CAPTAIN AMERICA – STAR SPANGLED MAN VERSION
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (HOT TOYS)
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
Captain 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.
While 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.
Cap’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:
- 7 different hands
- Tommy gun
- Pistol (w/ holster)
- Grenade (w/ pouch)
- Utility belt (w/ two pouches)
- Ammo belt
- Leather strap
- 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.
The 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.