite things was the tie-in toyline, which is what I’ll look at today.  In particular, the toy counterpart of the shows recurring antagonist: Ultron!  This isn’t the first time Ultron’s been mentioned on this blog.  I previously mentioned him in passing in my Vision review, where I mentioned Ultron was the creator of Vision.  Ultron himself was the creation of Avengers founding member Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man, aka Giant-Man, aka Goliath, aka Yellow Jacket, aka Wasp, aka Dude with serious identity issues!  Ultron rebelled on his creator and became a powerful Avengers foe.  He’s also set to be the villain in the upcoming Avengers sequel.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultron was released as part of the first wave of Toy Biz’s Avengers:United They Stand tie-in line.  Ultron had several different looks over the course of the show, but this one seems to be a bit of an amalgam of the various looks, with the largest portion of influence coming from his appearance in the show’s first two episodes.   He stands just over 5 inches tall, and features 11 points of articulation (13 if you count the moving knee-pads).  Ultron is a completely new sculpt.  It’s well done, and quite detailed, especially for its time of release.  In particular, the head really captures the look of the character.  The paint is pretty well done, being mostly all one color; a nice bluish silver.  There’s a wash over the whole figure to help bring out the details.  The figure also features a light-up feature.  By pressing the button on Ultron’s waist, you could make the figure’s eyes and mouth light up.  It’s a neat feature that helps to further simulate the look of the character from the show and comics.  At one point, Ultron had a large cannon that hooked onto his right arm, but I’ve since lost that piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My dad bought Ultron for me when he was initially released.  We happened to stop at a Toys R Us and there he was.  He was one of the last figures I acquired from the line.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want one, but because the A:UTS figures were quite difficult to find initially, so I kind of got them when I saw them.  Growing up, he was the closest thing I had to a classic Ultron.  Because of that, I have quite the soft spot for him.

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere!  This review is from my second month writing reviews, and you can start to see some of the regular review features coming into play.  Height, articulation and paint are all actually addressed this time.  And I even made it past 500 words!  Granted, most of it was the intro, but still.  Also, this is my first Flashback to a post-random review period. Cool.  Cool cool cool.

My actual review was pretty on point for this guy.  The only thing missing was his big ol’ arm cannon, which was amongst the many items excavated during The Find.  It’s goofy, but also manages to match pretty well with the rest of the figure stylistically, and, amazingly, it doesn’t impede his movement when attached (of course, the shoulder’s still a bit restricted thanks to the wiring that allows it to light up).  Also, I neglected to mention in my original review that Ultra’s sculpt, was an early product of the fine folks at Art Asylum, who would later launch one of the best Trek lines ever put into plastic, as well as creating my favorite brand of all time, Minimates.

I’ve actually got a story about this one! As a kid, I lost this figure around Christmas time and couldn’t locate him for a whole year.  Come the next Christmas, I put on my robe I wore one a year on Christmas morning and found this guy in the pocket.  Seems I’d stowed him there for safekeeping the prior year and total forgotten.  To date, this figure remains my favorite figure of Ultron, so I’m happy he wasn’t missing for too long!

#0040: Ultron

ULTRON

AVENGERS:  UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

Ah, yes, Avengers: United They Stand.  Poor A:UTS. it gets a lot of hate and I’m not certain it deserves it.  Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest depiction of the Avengers to grace the small screen(That honor goes to the more recent Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), but I didn’t think it was all that bad.  The designs and animation may be late 90s over complication at its finest, but I thought the characterization was actually nicely done, and I loved the fact that the focus was on the slightly lesser known Avengers instead of Cap, Iron Man, and Thor.  One of my other favorite things was the tie-in toyline, which is what I’ll look at today.  In particular, the toy counterpart of the shows recurring antagonist: Ultron!  This isn’t the first time Ultron’s been mentioned on this blog.  I previously mentioned him in passing in my Vision review, where I mentioned Ultron was the creator of Vision.  Ultron himself was the creation of Avengers founding member Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man, aka Giant-Man, aka Goliath, aka Yellow Jacket, aka Wasp, aka Dude with serious identity issues!  Ultron rebelled on his creator and became a powerful Avengers foe.  He’s also set to be the villain in the upcoming Avengers sequel.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultron was released as part of the first wave of Toy Biz’s Avengers:United They Stand tie-in line.  Ultron had several different looks over the course of the show, but this one seems to be a bit of an amalgam of the various looks, with the largest portion of influence coming from his appearance in the show’s first two episodes.   He stands just over 5 inches tall, and features 11 points of articulation (13 if you count the moving knee-pads).  Ultron is a completely new sculpt.  It’s well done, and quite detailed, especially for its time of release.  In particular, the head really captures the look of the character.  The paint is pretty well done, being mostly all one color; a nice bluish silver.  There’s a wash over the whole figure to help bring out the details.  The figure also features a light-up feature.  By pressing the button on Ultron’s waist, you could make the figure’s eyes and mouth light up.  It’s a neat feature that helps to further simulate the look of the character from the show and comics.  At one point, Ultron had a large cannon that hooked onto his right arm, but I’ve since lost that piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My dad bought Ultron for me when he was initially released.  We happened to stop at a Toys R Us and there he was.  He was one of the last figures I acquired from the line.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want one, but because the A:UTS figures were quite difficult to find initially, so I kind of got them when I saw them.  Growing up, he was the closest thing I had to a classic Ultron.  Because of that, I have quite the soft spot for him.

Read the Flashback Friday Figure Addendum here!