#1450: Scarlet Witch & Vision

SCARLET WITCH & VISION – SUITED

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey there FiQ-fans!  Rather than continuing the Voltron love with a Keith review, today I will instead be turning back to one of my old faithfuls, Marvel Minimates.  It’s been a fair while since I’ve looked at anything from this line, so let’s make up for that, and take a look see at Scarlet Witch and Vision!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Scarlet Witch and Vision were released in the summer of 2016 as a SDCC-exclusive two-pack.  Both figures are based (theoretically) on their appearances in Captain America: Civil War.

SCARLET WITCH

“A product of secret HYDRA experiments, Wanda Maximoff once believed the Avengers to be her enemies. However, after fighting beside them to protect her homeland in the battle of Sokovia, she realized that her one-time foes were in fact a force for good. As the Scarlet Witch, Wanda must learn to control her uncanny powers in order to aid humanity alongside her new allies.”

Wanda was the source of much contention when the Civil War ‘mates were first being unveiled.  Despite being a central figure in the film’s plot, she wasn’t available in any of the retail sets.  Fortunately, she turned up here.  Yaaaaaaaay.  The ‘mate sports her spiffy red jacketed look, which is certainly a nice design.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. She’s built on the standard ‘mate base body, with add-ons for her hair and the bottom segment of her jacket.  The hair is the same piece used for the AoU Scarlet Witch (which was itself a re-use from Series 50’s Songbird), which does at the very least sit a little better on this figure than it did the last one.  That’s a plus, I suppose.  The jacket appears to be new to this figure, and it looks decent enough.  I do wish the segment between the torso and the pelvis wasn’t quite as obvious, but that’s fairly minor.  The paintwork on Wanda is fairly solid work.  It’s all pretty clean and the line work is nice and sharp.  Once again, I do wish the center of the jacket piece were painted to match the two bits of torso on either side.  Also, I’m not sold on the likeness on the face, but it’s at least still a nice looking face.  Wanda includes a pair of spell-casting hands (borrowed from her comic book counterpart) and a clear display stand.

VISION – SUITED

“The Vision is a sentient artificial intelligence housed in a highly advanced synthetic body. Since joining the Avengers, Vision has endeavored to further understand humans and his place among them. Though he has yet to come to a definitive conclusion, Vision knows it is his responsibility to use his incredible powers to protect the world in which he now lives.”

There was already one Vision ‘mate from Civil War, which depicted him in his standard garb.  One of the cool things Civil War did was put Vision is civilian clothing, which made for rather an interesting visual.  This ‘mate captures that, but not in the most movie accurate way, strictly speaking.  See, in the movie, he’s wearing sweaters and khakis and stuff; kind of a Cary Grant sort of thing.  This ‘mate instead presents him in a fairly standard suit and tie, which we never see him wearing.  He was supposed to wear it during Peggy’s funeral, but his scenes there were cut, making this ‘mate largely irrelevant.  And it means we don’t get Vision in that sweet sweater get-up.  For shame.  Not really DST’s fault, though.  This ‘mate gets add-ons for his jacket and tie, which are the same ones that have been the standards since the Senate Hearing Tony from Iron Man 2.  Not a bad standard suit and tie.  The paint is mostly limited to the head, which is the exact same piece we saw on the TRU-exclusive Vision from earlier last year.  I preferred that one to the AoU release, and I do still really like it here.  Vision’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I meant to get these guys way sooner than I did.  I mean, I loved Civil War and everything, and I have a bunch of the ‘mates.  But then the shipments containing these guys and the Punisher/DD set were super delayed after SDCC, and they just fell under my radar.  My brother Christian ended up getting them for me over the summer, after he found them at GameStop for a sizable discount.  I like both of the ‘mates here, but I can’t really say either of them is incredibly exciting.  Vision’s not actually a design from the final film, and while Wanda’s new look is nice, she’s not so different from the last version.  Still, not a bad set.

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#1190: Daredevil & Punisher

DAREDEVIL & PUNISHER

MARVEL MINIMATES

ddpunisher1

Today marks the penultimate post-Christmas review for 2016.  This review is more or less a continuation of yesterday’s.  I’ll be looking at the remaining Marvel Minimates based on Netflix’s Daredevil series.  Yesterday’s set was heavy on the civilian looks, but this set turns things around, giving us Daredevil’s official, more superhero-y costume, as well as his fellow Hell’s Kitchen vigilante, Frank Castle, aka the Punisher!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

DD and Punisher were released as an exclusive two-pack at SDCC 2016.  They served as a way of hyping up the rest of the Netflix-based sets, as well as tying into the recently released second season of Daredevil.  The set was supposed to get a wider release following the, but some issues with misplaced product in one of Diamond’s warehouses meant that a good chunk of the sets didn’t arrive until almost the end of 2016.

DAREDEVIL

ddpunisher2After spending 13 episodes in Season 1 sporting the all-black number seen yesterday, the final battle of the season finally gave DD his more familiar red getup.  This figure isn’t *quite* that version, but is instead based on his look from the back 3/4 of Season 2, after a stray bullet from the Punisher cracks his original helmet and he has to get a replacement.  The differences are negligible, really, but it’s still important to note.  The figure uses the standard ‘mate body, and as such stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s got add-ons for his mask and thigh holster.  The holster is the same piece seen on yesterday’s Season 1 DD (though flipped to the other leg, as it was in the show), but the mask is all-new to this particular figure.  It’s a decent enough translation of his second mask, though the forehead section seems a little too tall.  It’s a minor enough issue not to really bug me.  His paintwork is far more complex than any of yesterday’s ‘mates, and does a pretty solid job of capturing the suit seen in the show.  The colors are a good match, and all of the line work is nice and sharp.  Under the mask, there’s another Matt Murdock face, this time a bit more intense than either of the two in yesterday’s set.  It’s perfectly fine (the stubble in particular is very impressive), but something about this particular expression messes with the likeness a bit; I’m not seeing much of Charlie Cox in there.  DD is packed with his billy club (the same pieces as the eskrima sticks, but in red this time), an extra hairpiece for an unmasked look, and a clear display stand.

PUNISHER

ddpunisher3Frank Castle serves as the antagonist for the first several episodes of Daredevil’s second season, before becoming something of a dueling protagonist as the season progresses.  Season 2 was admittedly a slight step down from the show’s first season, but Jon Bernthal’s turn as the Punisher was easily the high point of the season, and this is coming from a guy who’s never really liked the Punisher.  His presence as the second half of this pack is far from surprising.  Frank spends most of the season in rather normal clothes, but does finally dawn a pretty straight forward Punisher costume during the second season finale.  It’s only on-screen for a few minutes, but it’s a pretty distinctive look.  Punisher uses add-ons for his hair and  coat.  The hair is a new piece, specifically designed to replicate his close-cropped style.  It does alright in that respect, though I feel like something more along the lines of the Red Hulk hairpiece might have done the job a bit better.  The coat is the long coat piece first introduced way back in 2007 on the very first Doc Brown, and it’s a nice, basic piece, which does its job pretty well.  Punisher’s paintwork is more on par with the Season 1 set than DD, being mostly a lot of black.  That being said, there’s a lot of really great detail work on the front of the torso and the belt.  He also has a pretty good likeness of Jon Bernthal, and the detailing on his hair even continues under the hair piece, allowing for him to be displayed with his closer cropped ‘do from earlier in the season (even if he’s not wearing the right jacket and shirt).  In terms of accessories, Frank is packed with a spare set of arms with rolled up sleeves, a machine gun, two handguns, and a clear display stand.  I wouldn’t have minded getting the larger rifle he uses during the final battle with the hand, or even the mini gun he was seen carrying at the very end of the finale, but I guess this assortment works alright too.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I didn’t attend SDCC, I couldn’t pick up this set in person.  I also missed out on the initial supplies that hit online, so I ended up having to play the waiting game.  Ultimately, they were a Christmas present from my parents (who have been supplying me with pretty much all of my Minimates as of late).  This is a great counterpart to yesterday’s set, and gives me another two of my favorite characters from one of my favorite shows!

#1000: Captain America – Rescue Uniform Version

CAPTAIN AMERICA – RESCUE UNIFORM VERSION

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (HOT TOYS)

CapRescue1

Yes, dear reader, you read that review number correctly. Today marks the 1000th review on The Figure in Question! That’s a pretty big number, isn’t it? It’s kind of a turning point, since from here on out, that 0 at the beginning is gone. Goodbye little 0. You served me well.

Okay, let’s get the next 1000 reviews kicked off with one of my special Deluxe Reviews! This one is another Hot Toys figure, once again from their massive subset of Marvel Studios figures. As I noted in #0900, I generally try to avoid doubling up on characters when it comes to high-end collectibles. The one major exception to this, however, is Captain America. I’ve got a bit of Captain America addiction, mostly due to The First Avenger being my favorite of the Phase I solo films. In TFA, Steve has two distinct Captain America uniforms. The first is the Star Spangled Man look and the second is his main battle uniform. The figure I’m looking at today is sort of the bridge between those two looks.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapRescue2Rescue Uniform Captain America was figure 180 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series. He was one of the three SDCC exclusive figures from Hot Toys in 2012, though he didn’t technically ship until after the con. The Rescue Uniform is so called in reference to Cap wearing it during his mission to rescue the Hydra-captured Allied soldiers at The First Avenger’s mid-point. Pretty much, it’s some fatigues and a bomber jacket thrown over the “Star Spangled Man” costume, in reference to the times during WWII set comic stories where Steve wore his costume under his fatigues to maintain his secret identity, as well as the WWII battlefield uniform from The Ultimates. The figure is a little over 12 inches tall and, according to Sideshow’s website, he has “over 30 points of articulation.”

First up, let’s look at the figure’s head sculpt. This was Hot Toys’ first stab at an unmasked Chris Evans. Although CapRescu3later figures would come closer with the likeness, this is far from a bad first try. Facially, I think it’s pretty spot-on. What really seems to throw the whole likeness off just a tiny bit is the hair, which is much more matted to the head than Evans usually has it. That being said, it’s supposed to be under the helmet, so it doesn’t look that off. All-in-all, it’s not one of the strongest heads HT’s ever done, but it’s still a solid piece. My only real complaint is that it seems a little less textured than other sculpts. That’s pretty minor, though. The paintwork is nice and solid, looking just as lifelike as ever. The hair is a touch darker than usual, but this, coupled with the more matted sculpt, sells his hair as being sweaty and matted, which seems pretty accurate to what happens when you go on a mission wearing a metal helmet.

Cap’s costume is quite involved, and impressively so. He doesn’t get the whole “Star Spangled Man” costume; just the torso portion of the shirt and the trunks. That’s more than enough to sell the effect, though, and what we can see matches up pretty much perfectly with the full SSM Cap from later on. He also gets a faux-leather jacket, a pair of khaki trousers, gaiters, and a two-part harness with lots of pouches. The pieces are all very nicely tailored and fit well on the chosen body. He also gets a pair of sculpted shoes, which are both incredibly well detailed. As with the SSM Cap, the star logo on his torso is a sculpted element as well, which plugs into the center of his chest. The most important piece of his outfit is his helmet (and by extension, the goggles on the helmet). The helmet is two pieces (as a proper WW II helmet would be). The under piece is plastic, and has the straps and such attached to it, while the over piece is metal, and quite solid metal at that. It’s very nicely textured, and looks like the real prop from the movie. It also sits on his head just right, and is pretty secure when in place. The goggles are a little difficult to get on the helmet at first, but once they’re in place, they stay put and they look pretty great too.

Cap(Rescue)AccessoriesCap’s underlying body is a bit better than the last Cap I looked at, given that it’s less of a Frankenstein creation. It’s just a pretty standard muscle body, which means he loses some articulation for the sake of the upper body’s appearance. But, that just ends up making him a bit more realistic, and it’s a good fit for this particular design.

Captain America includes a somewhat smaller accessory compliment, due to the more complex costume. However, he still gets a few cool items, including:

  • 6 different hands
  • Machine gun
  • Pistol (w/ holster)
  • Knife (w/sheath)
  • Shield
  • Display stand

All of the hands are sculpted wearing the leather gloves he has in the movie. There’s a pair of fists, a pair of relaxed hands, a grip for the shield, and a grip with a trigger finger for the two guns.

The weapons are all very nicely sculpted to match the in-film props. The two guns have moving pieces, just like their real counterparts would, which is certainly a fun bonus. The holster and sheath can be attached to the figure, with the holster attaching to the belt on the waist and the sheath tying onto his shin. These all allow for a complete rescue look.

The shield is the same piece as the SSM version. However, while that one was totally clean, this one has scrapes and dirt all over it, matching the figure’s more battle-ready appearance. It’s definitely some solid work, and it helps to differentiate him from the other figure even further. It would have been nice to also get a version of the shield with a dent from where Red Skull punched it, but this is the more important of the two, so I’m happy to have it.

Lastly, there’s the display stand. It’s the same basic stand we’ve seen lots and lots of times before, but it still works for what it’s supposed to do, so that’s good.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rescue Cap isn’t one of my first Hot Toys figures. He’s not even my first Hot Toys Cap. He is, however, the figure that is the most responsible for just how many Hot Toys figures are in my current collection, because he’s one of the earliest HT figures that I bought for myself. Rescue Cap is one of my favorite looks from the movies, so when HT first showed the prototype, I was eager to get him. It took a while for him to finally get slotted as a con exclusive, but he finally did and I sat on Sideshow’s website for several hours the day he went up for sale to make sure I got one. He’s probably my favorite HT figure I own, if I’m honest. There’s just a lot to like about this figure, and, above all, he’s a ton of fun! Of course, getting this figure led me to want to finish out the TFA Cap set, as well as picking up the Avengers Cap and, by extension, the rest of the Avengers. So, there was that…

CapRescue5

#0933: Orange and Green Blanks

TRANSLUCENT ORANGE & GREEN BLANKS

PROMO MINIMATES

SDCCY&G1

The Minimates brand is most often associated with the various licenses that Diamond Select has applied its definitive style to. However, as part of their ongoing efforts to get the brand as much recognition as possible, Diamond will occasionally produce promotional “blanks” to be handed out at their various convention appearances, typically the bigger shows, such as San Diego Comic-Con and C2E2. I’ve previously looked at the C2E2-exclusive Minimate Multiverse Blank, so today I’ll be looking at a pair from SDCC.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

SDCCY&G2Orange and Green were both given out at SDCC 2008. There was also a red blank available, but I don’t have that one. Both figures stand 2 ¼ inches tall, have 14 points of articulation, and make use of no pieces other than the standard Minimate body. The lack of add-ons makes for a nice showcase of the base body, which can sometimes be overlooked. That’s a shame, because it’s really a very well-crafted bit of work, and it’s just a whole lot of fun to play with. Many earlier blanks stuck with solid, opaque hues, but these two are both done up in translucent colors, which look really SDCCY&G3sharp. Unlike some translucent ‘mates, this pair appears to have been molded in colorless clear plastic and then had some sort of translucent coloring applied after the fact, which does a nice bit to preserve the luminosity of the plastic. They’re also really shiny, which makes them pretty slick. Aside from the colors, they don’t have any other paint; no logos or other details like some promo ‘mates. I think it makes them more enjoyable, if I do say so myself. Elegant simplicity and all that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t go to SDCC 2008 (though I do own most of the ‘mates that DST offered there), so I got these two a few years later via Luke’s Toy Store. I hadn’t really planned on getting into the Promo ‘Mates, but I had gone far too long without buying any Minimates, so these two (as well as the later 2010 Blue Blank) got added to my order. I legit love these guys. They aren’t the sort of thing that would appeal to everyone, but they’re really cool to me. Despite the fact that they have no add-ons or printed details, they possess a lot of character and personality and remind me of why I like the Minimate aesthetic so much!

#0908: Bruce Wayne & Pilot Batman

BRUCE WAYNE & PILOT BATMAN

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION

Bruce&PilotBat1

After the rousing success of the Marvel characters in the Minimates format, other comicbook companies wanted in on the action, including their main competition DC Comics. However, thanks to all sorts of licensing mumbo jumbo, Diamond Select and Art Asylum couldn’t directly produce DC products. Fortunately, Play Along, who also worked with Art Asylum on the Lord of the Rings Minimates line, had the rights to produce DC-based construction sets, which they were able to leverage into a way to produce Minimate versions of DC characters as part of the sets. The line was only moderately successful, but it did manage to produce a nice handful of prominent DC mainstays. Today, I’ll be looking at two of the figures the line offered, Bruce Wayne and Pilot Batman.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bruce and Pilot Batman were included with the SDCC 2004 Stealth Batwing set. The set was a re-deco of the main line’s regular Batwing set. Batman was similarly a re-deco of that set’s Pilot Batman, but Bruce Wayne is wholly exclusive to this set.

BRUCE WAYNE

Bruce&PilotBat3This was one of the two Bruce Wayne Minimates offered by the C3 line. The figure is a little under 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. While the more widely released version (included with the Batcave set) opted for a more traditional Bruce, this figure is based on Bruce’s more modernized design from 2004’s The Batman. Bruce has add-on pieces for his hair and jacket, both re-used from prior ‘mates. The jacket is the same piece used on the Batcave Bruce and the hair comes from Marvel Minimates Series 1’s Hulk. The pieces are pretty close matches (if you want to get really picky, Bruce’s jacket was always buttoned on the show, but that’s pretty minor). They’re far less detailed than most modern pieces, and have a much more squared-off appearance, but that actually works well in the context of his cartoon-based design. Paint is used fairly sparsely on Bruce, but what’s there is both clean and sharp, and he makes for a good translation of the animated design. I like the decision to give him a grin, as it gives us a Bruce that truly sells the whole millionaire playboy charade. Bruce included a cowl, cape/torso cover, and gloves, which allow him to be quick-changed into a pretty decent Batman Minimate (though he’s smiling, which is slightly odd).

PILOT BATMAN

Bruce&PilotBat2The C3 line ended up doing what most Batman-based lines do, and included a bunch of non-canon Bat-variants. On the plus side, Pilot Batman is actually a pretty sensible idea, especially when the Batwing is in question. Pilot Batman has add-ons for his helmet (with hinged visor), torso, and gloves, and at one point there was also a cape attachment for the back of the torso, but mine’s gone missing. All of these pieces (aside from the cape) were shared with the normal release version of Pilot Batman, but aside from that they were all-new. They aren’t based on anything in particular, but they fit pretty well with the line, and they look pretty cool. They also feature a lot more sculpted detail than most Minimate pieces of the time, meaning that this figure doesn’t look too out of place, even with current ‘mates. The difference between this figure and the regular release version is the paintwork. Mostly it’s just swapping out yellow accents for the blue ones, but there are also some slightly different details on the legs. Under the helmet, there’s a pretty Bruce Wayne face, clearly meant to be comics based, and under the torso piece, there’s a bat symbol, which could have easily been left out. Pilot Batman included no accessories, though I suppose an argument could be made that the normal Batman parts are for him, since they were also included with the regular Batwing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Well after the C3 line had ended, Cosmic Comix, who had not carried any of the sets up to that point, received a case of this set, and was selling them for well under their original price. I bought one, mostly for these two figures. Over the years, I lost most of the parts to the actual Batwing portion of the set, but I still have these guys. They’re both pretty solid ‘mates, though neither of them is exactly a necessity for anyone’s collection.

#0900: Captain America – Star Spangled Man Version

CAPTAIN AMERICA – STAR SPANGLED MAN VERSION

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (HOT TOYS)

CapSSM1

Whelp, looks like I’ve stumbled my way through another 100 reviews, bringing my total reviews up to a resounding 900. Wow, that’s a lot. I need to get a life. Oh, right, the toys. The toys are my life. That works out, then. As is customary for all reviews divisible by 100, I’ll be doing another Deluxe Review.

When you’re dealing with high-end action figures, where each figure costs a small fortune, you would think that you might want to avoid doubling up on characters. By and large, that’s been what I’ve attempted to do in my high-end collecting. However, there was one main exception: Captain America. For some reason, I just kept buying the guy. Cap’s costume in the Marvel Studios movies has minor changes in each film, in an attempt to take him just a little closer to his comics counterpart. However, he actually started out in a costume that was an almost exact replica of his classic comics look, even if it ended up being a bit of a joke.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapSSM3Captain America was released as figure number 205 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series. He was one of three figures “exclusive” to San Diego Comic Con 2013 (I say “exclusive” because he was available through Sideshow’s website, and didn’t actually ship until a while after the con). Chronologically, he’s the first of the three exclusives. This version of Cap hails from Captain America: The First Avenger, and is based on the propaganda costume Steve wears during the “Star Spangled Man” musical montage (hence the name). With the exception of covering up his ears (for silly practical reasons like being able to turn his head), it’s a pretty straight recreation of his comics look. The figure stands roughly 12 inches tall and has “over 30 points of articulation” according to the blurb on Sideshow’s site.

CapSSM4While masked and unmasked heads have more or less become the norm on HT’s Cap figures now, this guy only includes the masked look. This is presumably due to him being a follow-up figure to the Rescue version, which was unmasked. The head sculpt is the usual HT quality; tons of little detail work that makes it look like the real person it’s emulating. Well, it looks like a real person. There’s certainly a bit of Evans in there, but it’s not as spot-on as other HT sculpts. Also, his face looks oddly out of proportion with the rest of his head, like it’s just a bit too big. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that his neck is nowhere near as thick as it is in the movie, which makes him look slightly bobble-headed and less heroic. The expression on his face is rather serious, which seems a bit out of place for this costume within the context of the movie, but makes sense when you recall that a major appeal of this figure was selling it to people who just wanted a comics accurate Cap. The texturing on his mask is pretty nicely done; it seems a bit heavy when viewed up close, but looks just about right when viewed from a little further away. The head is finished off with an absolutely top-notch paintjob, which does a lot to distract from some of the more minor issues present here.

CapSSM2Cap’s costume makes use of seven different pieces; He has a cloth bodysuit, which makes up the majority of his costume, as well as a pair of shorts to go over it and a belt. The pieces are fairly well tailored, but not completely without issue. The shorts seem a bit more obtrusive than they were in the movie, and the red and white stripes on the torso stick out a little bit on the sides. The star symbol is actually a sculpted piece, which plugs into the center of his chest, in order to keep it properly centered. There are sculpted pieces for the boots and the tops of the gloves, which are very nicely handled and do a great job of simulating the leather used for the real items in the movie.

The weakest part of this figure by far is the underlying body. While I haven’t undressed my figure, I’ve seen pictures of the underlying body; it’s a Frankenstein’s Monster of earlier base bodies, which don’t all quite fit together, resulting in some odd gaps. The gaps have been filled with padding, which does an alright job, but has to be shifted from time to time to prevent him from getting weird lumps, and it also gets in the way of some of his articulation. Also, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, the arms they chose are the ones with the most limited elbow movement available, which is incredibly limiting in what you can do with the figure, and makes little sense, since the joints could have easily been hidden by the sleeves.

Cap’s accessories complement does a fair bit to make up for the somewhat lackluster body. He included:CapSSM6

  • 7 different hands
  • Tommy gun
  • Pistol (w/ holster)
  • Grenade (w/ pouch)
  • Utility belt (w/ two pouches)
  • Ammo belt
  • Leather strap
  • Shield
  • Cue cards
  • Display stand

The hands are all sculpted to match up with the top parts of the gloves on the costume. They come in relaxed (R and L), fists (R and L), tight and loose grips (both L), and a trigger finger (R). The one glaring omission here is a pointing hand for an “I Want You” style pose. You can sub in the trigger finger (as I did), but it’s not quite the same.

The Tommy gun, pistol, grenade, utility belt, ammo belt, and leather strap are all based on the sequence in the montage where Cap is filming a propaganda film. The gun is the coolest piece, and it even has a removable ammo drum, with a few rounds visible at the top. All in all, these paces make for a pretty cool alternate look.

CapSSM5The Shield is the coolest piece, not necessarily for itself (though it is a good recreation of the first shield in the movie), but for the cue cards. In the movie, Cap has a speech about buying war bonds, which he has to give at each Star Spangled Man performance. It’s revealed during the montage that he has cue cards with the words from the speech taped onto the inside of his shield. It’s a brief little moment, but a cool character piece. You have to attach the cards yourself, but it’s a super cool touch that HT included them, and it offers a fun extra that most companies would overlook.

Finally, there’s the display stand, which is a fairly standard, run of the mill piece, but nice to have regardless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Cap is the “newest” of my HT Caps. The First Avenger was my favorite Phase 1 solo film, and I love the whole Star Spangled Man sequence, and Cap’s costume is one of the most distinctive in comics, so I was pretty excited when this figure was first shown off. Then there was the waiting (since it took over a year from showing him at a con for him to actually get a slot in the line). I bought him through Sideshow’s site when he was finally listed. Then the real trouble began. See, Sideshow ships through UPS, and they require a signature for delivery. I missed the driver the first two times Cap went out for delivery, and wouldn’t be home for the third, so I contacted UPS about having him held for pickup at the distribution center. They told me they weren’t allowed to do that, and that he’d be sent back to Sideshow if I wasn’t there the next day. A few calls later, I was told to just show up for pick-up that evening, despite it not being officially set-up. Well, surprising no one, that didn’t work out, resulting in another 5 hours of phone calls, before I was finally get it all sorted out, and was able to pick him up the following morning. After all of that, this better be the best darn Cap figure I’ve ever owned, right? Well, not quite. Honestly, he’s not a bad figure, but he’s probably the weakest of the Cap figures I have, due mostly to the weird body. Still, I’m glad I have him, and he rounds out my set of First Avenger Caps quite nicely.

#0825: SDCC Ant-Man Minimates

SHRINKING ANT-MAN, SHRINKING YELLOW JACKET, ANT-HONY, & SCOTT LANG

MARVEL MINIMATES

AntManSDCC1

Ant-Man seems to be that movie I keep forgetting when looking back on 2015. It’s a shame, really, because I actually enjoyed the film immensely, and thought it was a highlight of the summer. But, I keep forgetting about it. For instance, there were two sets of Marvel Minimates based on the film, both of which have been readily available since November, and I’ve only picked up one. Furthermore, I’ve had said set since November and not yet gotten around to reviewing it. Today I fix that.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were one of the SDCC exclusive items this year, offered via a partnership between DST and Action Figure Xpress. This set is meant to accent the main specialty release set… which I don’t have. Oh well.

SHRINKING ANT-MAN

AntManSDCC2As the main character, it’s only natural for Ant-Man to get one or two variants. That said, the suit maintains a pretty standard look throughout the entirety of the film, so coming up with a compellingly different version of the character can be a little difficult. Enter the “shrinking” variant, which is certainly different. Structurally, he’s the same as the normal Ant-Man. He uses the standard Minimate body, so he stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. He has add-ons for his helmet and belt. They’re decent enough matches for the film designs; the helmet is a little off, but that’s true of all the figures for the movie, since the mask was changed somewhat last minute. Regardless, the pieces look pretty great. The paintwork is kind of the key thing with this figure. He’s (mostly) molded in clear plastic. The torso of the figure has some white detail lines, outlining a few different Ant-Men, each smaller than the last, to make it look like he’s shrinking. The effect works well enough, but you do really have to view him head-on to get it to look right. Under the helmet, instead of Scott Lang (like on the regular release) it’s a younger Hank Pym. The likeness is pretty fantastic, and I love that we actually got a young Hank Pym. Ant-Man includes a hairpiece (re-used from BSG’s Apollo), a normally painted torso piece, a slab of rock, a smaller ‘mate painted up in Ant-Man’s basic colors, an effect base, and a basic display stand, made up like a giant penny.

SHRINKING YELLOWJACKET

AntManSDCC3If you have two main characters with shrinking abilities, it’s not really fair to give just one of them a figure replicating the shrinking feature. So, here’s shrinking Yellowjacket. Like Ant-Man, he’s structurally the same as his normal release version. He’s got add-ons for his helmet and harness/extra legs. These are pretty decent parts, but I don’t feel they’re as strong as Ant-Man’s, and I do wish the legs were actually poseable. Still, they work well enough, and he certainly looks the part. His paint is handled very similarly to Ant-Man’s, with the necessary changes for the differences in character designs. Under the helmet is Darren Cross. His expression is a bit more angry than the regular version, so there’s a bit of variety there. The face doesn’t really look much like Cross in the movie, especially the stubble, which just seems to be too heavy. Yellowjacket includes a normally painted torso, a slab of rock, a smaller ‘mate in black and gold, a flying stand, and a display base painted like a bottle cap.

ANT-HONY

AntManSDCC5Scott’s ant buddy Ant-Hony was definitely a surprisingly enjoyable character, and who would have thought he’d actually get three whole figures? I certainly expecting the ‘mate, though. Ant-Hony follows the lead of ‘mates such as the Brood drone, moving away from the standard Minimate build. Ant-Hony uses the head and arms (three sets of them, actually) of the basic ‘mate, along with the six-armed torso piece, which has been used a few times before. The figure also uses the little nubby feet pieces from the Brood, wings from the Wasp, and all-new pieces for the top of the head and his lower half. The end result is a slightly odd looking figure, but it approximates an ant’s shape fairly well. The paint is mostly just the same dark brown, but he does also have detailing for his eyes. Ant-Hony comes packed with a flight stand.

SCOTT LANG

AntManSDCC4Civilian variants are fairly commonplace with movie ‘mates, so getting a basic Scott in this set is to be expected, especially since he’s not the one in the Ant-Man suit. He’s based on the look he sports when breaking into Pym’s mansion early in the film, which is easily the most distinct of his non-costumed looks. The figure is entirely reliant on re-used parts, with the hat from Punisher: Warzone’s Looney Bin Jim and the coat from Big Bang Theory’s Leonard. The parts are both pretty generic, but they certainly work well to capture Scott’s look from the film. Scott’s paint is pretty straightforward; it’s mostly just a bunch of dark blues (which is film accurate). There’s not an overabundance of detail work on the body, but the waist of his pants has a bit of line work. His face is actually a really great likeness of Paul Rudd, and I love that he’s got the little bandages on his brow. Scott includes an extra hair piece, a spare set of short-sleeved arms, ungloved hands, a backpack, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As noted several times before on this site, I didn’t go to SDCC 2015. So, I had to wait for this set to show up elsewhere. Specifically, I waited for it to come into stock at Luke’s Toy Store, my preferred Minimate retailer. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this set, but I was pleasantly surprised by every ‘mate contained. Definitely a worthy purchase.

#0771: Glow in the Dark Alien

ALIEN – GLOW-IN-THE-DARK

ALIENS MINIMATES

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Long before Minimates, the frightening titular character of ALIEN found its way to toy shelves in the form of the legendary 18-inch Alien figure, courtesy of Kenner Toys. The figure was quickly pulled from shelves, no doubt due to the nightmares it caused for many an unsuspecting child, and has become one of the bigger grails of toy-collecting. Now, 35 years later, DST pays tribute to that figure with this San Diego Comic Con exclusive!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BigChapGiD2As noted in the intro, the Alien was released at this year’s SDCC, as part of the greater Aliens Minimates line.  I don’t often talk packaging, but I will here.  For many figures, the package is just the way to transport the figure from the store to the costumer in a nice, flashy way. However, this figure’s packaging is actually a pretty important piece of the figure. The basic layout of the packaging is more or less the same as the single packaging for the Aliens vs Marines Army Dump case, but it’s been done up with graphics meant to replicate the original 18-inch Alien’s box. It features that bright ‘70s blue, the old Kenner ALIEN logo, and an assortment of screen shots from the film. The Big Chap’s a little crowed in there, but the box does a great job of giving a nod to that which came before.  While most of the Xenomorphs we’ve seen so far have taken inspiration from the second film’s design for the creature, this one, like the 35th Anniversary Boxed Set, takes influence from the creature’s very first appearance in 1979’s ALIEN. It’s not leaps and bounds of differences from the later design, but it’s enough that even moderate fans of the films could probably discern between the two.  Like his second film-based brethren, the Big Chap has sculpted add-ons for his head, hands, tail and feet. All of these parts but the head are the same ones used for all of the other aliens. Those parts were good on all of the others, and they continue to be good here. The only minor nit is that the hand should technically be different to be accurate to the Big Chap design, since these use the Aliens three-fingered design, rather than the ALIEN six-fingered design. However, at this scale, that’s a minor issue. The head was initially used on the 35th Anniversary set Alien, and it does a very nice job of replicating the movie’s domed look. While the 35th Anniversary version had the dome glued in place, this version leaves the part loose, so that you can remove it to better see the cool skull design below. It means that the dome doesn’t always stay in place the best, but that feels like a reasonable enough trade-off.  The figure’s paintwork is where his main draw comes into play. The BigChapGiDPack1main detailing of the body is similar to the previous aliens, but the silver is a bit brighter, which certainly sets him apart. The other main draw is the paint on the skull under the dome, which is glow-in-the-dark, as the name of the figure indicates. It requires a bit of “charging” under a light source, but once that’s done, it makes for a pretty eerie effect. The figure’s only accessory is a clear display stand. However, as with all of the prior aliens, the number of sculpted pieces more than makes up for the lack of extras.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Frequent readers of the site will recall that I did not attend SDCC, so I clearly didn’t pick this guy up there.  No, I actually ordered him from Luke’s Toy Store after the event.  I was actually pretty excited for this figure; the Aliens Minimates in general are a pretty exciting thing, but I liked the whole tribute bit.  This figure isn’t exactly new or anything, but it’s a fun variant of an already great figure.

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#0752: Age of Ultron Minimates Boxed Set

FINAL FORM ULTRON, IRON LEGION 01, TONY STARK, MARK 45, & NICK FURY

MARVEL MINIMATES

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So, Series 61 and 63 of Marvel Minimates, plus the two TRU exclusive sets and the blind bagged figures, did a pretty reasonable job of getting us just about every important character from Age of Ultron. We got the whole Avengers team, plus several Ultrons, a few Iron Legion drones, two minor villains, and the Hulkbuster. However, DST felt that wasn’t quite enough, so we’ve gotten an extra, special five figure (that’s a whole extra figure!) boxed set to fill a few holes in the collection.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at Final Form Ultron, Iron Legion 01, Tony Stark, Iron Man Mark 45, and Nick Fury!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was one of the SDCC-exclusive sets offered by DST this year. The sets were then available at various retailers following the show.

FINAL FORM ULTRON

AoUMatesBox3Ultron looks a little….I don’t want to say puffy…  Yeah, so this is Ultron in his Vibranium infused body from the film’s big climactic battle, which is ever so slightly different from his main look for the rest of the movie. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Ultron uses the base Minimate body, with non-standard pieces for the head, hands, and feet, as well as add-ons for the shoulders and torso extension. All of these pieces are re-used from prior figures; the head is from Ultron Prime, the hands originated on DC Minimates’ Cheetah, the feet are from Nightcrawler, and the add-ons are pieces we’ve seen on numerous prior ‘mates. It’s definitely a hodge-podge of pieces, but the end result actually looks pretty sleek. Also, he amends the issue of size that plagued Ultron Prime; he’s not huge, but he’s certainly got a level of imposing-ness to him. The paintwork on this figure is superb. The silver is nice and cleanly applied, the detail lines are nice and sharp, and he does a pretty great job of replicating the film design. Everything looks really great, and he’s even got a full set of detail lines on the normal arms under the bulked up shoulders. Ultron includes a spare set of normal hands and feet painted silver, for those that don’t want the more unique pieces, as well as a clear display stand.

IRON LEGION 01

AoUMatesBox6Okay, so if there’s one thing this set might have been okay without, it’s another Iron Legion drone. The blind bags ran into a bit of an issue by seriously over-packing drones 02 and 04, which kind of got us all down on the drones in general. That said, there are actually supposed to be five of these guys, and we only had two (three if you count the Ultron Mk 1 as drone 03), so I guess getting another of them isn’t the worst thing. Of course, if I were choosing one more, I’d probably go with 05, since you could include the scepter the drone steals, but DST went with 01. I guess having 01, 02, 03, and 04 is better than having 02, 03, 04, and 05. This figure is virtually identical to the other two drones we got (reviewed here). He’s a vanilla ‘mate, with a fair amount of painted details. Obviously, he’s got “01” in place of the preceding “02” and “04,” and he’s also got grey accents as opposed to the blue and black, respectively, of the other two.

TONY STARK

AoUMatesBox2Hey, it wouldn’t be the Avengers without another Tony Stark, right? The “trying to lift the hammer” sequence from AoU was definitely one of the more popular scenes from the movie, so it’s not a huge surprise to see Tony in his look from that scene. Tony has 5 sculpted add-on pieces for his hair, vest, tie, and rolled up sleeves. These are all pieces we’ve seen numerous times before, and they do a good job of capturing his look from the scene. His paint is pretty simple, with mostly base color work. The facial likeness somewhat resembles RDJ, though I don’t think it’s as good as some of DST’s other versions of the guy. It’s also a little bit too high set. Tony includes one of his Iron Man gauntlets (taken from the Mark 43), which is kind of key to the scene, as well as a spare set of arms and a jacket piece, and a clear display stand. It would have been cool to include Mjolnir here, but I can’t say this guy’s lacking for extras.

MARK 45

AoUMatesBox5We got the Mark 43, we got the Hulkbuster, and we got a basic Tony. What’s left? The Mark 45, Tony’s armor from the last fight scene. It’s only a little bit different from the Mark 43, but it’s still its own armor, and it continues the trend of each model streamlining the basic design just a bit more. Structurally, he’s just a basic ‘mate, with the helmet from the Mark 42/43. It’s not 100% accurate, but at this scale, it’s close enough. The paint is the important part here, and it’s handled quite nicely. The red and gold are distinctly different from each other, and they’re both nice and bright. The details of the suit are rendered pretty nicely on the body, and look pretty accurate to the source material. Under the helmet, there’s another Tony face, which is much angrier looking than the regular Tony. It looks even less like RDJ, but I much prefer a different expression that looks less like the actor than the same expression over and over again. The figure includes the same hairpiece included with the other Tony, as well as a flight stand, and a clear display stand.

NICK FURY

AoUMatesBox7At last! A character who wasn’t released in any of the other AoU assortments! Fury was originally slated to be one of the figures in the blind bagged assortment before being pulled from the lineup, so it’s not a huge shock to see him turn up here. The figure depicts Fury in his somewhat more distinct look from his earlier appearances in the film. He gets two add-on pieces for his hat and coat. The hat comes from the Amazing Spider-Man Vigilante Spider-Man, and the coat is from Punisher War-Zone’s Frank Castle. These parts match up pretty closely with the look from the film, and their well-sculpted in general, so that’s good. Fury’s paint is fairly simple. He’s got a fairly drab color scheme, with a bit of detailing for the belt, shirt, and face. The face doesn’t really look much like SLJ, but he’s a decent looking Fury. Also, I really like that the eye patch’s strap goes all the way around the head, even under the hat, though it’s a little frustrating that the head has a peg hole at the top for the hat. Fury includes a spare head with the eye patch removed, a handgun, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I didn’t go to SDCC, I picked this set after the fact, courtesy of Luke’s Toy Store. This set doesn’t cover a whole lot of new ground, but it’s still a solid addition. Ultron is a significant improvement to Ultron Prime, Fury and Stark are both valid variants, and the Mark 45 and the Legion drone are decent enough. The final AoU line-up is pretty impressive!

AoUMatesBox9

#0700: Joe Colton

JOE COLTON

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION (HOT TOYS)

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Hey! I made it to 700 reviews! Cool! Alright, it’s another milestone, so, faithful readers know it’s time for another Deluxe Review! Let’s take another dip into the world of high-end collecting, courtesy of Hot Toys.

Now, G.I. Joe is the very first action figure, and it’s also completely owned by toymakers Hasbro. It’s very rare that one toy company allows another to make toys from an in house property, especially Hasbro, who are notorious for not even letting other companies anywhere near licenses that they merely hold, not own outright. So it was a bit of a shock when they allowed Sideshow to make 12-inch versions of their A Real American Hero characters, and even more of a shock when they let Hot Toys have the license for 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. They only made a small handful of figures, one of them being Bruce Willis’ Joe Colton, namesake of the G.I. Joe team.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Colton3Joe Colton is another figure from HT’s main Movie Masterpiece Series. He was technically an exclusive to San Diego Comic Con 2013, though he wasn’t actually available at the con; he just went up on the Sideshow site shortly after. So, he really wasn’t much different from a normal release. He’s figure number 206, putting him right between fellow exclusives “Star Spangled Man” Captain America and Evil Superman. The figure stands roughly 12 inches tall and has “over 30 points of articulation” according to Sideshow’s website. I’ll trust them on that. Joe is, obviously, based on his appearance from G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Specifically, he’s presented as he looks during the film’s big climactic fight scene (more or less).

Let’s start things off by taking a look at the head sculpt. It’s another fantastic piece of work from Hot Toys. The likeness is absolutely spot-on to Willis, right down to his slight, sarcastic sneering, grin. The lack of any sort of hair adds actually adds to the realism of the figure, and it helps that HT’s managed to get Willis’ head shape down pretty much exactly. The paint on the head lives up to the sculpt, further enhancing the likeness, and adding even more to the realism.

Colton2Joe’s costume is a pretty cool little nod to the history of G.I. Joe, actually. It’s based on the uniform of the Adventure Team Commander from the G.I. Joe: Adventure Team line from the 70s, who, by extension of appearing to be the same guy as the original Joe, is the guy Colton is supposed to represent. The outfit is made up of three main pieces, a t-shirt, a pair of combat pants, and jacket, as well as an assortment of additional parts, including two different belts, hip and shoulder holsters, and a pair of boots. The boots are sculpted pieces; they’re pretty nicely detailed, though they seem harder and less movable than previous boots. The holsters are also sculpted, and they fit their corresponding guns pretty well. The rest of the outfit is made up of tailored parts.  Everything fits pretty well on the body, though maybe not quite as perfectly as I’d like. The jacket in particular feels just a bit bulky when placed on the figure. That said, most of outfit sits very nicely with a minor amount of futzing. In an odd move for a HT figure, the pants of Joe’s uniform are just a bit inaccurate to the film; the right leg is permanently tucked into the boot, which is odd, and the left leg sports a kneepad not seen in the film, which cannot be removed. I’m not sure why HT decided to do these things; one would assume the more accurate straight green pants would have been easier to produce.

Joe makes use of one of HT’s more posable bodies. It also happens to be the body that balances look and posability the best of HT’s standard bodies, which makes it a good choice. The only real drawback is that the body uses a rather obvious set of double joints at the elbows, which is a bit of a bummer if you want to display him without the jacket. That said, the movement allowed by these joints is essential to him properly holding his weapons, making it a worthy trade-off.

Colton5Joe includes a decent selection of extra pieces, though he was lighter than some others. He included:

  • 6 different hands
  • Machine gun
  • Spare Magazine
  • Shot gun
  • 3 pistols
  • 5 ammo clips
  • Display stand

The hands come in a nice variety of poses, with basic relaxed (R and L), trigger finger (R and L), gun holding (R), and fist (L). The hands are very realistically sculpted and painted, and each fulfill their intended purpose quite well. Willis is left-handed, so I was happy to see the gun grip hand was his right, allowing him to hold the guns as he actually would. That seems like it should be a given, but the poor T-1000 didn’t even get a proper left-handed trigger finger, so you never know.

The machine gun is very nicely handled. It’s exact model is a SCAR-L*. It has a removable clip and a folding stock, as well as a strap, allowing it to be slung over his arm. It’s impressively detailed, with tons sculpt and paintwork, all of which do a good job of passing this off as a miniaturized version of the real thing.

The shot gun is my personal favorite of the weapons, mostly due to it being his most used weapon from the film, and it just working very well visually with the figure. It’s the Benelli M4*. It’s admittedly not quite as exciting as the machine gun, since it’s a more simplistic design to begin with. Still, it’s got a moving stock and a spring-loaded breach and it looks pretty cool in his hands.

The three pistols are mostly just there to fill the three corresponding holsters. Two of the three are identical, and the third isn’t far off. All three are Colt 1911s*. They’re well sculpted, and they have moving slides and removable clips, which is always cool. Unfortunately, the included trigger fingers aren’t really optimized for a smaller weapon, so he really can’t hold them all that well.

The ammo clips are the same as the ones in the three pistols, placed into nice little sculpted holders. They can be hung on is belts, or removed if you so choose.

The display stand is fairly run of the mill. It’s just the basic black oval stand, with a little tag for his name and the film’s logo printed on the base.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like so many of my Hot Toys figures, Joe was pre-ordered from the online store of Sideshow Toys, the North American distributor for HT’s stuff. He ended up being the last thing I ordered from their site, and in fact, I almost cancelled the pre-order. Not because I didn’t want him or anything, but because I had gradually been moving away from HT. I’m glad I never got around to cancelling it, since he’s actually a pretty cool figure.

*Thanks to Tim Marron, of Timsical Thoughts, for helping me ID the specific models of the guns.

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