#1503: WW2 Captain America & S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

WW2 CAPTAIN AMERICA & S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Despite the heavy Ultimate Universe bend of some of the early Marvel Minimates offerings, the slightly lowered profile of the Avengers characters meant they were largely pushed back until later assortments, by which point there was more of a move to classic stylings.  So, it would take quite a bit of time before we’d see any ‘mates based on the Ultimate-verse’s Avengers-equivalent, the Ultimates.  When we did get them, it was all at once, and in a themed Series no less.  Today, I’m looking at one of those sets, featuring Captain America and a SHIELD Agent!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

WW2 Captain America and the SHIELD Agent were released in Series 27 of Marvel Minimates, which was a whole Ultimates-themed set.  This was actually the variant set, swapping out the WW2-styled Cap for the normal Ultimate Cap.

WW2 CAPTAIN AMERICA

“The only known success in the government’s super-soldier program, Captain America and his sidekick Bucky fought against the Axis and Chitauri forces for years before Captain America sacrificed himself to save Washington DC from annihilation.”

Ultimate Cap is actually one of my biggest sticking points with the whole Ultimates vs Avengers thing.  I pretty actively despise the Ultimate Universe’s take on Steve Rogers, since it kind of takes away all the good things about the character, and effectively just turns him into US Agent.  If I want US Agent, I’ll read a story with US Agent.  Sorry, I’m getting distracted.  Anyway, I don’t hate the Ultimate Universe’s updated take on his WW2-era costume, which is what led to me picking this guy up.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He uses the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for his helmet and jacket.  Both pieces were new to this figure.  The helmet’s seen some subsequent re-use, but the jacket was a one-off.  Both pieces do a nice job of translating Bryan Hitch’s design to the ‘mate form, and I quite like the sharp detailing on the mask and helmet.  His paintwork is pretty straightforward, mostly basic color work.  I do like the slightly lower-key colors on this one, and the detail work, especially on the face is pretty great.  The face is a little bit misaligned with the mask, but it’s minor, and you can get it seated a bit better with minor repositioning.  Cap’s packed with his original shield, which he can wear either on his wrist or on the back of his jacket, as well as a Thompson machine gun, and an extra hairpiece for an unmasked look.

S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

“Run by General Ross and later General Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a clandestine military organization dedicated to creating or controlling the most powerful super-humans in the world, including the X-Men, Spider-Man and the Ultimates.”

Believe it or not, this was only the second ever army-builder in the Marvel Minimates line, and it was the only SHIELD Agent until Series 42 gave us a more classic design.  This one’s more a generic soldier type thing, as was the case in the Ultimate-verse. Like Cap, he’s built on the standard body, and he’s also got a helmet and a coat.  Both pieces are quite well sculpted, and I rather like the helmet.  His paintwork is a bit more involved than Cap’s, with the camo and the fully detailed buzzcut under the helmet.  It’s quite a nice attention to detail there.  He’s even got a cool SHIELD insignia on his shoulder, and detailing for the pockets on his pants.  I appreciate the level of work that went into this guy.  It makes what could be a boring ‘mate a good deal more interesting.  This figure’s packed with an assault rifle, which is a little large for his hands, but a cool piece nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set new from Cosmic Comix back when they were first released.  I remember pretty excited for the SHIELD Agent and the army builder concept in general.  Cap was sort of just along for the ride, but in the end, I was pretty happy to have gotten him.  This is definitely a case of ‘mates helping me to appreciate a property I wouldn’t have otherwise.  Not a bad set at all!

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#1495: Simon & Ellen

SIMON & ELLEN

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA MINIMATES

When Minimates first really branched beyond Marvel Minimates (well, in the smaller style, at least) there were some interesting choices in terms of licenses.  Namely, there were a lot of choices that didn’t necessarily make for the most exciting toys.  Case in point?  Battlestar Galactica Minimates.  The BSG relaunch was an undeniable success for the Sci Fi Network, and they were looking for merchandise.  DST picked up the license and offered some 7 inch figures, but presumably wanted the ability to offer a greater range of characters than that style would allow.  Enter the Minimates.  Today, I’ll be looking at Cylons Simon and (very old spoiler) Ellen.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Simon and Ellen were released in the second TRU-exclusive series of Battlestar Galactica Minimates, a series comprised entirely of Cyclons

SIMON

“Pragmatic and unemotional, the Number Four model was also known as Simon and spent many hours researching the possibility of biological Cylon reproduction. His cold and calculating human experiments were stopped with Starbuck’s destruction of his main facility on Caprica.”

Simon was originally slated for the fifth series of the line when it was at specialty, but like all of the figures in Series 5 and 6, he had his original assortment cancelled.  It was really in Simon’s favor in this case, since he was originally meant to be the short-packed figure.  He’s seen here in his fancy suit that he wore from time to time.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the standard body, with an add-on piece for his jacket/shirt.  Said piece was re-used from 24’s Tony Almeida, and it’s a well sculpted piece that matches up pretty decently with the sorts of things Simon was known to wear on the show.  The paint on Simon is passable.  The likeness on the face is a good match for actor Rick Worthy, and the details are pretty sharp.  The rest of it’s…well, it’s rather bland.  Lotta grey.  Woooooo.  Simon had no accessories, lest they make him more exciting.

ELLEN

“The rumors of her death greatly exaggerated, Ellen Tigh rejoined her husband Saul aboard the Battlestar Galactica and played a crucial role in the war against Cavil’s forces by revealing her knowledge of the Final Five’s true history.”

Ellen’s original slot marked a bit of genius from DST.  Series 5 and 6 were slated to hit after the mid-Season 4 premiere which revealed her as the final Cylon.  Since they had to be solicited about six months out and Ellen would have been dead for over a season at this point, her presence in the main line-up would have been rather a large spoiler.  So, instead, they came up with “New Caprica” boxed set, which would have included her, her husband Saul, Starbuck, and Leoben.  Then the set was cancelled, and the show was over by the time TRU picked them back up, so she could be safely added to a main assortment.  Given the original figure’s planned release, Ellen is seen here in her garb from her time on New Caprica.  Like Simon, she’s on the standard base body, with a new hair piece and a skirt re-used from Spider-Man 3’s Gwen Stacy.  It adds up to her look quite nicely.  The rest is all paint.  The likeness of Kate Vernon is pretty solid, and the details on her blouse look decent.  Unfortunately, like Simon, her palette is quite drab, being mostly greys.  She also includes no accessories, though I can’t say I know what you could give her.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set at the same time as the rest of TRU, back when they were new.  I then grabbed at least one more later down the line on clearance, because they were hardly fast sellers.  It was nice to get them to complete the 12 Cylons, but this is a set that’s hardly exciting, especially without the show’s finale propelling them.

#1493: Iron Giant Minimates

IRON GIANT & HOGARTH HUGHES

THE IRON GIANT MINIMATES

“Arriving on Earth from an unknown point of origin, the Iron Giant explores his new environment and befriends a young Hogarth Hughes But as aggressive actions are taken against him by the military, he must battle his violent programming to be who he chooses to be.”

Back in the day, before you could have just about any movie you wanted instantly streamed to the nearest screen, it was a pretty big deal getting to see a movie you cared about aired on TV.  Networks would pay for the right to air the movie, and then they’d air the crap out of it, because they darn well paid money for it, and they were going to take advantage of that.  While big successful movies used to be a big ticket item for networks, some movies actually end up finding an audience they never had in theaters via successful TV runs.  Movies that were flops in their original run are a cheap way for networks to fill time, especially on holidays when they know that people will only be tuning in sparsely.  It’s A Wonderful Life is perhaps the most successful example of this, a Christmas classic that’s really only a Christmas classic because some network needed to fill two hours and it’s set at the holidays.  A less well-known but still prominent example of this is The Iron Giant, which became inexplicably linked to the Thanksgiving holiday for an entire generation thanks to someone at Cartoon Network deciding for several years straight that the best way to fill their holiday schedule was to air 24 straight hours of the Iron Giant, over and over again.  And, in the spirit of that insane decision, I’m going to review some Iron Giant toys today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Giant and Hogarth Hughes were released as a stand-alone two pack of Iron Giant Minimates last month.  It would appear these two are the only ‘mates we’re getting.  While I would never say no to ‘mates of Manning, Dean, or Annie Hughes, I can hardly fault DST for going one-and-done on these.

IRON GIANT

Obviously, it’d be weird to release this set without the title character, so here he is.  What’s still weird?  The size.  Minimates have long dealt with size restrictions, so it’s nothing new, but it’s still a little goofy to have a character with “Giant” in his name be so small, even if his ‘mate marks the fifth time such an occurrence has happened with a Minimate. Fear not, if you’re looking for a more properly scaled Giant, there are other options available.  This guy stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  His starting point is the basic ‘mate body, but he gets his own unique head, hands, and feet, plus an add-on for his torso and an extender at the waist for extra height.  In lieu of the usual legs, the giant actually uses a set of arms. It’s a really good idea in theory, since the Giant’s arms and legs in the film are clearly of similar sizes.  However, in practice, it just feels a bit off to me.  I think a lot of it’s got to do with the Vinimate being modeled with the standard legs, and perhaps throwing off my expectations.  Still, it’s not like the legs ruin the figure.  The new head matches pretty well with the larger Vinimate piece, which was itself a very nice translation of the film’s design.  It’s still missing his small dent in his forehead, but that’s minor.  The details on the torso piece are notably sharper than you tend to see on such pieces, which was a pleasant surprise, and makes for a good looking figure.  Similarly, the hands, feet, and torso extender all fit well and do a nice job of translating the Giant into this smaller form.  His paintwork is okay.  Compared to the Vinimate, I found it a little bit lacking.  My biggest complaint is the consistency of the application.  The lighter grey is very thick and lumpy in a few spots and it makes him look a little bit unfinished.  He’s packed with a clear display stand, which is his only accessory.

HOGARTH HUGHES

Interestingly, though he’s the focal point of the movie, Hogarth Hughes is actually quite a minor player in the original book.  For me, ol’ Hogarth here is this set’s real star.  He makes much more sense as a regularly scaled ‘mate, and even makes for a good accent to the previously mentioned Vinimate.  Like the Giant, Hogarth is built on the base body, at least in theory.  He uses the standard head, upper arms, pelvis, and upper legs, but gets the shortened forearms and shins, as well as the smaller torso piece introduced in the NBX line.  He also gets a unique hair piece, which does an awesome job of capturing Hogarth’s distinctive hair style from the film.  As far as paint goes, Hogarth’s is really clean.  The head has a really amazing rendition of his face, grinning and excited.  The body features a bunch of bold and clean color work, and he just really pops.  As with the Giant, Hogarth’s only accessory is his display stand, which is a slight letdown.  It’d have been nice to get his camera or the chunk of metal he uses to lure the Giant, but even an extra head with a different expression would have been appreciated.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up from the House of Fun last weekend, while at Philcon.  I’d been meaning to pick it up the set for a while, and they had it there, and it was the last one, so I figured it was meant to be.  The Giant is okay, but sort of in a weird area of scaling and quality.  Had I not gotten the Vinimate first, perhaps I’d be happier with him.  Hogarth’s super awesome, though, and the set’s more than worth it just for him.  He looks fantastic with the Vinimate Giant!

#1479: Skurge & Grandmaster

SKURGE & GRANDMASTER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Thor Ragnarok hit the big screen last week.  After being more than a little underwhelmed by Thor’s last solo cinematic adventure, I was definitely hoping this one would be a marked improvement.  Having seen it, I’d say it most definitely succeeded on that front.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was still very, very good.  There were a quite a few new characters introduced in the movie, and several of them were real standouts.  Two of my favorites are the two I’m covering today, Skurge and Grandmaster!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Surge and Grandmaster are one of the Walgreens-exclusive sets for the Thor Ragnarok tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.  They’re something of an odd pairing, truth be told, seeing as the two don’t ever once interact or even participate in the same segments of the plot line.  That said, I’m hardly going to complain, since I like both characters.

SKURGE

In the comics, Skurge was at first simply known as “The Executioner.”  He was the right-hand-man to the Enchantress, and a key piece of the original Masters of Evil.  Definitely an important player, so his inclusion in the film was definitely something I was very much looking forward to.  Throw in that he was played by Karl Urban, a personal favorite, and you’ve got a real winner.  His design in the film isn’t too far removed from his comics incarnation, which means this figure can pretty well serve as either version.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest cap and bracers.  The add-ons are new to Skurge, and are pretty decent overall.  The torso piece could probably be a little tighter to the body, but it looks decent enough.  His paintwork is decent enough.  It’s not super vibrant, but that’s true of the movie design, and it’s in keeping with what we’ve seen of the Asgardians in the MCU so far.  The details are all pretty crisp and clean, and his face looks passably like Karl Urban.  Accessories are easily this figure’s biggest failing.  He gets a clear display stand and nothing else.  Not his axe, not even his twin M-16s, which DST already had the molds for.  It’s more than a little disappointing.

GRANDMASTER

Grandmaster of the comics is one of the Marvel universe’s Elders, and he’s actually a little bit on the boring side.  In the movie, he’s Jeff Goldbloom, essentially playing himself.  That works out pretty well for…well, everybody.  He too is built on the standard base body, with a unique upper left arm (taken from the TMNT Foot Ninja), as well as add ons for his hair and jacket.  The pieces are decently handled, and look pretty sharp.  They translate the film design pretty well, which is pretty great.  His paint work is nice and colorful; the Grandmaster has one of the more vivid designs in the film, and that comes through here.  The likeness of Goldbloom is pretty spot-on as well, which is a definite plus.  Like Skurge, Grandmaster’s only accessory is his clear display stand, but that’s a bit less annoying in his case, since there’s not as much in the way of obvious extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this pair at the same time as the last two sets I reviewed.  By-and-large, I was holding off on the Ragnarok merch until after the film’s release, but these two in particular called to me.  As they ended up being two of my favorite parts of the movie, it’s safe to say I don’t regret my purchase.  Sure, it’s annoying that they don’t really have any accessories, but the ‘mates themselves are pretty solid.

#1478: Vision & Abomination

VISION & ABOMINATION

MARVEL MINIMATES

Yesterday, I reviewed some Minimates.  How about some more Minimates?  That sound okay to you guys?  Ah, it doesn’t really matter; I’m reviewing the Minimates whether you like it or not.  What are you gonna do, stop reading?  Wait, wait, please don’t stop reading!  I didn’t mean it!  …I mean I sort of did…I’m still reviewing the Minimates, but genuinely hoping that doesn’t upset anyone…or something.  Without any further weirdness, here’s Vision and Abomination!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vision and Abomination are from the sixth Walgreens-exclusive series of animated Marvel Minimates.  They join yesterday’s Black Bolt and Medusa in making up the Avengers Assemble portion of the series.

VISION

An artificial person designed by Ultron, the Vision draws his power from an Infinity Stone, and can adjust his mass from intangible to super-dense.”

This is far from the first time I’ve looked at a Vision Minimate.  In fact, of the 8 Vision Minimates out there, I’ve reviewed 7.  This one is rather similar to both the Age of Ultron and Civil War ‘mates, since the cartoon is really just using the same design as the movies.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the standard 14 points of articulation.  Like the last two costumed Vision ‘mates, this guy’s just the standard ‘mate body, topped off with the DC Minimates Series 1 Superman cape.  Pretty standard stuff all-around.  The real difference here is the paintwork.  His line work is much simpler, cleaner, and a bit bolder, matching the show’s more streamlined design.  The colors are also a bit brighter, and in a rare instance for an animated ‘mate, they’re a little bit more exciting than the colors seen on the last two ‘mates.  Vision includes both the standard display stand and a flight stand, for those that want choices.

ABOMINATION

“Emil Blonsky wanted the power of the Hulk, so he subjected himself to massive gamma radiation bursts, becoming a super-strong monster.”

While Vision’s just been swimming in Minimates in the last few years, poor Emil here hasn’t been quite so lucky.  He got two ‘mates back in 2008, but nothing since.  And one of those was based on his movie appearance, which is pretty far removed from the typical Abomination design.  He was definitely in need of an update.  From DST’s perspective, this guy’s great because he’s also all re-used parts, taken mostly from the Ultimate Spider-Man incarnation of Green Goblin.  In their defense, all of the pieces work pretty amazingly well for Abomination.  In fact I like them more for Abomination than their original use, but that’s more a personal preference of design thing.  The paint work on Abomination is pretty solid work.  The colors feel a bit warmer than usual for this sub-line, which is certainly a plus in my book.  Abomination’s only extra is a display stand, which feels a little light, but I’m not sure what else he could have been given.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this pair at the same time as Black Bolt and Medusa.  It was a bit of an impulse buy, truth be told.  I probably didn’t need this set.  Abomination’s never been a must-have for me, and I’ve got two Visions that look almost identical to this one.  But it was another Vision, and I’m all about Vision, no matter how minority different he may be.  And Abomination actually looked pretty cool.  And I was feeling kind of generous, so I got them.  It’s actually not a bad set.  Not the most exciting ever, but I liked it more than I’d initially expected to.

#1477: Black Bolt & Medusa

BLACK BOLT & MEDUSA

MARVEL MINIMATES

The Inhumans have come into a bit of notoriety recently, thanks at least in part to their currently running live-action mini-series on ABC.  It’s gotten mixed reviews, but I’ve been generally enjoying it.  The characters have been getting a push in most media for a little while now, including cartoons, such as Marvel’s Avengers Assemble.  Cartoon appearances in turn lead to Minimates, which the Inhumans really seem to have been left out of.  Today, I’ll be looking at the heads of the Inhuman Royal Family, Black Bolt and Medusa!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Bolt and Medusa were released in the sixth Walgreens-exclusive series of animated Marvel Minimates.  Both figures included are based on their appearance in Avengers Assemble, where they sport slightly tweaked designs from the usual comics garb.

BLACK BOLT

“Blackagar Boltagon is the King of the Inhumans, granted abilities by the Terrigen Mists.  Even the merest whisper from his lips is a highly destructive force.”

Blackagar.  Boltagon.  Man, is that a stupid name.  That’s a very high contender for stupidest name in comics, and there are a lot of stupid names in comics.  Blackagar Boltagon’s on a whole other level, though.  There’s dumb, and then there’s Blackagar Boltagon dumb.  Yikes.  This is ol’ Blackagar’s second time as a Minimate, though it’s his first in a good long while.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  Black Bolt is built on the standard ‘mate body, which unique upper arms, which add his little glider wings.  The pieces are decent, and they work well enough for what they are, but they do restrict movement of the arms a little bit.  Everything else on this guy is handled via paint, which is decent enough.  I do like the choice to go for the mask painted on the standard head, which I find looks a bit better than the sculpted piece from the last one.  That being said, I’m not a huge fan of his overall colorscheme; there’s a lot of grey, and not a lot of actual black.  I pretty much always prefer black areas of costumes to be done in actual black, with highlights, rather than lightening the whole scheme.  As it is, he looks a little washed out.  Black Bolt includes an extra head with a screaming expression, a sound wave effects piece, and a clear display stand.

MEDUSA

“The Queen of the Inhumans, Medusa was given long, prehensile hair, which can obey her commands and even carry her from place to place.”

This marks Medusa’s first time as a Minimate, which is a little bit surprising, since she’s usually one of the better known members, and certainly the one with the most appearances under her belt.  She uses the same basic construction as Black Bolt, but gets a new hair piece, recreating her prehensile mane in all it’s lengthy glory.  The piece is designed to hold her aloft, as she’s frequently depicted in the comics.  It’s a nice piece; obviously animated in style, but very cool.  The paint on Medusa’s pretty decent.  She’s more colorful than Black Bolt.  I miss her usual mask, but Medusa’s look has always been more subject to change than Black Bolt, so it seems less weird to get her in a non-classic design.  Her only accessory is a clear display stand, which feels a little light, but the hair piece sort of makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been out of Minimates for a little while, but I stopped in Walgreens recently, and I saw this set sitting there, and I just had a hard time turning it down.  The Black Bolt isn’t quite as much of an improvement over the last version as I’d hoped, but I do prefer him slightly, and he’s certainly  a solid take on the character.  Medusa’s actually pretty fun, and it’s nice to have her at long last.  Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait quite as long to get the rest of the Royal Family.

#1465: Iron Giant

IRON GIANT

VINIMATES (DST)

“Arriving on Earth from an unknown point of origin, a colossal robot explores his new environment and befriends a young boy. But as aggressive actions are taken against him by the military, he must battle his violent programming to be who he chooses to be.”

I love robots, I love period pieces, and I love Brad Bird, so it’s probably not a huge shock to find out that I also love The Iron Giant.  In fact, it’s safe to say that Iron Giant is one of my favorite films (I had the film’s poster hanging in my room for many years).  Since the film was never a huge commercial success, it only had a very modest selection of toys at the time of its release, followed by a whole lot of nothing.  Those few toys all carry a substantial after market value, so anyone nowadays looking for an Iron Giant fix is going to be a little let-down.  Or at least they would have been up until very recently.  Diamond Select Toys picked up Iron Giant as one of the slew of licenses they’ve added to their ever-expanding Vinimates line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Giant was released in May of this year as part of DST’s over-arching Vinimates line, alongside Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, Nite-Owl, Comedian, and Rorschach from Watchmen, and Lydia from Beetlejuice.  This is the standard version of the Giant, but there was also an SDCC-exclusive version sporting his “super hero” logo from the film.  This figure stands almost 5 inches tall and has a single point of articulation at his neck.  On the plus side, the neck joint is a ball-joint, which sure does offer a lot of possible posing options to mix things up a bit.  After looking at the B-9 Robot, which strayed quite a ways from the Minimate aesthetic which spawned this line, Iron Giant is a bit more of a return to form.  He’s still very specialized in his sculpt, of course, but it’s more conceivably built on the standard body…even if it actually isn’t.  The Giant makes the transition to this style very well; he was already very geometric to begin with, so it doesn’t take too much to get him to the end point.  My favorite part of the sculpt is definitely the head, which just really gets down the character of the Giant.  My only very, very minor issue with the head is the lack of the small dent near the top.  It’s sort of important to the plot, so its absence is more noticeable.  Still, very minor.  The Giant’s been given a hands-on-his-hips hero pose, which is certainly in keeping with the character, and allows for an easy translation to the “super hero” variant.  In terms of paint, the Giant is mostly a lot of greys, which are accurate to the source, but perhaps not the most exciting.  Some of the transitions between the shades of grey are a little sloppy, but the overall look is decent enough.  I do really like how well they’ve handled the eyes, giving them that sort of glowing feel.  It looks really cool!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was super excited when this figure was unveiled, and I was fully intending to pick him up as soon as he was released.  And then life got in the way and I got distracted for a while.  Bad on me.  So, I ended up waiting several months to pick him up, which turned out to be in my favor, since I was able to score him for $5, courtesy of a grand opening sale at Lost in Time Toys!  I really, really like this guy.  The B-9 was cool and all, but he didn’t really sell me on this line as a whole.  This guy’s a different story, because he shows what this line can be at its best: an augment for Minimates.  Sure, he’s not quite in scale with the little guys, but he’s large enough that you can comfortably put him with the Hogarth from the two-pack (which I still really need to grab) and have it look pretty darn respectable.  I’m all for more stuff like this!

#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.

#1440: The Expendables

BARNEY ROSS, TRENCH, BOOKER, & MR. CHURCH

THE EXPENDABLES 2 MINIMATES

“Barney Ross is the leader of the Expendables, and elite team of mercenaries hired to handle difficult international situations. When a job for the enigmatic Mr. Church goes off the rails, Ross must partner with his rival Trench and fellow operative Booker to make things right.”

You know, I haven’t reviewed any Minimates in what feels like forever.  And I haven’t reviewed anything Expendables related in actually forever.  Mostly because I just have the one set, but that does not negate the point. My Stallone quota is way down.  Gotta fix that.  So, without further ado, here are some Expendables Minimates.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was released as part of the greater Expendables Minimates line, which was comprised of four boxed-sets, two released at specialty, and two at Toys R Us.  This is one of the TRU sets, and it’s also one of the two sets based on Expendables 2.  It covers the film’s “heavy hitters,” albeit it’s mostly covering the glorified cameos from the film’s big climactic battle.  Still, it was enough to reel me in, so that’s a plus.

BARNEY ROSS

Barney Ross, aka Sylvester Stallone, is the central character of the Expendables films.  As such, he was one of three characters to get two ‘mates, one from each of the first two films.  This one’s shirtless.  …Okay.  That’s different, I guess.  This was actually Stallone’s seventh Minimate, counting all the Rocky ‘mates.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Barney uses the standard ‘mate body, with four different add-on pieces for his hair, belt, and thigh holsters.  All of the add-ons were re-used (the Expendables Minimates were entirely re-use, in fact).  The hair is from Marvel Series 21’s Tony Stark, the belt is from DC Series 4’s Jay Garrick, and the holsters are from Marvel Series 27’s Nick Fury.  The pieces make for a decent enough recreation of Barney’s look from the movies.  The paintwork on this ‘mate is pretty awesome, truth be told.  The Stallone likeness is pretty spot-on, and the tattoos on the torso and shoulders are really fantastically detailed.  Definitely adds some extra pop to what could have been a slightly bland ‘mate.  Barney is packed with a knife, two HK USPs, and an M4 with a grenade launcher and a suppressor.

TRENCH

Joining his buddy Stallone is Arnold Schwarzenegger, or as he’s known in the film “Trench.”  Like Barney, Trench was one of the characters to get a second ‘mate in the Expendables Minimates line, which was a little weirder, given his more minor role in the first film.  But hey, Schwarzenegger’s Schwarzenegger; dude sells toys. This was Arnold’s eighth time as a ‘mate, though unlike Stallone, this wouldn’t be his last.  This ‘mate, like Barney, is built on the standard base body, with add-ons for his hair, jacket, and bandolier.  Both the hair and bandolier come from a prior Schwarzenegger ‘mate, namely the TRU exclusive Assault Gear T-800.  I actually like the hair piece better on the older Schwarzenegger than the one from T2, so that’s a plus.  The jacket comes from Marvel Series 46’s Peter Parker.  It works perfectly fine, but it does still have the peg hole meant for Peter’s backpack, which is a minor annoyance.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty solid.  The Schwarzenegger likeness is fairly decent, and better than some earlier ‘mates.  Under the jacket, there’s actually a fully detailed Hawaiian shirt, which is pretty cool.  It’s too bad he didn’t have any extra arms or anything to help show it off, but it’s a fun little detail nonetheless.  Trench is packed with a Remington 870 shotgun, an AA12 shotgun (in theory), and a Colt 1911.

BOOKER

This guy’s Chuck Norris.  That’s all you really need to know about him.  Booker was unique to this set, which is sensible, given he’s essentially just a cameo in the second film, and that’s it.  Still, good excuse for a Norris ‘mate, right?  To date, this is his only ‘mate, so make it count.  He has five add-on pieces for his hair, vest, sleeves, and belt/holster.  The hair is from Terminator 2‘s Kyle Reese, and it’s the biggest point of contention with this figure.  It’s perfectly reasonable for Norris, but Booker is never seen in the film without his baseball cap.  Since these were all based on re-use, they couldn’t create a new piece for him, but it’s still a bit of a let-down.  The vest comes from another T2 ‘mate, Miles Dyson, who was himself taking the piece from the cancelled BSG New Caprica Col. Tigh.  The sleeves come from The Spirit line, and the holster is courtesy of Blondie.  All in all, not a terrible assemblage of parts, moving past the issue of the hat.  The paint on this guy is on par with the others, presenting a solid likeness of Norris, and doing a nice job detailing his outfit from the film.  He lacks some of the more interesting little details of the other two, but that’s more to do with the character’s design in the film than anything else.  Booker is packed with an HK94A3, an M4, and a Colt 1911.

MR. CHURCH

And here’s Mr. Church, better known as Bruce Willis. Because he’s just Bruce Willis playing Bruce Willis.  Because that’s just what he does.  Church joins Barney and Trench, getting his second ‘mate in this set.  His first one was wearing a suit.  This one’s wearing…a safari suit? Or something.  I don’t know.  It’s a little goofy.  Church only gets one add-on piece, which his jacket.  It’s re-used from the Punisher: Warzone’s Frank Castle, and it’s a fairly nice piece.  Decent choice of re-use.  The rest of the details are paint, and it’s pretty top-notch.  The Willis likeness is certainly spot-on, and the details on the costume, specifically the scarf, are pretty sharply handled.  It’s a lot of tan, which isn’t the most exciting scheme ever, but it’s accurate.  Church is packed with an M4, and two silver Colt 1911s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up from TRU when it was first released.  It was actually before I’d seen any of the movies; I was mostly grabbing it for the Willis and Norris ‘mates.  It’s a solid set, no doubt.  The Expendables Minimates were some of DST’s more inspired work, offering highly detailed ‘mates, with a ton of awesome accessories.  Honestly, I sort of wish I’d grabbed more of them when they were new.  This was a set that was more fun than it deserved to be, and that’s coming from someone who sort of enjoyed Expendables 2.

#1403: Silk Spectre & Ozymandias

SILK SPECTRE & OZYMANDIAS

WATCHMEN MINIMATES

“A second-generation crimefighter, LAURIE JUSPECZYK followed in her mother’s footsteps as SILK SPECTRE.  Although she was never close to with the super-intelligent hero OZYMANDIAS, their paths would cross again when someone begins a campaign to kill or discredit former vigilantes.”

You know it’s a bad pairing when even the bio on the back of the box describes the characters as “never close.”  The last two days of Watchmen Minimates perhaps haven’t been the strongest partnerships, but at least they all had one or two key scenes together.  Today?  We got the left overs.  Without further ado, Silk Spectre and Ozmandias!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The prior two sets were made up of characters shared between the specialty four-pack and Toys R Us-exclusive assortment of Watchmen Minimates.  Silk Spectre and Ozymandias, on the other hand, are both exclusively available in two-pack form through TRU.  Why these two ended up as the exclusives is kind of hard to figure out; I personally would have swapped out Comedian and Laurie, but at the end of the day, it’s not a huge deal, I guess.

SILK SPECTRE

Laurie Jupiter (It was Juspeczyk in the comics, but the movie never explains Sally’s changed  surname or has Laurie correct Rorschach’s use of “Jupiter” when he meets her, so it sticks) is patterned loosely on Charlton Comics character Nightshade.  Really, though, the only similarities the two share are a partnership with Captain Atom/Dr. Manhattan.  Beyond that, they’re rather different.  For the purposes of the movie, Silk Spectre’s look was rather changed.  The basic spirit of the original look is still there, I guess, but it’s more generic catsuit now than it was originally.  Meh.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has the standard 14 points of articulation.  Her only add-on is her hair, which is borrowed from Marvel MinimatesNew Mutant Magik.  Given it’s a near perfect match for her hair in the movie, the re-use is certainly warranted.  The rest of the work is done by the paint.  It’s all pretty solid.  She’s probably got the best paint in the series, to be honest.  The colors are sharp and bold, and there’s very little slop.  She includes a clear display stand and…that’s it.  Seems a little light, but I don’t really know what you could give her.  Maybe a more interesting character?  Oh wait, they did!

OZYMANDIAS

Jokes at Laurie’s expense aside, I can’t say Ozymandias is really a favorite of mine either.  He does at least get to be the villain (spoilers?).  He was originally meant to be Peter Cannon…Thunderbolt (yes, the ellipsis is part of his name) who never amounted to much on his own.  Ozy’s design in the film looks rather different at first glance, but the only truly major change was making the main bodysuit dark grey instead of gold.  It’s still the most easily distinguished of the designs, though.  Like Laurie, he’s built on the standard ‘mate body.  He gets add-ons for his hair, cape, and belt.  The hair and cape are new pieces.  They’re a little soft on the details, but look decent enough overall.  In terms of paint, Ozy’s okay.  Nothing truly amazing.  The pale, non-metallic gold isn’t the best look, but the application’s fairly solid.  The standard head sports his mask (seen only in flashbacks), but there’s also an extra head without the mask.  That’s more than the DC Direct figure gave us!  He also includes the usual clear display stand.  Fun times.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Well, those reviews kind of went out with a whimper, didn’t they?  Sorry guys, I’m not trying to be a downer on this set at all.  Neither ‘mate is bad or anything, but neither one is as strong as the other four.  I really feel like splitting up this pair would do a lot to help both of them.  With that said, once you’ve got the whole set together, it makes for a pretty sweet display.  I’ve been waiting a long time for Watchmen Minimates, and while maybe I would have preferred comics-based ones, these are definitely a great set of ‘mates to have.  Now, to hold out hope for a second series with some Minute Men!