#1542: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Natasha Romanov uses her fearsome fighting techniques for good as Black Widow!”

Well, except for initially, when she…ya know….used them for…bad.  But that was only at the very start!  Promise!  Just two years at the very beginning there, then it was all straight and narrow from then out.  Despite being arguably Marvel’s most prominent female hero these days, Black Widow’s been oddly absent from the toy shelves, and what we’ve gotten’s been mostly movie-based.  In a slightly strange turn, we’re finally getting some comics-based Widow product…a few months after she died in the comics.  I mean, it’s not like it’s gonna last, but still.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow is part of the first series of Hasbro’s new Marvel Legends Vintage line.  Much like last year’s Star Wars: The Black Series: 40th Anniversary line, it’s a mix of re-releases and “new” figures, all packed on vintage-styled card backs.  In this case, the cards are patterned after the old Toy Biz Marvel Super Heroes packaging, which is certainly unique.  While Widow never had a figure in that line, they’ve done a respectable job of creating an accurate card in the same style.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Widow is seen here in her third main costume, which debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #86, back in 1970.  It’s very definitely the “classic” Black Widow design, and this is the first time we’ve gotten it as a Legends figure.  Despite the all-new look and being the only “original” figure in this first series, Widow is actually almost entirely reused pieces.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which is a good starting point for Widow (though I do wish the elbows had a slightly better range of motion).  On top of that, she’s got the bracelets from the Hobgoblin Series Spider-Girl, and the head from this summer’s TRU-exclusive Mary Jane.  The re-use on the head has been a point of some contention for fans.  Personally, I don’t mind so much, but that might be partly due to the fact that I never actually found the MJ figure anyway.  I also find this sculpt is pretty solid for Widow as well, so on it’s own, it really works well for the character.  Worst case scenario, the upcoming Widow and Motorcycle set’s going to have two heads packed in, so there are some options available. As far as I can tell, Widow’s only new piece is her belt, which is a fairly simple add-on piece.   I wish it was affixed some how so it didn’t float around so much, but it’s not terrible.  It’s possible her hands are also new, but I’m not 100% sure on that.  They’re just pretty standard trigger finger hands, but they get the job done.  Widow’s paint is clean and bold, and really well suited to her classic design.  There’s not a ton of work going into it, but the end result is still very sharp, and I just really like it.  The figure’s a little light on the accessories front, with only a pair of pistols packed in.  I can’t say there’s much else I would give her, but considering she retailed for the same price as normal, BAF-including figures, she does feel a little lacking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As soon as these figures were shown off, I knew I wanted Widow.  I’m fortunate enough to have the original releases of the other figures, but there hasn’t been a proper comic Widow since back when Hasbro did the two-packs, and that one was pretty hard to come by.  I ended up finding this figure sort of by accident.  Super Awesome Girlfriend and I were on our way home from taking the cat to the vet, and I made a wrong turn, and the next closest place to turn around was the Walgreens parking lot.  I figured I might as well run in and check their stock, and sure enough, Natasha was one of the two Marvel Legends Vintage figures they had on the shelf.  And, as luck would have it, they were even running a sale on Legends that week!  Hooray for me!  Like yesterday’s Panther figure, there’s not anything particularly revolutionary about this figure, but she’s still a really strong addition to the line, and I’m happy to add her to the shelf!

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#1153: Black Widow & Dark Avengers Iron Man

BLACK WIDOW & DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Hey ho, it’s another Minimate review. They kind of come in clusters, I guess. Of course, where yesterday’s focus figure came from way back at the beginning, today’s is a more recent addition to the line. So, without further ado, here’s Black Widow and Dark Avengers Iron Man!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is part of Series 2 of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates. As with all the Walgreens ‘mates, these two are animated series-based, specifically Avengers Assemble.

BLACK WIDOW

widowdaim2Black Widow is one of the main members of the team in Avengers Assemble, so her appearance here isn’t a huge shock, especially since they’ve been steadily working through the animated incarnation of the team. The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation. Widow is based on her second costume from the show, which is a bit more distinct when compared to the same basic Widow we’ve gotten a few times, so definitely a good choice. Her only add-on piece is her hair, which she shares with the previously reviewed Gamora ‘mate. It’s a nice enough piece, and I guess it matches well enough with her animated design. The rest of her design is rendered via paint work, which is pretty solid. As I’ve noted a few times before, the animated designs really do translate pretty well to the ‘mate form, and Widow definitely fits that trend. The colors are nice, bright, and bold, and all of the line work is nice and crisp. The figure is packed with a pair of batons and a clear display stand.

DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

widowdaim3The second season of Avengers Assemble introduced frequent Marvel fixture the Squadron Supreme, who are the Marvel equivalent of the Justice League. They took advantage of the Squadron’s alternate universe to also introduce the Dark Avengers, evil counterparts to the main heroes. DST decided to take advantage of these new designs to offer some slightly more unique designs for the characters we’ve all seen so many times before. The first one was Iron Man, whose design swaps out the red portions of his armor for black, because everyone knows black = evil, I guess. Construction-wise, he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt, as well as special upper arm pieces. Everything is reused, which is generally okay. The Mark 42 arms still aren’t among my favorites, mostly due to serious limitations they place on the shoulder movement. Aside from that, though, he does a decent enough job of capturing the look of the armor on the show. The paintwork on this guy is passable, but nowhere near as nice as some of the others in this subset. He’s rather drab, being a dark blue and a rather cold yellow. Ultimately, he ends up looking like a slightly blander version of the Marvel Now Iron Man from a few years ago. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which is a bit angrier than the usual Tony. The flesh tone on the face is kind of thin, so he ends up looking rather bluish. Also, the figure’s paint just seems rather sloppy in general. The figure is packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who bought them from a Walgreens during a trip back home over the summer. Apparently, she likes to buy things for me when she’s stressed. Widow’s a pretty solid ‘mate. Dark Avengers Iron Man is…well he doesn’t feel like the most inspired choice. Of all the Dark Avengers designs, his is really one of the less interesting, and to top it off, his paint work is noticeably lower in quality than others in the series. Overall, I think Widow’s enough to save the pack, but it would have been nice if her pack mate had been more exciting.

#1101: Black Widow & Crossbones

BLACK WIDOW & CROSSBONES

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Gosh, Civil War feels like two forevers ago, but it really was released just earlier this year.  I suppose part of why it feels so long ago is the overall lack of toys I’ve picked up from it.  I mean, the last thing I got was the Giant-Man series of Legends, and that was back in July.  Back in May, when the movie hit, there was a series of Minimates dedicated to the film, which I reviewed. However, given the sheer number of players in the film, one series wasn’t enough to cover everything, so we got a follow up, which hit at the end of July.  And I’m just now reviewing them.  Yes, I know, bad Ethan.  Today, let’s have a look at Black Widow and Crossbones.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Widow and Crossbones were released in Series 67 of DST’s Marvel Minimates.  The whole series is based on Civil War, and these two are no exception.

BLACK WIDOW

widowcrossbones2Widow’s really not a stranger to Minimates, especially not her movie incarnation.  This is the sixth time that we’ve gotten a Scarlet Johansen Black Widow as a Minimate.  But this time she’s got different hair, I guess.  The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Widow is built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair and her two thigh holsters.  The holsters are the usual pieces we’ve seen several times before (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), but the hair looks to be new.  It’s a decent piece, and captures the styling of her hair in the movie, but it seems a tad high-sitting for me.  She looks like she’s got a bit of a receding hair-line.  Just one of the limitations of the style, I suppose.  In terms of paint, Widow’s pretty solidly done.  The detailing on her bodysuit is the sort of thing that could easily be overlooked, but it’s really strong, and it conveys all of the little details of the suit very nicely.  The likeness on the face is a decent approximation of Johansen.  I think the Winter Soldier face is still the closest, but this one’s a strong contender.  I like that she’s got a fighting face, so she can fit in with Cap and Iron Man in that respect.  Widow includes a pair of batons (which aren’t clear like the AoU versions, but are still cool, I suppose), two handguns, and a clear display stand.  Pretty standard faire as far as Black Widow ‘mates are concerned.

CROSSBONES

widowcrossbones3This marks Crossbones’ fourth time overall as a Minimate, and his second as an MCU ‘mate (provided we’re counting Winter Soldier’s Rumlow).  His inclusion in this set is definitely a sensible one.  While he only gets ten minutes or so of screen time in Civil War, he’s a fairly important figure to the plot, and he gets some decent fight time with Widow to boot.  Plus, how can you not love his new design?  Crossbones has add-ons for his helmet, torso/shoulder armor, fighting fists, and thigh holster.  The helmet is just a standard slip cover piece, and while that means we can’t see the eyes on the actual head, it still works pretty well.  The holster is the same piece as Widow’s and it works for what it is.  The armor and fighting fists are new pieces, which turned out quite nicely.  The armor could perhaps stand to be a little less bulky, but the fists are really cool.  Once again, the paintwork is really sharp here.  Crossbones doesn’t have quite the high level of painted detail as Widow (since he’s a bit heavier on sculpted parts), but what’s there is very well rendered.  In particular, I really like the work on his boots, and especially like how the face under the helmet turned out.  For accessories, Crossbones has a spare hair piece (Lt Gator’s from the Platoon set, which is a piece I’m always happy to see), a pistol, a pair of standard black hands, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is definitely the set I was most anticipating from the second round of Civil War ‘mates.  While this particular Widow isn’t quite as good as the Winter Soldier version, she’s still a very solid addition, and another chance for people to get such an important character is always a good thing.  Crossbones is the real star here of course, and it’s unlikely we’ll be getting another movie version anytime soon, so the fact that this one turned out so well is pretty awesome.  Plus, fighting fists.  How can you go wrong with fighting fists?

#0716: Age of Ultron Boxed Set

THOR, BLACK WIDOW, BRUCE BANNER, & HAWKEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Trying to get a full line-up of the whole Avengers team from Avengers: Age of Ultron has been a barren source of amusement. Hasbro’s 2 ½ inch line has given us all but Black Widow and Quicksilver. The 3 ¾ inch line is missing those two again, plus Hawkeye and Vision. Up until recently, the Marvel Legends figures had only given us movie versions of Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America. Amazon has stepped in to help us at least finish up the main team (sans new additions), giving us a boxed set containing Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye from the second film, as well as figure of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner for good measure.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were sold as a single boxed set, which just started shipping out a few weeks ago. They’re technically an Amazon exclusive, but time will tell if that sticks or if other stores might start getting them.

THOR

AoUML2This guy’s probably the most surprising to see relegated to an online-only boxed set. I mean, he’s Thor. That seems pretty big. But, I guess stores are still afraid of him after the incredibly slow sales of the toys from his first solo movie (available at a Toys R Us near you!). The figure is about 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation. He’s based on his design from Dark World/Age of Ultron (They’re more or less the same), specifically the sleeveless look. Since he’s lacking the sleeves in both of AoU’s main fight scenes, that seems like a good choice. Structurally, this guy’s all-new, making him the only AoU figure outside of Ultron to get all-new tooling. The sculpt is really great, all around. The face isn’t a pitch-perfect Hemsworth, but it’s definitely the closest Hasbro’s gotten so far, and it really isn’t far off. The hair manages to be rather intricately detailed, and it doesn’t get too bunchy anywhere. It also doesn’t restrict movement nearly as much as you might think, which is a definite plus. The rest of the body is well proportioned and loaded with detail, all of which looks pretty accurate to the movie design. Even the cape is handled well, which doesn’t happen often. If there’s one drawback, it’s the choice to make both hands gripping; I feel like one of them being in a more outstretched pose could have added to the posing options. The paint on this figure is interesting, as it’s quite a bit different from what was seen on the prototype. In addition to the paint being much thicker than on the final figure, the prototype also had many of the accents painted gold, making the figure a Dark World figure, not an Age of Ultron figure. The final still has a slight tint of gold on those areas, but it’s minor enough that it won’t stand out as obviously wrong in an Avengers set up. It’s a happy medium, which is a good choice. Thor is armed with his mighty hammer Mjolnir, which is very nicely sculpted and painted and fits well in his hand to boot.

BLACK WIDOW

AoUML4On to opposite end of the spectrum from the all-new Thor figure is Black Widow, who is just a repaint. Yep, Widow here is head to toe a repaint of her Winter Soldier figure. You can read my opinions on the sculpt, here. Briefly recapping, it was a good sculpt then, and it still holds up pretty well here, aside from being too tall for Johansson. She uses the Avengers-styled head (the hair is seated a bit better this time around, so the likeness is better), which is sensible, since her hair in AoU was more or less the same. What wasn’t more or less the same was her costume, which actually had several differences between TWS and AoU. The figure uses paint to make these changes, but doesn’t quite make it work. The most notable change to the costume was the addition of red gauntlets, which this figure skips all together. There are these random red squares on the forearms, but they don’t even come close to being “gauntlets.” Widow also had full gloves this time, as opposed to the usual fingerless ones. Rather than actually changing the hands, Hasbro opted to just mold them in a solid black. It’s not immediately evident that they aren’t right, but to someone like me, who knows the lines for the ends of the gloves are there, it’s kind of annoying that nothing was done to fix this. They did at least get the blue “tron lines” right, so there’s that. Also, the kneepads seem a little too bright, but they are, at the very least, close to accurate. For accessories, Widow loses the extra head and hands of her TWS counterpart, and still has the non-removable guns. She does get her baton thingies from the movie, but they’re kind of a little…droopy.

BRUCE BANNER

AoUML5Believe it or not, this is the first proper, Marvel Legends-scale Bruce Banner we’ve ever gotten. We got a Banner figure from Toy Biz’s Hulk Classics line (packed with Series 2’s Gamma Hulk), but he had inferior articulation and was just slightly out of scale. We haven’t seen another until now. Civilian versions of heroes are kind of a hard sell, I guess. Banner appears to be based on his arriving at the Helicarrier look from the first Avengers movie, though it’s really just a basic business casual look, so it can work a lot of places. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Banner uses the recently developed suit body (first used on Agent Coulson) as his base. It’s a well sculpted body, and it’s certainly the best suit body on the market, so it’s a good starting point. Bruce gets a unique head sculpt, as well as a new upper torso piece. The head is a halfway decent interpretation of Mark Ruffalo. It’s far from perfect, but you can see who it’s meant to be. I think a better paint job could bring the likeness a lot closer. The new upper torso piece is really just a minor tweak on the old, removing the tie and opening up the collar, and thereby giving Bruce a more movie-accurate look. The paintwork on Banner is alright, but not fantastic. As noted above, the paint on the head hides the sculpt; it’s just a bit too sloppy and there’s virtually no work done to play up the sculpt’s strengths. The rest of the paint is just sort of there; the colors are good and everything stays where it’s supposed to, but there’s not much that stands out. Banner includes no accessories.

HAWKEYE

AoUML3It’s everybody’s favorite punching bag, Hawkeye! After being somewhat pushed to the side in the first Avengers, Hawkeye was presented a more substantial role for Age of Ultron, where he took a slightly divergent path from his comics counterpart and went straight to work checking off every “I’m gonna die” box possible. Then he made it out without dying! And there was much rejoicing (yay).  Hawkeye is right at 6 inches tall (like Widow, he’s just too tall) and he has 30 points of articulation. The figure is largely made of re-used parts from the first movie’s Walmart exclusive Hawkeye; only the head and quiver are different, and even the quiver is re-used from the more recent Marvel Legends comic Hawkeye. This of course means that Hawkeye is in his costume from the first movie, as opposed to his snazzy jacketed look from AoU. This look does still appear during the final battle, though, and the first release of this figure wasn’t the easiest to find, so this look is pretty valid too, I guess. Overall, the sculpt is pretty decent. The articulation scheme is a little outdated and the proportions are a little wonky in some spots, but the texture work on the uniform is superb. The new head sculpt is noteworthy because it finally gives us Hawkeye without the sunglasses that every figure seems to saddle him with, despite him not wearing them in either film. The Renner likeness is pretty decent, though the head does feel just a touch too wide. The paintwork on Hawkeye is pretty good overall. The eyes are a little bit off, but not terribly so, and all of the colors are well chosen. I also appreciate that the quiver isn’t just a solid color. I do wish the spot for the SHIELD emblem had something on it, because it’s distracting for it to just be a differently textured but unpainted bit, but that’s minor. Hawkeye is packed with his trusty bow, but, like the other Hawkeyes from Hasbro, no arrows.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wanna take a guess as to where I got this here Amazon exclusive set? Yeah, I preordered this set pretty much as soon as it went up. Not gonna lie, I actually came pretty close to cancelling it, but Amazon went and shipped it without telling me it had arrived, so here it is. It’s not the most thrilling set of all time, but it does contain some pretty important figures. Thor’s definitely the star here, being the only truly new figure, and Widow’s definitely the weakest link (in terms of accuracy and not having anything new to offer. She’s still a good figure). Banner and Hawkeye both fall somewhere in between, being nonessential, but cool to have nonetheless. I think this set might be more exciting if Amazon were to follow it up with another 4-pack featuring Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, and Falcon, so we could actually finish up the team, but that seems like wishful thinking.

AoUML6

#0566: Iron Man – Mark 43 & Black Widow

IRON MAN – MARK 43 & BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL MINIMATES

IM43WidowAoU1

Alright, it’s the Age of Ultron Minimates extravaganza part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)! I kicked things off with two of the film’s new characters, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but now I’ll be turning back to the “old faithful” characters that we’ve seen a few times before. Iron Man is the “oldest” MCU character, and Black Widow isn’t far behind him. And look at that, they’re even packed together. How convenient.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Iron Man and Black Widow are part of the first assortment of Avengers: Age of Ultron-based Marvel Minimates. They are one of the two sets in the first assortment to be available both at Toys R Us and as part of Marvel Minimates Series 61.

IRON MAN – MARK 43

IM43WidowAoU2It would be weird to have an assortment of Avengers merch without an Iron Man, so here he is. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 12(ish) points of articulation. As noted in the name of the figure, this is Iron Man in his Mark 43 armor, which he ends up wearing for the first half or so of the film. It’s worth noting that this makes him not actually fit with the rest of the team’s final battle looks, though it does mean you can display them from the opening battle. Structurally, this figure is the same as the Series 49 Mark 42, which is rather sensible, given that the 43 was just a recolored 42 in the movie. The add-on pieces for the 42 are serviceable, and they do a decent job of replicating the movie’s armor, but they have a few issues. Chief among them is that the upper arms are sculpted in such a way that the shoulders are effectively nothing more than cut joints. That’s really limiting to the figure. In addition, the figure feels a little too built up in general. The 42/43 are meant to be rather sleek, but the ‘mates are rather chunky. All that aside, the pieces do feature some nice detail work and some nice, sharp lines. The paint on Iron Man is pretty decent, actually. In particular, the shades of red and gold that have been chosen are nice and vibrant and have a really great finish to them. The line work is all pretty decent, although it’s perhaps a touch faint. As has become the norm on Iron Men, there’s full detailing under the helmet and torso. The torso offers a cool look at the inner workings of the armor, and the head offers a look at Tony’s face. The Tony face isn’t as good as some of the previous ones; they seem to have missed the mark on the RDJ likeness. The Mark 43 includes a spare hairpiece, a rocket blast piece, and a clear display stand.

BLACK WIDOW

IM43WidowAoU3In the comics, Black Widow is a marginal member of the Avengers at best, but the movies have changed that. There, she’s upgraded herself to one of the most central members of the team. And that’s pretty cool. Her presence in Marvel Minimates is rather reflective of this change. Of the seven Minimates of the character, five of them are movie-inspired. Anyway, onto the actual figure. Widow is roughly 2 ½ inches in height and she’s got 14 points of articulation. She is, of course, based on Widow’s main appearance in the movie. Structurally, she’s similar to the Winter Soldier version of Widow from Series 55. She shares the same belt and one of the holsters, but loses the Widow’s stingers. Also, the hair has been replaced with that of Battlestar Galactica’s Pegasus Six, which is actually quite a good match for her hair from the movie. This Widow ends up being a bit sleeker than previous versions of the character, which is a plus in my book. Widow’s paintwork is certainly passable. There is a bit of slop around the edges of her arm bands, but other than that pretty much everything is clean. One thing I noticed is that the detail lines seem a little duller here than usual. Things such as the “tron lines” kind of fade into the rest of the costume, and the details on the face seem a little light. Speaking of the face, it presents a good likeness of Scarlett Johannssen, but the somewhat vacant expression is a little disappointing in light the Winter Soldier Widow’s more intense look. Widow includes two eskira sticks, a handgun and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the craziness that was acquiring Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, getting this set was actually rather simple: I just picked them up from my local comicbook store. I can’t say that this is a set that thrills me. The Mark 42 was not my favorite Iron Man Minimate, and the 43 still has several of the same issues, plus the step down in likeness. Widow fairs a bit better, and I do like a lot about this figure. I think that swapping the heads on this one and the Winter Soldier version might provide me with my preferred version of the character.

#0545: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

BlackWidowMU1

Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 11 days remaining.

So, sure, the Avengers count on the “Big Three” of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, but they’re really only as good as their second tier characters.  Now, what’s interesting about today’s focus Black Widow is that she hasn’t technically had a very long run with the team. She’s really only been a member for a few short spots of time.  Now, to be fair, she’s been around since almost the beginning, as sort of an honorary member, and she’s an important motivator for for a few members joining and sticking with the team.  So, really, she deserves the spot, she just hasn’t taken advantage of it.  However, she’s a permanent member in the  movies, and that’s what counts to most people.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BlackWidowMU2Black Widow was released as part of Series 7 of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line.  The figure was actually released just prior to the character’s first film appearance in Iron Man 2, so it was actually pretty timely.  The figure is roughly 3 ¾ inches in height and features 19 points of articulation. She’s ostensibly based on the “classic” Black Widow appearance, with a few more modern touches here and there.  The figure is built on Hasbro’s first MU female buck.  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s probably the best of Hasbro’s initial bodies for the line. Of course, that’s sort of faint praise, and it certainly doesn’t make it a GOOD body, just better than the others.  Viewed as a whole, the body isn’t bad, but a piece by piece analysis brings out the worst of the issues.  The torso is rather squat, the arms are too short, the legs are a touch too long, and the hands are enormous.  Plus, there’s the really questionable choice of articulation in the middle of the torso. So, yeah, it’s not really a great starting point.  In addition, Widow features a brand-new head, as well as add-ons for her belt and Widow-Stingers.  The head sculpt is okay, but nothing of any note. It’s really generic, and doesn’t have much detail at all.  I suppose the hair helps identify who this is, but this head could ultimately be just about anyone. The belt and stingers are probably the best things about the figure.  They help to hide some of the issues present in the base body, and they actually do have some rather nice detail work. The paint on this figure is… well, it’s there.  Not much more can be said about it.  It’s clean and well applied.  The bluish sheen on her body suit is a nice touch, but the silver for the belt and stingers is an unfortunate choice, as it robs the figure of some much needed variance in color.  Widow was packed with a big machine gun (which isn’t really her style, but that’s what you get with re-use) and a display stand with her name on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I purchased Black Widow from my local comic book store.  They had just gotten this and the preceding series in stock.  At the time I was slowly moving to collecting this particular scale, so I decided to pick up Widow.  I remember being at least a little excited by the figure at the time, but that was before there was really a wide selection of Black Widow figures.  Ultimately, this figure is alright, but what really kills it is that it’s just rather boring.  Which is probably one of the most damning thing that can be said about an action figure.

#0235: Black Widow & Falcon

BLACK WIDOW & FALCON

MARVEL MINIMATES

Widow&Falcon

Okay, so I already went through my immense excitement at the existence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Minimates yesterday. I shan’t subject you to that again. I’m still really excited, but I’m keeping my composure. Promise. Today, I’ll be looking at Cap’s two most trusted allies in the film, and the biggest push for me to get the Minimates: Black Widow and Falcon!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Widow and Falcon were released as part of Marvel Minimates Series 55, which was released as a tie-in series for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

BLACK WIDOW

Widow

Black Widow is built on the standard Minimate body. This means she features 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall. She’s presented here in her SHIELD jumpsuit look that she sports early in the film and in the final act. I was actually a bit surprised by how little she has this look, but it’s definitely the one to go for if you’re doing an action figure. She features six sculpted add-ons: hair, belt, two holsters, and two widow’s stingers. The holsters where originally used on the Avengers movie version of Widow, but I believe everything else is new to this figure. I was actually a bit surprised to see a new sculpt for the stingers, but I guess they thought they could use an update. The new pieces all look pretty great, with nice detail work and a decent amount of accuracy to the movie. The paint on Widow is pretty great. The detail lines are all really sharp, and the base paint is better here than it was on Cap. I did notice some slight bleed over from the whites of her eyes, but it’s actually not too bad, and it’s hardly noticeable. I also love the fact that they’ve given her a more “battle-ready” facial expression, as opposed to the more vacant expression a lot of female figures get. It really adds some character. Widow includes two hand guns and a clear display stand.

FALCON

FalconLike Widow, Falcon is built on the standard Minimate body, so he has the usual height and articulation. Falcon is based on the character’s look during the final act of the film. It’s the character’s true “Falcon” look, so it’s a good choice. He features eight sculpted add-ons: goggles, gloves, a jetpack/harness, two shoulder pad/upper wing pieces, and two lower wing pieces. With the exception of the gloves, which were previously seen on the Age of Ultron Nick Fury, all the pieces are brand new to Falcon. They all look pretty great, and are very accurate to the source material. I’ve seen a few complaints that the harness is too bulky, but the harness from the movie looks pretty bulky to me, so that seems about right. The paint work on Falcon is overall great, with one exception. While he head has a great likeness to actor Anthony Mackie, my figure has a clump of dried paint right on his forehead. Once the goggles are in place, it’s mostly unnoticeable, but it’s still kind of annoying. The rest of the paint work is really great, especially the camo work on his pants. Falcon includes two handguns (different from Widow’s), a flight stand, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Just like with Cap and Winter Soldier, I was out of town for the release of this series. My dad was nice enough to pick them up for me, which was super awesome of him. I was a little let down by the Cap in the Cap & Winter Soldier set, so I wasn’t sure how the rest of the wave would turn out. I’m happy to say that neither of the figures in this set suffer from the same issues as Cap. That’s very important to me, because having these two particular characters in the same scale is what had me so excited for the Minimates to begin with. These two certainly did not disappoint!

#0222: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

BlackWidow2(Long)

Toy companies have long insisted that female action figures don’t sell as well as male action figures. So, their response to fan demand is usually one of two things: they shortpack the figure, making it impossible to find, or they put no effort into the figure, making it a monstrosity nobody wants. Or they do both (case in point: Marvel Legends Scarlet Witch. Eughhh…). These actions lead to female figures not selling as well, which leads to companies saying they don’t sell well, which leads to shortpacking and poor figures. Which leads to, you guessed it, bad sales. It’s one of those self-fulfilling prophecy things.

Anyway, this mentality lead to Black Widow being the only team member absent from Hasbro’s 6-inch scale Avengers line, meant to tie-in with the 2012 movie. It was really annoying, but Hasbro said they’d make it up to us. When the Captain America: The Winter Soldier figures were announced, they informed us that Widow would be including two heads, so she could be displayed from either movie. How could it go wrong? Well, Hasbro decided to pack Widow one per-case. For a ratio, there are eight figures in a case, and three of them are Captain America. To make matters worse, Widow included the most essential piece to the line’s Mandroid Build-A-Figure. Fortunately, Hasbro seems to be learning, and has announced that they will be sending out revision cases with Cap, Widow, and Winter Soldier all evenly packed. Maybe their starting to get it…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow was released in the second series of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series. The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. She’s actually a bit too tall, which is the reverse of the problem that most female figures suffer from. It doesn’t ruin the figure, but she’s almost as tall as Cap, and there’s a difference of almost a foot between Scarlet Johansen and Chris Evans in real life. The figure appears to have a brand new sculpt, and it’s a very nice sculpt at that. I’m not sure if I like the body sculpt quite as much as Hasbro’s Spider-Girl sculpt, but it’s a very close second. Like that figure, she has very nice, mostly realistic proportions. Her stance is perhaps a bit too wide, but other than that, everything looks pretty good. The basic TWS head is a great sculpt, and it looks pretty much spot on to what Ms. Johansen looked like in the movie. The long hair is a little bit restricting to the neck articulation, but that’s understandable given the style. It certainly isn’t as bad as it could have been. In the paint department, Black Widow lucks out compared to the previous two figures I’ve looked at. There’s still a bit of bleed over in a few spots, but she seems to have less of the fuzzy lines and slop of the other two. She includes an extra Avengers-styled head, an extra set of trigger finger hands, and the Mandroid torso. The head is a nice touch, given Widow’s absence from the 6-inch Avengers line and the closeness of the costumes. It looks like the same face with new hair, and it looks pretty good, though the hair might be sitting a smidge too high on her forehead.Widow also includes two pistols…sculpted into their holsters. Remember how I said she had trigger fingers? Yeah, she has nothing to hold in them. It’s seriously disappointing and mars an otherwise great figure.

BlackWidow3(Long)  BlackWidow1(Short) BlackWidow(Short)

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Widow was part of my set of Series Two figures from Big Bad Toystore. She is the primary reason I bought the set, as I wasn’t going to fork over almost $60 for just her. She definitely lives up to the hype she’s gotten. It’s a great representation of Widow. She’s a great action figure in general. This is the second Hasbro female I’ve given that assessment is the last week. They’re definitely on to something here! However, the figure is hurt by the lack of firearms. I ended up finding a suitable handgun in my spare parts bin, but not everyone has a spare parts bin.

CapTrio

#0057: Hawkeye & Black Widow

HAWKEYE & BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL MINIMATES

Widow&Hawkeye

Today, it’s another entry from the Marvel Minimates line.  The two are once again from the recently acquired Toys R Us Exclusive wave.  This time around, its Hawkeye and Black Widow, two characters who received a lot of notoriety from last year’s film The Avengers.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of the 17th Toys R Us exclusive wave of Marvel Minimates.

HAWKEYE

First up, it’s nobody’s favorite Avenger, Hawkeye (okay, that’s not true.  He’s actually one of my favorites)!  Hawkeye is depicted here in his most recent costume, prominently featured in his current solo series.  I follows the tradition of changing a character’s look to be more in line with their movie look of which Marvel’s grown so fond.  It’s not a terrible look, and it translated well, so no complaints here.  Hawkeye’s built on the basic Minimate body, so he stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s got a fair deal of sculpted bits, including:  hair, gloves, utility harness with a quiver, a belt, and leg bands.  The hair, belt, leg bands and harness are reused from previous figures, but they are chosen well, so no issues there.  The quiver and gloves appear to be new.  The quiver looks appropriate to the character, and the gloves are a might in the bulky side, but not too bad.  The paint on the figure is a bit hit and miss, the face looks perfect for the version of the character they’re going for, and the change in finish to designate the boots looks cool, but places like the edges of his sleeves are rather fuzzy.  It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it’s annoying.  Hawkeye is topped off by a bow, three arrows, and the now standard clear display stand.  These pieces are all reused, but if it works, it works.

BLACK WIDOW

Second, it’s the best former Soviet spy turned kick-ass Avenger Marvel’s got: Black Widow!  Widow’s rocked the black skintight catsuit quite a few times over the years, but this figure is based on the look she has currently in particular.  It’s a look that’s lasted for so many years for a good reason, so its use here sees no complaining from me.  Like Hawkeye, she’s on the typical Minimate body, so she has 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  She features sculpted hair, wrist bands, and leg holsters.  The pieces are all reused, but they all work appropriately for the desired look.  The paint on Widow is a bit better than Hawkeye, though there is a tiny bit of slop on her neckline.  Widow includes two silver handguns and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the rest of this wave, these two were gotten off of TRU’s website, with no real issues this time around.  I’m really glad because these two are definitely the set from the wave I was looking forward to the most.  These two definitely didn’t disappoint.  Widow is a grate update to her traditional look, and while Hawkeye’s not my favorite of his looks, the Minimate is really well done.