#3000: Captain America – Infinity War

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HOT TOYS)

In a turn of events that I suppose is all rather fitting, today, the last day of 2021, also marks my 3000th review here at the site.  Pretty crazy, huh?  I never really foresaw myself making it quite this far, and yet, here I am.  3000 is a very big number, and a bigger number than the the total quantity of figures I had in my collection when I started this thing.  Moreover, I’ve made it all the way to the end of 2021, a journey that I would very much be underselling with the description “turbulent.”  A lot’s happened, and it has not been easy.  But I’m here.  And I’ve got a thing to review.  And I suppose that’s the most important thing in the moment.  So, let’s jump back to 2018, back to the throws of Avengers: Infinity War, specifically Captain America and his rather disheveled look from his own rather turbulent year.  Fitting, I suppose.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the Infinity War tie-in component of Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, where he’s figure MMS 481, which made him the sixth of the IW tie-in figures.  The figure arrived not too long after the film’s release, hitting in the fall of 2018.  There were two releases of him, a standard and a “Movie Promo Edition” which was a Sideshow-exclusive in the US.  The difference between the two comes down to a few accessories; the figure proper remains the same.  This Cap is based on his Nomad appearance from the film, which is of course the only look he actually has in Infinity War, so I guess that makes sense.  The figure stands about 12 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

While most Caps these days include multiple heads, this release only has the one.  It makes some degree of sense, since he doesn’t have the helmeted look in the film, so I suppose he only needs the one head.  It’s only the one facial expression, but that’s not uncommon for unmasked heads from Hot Toys.  This one does live up to Hot Toys’ usual penchant for very lifelike sculpts.  It sports a pretty spot-on likeness of Evans in the film, at least facially.  The hair is perhaps a little bit too orderly for proper film accuracy, but it’s not too far off, and it’s certainly closer than either Hasbro or Bandai’s attempts were.  It avoids the seam at the sides of the head that the Endgame release had, but trades it out for a rather noticeable join at the back of the head where the longer hair attaches.  It’s still not the worst thing, but at this price point, you do hope for a little better.  At the very least, the paint work topping it all off is really good, up to Hot Toys’ typical standards for face paint, with a very lifelike quality to the whole thing.

In Infinity War, Cap is, at least canonically, supposed to still be wearing the suit he had in Civil War, having had not time on the run between films to swap out.  In actuality, there are a few changes to the suit beyond just the expected wear and tear of being on the run, but they’re generally minor.  In terms of how the suit works on the figure, it’s pretty similar to the Endgame figure, being two main parts, with a lot of layers attached.  As with that figure, this one’s belt sets perhaps a little low, but it’s otherwise a well-tailored outfit that works well with the underlying body of the figure and captures the look of the outfit seen in the film quite nicely.

The underlying base body appears to be the same one used for Endgame Cap, which was a good fit for Evans’ build for the character, as well as doing a good job of balancing aesthetics and functionality.  As with that figure, the movement of the base body is somewhat impeded by the nature of the suit design, which does have some notable restrictions at the hips and shoulders.  Still, there’s plenty of movement to be had, and he can get some pretty solid range on most of the joints.

When it comes to accessories, Cap gets quite a few, including:

  • 8 hands
  • 2 Wakandan shields
  • Outrider corpse
  • Corvus Glaive’s Spear
  • Proxima Midnight’s staff
  • Display stand

The hands include a pair of fists, a pair of gripping, a pair of relaxed gesture, and a right pointing/left open gesture combo.  They give all the important needs for posing and working with the included accessories, and also do a good job of capturing the look of his gloves from the movie.  They’re a little tricky to swap out, but not impossibly so.  The two Wakandan shields are designed for specifically right and left sides, and are able to be fully collapsed or extended, which is certainly nice engineering.  The display stand is the same style as we saw on the Endgame figure.  I dig the hexagonal shape.  And that’s all of the standard release stuff.  The exclusive also adds a fallen Outrider corpse piece to sit atop the stand (along with a printed piece which looks like dirt ground), as well as both Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight’s weapons.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the standard release of this guy when he came into All Time.  I mean, not really missed out, I suppose, since he was in stock, and I just dragged my feet on him, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to jump back into Hot Toys.  Once the Endgame release truly broke me on that, I regretted passing on this guy, so he went on my list of figures I was definitely planning to snag should they get traded in.  As luck would have it, this guy wound up getting traded in within about a week of me getting the Endgame version, which was a solid thematic thing.  He’s the best version of this design available to be sure, and he’s honestly the version of Cap that most reflected my personal mind state as I navigated the last year. A little broken, a little lost, and his resolve a little shaken.  But he’s still him deep down.  A fitting send off to the year.

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.

#2951: The Hydra Stomper

THE HYDRA STOMPER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“In the universe you know, Steve Rogers was the first Avenger, Captain America. In this universe, Steve is injured and fights in ‘The Hydra Stomper,’ an Iron Man armor created by Howard Stark.”

Hey, we’re back with just a touch more What If…? before we jump down a different Marvel rabbit hole for just a bit.  In 2006, Marvel ran an alternate universe miniseries, Bullet Points, which explored a world where Dr. Abraham Erskine is killed prior to turning Steve Rogers into a super soldier.  In this alternate reality, instead of becoming Captain America, Steve is given a suit of armor, and becomes that universe’s Iron Man.  Elements of this story were re-used for the first episode of What If…?, where, after Peggy gets the Super Soldier serum instead of Steve, he still wants to help out in the battle.  Howard Stark uses the recently recovered Tesseract to power a suit of Iron Man-inspired armor, dubbed “The Hydra Stomper.”  He’s far too large to be a standard release, so Hasbro has instead released him as his own solo release, tying in with the main assortment.  Let’s have a look at him today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hydra Stomper is, as noted, a larger-scale solo release for Marvel Legends.  He’s larger than the usual deluxe release, and is at the same price point as the Surtur figure from the Infinity Saga line.  By far, he is the largest of the What If…? associated figures at this time.  The figure stands just shy of 9 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  In many ways, this figure’s construction is similar to Iron Monger, although it’s worth noting that there are no parts at all shared between the two figures.  Just similar structures, likely because they’re both big Iron Man-inspired designs that were in development by the same team at roughly the same time.  The Hydra Stomper sports an all-new sculpt based on its design in the show.  For this alternate universe armor, the designers have clearly put a lot of effort into homaging Tony Stark’s original armor in the comics (which also served as the basis of the Mark I in the MCU proper), with its bulkier build, the slightly different layout of the faceplate on the helmet, and the presence of the antenna on the shoulder.  What was that antenna for, by the way?  Research says it was for extending his range for radio signal.  Well, I guess it was the ’60s, and that was a bigger thing then.  It makes even more sense when you move it back to the ’40s, even.  Whatever the case, the original design is a fine starting point, and Steve was even seen using essentially just that armor in the aforementioned Bullet Points story, so it tracks.  For the purposes of the show, they’ve done a bit to more clearly sell the WWII-era military branding of the design.  Effectively, it looks like a Jeep that walks.  Unsurprisingly, I am okay with this.  The figure’s sculpt does a nice job of recreating the design from the show, and turning it into a hefty, impressive looking toy.  The line work is all pretty sharp, and he looks properly machined for the role.  Range of motion is a little limited at a few spots, as is expected with a figure this chunky, but he’s generally not too bad.  The roughest bits are definitely in the legs, especially at the knees and hips.  He also does need a little bit of care when it comes to making sure he can stay balanced, especially when the rocket pack is in place.  Said rocket pack is removable, and features posable thrusters.  It’s a decent piece itself, though it does fall off just a touch easier than I’d like.  As it stands, it’s not really possible to get Captain Carter on his back like in the show, even with the handhold present on his back, which I was a little let down by.  Hydra Stomper’s paint work is pretty basic for the most part, but it does what it needs to.  The few printed sections on the armor look nice, as does the slight variation in the exact color of olive drab.  Hydra Stomper is packed with two sets of hands (open gesture and fists), plus two blast effects for the rockets.  It’s not a ton, but he’s also a rather sizable figure, so he doesn’t really feel lacking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Hydra Stomper is something that almost feels tailored to me, really.  I mean, it’s Steve Rogers in a big, boxy suit of armor with lots of utilitarian design elements and just a hint of Jeep.  And he’s green, even?  What’s not for me to like.  Unsurprisingly, he was the What If…? figure I was looking forward to the most, so of course he was also the last one I was able to get ahold of.  That’s just how it goes, right?  The final product isn’t without its flaws.  I wish he was a little more stable, and I wish it was easier to replicate Carter riding on his back like in the show.  I also kind of wish that they had gone the Monger route and packed him with a pilot Steve figure, but I can see why that might have been seen as sales prohibitive this early in the game.  All those things don’t take away from the fact that I really, really like this figure, and I’m glad to have gotten both he and Captain Carter so quickly after the episode’s premiere.  He’s definitely very fun.

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.

#2940: Zombie Captain America

ZOMBIE CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Captain America’s team were the first responders to the zombie outbreak — and its first victims.”

October may be over, but the spookiness continues….well, for today at least.  But it’s in this great sweet spot of spookiness *and* Marvel.  Because, well, it kind of has to be, because how else am I going to get all these Legends reviewed.  Yay for the crossover potential of Marvel Zombies!  First appearing in the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four in 2005, later that same year Marvel Zombies launched in its own book, spawning a whole franchise within a franchise.  Said franchise within the franchise then made its way into the MCU this year in What If…?‘s fifth episode, aptly titled “What if…Zombies?”  My opinions on What If…? were a bit mixed, and the zombies episode was itself rather a mixed bag for me, but there’s no denying that the zombies make for a good concept for toys, especially when it gives me a good excuse to buy another Captain America, who, it should be noted, remains a Captain in this universe, rather than getting a promotion to Colonel as his does in *some* zombie universes out there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zombie Captain America is part of the Watcher Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s unnumbered, as the one figure in the set that doesn’t actually include a piece for the Build-A-Figure (ironic that the zombie is the only one that doesn’t include an extra body part), and he’s also the double packed figure for this assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Compared to other MCU Cap figures, the articulation scheme on this one is definitely improved.  There’s a better range of motion on most of the joints, as well as use of ball joints at both the neck and the mid-torso, which supports a more fluid range than prior molds had.  He also gets pinless construction on both the elbows and knees.  While you would think that a Zombie Cap would be a good excuse to share some parts with older MCU Cap releases, this figure shares only the left boot with the Infinity War version.  Everything else is all-new to this release.  The helmet and shoulder harness pieces are separate parts, adding some nice depth to the sculpt.  The uniform is also nicely detailed, and there’s some fantastic work on the tattered remains hanging around the major spots of damage on the body.  Speaking of the damage, the actual damage is a lot more gruesome and in depth than I’d had anticipated on a mass retail release.  The legs in particular are quite gnarled.  It’s some truly impressive work.  Aiding the rather impressive sculpted work is some pretty solid paint work as well.  All of the base work is pretty straight forward, and matches the color scheme presented in the show, but they’ve also added a degree of blood coverage (albeit in a slightly purple color, so it’s not explicitly blood) around the wounds.  Hasbro doesn’t often do this kind of accent work, so it’s certainly nice to see them do it here, especially when the confines of a mass retail release would have given them an easy pass for not including some of these details.  Cap’s only accessory is his shield; it’s the same mold they’ve been using since the First Ten Years release, but this time with a bit of that purple splatter on the front of it.  It’s a good piece, but he does end up feeling a little bit light compared to other offerings.  That said, I’m not really sure what else he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I run hot and cold when it comes to zombies, and I wasn’t super big on the episode this figure was based on, so I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel about this figure in hand.  That said, he’s still a Captain America, and I do have a hard time passing on those.  I gotta say, this is honestly one of the strongest figures in this set.  He’s just a solid figure from start to finish.  Really, I just wish we had a more standard Cap that matched this one in quality, but that’s hardly on this particular release.  He’s utterly fantastic, really.

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.

#2933: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Armed with Wakandan Gauntlets, Steve Rogers steps forward to defend the world from the impossible threat of Thanos and his minions.”

Okay, I’m gonna level with you guys: you better like Marvel Legends reviews.  Hasbro’s been really switching it into turbo with the line, and though they’ve been *trying* to space it out, that hasn’t so much worked out.  The result is a metric ton of them all dropping at once.  So, it’s gonna be at least a month of Legends around these parts.  I hope I can cling to my sanity.  Let’s kick things off by jumping back into Hasbro’s Infinity Saga sub-line, which is yet another throw-back to the first decade of the MCU.  It’s covering films from the beginning of the saga, up through Endgame, filling in some holes in a few of the line-ups, as well as offering some updates to figures that weren’t quite there the first time around.  Today’s figure, Captain America from Infinity War, falls into the latter category.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is the second of the 10 figures in the Infinity Saga sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  He’s one of five single-packed standard figures, and also one of the three exclusives in the line-up.  Yes, once again Cap is a Walmart-exclusive.  I’m going to do my best not to harp on that too much, but it continues to feel like really terrible planning for overall line performance to have one of your central pieces always wind up as an exclusive to a chain that’s really bad at handling exclusives.  Moving on.  Cap is based on his Nomad appearance from Infinity War, a design that has been done in Legends once before, but not in a particularly accurate fashion.  This one aims to fix those issues and go a little more screen accurate.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s a bit of a mix of old and new articulation styles, due to the nature of his construction.  His arms are using the pinless construction, which looks quite nice, and they’ve reworked how the bicep cuts work to make them a little more pleasant to look at when posing.  The rest of the movement more or less remains the same as it was on the first version.  A lot of that is due to most of the parts being shared between the two figures.  The head and arms are new, but everything else is re-use.  It’s sensible, since most of the old figure was pretty decent; don’t fix what’s not broken and all that.  The biggest issue with the prior Cap was the inaccuracy on the head, which this one fixes, more or less.  The hair and beard are far closer to their on-screen looks this time, which is a definite improvement.  I don’t know that the likeness is quite as spot-on as, say, the Endgame figure, but it’s certainly not un-Evans-like.  There’s a second head sculpt included, this one more expressive than the first.  It’s not a bad face sculpt, but I’m not sure the hair works as well.  He looks like he’s got some very serious helmet hair going on.  The new arms not only improve the aesthetics of the articulation, they also fix the issue of the last figure only having the one glove.  Now he’s nice and symmetrical.  In general, the new sculpt is a resounding success.  If things seem to be going too smoothly, that’s because they are.  The sculpt is great, but as with pretty much every IW Cap, there’s always a trade off.  In this case, it’s that the paint ends up making his uniform much brighter and cleaner than it should be.  The colors were one thing that the first figure did alright on, so the move to something brighter feels like an odd misstep.  It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely off.  The paint on the heads is at least up to the usual standards, so that’s good.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, he also gets two sets of hands (gripping and fists, both gloved this time), as well as two of the Wakandan shields.  The shields aren’t a matched pair; one is open and the other closed.  It would be nice to get two sets of each version, especially given the extra price on this round of releases.  At least they actually gave us two this time, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure fills me with mixed feelings.  I wanted an improvement on the last release, and that’s what I got, but there are once again trade offs, and I do really feel like if you’re going to force us to buy the same figure twice, you could at least go the extra mile by throwing in more accessories.  Just to spruce him up a little bit.  And that’s all without getting into the Walmart exclusive thing, which continues to be a rather stupid move on someone’s part.  Not entirely sure whose, but someone’s.  All that said, I was at least able to get mine without any major issues (apart from the one delay that pretty much everyone got), and in-hand, I do really, really like this figure.  It’s a shame we couldn’t just get him this way from the start, but then I suppose we wouldn’t appreciate this one as much.

#2916: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

RETURN OF MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Justice and virtue have found their champion… a super-soldier named Captain America!”

In 2012, Hasbro changed the game for Marvel Legends.  And not in the way that you might think.  I mean, yeah that’s the year that they brought the line back from its hiatus, but it wasn’t just that.  See, in Series 2 of this newly launched line, released in the spring of that year, they introduced one of the most single-handedly influential things that their run on the line has experienced.  What am I talking about?  I’m talking about Bucky Cap, the body that a metric ton of the modern line uses as a starting point.  Just on this site alone, I’ve reviewed 70 of themAnd if you don’t believe me, just check out the absurd amount of hyper links that make up these two sentences where I’m referencing the number of uses, because, I assure you, it’s, like, a lot of uses, more uses perhaps than I have any right to have here on this site, and yet here they all are.  In the seven years I’ve been reviewing Legends, I’ve talked a lot about this base body, and yet, I’ve never actually looked at the original use.  So now, as the molds begin to enter into their twilight years, let’s jump back to where it all started.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was released in the Arnim Zola Series of Return of Marvel Legends, which was the second line-up for the line.  It hit in the spring of 2012, about six months after Bucky had given the title of Captain America back to Steve and resumed operations as the Winter Soldier, which is about right for timing on these sorts of things, really.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The articulation on this mold has become rather standardized and just part of the background noise these days, but it was a really great effort for the time.  Legends were still working their way out of the “twisting meat” era at the time, so having something that was not only really posable, but also didn’t have to look terrible to get there was a pretty big deal.  At this point, some of the joints are a little restricted, but even now it does still hold up alright. For the first use of the mold, it’s actually maybe a little small for Bucky as Cap, at least in the context of the line that followed.  At the time, scale was still a little all over the place, though, so it didn’t seem quite so out of place.  It certainly wasn’t a bad match from a looks standpoint, generally doing a pretty solid job of recreating Bucky Cap’s design from the comic in a spot-on fashion.  In terms of unique parts, he has a head sculpt featuring his his slightly tweaked version of the mask (notably missing the ears, as it should be), an add-on for his belt, and forearms and shins depicting his rolled up gloves and buccaneer boots.  Later figures would retool the arms and legs to have more standardized parts, though the gloves and boots would remain in service for other figures as well.  The head and belt have remained unique to this particular figure, which is sensible, given that they have more limited applications.  The do work well with the rest of the body, though the whole body has presumably designed to work as Bucky Cap first, and then retrofitted for re-use later.  Bucky Cap’s paint work is generally pretty nice.  The metallic blue fits the design perfectly, and the application’s really not bad for the time, since Hasbro was still contending with some iffy QC.  The “A” on his head is slightly off center on mine, but all things considered, it’s not too bad.  Bucky Cap was packed with a handgun and knife, both of which could be stored in his belt, as well as his shield, and one of the legs to Arnim Zola.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed yesterday, I was hesitant to get back into Legends when it relaunched, so I didn’t pick up any of the early ROML figures new.  I think I saw this guy maybe once, but didn’t think much of it.  In light of this being such an influential figure, though, as well as being a Captain America, I did feel compelled to track it down.  I wound up snagging it from Gidget’s Gadgets in Rehobeth Beach a few years back while vacationing with my family.  He’s been sitting in my office area unopened for a couple of years (for shame, I know), but I finally got to opening him up a few months ago, and felt compelled to finally get around to reviewing him.  I’ve looked at so much of him before, so many times, but it’s honestly a very good mold, and I totally get why Hasbro was so attached to re-using it as much as they did.  As we enter into a full decade of use for it, though, I do have to wonder what base body is going to take up the baton from it, after it did the same for the Bullseye body about 5 years ago.  Until then, you do have to admire its range.

#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.