#1573: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor, & Grim Reaper

IRON MAN, HAWKEYE, THOR, & GRIM REAPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye are just three of the Heroes who make up the super-team known as the Avengers. Together, they can neutralize any threat, even the manipulations of the evil Grim Reaper!”

I just mentioned Minimates passingly in yesterday’s Palz review, so I suppose it’s fitting that today I give them a whole focus of their own.  Because, as we all know, Minimates neeeever show up in my review schedule, right?  …Anyway, getting back to the Minimates, Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009 left a little bit of uncertainty about the future of Marvel Minimates and whether DST would be allowed to continue as a licensee.  Disney assuaged fears by turning around a couple of Disney Store exclusives, sort of out of nowhere one day.  I’m looking at one of those exclusives today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was released in May of 2012 as one of two Disney Store-exclusive boxed sets meant to tie-in with the release of the first Avengers movie (I already took a look at the other one here).  Iron Man and Thor are both the same figures as their Marvel Minimates Series 44 counterparts, while Hawkeye and Grim Reaper were exclusive to this set.

IRON MAN

The mid ‘90s marked a bit of a resurgence for Tony Stark as Iron Man (albeit nowhere near as big as the one he got in ’08), with fan favorite Kurt Busiek handling the character both in his solo book and in the pages of the re-launched Avengers title.  This figure represents the design he was wearing at that time, and it’s a favorite of mine. The figure is 2 1/2 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his helmet, breast plate/shoulder pads, gloves, belt, and boots.  All of these were new to this figure, and they all are pretty fantastic.  There’s a ton of sculpted detail on each piece, but he maintains the ‘mate aesthetic very well.  As far as paint goes, this Iron Man is generally pretty solid, but is definitely an example of DST’s learning curve with metallic paints.  While the reds are really great looking, the gold is still that very dark, very dull shade they were using for a while, and it’s also worth noting that it’s a paint that doesn’t hold up to time.  It’s not as bad as the Avengers #1 set’s version of Tony, but it’s pretty frustrating.  Even more frustrating is DST’s decision to package Tony’s helmet on him.  For most Iron Man ‘mates (at least leading up to this), the helmet would be packed off to the side.  The reason for this is simple: if the paint hasn’t fully dried when the figure is packaged and you stick the helmet on there, it’s likely not coming off.  That’s what happened with my figure.  Seriously, six years I’ve owned this guy, and I’ve yet to get that helmet off him.  It’s a little sad.  Guess it’s a good thing I like the fully armored look.  Iron Man was packed with a rocket trail flying stand, done in a nice pale blue.

HAWKEYE

Before this figure, there had been only one other standard Clint Barton Hawkeye (reviewed here), four years prior.  That figure had some notable issues, and really looked out of place with all of the other advancements going on.  So, he was due for an update, and the extra notoriety given to him by the first Avengers movie granted him that chance.  Plus, as a pivotal player in Busiek’s Avengers re-launch, his inclusion alongside the otherwise very clearly Heroes Return-branded ‘mates in this set and Series 44 made a lot of sense.  I’ve actually looked at a lot of this figure before, via the Best Of Marvel Minimates Series 3 release, which took it’s add-ons from this guy.  I liked the pieces there, and I liked them here first.  The only real difference between the two is paint.  And paint’s kind of what breaks this figure for me.  It’s not terrible.  It’s actually pretty decent, even.  That being said, if the Series 20 Hawkeye was too subdued, this one went too far the other way, making him way too bright.  It’s the blue in particular that throws him off.  It should definitely be a deeper tone (which the later release definitely fixed).  Another thing I’ve never much liked about this figure is his facial expression. I’m glad they got the face to line up correctly (since the first Hawkeye did not), but the angry, gritted teeth look just doesn’t feel right for Barton.  Hawkeye included his bow, three pointed arrows, two sonic arrows, and a hairpiece for his unmasked look.  The arrows were nice, and can even be placed in his quiver.  The bow, which was a new sculpt, was okay at the time, but was definitely on the small side, and a little hard for him to hold properly.

THOR

Though he was the most glaring omission from the line for its first 15 series, by the time of this Thor’s release, we were kind of suffering from a glut of Thors, with this one being the ninth Thor in the space of a year.  Like Iron Man, this Thor was definitely patterned on the Heroes Return look, which is really just the classic design plus a beard.  Thor was built using add-ons for his helmet/hair, cape, wrist bands, belt, and boots.  The wrist bands were from the very first Thor in Series 16, the cape and boots came from the TRU-exclusive First Appearance Thor from 2011, and the belt was just a generic piece.  The helmet was new, though you’d be forgiven for not realizing.  Overall, a solid set of parts, though the cape does make it a little hard to keep him standing.  The rest of the look is achieved via paint.  I think it’s pretty good overall, though there’s some slight slop here and there, especially noticeable on the helmet and the cape.  He used the same gold paint as Iron Man, which isn’t super, but there’s less of it on Thor.  Thor included his hammer Mjonir, in both standard AND spinning configurations.  I quite like the spinning version.  He also had an extra head sans-beard, which, despite using the exact same facial features as the bearded head, ends up looking a bit too mean for Thor.  There’s also a spare hairpiece for a look without the helmet, I suppose to offer people who only knew the movie Thor a more familiar look.  Lastly, he included a clear display stand to help him stay standing with the spinning Mjolnir.  It’s important to note that these still weren’t a standard inclusion yet.

GRIM REAPER

Last up, the set’s one new character, Grim Reaper!  Reaper has been a long-recurring Avengers villain, and he was revived during the Busiek/Perez run, so he’s a perfect fit…well, apart from the total lack of Vision or Wonder Man in the set, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.  They went with the classic Reaper design (classic, not original, because no body really wants the technicolor dreamcoat monstrosity that was his first costume), which is sensible enough.  I’m still partial to his re-animated look from the ‘80s, but this works too.  The figure makes use of add-ons for his mask, cape, and scythe attachment.  The mask and scythe were new to this figure (and remain unique to this figure six years later), and were fantastic renditions of his look from the comics.  The cape is the standard cape from the DC Minimates Series 1 Superman.  It’s not a perfect fit (since Reaper’s really supposed to have the collar), but it’s close enough that it works.  In terms of paint, Reaper is certainly subdued, but very well-rendered.  The colors are suitably dark, but there’s still plenty of room for detailing.  I love the dynamic shading on the bodysuit and mask.  I also really love that crazed expression they gave him.  Reaper included no accessories, but I don’t really know what you’d give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set at the same time as its companion set, ordering them both from Disney’s online store (since none of my local Disney Stores ever carried Minimates).  Reaper’s always been a favorite of mine, so his inclusion definitely excited me, but I was also pretty happy to get another Hawkeye.  While Hawkeye didn’t end up being quit what I wanted, I was still pretty happy with the other three in this set.  In fact, this was my preferred of the two Disney sets.

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#1496: Hawkeye

HAWKEYE

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

God, it feels like forever since the first Avengers movie, doesn’t it?  While some other movies about super heroes teaming that shall remain nameless tried introducing half of the team in the team-up movie, Avengers did the slightly smarter thing and only had one member, today’s focus Hawkeye, introduced in the main movie, letting the rest of the team be introduced in earlier films.  Anyway, here’s Hawkeye.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkeye was released in the second assortment of Hasbro’s The Avengers tie-in line, alongside frequent partner Black Widow and one of their Chitauri foes.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has 17 points of articulation.  He marked a slight downgrade in movement from the IM2, Thor, and Captain America lines, but Hasbro hadn’t fully downgraded the articulation like they did for Iron Man 3.  His sculpt was new to him, and overall does a pretty respectable job of capturing Hawkeye’s design from the film.  There’s plenty of texturing and fine detail work on the various bits of the costume, and his proportions are pretty decently balanced.  The head’s sadly the weak point of the sculpt.  It’s not bad, but it’s hindered by a few small issues.  First, there’s the sunglasses.  They were all over the promotional materials, but ended up completely absent from the film itself, which made this figure notably inaccurate.  In addition, the actual details on the head sculpt are noticeably softer than the rest of the body, and he looks a little bit rounder in the face than Jeremy Renner.  That said, it’s not like he looks completely unlike Renner in the movie.  The paint work on this figure is passable.  The standard color work is all pretty clean and sharp, and there’s some really great work on the various SHIELD logos.  The head once again ends up the weakest.  The paint of his face bleeds into both the hair and sunglasses, adding to the overall roundness of the face.  Hawkeye is packed with two versions of his usual bow: the standard version, and one with a big ol’ missile launcher mounted in the middle.  Why these needed to be two separate bows is anybody’s guess, but hey, there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkeye’s absence from the initial waves of Avengers product really annoyed me at the time, so I was pretty anxiously awaiting his eventual release.  When he finally hit, he was a little rarer than others, but I didn’t actually have too much trouble getting him in the end.  He’s not a perfect figure, but I was happy with him at the time, and I’m still pretty happy with him now.

#1070: Sam Wilson – Captain America, Vision, & Kate Bishop – Hawkeye

SAM WILSON – CAPTAIN AMERICA, VISION, & KATE BISHOP – HAWKEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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Wow, Hasbro sure is swamping us with Marvel Legends, aren’t they?  After a fair delay, the Giant-Man Series finally hit just about everywhere, very closely trailed by the Juggernaut Series.  The Abomination and Dr Strange series are also starting to hit in some areas as well. On top of that, there have been a number of exclusive items, with Walgreens getting two figures right on top of each other, and Walmart getting a pair of exclusives (that I still need to find).  There have also been two boxed sets: the Civil War Spider-Man set (which had a movie Spidey alongside re-decoed versions of Cap and Iron Man), and a set containing Sam Wilson as Cap, Kate Bishop as Hawkeye, and Vision…as Vision!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This trio is exclusive to Toys R Us and is loosely themed around looks from the post-Axis Marvel Now! stuff.  Sam and Kate both follow a firm legacy heroes theme, which kind of makes Vision stick out a bit.  Of course, flip-side, Sam and Vision are both part of the main Avengers line-up, and Kate isn’t.  So, exactly who’s left out is really up to you.

SAM WILSON – CAPTAIN AMERICA

falccapviskateguy5We’ve gotten him in both Minimate and 3 3/4-inch form, so it was about time we got a FalCap Marvel Legend.  Bonus points for being the first Sam Wilson Legend since the Toy Biz run!  The figure is about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he shares several pieces with 2014’s Marvel Now! Cap figure.  He has the arms, legs, and pelvis from that figure, along with an all-new head, torso, belt, and shoulders.  The Now! Cap parts aren’t a perfect match for FalCap’s design, but they’re close enough to work without too much trouble.  The new pieces match up well with the older parts, and are pretty decent sculpts on their own terms as well.  I wasn’t 100% sold on the head sculpt at first glance (as with so many of Hasbro’s Cap sculpts, I think it looks a little too mean for the character), but after having it in hand, I actually don’t mind it.  His hair seems a little closer cropped than his usual comics appearance, but it’s not like it’s completely wrong or anything.  All in all, it’s one of those sculpts that has some minor flaws here and there, but looks a lot better as a whole, which is what really matters.  The paintwork on FalCap is pretty solid. The shades on the colors are a bit more subdued than those on Now! Cap, which is fair, since he was probably a little too bright.  These colors look about right for Sam’s comics design, and still have enough vibrance to give him some pop.  The application of said paint is decent enough, though there’s still a bit of slop, especially on the switches from blue to white.  He could be a little better, but he could also could be far worse.  FalCap includes his mighty shield, which is all well and good, but what he doesn’t include are his wings.  Sure, he doesn’t always have them, but he does most of the time, and their omission here is a bit glaring.

VISION

falccapviskateguy3Vision’s a popular guy!  This is his third Legend in the last year, and the second time he’s been in one of these exclusive three-packs.  This time around, he’s based on his Daniel Acura-designed look from the latter half of Remender’s Uncanny Avengers run, which also happens to be the costume he’s wearing currently.  If I’m honest, it feels a little over designed, though, and I miss the yellow.  Also, the red bits make it look like he’s running around half naked.   That said, I like it a bit better then his first Now! look.  The figure is about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, with a new head and an add-on for the cape.  I was a bit disappointed with the last Vision head sculpt, so I’m happy they didn’t re-use it a third time here. This may well be my favorite Legends Vision sculpt.  It just captures the character quite nicely, and is very sharply defined features.  The cape is kind of an awkward design, but it’s been translated into three dimensions well enough.  It’s definitely a better attempt at a cape than the one Hasbro was using before (which, judging by all the currently shown figures, has been justly retired from the line).  Paint is the one real downside to this guy.  Of the three figures included in this set, this guy definitely has the sloppiest paint in the bunch.  It’s just all over the place.  I mean, he looks okay from a normal viewing distance, but up close he’s got a lot of rough edges, and there’s a few spots where the paint doesn’t really follow the sculpt very well.  That being said, the colors are at least nice and vibrant, and he stands out quite nicely on the the shelf.  Vision doesn’t get any accessories, but I can’t really think of what you’d give him, so that’s okay.

KATE BISHOP –  HAWKEYE

falccapviskateguy2At long last, Kate Bishop makes her way into the action figure world!  It took them long enough, since the rest of her Young Avengers teammates were released way back in 2006.  Of course, this costume doesn’t technically match the rest of them, and we still don’t have Cassie Lang, but let’s not kick the gift horse in the mouth here.  Kate here is sporting her more recent, jumpsuit look from the pages of the last two Hawkeye series.  It’s not a bad look (and it makes me feel a little bad that I never got one of the Now! Hawkeye figures), and it’s the one she’s been wearing for the last several years.  The figure is about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which is definitely a good one.  It works pretty well for Kate, especially since this is the slightly more grown-up version of Kate from the last few years.  She gets a new head and lower legs, which blend well with the rest of the body.  The head does a very good job of capturing Kate, and possesses a lot more personality than is usually seen on female figures.  Kate also got a new left hand for gripping her bow, which is cool.  She has to make due with the basic open gesture right hand to be her drawing hand, which isn’t perfect, but isn’t as bad as you might think.  She also gets an add-on piece for her belt and quiver, which sits very nicely, and does a great job of completing her look.  Kate ends up with the best paintwork of the three figures in this set (which is nice, since it’s her debut figure and all).  It’s still not 100% perfect, but it’s pretty close.  Kate is packed with her bow, which is the same one included with the last few Hawkeyes, but with proper paint this time around.  Some arrows might have been nice, but the lack of them isn’t new to this figure, so it’s not hugely surprising.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these guys up from my local TRU last month.  I was actually searching (unsuccessfully) for the Juggernaut series at the time, so these guys were a little bit of a surprise.  This is a set I’ve been eagerly awaiting, ever since it’s announcement.  Kate is the main draw, of course, since she’s never had a figure before, and I’m a pretty big Young Avengers fan.  She’s the strongest figure in the set, too, making her the   real star here.  That being said, FalCap was somewhat overdue, the new Vision is much appreciated, and both figures are both really solid additions to the line.  Unlike prior sets, all three figures included here are real winners, and I don’t think any of the three feels like a forced heavy hitter.

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#0928: Black Panther & Hawkeye

BLACK PANTHER & HAWKEYE

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR MINIVERSE

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Civil War was released yesterday, so now I get to write review all the associated merchandise in light of actually knowing what happened in the movie (which was seriously awesome, by the way). I’ve been steadily making my way through Hasbro’s small-scale line of figures; of the four characters I’ve looked at, three have pretty sizable parts. The two characters I’m looking at today, MCU-mainstay Hawkeye and newcomer Black Panther, both get decently sized roles, though one of them is definitely more pivotal to the plot than the other.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are part of the first series of the Captain America: Civil War Miniverse line. Their pairing together isn’t the weirdest pairing the series has given us (that’s definitely Winter Soldier and Vision, who I don’t believe so much as glanced at each other in the final film), since the two have a brief bit of interaction. Still, Bucky would kinda seem like the more natural partner for Panther. But hey, I’m gonna wind up with the whole set anyway, so does it really matter?

BLACK PANTHER

PantherHawkeye3Early reviews of the movie were all very complimentary of Chadwick Boseman’s performance as the Black Panther, and man, they weren’t kidding. Guy just about steals the show! His figure stands 2 ¾ inches tall and he has the same 5 points of articulation as the rest of the line. The overall quality of the Panther’s sculpt is pretty good, but he seems to be suffering from a phenomenon similar to Crossbones, where the upper half of the sculpt is quite good and the lower half is less so. It’s not quite as pronounced on Panther, though, so it’s not too bad. He exhibits some tremendous texture work, replicating his rather distinctively patterned suit from the movie very nicely. I do wish his legs were a little less weirdly posed, as they make it very hard to keep him standing, but that’s really it. Paint is quite minimal on Panther, with detailing only on the eyes and collar. However, that’s appropriate to the movie, and the texture on the sculpt does the heavy lifting here. Panther is the figure in this pairing who gets the weird armor pieces. T’Challa’s is a little cooler than the others, since it at least fits well with him thematically. Still goofy as heck, but it is what it is.

HAWKEYE

PantherHawkeye2Hawkeye’s Civil War appearance is, to me, the closest he’s come to that super awesome comics version of Hawkeye that I always loved.  And that makes me very happy. You know what doesn’t make me very happy? This figure. That sounds harsh; I don’t hate him, but he’s far from what I wanted. He’s supposed to be based on Hawkeye’s new look from Civil War, but, um, that’s not what he’s wearing. He lacks the asymmetrical sleeves, and has two gloves instead of one. That’s not the biggest issue though. See, Hawkeye’s gun is holstered on his right leg, which isn’t correct, since Movie Hawkeye’s a lefty. A closer look shows that, not only is the holster on the wrong side, but his whole quiver set-up is totally reversed. Now, a quick Google search shows that the promo shots of Hawkeye had a tendency to get mirrored, so maybe that’s where the confusion came from. He’s still sculpted to hold his bow in his right hand, though, which would make the placement of his quiver on his right shoulder more than a little impractical. It seems to me that this should have dawned on at least one person during the development process. His paint’s not much better. In the movie, his costume has a number of different purples, but none of them are the garish shade that is used for the majority of this figure. Also, whatever you do, don’t look directly into those soulless black holes that have taken the place of his eyes. That’s the stuff of nightmares. Cap got actual eyes, so I’m not sure what happened to Hawkeye. Hawkeye is packed with one accessory: his bow. It’s got no drawstring, but at this scale, that’s a minor issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set at the same time as Cap and Crossbones. I was a bit more interested in Hawkeye when I bought it, though I certainly didn’t mind getting Panther. After opening it up, neither figure is perfect. That said, Panther’s the real winner here, even with the leg issues. Hawkeye’s a little disappointing, because he’s just not the figure I was expecting.

#0913: Vision & Hawkeye

VISION & HAWKEYE

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Civil War is almost upon us (well, some people have already seen it. Lucky ducks…) and the tie-in product is starting to hit, though not as explosively as in prior years. Still, there’s notably more stuff then we got for Winter Soldier. As with all the recent Marvel Studios films, there are some Minimates based on the movie, and the Toys R Us assortment just started showing up. Today, I’ll be looking at two of my favorite Avengers, Vision and Hawkeye!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vision and Hawkeye are the Toys R Us-exclusive set from the first series of Civil War Minimates (which are Series 66 of the specialty Marvel Minimates line). It’s actually fairly amusing that their packed together, since Vision and Hawkeye’s very first Minimates (from way back in Series 20) were also packed together.

VISION

VisionHawkeyeCW2With the exception of the face detailing, this Vision is the same as the Series 63 version of the character. That was a pretty nice translation of the film version of Vision, and since his design hasn’t changed between the two movies, the new figure’s pretty accurate to Civil War as well. He gets a new, more detailed face, which has a better likeness of Paul Bettany, and adds some of the detail lines that were absent from the last figure’s face. There’s actually a pretty good rationale for this almost total re-release: Vision was a specialty exclusive in the AoU assortments, meaning he was one of the two Avengers not available to TRU consumers. Now everybody gets a Vision! Vision includes both a clear display stand and a flight stand.

HAWKEYE

VisionHawkeyeCW3Of all the costumes in the first Avengers movie, Hawkeye’s was the one that most disappointed me. Hawkeye’s got one of the coolest costumes in comics, and the movie version sucked a lot of the originality out of it. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, since Hawkeye’s gotten a slightly tweaked design in both subsequent reappearances. In AoU, he added a pretty cool coat to his look, but he still seemed to lack some of his comics counterpart’s flair. Civil War seems dead set on amending that, as it’s given Hawkeye possibly his coolest look yet, taking major cues from his West Coast Avengers/Heroic Age design. This ‘mate replicates that design. He has add-on pieces for his hair, quiver, and holster. All of these parts are re-used pieces (being mostly fairly generic parts), but they certainly fit what we’ve seen of Hawkeye’s look so far. Hawkeye’s paintwork is pretty impressive, with a whole ton of great detail work on his uniform, giving him a lot of dimension. His colors also pop; I think this is my favorite shade of purple that I’ve seen on a movie Hawkeye. The likeness on the face bears a resemblance to Jeremy Renner, but I think the Winter Ops Hawkeye still has the closest resemblance. Hawkeye includes a bow, three arrows, a pistol, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came across this set at my local TRU. Shocking, right? For whatever reason, this was the set I was most looking forward to in this series. Vision’s essentially a re-release, but the minor changes go a long way, at least for me, and I prefer this one to the AoU version. The new Hawkeye design is pretty strong, and it translates quite nicely to the ‘mate aesthetic, resulting in what is probably the best MCU version of the character so far. This set might be easy to overlook, but it’s definitely one I’m glad I got.

#0716: Age of Ultron Boxed Set

THOR, BLACK WIDOW, BRUCE BANNER, & HAWKEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Trying to get a full line-up of the whole Avengers team from Avengers: Age of Ultron has been a barren source of amusement. Hasbro’s 2 ½ inch line has given us all but Black Widow and Quicksilver. The 3 ¾ inch line is missing those two again, plus Hawkeye and Vision. Up until recently, the Marvel Legends figures had only given us movie versions of Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America. Amazon has stepped in to help us at least finish up the main team (sans new additions), giving us a boxed set containing Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye from the second film, as well as figure of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner for good measure.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were sold as a single boxed set, which just started shipping out a few weeks ago. They’re technically an Amazon exclusive, but time will tell if that sticks or if other stores might start getting them.

THOR

AoUML2This guy’s probably the most surprising to see relegated to an online-only boxed set. I mean, he’s Thor. That seems pretty big. But, I guess stores are still afraid of him after the incredibly slow sales of the toys from his first solo movie (available at a Toys R Us near you!). The figure is about 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation. He’s based on his design from Dark World/Age of Ultron (They’re more or less the same), specifically the sleeveless look. Since he’s lacking the sleeves in both of AoU’s main fight scenes, that seems like a good choice. Structurally, this guy’s all-new, making him the only AoU figure outside of Ultron to get all-new tooling. The sculpt is really great, all around. The face isn’t a pitch-perfect Hemsworth, but it’s definitely the closest Hasbro’s gotten so far, and it really isn’t far off. The hair manages to be rather intricately detailed, and it doesn’t get too bunchy anywhere. It also doesn’t restrict movement nearly as much as you might think, which is a definite plus. The rest of the body is well proportioned and loaded with detail, all of which looks pretty accurate to the movie design. Even the cape is handled well, which doesn’t happen often. If there’s one drawback, it’s the choice to make both hands gripping; I feel like one of them being in a more outstretched pose could have added to the posing options. The paint on this figure is interesting, as it’s quite a bit different from what was seen on the prototype. In addition to the paint being much thicker than on the final figure, the prototype also had many of the accents painted gold, making the figure a Dark World figure, not an Age of Ultron figure. The final still has a slight tint of gold on those areas, but it’s minor enough that it won’t stand out as obviously wrong in an Avengers set up. It’s a happy medium, which is a good choice. Thor is armed with his mighty hammer Mjolnir, which is very nicely sculpted and painted and fits well in his hand to boot.

BLACK WIDOW

AoUML4On to opposite end of the spectrum from the all-new Thor figure is Black Widow, who is just a repaint. Yep, Widow here is head to toe a repaint of her Winter Soldier figure. You can read my opinions on the sculpt, here. Briefly recapping, it was a good sculpt then, and it still holds up pretty well here, aside from being too tall for Johansson. She uses the Avengers-styled head (the hair is seated a bit better this time around, so the likeness is better), which is sensible, since her hair in AoU was more or less the same. What wasn’t more or less the same was her costume, which actually had several differences between TWS and AoU. The figure uses paint to make these changes, but doesn’t quite make it work. The most notable change to the costume was the addition of red gauntlets, which this figure skips all together. There are these random red squares on the forearms, but they don’t even come close to being “gauntlets.” Widow also had full gloves this time, as opposed to the usual fingerless ones. Rather than actually changing the hands, Hasbro opted to just mold them in a solid black. It’s not immediately evident that they aren’t right, but to someone like me, who knows the lines for the ends of the gloves are there, it’s kind of annoying that nothing was done to fix this. They did at least get the blue “tron lines” right, so there’s that. Also, the kneepads seem a little too bright, but they are, at the very least, close to accurate. For accessories, Widow loses the extra head and hands of her TWS counterpart, and still has the non-removable guns. She does get her baton thingies from the movie, but they’re kind of a little…droopy.

BRUCE BANNER

AoUML5Believe it or not, this is the first proper, Marvel Legends-scale Bruce Banner we’ve ever gotten. We got a Banner figure from Toy Biz’s Hulk Classics line (packed with Series 2’s Gamma Hulk), but he had inferior articulation and was just slightly out of scale. We haven’t seen another until now. Civilian versions of heroes are kind of a hard sell, I guess. Banner appears to be based on his arriving at the Helicarrier look from the first Avengers movie, though it’s really just a basic business casual look, so it can work a lot of places. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Banner uses the recently developed suit body (first used on Agent Coulson) as his base. It’s a well sculpted body, and it’s certainly the best suit body on the market, so it’s a good starting point. Bruce gets a unique head sculpt, as well as a new upper torso piece. The head is a halfway decent interpretation of Mark Ruffalo. It’s far from perfect, but you can see who it’s meant to be. I think a better paint job could bring the likeness a lot closer. The new upper torso piece is really just a minor tweak on the old, removing the tie and opening up the collar, and thereby giving Bruce a more movie-accurate look. The paintwork on Banner is alright, but not fantastic. As noted above, the paint on the head hides the sculpt; it’s just a bit too sloppy and there’s virtually no work done to play up the sculpt’s strengths. The rest of the paint is just sort of there; the colors are good and everything stays where it’s supposed to, but there’s not much that stands out. Banner includes no accessories.

HAWKEYE

AoUML3It’s everybody’s favorite punching bag, Hawkeye! After being somewhat pushed to the side in the first Avengers, Hawkeye was presented a more substantial role for Age of Ultron, where he took a slightly divergent path from his comics counterpart and went straight to work checking off every “I’m gonna die” box possible. Then he made it out without dying! And there was much rejoicing (yay).  Hawkeye is right at 6 inches tall (like Widow, he’s just too tall) and he has 30 points of articulation. The figure is largely made of re-used parts from the first movie’s Walmart exclusive Hawkeye; only the head and quiver are different, and even the quiver is re-used from the more recent Marvel Legends comic Hawkeye. This of course means that Hawkeye is in his costume from the first movie, as opposed to his snazzy jacketed look from AoU. This look does still appear during the final battle, though, and the first release of this figure wasn’t the easiest to find, so this look is pretty valid too, I guess. Overall, the sculpt is pretty decent. The articulation scheme is a little outdated and the proportions are a little wonky in some spots, but the texture work on the uniform is superb. The new head sculpt is noteworthy because it finally gives us Hawkeye without the sunglasses that every figure seems to saddle him with, despite him not wearing them in either film. The Renner likeness is pretty decent, though the head does feel just a touch too wide. The paintwork on Hawkeye is pretty good overall. The eyes are a little bit off, but not terribly so, and all of the colors are well chosen. I also appreciate that the quiver isn’t just a solid color. I do wish the spot for the SHIELD emblem had something on it, because it’s distracting for it to just be a differently textured but unpainted bit, but that’s minor. Hawkeye is packed with his trusty bow, but, like the other Hawkeyes from Hasbro, no arrows.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wanna take a guess as to where I got this here Amazon exclusive set? Yeah, I preordered this set pretty much as soon as it went up. Not gonna lie, I actually came pretty close to cancelling it, but Amazon went and shipped it without telling me it had arrived, so here it is. It’s not the most thrilling set of all time, but it does contain some pretty important figures. Thor’s definitely the star here, being the only truly new figure, and Widow’s definitely the weakest link (in terms of accuracy and not having anything new to offer. She’s still a good figure). Banner and Hawkeye both fall somewhere in between, being nonessential, but cool to have nonetheless. I think this set might be more exciting if Amazon were to follow it up with another 4-pack featuring Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, and Falcon, so we could actually finish up the team, but that seems like wishful thinking.

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#0569: Hawkeye – Winter Ops & Sub-Ultron

HAWKEYE – WINTER OPS & SUB-ULTRON

MARVEL MINIMATES

HawkeyeWO&SubUltron1Alright, yesterday’s review did turn out quite as up-beat as I’d hoped. Not every set of Minimates can be a total winner, I suppose. Today’s review isn’t too far removed from yesterday’s. the same two characters are covered here, but I think this one might turn out a bit better. Let’s see if I’m right!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are part of Marvel Minimates Series 61. This set is the last piece of the first assortment of Age of Ultron-themed Minimates.  It’s one of the two specialty exclusive sets, and it’s the short-pack of the two.

HAWKEYE – WINTER OPS

HawkeyeWO&SubUltron2It’s Hawkeye again! Yay Hawkeye! The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation, although the hip articulation is a little restricted by the waist piece. Hawkeye is depicted here in his coated look from the film, which he wears during the opening and closing battles of the film. Since both of those battles take place in the more frigid Sokovia, I guess “Winter Ops” is a reasonable enough name. It’s actually a pretty nice design, and it works in a few more of the classic Hawkeye elements that were absent from the first movie’s design. While the majority of the figures in this series are complete re-use, this Hawkeye’s only re-used part is his hair, which is the same as the regular Hawkeye’s hair. The figure also has new add-ons for his collar/quiver and his belt/lower jacket. Both pieces are well sculpted and match up nicely to the design of the costume from the movie. The only real issue I ran into is that the quiver on my figure wasn’t very well affixed to the collar, so it fell out almost as soon as I took the figure out of the packaging. It was a quick fix, but it was still a little annoying. Hawkeyes’s paintwork is quite well handled.  From the waist down, it’s the same as the regular Hawkeye, which, given that the jacket of this version is just supposed to go over the regular version, adds a nice bit of consistency. The upper half of the figure is sharply and cleanly detailed, and it does a great job of capturing the jacket’s look. The face on this figure has a more intense expression than the regular, and I think it actually results in a stronger likeness of Jeremy Renner. Guess I just associate the guy with looking pissed off. Hawkeye features the same selection of accessories as his regular counterpart: a bow, three arrows, and a clear display stand.

SUB-ULTRON

HawkeyeWO&SubUltron3So, when you need Ultron, but the regular one calls in sick, you get a Sub-Ultron, right? Nah, not really. The Sub-Ultron is really just the name of the generic Ultron Drones from the movie. Interestingly enough, while Hawkeye never has much interaction with Ultron Prime, he does have a ton of interaction with the Sub-Ultrons, so this packing makes a lot more sense than the last one did. The figure has the same basic height as Hawkeye and he has 14 points of articulation, unimpeded this time. Design-wise, there was really only one real Ultron drone design in the film. I kind of like this one a little bit more, because it’s a more classically styled take on the character. Like Ultron Prime, the Sub-Ultron features a newly sculpted head on the basic Minimate body. It works better here, though, since the Sub-Ultrons aren’t meant to be big and imposing. The head is a fairly straight forward piece. It’s well-sculpted and it looks like the heads from the movie. Paint is really where the strong suit lies on this figure. All of the many pieces of the Ultron body are clearly outlined, and there’s plenty of great texture work. The lines are also all crisp and dark, which hasn’t really been the case with the AoU-mates I’ve looked at so far. The figure also has a few spots of nice, bright blue, which works as a great accent and (in-movie) indicates that Ultron is not in direct control of this drone body. The Sub-Ultron’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but I can’t really think of anything else that could have been included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I got this one as part of a complete set of Series 61, which I ordered through Big Bad Toy Store. This was actually the set I was looking forward to the most in this series, and I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint. This Hawkeye design is a little stronger than the last one, and the figure translates it very well. I also like the more intense expression, and it was nice to get a few new parts for this one. The Sub-Ultron is a much more solid figure compared to Ultron Prime. It maintains the same level of paint detail, but without the issues with size. This set is a great addition to the line.

#0568: Hawkeye & Ultron Prime

HAWKEYE & ULTRON PRIME

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hawkeye&UltronPr1

Alright, now we get into the good stuff. I mean, sure, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were fun , and Iron Man, Widow, Thor, and Cap weren’t bad, but the movie was called Age of ULTRON. Dude’s in the title. That makes him a little important. Add in Hawkeye who got short changed by the first Avengers movie, both in Minimate form and in the film itself, and you’ve got what makes for quite a winning combination. So, let’s look at the basic Hawkeye and Ultron Prime.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hawkeye and Ultron are part of Marvel Minimates Series 61, which is the specialty store portion of the first assortment of Age of Ultron Minimates. This set is one of two specialty-exclusive sets from the first assortment, and it is the heavier packed of the two.

HAWKEYE

Hawkeye&UltronPr3Hawkeye’s the requisite Avenger here, though I guess he’s the least “heavy-hitter” of the main six. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation. This figure is based on Hawkeye’s no-sleeve appearance, which is pretty much the same as his main appearance in the first Avengers film. The figure shares his collar and quiver with the Hawkeye from the last movie, but this time around he’s got the Series 27 Ultimate Cap hair, which had been popping up with increasing frequency. It’s actually a better fit for Jeremy Renner’s hair than the previous piece, and a better sculpt in general. At first glance, Hawkeye’s paint isn’t much different than the last Avengers film version. However, a closer look shows that his paint is actually a fair bit more detailed, cleaner, and better aligned to the body. Hawkeye’s face is probably the biggest departure from the last one. I’m not sure that they’ve necessarily captured the Renner likeness any better, but I personally like this face a little more than the last. To be fair, the hair also plays a large part in how the face looks. Hawkeye is armed with his bow and three arrows, and he’s also packed with a clear display stand.

ULTRON PRIME

Hawkeye&UltronPr2And now we finally get to the titular villain, Ultron. It’s taken a little time, but here we are. The figure has 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall. That last bit is sort of an issue. Like the Hasbro figure before him, this Ultron Prime is simply too small. Now, it’s not unheard of for a Minimate to be slightly out of scale (just ask the Sentinels) but for a character like Ultron, who only needs to be a little bigger than the rest of the line, Diamond usually uses a few add-ons to bulk the character up just a tad. Characters like Groot have received a few pieces here and there to bring them to a more proper height. Ultron’s only additional sculpted piece is his head. Aside from that, he just uses the basic body. This makes him feel rather… unintimidating, especially when supposedly compact designs like the Mark 43 are so much bulkier than he is. The figure really would have benefited from at the very least a waist extender and a bulker torso piece. As is, he feels far too puny for the film’s version of the character. Now, moving past the issues with scale and sculpt, it should be noted that the paintwork on this particular figure is tremendously handled. All of his detail lines are nice and crisp, and his many textural details extend around almost the entirety of the figure. At the very least, on his own, he looks like Ultron. Ultron Prime’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I got the last two sets from my local comicbook store, they sadly had already sold out of both of the Hawkeye and Ultron sets by the time I got there. To make matters worse, my other go-to retailer for Minimates purchases, Luke’s Toy Store, ended up not getting adequate supplies of Series 61 due to a mix-up with Diamond. So, I ended up having to order a complete set of Series 61 (extras of Iron Man, Black Widow, Cap, and Thor included) from Big Bad Toy Store. I don’t dislike this set. I can’t say it wowed me as much as I’d hoped it would, though. Hawkeye is a great update on the original Avenegrs design. From top to bottom, he is a superior figure to his predecessor. Sadly, Ultron ends up being the disappointing piece here. He isn’t terrible, but he’s been horribly undercut by the lack of any sort of add-ons. His head piece is the first new part we’ve seen so far in this assortment, which leads me to believe that DST were trying to get as much as they could out of re-used parts. Perhaps Ultron’s additional pieces just didn’t cost out. Or it could even be possible that DST was unaware of Ultron’s final scale until it was too late to change. I don’t really know, but the end result is a somewhat lackluster take on the movie’s primary villain. That’s unfortunate.

#0547: Hawkeye

HAWKEYE

IRON MAN (TOYBIZ)

HawkeyeIM1

Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 9 days remaining.

Okay, we’re very definitely getting into the selection of characters that I consider to be the quintessential Avengers.  And no one gets more quintessential-y than good ol’ Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye!   So, let’s have look at a figure of that guy, shall we?  In fact, let’s look at the very first figure of that guy ever released!  That’ll be nifty!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

HawkeyeIM2Hawkeye was released in Series 2 of the 90s Iron Man line, which was done to tie-in with the Iron Man cartoon of the time.  Unsurprisingly, Hawkeye is based upon his appearance in that show, which in turn was based upon the design he had in the comics around the early 90s.  It’s a tweak on his classic design, and it’s not too overly 90s, so it works.  I do miss the buccaneer boots and loincloth, but oh well.  The figure stands roughly 5 inches in height and sports 8 points of articulation, which is actually a little bit below the standard of the time.  The lack of proper arm articulation is certainly odd, what with him being an archer and all, but he actually managed okay, thanks to the pose of his arms.  The figure’s sculpt was wholly original to him.  It’s not bad, especially for the time.  The proportions are generally pretty good.  The hands and feet are a little on the large side, and the shoulders are a little high-set.  He’s also got some ridiculously defined musculature, but to be fair, that’s actually true to the show.  The costume details are pretty well handled, with clean lines and some nice texture work on the purple parts.  The head is pretty much spot on for the character, with just the right amount of cockiness in his expression.  Hawkeye’s paintwork is pretty much on par with other figures from the same time.  It’s simple, but well-done.  The colors are nice and bold, and everything is clean, with no real slop or bleed over.  The eyes are totally white and pupil-less, which is not in keeping with his appearance on the show.  However, given how small they are, it’s likely that pupils would have looked rather goofy here, so it was probably the right call.  Hawkeye included a bow, arrow, quiver, a small knife, and the weird character badge thingy that was included with all of the figures in the first few series.  Of course, my figure has none of these things because silly child Ethan decided to lose them all.  Way to go younger me!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I don’t recall the exact circumstances by which I came to own Hawkeye.  I’m fairly certain that he was a gift from my parents.  I know my Dad had a Hawkeye figure first, and that I really liked it, so I’m pretty sure he took note of this and bought me one of my own.  It’s definitely an important piece in my becoming such an Avengers fanatic, I know that much.  Looking back at it, it’s not a perfect figure.  The arms are a weird choice, and he’s held back a little by the fact that he’s in a relatively short-lived costume.  All that said, he’s my first Hawkeye figure, and he’s still my favorite.

#0528: Hawkeye

HAWKEYE

MARVEL SELECT

HawkeyeMS1

Man, who’d have guessed that good ol’ “Hawk-guy” here would become a household name. Not me, that’s for sure. I mean, sure, the guy’s the quintessential Avenger, but Hawkeye? All that said, I can’t say I’m all that upset about the character getting some recognition. He’s always been one of my favorite characters. And, as everyone knows, more recognition means more merchandise, which totally includes action figures! So, let’s have a look at this here Hawkeye figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

HawkeyeMS2Hawkeye is the latest release in Diamond Select Toys’ Marvel Select line. The figure is currently exclusive to the Disney Store (as well as Marvel’s online shop) but that may or may not stick. Amazingly enough, this is actually Hawkeye’s third figure in this line; so far he’s had one movie figure and one comics figure. The last comic based figure was a more classically inspired take on the character, whereas this figure represents Hawkeye in his current costume. Hawkeye stands a little over 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. The figure sports a brand-new sculpt. In the past, Select figure sculpts can have a tendency to be …uneven. I’m happy to say that isn’t the case here. From top to bottom, this sculpt is fantastically handled. Hawkeye is clearly based upon the illustrations of David Aja, who was the primary penciller on the last Hawkeye series. Aja has a rather distinctive style. It’s minimal on heavy detail work, but it has a lot of character. This sculpt manages to translate Aja’s work to three dimensions without making Hawkeye look out of place with the rest of the Select figures, which is an incredible balance. The figure features two head sculpts: one with sunglasses and one without. Unlike the recent Marvel Legends Coulson, these are two completely unique sculpts. The sunglass-ed head seems to be the most “default” of the two, though it’s also the weaker piece. The expression is a little on the bland side, and it lacks the Aja-style of the rest of the piece. It’s still a great piece of work from a technical standpoint, though. The second head features a more battered and bruised Clint Barton. Over the course of Fraction and Aja’s run on the series, poor Clint takes quite a beating, and this sculpt represents that really well. It also sports an expression with just the right amount of smarm for the character. As great as the rest of the sculpt is, it’s hard to beat this particular piece. Of course, a good sculpt still needs quality paintwork. Fortunately, this figure mostly delivers on that front. While there are a few spots of misaligned paint (particularly on the sunglass-ed head), but the base work is generally pretty clean. The costume also features some pretty neat weathering to add a little texture, and it looks really great. Hawkeye is accessorized with his signature bow, six arrows of varying styles, an extra right hand, a two piece crossbow, and, best of all, Hawkeye’s pet dog Lucky, aka Pizza Dog. The bow is cool enough, given its rather straight forward nature. The arrows are well sculpted, but since neither of his quivers can hold them, they just sort of get shunted to the side. The crossbow is suitable, but none of his hands really hold it all that well. Pizza Dog is a really cool piece, especially given the importance of the character in Fraction and Aja’s run. He’s pretty well sculpted and painted, with one glaring issue: he’s got two eyes where Pizza Dog only should have one. I guess this is a pre-adoption Pizza Dog.

HawkeyeMS4 HawkeyeMS5

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkeye marks the second of a new method of release for Marvel Select, where the figure just shows up at Disney Stores, with little build up, sort of as a surprise. The first was Thor, who I passed on without much thought. But then came Hawkeye. I love the character, I love the run this figure’s based on. How could I not buy it. So, when it was listed on the Marvel Shop, I caved and bought it. Yay me. This is a pretty big statement, but this figure puts every other Marvel Select figure to shame. The sculpt is there, the paint is there, and the accessories are there. This is a phenomenal figure, through and through.

HawkeyeMS3