#1728: Infinity War Boxed Set

THANOS, IRON MAN, BLACK WIDOW, & WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and us them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

Hey, did you guys know there was another Marvel movie released last weekend?  Well, let’s pretend there wasn’t, because I’m still making my way through the product from the one before that.  Avengers: Infinity War was a big movie, and by extension, it had a ton of merchandise.  As they have since the first Iron Man, Diamond Select Toys put out a few assortments of Minimates based on the film.  I’ll be looking at the main boxed set today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thanos, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier make up the specialty-exclusive Infinity War boxed set.  This follows the trend that was set by Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, where a movie gets a four-pack at comic book stores, and then two-packs at Walgreens and Toys R Us (Of course, it also ends the trend, what with TRU going under, but let’s not go there).  Thanos and Iron Man were also available in two-pack form through Walgreens and the would-have-been-Toys-R-Us-but-instead-became-another-specialty assortments.  This makes Black Widow and Winter Soldier the two specialty exclusives.  Admittedly, the packout here is a little strange.  Tony and Thanos make sense, but Widow and Bucky never interact with Tony at all, only really interact with Thanos via proxy, and don’t actually interact with *each other*.  What’s more, neither of them is particularly plot relevant.  Of course, we ended up with pretty much all of the major players anyway, so the packout isn’t so important, I guess.

THANOS

After all this time, we finally get an MCU Thanos Minimate!  It sure took its time, didn’t it?  This figure uses the same casual look as the Marvel Legend, which is sensible, since it’s his main look.  It’s perhaps not as exciting as other designs, but that’s hardly on DST.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest, pelvis, upper arms, hands, thighs, and boots.  His torso, upper arms, right hand, and thighs are all re-used; standard “large character” pieces.  The left hand, pelvis, and boots are all new pieces, detailing Thanos-specific parts.  While the skirt clashes a little bit with the more standard upper body, the boots are quite sharply detailed and true to the film.  The left hand is perhaps the most important piece, since it’s the Infinity Gauntlet.  Like all of the more recent larger figure hands (and unlike the corresponding right hand), it’s ambidextrous, should you wish to place it on someone’s right hand.  It actually seems a little small when compared to his non-gloved hand.  Thanos must have really needed help getting that thing on there!  Fortunately, it’s not overly noticeable if you get the posing right.  Thanos’s paintwork is about what you’d expect at this point from a Minimate.  The colors are pretty good matches for the movie, and the linework is all nice and crisp.  He’s sporting an angrier expression than a lot of the IW product.  It’s different, though I kind of wish we could have gotten an extra head with a different expression.  Thanos is packed with a spare left hand without the gauntlet, as well as a clear display stand.

IRON MAN

Iron Man is no stranger to Minimates, of course, especially not his MCU incarnation.  This figure replicates his nano-tech based Mark 50 armor from the movie, which is one of his coolest armors yet.  The ‘mate uses the usual construction, with a unique set of upper arms, as well as add-ons for his helmet and shoulders.  The helmet is just a basic slipcover mask, rather than a new sculpt.  However, given the sleekness of the design in the movie, this is a reasonable choice, and I certainly prefer it to another re-use of the Mk 42 helmet.  The new upper arms are also a huge improvement on the heavily restricted 42 arms.  Overall, decent basic construction. The paint is also pretty great, being a very bright, striking metallic red and gold.  The biggest flaw of this figure is the accessory compliment.  He’s got a flight stand and a hair piece for an unmasked look.  The armor in the movie could shift into all sorts of additional tools and weaponry, so the fact that none of this is replicated here is quite disappointing.  Sadly, this isn’t the only Mark 50 figure to have this issue.

BLACK WIDOW

Despite not yet having her own movie, Black Widow has made out pretty well in terms of Minimates.  In fact, her MCU version has actually made out a lot better than her comics counterpart.  This one, of course, presents her rather altered look from the movie.  The figure uses the same standard body as usual, with an add-on piece for her hair.  It appears to be new piece, and recreates her look from the movie well enough, though it seems a little more simplified than other recent pieces.  She also has a pair of holsters (the same holsters used by all of the Widow figures since Avengers)…with nothing to really go in them.  I’ll get to that in a second.  Widow’s paintwork is overall pretty decent, with the exception of her face, which, for some reason, looks nothing like Scarlet Johannsen.  They’ve gotten it down before, but this looks nothing like her.  So, onto those holsters with nothing inside of them.  Widow includes her staff in its fully assembled form, as well as the split form, and a handgun.  There are two holsters, so obviously the gun doesn’t go there.  Then there’s the split version of the staff, but each half is as long as her leg, and she definitely stores them on her back in the movie.  In the film, she has some sort of tasers stored in the holsters, at least going by the Marvel Legend.  So she’s just got the holsters and they just sort of remain empty.  I think it might have made more sense to just leave them out completely.

WINTER SOLDIER

Winter Soldier/Bucky has been fortunate enough to get a ‘mate from every movie he’s been featured in, and Infinity War is no exception.  His role is rather minimal truth be told, so I guess the fact that he’s relegated just to this boxed set is pretty sensible.  Bucky’s design for this film is a nice merging of prior designs, keeping the basic design of his first Winter Soldier look, and the more classically inspired color scheme of his First Avenger look.  It’s my favorite of his designs so far to be sure.  He uses the usual body, with add-ons for his hair, wrist guard, the bottom of his jacket, and knife sheath.  All of the pieces are re-used, but they match well with his design from the movie, so it’s hard to complain.  The rest of the work is paint.  They’ve had some trouble with Stan’s likeness on past figures, but this one seems to get it a bit closer.  Still not perfect, but at least he doesn’t have the goofy eyes that all of the others ended up with.  His uniform’s detailing is pretty sharp, and looks really bold.  Winter Soldier is packed with a submachine gun and a knife, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I kind of dragged my feet on this set, truth be told.  I don’t quite know why, but I had trouble getting too excited for it.  I ended up grabbing it from Luke’s Toy Store while picking up a few other items.  I’m of mixed feeling about it.  Thanos is decently handled, but a little bland.  Iron Man’s another Iron Man, and lacks any of what really makes this armor all that unique.  Black Widow’s got her confusingly implemented accessories, but is alright apart from that.  Winter Soldier’s simultaneously the least essential and yet the best figure in the set.

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#1667: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An agent of espionage and expert in hand-to-hand combat, Black Widow is trained to take out any enemy of justice.”

Despite some bad luck initially when it comes to action figures (being the only main team member from the 6-inch line for the first Avengers, being available only in an online-exclusive boxed set for AoU, etc.), things are starting to look up for Natasha Romanov.  In less than a year, she’s had a whopping three Marvel Legends, as well as being included in all three styles of the Infinity War product.  I’ve looked at the basic line’s take on her, and today I’m following that up with the Legends release!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow is part of the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  Outside of the Build-A-Figure, she’s one of two Infinity War-based figures in the assortment.  She’s got the same look as the basic figure, which is reasonable, since it’s also Widow’s only look in the film and all.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Despite the last two MCU Widows using the same mold, this one is all-new.  I really liked the basic figure’s sculpt, and wasn’t sure how this one would fare when compared, but oh boy is this one just an all-around improvement.  The head is pretty solid.  I think the basic figure might have the better overall likeness (I’m getting a bit of a Charlize Theron vibe from this one), but this is definitely the more lifelike of the two.  The proportions of the body are nicely balanced, the details of the costume are crisp, and there’s a ton of texturing all throughout.  The vest is a little bit bulky, but there’s a good reason for that; it’s a separate overlay piece.  Pop off the head, and there’s a fully detailed torso underneath, showcasing Widow’s standard body sculpt.  Apparently she just threw a vest over her prior outfit.  That’s a cool detail.  Widow’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff too, matching up with the sculpt in quality.  She’s got the new face print tech, which looks nice and lifelike, and appears to be improving for every figure they use it on.  The body suit has a lot of subtle variations of blacks and greys, stepping up what we saw on the last two Widow releases and keeping her visually interesting.  Widow is packed with two pairs of hands (fists and gripping), her twin batons (which can snap together into one staff), and a pair of tasers to store in her holsters.  I wish the batons could be stowed on her back like in the movie, but beyond that it’s a pretty good assortment of extras.  She also includes the torso of Cull Obsidian, by far the largest piece of him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure had a high bar to clear, since the basic line’s version of her was quite good.  I was expecting to get more milage out of that release before this one came along, but not so much.  This is a very strong figure, perhaps one of Hasbro’s strongest MCU figures, and certainly the best figure of Widow out there.  Now, I’m hoping we get a slight tweak on this one for a proper red-haired variant.

Black Widow was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

#1631: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

All of our favorite heroes are back for Infinity War…okay, most of our favorite heroes…amongst our favorite heroes, many of them are—right, I’ll come in again.

Today, I’m looking at the latest figure of Black Widow, a character who has far too often been left out of the whole merchandising thing. For Infinity War, Hasbro looks to be making a conscious effort to avoid that, with two figures already out and a third one on its way.  I’ll be looking at one of those first two today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow is part of the first series of the basic Avengers: Infinity War line.  This figure gives us Widow’s brand new look for the film, which, despite her prior looks all being just slight variations on the same basic design, is actually kind of new and different.  This time around, she’s sporting a look based on the second main Black Widow from the comics, Yelena Belova.  It’s mostly the blonde hair that informs this.  Supposedly, she’s changed her hair color while on the run after the events of Civil War.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and she has 11 points of articulation.  It’s the same articulation scheme as we saw on Cap (and before that, Shuri and Star-Lord).  Her sculpt is actually quite good.  The proportions are well-balanced, the head has a pretty solid Scarlett Johansson likeness, and the level of detail is almost on par with what you’d get from a Legends release.  My only real nit with the sculpt is that only one of her hands is in a gripping position, which limits her posing potential slightly when it comes to her weapon.  Even her paint is pretty decent.  It’s still rather on the basic side, but her face in particular gets some really clean work.  Certainly cleaner than what we saw on Cap yesterday.  Widow is packed with her staff, which is sadly only in its full assembled form.  No separate batons, but I guess she couldn’t hold them anyway.  There’s a rather obvious peg on it, where the Infinity Stone is meant to attach.  Not the smoothes way of handling that, but I guess it’s not awful.  Widow’s included stone is the Power Stone, which is the only one to be doubled-up in the first assortment (it also comes in the Rocket/Groot pack).  Giving her, rather than a bruiser like Hulk, the Power Stone is certainly an interesting choice.  I wonder if it means anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Widow is actually kind of the figure that sold me on this line.  I saw her in the store and I really liked her, and almost bought her on the spot.  That said, she was actually one of the few figures in the set I did *not* pick up from Toys R Us.  They were all out, so I ended up finding her at Target the next day, rounding out the set that way.  She’s actually a pretty good figure.  I’m curious to see how much the Legends release is able to improve on her.

#1617: Black Widow & Motorcycle

BLACK WIDOW & MOTORCYCLE

MARVEL LEGENDS: LEGENDARY RIDERS (HASBRO)

“A sleek agent with the wheels to match, Natasha Romanov cruises into action as Black Widow.”

When it comes to collector-based lines, vehicles can be something of an issue.  Heck, just in general these days vehicles can be an issue.  Toy makers have enough of a hard time keeping the prices of the basic figures down, without throwing these massive hunks of plastic into it.  Unfortunately, there are some characters who sort of need a vehicle in order to be totally relevant.  Ghost Rider’s at the top of that list, what with “rider” being  in the name and all.  And yet, how many motorcycle-less Ghost Rider’s do we have?  Too many.  Why am I talking about Ghost Rider in a Black Widow review, you may ask?  It’s quite simple: Hasbro’s giving vehicles a try in Marvel Legends, and the first series is Ghost Rider and Black Widow.  In needed an intro to discuss the topic of necessary vehicles, and that makes way more sense for Ghost Rider than it does Black Widow.  But, since I don’t *actually* have Ghost Rider, it’s Black Widow who gets the intro.  Isn’t she special?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

She’s gone seven years with no comic-based Legends, but then, just like that, Natasha’s back in, with two of ‘em, right back to back.  Well, okay, a couple of months apart.  But, for someone who’s not Iron Man, that’s actually pretty impressive.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Where the last Widow Legend was undeniably a classic ‘70s Widow, this figure takes a decidedly more modern approach.  A lot of elements of this figure’s design have been taken from Chris Samnee’s version of the character from her 2016 solo series.  It’s been made a little more generalized to a basic modern Widow  (she doesn’t have the shoulder holster, and her collar is more pronounced), but the overall feel is very much the same, right down to the shorter hair style.  As a fan of Samnee’s work, I’m very happy with the design choice.  As far as the sculpt goes, the hands are the same as the prior Widow.  Aside from that, this one’s all-new.  I like the detailing on the catsuit a lot.  The wrinkles and the piping on the sides really sells it as an actual item of clothing, rather than just glorified paint.  I also like the new widow’s stingers; the more geometric nature sells the modern design sensibilities in contrast to the Vintage figure.  I have two slight complaints.  The first is the seam that runs down the center of her neck, which looks rather strange.  The second is the belt, which is purely paint.  It’s rather obvious that it’s just painted on, and it looks slightly goofy.  I’d hazard a guess that it was painted on to preserve the re-useablilty of this sculpt.  Aside from the belt, the paint’s pretty light, actually.  Her head has decent work on the face, and the wash helps bring out the detail in her hair.  Beyond that, there really isn’t any paint, but the figure’s not really hurt by that.  Despite her trigger finger-ed hands, Black Widow includes no guns.  What she *does* have is an extra head.  It’s the same face, but the hair is longer, allowing for a less Samnee-specific look.  Well, that is, if you put it on this figure.  But mine never went on this figure.  Instead, it went straight on the Vintage Widow, thereby making the already great Vintage Widow even better.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Okay, so Black Widow’s hardly defined by having a motorcycle.  That does make the inclusion of this cycle a bit strange.  That said, it’s not unheard of for Widow to be seen riding around on a motorcycle, and she’s even on one on Samnee’s cover of Black Widow #1, so it makes a degree of sense in context.  There are certainly worse characters to choose to give this motorcycle to.  The motorcycle is 7 1/2 inches long by 4 1/4 inches tall, and has working wheels and even has suspension on the back wheel.  It doesn’t look like this bike is modeled directly on the one from Black Widow #1, but I’d guess that, like with the jumpsuit body, this mold has been designed with re-purposing in mind.  I’ve been a little spoiled by Bandai’s Cyclone and McFarlane’s Chopper, but this bike’s actually not half bad.  The tires are actually rubber, and there’s a working kickstand, and a decent amount of detail work.  It’s a bit unsightly on the left side, with all the screws and everything, and it’s perhaps a little wide for Widow to sit on properly, but by and large, I’m pleased with it.  If nothing else, it’s a decent display piece to go next to her, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite Ghost Rider being the more obvious choice for this line-up, I actually didn’t have much interest in him.  I mean, I’m super happy he got released, especially for the people that really wanted him, but I’m pretty happy with my Rhino Series figure on the old Toy Biz bike.  Widow, on the other hand, was the one I was really looking forward to.  I was kind of thinking she would be pretty easy to find, but that didn’t prove to be the case.  I stopped at three TRUs, all of them chock full of Ghost Riders, with no Widow in sight.  I eventually got her at Walmart, which made me feel a little dirty, but hey, I gave TRU their shot.  Being totally honest, the bike doesn’t do a whole lot for me.  It’s not bad, but I really didn’t get this set for the bike.  So, Widow really just ended up being an extra expensive figure.  Fortunately, I really like her, and thanks to the extra head that’s now on my Vintage figure, it’s like I got two figures instead off just one.

#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!

#1153: Black Widow & Dark Avengers Iron Man

BLACK WIDOW & DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

widowdaim1

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

widowcrossbones1

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.

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#0566: Iron Man – Mark 43 & Black Widow

IRON MAN – MARK 43 & BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL MINIMATES

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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)

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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.