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…