#2359: Captain Britain

CAPTAIN BRITAIN

MODERN AGE (TOY BIZ)

“As a research assistant at Darkmoor Research Centre, Brian Braddock was a typical physics student.  During a botched theft at the facility, Brian was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident he suffered while trying to escape.  The legendary Merlin the Magician saved Brian’s life and bestowed upon him a mystical suit that gives him superhuman powers, transforming him into Captain Britain.  While the suit Captain Britain wears gives him superhuman strength, the ability to fly and erect mystical force shields, he is powerless without it.  As Britain’s honorary protector, keeping the UK safe from peril, Captain Britain is a formidable opponent for any foe.”

At the beginning of their lengthy run with the Marvel license, Toy Biz initially focussed on the Marvel Universe as a whole, before splitting things up into several different lines, most of which were themed around one of the handful of Marvel cartoons which launched during the ’90s.  By the end of the decade, those cartoons were all pretty much wrapped up, but there was still a fair bit of steam in the 5-inch locomotive, so they did several single-assortment series, each with its own theme.  In 1999, they paired two off, a Silver Age and a Modern Age line, covering Marvel’s history through a mix a bigger name and minor characters.  On the more minor side, it was through these assortments that Captain Britain got his first action figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Britain was among the four figures in the Modern Age line.  As the only character created post-1975, he was probably the best representation of the assortment’s purpose, especially since he was wearing an ’80s era costume.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Captain Britain was built on the body that began its life as Archangel II, a favorite of Toy Biz’s.  By this point, it had gotten some minor retooling to change-up the posing on the hands and to remove the remains of the wing-flapping mechanism from that figure, meaning he actually looks a bit better than most of the others who used this body.  The head is also re-used, coming from the Iron Man line’s Blacklash figure, though as with the Guardian figure that also used this head, the ponytail has been removed.  While internally its a nice enough assortment of parts, compared to the rest of Toy Biz’s stuff, it did make poor Brian rather small when compared to his comic book incarnation.  This wouldn’t be the last time Toy Biz would make a diminutive Captain Britain, either.  Did no one check the style guide for his height?  His paintwork was really cool…when he was new anyway.  On my figure, it really didn’t hold up to time, and definitely shows a lot more wear and tear than my other figures from the same era.  I have to wonder if it was something to do with the slightly metallic finish?  It certainly looked really nice when he came out of the package.  He’s done up in his Alan Davis-designed costume, which is his best one, really, and certainly the most lasting design.  Like others that use this mold, the details of the costume don’t quite match up to what’s sculpted, but it’s minor here.  Captain Britain was packed with an energy staff (recolored from Gambit) and Lockheed (repacked from Magik), but my figure has neither at this juncture.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this figure when it was relatively new via a trip to the KB Toys outlet that was near the spot where my family vacationed.  I didn’t know a ton about the character, but I sure thought this figure looked cool.  At the time, I also got an animated Superman, so I recall the two of them facing off a lot during that trip.  Small stature and slightly ratty hold-up of the paint do drag him down a bit, but even in his current state I do really like him and I still have those fond memories!

#1142: Marvel’s Captain Britain – Energized Emissaries

MARVEL’S CAPTAIN BRITAIN – ENERGIZED EMISSARIES

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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“Heroes from around the globe team up to vanquish evil wherever they find it.”

Okay, so that’s not as good an intro for this guy as I’d hoped…

Hey, so I looked at an older figure of Captain Britain yesterday, why not look at his newest figure today?  That seems fairly reasonable, doesn’t it?  Of course it does!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

capbritainhas2Captain Britain—sorry, *Marvel’s* Captain Britain—is figure three in the Abomination Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s officially titled “Energized Emissaries,” a name he shares with Wonder Man.  It’s sort of an odd choice of name, and their sort of an odd pairing, but they’re far from the worst shared name figures Hasbro’s given us (Vision and Doctor Strange’s turn as “Marvel Heroes” is still way more forced).  This is Brian’s first Marvel Legend since the Toy Biz figure I reviewed yesterday.  Rather than going for the same costume, Hasbro’s decided to use his New Excalibur look from a few years back.  It’s certainly not a bad choice; it hits all the proper Captain Britain notes, but also allows long-term collectors a slightly different look for their money.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Brian is built on the Hyperion buck.  It’s not a perfect body and, as one of the oldest bodies still in regular use by Hasbro, it’s starting to show its age.  That being said, it’s definitely a far better fit for Captain Britain than the Black Panther body used on the TB version.  If nothing else, the scale is much better this time.  Brian gets a new head, forearms, hands, and lower legs, and also makes use of the belt add-on from the most recent basic Captain America (and, by extension, Red Guardian).  The new pieces are all quite nice, and fit well onto the pre-existing parts.  The head is actually made from two different pieces, allowing for his helmet to actually look like a helmet, and not just a simple mask.  Also, another figure that avoids the dreaded Hasbro scowl that cropped up on like 90% of their male Legends figures in the last few years.  Yay!  The new arms and legs both feature a surprising amount of detail, showcasing some slight folds and wrinkles to make his costume actually look like, you know, clothes.  That being said, I must say I’m perplexed by how his pants are super skintight on his thighs and knees and then really baggy at his shins.  The belt piece works well enough, but it’s worth noting that, since it was designed for a smaller figure, it’s very tight on this guy.  Captain Britain’s paintwork is pretty decent overall.  There’s some slop here and there (mostly on the white sections of the costume), but for the most part the application is pretty clean, and the colors match up pretty closely with how this design was portrayed in the comics.  Captain Britain’s only real accessory is the left arm of the BAF Abomination.  It would have been cool to get Excalibur, since he carried it from time to time in this costume, but oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was ordering Scarlet Witch online, I noticed that Amazon also had this guy in stock for about 40% his usual price, so I figured that was as good a time as any to grab him.  Despite not really being a huge Captain Britain fan, I was pretty excited to get this figure.  There’s something about the design that just looks really cool as an action figure.  While I can’t say he’s quite as “wow’-inducing as Scarlet Witch, he’s still a solid figure, and a definite step up from the Toy Biz version!

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#1141: Captain Britain

CAPTAIN BRITAIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

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Can you believe that Toy Biz handed over the reigns to Marvel Legends (and all the other Marvel toys) almost 10 years ago?  That’s pretty darn crazy.  It also means that it’s been long enough since every single one of those Legends figures was released that updates are pretty much a given.  This year in particular, Hasbro seems to have put some serious effort into redoing some of Toy Biz’s efforts.  While the Juggernaut series was perhaps the most evident case of this, it’s seeped into some of the other line-ups as well, including the recent Abomination Series.  Like I did with the X-Men figures, I’m going to be looking at the originals and the updates in tandem with each other, and I’ll be kicking things off with Toy Biz’s take on Captain Britain!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

capbritain2Captain Britain was released in the (first) Giant-Man Series of Marvel Legends, alongside Havok and Kitty Pryde.  The set was the first Walmart-exclusive series and would prove to be one of the last three series during the Toy Biz run.  Captain Britain is based on Brian’s second costume, which is the one he’s best known for, and is, quite frankly, his best look.  It’s worth noting that prototypes for this figure showed him in both this and his look from later in the Excalibur run pretty much interchangeably, so it was kind of down to the wire as to which particular look was getting released (in fact, the figure pictured on the box for this guy was painted in the other costume, prompting some to wonder if it would be some sort of running change).  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 35 points of articulation.  The body that Brian is built on was initially sculpted for the Series 10 Black Panther figure, before being ever so slightly re-tolled for Series 11’s Wonder Man.  The good Captain gets most of the Panther pieces, with the slightly tweaked upper torso from Wonder Man, as well as Wonder Man’s hands.  He also gets a new head, forearms, and lower legs, which are mostly sculpted to match up with the pre-existing pieces.  The head is nice, and is probably one of the better head sculpts we got out of the TB Legends.  The helmet/mask even matches up with the rest of the body’s texturing, which shows that real effort was put into making the piece match up.  The forearms are fine; basic flared gloves.  The boots/feet are the real weak part of the new pieces; we were well into TB’s duck feet phase at his point, and it was something that they never really got past.  The lower legs are also completely un-textured, which feels rather weird compared to the rest of the body.  And, speaking of the body, that’s where we hit the next snag.  The Panther body was actually pretty cool for the time; it had a nice, sturdy build, and the added texturing to make it clear that he was wearing a costume, not just prancing around in body paint.  It hasn’t aged particularly well, but it was a reasonable piece for the time.  So, it’s not a bad base, generally speaking.  Except, of course, for the fact that Brian Braddock is canonically half a foot taller than T’Challa, which is a bit of an elephant in the room, if I’m honest.  The proportions of the new pieces have been kept internally consistent with the body, which means Captain Britain is, as a whole, in a scale that is completely his own.  There’s pretty much no other figure in the line you can put this guy with.  Captain Britain’s paintwork is decent, certainly on par with other offerings from the line.  The base work is mostly pretty clean.  The white piping on the red details is a little sloppy (because painting a textured base is a bit hard to do consistently), but not awful.  He’s also got some accent work, which feels like it goes a little overboard, especially on the white, or should I say light blue, areas of the costume.  TB never quite grasped how difficult it was to translate this sort of detailing from a custom-painted two-up to an actual production figure.  Captain Britain had no character specific accessories, but he did include the right leg (JUST the leg.  No foot.  That came with another figure…) of Giant-Man.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Giant-Man Series as a whole was rather difficult to acquire, thanks to Walmart’s trademark spotty distribution.  I eventually found this guy (and a few others from the series) while on a trip to visit some family in North Carolina.  Because the small mountain town definitely needed a large stock of this exclusive series of figures that most of the general public had never heard of.  This is a flawed figure.  There’s no denying that.  And, unlike so many Legends from this era, it’s not simply an age thing; he was always flawed.  The weird thing is, as hyper critical as I’ve been of this guy, and as many things that are wrong with him, I still have a soft spot for this figure.  And I’m not even that much of a Captain Britain fan!

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