#2924: Vision

VISION

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“Created by Ultron, Vision was part of a plan to conquer the Avengers. His transparent skin lights up when passing ghost-like through objects. Vision knew Ultron was evil, and helped the Avengers defeat him. He proved invaluable and was asked to join the team. Proud of the symbol he bears as one of Earth’s mightiest, this hero answers the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

Remember a time, way back when, when Vision *wasn’t* a household name?  It was a dark, strange time, you guys.  People, like, didn’t know him, or care about him, and they looked at you weird when you explained his backstory to them.  Brain patterns are a thing, Tim!  Don’t ruin this for me!  But nowadays, Vision’s cool!  That’s where things should be!  Let’s review a figure of him, just to celebrate it!  This has probably been too many exclamation points!  Now I can’t stop, though!  To the review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vision was released in the first assortment of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line. In a crazy turn of events, this was the fourth freaking Vision figure from Toy Biz.  Somebody there really liked this guy.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  Vision’s articulation scheme is generally pretty decent for the era.  The hips could maybe stand to have slightly better range, but he’s otherwise got a great range.  Vision’s sculpt was all-new, and remained unique to him.  He’s based on the character’s look in the show, just like the rest of the line.  Vision’s design for the show was generally one of the more faithful ones, at least in broad strokes terms.  It takes his classic design and sort of techs it up a little bit for something sightly more robotic.  All things considered, it’s not much of a departure from how the MCU would adapt him later, albeit with a slightly different end aesthetic.  The sculpt does quite a nice job of capturing the animation model, and making it fit with the rest of the line.  The cape piece is cloth, but it’s actually quite nicely handled.  There’s a proper hem on the sides and everything.  That’s commitment to quality, right there.  Toy Biz knew, you guys.  They knew this guy was gonna take off.  And good for them.  Vision’s color work went a just a touch lighter than his on-screen model, but it’s generally a bright and eye catching look.  The slight metallics are cool, as are the transparent parts, which are that way to facilitate the light-up feature (unfortunatley no longer working on my figure).  Vision was packed with one of Ultron’s drones from the show’s opening episode.  It can be hooked up to Vision to also light-up, and even has articulated arms. It’s definitely one of the best of these gimmicky extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Vision was one of my most wanted figures from this set when they were released, and was also one of my favorite parts of the show as a whole.  They were scarce at their first drop, so he wound up as the third figure I got from the line, but I did finally get one, and he was my first 5-inch figure of the character.  That was definitely significant, which was cool.  He’s still one of my favorites, and he honestly holds up pretty darn well.

#2917: Wasp

WASP

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

With Avengers: United They Stand’s shifted focus on the team’s lower tier characters (for the time, anyway) placing Ant-Man as the show’s central character, it also made for some great extra focus on Hank’s long time partner in fighting crime, Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp.  Though she’s always been pretty central to the team in the comics, UTS marked the first time she got any real time in the spotlight with the general populace. And, it got her a third action figure, so that’s pretty cool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp was part of Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line, which hit shelves at the same time as Series 2 in the back half of 1999.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and she has 16 points of articulation. Wasp isn’t quite as well articulated as Ant-Man (admittedly the best articulated of this particular line), but she’s still better than most figures of the era.  The only thing that really holds her back are those dreaded v-hips, but that was something we’d still be dealing with for another several years. She also benefits from separately articulated wings, as well as a moving “stinger” piece, which is unfortunately missing from mine. Wasp’s sculpt was an all-new, totally unique piece, based on her design from the show, albeit in that slightly tweaked style that we saw with Ant-Man.  Her design from the show was certainly an overhaul of how she tended to look in the comics, but it’s also a far cry from her worst look over the years.  It’s certainly a more armored look, but it was the end of the ‘90s.  This is just how we dressed then, guys.  The sculpt captures the design well enough, and makes it work in the context of Toy Biz’s wider Marvel line at the time.  Probably the weirdest part of the sculpt are the arms, which are a touch too short, comparatively.  Otherwise, it does look pretty solid.  She has two different heads for the purposes of helmeted and unhelmeted looks.  Both sculpts are nicely rendered, and they swap out pretty easily.  Wasp’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  It’s all base work, but it’s cleanly applied, and it’s a little more involved than just a straight recreation of the show’s color scheme.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Wasp was also packed with a small missile launching drone.  It’s a goofy, rather extraneous piece, and that’s probably part of why I have no clue where the one that came with my figure has wound up.  Honestly, the extra head is enough to make it feel worth it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Ant-Man, Wasp was one of the last figures I got from this line, since my dad had the first one we found. So, she was on that list of the final three figures I gave to my Grandmother, and she picked this one up for me the week after I got Ant-Man.  I was again pretty excited, and she’s another one that I still really like all these years later.

#2910: Ant-Man

ANT-MAN

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“As the leader of the Avengers, Dr. Hank Pym is Ant-Man! Ant-Man blends brilliant battlefield strategies with a guide-by-example bravery to unite Earth’s mightiest heroes against the forces of evil. The symbol on his chest means Ant-Man will always heed the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

In 1999, after the massive success of their Spider-Man and X-Men animated series (and in light of the at least moderate success of Iron ManFantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk), Marvel tried to bank on a few more cartoons.  From the “big team of colorful heroes” angle, we got Avengers: United They Stand, an ill-fated attempt at getting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes out to a wider audience before the MCU would do so far more successfully.  I’m an unashamed fan of the show, but it didn’t really hit with most people, and has generally been seen as a black mark on the team’s reputation in larger media terms.  Something notable about the show was its shift away from the big names in favor of focusing on the lower tier mainstays of the team.  In accordance with that, for the purposes of the show, the team’s leader wasn’t Captain America or Iron Man, but rather Ant-Man, specifically of the Hank Pym variety.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ant-Man was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s tie-in line for Avengers: United They Stand, not that it was anything other than a clerical numbering, since all of the figures from both assortments shipped at the same time.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s remarkably posable for this era of figures, which certainly makes him a very playable figure.  Ant-Man had an all-new sculpt, based on his design from the show.  The show gave a good portion of the cast some rather radically different designs, Ant-Man included.  He got a whole armored appearance within the show, removing him quite a bit from his classic attire.  In retrospect, it’s not quite as crazy different, though, since elements of it would make their way into Scott Lang’s early ’00s re-design, and likewise would become part of the character’s MCU design.  He’s actually closer to the MCU Ant-Man than the classic is in many ways, making him a fair bit more recognizable.  I guess that’s an unintended bonus.  The sculpt does a respectable job of capturing the style of the show’s animation and translating into a working figure.  It honestly ends up looking pretty darn good, and may even be the best of the sculpts this line produced.  Heck, it’s just one of Toy Biz’s best 5-inch Marvel sculpts.  He’s even got a fully removable helmet, which was pretty great at the time.  The only slight oddity to the sculpt is his “action feature”; in order to simulate his ability to grow into Giant-Man in the show, they gave him extending limbs.  It’s not the worst concept in theory, but it doesn’t really give the intended effect; he just looks like he’s really stretchy.  Fortunately, it doesn’t at all impede the figure’s function at normal scale.  His paint work’s not bad for the era.  It’s a lot of base work, and it’s pretty cleanly applied.  There’s a little bit of wear on the hair on mine, but it’s otherwise held up pretty well in the two decades I’ve owned it, so I’ll consider that a win.  Ant-Man was packed with his removable helmet, a miniature version of himself, and the mini-ship he would ride around in on the show.  The ship could be placed on his back, like on the show, and could be fully deployed by using the magnet on his forearm to unlock it.  I’ve lost half of mini Ant-Man, because he was literally an inch tall and I was 7, as well as the hatch for the vehicle, because, again, 7, so, you know, that’s how it works.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I absolutely love this figure.  He’s probably my favorite figure from this line.  He just really works.  Despite that, he’s one of the very last figures I actually got from the line.  The line was rather scarce at launch, so finding multiples of figures wasn’t super likely.  Because of this, my dad and I wound up sharing most of the line, at least at first.  He wound up getting the first Ant-Man.  However, as the line began to become more plentiful, I started getting more of them, and Ant-Man was one of the last three I had left to get.  I mentioned this to my Grandmother, and she asked for a list of the three I was missing.  The next week, when I went over to their house, she pulled this guy out for me, having bought him in the mean time, and he very quickly became one of my favorites.  He holds up remarkably well, and I still really like him.

#2893: Quicksilver

QUICKSILVER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Quicksilver’s ultra-high-speed capabilities are a major asset to the Avengers in the fight against Ultron.”

While the first Avengers film hit during a period of time when Marvel Legends were dead, so they had to rely on an exclusive run to get the team out in 6-inch scale (and they didn’t even get out the whole team, anyway).  By the time of its sequel, Age of UltronLegends was finally getting its footing back, but still wasn’t quite strong enough to support the entire extended line-up of the team as seen in the film.  Three members of the team wound up at mass retail, with an Amazon-exclusive boxed set to fill out the rest of the original core six.  That left the three new additions to the team, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Quicksilver, out of the line-up.  Scarlet Witch and Vision were both able to get toy coverage out of their later appearances, but that didn’t work out quite so well for poor Pietro, who, you know, died in Age of Ultron and all.  We went through two special anniversary lines with no love for Pietro, but a third one would have just been ridiculous, I suppose, so here he is, after six whole years, finally in Legends form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver is part of the 10 piece “Infinity Saga” sub-set of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  He’s one of the five standard sized single release figures, and one of four of those to be an actual wide release (because of course we can’t release a Captain America that’s not a Walmart exclusive, right?).  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The range of motion on the joints is all pretty solid, especially on that neck joint.  I do wish the knee joints broke up the sculpt a little bit less when posed, but it’s far from the worst we’ve seen.  I also do dig the full transition to pinless joints here on the elbows and knees.  Quicksilver has an all-new sculpt based on his attire from the film’s final battle, which is a sensible choice, since that’s his most distinctive look, and the one that matches with most of the rest of the team (we still don’t have an AoU Scarlet Witch, so he doesn’t match her at all, of course).  The sculpt is an impressive piece of work.  The head doesn’t quite have a perfect likeness of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but it’s certainly got a resemblance.  Likewise, the body seems like it might be perhaps a slight bit too small for his build in the film, but it’s again not too far off, and there’s some really amazing texture work going on in the clothing.  Quicksilver’s paint work is pretty basic stuff for the most part.  The head gets the best work, with the face printing to give him a lifelike quality, and some solid accenting on the hair, for his proper eurotrash dye-job appearance.  The rest of the work is rather on the basic side, but it works for what it is.  Quicksilver is packed with two sets of hands, in fists and an open gesture, plus the head, torso, and arm of an Ultron drone.  It sure would be nice to get a full Ultron drone one of these days, but this is certainly a start, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Quicksilver, specifically the Age of Ultron version of the character, was one of Jess’s favorite Marvel characters.  She really, really liked him, and she was really upset when he died.  I think I may still have the marks from her hitting in the theater, in fact.  She was also really upset that he didn’t get the same toy love as the other characters.  This figure was shown off just a few weeks before she died, and she was very excited.  It had been my plan to get her one of her own when they were released, but that didn’t happen.  It’s a shame that she just missed him.  I think she would have been very happy with the end result.  I myself am pretty happy with him, and with the extra meaning he brings along with him.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2883: Maria Hill & Chitauri Foot Soldier

MARIA HILL & CHITAURI FOOT SOLDIER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“And that, kids, is how I met your Aunt Robin”

Wait, are the How I Met Your Mother jokes not in vogue anymore?  My apologies, my calendar’s still back in 2012!  Well, I certainly can’t wait for this up and coming Avengers movie!  Maria Hill’s sure to steal the show.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Maria Hill and the Chitauri Foot Soldier were released in Series 45 of Marvel Minimates, which was a whole assortment dedicated to the Avengers movie.  This was the “variant” set for the specialty line-up, packed at one per case.  Despite being the variant, the set isn’t denoted as such, likely due to a general confusion about which set was going to be the variant until the last minute.  It was one of the two sets exclusive to the specialty line-up.

MARIA HILL

Compared to the rest of the characters in The Avengers, Maria is a rather recent addition to the mythos, first appearing during Bendis’ New Avengers run.  She’s had rather heightened visibility since very early on in her career, so her inclusion as a part of SHIELD in the movie was fairly natural.  The figure is built on the basic post-C3 Minimate body, so she stands 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Maria makes use of three add-on pieces, for her hair, belt, and holster.  All three were new pieces to this figure, well-sculpted to match her appearance from the film.  The holster would see immediate re-use on the TRU-exclusive Nick Fury and Black Widow, and has subsequently seen reuse on a large number of figures later in the line.  It’s a very versatile piece, and certainly an improvement over the much bulkier pieces we saw on prior figures.  The paint work on Maria is a little simpler than some of the other figures from this same assortment.  It’s in line with her more basic design, though.  Her face sports a respectable likeness of Cobie Smulders, at least for the style.  I also quite like the detailing on her SHIELD logos and on the tops of her boots.  Maria is packed with a pistol (re-used from Blackhawk) and a clear display stand.

CHITAURI FOOT SOLDIER

There was much mystery surrounding the Chitauri prior to the film’s release.  All initial solicitations simply listed the figures as “REDACTED,” which led to all sorts of rampant speculation, and spoiler-filled theories.  In the end, they were just the Chitauri, an Ultimate-universe-knockoff of the Skrulls, chosen because the Skrulls were caught up in all sorts of legal troubles.  Ironically, here in 2021, we’re three years past seeing the MCU-debut of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel, and looking towards seeing them show up in their own story for Secret Invasion.  This standard Chitauri Foot Soldier was constructed using five add-on pieces.  The helmet and torso cap were both new to this figure, and have since then remained unique to him as well.  By virtue of the smaller window of lead time necessary for Minimates, these pieces end up being perhaps the most accurate versions of the Chitauri design available.  They’re perhaps a little restricting to movement, but otherwise pretty good additions.  He also makes use of the torso extender piece, as well as the dreaded “duck feet.”  The feet, admittedly, look a little better on an inhuman design such as this.  That being said, it’s a shame we couldn’t get a set of more movie accurate feet, and even perhaps a unique set of hands as well.  The Foot Soldier’s paintwork is a decent offering. Not as detail oriented or precise as most Minimate offerings, but fairly clean and colorful, and definitely a good match for the movie’s design.  This guy was packed with a long blaster rifle.  It’s not the arm-mounted piece that we saw most of them carrying in the film (a variation of that was included with the General), but it’s accurate, and well sculpted.  Oddly, there was only one display stand in this pack, so Hill and the Footsoldier will forever be made to fight for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up when it was new, from my local comic book store Cosmic Comix, in eager anticipation of the movie’s release.  Though perhaps not this assortments most colorful or exciting release, Maria was a new character release at the time, and is a solid “civilian” addition to the line-up.  I didn’t think much of the Foot Soldier, or the Chitauri in general, at the time of its release.  However, this is a pretty solid offering, and it holds up decently 9 years later.

#2877: Captain America – Avengers Assemble Edition

CAPTAIN AMERICA — AVENGERS ASSEMBLE EDITION

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line began as something that was mostly focused on Japanese properties, and while they aren’t totally out of the picture by any stretch of the imagination, they certainly have added a lot more western properties to the line-up.  In particular, figures based on the MCU have become quite common place.  They’ve done quite an Endgame line-up, and now their circling back with a selection of figures based on the first Avengers, under the heading “Avengers Assemble.”  I am, somewhat predictably, looking at the Captain America from the set, because that’s what I do these days.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is one of the four Avengers Assemble Edition figures added to the S.H. Figuarts line-up this year.  Cap started showing up domestically in early July, which is a convenient time for Cap figures.  He’s based on Cap, specifically in the first Avengers movie, though it does allow you to use him as both an Endgame flashback Cap and a Homecoming educational videos Cap, if you so choose.  That said, there was a release specifically patterned on the Endgame appearances of the costume last year.  This one sort of tailors him more to his actual Avengers appearances.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s similar to the Endgame Cap scale-wise, which also means he’s on the taller side for Figuarts, meaning he’s also not too terribly far off from Legends scaling.  Still a touch small, but you could fudge it if really pressed.  He follows the usual Figuarts articulation scheme, so that gives him an impressive range of motion.  That being said, he shows some of the improvements we’ve been seeing more recently on Figuarts with how the articulation is implemented, so he’s a slightly more solid figure, with a little more heft to him.  I definitely like that.  Cap’s sculpt is largely shared with the Endgame version of this costume from last year, which is sensible, since they’d want to get some mileage out of this mold if possible.  It’s a pretty impressive piece of work.  It’s very clean and sleek, and definitely makes a slightly iffy design work nicely in three dimensions.  There’s the usual level of stylization to him, so that he fits in with the rest of the line.  I was happy with how well they got his build down, since the Hasbro version of this costume was a little bit scrawny.  This version certainly more lives up to the “America’s Ass” monicker.  The only thing I’m not really big on is the belt, which has a little trouble sitting properly.  It tends to hover a little higher than it should.  Cap’s standard head sculpt has the helmet and a more neutral expression, which is a strong set-up.  The helmet’s details match well with the films (again, something Hasbro tended to struggle with) and the Evans likeness is pretty strong.  The paint work on Cap is quite nice.  It’s got the basic color scheme down nicely, and reminds me how much I like the brighter colors of this costume.  They also added some accenting on the outfit, so as to give him a little more wear, since he’s supposed to work for the final battle from the movie.  When it comes to the accessories, Cap is pretty nicely covered.  He gets three alternate heads: masked and angry, and two unmasked.  The unmasked are the same sculpt, but one is clean, and the other is dirty.  He also has the two necks to match masked vs unmasked heads, as well as two different collars one with the hood and one without.  Also included are two shields, again clean and dirty.  They get fully folded down straps, plus one for the upper arm, two alternate hands for each side holding the lower strap, and one strap with the additional hook for doing the one handed hold on the shields.  There are a total of 14 hands included, which covers the fists he comes wearing, the pair with the straps, the pair with the tab for use with the strap with the hook, two open gesture, two gripping, two relaxed, one pointing with the index finger, and one pointing with index and middle finger.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have the dislike for this design that some people do.  That said, it’s toy coverage wasn’t great.  The Legends versions were definitely not at the line’s height, and I was disappointed by the Endgame re-release in particular, since I’d been hoping for an all-new sculpt.  Alas, that wasn’t the case, so I was still in the market for a good small-scale version of the costume.  When this one came in at All Time, it was a pretty easy sell for me.  He’s a really strong figure, and easily the best version of this costume on the market.  He definitely feels worth the value.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2867: Hulk

HULK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Bruce Banner smashes anything in sight as the gamma-powered Hulk!”

Square Enix’s Avengers game really wasn’t the smash they were hoping for, now was it?  The game was off to a rocky start pretty much from the word go, but it certainly wasn’t helped by its intended release being interrupted by a pandemic.  There were a number of planned tie-ins, including some stuff in the Legends range, but somewhat weirdly, we got quite an eclectic selection of characters in that area.  The main line gave us two versions each of Cap and Iron Man, as well as Ms Marvel and Abomination.  The only other notable character released was the Hulk, who was not only not a main line release, but also wasn’t even a standard version of the character.  It’s weird my guys.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk (who is officially just named “Hulk” on the package, but is referred to as “Outback Hulk” by pretty much every one whenever he’s referenced) was a GameStop-exclusive Marvel Legends release.  He was under the Gamerverse banner, and sold at the deluxe price point.  He was released in mid-2020, in an attempt to loosely tie-in with the game, and he’s based on one of Hulk’s alternate skins from the game, itself patterned loosely on his look during “House of M.”  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This figure is largely built on the body introduced with the Endgame Hulk Build-A-Figure, which is a decent starting point for a slightly more realistically proportioned Hulk figure.  Also, with only one prior use, it’s understandable that Hasbro might want some more mileage out of it.  The only slight snag, at least on my figure, is that the arms are very prone to popping out of their sockets, due to the Build-A-Figure origins.  I actually found it to be a more frequent occurrence with this release than with BaF proper.  Ultimately, it’s a minor side issue, though.  Hulk gets a new head, depicting the game’s longer haired and bearded take on the character.  It’s a different look to be sure.  There are actually two different heads, each with its own expression.  One’s more calm, and the other is baring his teeth, ’cause he’s angry, I suppose.  The heads do seem maybe a touch too large for the body, but they’re otherwise decent enough sculpts.  Hulk also has a new set of add-on pieces for his wrists.  They’re meant to be the tattered remains of his shirt, thematically looking like wraps on his forearms, I suppose.  They’re a little light on the detailing to really sell them for what they are, but I do like how they change up the overall look of the core figure a bit more.  In terms of paint, this Hulk is a little different from the usual, being grey, and also having the somewhat tribal detailing painted on his face and torso.  Again, it helps to change up the usual look, and is at least a somewhat different take on the character.  The actual application’s not a bad set-up.  It’s nothing crazy, but it works.  Hulk is packed with two different sets of hands, one in fists, the other in open gesture.  This gives him two full sets of the combo pair we saw on the original release of the mold.  I do like when they update it to give us the full sets.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nothing about this particular release really spoke to me when he was shown off, and he certainly wasn’t worth the hassle of going through GameStop to get him, so I held off on him.  Honestly, I kinda forgot he even existed, really.  However, one of them got traded into All Time a couple of months ago, and he’s gotten quite cheap, so I figured it was a decent enough time to pick him up.  Ultimately, there’s not a lot going on here that you can’t get elsewhere, and he’s not exactly a standard Hulk anyway, so his exact purpose is sort of weird.  I don’t dislike the figure, but I’m hard pressed to figure out what I’m gonna do with him now that I own him.

#2842: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (HOT TOYS)

These days, I pretty much exclusively save my Hot Toys reviews for monumental numbers, but I’ve gotten to the point now where anything less than 500 doesn’t seem worth it, so it’s literally less than one a year.  Despite my last one being not even a whole year ago, when I crossed the 2500 mark, I’ve actually picked up a new one that warrants reviewing, and I don’t particularly want to wait seven months to review him, just to get the numbers to line up right.  If he’d actually come out when he was *supposed* to, I would have been golden, but nooooooooo….  So, anyway, I’m breaking the structure.  I know, you’re all so broken up about it, right?  Let’s jump back to 2019, when the world sucked a great deal less, and discuss the culmination of a decade’s worth of movies in Avengers: Endgame, and, more specifically, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was released as part of the Endgame component of Hot Toys’ core Movie Masterpiece Series, where he’s figure 536.  He winds up being the sixth release of the Endgame figures, though he was originally meant to be a little bit earlier.  His initial release date was projected for June of 2020, but he wound up being about a year later than expected, making him so far the most delayed of the Endgame figures.  Presumably, the need to add some more final battle-specific parts contributed to this at least a little bit, but there was also that whole pandemic thing going on, which I’m sure did not help.  He’s finally here, though, and that’s the thing that matters the most of all.  Cap is based on his all-new super suit from the movie, which places him as a specifically third-act version of the character, which is really where he gets his best look, so I’m all about it.  It’s definitely Chris Evans’ Cap at his Cap-iest.  The figure stands about 12 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

As is the norm for masked characters, Cap is packed with two different heads for this release.  The first is a helmeted look, which is a quite nicely layered sculpt that looks like he’s actually got a separate helmet and everything.  For this head, they’ve given him an extra joint at the base of the jaw, for some extra mobility.  It works pretty well, but does result in a slightly noticeable seam at the back.  It’s certainly an improvement from earlier versions of such designs, though, which is good.  The head has a solid likeness of Chris Evans under the helmet, showcasing an improvement even on the already really good likenesses of the older Caps.  Much like the DX12 Batman, the helmeted head has three different mouth plates that you can swap out for different expressions.  The standard is fairly neutral, and has the most versatility, but he’s also got one with the mouth slightly opened, and one with the teeth firmly gritted and bared, which is perfect for the more intense battle poses.  The plates are attached with magnets, and can take a little bit of doing to place, but stay nicely once set, and swap out without too much trouble.  It certainly works a bit better than the straight up pegs that were on Batman.  The paint work on the head is up to the usual HT standards, with a very lifelike appearance for the face, and some really nice wear and tear detailing on the helmet.  The second head gives us a proper un-helmeted look for Steve.  Originally, the photos showed the same unmasked head that was included with the Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, and Civil War releases, but prior to release, Hot Toys replaced it with an all-new sculpt that more accurately depicts Evans as seen in Endgame.  It’s a very strong sculpt, with a really impressive likeness, perhaps even better than the one on the helmeted head.  Unlike the helmeted head, this one doesn’t have the extra joint.  It makes for slightly less posability, but looks better aesthetically, and given his more composed appearance, it’s not really meant for crazy poses anyway.  The only real downside to this sculpt is that there’s a rather noticeable seam on the sides of the head.  Fortunately, it’s not too bad when not directly lit, but at this price point, you would hope for it to be just a little bit better.

Cap’s new suit for Endgame‘s final battle was a fairly strong point for the movie.  It’s kind of indicative of the MCU movies as a whole,   taking various elements that worked previously, and rolling them all into one slightly more perfected, more direct comics-directly adapted final product.  It looks really cool, and it just really works.  It’s construction is also a bit more involved than earlier designs, as well, which is reflected in its translation here.  His underlying “body suit” is two distinct pieces, a shirt and pants.  The pants have some molded knee pads glued in place, and the shirt has plastic plating for his chest and shoulders, as well as a sculpted insignia at the center.  Beyond that, the detailing is down to tailoring, which looks pretty solid for this scale.  Some of the stitching is a little bit larger than it should be, but, of course, there’s only so much that can be done about that.  The base suit is topped off by his harness, belt, and boots.  The harness is largely cloth, as you would expect, and is again a well-tailored translation of the design seen in he film.  The belt sits a little bit low, but overall looks alright, and is attached permanently to the suit.  The boots are sculpted, but unlike earlier sculpted boots, which sacrificed articulation for the sake of aesthetics, these ones are jointed at the ankles, allowing for much better options when posing.  It’s definitely a much appreciated improvement for me.

Cap’s underlying body captures Evans’ proportions pretty nicely and is one of the more basic ones, which prioritizes function over form.  After the first few Caps placed him on slightly less articulated muscle bodies, I do appreciate one that’s more cleanly designed for posing.  The nature of his costume design does impede some of the movement ever so slightly.  For the most part, the upper torso fares alright in terms of range, though the shoulders are a little tight for some poses.  The pants are rather restricting, especially at the hips, but with some slight shifting, it’s workable.  He just won’t be getting into any deep lunges or anything.

In addition to getting the previously mentioned extra head and mouth plates, Cap gets a rather extensive selection of other extras for a whole ton of options for display.  Included are:

  • 7 hands
  • 2 shields
  • Mjolnir
  • Compass
  • Empty helmet
  • Display stand

The hands include fists, gripping, pointing (right), open gesture (right), and loose grip (left).  They pretty much cover all of the needed options for posing, and look suitably realistic, including some solid detail work on his gloves.  They also swap out pretty easily, considering my prior experiences with Hot Toys.  The two shields give you both standard (if a bit scuffed), and damaged, which also includes the broken shards, which I certainly wasn’t expecting.  The shields also include a piece that can swap out for one of the straps, which allows you to hang one of them on his back.  Mjolnir is similar in styling to the one included with Thor, but this time around the top is plastic, rather than metal.  While it doesn’t have that same impressive heft, it also won’t leave his wrist joint all floppy and loose after a few months posed holding it aloft.  The compass is properly hinged, and even has the small photo of Peggy in it, as seen in the movie.  The helmet matches the helmeted head, minus the head, of course, and can be held when he’s using the unmasked head.  The stand swaps out the old basic oval design for a hexagonal design featuring a design based on the movie branding.  It does its job well, and has a rather clean design, which works pretty well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Completing the first Avengers line-up was really my last hurrah for Hot Toys collecting, and I’ve not really been keeping up with it since.  However, when I walked out of the theater after seeing Endgame, I pretty much wanted this Cap design in any form I could get.  I placed my order for this guy as soon as he was available.  It’s been quite a long wait for him, given he was supposed to be slated for last year, but I was certainly okay with being patient.  Ultimately, this figure wound up as part of my path to figuring out my new normal, since he finally shipped just a week after Jess’s passing.  It’s weird, I suppose, but maybe sort of fitting, since I had moved past Hot Toys collecting when she and I started dating.  It was definitely weird not getting to experience this one with a companion, but I’m starting to find my footing on what I like purely for me.  I do like this figure.  I took me a little bit of time to get back into enjoying a Hot Toys figure the same way I used to, but he’s a good re-entry into the style.  I’m not jumping back into these full force, but I am going to keep up with my Captain America chronology at the very least.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2798: Wonder Man

WONDER MAN

MARVEL UNIVERSE (TOY BIZ)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

I was just talking about Hulu’s M.O.D.O.K. earlier this week, so why not talk about it a little bit more?  The show brings in a lot of slightly more obscure characters, and does some fun stuff with them.  Amongst those characters is Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, who is voiced by Nathan Fillion (who was previous supposed to cameo as Williams in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but had his role cut), and who serves as the rebound fling for M.O.D.O.K.’s wife Jodie.  As someone who’s been a Wonder Man fan since way before it was even approaching cool to be a Wonder Man fan (which, honestly, is any time before, like the last month), I was thrilled to see him show up, and loved the hell out of Fillion in the role.  I’d still love to see him pull it off in live action, though.  Wonder Man’s actually had a small handful of figures over the years, but today, I’m going back to the beginning and taking a look at his very first!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wonder Man was the exclusive mail-away offer in ToyFare #3, made available for order in November of 1997, and shipping out the following spring.  Interestingly, the character was actually still dead at the time of the figure’s release, although his return in the third volume of Avengers would wind up happening in the same year as this figure’s official release, by coincidence no doubt.  While Havok had ties to the X-Men line specifically, Wonder Man was a far more open-ended figure, since there was no dedicated Avengers line at the time.  Unlike the later figures, he got no fancy package and just shipped in a plain white mailer.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Wonder Man’s sculpt is a complete re-use, namely of Archangel II, minus the wings, of course.  As I’ve discussed before, it was a sculpt that Toy Biz rather liked.  It’s not a terrible choice for Wonder Man, especially for that late ’80s, John Byrne West Coast Avengers look they seemed to be aiming for.  The head sculpt’s still a little bit wonky, and he’s got the remnants of the wing-flapping mechanism on his back still.  But, for a straight repaint, he actually really works, so I’ve got to give them some serious props on that.  The paint work’s fairly straight forward on this guy, but it certainly gets the job done, and conveys his design properly.  Wonder Man included no accessories, but he certainly falls into that territory of “what would you give him?”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Busiek and Perez’s relaunch of Avengers was happening right as I got into reading comics, and my dad was picking it up and letting me read it with him.  Wonder Man’s return is kind of a notable part of that, and I definitely gained an attachment to the character through that.  I remember that there was a comic store near my parents’ house that had this figure in their glass case, for the unthinkable price of, like $25, and I used to stare at it all the time, but never got it.  My dad wound up getting me this one as, I believe, and Easter gift, more than likely in 2000 or so.  His nature as a repaint makes him a little iffy, but ultimately, he does work pretty well.

#2776: Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America

ULTIMATE MECH SUIT CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: MECH STRIKE (HASBRO)

“Captain America gears up in a massive, high-powered mech strike suit combat the evil Thanos!”

With a lack of actual Avengers movies to tie into at the moment, as well as a general lack of other Avengers things to really go for (since the game didn’t exactly do the business that they were hoping for), this year, the Avengers are getting a more specifically toy-geared push, with the Mech Strike branding.  It’s a pretty simple concept, really: the Avengers are all getting big robo-suits.  I know.  It’s a real high-art concept, to be sure.  I like the Avengers, and I also like big robo-suits, so I don’t hate the idea.  I’m looking at one of the resulting toys today, with Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America is part of Hasbro’s wider-range Avengers: Mech Strike line, which starting showing up at retail in the last month or so.  There are a few different price points for the figures, with Cap and the corresponding Iron Man both being at the mid-range $20 price point.  These figures are a whole figure and mech-suit set-up, which really gives the whole intended experience, I feel.  The core Captain America figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s a pretty basic Captain America, following the general look of the “house style Cap” we’ve been seeing since the MCU took off.  It’s pretty decently designed, and there are a lot of smaller details on the uniform that make him pretty fun.  He’s also pretty posable.  Obviously, he’s not quite Legends material or anything, but all of the basics are covered.  The only thing I could really drag him on is the lack of waist joint, but that’s fairly minor.  There are a few ports worked into the sculpt, as well, which are mainly used for giving him spots to attach the included shield.  They’re not too jarring, and generally fit well with the overall aesthetic of the core design.  His paint’s on the rather basic side, but it’s enough to get the job done.  The basic red, white, and blue is all there, and the application’s mostly pretty clean.  The reds are a little sloppier, but it’s admittedly a more difficult color to get consistent.  There are definitely some sculpted details that get left unpainted, especially on the blue sections, but this is kind of expected, what with the style and price point.  This core figure’s primary function, of course, isn’t really to be seen.  Instead, he’s supposed to be the pilot of the aforementioned “Ultimate Mech Suit.”  The fully suited up figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation, all of which are contained in the arms.  It’s not exceedingly posable, largely due to it being more or less a shell that folds over the main Cap figure.  The arms are, at least, able to get some movement, but he’s otherwise a rather static, and also rather chunk boi.  The design’s honestly pretty appealing, at least to me.  It’s a big, bulky, and appropriately spangle-y mecha, with very clean line-work.  It feels a little bit Ultra Magnus-y to me, but that may be me filling in some things I want to see.  Wouldn’t mind him getting some killer shoulder pylons, though.  The only slight trouble to how the design of the thing works is that there’s nothing to be done with Cap’s arms once he’s in the mecha; they just kind of hang there, which looks a little silly.  Fortunately, they do blend in alright with the sides of the mecha’s torso, if you just wrap them around.  Still, it would have been nice to see them come up with something a little bit more clever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had only a passing familiarity with this line when I got a text from Max a few weeks ago, informing me that he had been in a Captain America mood, which had led him to pick this figure up.  It certainly looked nifty, but I wasn’t in a major rush to get one of my own.  Upon talking to Max a little more about it, it turned out he wasn’t really feeling it as much as he’d hoped to, so he asked if I wanted it for a good deal.  I had just put together a whole shelf of my Captain America stuff, so I had a place to put it, which I guess was as good a reason as any to take it off Max’s hands.  Ultimately, it’s still not something I think I would have picked up for myself, largely due to not really being in the main target market for this line.  That being said, I do like it now that I have it, and I can’t really knock it’s cool factor.  And how many times are we going to get a cool Captain America Mecha?  Okay, probably a lot going forward, but this one’s still cool.