#2022: Thanos

THANOS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“I am inevitable.”

Heads up, there may be some mild spoilers for Avengers: Endgame in today’s review.  If you haven’t seen it, I’m not giving anything major away, but you’ve been warned just the same.

So, how about Endgame?  That was really something.  Captain Marvel gave it a nice lead-in, with all of the money it raked in, but Endgame‘s blowing away…pretty much everything, firmly marching its way to being the biggest movie ever.  But how was the movie, you know, as an actual movie?  Well, if you ask me, it was fantastic.  It was pretty much everything I wanted, and it was a wonderful cap to the previous 21 movies in the MCU.  I was very, very content with this finish.  Thanos is once again a central player in the story, but where Infinity War made Thanos a complex and intriguing figure, Endgame really ramps up his monstrous side.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thanos is the Build-A-Figure for the first Endgame-themed series of Marvel Legends.  Since he was also the first Build-A-Figure last year, it’s not a huge shock that he got this slot again for the follow-up.  When Thanos’ Infinity War appearance was first revealed, a lot of people were let-down a bit by its very stripped down nature.  While it grew on me after the movie had come and gone, I could definitely understand why some fans were bummed that we didn’t really get the Thanos that we’d been teased with since back in the first Avengers.  Endgame made it a definite point to use a fully armored up appearance, and this figure follows suit.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Apart from a lack of waist joint, and a slightly restricted set of shoulder joints, his articulation is pretty much comparable to his prior figure.  Thanos is sporting a mostly new sculpt with only his left hand and the slip-over for his forearm being reused.  This Thanos is just a little smaller than his unarmored appearance, at least in terms of bulk.  In terms of height, he’s actually a touch taller than the preceding figure.  The size change mostly comes into play with the torso, which is just not quite as broad across the shoulder as the prior figure.  Honestly, I’m not sure he’s really any less accurate than the prior figure, and to my eyes, his proportions actually seem a little more balanced this time, so I don’t mind it so much (it’s also nowhere near as pronounced a difference in person as it is in the photos).  Thanos’ sculpt is quite nicely rendered.  The armor appears to be accurate to what I’ve been able to find in way of reference for his film design, and the detailing is nice and crisp.  Under his helmet, there’s an angry grimace that matches the updated head from the Infinity War three-pack release, which seems to suit his more battle-ready appearance this time around.  The figure even manages to avoid the prior figure’s issue with popping apart easily after assembly, which is perhaps the biggest plus in my book.  Now, I do have one slight bone to pick with this figure when it comes to film accuracy, and that’s what’s going on with the left hand.  He’s sporting the Gauntlet, fully powered up and everything, which is…well, it’s just plain not accurate.  Thanos ditches his armor in Infinity War before gaining all of the stones, and by the time he’s armored up again in Endgame, he doesn’t have the Gauntlet in his possession.  In fact, keeping the Gauntlet away from him is a fairly major plot point.  What’s more, the original Gauntlet isn’t seen at all following the film’s opening minutes, so this isn’t the one he’s trying to get to anyway.  The point is, it’s really not accurate.  That being said, Thanos and the Gauntlet are definitely linked, so I can’t entirely fault Hasbro for wanting to include it.  I suppose perhaps the best case would be including an alternate forearm for him, but perhaps that was out of their price range.  Thanos’ paintwork is pretty good overall.  The skintone matches with the three-pack release (which was the more accurate of the two hues), and his face uses the printing style.  The armor is mostly rendered via molded plastic, but what paint is there is well-applied for the most part.  There’s a little slop on the arms, but it’s not as bad as some of the other figures in the series.  Thanos one-ups his prior figure by actually getting his own accessory.  It’s his double-bladed weapon…or at least an early version.  It’s not strictly screen accurate, but it gets the idea across, and it’s nice that it wasn’t left out entirely.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a little disappointed with last year’s Thanos Build-A-Figure, and while the three-pack rerelease did a lot to salvage that sculpt, I was still happy to see him get another shot for Endgame.  The armored appearance is certainly more dynamic, and the resultant figure is generally a more solid release, and one that I’m actually pretty happy I assembled.

This set of figures kind of dropped on us quickly, so I didn’t have the same time to soak up the line-up that I’ve had previously, meaning I didn’t so much go into it with much by expectations.  I knew I wanted this Thanos, and I was right on that front, but, aside from the somewhat weak Living Laser figure, I really enjoyed this assortment as a whole.  Hercules tops off the singles as one of Hasbro’s best single releases, Nighthawk and Citizen V are good formula figures, Ronin and Ebony are strong film-accurate releases, and even Cap, in all his inaccurate glory is still a fun figure in his own right.  If you’re interested in getting a set of your own, all seven of the single figures are still in-stock at All Time Toys’ webstore.  And, as always, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

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#2016: Ebony Maw

EBONY MAW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The dangerous assassin Ebony Maw puts his powers of persuasion to sinister use in the service of the evil Thanos.”

It’s kind of funny that the first member of the Black Order we see in Infinity War is the last one to get a figure, isn’t it?  Yes, despite his fairly prominent role as Thanos’ top hype-man, Ebony Maw was displaced by fellow Order member Proxima Midnight when it came to the initial toys.  In defense of the toy makers, Proxima does some like a more conventionally easy sell, what with Maw’s general non-action stance.  The important thing is that we have him now, and it only took a year (hey, that’s better than Red Skull, Ronan, and Crossbones).  So, was he worth the wait?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ebony Maw is figure 2 in the first series of Endgame-themed Marvel Legends.  Hasbro switched to referring to these assortments by the name of the figure you’re building, and I generally follow their lead, but seeing as this is our third “Thanos Series” since the relaunch, I have to be slightly more specific.  Despite his presence alongside Endgame products, Maw is officially an Infinity War figure, barring any surprise appearances during Endgame.  I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I wouldn’t know.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall (retroactively making Corvus seem a little small compared to the rest of the team) and has 31 points of articulation.  Ebony Maw is sporting an all-new sculpt, because really, what could you possibly get away with re-using.  Well, I mean, I guess you could try, but it wouldn’t turn out very well.  This figure’s sculpt, on the other hand, turned out swimmingly.  Like Corvus, he benefits from having a year to get all the details right, and, while he’s not quite as smoothly articulated as Corvus, Ebony’s articulation is a marked improvement on Proxima’s.  The detailing on Ebony is crisp, and very spot-on.  The texturing on his sleeves and pants is really solid work, and that head sculpt is absolutely the spitting image of Maw’s Squidward-like visage.  His hands are suitably expressive, and I especially like the gesture of the left hand, which feels like a perfect match for the character’s personality.  Like all of the Black Order, Ebony Maw’s color scheme isn’t the most thrilling, but the figure replicates it nicely enough.  For me, the most impressive part of the paint is the subtle texturing of his exposed skin, giving him a properly lifelike, if perhaps alien, appearance.  Perhaps the only drag to Maw is what comes packed with him.  He has Thanos’ left leg, but nothing of his own.  A few effects pieces with the glass daggers, or even some alternate hand poses would have been really cool.  At least with his larger size, the packaging doesn’t feel as empty as it did with Cap.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was always fairly certain we’d be seeing Ebony in Legends, but I’ll admit I was getting slightly concerned as we moved away from the Infinity War product.  Once he was slotted into this assortment, it felt like it took no time at all to get him.  While I was initially distracted by getting the two Endgame figures, getting to finally complete the Black Order was a very nice feeling, and Ebony may well be the best figure in the set (I still *really* like Corvus, though.  I might be a little biased on that one).

I grabbed Ebony May from All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2014: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The First Avenger, Steve Rogers continues to protect the world from evil as the star-spangled hero, Captain America.”

Okay, we had a little bit of a prelude to Endgame with yesterday’s Infinity War pairing, but today I’m moving onto the Engame product proper.  A central piece of the promotional work for the film has been the swanky new “quantum suits” that the surviving Avengers will be sporting, so it’s not a huge shock that the suits are showing up pretty prevalently in the toys.  For the main assortment of Legends, we’ve only got one sample of the suit so far, being sported by most Avenger-ly Avenger, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the first series of Endgame-themed Marvel Legends, which is currently arriving at most retail establishments.  He’s an unnumbered figure, due to being the one figure in the set not necessary to complete the Armored Thanos Build-A-Figure, much like last year’s Mark L Iron Man.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The whole sculpt of this figure is new, though it should be noted that the body has already been re-used for Hawkeye in the Target-exclusive Hawkeye & Black Widow two-pack.  As noted in the intro, this figure is based on Cap’s quantum suit-sporting look.  It’s an interesting choice for our first Cap in the line.  While I’m not opposed to a uniformed look in principle, it does take some getting used to for a character like Cap, who has a more established solo look (and even has a brand-new solo look for the movie that we’ve yet to see any toy coverage for at all).  Still, these are the looks getting the clear push for merch, so I can’t really blame them for going with him.  The body is built to pull double-duty, so it’s maybe not a spot-on build for Chris Evans as Cap, but it works reasonably well, and I can understand their desire for a single body, especially with the two-pack’s included extra heads.  The suit itself is a pretty solid design, and I think it’ll look good in action.  Cap gets a unique head sculpt, and if I’m honest, it’s one of the more perplexing pieces of the figure.  He’s wearing a helmet that appears to be the same design as the one he had in the first Avengers.  While not a bad design, it’s been supplanted by the Winter Soldier-style helmet for a while now, and that’s even the helmet that is shown on the images on the back and sides of the packaging, making this older helmet seem out of place.  However, the helmet’s on this figure, the basic figure, and even the Minimate, so perhaps there was a change during production of the film.  What’s even more surprising, is that he’s wearing a helmet at all, since the concept art and trailers have all depicted Cap without any headgear while sporting the quantum suit.  Again, this is the sort of thing that might make more sense once I’ve seen the movie.  Whatever the case, it’s actually a rather nice sculpt, and I can definitely foresee a lot of people modding this to replace the Walmart exclusive figure from the first movie.  The figure’s paintwork is reasonably well-handled.  There’s a bit more slop than I’ve seen on other recent Legends, and some scuffing on the legs on my personal copy, which I was a little annoyed by.  Also, the printed face doesn’t seem to have worked quite as well for this particular figure, and results in him looking a little bit messy. The darker silver of the armor also seems to be in contrast to the more straight white we’ve been seeing in the trailers, but that could be a lighting thing.  It doesn’t look too terribly off here.  The real Achilles’ heel of this particular figure is the accessory compliment.  He’s got his shield…and that’s it.  The shield’s nice and all, and at least it’s the new and improved sculpt from the 10th Anniversary set, but he feels really, really light, especially with no Build-A-Figure part.  The lack of an unmasked sculpt is definitely the biggest killer, especially since the really nice unmasked head from the 10th Anniversary isn’t compatible with this release.  A slightly retooled release of that would have added a lot to this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Chris Evans as Cap is one of my favorite parts of the MCU, so I’ve really been looking for a solid figure of him for a while.  Sadly, it seems like every Legends release so far has had *something* off about it.  In this figure’s case, I can forgive the slightly un-Evans-like build on the body, but the lack of unmasked head is really hard to get past.  Admittedly, I like this figure more than I’d expected to, but not as much as I’d hoped to…if that makes any sense.  Perhaps my opinion will change after the movie.  At the very least, I think he’s a better figure than last year’s Cap.

Cap was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1994: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL SELECT (DST)

The retail product for the fourth Avengers film, Avengers: Endgame has officially started hitting shelves in preparation for the film’s April 26th release date.  However, with Endgame coming out just one year after its predecessor Infinity War, there’s just a touch of overlap, as the last of the IW product is still making its way to shelves.  I’m doing my best to keep up with it all (I ended up having to do a lot of picking and choosing during the onslaught of IW stuff) and to that end, I’m looking at Diamond Select Toys’ take on Captain America’s Infinity War appearance.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is one of the four Infinity War-based figures from the 2018 lineup of Marvel Select.  He ended up taking a little while to make it to shelves, and just started showing up in full force a few weeks ago.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  As far as scaling goes, he’s definitely nearer the taller end of Selects.  I had ever so slightly been hoping he might follow Daredevil’s lead, and potentially be closer to Legends scaling.  Of course one can’t really blame them for sizing him this way; he’s in proper scale with most of their other offerings, which wasn’t really true if DD.  This figure has a sculpt, handled by Gentle Giant Studios (who handle most of the MCU Legends as well), which appears to have at least some parts in common with the Civil War figure. It’s really for the best that this figure arrived so long after the movie; Cap’s “Nomad” design went through quite a few changes right up to production of the film, resulting in a lot of inaccuracies on his other figures.  This one is far more accurate to the final product.  He’s got his proper hair length (which neither Hasbro figure had), as well as both gloves, properly styled, and all of the appropriate wear and tear to his uniform.  The details of the uniform are also nice and sharp, and I really dig that texture work.  The head sculpt is probably the weakest aspect of the figure.  Its detailing is on the softer side, and it doesn’t quite have a spot-on Evans likeness.  That said, the likeness is still closer than all of the Hasbro attempts barring the unmasked Civil War head and certainly an immense improvement over prior unmasked Cap heads from DST, and the softer detailing may be more linked to the paint.  Speaking of the paint, slight thickness on the head application aside, it’s not a terrible offering.  The general appearance is accurate to the film, and there’s quite a bit of accent work going on.  In addition to the accuracy of the man figure, something else that really sets this guy apart is his accessory compliment.  In addition to a selection of eight different hands, as well as a display stand, he includes his Wakandan replacement shields in both collapsed and deployed configurations.  Prior Cap figures have been lucky to get a single shield, but this one can appropriately dual weild, and the deployed versions even have a sliding segment in the front like we saw in the movie.  By far, these are the most accurate versions of the shields we got on a small scale figure, and I would count them as a major selling point.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Legends version of this Cap was definitely the biggest disappointment of that set for me. I really liked the Nomad look, and such an inaccurate figure wasn’t cutting it.  I considered the Figuarts release, but he just traded in some inaccuracies for another set of them, and lacked the shields entirely, so I passed.  Once I saw the prototype for this guy, I was definitely on-board, making him an easy buy when he showed up at Cosmic Comix when he showed up a few weeks ago.  While I’m a little bummed that the best version of this guy out there doesn’t quite fit with the rest of my IW figures, there’s no denying this is a solid figure, and he’s nice enough that I’m probably just going to fudge the scale a bit on my shelf.

 

#1930: Ghost Rider & The Fallen

GHOST RIDER & THE FALLEN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Toys and gimmicks go together like…two things that go together really well.  Sorry, I’m not much of a wordsmith.  (Pay no attention to the fact that I’ve written 1929 prior daily entries for this site).  Toys and comics also go together pretty well, as do comics and gimmicks.  So, sometimes, you hit this perfect trifecta of toys based on gimmicky comics.  Take, for instance, today’s focus, the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, a very gimmicky concept running in the current Avengers comic from Jason Aaron, which has, in turn, led to some matching gimmicky toys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ghost Rider and The Fallen are one of the four two-packs in the standalone “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC” series of Marvel Minimates, available exclusively at Walgreens, starting in the fall of last year.

GHOST RIDER

“Bonded to a Spirit of Vengence, the Ghost Rider sits atop a giant wooly mammoth, who later falls victim to the Fallen.

I feel I should at this juncture clarify something I needed clarified for me: it’s the mammoth that is a victim of The Fallen, not Ghost Rider.  The phrasing on the bio’s slightly off, so I got confused, especially since I haven’t actually read the whole “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC story.  With that bit of confusion aside, let’s look at the actual figure!  He stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for his “hair,” necklace, loincloth, and arm wrappings.  The hair is re-used from the Series 50 Ghost Rider; a sensible choice, since it’s not like flame hair’s gonna really change all that much.  The arm bands are similarly re-used; they’re the same ones that cropped up on the Best Of Iron Fist, among others.  The necklace is new, and it’s a pretty impressive piece.  It certainly sells the 1,000,000 BC aesthetic.  I *think* the loincloth is new, which is honestly a little surprising, since there’s not really anything all that unique about it.  That said, the same piece was also used for the Phoenix from this line-up, so maybe DST just thought it was time for a new standard piece.  Whatever the case, it gets the job done.  The paintwork on Ghost Rider is solid work.  The colors are a bit monochromatic, but that’s true of a number of the designs from this set.  The line work is quite sharp, and I do really like the skull face on this one.  I may be swapping that onto a more standard issue GR.  Ghost Rider is packed with a pair of flame effects to slide over his fists, as well as the standard clear display stand.

THE FALLEN

“The Fallen is one of a race of Celestials, highly powerful beings who pass judgement on all planetary bodies and the creatures who live on them.”

Despite their recurrent presence in the Marvel Universe, the Celestials have never been a particularly toyetic bunch.  Also known as Zgreb the Aspriant, The Fallen is the first of them to actually been made as an action figure, largely thanks to his presence as the main antagonist to the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC’s first story arc.  He’s by far the most divergent of the bunch design-wise, being all futuristic and robot-y.  He’s also largely re-used parts, if you can believe it.  His torso/head is an all new piece (and a quite nicely sculpted one at that), but the other eight add-on parts are borrowed from the Series 63 Hulkbuster. While not perfect matches for the source material, I’m willing to call the appendages close enough, and there’s no denying he looks pretty darn cool.  Also pretty darn cool is the paint; unlike the rest of the assortment, he’s actually pretty colorful and dynamic, going back the classic Marvel color scheme of green and purple.  The application is nice and clean, and the metallic finish really looks top notch.  His only accessory is a clear display stand, but honestly, I don’t know what else you would give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not overly enamored by the whole Avengers of 1,000,000 BC thing, so for the most part the ‘mates didn’t do much to excite me.  However, I came across them after last year’s incredibly lengthy minimate drought, so I was just excited to find *anything* new.  While the other three sets still didn’t grab me, I liked The Fallen a fair bit, and if nothing else Ghost Rider had a decent Ghost Rider head.  Of course, then they sat on my desk waiting to be reviewed for five months.  Yikes.

#1898: Hulk

HULK

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

“The world seen through the eyes of the Hulk is distorted with rage, a haze of violence like a bad dream. Trapped within the mighty frame of the Hulk, Bruce Banner is barely able to maintain control. And yet, the Hulk is a hero. His immense strength is always turned to the protection of the weak, and the defense of justice. For while the Hulk may be rage incarnate, it is rage that is always properly directed against those hoping to cause harm.”

He’s a Hulk.  Smash.  Uhhhh…..that’s all I got.  So, here’s this Hulk figure?  Yeah, here’s this Hulk figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk is the third Walmart-exclusive 6-inch-scale Avengers figure I’ve looked at on the site.  He is, of course, based on Hulk’s somewhat updated, Ruffl-ized design of the Hulk from The Avengers.  It’s not like it’s far removed from the standard classic Hulk design, but he was decidedly more human looking for this appearance, and it shows through on this figure.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Hulk’s sculpt was brand new to him at the time.  It has subsequently seen re-use for both the Ultimate Green Goblin Build-A-Figure (which I have not reviewed), and the Age of Ultron Hulk (which I have reviewed). Unlike Cap and Thor, this figure is widely divergent from Hulk’s smaller-scale counterpart, which, honestly, is for the best, because the basic Avengers Hulk kind of sucked.  This figure’s sculpt, on the other hand, really doesn’t suck.  The proportions are more exaggerated than the movie’s were, but it makes for a good visual for the figure.  In addition, his skin has this really nice texture work to it that I like a lot more than the much more basic, much less interesting replacement pieces we saw for Age of Ultron.  I also really like the two different hand poses this guy is sporting; I’m always down for more than just the two-fisted combo.  Hulk’s paintwork is fairly subdued, especially when compared to the other two figures I’ve looked at, but it’s accurate enough, and it looks pretty hecking decent.  Hulk included no character specific accessories, but he did have the re-purposed Heroscape-styled display stand that was packed with all of these guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember how I got Thor and Cap?  Yeah, same deal for Hulk.  I think of all three, he has always been the one I’ve been most interested in finding, just due to how underwhelmed I was by his Age of Ultron variant.  This one’s a lot better than that one, and, like the other two, ends up being a surprisingly good figure for his time.

Hulk came from my friends over at All Time Toys.  He’s one of many 6-inch Marvel figures in their back catalog of figures, which can be viewed at both their website and their eBay store.

#1897: Thor

THOR

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

“It is occasionally intolerable to be forced to live and work alongside humans with their short lifespan and petty troubles — but Thor has grown to have a deep affection for the people of Earth.  In the Avengers, he is gratified to have found a group of peers.  These are warriors with whom a man can be proud to serve. Thor is glad to fight alongside mighty creatures like the Hulk and noble men such as Captain America.”

Happy Thor’s Day everyone!  Despite some pretty intense audience support, Thor frequently seems to be the hardest sell of the main Avengers when it comes to toys.  Neither of his headlined toyline’s have done particularly well at retail.  But, by virtue of being a rather important member of the team, he does still warrant his token spot, which is a good thing for all of those fans, myself included, who would hate to see him left off the roster.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is another figure from the six-figure Walmart-exclusive larger-scale line of Avengers figures, which hit shelves not too long after the movie in 2012.  For the line based on Thor’s own solo film, Walmart had also offered up a 6-inch figure, which featured a brand-new sculpt, but also featured Thor’s helmet, which he wore for less that five minutes of the first film’s screen time, permanently attached to the head.  Not exactly the most indicative of the MCU take on the character.  This figure is really just a quick fix to that one; he’s exactly the same, but with a new head.  He stands 7 inches tall (this is the figure that would start the trend of MCU Thors being rather on the tall side) and he has 27 points of articulation.  The sculpt is a decent enough piece of work, though it shows its age a bit more than the Cap figure from yesterday, likely because the majority of it is a year older, and Hasbro was improving rapidly at this point.  It’s mostly the articulation that shows the age, especially the hips, which are difficult enough to pose that he’ll essentially just be standing.  The detail work on the sculpt is all pretty sharp, and mostly pretty accurate to the films.  His proportions are idealized slightly, but not terribly unbalanced.  The head, as the new piece, was the main focus. The head and hair are separate pieces, and the head is sporting one of Hasbro’s best Hemsworth likenesses.  The hair, which is decidedly based on the first Thor, rather than Avengers, isn’t quite up to the same snuff as the face.  It’s decent, but feels just a bit…full?  I’m not 100% sure how to describe it, but it’s certainly a bit off.  Thor’s paintwork is pretty solid work.  Application is clean, the palette is a good match for the movie, and he isn’t missing any notable details.  Accent work is minimal, but the sculpt does the heavy lifting here.  Thor is packed with Mjolnir, as well as a stackable display base patterned on the Heroscape tiles.  My figure only has the hammer, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Thor at the same time as Cap.  It was actually Cap that I’d noticed first, with Thor being the follow up.  This really wasn’t a figure I had much want for at the time of his release, and I’ve tended to prefer some of Thor’s later looks in the movies.  But, with the Mark VII already in my collection, and Cap soon to be, I was hardly going to just pass this guy up.  He’s not perfect, and he certainly shows the learning process Hasbro was going through at the time, but he still sports the best Hemsworth likeness Hasbro’s produced to date.

Like yesterday’s Captain America, Thor came from my friends over at All Time Toys.  He’s one of many 6-inch Marvel figures in their back catalog of figures, which can be viewed at both their website and their eBay store.

#1896: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

“As a soldier in World War II, Captain America fought for the safety and honor of his entire nation.  Now, as the leader of the Avengers, he fights to protect the entire world.  Villains great and small wield earth-shattering power without hesitation.  Only the original super-soldier and his team of awesome heroes stand between those ruthless individuals and the devastation of the planet.”

2012’s The Avengers was a big success for the MCU, but came at an odd time for Hasbro’s Marvel toys.  The 6-inch scale had all but died out, mostly replaced by their 3 3/4 inch offerings.  However, the poor sales of the Captain America and Thor toys the preceding year meant even those offerings were decidedly modest.  For both prior films, as well as Iron Man 2, Walmart had offered up a smaller assortment of Legends-styled figures, and continued this trend at an even larger scale offering five of the team’s six members*.  Today, I’m looking at the team’s leader, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is one of the six figure line-up from the Walmart-exclusive Avengers 6-inch Movie Series.  He is, of course, based on his somewhat derided costume from the first Avengers movie. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall (the tallest of the MCU Caps in this scale) and he has 29 points of articulation.  The articulation is handled slightly differently than more modern releases; Hasbro was still figuring some of these things out.  The hips are definitely the weakest part and make him a little difficult to pose.  He also could do with some actual wrist joints, but given what we were getting not long before, this is pretty good.  Cap’s sculpt is unique at this scale, though it shares a rather similar construction with the smaller line’s version of the same costume.  They’re definitely divergent sculpts, though; the articulation is cut differently, and this figure, as a later offering, catches some of the design changes that appeared between the concept art and the final costume.  It’s still not a pitch-perfect match for the on-screen counterpart, but it’s very close.  The texture work on Cap’s uniform is definitely top-notch.  It’s sharply defined and nicely contrasts the various different materials that make up his costume.  Hasbro definitely took advantage of the larger scale of this figure to really go all out with the detailing.  It doesn’t so much extend to the likeness on the face, though.  It’s rather on the generic side, so it’s not like it looks un-like Evans, but it’s definitely not on the same level as the two Evans likenesses we got this year.  Cap’s paintwork is pretty straight forward and clean.  He’s got the slightly brighter colors of this particular costume down pretty well, though the reds may perhaps be a touch brighter than they should be.  The application is all clean and consistent.  Technically, that last stripe of white on his back should be blue to match the rest of the costume, but it’s an easily missed detail, and far from holds the figure back.  Cap was packed with his mighty shield, as per usual.  It’s actually a unique mold, not used since for the MCU Caps.  It’s a little bit on the small side, but it does have advantage of having extending straps, allowing for placement on his back.  It’s that one detail that I miss most from the later releases, and I was happy to see it here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still very much on the fence about the whole 6-inch Marvel endeavor when these figures arrived in stores.  This, coupled with their relative scarcity, meant that I skipped this set in its entirety.  After getting the Tenth Anniversary Mark VII Iron Man, I was a little bummed not to have any other figures to go with him.  Fortunately, as luck would have it, All Time Toys got in a collection with several of them in it, so I was able to assemble the team pretty quickly.  Cap’s a surprisingly nice figure, and really showcases a turning point for Hasbro’s Marvel offerings.  He’s a precursor for all of the amazing MCU figures we’ve gotten in the years since, and even 6 years after his release, he holds up pretty darn well.

*Widow was left out of the line-up to free up a slot for Loki.  There was much frustration with this choice at the time.  However, she would finally get a figure two years later as part of the Mandroid Series, and has been granted a Legends release for both of the Avengers sequels.

#1860: Iron Man – Mark VII

IRON MAN — MARK VII

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

“Equipped with a mighty Vibranium arc reactor and enhanced flight capacities, the Mark VII is a Fully-Loaded Rapid Deployment suit built for heavy combat.”

Despite the movie’s immense financial success, the tie-in action figures for Avengers were rather understated.  The poor sales of toys for Captain America and Thor, as well as the general lingering of Iron Man 2’s later assortments, meant that retailers weren’t really jumping all-in for line-ups featuring many of those same characters.  Mass retail only wanted smaller-assortment, smaller-scale figures, but Hasbro was able to sell Walmart on an exclusive run of Legends scale figures for the movie.  Of course, this exclusive run meant there were some cutbacks, such as everyone’s favorite armored avenger being stuck with a re-pack of his Mark VI armor from Iron Man 2, rather than the Mark VII armor that more appropriately fit the line-up.  Fortunately, Hasbro took the tenth anniversary of the MCU to amend this issue.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mark VII Iron Man is entry 3 in Hasbro’s Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Marvel Legends.  He is the final of the three single-packed offerings from the line, following the previously reviewed Red Skull and Ronan the Accuser.  This is, of course, Tony’s Mark VII armor, which he sports during the proper assemblage of the Avengers during the film’s big climactic battle.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 37 points of articulation.  Not only does this figure have the most articulation of any of the movie Iron Men, it’s also implemented in the most workable fashion here, meaning that the Mark VII is hands down the most posable MCU incarnation of Iron Man in the Legends line-up.  Though it takes a little bit of cheating, you can also get his signature three-point landing out of this figure, which ended up being one of its selling points for me.  What’s more, you can even move all of the flaps on his back, and his head can almost look straight up.  We saw a lot of improvements in this direction fro both the Mark 46 and Mark 50 releases, but this guy really seems to take everything they’ve learned and even further build on that.  Obviously, with all of this improved articulation, you kind of need an all-new sculpt, and this one’s a very good one.  Thanks to a much-delayed release, Hasbro was able to actually make the figure as faithful to the film as possible, and they’ve generally succeeded.  There are still a few little details here and there, but he’s very, very close.  The biggest plus for me is that, unlike the IM2/IM3 armors, this one is actually properly scaled with the rest of the MCU Legends, and can conceivably be an actual guy in a suit of armor.  The paint work for the Mark VII is solid, and again, one of the strongest entries we’ve seen for an MCU Tony.  The metallic red plastic works very well, being neither too bright or too dark, and the rest of the application is pretty clean.  There’s a slight scuff on my figure’s right leg, but he’s otherwise pretty good.  The Mark VII is packed with a second set of hands, this time in the repulser blast pose (which, sadly, continue the tend of not having the same articulation as the fists), as well as the now-standard blast-effect pieces, this time in a transparent yellow.  I was a little saddened that there was no unmasked head this time, which is about the only major complaint I can lobby against this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My disappointment with the Mark 50, combined with my prioritizing of the other figures in the Marvel Studios set, meant that I passed this figure up a great many times.  I guess I just didn’t think too much of him.  It was actually Super Awesome Fiancee who brought him home for me from her work, at which point I was able to re-examine him in-hand, and realize I’d been totally wrong about this guy.  There’s a lot to like here.  He’s the best MCU Iron Man on the market, and the easiest one to find at that.  I whole-heartedly recommend him!

#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.