#2085: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“One of the original members of the Avengers, Steve Rogers – better known as Captain America – has always been the ultimate Wielding Soldier. Wearing the patriotic colors of the American flag, and wielding his trusty shield, he fights alongside his teammates in the name of truth and justice.”

Well, this isn’t a Spider-Man review.  What gives?  Fear not, dear readers, the Molten Man series reviews will return tomorrow,  but I’m taking a slight detour in honor of Steve Rogers’ birthday, July 4th!  Oh, also it’s some American holiday as well.  Whatever the case, I’m taking a look at a Captain America figure, because that’s how I do.  In the ’90s, Captain America figures were nowhere near as plentiful as they are now, and somewhat astoundingly, Toy Biz’s huge 5-inch line only spawned five figures of him over the course of the whole decade.  Today, I’m looking at one that just barely squeaked in under the radar in 1999, as part of the tie-in line for Avengers: United They Stand.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was part of the first series of the Avengers: United They Stand line (though, like other Toy Biz tie-in lines from the same time, both Series 1 and 2 hit shelves simultaneously).  Though not a series regular in the cartoon, Cap did have a prominent guest star appearance, and would have been joined by fellow guest star Iron Man had Series 3 ever been produced.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  If the sculpt on this guy looks familiar, it’s because I’ve looked at most of it before.  In a line otherwise made up of entirely new sculpts, Cap re-used the body of the Electro Spark Cap from the ’90s Spider-Man line.  Sort of an interesting choice, since it didn’t really match Cap’s design from the show, and all of the packaging actually showed the Marvel Vs Capcom Cap instead.  As I noted the first time I reviewed the sculpt, It’s quite large and exaggerated, which does make him look rather goofy.  He gets a new head and an Avengers belt buckle to differentiate him.  The head is a decent enough piece, and certainly feels more like your usual Captain America than the Electro Spark one, but it’s also really small, especially when compared to the body.  This only furthers the body’s proportion issues.  Cap’s paintwork is actually quite bright and eye-catching, and an improvement over the prior use of this mold.  There are some minor issues with bleed-over, but they’re as prefaced: minor.  Cap was packed with his usual shield, once again saddled with a gimmick, but this time not one that total destroys the aesthetics.  It’s just got a little magnet imbedded on one side, which triggers an “explosion” on the included droid accessory, where part of it pops out.  It never worked super well, but it also didn’t really ruin the figure, so I can’t complain.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The United They Stand figures were pretty hard to find when they were released, so I got them as I found them.  Cap was nearer the end of my completion of the set, fourth to last.  I found him on a trip with my parents to a Kmart, which was sort of out of the ordinary for us.  It also marked an important change in my collecting, as my parents both tried to assure me that I pretty much already had this figure.  They were right, but still bought the figure for me, starting me down a path of buying nearly identical variants of the characters I like.

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#2061: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Steve Rogers prepares for the ultimate battle to save the universe and channels all of his strength as Captain America.”

When is an amazing figure not an amazing release?  When the circumstances surrounding that release mean that not everyone who wants it is going to be able to get it.  Exclusives became the nature of the collecting beast years ago, as big box stores began to throw their buying power into guaranteeing they’d have something you couldn’t get anywhere else.  Walmart in particular has a reputation of refusing to carry certain toylines at all until they are granted an exclusive.  They didn’t carry initial assortments of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends for this very reason, and it was because of this that Best of Marvel Legends came to exist.  Later in the line, they would get an entire series (the Giant-Man Series) to themselves, and boy was that just a pleasant experience for everyone involved.  And if you believed me there, I have a one-handed Giant-Man I’d like to sell you.  I assure you, he’s much better than one with both hands.  In recent years, Walmart exclusives have become less of an issue, but less because they actually got better at making them available and more because toymakers have started giving them less-essential stuff when possible.  I’ve not had too much trouble with the last few Legends releases, but then again, I’ve not felt like they were essential either (I also didn’t have the nightmarish experience getting Corvous Glaive that some collectors did).  Then today’s figure was announced, and I was again less than enthused by this whole exclusives game.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is the third Walmart-exclusive Legends release this year, but he’s actually the second to hit stores because, as of this writing, their Captain Marvel exclusive still hasn’t been seen anywhere domestically.  Cap actually has had a pretty fast turnaround, as we only found out about his existence two weeks ago, and he seems to be be arriving in full force, at least in physical stores.  He’s based on his newly-designed costume from the final battle of Endgame, and is what I’d classify as the “definitive” Cap look for this movie.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Since Winter Soldier, all of the standard MCU Caps have been built on the same body.  While I loved it when it was new, that body has grown more and more out of place as the line has moved forward.  We got a taste of something new with the Infinity War Cap last year, which was part of why I was so disappointed when the Marvel Studios release went right back to the WS body, rather than retooling the new one.  I was crossing my fingers that Hasbro wouldn’t make the same mistake when it came time for this costume.  I’m happy to report they didn’t, and, in fact, they’ve given him an almost entirely new sculpt.  From the thigh down, he shares his legs with the IW release, and he has the helmeted head from the Studios offering (which is one of my few nits with this figure, because it means he’s got the smaller ball-joint of the WS body, meaning we once again have a Cap whose heads aren’t compatible with the Quantum Suit body).  Beyond that, everything else is new to this figure.  There’s a second head included, with another go at an unmasked Steve Rogers.  I liked the Studios unmasked head a lot, but I think this one beats it.  They really got Evans’ look from the movie down.  The build of the body takes note from the IW release, and bulks Cap up a fair bit, so he no longer looks quite as shrimpy when compared to the other MCU releases.  The detailing on the uniform is some of the best we’ve seen on a  Hasbro Cap, with the “scales” on his torso and shoulders being a real highlight of the figure.  I also quite like how they’ve made the shoulder pads floating pieces, so that they can slip over the torso when you’re posing him.  It helps to preserve the look and avoid restricting his motion on his shoulders.  The paintwork on this Cap is pretty good, thought I will say parts of it are a step down from other recent releases.  Both heads make use of the face printing, which looks very nice as always.  The paint on the helmet is also improved from the Studios release, which I was quit happy about.  The rest of the body is far more basic in its application, and also quite sloppy in several spots, especially on the abdomen.  It’s not as bad as some of the stuff we used to get from Hasbro, but it could definitely be much better.  In addition to his unmasked head, Cap also gets two more extras.  The first is his shield, which uses the sculpt from the Studios release, but this time has a fancy battle-damaged paint scheme.  Unfortunately, his left hand is still in a fist, so he can’t quite hold it right.  Fortunately, the hands can be swapped between this and the IW release, should you want a gripping hand.  His final accessory is rather cleverly hidden behind his shield in the package.  It’s Mjolnir, which he wields in epic fashion during Endgame‘s final battle.  It’s just a re-use of the previous MCU mold, but it’s still a fun inclusion, and it was nice of them to hide it in the package.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my review of the basic release of this costume, I walked out of the theatre ready to buy a figure of this design.  It was my assumption that he’d be showing up in one of the regular assortments later down the line, but I did have a little concern in the back of my mind that he might wind up as an exclusive of some sort.  I was non-plussed to find out it was Walmart.  Fortunately, I found him with only a few stops, but it did require me buying a figure with a sincerely jacked up package.  This figure is a really, really good figure, and the MCU Cap I’ve been wanting ever since Hasbro stepped up their MCU game.  He’s the definitive MCU Cap, and making him an exclusive to a chain who is notoriously bad about actually getting their exclusives out there seems like a serious misstep on Hasbro’s part.  My only hope is that they have some sort of an ace up their sleeve on this one.  He’s got a lot of new parts for a one-off release, and I can’t stress enough that he really feels like too big a figure just to be a Walmart exclusive.  Time will tell.  Until then, hopefully this figure won’t be too hard to find.

#2057: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (HASBRO)

So, now that all of the hype for the Quantum Suits has died down a bit, we can finally set our focus on the suits that the characters actually wear for most of the film’s run-time.  Of all the characters in the movie, Cap is the one with the most suits on-hand, donning his STRIKE suit for the first act, a replica of his first Avengers costume for the second, and then finally getting an all-new costume for the rest of the film’s run-time, which most notably is featured during the film’s huge climactic battle.  That’s the suit that pretty much everyone wants, but, apart from the Titan Heroes release, it wasn’t really available at the time of the film’s release.  Fortunately, it’s at the forefront of a lot of the post-film stuff, including Hasbro’s basic figure line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the second series of basic Avengers: Endgame figures, which appear to have started showing up in force right at the end of May.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  Like prior figures in this style, the scaling is just a touch smaller than a Legends figure, so Cap’s not quite going to fit it, but he wouldn’t be terrible in a pinch.  I still don’t know why Hasbro can’t give these guys knee joints, since it’s really the only joint holding them back, but they seem dead-set on sticking to their guns on this one.  This Cap is, of course, sporting his newest costume, which continues the evolution of the design first launched in Winter Soldier.  This time around it maneuvers even closer to his classic comics appearance by mimicking the scale-mail of his classic costume in the patterning on the torso and shoulder segments.  It adds an extra bit of flair to the costume, which this release takes advantage of.  The sculpt, which is all new, is a little bit stiff, what with the lack of certain articulation, but is otherwise a very well-detailed, overall very movie-accurate recreation of the uniform. The detail work, especially on the torso, is very sharp, and the likeness on the head is about as good a match for Evans as any of the Legends. Also, for the first time since the first Avengers movie, we get a Captain America with a grip on the left hand, so he can actually hold his shield properly!  One fun little side thing I did notice was that the head was a little loose on its ball-joint, which has the unintended benefit of making this particular head compatible with the Legends Quantum Suit body, should you prefer this helmet to the one we got.  Yes, it’s still inaccurate, but now you can choose your preferred inaccuracy!  The paintwork on this figure is a bit of a step down from a Legends offering, since he’s half the price and all.  He gets the basics, and they’re pretty good at that.  No fancy printed face or anything, but on a helmeted head, it’s less of an issue. There are some smaller details that are missing, but it kind of comes with the territory.  Cap is packed with his shield, which is a re-use of the most recent Legends iteration, albeit with slightly downgraded paint.  It’s nice that they’re using this same mold, especially if you’re looking for an easy spare for customizing purposes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I walked out of Endgame desperately wanting a figure of Cap in this costume.  I’m a self-admitted Cap fan, and this is definitely my favorite of his MCU designs.  With the Legends release uncertain (at least at the time I got him), this figure was an easy purchase.  I’m not gunning for him to be my go-to Cap or anything, but this guy’s definitely not a bad figure for the price.

#2051: Red Skull

RED SKULL

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

As prominent a fixture as he may be in the Captain America mythos, Red Skull isn’t a character that’s been particularly blessed when it comes to the world of action figures.  He hasn’t been particularly scarce, or anything.  In fact, he’s gotten a pretty decent amount of coverage.  What he *hasn’t* gotten is particularly good coverage.  This has been especially true of his 6-inch scale figures.  Of his six Legends-branded releases, two were movie figures, one was just a re-skinned Iron Man, another placed him on one of the modern line’s weakest bodies, one wore something decidedly un-Red-Skull like, and the first may well be the worst Legends figure Toy Biz ever released.  Not the greatest selection pool.  There are, however, some other offerings on the market, one of which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull was a late 2017 release from Mezco’s One:12 Collective, obviously meant as an accent piece to the previous year’s Captain America.  There were two variants of the Skull produced; the one I’m looking at today is the standard release, which has him in an all-black leather-jacketed number.  There was also an SDCC-exclusive that had him in his green jumpsuit from the Kirby days.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

Red Skull includes two different headsculpts.  Both of them are modeled pretty heavily on Jack Kirby’s original Red Skull design, which never seems to really get its due in action figure form.  It’s refreshing to see a more faithful rendition appear here, especially given Mezco’s tendency to modernize a lot of the time.  The figure comes wearing the more expressive of the two heads, which has Skull arching his brow and bearing his teeth in a lop-sided grimace.  It’s a very classic expression for him, and is especially well-suited to this styling of the Skull.  There are a number a small little cracks running throughout, keeping things from being too devoid of detail.  The second head isn’t too different, but gives him a closed mouth, more leveled brow appearance.  He’s still not a happy looking guy, but this is a more pensive, perhaps later in his career version of the Skull.  The details of this head line up with the first, really selling it as just a change of expression.  The paintwork on both is fairly similar.  The red is molded, with a black wash to bring out the details.  They’ve also correctly captured his bright blue eyes, a definitive feature of the character.

Red Skull is built on the mid-sized male body, a suitable choice for the character.  His uniform is a mixed media offering, as is usually the case for this line (though it wasn’t for the last figure I reviewed from it), made up of an underlying jumpsuit, with a leather duster on top of it, plus a shoulder-strap and belt to hold it in place, and a pair of sculpted boots.  The jumpsuit is fairly loose fitting, and has some printed on elements to keep it from being just a straight black affair.  The boots hold it in place at the base of the legs, and are actually two pieces so as to allow for movement at the ankles.  The leather duster is fake leather (not a shock at this scale) but is reasonably detailed, and nicely tailored to the body.  It also is stiff enough to hold some decent dynamic poses, which I quite like.  The strap and belt is a plastic element, and snaps in place to keep the jacket secure.  It features a working holster for his gun, as well as a very impressive Hydra logo on the buckle.  It can also be adjusted for use without the jacket, if you so desire.

In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Red Skull is packed with three pairs of hands (in fists (L&R), trigger finger (R), open grasp (R), closed grip (L), and loose grip (L)), a Luger, the Cosmic Cube, and a display stand with the Hydra logo printed on it.  The Cube is my favorite of the included extras, and is a little different than the ML renditions we’ve gotten, being a more opaque piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get this guy when he came out mostly because I hadn’t yet gotten any of the other Marvel releases, and, more specifically, hadn’t been able to get the classic version of Cap.  I also didn’t work at a toy store where I had easy access to such things.  This guy got traded in to All Time Toys a few weeks back, and I’d been commenting to the store owner Jason that I didn’t have a good Red Skull in my collection, so he kindly set it aside for me, and gave me a solid deal for it too.  I like this guy a lot, and he’s definitely the best Skull at this scale.  Heck, he’s probably the best Skull at any scale.

As noted above, I got this guy from All Time Toys.  He was a trade-in, so they don’t have him in stock anymore, but they do have a variety of other One:12 collective figures still available. If you’re looking for those, or other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#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.

#2014: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The First Avenger, Steve Rogers continues to protect the world from evil as the star-spangled hero, Captain America.”

Okay, we had a little bit of a prelude to Endgame with yesterday’s Infinity War pairing, but today I’m moving onto the Engame product proper.  A central piece of the promotional work for the film has been the swanky new “quantum suits” that the surviving Avengers will be sporting, so it’s not a huge shock that the suits are showing up pretty prevalently in the toys.  For the main assortment of Legends, we’ve only got one sample of the suit so far, being sported by most Avenger-ly Avenger, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the first series of Endgame-themed Marvel Legends, which is currently arriving at most retail establishments.  He’s an unnumbered figure, due to being the one figure in the set not necessary to complete the Armored Thanos Build-A-Figure, much like last year’s Mark L Iron Man.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The whole sculpt of this figure is new, though it should be noted that the body has already been re-used for Hawkeye in the Target-exclusive Hawkeye & Black Widow two-pack.  As noted in the intro, this figure is based on Cap’s quantum suit-sporting look.  It’s an interesting choice for our first Cap in the line.  While I’m not opposed to a uniformed look in principle, it does take some getting used to for a character like Cap, who has a more established solo look (and even has a brand-new solo look for the movie that we’ve yet to see any toy coverage for at all).  Still, these are the looks getting the clear push for merch, so I can’t really blame them for going with him.  The body is built to pull double-duty, so it’s maybe not a spot-on build for Chris Evans as Cap, but it works reasonably well, and I can understand their desire for a single body, especially with the two-pack’s included extra heads.  The suit itself is a pretty solid design, and I think it’ll look good in action.  Cap gets a unique head sculpt, and if I’m honest, it’s one of the more perplexing pieces of the figure.  He’s wearing a helmet that appears to be the same design as the one he had in the first Avengers.  While not a bad design, it’s been supplanted by the Winter Soldier-style helmet for a while now, and that’s even the helmet that is shown on the images on the back and sides of the packaging, making this older helmet seem out of place.  However, the helmet’s on this figure, the basic figure, and even the Minimate, so perhaps there was a change during production of the film.  What’s even more surprising, is that he’s wearing a helmet at all, since the concept art and trailers have all depicted Cap without any headgear while sporting the quantum suit.  Again, this is the sort of thing that might make more sense once I’ve seen the movie.  Whatever the case, it’s actually a rather nice sculpt, and I can definitely foresee a lot of people modding this to replace the Walmart exclusive figure from the first movie.  The figure’s paintwork is reasonably well-handled.  There’s a bit more slop than I’ve seen on other recent Legends, and some scuffing on the legs on my personal copy, which I was a little annoyed by.  Also, the printed face doesn’t seem to have worked quite as well for this particular figure, and results in him looking a little bit messy. The darker silver of the armor also seems to be in contrast to the more straight white we’ve been seeing in the trailers, but that could be a lighting thing.  It doesn’t look too terribly off here.  The real Achilles’ heel of this particular figure is the accessory compliment.  He’s got his shield…and that’s it.  The shield’s nice and all, and at least it’s the new and improved sculpt from the 10th Anniversary set, but he feels really, really light, especially with no Build-A-Figure part.  The lack of an unmasked sculpt is definitely the biggest killer, especially since the really nice unmasked head from the 10th Anniversary isn’t compatible with this release.  A slightly retooled release of that would have added a lot to this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Chris Evans as Cap is one of my favorite parts of the MCU, so I’ve really been looking for a solid figure of him for a while.  Sadly, it seems like every Legends release so far has had *something* off about it.  In this figure’s case, I can forgive the slightly un-Evans-like build on the body, but the lack of unmasked head is really hard to get past.  Admittedly, I like this figure more than I’d expected to, but not as much as I’d hoped to…if that makes any sense.  Perhaps my opinion will change after the movie.  At the very least, I think he’s a better figure than last year’s Cap.

Cap was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1994: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL SELECT (DST)

The retail product for the fourth Avengers film, Avengers: Endgame has officially started hitting shelves in preparation for the film’s April 26th release date.  However, with Endgame coming out just one year after its predecessor Infinity War, there’s just a touch of overlap, as the last of the IW product is still making its way to shelves.  I’m doing my best to keep up with it all (I ended up having to do a lot of picking and choosing during the onslaught of IW stuff) and to that end, I’m looking at Diamond Select Toys’ take on Captain America’s Infinity War appearance.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is one of the four Infinity War-based figures from the 2018 lineup of Marvel Select.  He ended up taking a little while to make it to shelves, and just started showing up in full force a few weeks ago.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  As far as scaling goes, he’s definitely nearer the taller end of Selects.  I had ever so slightly been hoping he might follow Daredevil’s lead, and potentially be closer to Legends scaling.  Of course one can’t really blame them for sizing him this way; he’s in proper scale with most of their other offerings, which wasn’t really true if DD.  This figure has a sculpt, handled by Gentle Giant Studios (who handle most of the MCU Legends as well), which appears to have at least some parts in common with the Civil War figure. It’s really for the best that this figure arrived so long after the movie; Cap’s “Nomad” design went through quite a few changes right up to production of the film, resulting in a lot of inaccuracies on his other figures.  This one is far more accurate to the final product.  He’s got his proper hair length (which neither Hasbro figure had), as well as both gloves, properly styled, and all of the appropriate wear and tear to his uniform.  The details of the uniform are also nice and sharp, and I really dig that texture work.  The head sculpt is probably the weakest aspect of the figure.  Its detailing is on the softer side, and it doesn’t quite have a spot-on Evans likeness.  That said, the likeness is still closer than all of the Hasbro attempts barring the unmasked Civil War head and certainly an immense improvement over prior unmasked Cap heads from DST, and the softer detailing may be more linked to the paint.  Speaking of the paint, slight thickness on the head application aside, it’s not a terrible offering.  The general appearance is accurate to the film, and there’s quite a bit of accent work going on.  In addition to the accuracy of the man figure, something else that really sets this guy apart is his accessory compliment.  In addition to a selection of eight different hands, as well as a display stand, he includes his Wakandan replacement shields in both collapsed and deployed configurations.  Prior Cap figures have been lucky to get a single shield, but this one can appropriately dual weild, and the deployed versions even have a sliding segment in the front like we saw in the movie.  By far, these are the most accurate versions of the shields we got on a small scale figure, and I would count them as a major selling point.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Legends version of this Cap was definitely the biggest disappointment of that set for me. I really liked the Nomad look, and such an inaccurate figure wasn’t cutting it.  I considered the Figuarts release, but he just traded in some inaccuracies for another set of them, and lacked the shields entirely, so I passed.  Once I saw the prototype for this guy, I was definitely on-board, making him an easy buy when he showed up at Cosmic Comix when he showed up a few weeks ago.  While I’m a little bummed that the best version of this guy out there doesn’t quite fit with the rest of my IW figures, there’s no denying this is a solid figure, and he’s nice enough that I’m probably just going to fudge the scale a bit on my shelf.

 

#1975: Arnim Zola & Hydra Supreme

ARNIM ZOLA & HYDRA SUPREME

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

A clandestine ally of Hydra, Supreme Leader Captain America reveals his true allegiances and joins forces with Arnim Zola to bring Hydra to a position of dominant world power.”

Hey, you know what I just haven’t reviewed enough of recently?  Marvel Legends.  They’re just so scarce around these parts.  Oh, no, wait, they’re the other thing.  Abundant.  Very abundant.  Well, they’re about to get moreso, because, hey, more Marvel Legends.  Today, I’m swinging on over to the Hydra side of things, with a look at head scientist Arnim Zola, alongside the Cosmic-Cube-altered Hydra Supreme version of Captain America.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Arnim and Hydra Supreme were released back in January as the “Hail Hydra” set, the latest Marvel Legends two-pack.  It’s technically an EE-exclusive, but can also be gotten through a number of other retailers, since EE does wholesale and all.  The two figures are both inspired by 2017’s Secret Empire event.

ARNIM ZOLA

A fairly classic Cap villain, Arnim is a fairly prominent fixture, both in the comics and the movies.  He’s also not a stranger to Legends, having been a Build-A-Figure shortly after the Return of Marvel Legends line began.  This release is largely a re-release of that one, with a few minor tweaks.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  The sculpt is largely a re-use of the Build-A-Figure, but he gets a new head (resembling his slightly more streamlined appearance from recent years), as well as swapping out his puffy-sleeved arms for Colossus’ more conventionally armored ones, all resulting in an ever so slightly more modernized take on Zola.  While some of the articulation is a little stiffer than more modern releases, he’s still pretty suitably posable, certainly posable enough for a character like Arnim.  The paintwork is another change between the two Arnims.  Where the first one went for a bolder, brighter, more comics-inspired palette, this one again angles more for a modern take, with a darker, metallic appearance.  Even the face is more modern, with a more intense, cackling expression.  Admittedly, I think I prefer the color scheme and face of the prior figure, but this one’s certainly not bad.  Arnim is packed with a small device of some sort, as well as the more boxy head from the original release.

HYDRA SUPREME

The Hydra Supreme is like the standard Hydra, but with tomatoes and sour cream.  At least, it is when you play by Taco Bell rules.  Specific Hydra rules may be *slightly* different.  But I like to hope that the indoctrination of Steve Rogers included adding extra toppings to him.  And maybe giving him a nice Baja Blast, as well.  This figure depicts the Cosmic-Cube-ified Steve Rogers from the very end of Secret Empire, when he’s given up the heroic patriot charade entirely.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  At first glance, he appears to be be an all-new sculpt, but he actually has a sizeable amount of re-use.  His arms and lower legs are from Taskmaster, and his hands are from the Bleeding Edge armor Iron Man.  That leaves the head, torso, and upper legs as new pieces.  The end result is quite a cohesive looking figure, who is also quite accurate to the source material.  Since he’s drawn from Bucky Cap-based pieces, he’s perhaps a little smaller than Steve should be, but, admittedly, it doesn’t seem too far removed from how he was depicted in the comics.  Maybe being evil is a good weight loss program. His colors are decidedly on the Hydra end of the spectrum, as they were in the book.  It’s certainly a different look for the character.  Hydra Supreme is packed with a unique shield, based on his design from the comics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I hadn’t gotten back into Legends yet when Zola was a BaF, so I never did get him built.  I was happy to see him offered up again here, since he’s a pretty important piece of the mythos.  Arnim’s a decent figure in his own right, but the surprise hit for me is definitely the Hydra Supreme, who’s just a really fun figure.  I’m hoping we might get to see him recolored as a Civil Warrior down the line.

#1896: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

“As a soldier in World War II, Captain America fought for the safety and honor of his entire nation.  Now, as the leader of the Avengers, he fights to protect the entire world.  Villains great and small wield earth-shattering power without hesitation.  Only the original super-soldier and his team of awesome heroes stand between those ruthless individuals and the devastation of the planet.”

2012’s The Avengers was a big success for the MCU, but came at an odd time for Hasbro’s Marvel toys.  The 6-inch scale had all but died out, mostly replaced by their 3 3/4 inch offerings.  However, the poor sales of the Captain America and Thor toys the preceding year meant even those offerings were decidedly modest.  For both prior films, as well as Iron Man 2, Walmart had offered up a smaller assortment of Legends-styled figures, and continued this trend at an even larger scale offering five of the team’s six members*.  Today, I’m looking at the team’s leader, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is one of the six figure line-up from the Walmart-exclusive Avengers 6-inch Movie Series.  He is, of course, based on his somewhat derided costume from the first Avengers movie. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall (the tallest of the MCU Caps in this scale) and he has 29 points of articulation.  The articulation is handled slightly differently than more modern releases; Hasbro was still figuring some of these things out.  The hips are definitely the weakest part and make him a little difficult to pose.  He also could do with some actual wrist joints, but given what we were getting not long before, this is pretty good.  Cap’s sculpt is unique at this scale, though it shares a rather similar construction with the smaller line’s version of the same costume.  They’re definitely divergent sculpts, though; the articulation is cut differently, and this figure, as a later offering, catches some of the design changes that appeared between the concept art and the final costume.  It’s still not a pitch-perfect match for the on-screen counterpart, but it’s very close.  The texture work on Cap’s uniform is definitely top-notch.  It’s sharply defined and nicely contrasts the various different materials that make up his costume.  Hasbro definitely took advantage of the larger scale of this figure to really go all out with the detailing.  It doesn’t so much extend to the likeness on the face, though.  It’s rather on the generic side, so it’s not like it looks un-like Evans, but it’s definitely not on the same level as the two Evans likenesses we got this year.  Cap’s paintwork is pretty straight forward and clean.  He’s got the slightly brighter colors of this particular costume down pretty well, though the reds may perhaps be a touch brighter than they should be.  The application is all clean and consistent.  Technically, that last stripe of white on his back should be blue to match the rest of the costume, but it’s an easily missed detail, and far from holds the figure back.  Cap was packed with his mighty shield, as per usual.  It’s actually a unique mold, not used since for the MCU Caps.  It’s a little bit on the small side, but it does have advantage of having extending straps, allowing for placement on his back.  It’s that one detail that I miss most from the later releases, and I was happy to see it here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still very much on the fence about the whole 6-inch Marvel endeavor when these figures arrived in stores.  This, coupled with their relative scarcity, meant that I skipped this set in its entirety.  After getting the Tenth Anniversary Mark VII Iron Man, I was a little bummed not to have any other figures to go with him.  Fortunately, as luck would have it, All Time Toys got in a collection with several of them in it, so I was able to assemble the team pretty quickly.  Cap’s a surprisingly nice figure, and really showcases a turning point for Hasbro’s Marvel offerings.  He’s a precursor for all of the amazing MCU figures we’ve gotten in the years since, and even 6 years after his release, he holds up pretty darn well.

*Widow was left out of the line-up to free up a slot for Loki.  There was much frustration with this choice at the time.  However, she would finally get a figure two years later as part of the Mandroid Series, and has been granted a Legends release for both of the Avengers sequels.

#1825: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“Trained by the black-hearted Adolf Hitler himself, the Red Skull and his fearsome visage were intended as a symbol of Nazi supremacy. During World War II, his unparalleled evil genius only could be matched by his arch-foe: the star-spangled Super-Soldier called Captain America. After failing to tip the wartime balance of power in favor of the forces of tyranny, the Red Skull spent decades in suspended animation – awakening in present day to enslave humanity and resurrect the power of the Third Reich!”

Nazis.  I hate these guys.

Back in 2014, when I was only 11 reviews in on Marvel Legends, I looked at the then-most-recent-version of Red Skull.  Now, four and a half years and 270 Legends reviews later, I’m going all the way back to the beginning, and taking a look at Johan’s very first Legends treatment.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends.  After three series of the “chase” figure being a variant of a main figure from the line-up, they’d introduced the concept of a secret, separate character chase figure with Series 4’s Goliath.  But, while that figure was just a simple repaint of the Marvel Collector’s Editions Giant-Man, their next go, Red Skull, would be a brand-new character with a “new” sculpt.  Why the quotes?  I’ll get to that.  As the “chase” figure, Red Skull wasn’t actually advertised at all on any of the packaging, making him an unknown offering to a great number of collectors, I’m sure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  Now, right off the bat, we run into the issue of articulation.  Toy Biz Legends were regularly boasting upwards of 30 points of articulation, so the Skull being below 20 is definitely notable.  What’s more, the distribution is really whacked out; 10 of those points are in the legs. Heck, he’s got toe joints, but no double joints on the knees and elbows, and even just cut joints on the shoulders and hips.  Why such odd articulation choices?  Re-used parts.  Red Skull is made up of a combination of the upper half of the X-Men: Movie Series Professor X and the Legends Series 3 Daredevil.  The Xavier body was three years old by this point, and from a line that was comparatively under-scaled.  And while the DD parts might have been a genuine Legends release, even the original felt out of place at the time of his release, and the parts also feel out of place for the Skull.  Red Skull also had a new head and hands, an add-on piece for his coat, and the Dr Doom holster stuck to his right leg, all in the name of separating him further from the figures that birthed him.  Unfortunately, even the new pieces don’t quite seem at home.  The head is too large for the body, and has no real neck to speak of.  The jacket piece, conversely, seems to sit too high on his body, leaving a good portion of his awkwardly designed hip joints still exposed, further exaggerating the largeness of the head, and the mix-and-match nature of the body.  On the plus side, the paint’s kind of decent, I guess.  The head in particular makes out pretty well.  Going for something other than a straight red seems to have worked out nicely.  Red Skull was packed with his peak cap, a pistol (borrowed from Dr. Doom), and the same display stand that was included with Cap, but in a different color scheme.  He also included a reprint of Captain America #16.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 5 is around the time that the magic of Marvel Legends was starting to wear off for me, thanks in no small part to this crazy “chases” thing that they introduced.  I was lucky with Red Skull.  My dad was at a comic show, and happened to find him for a somewhat reasonable price from a dealer.  Even new, he wasn’t great.  Toy Biz definitely made a lot of missteps on this one.  He’s a reminder that, as great as some of those figures were, Toy Biz’s Legends had some real stinkers.  Also, behold the start of the trend of crappy Red Skull Legends that perpetuates to this day.