#2140: Captain America & Peggy Carter

CAPTAIN AMERICA & PEGGY CARTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

When it comes to the MCU, I’m a very big Captain America fan.  His solo outings are all highly ranked among my favorites, with The First Avenger and Winter Soldier being two of my very favorite amongst the line.  I have a particular soft spot for TFA, which helped to remind me just how much I liked the character, and is my go-to MCU film for re-watching.  The fact that the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line only gave us Red Skull left me really feeling the lack not just of one of Cap’s coolest looks, but also of one of the MCU’s most important characters.  Fortunately, the 80 Years of Marvel line is swooping in and offering up both of those very things, in one convenient package.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Peggy are one of the two exclusive 80 Years of Marvel two-packs (the other being Iron Man and Iron Spider from Infinity War), and they are available via Amazon.  While I’m still iffy on how many of these things are being handed off as exclusives, at least this one is relatively easy to acquire.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Driven to help out his country during World War II, Steve Rogers enlists in the military as part of Project Rebirth. After he impresses the scientist in charge of the project, Steve is injected with Super Soldier Serum, increasing his strength and physique. He becomes the patriotic hero Captain America, fighting for freedom throughout the world.”

Before he became a full-fledged costumed hero, but after he’d given up being a patriotic monkey, Steve throws togething this distinctive number to go and rescue the POWs from the Hydra camp, in perhaps my favorite sequence of the movie.  Hasbro wasn’t doing dedicated Legends for the movies when The First Avenger hit, so obviously there was no chance for a Rescue Cap there, but even worse, they didn’t even include one in their smaller-scale line.  To get this look previously, you either had to settle for the Minimate or shell out the big bucks for the Hot Toys version.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Cap is sporting an all-new sculpt, though it’s one that’s already been earmarked for re-use for the upcoming Legendary Riders WWII Cap figure.  It’s clearly been designed for accuracy to this particular look first and foremost, however.  After a number of MCU Cap figures that were a little bit scrawny, this one does a respectable job of looking the part.  The neck is a touch longer than I’d like, and some of the details on the uniform are softer than other recent offerings, but by and large, it’s a solid sculpt, and does the design justice.  Cap includes two different heads, which are slightly difficult to differentiate at first glance.  The one he comes wearing is a more straight-forward un-helmeted head, which has Evans with his pre-Winter Soldier hair.  It’s a decent likeness, though again softer than some recent sculpts.  As an added bonus, it’s the first Evans head to be compatible with the Quantum Suit body, which I was certainly happy about.  The second head has a far more compact hairstyle, meant to fit under the included helmet.  While they could have probably gotten away with just including a separate head with the helmet permanently attached, this way he can carry the empty helmet when using the non-helmet haired head.  I can certainly appreciate that.  Cap’s paintwork is all pretty standard.  The basics are all covered, and he’s using the face printing technique, which works pretty well here.  He’s packed with his original shield, a pistol, and a knife.  Both the pistol and the knife can be stashed on the figure, while the shield pretty much always goes on the arm.  Also included is the unpainted version of his standard shield.  It’s just a repaint of the Studios shield mold, meaning it has the star at the center, which isn’t technically accurate, but it’s close enough for such a relatively minor extra, and I’m honestly just happy to see it turn up at all.

PEGGY CARTER

A British agent with the Strategic Scientific Reserve, Peggy Carter is a capable soldier and strategist. She is part of Project Rebirth, which developed the Super Soldier Serum that was injected into Steve Rogers. When Project Rebirth ends, Peggy continues to assist Steve as he becomes the world’s first superhero, Captain America.”

The lack of a proper Peggy Carter figure has been one of the most glaring problems for just about every MCU-based line (barring Minimates, which was previously the only way to get Peggy).  Heck, we got a figure of the MCU version of *Sharon* Carter before Peggy.  Do you know how crazy that is?  It’s mega crazy, let me tell you.  It’s about time she finally got her due, with a figure based on her primary appearance from The First Avenger.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  While she has the expected issues of restricted hip articulation thanks to the skirt, beyond that she’s actually surprisingly well articulated.  The waist joint in particular has some really solid range, effectively negating the lack of any mid-torso joint.  Definitely a good example of tailoring the articulation to the design.  Peggy’s sporting an all-new sculpt, and one I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing again soon (unless Hasbro feels like giving us a TV show Peggy, which I certainly wouldn’t mind).  It’s another strong offering, working the articulation in well, while still getting down a pretty realistic set of proportions and properly adapting the details of the uniform.  While the head’s not a spot-on Hayley Atwell likeness, it’s strong enough to sell who this is meant to be, and it’s about on par with the Evans likeness on Cap.  Peggy’s paintwork is decent for the most part.  The face paint is a bit messy on mine, and there was some excess glue from the hair, but boy do I love that the got the seams on the backs of her legs.  That’s a really cool touch!  Peggy includes a Thompson machine gun, or at least I’m saying that she does.  It’s packed next to Cap in the packaging, but Peggy clearly is meant to hold something, and does use a Thompson in the film, so I’m counting it as hers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I love The First Avenger.  I love Rescue Cap.  I love Peggy.  There was no way I wasn’t buying this set as soon as I got the chance.  That made it slightly distressing when we went so long without any release information on this set.  It was one of the first 80 Years offerings shown off, but ended up as one of the last to be placed.  It kind of worked out in my favor, though, since the announcement that it would be at Amazon came alongside it being in-stock at Amazon, meaning I had it two days after it was officially solicited.  That was very nice.  This set isn’t without flaws.  Cap’s sculpt is a little softer than I’d like, and Peggy’s face paint is iffy, but honestly I’m just beyond thrilled to finally have both of them in my collection.

#2026: Captain America & Dum Dum Dugan

GOLDEN AGE CAPTAIN AMERICA & DUM DUM DUGAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Even the Cap gets by with a little help from his friends… though he does occasionally have to borrow those friends from some outside sources.  Such was the case with the Howling Commandos, Nick Fury’s WW2-era unit from the comics, who found themselves merged with Captain America’s WW2-era super team The Invaders for the purposes of The First Avenger, and in turn, found themselves treated to some action figures in the process.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Golden Age Captain America and Dum Dum were one of the two TRU-exclusive sets for the Captain America: The First Avenger assortment of Marvel Minimates.

GOLDEN AGE CAPTAIN AMERICA

On the path to getting his proper Captain America uniform, Cap goes through a few trial stages.  The first of these is Cap’s USO show costume, which is the spitting image of Cap’s classic costume from the comics.  Golden Age Cap is made up of six add-on pieces, all of them re-used.  The gloves and boots are the standard Cap pieces, and the belt was taken from the DC Minimates Series 4 Golden Age Flash (fitting, I suppose).  The mask comes from the First Appearance X-Men set, and while it’s not a terrible piece, it’s not strictly speaking accurate to the source material, where he actually had 3D head wings.  Of course, there was no ready-made piece that would quite match, and it would have certainly been a one-off, so the slight deviation is excusable.  Cap’s paint matches the somewhat sephia-toned coloring of the other Caps in this assortment.  It’s pretty cleanly applied overall, and I like the goony facial expression under the mask.  It’s a different look for Cap, and it helps him stand out a bit more from the other variants.  The blue’s perhaps a touch too light (as it stands, it matches with his standard costume, when it really should be a bit deeper), but that’s a minor change, and he’s at least consistent with the Frontline Captain America in that regard.  Golden Age Cap is packed with his shield (the same one included with Frontline Cap), and a spare hairpiece for a proper unmasked look.  A pointing hand might have been cool, or even some of his accessories from his movie serials he was filming, but he makes out alright.

DUM DUM DUGAN

Dum Dum is possibly the most distinctive of the Howling Commandos, in both the movie and the comics.  His presence here was definitely a sensible one, allowing collectors not only one of Cap’s supporting players, but also a very memorable agent of SHIELD who has had far too few action figures over the years.  Dum Dum is built using two unique add-on pieces; one for his hat/hair, and one for his vest.  The hat is a very distinctive and very important piece for Dugan, and this piece is mostly pretty good, but there’s one slightly annoying flaw to it: it’s lopsided!  It should be symmetrical, but it’s very clearly leaning to the right.  The other details are well-rendered and match the movie, but it’s hard to miss that one issue.  The vest is a decent piece in its own right.  I like that it bulks him up a bit, and the options for storing his shotgun and sidearm are much appreciated.  The paintwork on Dum Dum is respectable.  He’s got a lot of brown going on, but that’s accurate to the movie, so no complaints there.  The face doesn’t have much of a Neal McDonoug likeness, but it’s a pitch-perfect Dugan, so it works well enough for me, especially since it can double as the comics version of the character.  Dum Dum is packed with his shotgun and revolver.  Basic pieces we’ve seen many times before, but still solid pieces nonetheless, and perfect choices for the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the previously reviewed Gabe Jones and Hydra Flame Trooper, I grabbed these two from a TRU on a road trip with my my family back in 2011.  Golden Age Cap is perhaps the least essential of the three versions of Cap we got for the movie, but he’s a decent enough variant, and certainly more entertaining than all the variants of Wolverine we’ve gotten from his movies.  Dum Dum is a minor but still very important character, who was definitely in need of a figure.  This one, despite one notable flaw, definitely does the character justice, and helps to fill out the SHIELD ranks.

#1858: Gabe Jones & Hydra Flame Trooper

GABE JONES & HYDRA FLAME TROOPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

When it came time to do the Minimates for The First Avenger, the film’s titular character was featured in most of the sets, but he did get to take a break for a few packs.  This includes today’s focus pack, which is perhaps the most obscure pairing of the bunch, Howling Commando Gabe Jones and the Hydra Flame Trooper.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Gabe and the Hydra Flame Trooper were one of the two Toys R Us-exclusive pairings for The First Avenger, alongside Golden Age Cap & Dum Dum Dugan.

GABE JONES

Gabe is perhaps a less distinctive member of the Howling Commandos than Dum Dum, but he’s an important one nonetheless, and one that’s stuck around for quite a while.  He also has the notoriety of being Marvel’s first African American hero, albeit not quite one of the “super” variety.  The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Gabe is constructed using two add-on pieces.  The first is his helmet, which is shared with Frontline Captain America.  It’s a decent, standard-issue piece, so it works well enough.  His second add-on piece is his vest, a unique piece to this particular figure.  It’s definitely another solid piece, and it has some pretty excellent detail work, especially on the bandolier.  Like others in this particular set, there’s a holster attached; I still like them better as separate pieces, but it doesn’t look terrible.  The paintwork on Gabe is pretty standard stuff.  The application is all pretty cleanly handled.  He’s a little bit drab, but that’s just his design.  His face is sporting a pretty decent likeness of Derek Luke, but, as with Dugan, the likeness isn’t that far removed from Gabe’s comic incarnation, should you want to swap this head onto one of the comic book agent bodies.  Gabe is packed with a rather large machine gun, just like the one he was carrying around in the film.  He can hold it surprisingly well, given that it’s a two-hander.  He also includes a standard issue side-arm, which is the same as the one included with Cap and Bucky.

HYDRA FLAME TROOPER

The Hydra Flame Trooper, like the basic Hydra Agents packed with Peggy and Howard, was first offered up as part of the single-packed army builders case, before being offered up a second time here.  It’s actually a pretty sensible way of filling in the line-up, since I doubt anyone’s really going to complain about a duplicate here.  The figure uses four add-on pieces for the mask/goggles, chest cap, and flamethrowers.  The mask is the same one used on the basic Agents, which is good for consistency’s sake.  The chest cap and flamethrowers are big and bulky, and a little bit restricting, but that was the case in the movie as well, so it’s not really a complaint here.  Lastly, the figure swaps out the upper legs for a pair of more detailed ones, used from the Hammerdrones.  The Flame Trooper’s paintwork is pretty straightforward stuff, really.  It’s black, with thin white detialing.  It actually looks quite good, and makes for rather a striking figure. The Flame Trooper included no accessories, but given all of the sculpted extras, I suppose that’s excusable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed these two from a TRU on a road trip with my my family back in 2011.  Gabe isn’t the star figure in this assortment, but he’s exactly the sort of figure you like to see come out of movie assortments.  A fun second-tier character who wouldn’t otherwise get a figure.  The Hydra Flame trooper is another fun addition to the Hydra army, based on one of the cooler designs from the movie.

#1756: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Obsessed with the power of the Tesseract, Johann Schmidt teams up with Dr. Arnim Zola to create a super-charged arms force that will change the fate of World War II…and the world.

Hydra leader Johann Schmidt creates Tesseract-powered weapons to destroy American cities, but doesn’t anticipate interference from newly-dubbed hero, Captain America.  In their first meeting, Schmidt removes his mask to reveal crimson skin, a signature that has earned him the name ‘Red Skull.'”

The MCU has run through an interesting period when it comes to tie-in toys.  Iron Man kicked things off with some Legends-esqe figures, which were a decent hit with the fanbase.  By the time of IM2, Hasbro was in the midst of their push for 3 3/4 inch figures, so it, and all of the movies up to Captain America: Winter Soldier would be in that smaller scale, with only a few choice offerings at the larger scale.  The recent shift has been completely to the Legends scale, but thanks to the rapid pace at which the MCU films hit, there are more than a few prominent characters missing from the line-up.  In honor of the MCU’s tenth anniversary, Hasbro’s put together a special sub-line of Marvel Legends, devoted to celebrating those prior films.  I’m kicking things off today with a look at one of the most prominent missing villains, the Red Skull!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull is entry 2 in the Marvel Legends — Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of figures.  He’s one of the three standard single-packed figures in the line-up, alongside the Mark VII Iron Man and Ronan the Accuser.  This figure gives us Red Skull in his more basic Hydra uniform, as he’s seen inside the Hydra base during several sequences of the film (there’s also a long-coated variant, which was offered at SDCC this year). Perhaps not his coolest look, but there’s a good reason for this choice.  He stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s sporting a brand-new sculpt, which is a pretty solid recreation of Skull’s look from the movie.  The head has a teeth-gritting expression, which is always a nice throw-back to the Skull’s earlier comics design.  Thanks to it being released 7 years after the fact, it’s also able to be far more accurate to the film’s Skull face than it would have at the time of the movie, so hey, bonus!  The body captures his uniform pretty well, though the articulation is perhaps not as worked into the sculpt as I might like. It’s especially noticeable at the mid torso joint; I feel an ab-crunch might have worked a little better there.  That said, it’s hardly the worst implementation of articulation I’ve seen.  He’s still got decent mobility, and the sculpt isn’t too terribly broken because of it.  The paintwork on this guy is pretty usual fare for an MCU release.  It’s pretty cleanly applied, and matches well to the movie.  The head actually gets some pretty subtle accent work all throughout, so that it’s not just a big chunk of bright red plastic with some eyes.  Speaking of eyes, the ones on this figure are using the printed technique, which doesn’t have quite the same impact here that it does on more human looking figures, but it does still make at least some difference.  Remember up at the top, when I said there was a good reason for this figure’s costume choice?  Well, the accessories are where that comes into play.  Skull doesn’t get anything character specific, but he does get three extra heads, a tactical harness, a Hydra gun, and an extra hand, allowing him to be turned into a few different configurations of the Hydra Soldier.  Sure, the uniforms aren’t quite an exact match, but they’re close enough to work in a pinch, and it’s really the thought that counts.  As an added bonus, if you’ve got any of the Black Series FO Officer bodies laying around, with a tiny bit of modification, they work pretty well for quickly building an army.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Skull was purchased for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee.  She got a few of the Marvel Studios sets in at her work, and was kind enough to grab them for me.  First Avenger was my favorite of the Phase 1 films, so I was always rather saddened that it seemed to draw the short straw when it came to toys.  I’m glad that Hasbro’s been able to go back and retroactively amend that.  Red Skull isn’t a perfect figure, but I’d say he’s a fair bit better than he would have been had he been released at the time of the movie.  The added Hydra Soldiers pieces are just icing on the cake.  Now I’m resisting the urge to buy multiples…

#1716: Captain America & Red Skull

CAPTAIN AMERICA & RED SKULL

MARVEL MINIMATES

By 2011, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in the full swing of things.  Over in the Minimates corner, DST had pretty much gotten things down to the exact science that they’d use for the better part of a decade.  For Captain America: The First Avenger, we got a great set of ‘mates covering most of the film’s cast. Today, I look at the central most set, pairing our main hero Cap up against his main foe, the Red Skull!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Skull were the flagship pack in Series 40 of Marvel Minimates, as well as one of the two shared packs present in the TRU accompanying assortment.  Both are presented in their main looks from The First Avenger, which seems rather sensible.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

After haphazardly throwing together his rescue mission outfit to lead the Hydra-held POWs back to base, Steve Rogers turns to Howard Stark to help him design something more official.  Cap’s main look has shifted quite a bit since the first film, but this design is certainly one that has influenced (most) of the others.  It’s also a fairly reasonable real-word equivalent of his Golden Age costume, albeit with some adjustments for practicality.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  To achieve his rather bulked-up appearance, Cap makes use of uniquely sculpted upper-arms and gloves, as well as add-ons for his helmet, belt/suspenders, and his holster.  Everything was new to this figure, and has thus-far remained unique.  It’s a pretty good combo of pieces, all sharply defined, and pretty close to the film’s design.  If I have one complaint, it’s that his lack of sculpted boots to match ends up making his legs look kind of scrawny and under-scaled.  Some bulked up boots would have definitely helped.  The paint on Cap is pretty top notch stuff for the most part.  The palette captures the film’s sephia-toned aesthetic pretty nicely, and the details on the stitching and such of the costume is really great looking.  The base paint application could stand to be a little cleaner, and there were some real troubles with finding a helmet with a properly centered A on the forehead, but those issues are more on the minor side.  The face under the helmet is clearly the same guy from the Frontline figure, just with a calmer expression.  There’s definitely some shades of an Evans likeness there, though I think later Caps would get that down a bit better.  Cap is packed with his mighty shield, an extra hairpiece for an unmasked look, and a handgun.   A little less than Frontline Cap got, but this guy did get more unique sculpted pieces, so it evens out.

RED SKULL

Spoilers: Red Skull is in this review!  And other things as well, but I won’t touch on that here.  For Cap’s first outing, the movies went with the obvious choice of villain, the Red Skull.  Perhaps Cap’s most memorable foe, in part thanks to that frightening visage, and in part due to him being the perfect antithesis of everything Cap stands for.  The Skull had a few looks in the movie, but this figure went for his leather long coat, which is perhaps his coolest of the bunch. The figure has one add-on piece, used for his long coat.  It’s a little bulky, and essentially renders his legs motionless. That said, it’s pretty well sculpted, with sharp details that capture the jacket’s design from the movie very well. The paintwork on the Skull is pretty solid.  His face captures the movie’s take on his distinctive look, going for an appropriately angry expression.  The arms and hands also get an easy to miss bit of red detailing on both shoulders and his gloves, which are certainly a nice touch. Red Skull includes two accessories.  The first is a rather simple German pistol, and the second is the face of Johan Schmidtt, which is a slip cover mask that pulls down over the mask.  While it would probably look better just as a separate head, there’s something way more fun about being able to dramatically remove it just like in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set from Cosmic Comix, back when it was new.  They hit before the movie, so I didn’t know for sure what I was getting into, but with Cap and Red Skull, it’s pretty straightforward.  I remember being quite impressed with them at the time, especially in light of the lower quality of the Thor offerings.  The standard TFA Cap was a fun offering for the time, but perhaps one that’s been slightly outpaced by more recent offerings.   There was something of a learning curve on this guy.  Red Skull isn’t a real stand out or anything, but this one has the benefit of being one of only two ‘mates of the MCU incarnation available, and the Schmidtt face is actually pretty darn cool.  Overall, still a fun set, but you might be better off with newer versions of the characters.

#1699: Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, & Hydra Agent

HOWARD STARK, PEGGY CARTER, & HYDRA AGENTS

MARVEL MINIMATES

The civilians in superhero stories are very important to the mythos, but sadly, as rather average looking people, they don’t exactly lend themselves to lots of toys, no matter their prominence in the stories they hail from.  Fortunately, there are lines like Minimates, which are able to take advantage of their slightly different distribution methods to get us characters we might not otherwise see.  Take, for instance, today’s focuses, Howard Stark and Peggy Carter!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Howard, Peggy, and the Hydra Agent made up the specialty-exclusive component of the First Avenger-themed ‘mates, released in Series 40 of the main Marvel Minimates line.  Howard was the heavier packed of the two, with Peggy being his one-per-case “variant.”  In light of the movie and Peggy’s later importance moving forward, this was, and still is, an odd sort of case pack-out, but I guess they really wanted to make sure everyone had a chance at a young Howard.

HOWARD STARK

The young Howard Stark presented in The First Avenger is clearly influenced by another famous Howard, aeronautics pioneer Howard Hughes.  Director Joe Johnson had experience with Hughes, having used him in the film adaptation of The Rocketeer, so I guess he was just going with what he was comfortable with.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Howard has two add-on pieces, for his hair and his suit jacket.  Both are re-used, from the Universal Monsters line, in fact.  The hair is from Creature From the Black Lagoon’s Dr. Reed, and the jacket is from The Wolfman’s Laurence Talbot.  Given the similar time-period of all of the films in question, the re-use is pretty sensible.  Additionally, it’s nice to see the pieces made from slightly higher grade plastic, as it allows the details to show through a lot better.  His paintwork is somewhat on the drab side, being mostly greasy and the like.  The face has a reasonable likeness of Dominic Cooper, though he’s more of a generic Howard sort of look.  I might have liked a more expressive face, but this works well enough.  Howard is packed with a hat (re-used from The Spirit line), which can be swapped out for the hair.

PEGGY CARTER

It seems crazy to me that this is the only Peggy Carter action figure out there.  It’s also true of Howard, of course, but he’s more of a supporting player.  You’d expect Peggy to get a little more respect, wouldn’t you?  Though, I suppose it’s fitting that a character like Peggy wouldn’t be getting the respect she deserved.  At least she got this.  She’s got two add-on pieces, one for her hair, and one for her skirt.  Both are re-used, though the hair was originally meant for Peggy, but ended up going on the First Class Emma Frost first.  It works well enough for the look they’re going for.  The skirt piece is the same one used on Gwen Stacy, and it’s a standard piece that is still in use now.  It all replicates her uniformed look from the movie nicely (though, if we’re being picky, I personally would have preferred her Hydra base-storming gear from the end of the movie; oh well).  Her paintwork is a little more detailed than Howard’s, since she’s not relying on sculpting for the torso detailing.  The detail work is nice and sharp, and her face even has a decent likeness of Haley Atwell, though it’s once again a little void of expression.  Peggy is packed with a Thompson machine gun, first seen with another WW2 hero, Sgt Rock.  It’s a little tricky to hold, but it’s a nice piece.

HYDRA AGENT

Also offered in the army builder singles case, the basic Hydra Agent was easily one of the most sensible MCU army builders to grace the ‘mate line.  There’s a whole ton of these guys running around getting plowed through by Cap and the Howling Commandos, so getting a minimum of two to start with here was great.  The figures are add-on heavy, with pieces for their masks, straps/skirts, and glove cuffs.  Apart from the glove cuffs (which are, appropriately, re-used from Captain America), the other pieces were new to these guys.  Or, at least, they were new to this general assortment, since the parts are shared with the other variations of Hydra agent.  The pieces match up well with the film design, and the detail work is pretty clean.  The paintwork is pretty decent, and features more detailing than you might notice at first glance.  Perhaps the coolest part is what’s under the mask piece; since there were a few different Hydra masks seen in the movie, this one has the bulked up look, as well as a more streamlined design beneath it.  It adds an extra element of customization to them, which makes the army building all the more fun.  The Hydra Agents were both packed with a rifle, which has remained exclusive to the First Avengers offerings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked both of these sets up new from Cosmic Comix.  These were actually the sets I was most excited for at the time, and while they are perhaps not the most thrilling designs, I still really like them all.  The execution is definitely there.  And where else are you going to get Howard Stark and Peggy Carter action figures?  No where!

#1000: Captain America – Rescue Uniform Version

CAPTAIN AMERICA – RESCUE UNIFORM VERSION

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (HOT TOYS)

CapRescue1

Yes, dear reader, you read that review number correctly. Today marks the 1000th review on The Figure in Question! That’s a pretty big number, isn’t it? It’s kind of a turning point, since from here on out, that 0 at the beginning is gone. Goodbye little 0. You served me well.

Okay, let’s get the next 1000 reviews kicked off with one of my special Deluxe Reviews! This one is another Hot Toys figure, once again from their massive subset of Marvel Studios figures. As I noted in #0900, I generally try to avoid doubling up on characters when it comes to high-end collectibles. The one major exception to this, however, is Captain America. I’ve got a bit of Captain America addiction, mostly due to The First Avenger being my favorite of the Phase I solo films. In TFA, Steve has two distinct Captain America uniforms. The first is the Star Spangled Man look and the second is his main battle uniform. The figure I’m looking at today is sort of the bridge between those two looks.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapRescue2Rescue Uniform Captain America was figure 180 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series. He was one of the three SDCC exclusive figures from Hot Toys in 2012, though he didn’t technically ship until after the con. The Rescue Uniform is so called in reference to Cap wearing it during his mission to rescue the Hydra-captured Allied soldiers at The First Avenger’s mid-point. Pretty much, it’s some fatigues and a bomber jacket thrown over the “Star Spangled Man” costume, in reference to the times during WWII set comic stories where Steve wore his costume under his fatigues to maintain his secret identity, as well as the WWII battlefield uniform from The Ultimates. The figure is a little over 12 inches tall and, according to Sideshow’s website, he has “over 30 points of articulation.”

First up, let’s look at the figure’s head sculpt. This was Hot Toys’ first stab at an unmasked Chris Evans. Although CapRescu3later figures would come closer with the likeness, this is far from a bad first try. Facially, I think it’s pretty spot-on. What really seems to throw the whole likeness off just a tiny bit is the hair, which is much more matted to the head than Evans usually has it. That being said, it’s supposed to be under the helmet, so it doesn’t look that off. All-in-all, it’s not one of the strongest heads HT’s ever done, but it’s still a solid piece. My only real complaint is that it seems a little less textured than other sculpts. That’s pretty minor, though. The paintwork is nice and solid, looking just as lifelike as ever. The hair is a touch darker than usual, but this, coupled with the more matted sculpt, sells his hair as being sweaty and matted, which seems pretty accurate to what happens when you go on a mission wearing a metal helmet.

Cap’s costume is quite involved, and impressively so. He doesn’t get the whole “Star Spangled Man” costume; just the torso portion of the shirt and the trunks. That’s more than enough to sell the effect, though, and what we can see matches up pretty much perfectly with the full SSM Cap from later on. He also gets a faux-leather jacket, a pair of khaki trousers, gaiters, and a two-part harness with lots of pouches. The pieces are all very nicely tailored and fit well on the chosen body. He also gets a pair of sculpted shoes, which are both incredibly well detailed. As with the SSM Cap, the star logo on his torso is a sculpted element as well, which plugs into the center of his chest. The most important piece of his outfit is his helmet (and by extension, the goggles on the helmet). The helmet is two pieces (as a proper WW II helmet would be). The under piece is plastic, and has the straps and such attached to it, while the over piece is metal, and quite solid metal at that. It’s very nicely textured, and looks like the real prop from the movie. It also sits on his head just right, and is pretty secure when in place. The goggles are a little difficult to get on the helmet at first, but once they’re in place, they stay put and they look pretty great too.

Cap(Rescue)AccessoriesCap’s underlying body is a bit better than the last Cap I looked at, given that it’s less of a Frankenstein creation. It’s just a pretty standard muscle body, which means he loses some articulation for the sake of the upper body’s appearance. But, that just ends up making him a bit more realistic, and it’s a good fit for this particular design.

Captain America includes a somewhat smaller accessory compliment, due to the more complex costume. However, he still gets a few cool items, including:

  • 6 different hands
  • Machine gun
  • Pistol (w/ holster)
  • Knife (w/sheath)
  • Shield
  • Display stand

All of the hands are sculpted wearing the leather gloves he has in the movie. There’s a pair of fists, a pair of relaxed hands, a grip for the shield, and a grip with a trigger finger for the two guns.

The weapons are all very nicely sculpted to match the in-film props. The two guns have moving pieces, just like their real counterparts would, which is certainly a fun bonus. The holster and sheath can be attached to the figure, with the holster attaching to the belt on the waist and the sheath tying onto his shin. These all allow for a complete rescue look.

The shield is the same piece as the SSM version. However, while that one was totally clean, this one has scrapes and dirt all over it, matching the figure’s more battle-ready appearance. It’s definitely some solid work, and it helps to differentiate him from the other figure even further. It would have been nice to also get a version of the shield with a dent from where Red Skull punched it, but this is the more important of the two, so I’m happy to have it.

Lastly, there’s the display stand. It’s the same basic stand we’ve seen lots and lots of times before, but it still works for what it’s supposed to do, so that’s good.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rescue Cap isn’t one of my first Hot Toys figures. He’s not even my first Hot Toys Cap. He is, however, the figure that is the most responsible for just how many Hot Toys figures are in my current collection, because he’s one of the earliest HT figures that I bought for myself. Rescue Cap is one of my favorite looks from the movies, so when HT first showed the prototype, I was eager to get him. It took a while for him to finally get slotted as a con exclusive, but he finally did and I sat on Sideshow’s website for several hours the day he went up for sale to make sure I got one. He’s probably my favorite HT figure I own, if I’m honest. There’s just a lot to like about this figure, and, above all, he’s a ton of fun! Of course, getting this figure led me to want to finish out the TFA Cap set, as well as picking up the Avengers Cap and, by extension, the rest of the Avengers. So, there was that…

CapRescue5

#0900: Captain America – Star Spangled Man Version

CAPTAIN AMERICA – STAR SPANGLED MAN VERSION

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (HOT TOYS)

CapSSM1

Whelp, looks like I’ve stumbled my way through another 100 reviews, bringing my total reviews up to a resounding 900. Wow, that’s a lot. I need to get a life. Oh, right, the toys. The toys are my life. That works out, then. As is customary for all reviews divisible by 100, I’ll be doing another Deluxe Review.

When you’re dealing with high-end action figures, where each figure costs a small fortune, you would think that you might want to avoid doubling up on characters. By and large, that’s been what I’ve attempted to do in my high-end collecting. However, there was one main exception: Captain America. For some reason, I just kept buying the guy. Cap’s costume in the Marvel Studios movies has minor changes in each film, in an attempt to take him just a little closer to his comics counterpart. However, he actually started out in a costume that was an almost exact replica of his classic comics look, even if it ended up being a bit of a joke.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapSSM3Captain America was released as figure number 205 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series. He was one of three figures “exclusive” to San Diego Comic Con 2013 (I say “exclusive” because he was available through Sideshow’s website, and didn’t actually ship until a while after the con). Chronologically, he’s the first of the three exclusives. This version of Cap hails from Captain America: The First Avenger, and is based on the propaganda costume Steve wears during the “Star Spangled Man” musical montage (hence the name). With the exception of covering up his ears (for silly practical reasons like being able to turn his head), it’s a pretty straight recreation of his comics look. The figure stands roughly 12 inches tall and has “over 30 points of articulation” according to the blurb on Sideshow’s site.

CapSSM4While masked and unmasked heads have more or less become the norm on HT’s Cap figures now, this guy only includes the masked look. This is presumably due to him being a follow-up figure to the Rescue version, which was unmasked. The head sculpt is the usual HT quality; tons of little detail work that makes it look like the real person it’s emulating. Well, it looks like a real person. There’s certainly a bit of Evans in there, but it’s not as spot-on as other HT sculpts. Also, his face looks oddly out of proportion with the rest of his head, like it’s just a bit too big. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that his neck is nowhere near as thick as it is in the movie, which makes him look slightly bobble-headed and less heroic. The expression on his face is rather serious, which seems a bit out of place for this costume within the context of the movie, but makes sense when you recall that a major appeal of this figure was selling it to people who just wanted a comics accurate Cap. The texturing on his mask is pretty nicely done; it seems a bit heavy when viewed up close, but looks just about right when viewed from a little further away. The head is finished off with an absolutely top-notch paintjob, which does a lot to distract from some of the more minor issues present here.

CapSSM2Cap’s costume makes use of seven different pieces; He has a cloth bodysuit, which makes up the majority of his costume, as well as a pair of shorts to go over it and a belt. The pieces are fairly well tailored, but not completely without issue. The shorts seem a bit more obtrusive than they were in the movie, and the red and white stripes on the torso stick out a little bit on the sides. The star symbol is actually a sculpted piece, which plugs into the center of his chest, in order to keep it properly centered. There are sculpted pieces for the boots and the tops of the gloves, which are very nicely handled and do a great job of simulating the leather used for the real items in the movie.

The weakest part of this figure by far is the underlying body. While I haven’t undressed my figure, I’ve seen pictures of the underlying body; it’s a Frankenstein’s Monster of earlier base bodies, which don’t all quite fit together, resulting in some odd gaps. The gaps have been filled with padding, which does an alright job, but has to be shifted from time to time to prevent him from getting weird lumps, and it also gets in the way of some of his articulation. Also, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, the arms they chose are the ones with the most limited elbow movement available, which is incredibly limiting in what you can do with the figure, and makes little sense, since the joints could have easily been hidden by the sleeves.

Cap’s accessories complement does a fair bit to make up for the somewhat lackluster body. He included:CapSSM6

  • 7 different hands
  • Tommy gun
  • Pistol (w/ holster)
  • Grenade (w/ pouch)
  • Utility belt (w/ two pouches)
  • Ammo belt
  • Leather strap
  • Shield
  • Cue cards
  • Display stand

The hands are all sculpted to match up with the top parts of the gloves on the costume. They come in relaxed (R and L), fists (R and L), tight and loose grips (both L), and a trigger finger (R). The one glaring omission here is a pointing hand for an “I Want You” style pose. You can sub in the trigger finger (as I did), but it’s not quite the same.

The Tommy gun, pistol, grenade, utility belt, ammo belt, and leather strap are all based on the sequence in the montage where Cap is filming a propaganda film. The gun is the coolest piece, and it even has a removable ammo drum, with a few rounds visible at the top. All in all, these paces make for a pretty cool alternate look.

CapSSM5The Shield is the coolest piece, not necessarily for itself (though it is a good recreation of the first shield in the movie), but for the cue cards. In the movie, Cap has a speech about buying war bonds, which he has to give at each Star Spangled Man performance. It’s revealed during the montage that he has cue cards with the words from the speech taped onto the inside of his shield. It’s a brief little moment, but a cool character piece. You have to attach the cards yourself, but it’s a super cool touch that HT included them, and it offers a fun extra that most companies would overlook.

Finally, there’s the display stand, which is a fairly standard, run of the mill piece, but nice to have regardless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Cap is the “newest” of my HT Caps. The First Avenger was my favorite Phase 1 solo film, and I love the whole Star Spangled Man sequence, and Cap’s costume is one of the most distinctive in comics, so I was pretty excited when this figure was first shown off. Then there was the waiting (since it took over a year from showing him at a con for him to actually get a slot in the line). I bought him through Sideshow’s site when he was finally listed. Then the real trouble began. See, Sideshow ships through UPS, and they require a signature for delivery. I missed the driver the first two times Cap went out for delivery, and wouldn’t be home for the third, so I contacted UPS about having him held for pickup at the distribution center. They told me they weren’t allowed to do that, and that he’d be sent back to Sideshow if I wasn’t there the next day. A few calls later, I was told to just show up for pick-up that evening, despite it not being officially set-up. Well, surprising no one, that didn’t work out, resulting in another 5 hours of phone calls, before I was finally get it all sorted out, and was able to pick him up the following morning. After all of that, this better be the best darn Cap figure I’ve ever owned, right? Well, not quite. Honestly, he’s not a bad figure, but he’s probably the weakest of the Cap figures I have, due mostly to the weird body. Still, I’m glad I have him, and he rounds out my set of First Avenger Caps quite nicely.

#0182: Shield Blitz Captain America

SHIELD BLITZ CAPTAIN AMERICA

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

Did you guys see Captain America: The Winter Soldier? If the answer isn’t yes, go see it. Go see it now. I’ll wait. Actually, I think I may go see it myself. Yep, I’ll be back in 2 hours.

 

 

Oh, hey guys, you still here? Cool. So, yeah, that was a good movie. And you know what good superhero movies mean, right? Action figures! And thanks to Hasbro’s wonderful case pack outs and distribution, I’ve ended up buying both the 6 inch and 3 ¾ inch lines, to ensure I can get my Captain America fix. Yes, I have a problem. Anyway, there are a few versions of the sentinel of liberty himself. I picked up the “Shield Blitz” version.

THE FIGURE ITSELF
Cap was released in the second assortment of figures in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier line, along with the Falcon. This particular figure depicts Cap in his WW2 uniform seen in the first movie, though they seem to have given it a color scheme a bit more in line with the one he wears in The Winter Soldier. The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 19 points of articulation. The figure seems a bit small, especially in comparison to other movie offerings, and he would also really benefit from wrist, ankle and waist joints. As he is currently, he seems a bit stiff. The sculpt on this figure is okay. I think it’s better than the previous movie’s take on the costume, but still not amazing. The head does bear a vague resemblance to Chris Evans, but it’s hard to tell at this scale. One of the things that does bug me a bit is the torso just seeming a bit too short, which gives him this oddly scrunched look. The paintwork is decent, with no real slop, but I do wish they had added a few more paint apps. They left his gun the same color as the holster! Also, there seemed to be quite a bit of variance in the quality of the paint work on the figures I saw, so you might want to check for the best one. The accessories, oh boy, the accessories. Hasbro is and has for quite some time been a fan of the over-sized, useless missile launchers as accessories, but they are typically in addition to one or two more sensible pieces as well. This seems to have changed with The Winter Soldier figures. Cap includes a shield launcher (because we wouldn’t want him to have to actually throw his shield…) and a shield that can be launched. No real issue, right? He still has the shield, right? Yeah, about that… To facilitate the launching feature, they kind of undersized the shield, rounded the edges, and, for some really stupid reason, replaced the usually handles meant for holding it with a single peg. Which he can’t really hold properly, since his hands have been molded in pseudo trigger fingers. Thanks Hasbro…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is kind of another example of my lack of self-control on certain action figure purchases. I pretty much bought this because I wanted a Cap to go with the Winter Soldier and Falcon figures I was buying to hold me over until the Minimates and 6 inch versions are readily available. Of the three Caps available, this one seemed to be the best option. The shield totally sucks, and the proportions are a bit off in some places, but I actually am not all that bummed by my decision. He’s not too bad, and I do feel, appearance-wise anyway, he’s an improvement over the one from The First Avenger.