#1665: Black Knight

BLACK KNIGHT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An expert horseman and superior swordsman, Black Knight has a checkered history as a powerful combatant with no clear allegiance.”

“No clear allegiance”?  Are we all talking about the same Black Knight here?  Because this is supposed to be a Dane Whitman figure, and apart from a case of mistaken identity early into his first appearance, he’s been pretty firmly allied with the side of good for his 50 year-career.  <sigh> I’m critiquing the bio again, aren’t I?  I really gotta stop doing that.

Black Knight’s a character that doesn’t get lots of toys.  I’d chalk that up to him being relatively minor, though he does have a pretty solid fan-following.  To date, he’s had five figures, and I’ll be looking at the most recent of those today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Knight is one of the two comics-based figures headlining the Cull Obsidian-series of Marvel Legends.  He was actually the first figure we saw from the line-up, back in October.  This is Black Knight’s second Legends figure, but it’s been 11 years since the last one, and that one was never particularly good in the first place.  That one was also based on a more modern, and ultimately more forgettable design, while this one goes back to the classic appearance.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Black Knight is similar to the recently reviewed King Cobra, in that he’s *technically* built on the Bucky Cap base, but he uses mostly derivative parts of that.  He’s got the Bucky Cap pelvis and boots; that’s it.  Beyond that, he’s got the Hob/Green Goblin arms and legs, Dr. Strange’s torso, US Agent’s flared gloves, Zemo’s loincloth/belt, and Polaris’s cape.  This is the same construction that was used for the Raft boxed-set’s Dreadnought, which is what was expected.  It’s a good combo of parts, and, like with King Cobra, it shows how far you can get with just re-used parts.  In addition to all the re-used parts, Black Knight also gets three newly sculpted heads.  The first two are based on two variations of Dane’s helmet.  There’s a first appearance-based one with wings on the sides, as well as the more streamlined design that became his go-to later on.  Of the two, the winged one is my favorite, which surprised me a little, since I tend to like the streamlined look a bit more.  I think it’s partially to do with the facial expressions.  The streamlined design has a teeth-gritted, angry expression, while the winged one has a calmer look that I just prefer for the character.  If I had one minor complaint, it would be that the expressions can’t be swapped between the two helmets; I think that would add a lot to the figure.  The third head isn’t Dane, but is instead the fully-enclosed helmet of his Arthurian-era ancestor Sir Percy of Scandinavia.  Technically, it’d not a perfect match for the body, but it’s close enough to work, and it gets us an extra character.  The figure’s paintwork is pretty solid; it’s more subdued than what we saw on the Marvel Universe figure in terms of coloring, but it still works.  The application is mostly pretty clean, though I did notice a few small spots of slop.  My only real complaint is that his neck peg is molded in the dark blue plastic of his torso and helmet, so it sticks out against the otherwise silver neck.  It can be hidden with careful posing, but it’s still annoying.  In addition to having the two extra heads to swap out, Black Knight also includes his Ebony Blade, which is a unique sculpt (at least as far as I can tell).  He has a little trouble holding it in his right hand (since it was originally sculpted to hold a gun), but it’s not terrible, and it can also be stashed on his belt.  Black Knight also includes the leg of the Build-A-Figure Cull Obsidian, who I’ll be looking at later this week.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I enjoy Black Knight a lot as a character, and I’m always down for new figures.  His last Legends release was a disappointment, and contributed a bit to me falling out of collecting the line.  So, the announcement of this guy was definitely exciting for me.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting his release, and was pleasantly surprised to have found him so early!

In addition to the excitement of getting Black Knight, I have another exciting announcement!  Black Knight was purchased from The Figure in Question’s official sponsor All Time Toys.  All Time has been one of my go-to places for all sorts of cool action figures since they opened in 2007, so I’m thrilled to be working with them in a more official capacity.  If you’re local to the Ellicott City, Maryland area, you can visit them in person on Main Street, or you can also view their sizable online catalogue via their eBay store front!

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#1185 Black Knight & Enchantress

BLACK KNIGHT & ENCHANTRESS

MARVEL MINIMATES

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It’s Day 18 of the post-Christmas reviews, and we are officially in the home stretch.  Just one more week of these things left.  You know, until I…get back to reviewing action figures after three and a half weeks of…reviewing action figures.

For today’s review, I’m getting back to one of my all-time favorite toy lines, Marvel Minimates.  Now, I must admit, I’ve been a little down on the line the last few years.  Not that the figures have been bad by any stretch (because they haven’t) but more because almost all of the focus was either totally current, event-driven stuff (like AvX, Axis, Infinity, and of course all of the movies) or heavy on the ‘90s X-Men side of things.  Series 68 was definitely a breath of fresh air, offering up a really great assortment of classic X-Men, but I was really longing for some good comic Avengers.  The last comic-based Avengers series was way back in early 2012, and even that only offered two new characters (and one of them possessing a marginal connection to the Avengers at best).  68 was great, but I wanted an Avengers series that rivaled that.  Well, as it just so happens, DST was way ahead of me.  Let’s begin with the Series 69 reviews!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Knight and Enchantress are, as noted, part of Series 69 of Marvel Minimates, officially dubbed the “Most Wanted” series, which I certainly think is appropriate.

BLACK KNIGHT

blackknightenchantress3First up, it’s Black Knight, specifically Dane Whitman, the heroic incarnation of the character.  For me, this guy is hands down the star attraction of this series.  Something about Black Knight’s always appealed to me, and up until recently, he hasn’t really been done justice in action figure form (Hasbro’s Marvel Universe version being the one exception).  He’s based on his classic costume, which makes me very happy.  No offense to his other designs, but they always felt like rather pale imitations of his original look.  The figure stands a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation.  He’s built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for his helmet, cape, glove cuffs, and boots.  The gloves and boots are re-used pieces; they’re just basic flared gloves and boots, which work well for the character.  His helmet and cape are both new.  The helmet is spot-on to his comics helmet, and sits very nicely on the head.  The cape is okay, but could be better; it seems to lack some of the dramatic flare usually seen on Dane’s cape, and it looks like something was lost during the transition from control art to final product.  Rarely do I point out something that’s missing on a Minimate, but I was slightly disappointed that Dane just had a painted on belt, with no scabbard for his ebony blade.  It’s a fairly consistent feature of his design, so it’s a slightly odd omission.  That being said, it’s likely a cost thing, and if something was going to be cut, that was the easiest thing.  Black Knight’s paintwork is pretty standard fare for a ‘mate; the colors are all nice and bold, and most of the application good and clean.  I really like the subtle work on the scale mail.  I also quite like the face; it’s intense expression is a good match for Dane’s look on the cover of his first appearance, and it’s always great to get some variety in expressions.  Black Knight is packed with his Ebony Blade (which is the same sword included with the animated Taskmaster ‘mate from a little while back.  It’s a good enough fit for the character), a spare hairpiece for his un-helmeted look, and a clear display stand. 

ENCHANTRESS

blackknightenchantress2It hasn’t been all that long since my last Enchantress review.  It seems 2016 was a good year for her.  Maybe Marvel’s trying to stick it to DC for pushing to get their version of Enchantress to the big screen first?  Regardless of rationale, Amora’s a pretty prominent member of the Thor’s supporting cast, as well as a founding member of the Masters of Evil, and an all-around pretty cool character.  It’s about time she was given her due!  Like Black Knight, she uses the standard ‘mate body, this time with add-ons for the hair and skirt.  The skirt looks to be a standard piece, but the hair is new.  It’s a decent enough sculpt, though it does feel a tad lifeless when compared to some of the other hairpieces in this set.  Still, it looks like Enchantress and that’s really the point.  Enchantress’s paintwork is actually quite impressive.  All the details are very sharp, and there’s a lot of really cool small detail work, especially on the arms and legs.  The face does a really nice job of capturing that alluring, yet still devious look that she’s prone to sport in the comics, and really sells just who this ‘mate’s supposed to be.  Enchantress includes two green effects pieces and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Black Knight and Enchantress were a Christmas gift from my always supportive parents.  As I noted above, this is a series I was really looking forward to, and this set in particular was my most anticipated.  Black Knight’s been pretty high on my Minimates wishlist for a good long while, and I’m beyond psyched to finally have him.  He certainly didn’t disappoint.  Enchantress is no slouch either.  While she may not have quite the same coolness factor as Dane, she’s an essential character, and DST did a great job translating her into ‘mate form!

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#0194: Marvel’s Black Knight

MARVEL’S BLACK KNIGHT

MARVEL UNIVERSE

BlackKnight

For quite some time, I’ve felt that The Avengers was the greatest super hero team ever. Well before the team became a big hit with their recent movie, I was desperately seeking out the random trickles of Avengers characters amongst ToyBiz’s many 5 inch Marvel lines. I know lots of people don’t care for it, but Avengers: United They Stand excited me to no end because its toyline gave me access to figure versions of Falcon, Tigra, Wonderman, Vison, and Kang. Those slightly lower tier characters are what make the Avengers for me. Sure, Cap is still essential, and Iron Man and Thor are both important too (Hulk, on the other hand, really isn’t. Until recently, his status as an Avenger consisted of 3 issues. Out of 500.), but for me the Avengers were Scarlet Witch, Vision, Hawkeye, and the like. So, for quite some time, I’ve been doing my best to find the best collection of all those lesser known Avengers in one scale. Hasbro seems to be finally delivering on that, with their pretty decent roster of Avengers from their Marvel Universe line. The line has recently “ended” and was rebranded under an Avengers name, which I’m totally cool with. Before MU ended, they got out one last series of new figures, which featured today’s figure, Black Knight, one of those lesser known Avengers I discussed. For more info on him, go here.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Knight was released as part of the final series of Marvel Universe. He’s based on the Dane Whitman version of Black Knight, and is depicted in Dane’s first costume. The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. He’s built on the medium sized male buck, which I believe first appeared on Captain Marvel, a few years ago. It’s one of Hasbro’s better pieces, so I’m not gonna complain, though I do wish the arms went down a bit further. He features a new head and hands, plus add-ons for the belt/scabbard and cape. He also reuses the “pirate boot” feet previously seen on several versions of Hawkeye. The new pieces look pretty good, especially the head, which seems pretty spot on to the classic Black Knight look. The paint work is pretty much the usual faire for a Hasbro release. Not perfect, but there’s no really noticeable instances of slop or bleed over, which is nice. Dane’s one accessory is his Ebony sword. It’s made of very soft plastic, so it comes out of the package pretty bent. It’s also a grayish-silver, which is odd, what with it being an EBONY sword and all. Oh well, guess the figure doesn’t have to be perfect, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like so many figures these days, I purchased Black Knight from Amazon. I’m very happy to have the figure because it’s the Black Knight figure I’ve wanted since I was a kid. Previous Black Knight figures were always a bit off, so I’m really thrilled by how well it turned out!