#2877: Captain America – Avengers Assemble Edition

CAPTAIN AMERICA — AVENGERS ASSEMBLE EDITION

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line began as something that was mostly focused on Japanese properties, and while they aren’t totally out of the picture by any stretch of the imagination, they certainly have added a lot more western properties to the line-up.  In particular, figures based on the MCU have become quite common place.  They’ve done quite an Endgame line-up, and now their circling back with a selection of figures based on the first Avengers, under the heading “Avengers Assemble.”  I am, somewhat predictably, looking at the Captain America from the set, because that’s what I do these days.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is one of the four Avengers Assemble Edition figures added to the S.H. Figuarts line-up this year.  Cap started showing up domestically in early July, which is a convenient time for Cap figures.  He’s based on Cap, specifically in the first Avengers movie, though it does allow you to use him as both an Endgame flashback Cap and a Homecoming educational videos Cap, if you so choose.  That said, there was a release specifically patterned on the Endgame appearances of the costume last year.  This one sort of tailors him more to his actual Avengers appearances.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s similar to the Endgame Cap scale-wise, which also means he’s on the taller side for Figuarts, meaning he’s also not too terribly far off from Legends scaling.  Still a touch small, but you could fudge it if really pressed.  He follows the usual Figuarts articulation scheme, so that gives him an impressive range of motion.  That being said, he shows some of the improvements we’ve been seeing more recently on Figuarts with how the articulation is implemented, so he’s a slightly more solid figure, with a little more heft to him.  I definitely like that.  Cap’s sculpt is largely shared with the Endgame version of this costume from last year, which is sensible, since they’d want to get some mileage out of this mold if possible.  It’s a pretty impressive piece of work.  It’s very clean and sleek, and definitely makes a slightly iffy design work nicely in three dimensions.  There’s the usual level of stylization to him, so that he fits in with the rest of the line.  I was happy with how well they got his build down, since the Hasbro version of this costume was a little bit scrawny.  This version certainly more lives up to the “America’s Ass” monicker.  The only thing I’m not really big on is the belt, which has a little trouble sitting properly.  It tends to hover a little higher than it should.  Cap’s standard head sculpt has the helmet and a more neutral expression, which is a strong set-up.  The helmet’s details match well with the films (again, something Hasbro tended to struggle with) and the Evans likeness is pretty strong.  The paint work on Cap is quite nice.  It’s got the basic color scheme down nicely, and reminds me how much I like the brighter colors of this costume.  They also added some accenting on the outfit, so as to give him a little more wear, since he’s supposed to work for the final battle from the movie.  When it comes to the accessories, Cap is pretty nicely covered.  He gets three alternate heads: masked and angry, and two unmasked.  The unmasked are the same sculpt, but one is clean, and the other is dirty.  He also has the two necks to match masked vs unmasked heads, as well as two different collars one with the hood and one without.  Also included are two shields, again clean and dirty.  They get fully folded down straps, plus one for the upper arm, two alternate hands for each side holding the lower strap, and one strap with the additional hook for doing the one handed hold on the shields.  There are a total of 14 hands included, which covers the fists he comes wearing, the pair with the straps, the pair with the tab for use with the strap with the hook, two open gesture, two gripping, two relaxed, one pointing with the index finger, and one pointing with index and middle finger.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have the dislike for this design that some people do.  That said, it’s toy coverage wasn’t great.  The Legends versions were definitely not at the line’s height, and I was disappointed by the Endgame re-release in particular, since I’d been hoping for an all-new sculpt.  Alas, that wasn’t the case, so I was still in the market for a good small-scale version of the costume.  When this one came in at All Time, it was a pretty easy sell for me.  He’s a really strong figure, and easily the best version of this costume on the market.  He definitely feels worth the value.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2842: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (HOT TOYS)

These days, I pretty much exclusively save my Hot Toys reviews for monumental numbers, but I’ve gotten to the point now where anything less than 500 doesn’t seem worth it, so it’s literally less than one a year.  Despite my last one being not even a whole year ago, when I crossed the 2500 mark, I’ve actually picked up a new one that warrants reviewing, and I don’t particularly want to wait seven months to review him, just to get the numbers to line up right.  If he’d actually come out when he was *supposed* to, I would have been golden, but nooooooooo….  So, anyway, I’m breaking the structure.  I know, you’re all so broken up about it, right?  Let’s jump back to 2019, when the world sucked a great deal less, and discuss the culmination of a decade’s worth of movies in Avengers: Endgame, and, more specifically, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was released as part of the Endgame component of Hot Toys’ core Movie Masterpiece Series, where he’s figure 536.  He winds up being the sixth release of the Endgame figures, though he was originally meant to be a little bit earlier.  His initial release date was projected for June of 2020, but he wound up being about a year later than expected, making him so far the most delayed of the Endgame figures.  Presumably, the need to add some more final battle-specific parts contributed to this at least a little bit, but there was also that whole pandemic thing going on, which I’m sure did not help.  He’s finally here, though, and that’s the thing that matters the most of all.  Cap is based on his all-new super suit from the movie, which places him as a specifically third-act version of the character, which is really where he gets his best look, so I’m all about it.  It’s definitely Chris Evans’ Cap at his Cap-iest.  The figure stands about 12 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

As is the norm for masked characters, Cap is packed with two different heads for this release.  The first is a helmeted look, which is a quite nicely layered sculpt that looks like he’s actually got a separate helmet and everything.  For this head, they’ve given him an extra joint at the base of the jaw, for some extra mobility.  It works pretty well, but does result in a slightly noticeable seam at the back.  It’s certainly an improvement from earlier versions of such designs, though, which is good.  The head has a solid likeness of Chris Evans under the helmet, showcasing an improvement even on the already really good likenesses of the older Caps.  Much like the DX12 Batman, the helmeted head has three different mouth plates that you can swap out for different expressions.  The standard is fairly neutral, and has the most versatility, but he’s also got one with the mouth slightly opened, and one with the teeth firmly gritted and bared, which is perfect for the more intense battle poses.  The plates are attached with magnets, and can take a little bit of doing to place, but stay nicely once set, and swap out without too much trouble.  It certainly works a bit better than the straight up pegs that were on Batman.  The paint work on the head is up to the usual HT standards, with a very lifelike appearance for the face, and some really nice wear and tear detailing on the helmet.  The second head gives us a proper un-helmeted look for Steve.  Originally, the photos showed the same unmasked head that was included with the Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, and Civil War releases, but prior to release, Hot Toys replaced it with an all-new sculpt that more accurately depicts Evans as seen in Endgame.  It’s a very strong sculpt, with a really impressive likeness, perhaps even better than the one on the helmeted head.  Unlike the helmeted head, this one doesn’t have the extra joint.  It makes for slightly less posability, but looks better aesthetically, and given his more composed appearance, it’s not really meant for crazy poses anyway.  The only real downside to this sculpt is that there’s a rather noticeable seam on the sides of the head.  Fortunately, it’s not too bad when not directly lit, but at this price point, you would hope for it to be just a little bit better.

Cap’s new suit for Endgame‘s final battle was a fairly strong point for the movie.  It’s kind of indicative of the MCU movies as a whole,   taking various elements that worked previously, and rolling them all into one slightly more perfected, more direct comics-directly adapted final product.  It looks really cool, and it just really works.  It’s construction is also a bit more involved than earlier designs, as well, which is reflected in its translation here.  His underlying “body suit” is two distinct pieces, a shirt and pants.  The pants have some molded knee pads glued in place, and the shirt has plastic plating for his chest and shoulders, as well as a sculpted insignia at the center.  Beyond that, the detailing is down to tailoring, which looks pretty solid for this scale.  Some of the stitching is a little bit larger than it should be, but, of course, there’s only so much that can be done about that.  The base suit is topped off by his harness, belt, and boots.  The harness is largely cloth, as you would expect, and is again a well-tailored translation of the design seen in he film.  The belt sits a little bit low, but overall looks alright, and is attached permanently to the suit.  The boots are sculpted, but unlike earlier sculpted boots, which sacrificed articulation for the sake of aesthetics, these ones are jointed at the ankles, allowing for much better options when posing.  It’s definitely a much appreciated improvement for me.

Cap’s underlying body captures Evans’ proportions pretty nicely and is one of the more basic ones, which prioritizes function over form.  After the first few Caps placed him on slightly less articulated muscle bodies, I do appreciate one that’s more cleanly designed for posing.  The nature of his costume design does impede some of the movement ever so slightly.  For the most part, the upper torso fares alright in terms of range, though the shoulders are a little tight for some poses.  The pants are rather restricting, especially at the hips, but with some slight shifting, it’s workable.  He just won’t be getting into any deep lunges or anything.

In addition to getting the previously mentioned extra head and mouth plates, Cap gets a rather extensive selection of other extras for a whole ton of options for display.  Included are:

  • 7 hands
  • 2 shields
  • Mjolnir
  • Compass
  • Empty helmet
  • Display stand

The hands include fists, gripping, pointing (right), open gesture (right), and loose grip (left).  They pretty much cover all of the needed options for posing, and look suitably realistic, including some solid detail work on his gloves.  They also swap out pretty easily, considering my prior experiences with Hot Toys.  The two shields give you both standard (if a bit scuffed), and damaged, which also includes the broken shards, which I certainly wasn’t expecting.  The shields also include a piece that can swap out for one of the straps, which allows you to hang one of them on his back.  Mjolnir is similar in styling to the one included with Thor, but this time around the top is plastic, rather than metal.  While it doesn’t have that same impressive heft, it also won’t leave his wrist joint all floppy and loose after a few months posed holding it aloft.  The compass is properly hinged, and even has the small photo of Peggy in it, as seen in the movie.  The helmet matches the helmeted head, minus the head, of course, and can be held when he’s using the unmasked head.  The stand swaps out the old basic oval design for a hexagonal design featuring a design based on the movie branding.  It does its job well, and has a rather clean design, which works pretty well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Completing the first Avengers line-up was really my last hurrah for Hot Toys collecting, and I’ve not really been keeping up with it since.  However, when I walked out of the theater after seeing Endgame, I pretty much wanted this Cap design in any form I could get.  I placed my order for this guy as soon as he was available.  It’s been quite a long wait for him, given he was supposed to be slated for last year, but I was certainly okay with being patient.  Ultimately, this figure wound up as part of my path to figuring out my new normal, since he finally shipped just a week after Jess’s passing.  It’s weird, I suppose, but maybe sort of fitting, since I had moved past Hot Toys collecting when she and I started dating.  It was definitely weird not getting to experience this one with a companion, but I’m starting to find my footing on what I like purely for me.  I do like this figure.  I took me a little bit of time to get back into enjoying a Hot Toys figure the same way I used to, but he’s a good re-entry into the style.  I’m not jumping back into these full force, but I am going to keep up with my Captain America chronology at the very least.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2830: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Emerging from the ashes of World War II, Johann Schmidt rose to become one of Captain America’s greatest enemies, the Red Skull.”

Hey, remember how I was reviewing a whole set of Marvel Legends and I just wrapped it up?  Well, I’m just gonna jump head long into another one, because why not.  In an effort of sort of segueing, at least as much as one needs to segue between two sets of Marvel Legends, let’s jump from a Captain America to a Red Skull.  When it comes to toys, Red Skull is a great example of how quantity does not make up for quality.  He’s had quite a number of figures over the years, but they always feel lacking in some way.  His history with Marvel Legends has been particularly bad, with his very first figure being one of Toy Biz’s very worst, and even his more recent offerings being rather lackluster as a general rule.  Hasbro hasn’t truly done a basic Red Skull since 2014, so the fact that he was chosen for their new all-villains series does carry a bit of weight.  Will this finally be the one that doesn’t suck?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull is figure 6 (I know, I’m starting at the end, as opposed to going in order like I’ve tended to recently; don’t judge me, I do what I want) in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends, which is, as noted, an all-villains set, the first under Hasbro’s tenure, and 15 years removed from Toy Biz’s.  Red Skull has had a number of different looks over the years, and his figures have likewise been all over the place.  I myself have always been particularly partial to the green jumpsuit look that Kirby tended to draw him in, so I was pretty happy to see Hasbro hone in on that particular look for this release, especially given its relative rarity in toy form.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  While other Red Skulls have tended to get stuck on re-used bodies, and therefore had to make do and compromise, this Red Skull is sporting an all-new sculpt (albeit one that’s also shared with one other figure in this assortment).  Generally, it’s pretty basic, since it’s just a jumpsuit and all, but it captures the look pretty well, with the looser fit being showcased in the various wrinkles and the like.  The build is appropriately stocky, and the articulation works well for the character.  He’s also got the new pinless look for the elbows and knees, which continues to be nice to see crop up.  Red Skull has two different head sculpts included this time around.  Right out of the box, he’s got a more modern style one that appears to just be a scaled down version of the Red Onslaught piece.  It’s more traditionally skull-like in a text book sense, which certainly has its appeal.  The second sculpt, and the one that’s definitely my favorite of the two, is one more based on Skull’s more expressive look in the Kirby style.  It’s got a lot of smaller details worked in, and just feels perfect for this particular version of the character.  In terms of paint, this figure is generally pretty basic.  The reds are very bright and eye-catching, which I like, while the rest of it’s a little more drab, as it should be.  Everything’s pretty cleanly applied, which is certainly a plus.  In addition to getting the previously mentioned extra head, Red Skull gets a quite impressive selection of accessories, including 3 sets of hands (fists, gripping, and open gesture), the Cosmic Cube, and the Nerf Vortex Proton-based gun originally included with Maverick.  I like that they’re starting this body out with a bunch of different hands, and the gun and cube make for a good variety in terms of posing and display.  Also included is the head to the Build-A-Figure Xemnu.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The lack of good Red Skull figures in my collection is something I’ve been trying to fix for a while, pretty much since back in the Toy Biz days.  The Legends figures always feel lacking, and I’ve never been totally content.  I have the Mezco figure, which I do quite like, but he’s not a true Legend and thus doesn’t quite fit in with them.  Plus, he’s not the jumpsuit version, and that’s my favorite.  I had very high hopes for this release, and I have to say, they were very well placed.  This figure is very definitely the best Legends Skull out there, and my favorite Red Skull figure to date.  It will be a hard task to upstage this one.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2829: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Donning a brand new suit and wings from Wakanda, Sam Wilson proudly takes on the mantle, ready to unite people as the world’s new Captain America.”

When Steve passed the shield to Sam in Avengers Endgame, Sam’s taking up the Captain America mantle seemed pretty inevitable, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier devoted a lot of its time to showing that even when something is the inevitable or even most common sense outcome, that doesn’t mean that the journey there is always the easiest.  Much like Steve, Sam’s own hesitance at accepting the role, coupled with outside factors believing him wrong for the role based on superficial factors, are ultimately the very reasons that Sam is the right choice for the part, and the show pulls double duty of convincing both Sam and the audience watching that there’s really no other choice for the new Captain America.  And, if he’s going to be the new Captain America, then he damn well better get a cool new action figure while he’s at it, right?  Right.  So, let’s look at that, huh?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Following in the footsteps of Homecoming‘s Vulture, Captain America is both the final single release in the Disney+ series of Marvel Legends and its Build-A-Figure, by virtue of his wings being parted out amongst the other figures, while the core figure himself is sold by himself.  This allows the wings to be far more intricate in their design than they might otherwise have been, while also giving people the option of just getting that main Cap look, which Sam does, admittedly have for quite a bit of his screen time.  The wings are certainly less key a piece for him than his Falcon design, or even really that prior Vulture figure, so I think it was a pretty wise choice.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation in his single-packed form, with an additional 6 points courtesy of the wings when he’s fully assembled.  His articulation scheme is pretty well balanced.  The wings can be a little floppy in certain poses, but they hold up alright, and the core body is on par with the rest of this line-up’s articulation.  Sam’s got an all-new sculpt based on his final episode design from the show, and let me take a moment here to once again discuss how strong many of the costume choices have been for these shows.  Much like Wanda’s Scarlet Witch design, Sam’s Captain America uniform is a quite faithful adaptation of his Cap suit from the comics.  I was quite a fan of that design in 2D, and I think it translated amazingly well to live action.  Rather fittingly, it’s also translated quite nicely into toy form.  The costume details match up quite nicely with those seen on the screen, and the head sports Hasbro’s best Anthony Mackie sculpt so far (which is saying something, because the prior Legends version was pretty good to begin with).  Most impressively, this time around the goggles are actually a separate piece, with a slight translucent feature to them, so you can ever so slightly see his eyes peeking out from beneath them.  If I have one complaint, it’s that he does still seem maybe a little too thin for Mackie’s build in the show.  That said, it’s not quite as bad as the prior figure, and on top of that, Mackie has also slimmed down a bit as his appearances have progressed, so it’s not terrible.  He still looks pretty good.  Generally speaking, his paint work is decent.  It’s not quite as sharp as some more recent MCU offerings, I think partially owing to just how much is going on with it, and there’s a few spots of bleed over and slop around the edges, but for the most part it looks okay.  I was certainly glad that they actually put the proper color change ups on the wings.  The core Cap figure is packed with the collapsed version of his wing pack, as well as his shield (which is distinctly different from Steve’s, as it should be).  I was a little letdown that he didn’t get any alternate hands, since he’s just got the open gesture ones.  They aren’t as limiting as just fists, or something, but I do still wish we’d gotten at least one more set, just to have the option.  The Build-A-Figure parts add in the whole extended wing pack, of course, which swaps out for the collapsed piece.  It also gives him the upgraded version of Redwing (which I really love that we got), who has his own flight attachment on the pack, and a stand to held support him when he’s got the full wing pack on.  While the core figure is perhaps lacking a touch, the full BaF treatment definitely makes him feel more complete.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was debate after Endgame about whether Sam should really be the next Cap.  As a longtime classic Cap fan, I’ve always felt he was the always the logical choice, so I was definitely there for it.  I really enjoyed seeing his journey to claiming the mantle, and I absolutely loved seeing his full Cap look in action, so I was definitely down for getting it in figure form.  I think the whole Build-A-Figure set-up worked pretty well for him, and the resulting figure is the best MCU version of Sam we’ve gotten so far, certainly worthy of the quality of the show.

I am, at this time, going to again get into some post-Jess stuff here, so another fair warning.  The MCU Falcon in Legends form definitely has some strong ties to Jess for me, because Winter Soldier was the first movie we saw in the theater together, not long after we started dating, and she also put a very large amount of effort into making sure that I got the first Legends MCU Falcon for Christmas the year it was released.  The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was also the last thing that the two of us got to watch start to finish together.  So, there’s already a fair bit of meaningful attachment to this guy.  But this whole set of figures gets an extra final little push, courtesy of some incredible generosity on the part of Jason over at All Time Toys.  Throughout all of Jess’s treatments and struggles, and our personal battles, Jason and the rest of the team at All Time Toys have been nothing short of amazing, doing whatever they could.  In the case of this particular round of figures, on the day Jess passed, Jason showed up at my house with this set in tow.  It’s a not small gesture, and it gave me something to focus myself on in the days immediately following losing Jess, which was an invaluable resource for getting myself back on my feet.  I was already poised to really like this set of figures, but now it’s a very special symbol of both the wonderful times I had with Jess and of the people who have been supporting me through these trying times.

#2825: U.S. Agent

U.S. AGENT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After being stripped of the Captain America title, John F. Walker’s spirit is shaken and he takes on a new mantle: US Agent.”

John Walker is always sort of a necessary evil when it comes to the Captain America mythos.  He’s kind of got to be there to remind you of the things that Steve Rogers isn’t, and never should be.  The Ultimate Universe had no John Walker, and it kind of showed, because the end result was a Steve Rogers that wound up with a lot of John’s traits.  In the case of the MCU, they really hammered home that comparison to Steve, by actively making John a character that almost feels like Steve at first glance, but who quickly becomes very not Steve very suddenly.  It was an intriguing story, though perhaps not an overly pleasant one.  But, much like the comics, John’s not meant to stay in the Captain America role, and the show ends with him transitioned into the role he’s been in for about four decades in the comics: US Agent, the guy who can be what Captain America isn’t.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

US Agent is figure 5 in the Disney+-themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  Given’s John very prominent role within the story, he’s a natural choice for the line-up, though it is obviously a slight change-up that he’s in his US Agent garb, which he only wears for a single non-action scene in the final episode, rather than the Captain America costume he wears for most of the show (which itself got a Walmart-exclusive release).  This gets into what I was saying with the Loki review, where I mentioned the set’s tendency to go with the looks with more staying power, which is what I’d say is true of this look over John’s Cap look.  The figure stands a little over 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is on par with the more recent Steve Caps, which feels appropriately consistent.  There are probably some areas where he could stand to have a little more range, but for the most part, he does what he needs to do.  His sculpt is, rather predictably, shared with the John Walker Cap figure.  The two designs are very similar, and it only makes sense, really.  It’s a pretty good sculpt for the most part, capturing Walker’s slightly larger build, as well as all of the smaller details in the suit’s design.  I’m not big on the molded gun in the holster, especially at this point in the line, but there may be some licensing things going on there.  Unfortunately, the decision to do a complete parts share means that his helmet’s not screen accurate, since John’s US Agent helmet doesn’t have the A-Star on the forehead. It’s too bad they couldn’t do that one new piece, but I have to wonder if it may have been an early design element.  On top of the sculpt issue on the helmet, John’s paint also takes a slight hit.  They’ve clearly just used the same paint masks as the Cap figure, but with some of the colors changed out.  For the most part, this is fine, but in the case of his torso, it means that he’s got smaller red straps over a black chest, when going by the show, the chest part should be red, and the straps should be white, making for that true US Agent look a la the comics.  This ultimately bugs me more than the helmet, because this isn’t even a cost of tooling issue; it would literally just be changing out the paint apps.  This further adds to me wondering if maybe the US Agent costume wasn’t as different in the original designs, and that’s what we’re seeing here.  John is packed with two sets of hands, one set in fists, the other gripping, as well as another piece to the Captain America wings.  Even if his gun is molded into the holster on the figure, it’s still again a shame that the gun wasn’t also included.  I’m pretty sure we’ve already got the mold for it and everything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always liked John Walker as a concept (though I don’t actually like John Walker as a guy, because he’s generally not the best), so I liked that they brought him into the show, and I liked that they allowed him to have his proper arc.  Wyatt Russell was fantastic in the role, and I look forward to seeing more of the character, even if I don’t actually look forward to seeing him.  While his Cap design was cool, I didn’t really find myself drawn into the exclusive, because, for me, he’s not Cap, he’s US Agent.  This figure has its few issues of accuracy, but even so, I do still really like him as a figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2820: Frontline Captain America & Bucky

FRONTLINE CAPTAIN AMERICA & BUCKY

MARVEL MINIMATES

With the MCU really entering it’s post-Endgame slate, and building up some of the more minor characters, it’s sort of nice to take a step back and look at how far some of these characters have come.  Before they were respectively a hero who is the idol of millions and all-around very hard to replace icon and a sleeper-agent assassin-turned repentant hero, Steve Rogers and James “Bucky” Barnes were just two best friends, dragged into Hydra’s off-shoot of World War II.  Fortunately, DST gave us a pairing of the two before all those changes, just so we can reminisce!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Frontline Captain America and Bucky were released in Series 40 of Marvel Minimates, as well as the TRU-exclusive The First Avenger tie-in assortment, both of which hit in the early summer of 2011.

FRONTLINE CAPTAIN AMERICA

Frontline Captain America, or Rescue Cap as he’s been dubbed elsewhere, serves as Cap’s Mark I equivalent, a hastily thrown together get-up borne out of necessity.  It’s a call-back not only to the Jack Kirby days when Steve would be seen from time to time in his military fatigues with the Cap costume peaking out, but also to Cap’s WW2 era costume from The Ultimates.  It also brings to mind some memories of the hero of Joe Johnson’s other WW2 era super hero movie, The Rocketeer.  Though short-lived in the movie, its presence during Cap’s first real action scene makes it quite memorable.  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.  Cap uses two add-on pieces: his helmet and his jacket.  The helmet is shared with his assortment-mate Gabe Jones, and works well as a pretty standard helmet.  It sits closer to the head than the previously used Sgt Rock helmet, making it so that hair is not visible, and he doesn’t look bald with it in place.  If you want to get picky, the helmet really should have some goggles on it, but he does lose them in the movie, so it’s not completely inaccurate.  The jacket is  unique to this figure, and features all of the gear Cap was carrying during his raid on the POW camp.  There’s a lot of really great detail work going on there.  I might have preferred the belt to have been a separate piece, but it still works quite well the way it is here.  He also gets a slightly tweaked left hand, designed for attaching his shield.  The paintwork on Frontline Cap is a little bit of a mixed bag.  The linework on his face and torso is really sharp, and the colors are all pretty well chosen.  That said, there’s a fair bit of bleed over on his jacket, and the lines on his legs are somewhat ill-defined.  The closeness of some of the colors on the palette helps to mask it a bit, though.  On the plus side, the face presents a reasonable likeness of Chris Evans as Cap, and I quite like the more intense expression.  Frontline Cap is packed with his original, non-circular shield, which can be placed either on his hand or on his back.  He also includes a handgun (re-used from Blackhawk) and an extra hairpiece for an unhelmeted look.

BUCKY

For the first film, Bucky wasn’t a super soldier like Cap, but he wasn’t quite the comics version of the kid sidekick either.  The movie instead aimed to more foreshadow his eventual return as the Winter Soldier, setting him up as the Howling Commandos’ sharp-shooter.  In terms of design, he actually got a pretty close adaptation of his original comics design, albeit with a more proper military flair to it and some more toned down colors.  Bucky has add-ons for his hair and jacket.  Both of these were new to this particular figure. Interestingly, the hair on the prototype was a different piece, the same one used on Dr. Reed from the Creature From the Black Lagoon boxed set.  No idea why they made the change, and personally I would have preferred the re-used piece.  As it stands, this one’s not terrible, though.  It just sits a little low for my liking.  The jacket piece seems a bit bulky, truth be told, and I think he might have looked better with it just painted on his chest block instead.  Bucky’s paint is reasonable, but not without its flaws.  The slop is a little less of an issue here than it was with Cap, but it’s still somewhat present.  The likeness on the face isn’t a nice as I’d like.  It appears that something happened in-between the control art and the final ‘mate, which has caused his eyes to be sort of oddly placed.  It looks rather strange.  Sgt. Barnes is decently accessorized, including his sniper rifle and the same style of handgun included with Steve.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up when it was new, courtesy of Cosmic Comix.  Though non-standard, this is really a winning version of Cap.  There are some slight flaws, but he’s an overall very cool figure, and he’s really my favorite design for the character.  I’m glad he was such an early inclusion.  This was only Bucky’s second ‘mate, and after the slightly flawed first one, I’d hoped this one would turn out better.  Though far from terrible, this figure has a lot of smaller issues that add up to a rather forgettable Minimate.

#2797: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS RETRO (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“The shield for Freedom and Liberty, Captain America is the star-spangled avenger with super solider abilities!”

When Super 7 and Funko revived the vintage Kenner style back in 2013, they leaned pretty hard into it, and a handful of other companies joined in, giving the style as a whole something of a revival.  While it’s died down somewhat in the eight years since, in the last couple of years, Hasbro, who actually own the rights to the Kenner name and other assets, got in on it too.  They started with some reissues of the original Star Wars figures, along with one new figure for each assortment.  At the end of last year, they expanded the set-up to include Marvel…despite the fact that Kenner never actually made any Marvel figures.  Ah, let’s not get stuck on that.  The line began as an exclusive to Hasbro Pulse, but is finally getting a wider release.  I’m taking a look at the Captain America today, just to try the line out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the first mass release assortment of Marvel Legends Retro (a name that is shared with the 6″ figures in retro packaging as well, once again showcasing Hasbro’s perverse love of giving the same name to a bunch of very different products, seemingly to only cause confusion for the retailers and consumers), and is also re-packed in the second assortment as well.  Before that, he was one of the figures in the Pulse-exclusive launch, although the package on that one was slightly different to denote the earlier release.  While I don’t usually talk about packaging here, I do think this one warrants it, because it’s actually a very attractive package.  Each character gets their own completely unique set of graphics, and they’re just very eye-catching.  I have two notable complaints, though.  Firstly, the lack of cross-sell on the back makes it difficult to track who’s in the line, and secondly, they aren’t really designed for any sort of resealability.  I know that would violate the Kenner homage slightly, but it did really give me a dilemma about opening Cap.  But, of course, what good am I as a reviewer if I don’t open my toys?  The sacrifices I make, right?  (Ultimately, I ended up cutting it open at the bottom, so I can slide the inner tray in and out without it being too obvious it’s open)  Once you’ve destroyed the beautiful work of art that houses the figure, you’ll find that he stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  He’s got the usual Kenner 5POA, plus swivels at the wrists, which is kind of nifty, I suppose.  The extra wrist joints are more there because the gloves need to be separate pieces (as do the boots, though they aren’t articulated) due to the construction of the figures in the line.  A number of them are built from a base body, which Cap makes use of.  It’s a rather basic hero build, and it works perfectly fine for the figures we’ve gotten so far.  The boots are shared with Cyclops, but the head and gloves are unique to Cap at this time.  They’re decent enough pieces, though not exactly heavy on detailing.  Despite the lack of said detailing, it’s worth noting that they don’t really fall into the classic Kenner stylings either.  He occupies something of a middle ground, placing him more on par with Hasbro’s more recent 5POA Star Wars figures than Kenner’s.  It’s not a bad look, mind you, but it just further pushes the question of what the heck the audience for these figures is supposed to be.  Cap’s paint work is fairly basic, but that’s to be expected.  There’s a little bit of slop on some of the transitions, but for the most part, it works pretty well.  Cap gets one accessory: his shield.  It’s a bit on the smaller side, but that’s kind of expected, I suppose, given the scale and style.  What I found kind of weird is that, even though there’s a peg hole on his back, there’s no peg on the shield, so it can’t be attached that way.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures showed up on Pulse, I was intrigued, but not enough to actually go to the trouble of ordering them, especially with the two-pack set-up they had going on.  Once they went to mass retail, and All Time was able to get them in, I happily snagged Cap here just to try things out.  Ultimately, I’m a bit baffled by this figure.  He’s not bad.  Like, I honestly quite like him.  But, at the same time, there’s a lot of questions as to why?  If you’re going to go for a retro Marvel line, why not go with Secret Wars or even Toy Biz stylings?  Or, if you want to stick to Kenner, why not do a Super Powers-inspired set of Marvel figures?  That’d be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?  But putting them at 3 3/4 and then not even fully committing to the vintage Kenner stylings for that is a weird choice.  I really want to like this line, but I don’t really see it having major legs going forward.  But, I guess we’ll just see how it goes.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2793: Civil Warrior

CIVIL WARRIOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“In an alternate Earth ravaged by civil war, Captain America assumes the mantle of Civil Warrior.”

If there’s one thing alternate realities have taught us, it’s that Cap’s side winning Civil War always results in him getting some sick-ass armor.  This just furthers that his side was the morally correct one the whole time, because how could you NOT want the sick-ass armor?  In the mobile game, Contest of Champions, Cap actually gives himself a whole new identity upon dawning his armor, the Civil Warrior.  He may fight, but he’s gonna do it very civilly, I guess. And he’s also gonna get a Marvel Legend, because that’s just how he do.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Civil Warrior is figure 5 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s one of the two non-Shang-Chi based figures in the assortment, as well as being the only figure in the set under the “Gamerverse” branding.  He definitely feels like something of an odd man out in this assortment, since he’s got no real ties to anything else thematically.  He’s kind of like the Black Bolt and Sub Mariner figures from the Okoye Series in that respect, I guess.  And just like those two figures, I’m not going to complain too much about getting him.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, Civil Warrior is almost identical to the Hydra Supreme figure from 2019.  It’s sensible, since the two designs are just the same apart from colors.  It’s also nice because it was a really nice sculpt to begin with, and I’m happy to see it show up again.  The only change-up to this release is that he reverts back to Taskmaster‘s gripping style hands, instead of the Iron Man hands.  I’m not entirely sure why they made the change, but it’s kind of a lateral move, I suppose.  The largest change-up for this figure is, of course, the color scheme, which is now a more traditionally Captain America-y color scheme, as opposed to the prior Hydra colors.  It’s pretty straight forward, but it looks really nice, and honestly I think it works even better with the sculpt than the Hydra colors did.  The other notable change-up for the figure comes in the form of the shield.  Since Civil Warrior has a more traditional style Cap shield than Hydra Cap, the piece included here reflects that.  It’s an all-new piece, which was admittedly a little bit surprising.  It’s quite a nice piece, and the detailing on the arc reactor is cool.  The shield’s still got the peg for mounting on the figure’s back, but there’s no corresponding spot for it on the figure, which is a little odd.  Also included with this figure is the head to the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my review of Hydra Supreme, I ended by saying I hoped we might get this recolor of the sculpt.  It took a little bit longer than I’d expected, but that doesn’t make it less cool that we finally got him.  I really liked the Hydra Supreme figure when he hit, but this one does him even better.  The traditional colors really work, and he’s just a lot of fun.  As simple as he is, he’s honestly my favorite figure in the set, because he just does what he does really well.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2776: Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America

ULTIMATE MECH SUIT CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: MECH STRIKE (HASBRO)

“Captain America gears up in a massive, high-powered mech strike suit combat the evil Thanos!”

With a lack of actual Avengers movies to tie into at the moment, as well as a general lack of other Avengers things to really go for (since the game didn’t exactly do the business that they were hoping for), this year, the Avengers are getting a more specifically toy-geared push, with the Mech Strike branding.  It’s a pretty simple concept, really: the Avengers are all getting big robo-suits.  I know.  It’s a real high-art concept, to be sure.  I like the Avengers, and I also like big robo-suits, so I don’t hate the idea.  I’m looking at one of the resulting toys today, with Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America is part of Hasbro’s wider-range Avengers: Mech Strike line, which starting showing up at retail in the last month or so.  There are a few different price points for the figures, with Cap and the corresponding Iron Man both being at the mid-range $20 price point.  These figures are a whole figure and mech-suit set-up, which really gives the whole intended experience, I feel.  The core Captain America figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s a pretty basic Captain America, following the general look of the “house style Cap” we’ve been seeing since the MCU took off.  It’s pretty decently designed, and there are a lot of smaller details on the uniform that make him pretty fun.  He’s also pretty posable.  Obviously, he’s not quite Legends material or anything, but all of the basics are covered.  The only thing I could really drag him on is the lack of waist joint, but that’s fairly minor.  There are a few ports worked into the sculpt, as well, which are mainly used for giving him spots to attach the included shield.  They’re not too jarring, and generally fit well with the overall aesthetic of the core design.  His paint’s on the rather basic side, but it’s enough to get the job done.  The basic red, white, and blue is all there, and the application’s mostly pretty clean.  The reds are a little sloppier, but it’s admittedly a more difficult color to get consistent.  There are definitely some sculpted details that get left unpainted, especially on the blue sections, but this is kind of expected, what with the style and price point.  This core figure’s primary function, of course, isn’t really to be seen.  Instead, he’s supposed to be the pilot of the aforementioned “Ultimate Mech Suit.”  The fully suited up figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation, all of which are contained in the arms.  It’s not exceedingly posable, largely due to it being more or less a shell that folds over the main Cap figure.  The arms are, at least, able to get some movement, but he’s otherwise a rather static, and also rather chunk boi.  The design’s honestly pretty appealing, at least to me.  It’s a big, bulky, and appropriately spangle-y mecha, with very clean line-work.  It feels a little bit Ultra Magnus-y to me, but that may be me filling in some things I want to see.  Wouldn’t mind him getting some killer shoulder pylons, though.  The only slight trouble to how the design of the thing works is that there’s nothing to be done with Cap’s arms once he’s in the mecha; they just kind of hang there, which looks a little silly.  Fortunately, they do blend in alright with the sides of the mecha’s torso, if you just wrap them around.  Still, it would have been nice to see them come up with something a little bit more clever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had only a passing familiarity with this line when I got a text from Max a few weeks ago, informing me that he had been in a Captain America mood, which had led him to pick this figure up.  It certainly looked nifty, but I wasn’t in a major rush to get one of my own.  Upon talking to Max a little more about it, it turned out he wasn’t really feeling it as much as he’d hoped to, so he asked if I wanted it for a good deal.  I had just put together a whole shelf of my Captain America stuff, so I had a place to put it, which I guess was as good a reason as any to take it off Max’s hands.  Ultimately, it’s still not something I think I would have picked up for myself, largely due to not really being in the main target market for this line.  That being said, I do like it now that I have it, and I can’t really knock it’s cool factor.  And how many times are we going to get a cool Captain America Mecha?  Okay, probably a lot going forward, but this one’s still cool.

#2636: Captain America & Motorcycle

CAPTAIN AMERICA & MOTORCYCLE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When Steve Rogers joins the secret Super Soldier program during World War II, he emerges as the incredibly strong and fiercely patriotic hero, Captain America.”

Ah, here we go, something very familiar: Marvel Legends.  These gifts are really hitting that comfortable territory for me now.  I mean, slightly more comfortable, I suppose.  At this point, “action figures” is comfortable territory for me, so it’s not like anything has really thrown for a loop so far.  Whatever the case, I’m certainly alright with a touch of normality, and perhaps even more of a return to it than you might expect.  I have previously discussed the “Legendary Riders” sub-line of Hasbro’s Legends, and its sort of up-and-down relationship with the reality of the characters and their described rides.  Some of the pairings do end up a bit better than others, and I suppose today’s is one of those slightly more sensible ones, given just how often Captain America has been seen riding a bike from one place to another.  Bonus points if it really plays up those World War II overtones, which this one most certainly does.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

Captain America is the headline offering in the fourth Legendary Riders assortment of Marvel Legends.  To date, all of the line’s even-numbered assortments have had just one new pack, which ships alongside the short-pack from the prior assortment.  In Cap’s case, he shipped alongside a re-pack of the ’90s Professor X, supposedly hitting at the end of last year.  That wasn’t really the case, unless you were one of the very fortunate souls who actually got one of these during it’s very scarce run at retail.  But I’ll get more into that later.  For this figure, Cap is sporting his WWII-era uniform from The Ultimates.  I’m really not keen on the Ultimates incarnation of Cap, but I’ll admit that this particular design has still always resonated with me.  Definitely one of Bryan Hitch’s stronger design pieces.  The design has been done once before in Legends form, as part of the two-packs that wrapped up Hasbro’s first run on the line in 2009.  A decade seems like a good enough wait for an update.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, the vast majority of this figure is the same as the Rescue Cap from the “80 Years of Marvel” set.  It was a solid offering the first time around, and it’s still a solid offering here, aided by the fact that the two designs are rather similar in the first place.  To complete the set-up, he gets a new head and upper and lower torso.  This gives him the goggles and aviator cap from the comics, as well as giving him the slightly more personalized front to his jacket.  They mesh well with the re-used parts, and honestly, I think they look even a little better as a whole than the Rescue Cap figure did.  Topping things off is a slightly tweaked version of the Rescue Cap helmet, this time without the goggles in place.  It’s otherwise the same piece, and works just as well.  Something I missed on my review of Rescue Cap, however, was the inclusion of details on the interior of the helmet, right were no one’s ever going to see them.  That’s quite a commitment to detailing.  The coloring on this guy is accurate to the source material, doing up Cap’s traditional patriotic colors in a slightly desaturated fashion.  The application’s all pretty clean, and fairly basic.  They’ve opted for opaque lenses on the aviator’s cap, which is less technically involved.  Ultimately, I actually like the design a little bit more this way, so I’m alright with it.  Cap’s accessory selection’s pretty solid, with his trusty shield, a 1911 Colt .45 pistol, a Thompson submachine gun, and a knife.  They’re all the same pieces that came in the 80th set (although the Thompson went to Peggy there), and they work just as well here as they did previously.

Also included here is the part that makes this thing a “Riders” set, Cap’s ride!  As I noted in the intro, Cap’s been seen on Motorcycles since early in his career, and it’s been prominently featured in most of his movie appearances.  It’s definitely a Harley Davidson-inspired ride, which is consistent with both the movies and the comics, though it bears no official branding, as that would undoubtedly require an extra license.  As it stands, it’s close enough to be recognizable, while still different enough to not really be infringing on any licensing.  It’s a lot of the same parts as the bike that came with Punisher (and by extension, Wolverine), which is a perfectly suitable point of re-use.  It was a good bike when I looked at it the first time, and it’s honestly just better here, thanks to the new updated parts that have been added, as well as the WWII military-style paint scheme.  It’s also got a few extra add-on pieces to differentiate it a bit, including two side bags, a holster for his machine gun, and an ammo box on one side.  Kinda crazy that Cap’s bike has more weapon storage than the Punisher’s, but I’m certainly not complaining on this front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was very eager to get this set when it was shown off last year, which made all the more frustrating when All Time (and most retailers, for that matter) wound up getting shorted on this particular round, there by making him a very hard to acquire.  I’ve been doing my best to be patient and wait for one to actually show up for me, but it was certainly getting a little disheartening.  So, I was quite excited when I unwrapped this guy on Christmas, courtesy of Cheyenne (of Jess and Chey’s Ultimate Toy review, in case you’d forgotten) and her very kind parents.  I’m super thrilled to finally have this guy, and boy is he a lot of fun!