#1637: Hulk

THE HULK

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Alright, after a short intermission and a quick word from our sponsors at…Kenner and DC Direct (coincidentally both dead companies, it should be noted), I’m diving back into the world of Avengers: Infinity War!  As I noted last week, Hasbro has two different main lines of product tying into the film, but there’s even some further division within those particular lines.  The basic line has its standard assortment, of course, but there’s also a complementary deluxe assortment, handling some of the more oddly-sized characters.  From that assortment, I’ll be looking at main Avengers member The Incredible Hulk!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk is one of two items in the first deluxe series of Avengers: Infinity War figures.  He’s based on Hulk’s newest look from Infinity War, which doesn’t appear to be all the different from the one he was sporting in Age of Ultron.  The sweatpants are a little shorter this time; that’s about it.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s a bit on the small side for a proper MCU Hulk, who should probably have another inch or so of height to him, with bulk to match.  That said, he’s visibly taller than the others in the line, which is the most important thing when dealing with a Hulk figure.  The sculpt is decent enough I suppose.  As with a few others in this line, it reminds me of a Legends sculpt, specifically the Age of Ultron Hulk from 2015.  It was far from a perfect sculpt, but I think the issues of simplicity and lack of texturing are far less of an issue in the context of this line.  The paint on Hulk is fairly simple stuff, and it’s mostly pretty good.  The only real issue I have is with the eyes, which just sort of seem to be a little downshifted from where they should be.  It’s entirely possible that this is limited to my figure, though.  The accessories in this line so far have been rather connected to the characters they were included with.  Cap gets his shield, Thor gets his hammer, Widow gets her baton, etc.  Hulk?  Hulk gets his unforgettable weapon, the ol’ chunk of cement with a piece of girder sticking out of it.  You know, that thing that Hulk is never seen without?  Okay, yeah, it’s not exactly essential.  It’s largely just here to have something for the included Infinity Stone (the Soul Stone, for those keeping score; now I’ve got a complete set!) to be attached to.  There are certainly worse extras, and, if I’m totally honest, I like this extra more than Iron Man’s cannon.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Hulk at the same time as Cap and Star-Lord, from a somewhat out of my way Toys R Us I’d stopped by.  He’s an alright figure.  Nothing amazing to write home about, but a reasonable figure nonetheless.  And, without a Legends figure on the market at the moment, he’s your best bet for a new Hulk figure.

Advertisements

#1509: Incredible Hulk

INCREDIBLE HULK

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“When the Incredible Hulk gets angry he can effortlessly bend steel bars, crush boulders and cause criminals to head for the hills as fast as they can! To demonstrate the Incredible Hulk’s awesome might, place the steel bar or boulder in his hands, press the lever in his back and watch the bar bend almost double and the boulder break apart.”

The Hulk, unlike his other MCU compatriots, hasn’t only recently come to fame.  In fact, he’s one of Marvel’s earlier success stories, thanks in no small part to the Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno led live action series from the ‘70s.  Despite the success of his first foray into media outside of comics, he’s had something of a rough time since then.  Nevertheless, he’s remained a major Marvel player for most of Marvel’s time in the spot light.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of his earlier action figures, and his very first by long-time Marvel toy producers, Toy Biz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk was released in the very first series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line.  The figure’s a bit smaller for a Hulk figure, standing right at 5 inches tall.  He’s got 7-ish points of articulation, depending on how you count the shoulder joints.  Theoretically, there’s some extra movement granted by the action feature, but you can’t really get them to stay in any given position.  This Hulk is definitely most inspired by the Hulk of the ‘70s; his hair is the real give-away there.  The sculpt is actually one of the better Hulks put out by Toy Biz.  The proportions are more balanced than a lot of Hulks, and the details, especially on the head, are nice and sharp.  I also find myself really liking the hands, and if you can get me to notice the quality of the hands, that’s a good sign.  Hulk’s paintwork is fairly standard.  He’s mostly just molded in the appropriate shade of green.  It’s a little bright for my taste, but not terribly so.  The rest of the work is fairly straight forward, but it’s pretty clean overall.  I do wish there was at least some accenting going on with the pants and stuff, but it all works.  Hulk included a “metal” bar to hold and bend with his action feature, a piece which my figure is missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a figure I always admired on the hardbacks of my various Toy Biz figures and the like.  I always wanted one, but his release was just before I started collecting, so I never saw him in person.  I finally ended up getting him just over this past summer, loose from Yesterday’s Fun.  He’s slightly goofy, just like the rest of the Marvel Super Heroes figures, but I still really, really like him.  I’m happy to have finally added him to my collection.  Possibly my favorite Hulk, despite his rather humble nature.

#0949: Iron Man Now! & Indestructible Hulk

IRON MAN NOW! & INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

IM&HulkNow1

Okay, today’s another Minimates review. It’s also another Marvel review, another Iron Man review, and another Hulk review. None of those are particularly rare things for this site, so I’ll admit that I’m running out of things to say about them. So, umm, here’s a review of some Iron Man and Hulk Minimates?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were part of the 16th series of Toys R Us exclusive Marvel Minimates. The series was complementary to Series 51 of the main line, and both series were based on the “ Marvel Now!” relaunch from 2013.

IRON MAN NOW!

IM&HulkNow3Though he didn’t get his first ‘mate until Series 6, Iron Man’s become one of the most frequently produced characters in Marvel Minimates. Fortunately, Iron Man’s had lots of diverse looks over the years, which keeps his ‘mates from getting too redundant. This figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and gas 12 points of articulation. He’s based on his Now! look, which was also the inspiration of the Iron Man in the Hulkbuster Series of Marvel Legends. While that figure used Greg Land’s (traced) interiors for its reference (allowing for the figure to be a simple repaint), this figure seems to draw a bit more from the initial (and far more interesting) design for the armor. Iron Man has six add-on pieces for his helmet, chest plate, gloves, and boots, as well as non-standard pieces for his upper arms. The boots are re-used from Series 45’s Mark VII Iron Man, but the rest of the pieces were new to this figure. He’s a little on the bulky side, but the figure does a pretty nice job of capturing the look from the initial design sheets. Also, the shoulders limit movement a bit, but at least they’re better than the Mark 42/43/45 shoulders. The paint on this Iron Man is pretty standard. He’s got the appropriate black and gold for this design, with a few spots of red thrown in. The red is a bit sloppy in some areas, but not terrible. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which for some reason has random patches of black on it. I think that’s a story specific thing, but I didn’t read Iron Man’s Now! series, so I honestly can’t say. The Tony face is consistent with the other modern Tony’s we’ve gotten, so that’s good. Marvel Now Iron Man includes both a normal display stand and a rocket blast stand.

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

IM&HulkNow2This isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed an Indestructible Hulk Minimate, however, this is chronologically the first of the two produced. This figure presents Hulk in his less armored up appearance, which isn’t quite as exciting a design, but I guess it’s a bit more conventional Hulk. The figure has add-ons for the hair, torso, upper arms, hands, pelvis, upper legs, and feet, and he also has an extra riser piece to make him a little taller. The torso, pelvis, and upper legs are new parts, designed to replicate Hulk’s armored shorts. They’re pretty nicely sculpted, which is good. The rest of the parts are reused, which is alright for the most part. The feet don’t have any toes, which is rather odd looking. Of course, the first 15 Hulks didn’t have toes either, but that was before the move to bulked up Hulks. Hulk’s paintwork is decently handled. The linework seems a little thicker than usual, but it doesn’t look bad. The face is a little odd looking; I’m not sure exactly what his expression is supposed to be. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the greatest. Hulk includes R.O.B. (the Recording Observation Bot), a flight stand (for R.O.B.), and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this pair from TRU’s online store, along with two other sets from Series 16. It was kind of an impulse buy. I can’t say this is one of my favorite sets. Iron Man’s a decent enough variant, but the armor wasn’t super long-lived, and isn’t very memorable. Ultimately, he’s a solidly done figure of a rather drab design. Hulk’s okay, but he suffers from being the lesser of the two Indestructible Hulks, and that toe thing is just weird. Not a bad set, but nothing to write home about.

#0889: Absorbing Man

ABSORBING MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

Absorbingman1

Marvel has something of a tradition of passing foes between their heroes. Kingpin, now Daredevil’s arch enemy, began as Spider-Man foe. Similarly, Sabretooth first appeared in an issue of Iron Fist. Today’s focus character, Crusher Creel, aka the Absorbing Man, made his debut as a foe for Thor, but has spent a pretty sizeable portion of his career menacing the Hulk. He’s also faced off against a few other Marvel heroes, including Spider-Man, which I guess was Hasbro’s justification for having him be part of a Spider-Man themed series of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Absorbingman2Absorbing Man is the Build-A-Figure for the fourth series of the Spider-Man Marvel Legends Series line. Absorbing Man has had a few different looks over the years, but for the most part, they’ve all just been slight variations on the same basic theme: a bald, shirtless guy, wearing a pair of pants from a prison. Here, the pants are purple; not the most common color for prison garb, but certainly common for a Marvel character. The figure is just shy of 8 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. As with most of the Thor-related characters that Hasbro has released, he’s much larger than he’s usually depicted. Creel’s still supposed to be a roughly normal-sized dude, and this figure’s a giant. However, his size is comparable to that of the equally over-sized Wrecking Crew, so he isn’t horribly out of place. Creel is built on the Terrax body, making its second appearance in the last year (it was also used for the SDCC set’s Dormammu). In his “clean” look, the figure uses the Terrax torso, pelvis, hips, and arms. He gets a new head and legs, as well as an add-on piece for his belt. The legs are suitably detailed, and the belt is a very nicely handled piece. The basic head is okay, but I will admit, it’s not my favorite of the two. To simulate his absorbing abilities, Creel has an extra head and arms. The head is similar to the basic one, but the left half now has a rocky texture, and his expression is an open-mouthed scream, which looks a bit better than the regular head’s slack-jawed sneer. The new arms are wooden and stone, respectively, and have some pretty awesome texture work to help sell that. Prior BAFs had some difficulty being taken apart after being assembled, but Absorbing Man goes together and comes apart without too much trouble. The paintwork on the basic parts is pretty straight forward. He’s molded in the appropriate colors where possible, but he’s still got a bit of detailing on the face, pants, and lower right arm. The pants are nice and clean, and the metal detailing on the arm is pretty cool. The face is alright, but the eyes are a bit wonky, which throws the whole head off. The extra pieces make out the best in terms of paint; the texture work of the sculpts for the arms is accented really nicely, and the face is way cleaner and more detailed on the second head. If I had one complaint, it would be that the torso has no marks of any absorbed substances, which makes the extra head a bit jarring. That said, it’s understandable, since the extra pieces necessitated going one way or another. Creel includes his ball and chain. It’s a re-use of Thunderball’s wrecking ball, which isn’t technically accurate (in-universe, it’s actually the ball and chain that Creel had attached to him when he got the powers), but it works reasonably enough that complaining about it seems petty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’re a faithful reader, then you already know where this guy came from: he’s constructed from the pieces included with this series of figures, which my parents picked up for me a few weeks ago. I’m not the world’s biggest Absorbing Man fan or anything, but I do have enough of an appreciation for the character that I wanted to complete him. His size is a bit of an issue, and the normal head looks a bit off, but this figure is actually a pretty great one.

IMG_8874

#0761: Ultron, Vision, & Hulk

ULTRON, VISION, & HULK

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

UltVision&Hulk1

Last year, Hasbro partnered up with Target during the holiday season in order to offer a few exclusive items from a number of their lines. Among the lines included was Marvel Legends Infinite Series, which got a special three pack of figures, which included Captain America, Ms. Marvel, and Radioactive Man. It would seem Hasbro is looking to make this something of an annual thing, as another three pack was just released. Included this time around were Ultron, Vision, and the Hulk, all of whom received a nice popularity boost courtesy of Age of Ultron.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three are, as noted above, part of a Target exclusive set, arriving just in time for the holiday season.

ULTRON

UltVision&Hulk4Ultron’s had quite a few figures this year, but this is actually only the second Marvel Legend. This one gives us another shot at the comics design. Specifically, he seems to draw inspiration from Ultron’s comics appearances from the last several years, though he certainly amalgamates a few different designs. The figure is about 6 ½ inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Part of why Ultron amalgamates a few designs is due to some necessary parts re-use. Ultron makes use of the body of last year’s Ultimate Beetle figure, along with a new set of forearms/hands, as well as yet another all-new Ultron head. Beetle’s body’s actually not a bad fit for Ultron, and it was pretty good sculpt to begin with, so it’s re-use is definitely a reasonable one. The new forearms and hands meld nicely with the rest of the body, and definitely work better for the character than the original Beetle hands would. The new head is definitely the star attraction here. It’s a fantastic sculpt, with lots of really sharp line work and some great symmetry, and it really captures the character well. Ultron’s mostly just molded in a dark silver plastic, which looks pretty decent, but he’s got a fair amount of red detailing throughout. In particular, I really like how the mouth has been handled; they managed to get that whole crackling energy thing down just right!

VISION

UltVision&Hulk2He’s had no new Marvel Legends for like 7 years (being dead can do that sort of thing to you) but Vision’s managed to get two whole new Marvel Legends figures. His first one hit just a few months ago, and was based on one of the character’s more recent designs. This figure opts for a slightly more oldschool look, offering Vision’s second design ever, from John Byrne’s run on West Coast Avengers. I respect Byrne a lot, but the less said about that run and why the Vision was suddenly mono-chromatic, the better. Regardless of the questionable rationale behind the why of the design, it’s actually not a bad look, and it’s certainly different enough to warrant a figure. The figure stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. He is, more or less, a repaint of the last Vision figure. He’s built on Hasbro’s favorite body, the Bucky Cap, and uses the same head as the previous Vision. Unfortunately, he’s back to the two-fisted look, which is a shame, since the outstretched hand of the last one (and this one’s prototype) made for a nice variety of poses. To make up for that, this guy gets a brand new pair of feet, sans shoes, which are very well sculpted. He’s also got that same cape piece, of which I am still not a huge fan, but it’s less offensive here. The paint is, of course, the main draw of this figure. Now, he could have been just solid white, since that’s how he was depicted in the comics. However, Hasbro decided to do something a bit more visually interesting, so he’s molded in clear plastic, with white painted over top, making him semi-translucent, which looks really cool. In general, this paint works a lot better for this sculpt than that on the Now! Costume. I do sort of wish the black costume lines went all the way around his torso, but he that’s relatively minor.

HULK

UltVision&Hulk3Last up, it’s the required heavy hitter of the set, Hulk. This Hulk, like Ultron before him, appears to be an amalgam of a few recent Hulk designs. Overall, he seems to take the most influence from the Indestructible Hulk book from the Marvel Now! relaunch, though he lacks that look’s armor. The figure is a little over 8 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation. The figure gets a new head sculpt, clearly based on the buzz-cut look from Indestructible. It’s a pretty nice sculpt, which is certainly expressive, so that’s cool. From the neck down, the figure is the same as the Age of Ultron version from earlier this year. It’s a decent enough sculpt, and it actually works a bit better for a comic design, than it did a film design. Hulk’s paint work is fairly straightforward, basic greens and purples. It’s not the most exciting look of all time, but it’s pretty solid work.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I, unsurprisingly, got this set from my local Target. My main interest in getting this set was definitely Vision. He’s definitely a solid figure, and an improvement over the Now! version. Hopefully a proper classic look (or maybe even his 90s look) is on the horizon. Regarding the other two figures in the set, Hulk is a well done space taker, but Ultron is actually a pleasant surprise. He’s the best figure in the set, and probably one of the best Ultron figures ever. Solid work!

#0746: Captain America & Hulk

CAPTAIN AMERICA & HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

CapHulk1

Yesterday, I looked at the first set of the new Walgreens exclusive Marvel Minimates, so why don’t I continue that trend today? The last two sets of animated-style ‘mates were both based on Ultimate Spider-Man. Today, I’ll be looking at the first set based on Avengers Assemble. My relationship with that show is…strained. I loved its predecessor Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which was canceled in favor of Assemble. That already put me off the show. What put me off more was the show’s first episode, which was…how do I put it? Horrendous. I tried to watch it on three separate occasions, and never could make it all the way through. So, I’ve not really caught the show. But now I have Minimates from it, so whatever. Let’s look at Captain America and the Hulk from that show.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Captain America and the Hulk are part of the first series of Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates. As noted above, both are based on their designs from the currently running Avengers Assemble cartoon, specifically from the first season.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

CapHulk2It’s not the Avengers without Captain America, so…ummm, here he is? Cap’s design on the show is more or less the same as his early Ultimates appearance, which itself is just a minor tweak of the classic Cap design. The figure stands roughly 2 ½ inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, with add-on pieces for his mask and belt, as well as a hand with a plug to attach his shield. The mask first showed up on the First Appearance X-Men, and it’s a good match for Cap’s look on the show. The belt looks familiar, but I can’t see where I’ve seen it before. It’s just a fairly straightforward belt with pouches, and it’s well-sculpted at that. The paintwork on Cap is pretty great. Everything’s clean, and the colors are somewhat muted, but very nicely handled. The detail line work is quite sharp, and effectively balances the animated design with the modern Minimate aesthetic. Cap includes his Mighty Shield TM, an extra head with a more light expression, a hair piece (snagged from Marty McFly), and a clear display stand.

HULK

CapHulk3So, this marks the 32nd time Hulk has made it into Minimate form. For a guy who’s spent 50 years in nothing but a pair of tattered pants, that’s pretty impressive. This one doesn’t really break from the norm, what with wearing nothing but a pair of tattered pants. But this time he’s a darker shade of green. Hey, that’s new and different right? Eh, it’s different enough. He’s got 11 add-on parts. It’s pretty much the same assortment of parts we’ve gotten on most of the Hulks since they started using the bulked up parts for Hulk. They work well, so I can’t really complain. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Hulk’s paint is about on par with Cap’s, though it’s not as colorful. It’s generally pretty clean. There’s a bit of slop at the edges of the pants, but nothing unreasonable. The green could stand to be a little lighter, but it doesn’t clash with the pants or anything. Hulk is packed with an extra, smiling head, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, yeah, I got this set at Walgreens, of all places. Imagine that. I can’t say I was really anxious to get this set, given that I already have these two several times before. But, I was buying the other sets from the series, and this one looked pretty sharp, so I figured why not? It’s a pretty decent little set, so I’m glad I picked it up.

#0725: Bruce Banner & War Machine

BRUCE BANNER & WAR MACHINE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Banner&WM1

Age of Ultron had quite a few characters in it, just about all of whom deserved to be represented in toy form. Of course, getting all of those characters actually released in said form is kind of a different story. Diamond Select toys has by far made the best stab at it, giving us figures of almost every character, including today’s entries, Bruce Banner and War Machine.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Banner and War Machine are the TRU exclusive set from the second series of AoU-inspired Marvel Minimates. They don’t have quite the clever pairing of yesterday’s Hulkbuster and Hulk, but it’s not a huge stretch to consider this the “pals of Tony” set.

BRUCE BANNER

Banner&WM3This isn’t the first Bruce Banner Minimate, or even the first MCU Banner Minimate, but it is the first Mark Ruffalo Bruce Banner ‘mate. Banner was actually supposed to get a ‘mate from the first Avengers, but the army builder case which was meant to include him was scratched before it was even solicited. But here he is now! Yay for him! Banner represents his look from the lab scenes in AoU. It’s a look that falls back in line with the more classic depictions of Bruce from the comics, which isn’t really a look he’s had in the movies. It’s certainly more befitting of Bruce’s scientific nature. The figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation. Banner has two main add-on pieces: his hair and his lab coat. Both are re-used. The hair dates back to El Indigo from the Fistful of Dollars set, and the jacket first appeared on Ghostbusters 2’s Janosz. The hair is passable; it’s not a perfect match, but it’s not horribly off either. The coat is really just a basic coat, so no issues there. Banner’s paintwork is all pretty nicely handled. The checkering on the shirt under his coat is very well-done, and adds a nice bit of pop to the figure. It makes me wish he had a set arms with sleeves to match, but, alas, he’ll always be stuck with the lab coat. The face is a good Ruffalo likeness, which is always a plus. Banner includes the standard clear display stand, as well as an extra angry head. The extra head is a fantastic addition, and I love the bright green eyes.

WAR MACHINE

Banner&WM2War Machine has a somewhat minor role in AoU, but he does play into the big climactic fight and he was part of the Avengers roster in the final shot, so his inclusion is certainly warranted. In AoU, War Machine is wearing the his Iron Patriot armor from Iron Man 3, but done up in his more traditional War Machine colors. Since it’s the same armor, it’s an easy repaint for all the toy companies that made IM3 stuff, which is why he’s shown up in several of the AoU tie-in lines. Structurally, this figure’s the same as Series 49’s Iron Patriot ‘mate. He’s got add-ons for the helmet, torso piece, waist, upper arms, boots, and gloves. I thought the armor looked just a bit pudgy on that figure, and I still feel that’s the case here, but it’s not horrible. His paint is more or less identical to Series 49’s War Machine 2.0. Since it’s the same basic design and the same sculpted parts, that’s kind of expected, though. There are a few differences: the Air Force linsignias from the gloves of the 49 version are no longer there, his facial expression has been changed, and the overall finish of the figure is much shinier. The loss of the insignias is a bummer, but not a big deal. The face looks a bit more like Cheadle, but I can’t say I’m a fan of his dopey expression. War Machine includes the usual clear display stand, as well as a flight stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this TRU exclusive at TRU. What a novel concept, right? I actually picked him up while out on this big video game shopping trip we did for my brother’s birthday, which was kind of cool. Banner’s a fun addition to the line, and I’m glad he finally made it out. War Machine feels a little unnecessary, and not quite as good as his Series 49 counterpart, but he’s a good figure for those that missed out on the first version, I suppose. Not the most thrilling set of all time, but a pretty solid one.

Banner&WM5

#0724: Hulkbuster Iron Man & Rampaging Hulk

HULKBUSTER IRON MAN & RAMPAGING HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hulkbuster&Hulk1

Keeping the discussion about character pairings going, if Hulk and Klaue are a rather unlikely duo, then today’s pairing, Hulkbuster Iron Man and “Rampaging” Hulk, are kind of the flip side of the coin. Seriously, I can’t think of a more perfect pairing than these two, so kudos to DST for making such a thing happen. Now, let’s see how the figures actually turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are the third set of figures from Marvel Minimates Series 63. They’re also available as part of the second TRU assortment of AoU Minimates, but mine in particular are from the specialty release.

HULKBUSTER IRON MAN

Hulkbuster&Hulk3An Avengers series is kind of a hard sell without an Iron Man, so here one is. At least it’s a unique, story important variant, though. Plus it’s widely different from the Mark 43 variant of the preceding series. No minor paint difference variant here! *glares at Boarders Exclusive sunglasses wearing Mark 4* This figure marks the third time the Hulkbuster has graced the line, though it’s the first time it’s made it into a regular release series. He is, of course, based on “Veronica’s” one scene wonder appearance from AoU, which is kind of an amalgam of all the various Hulkbuster looks from over the years, with a dash of the movie armor style thrown in. Hulkbuster has got to be one of the most heavily sculpted figures of late, with a whopping 10 add-on pieces. These include a torso/helmet, bicep covers, hands, thigh covers, boots, and a torso extender. With the exception of the torso extender, all of these pieces are new to this figure. The pieces are loaded with detail, and do a pretty great job of translating the movie’s design to the Minimate aesthetic. Unsurprisingly, the parts restrict the articulation, but that kind of goes hand in hand with such a bulky look. The torso/helmet is the star piece here; its very nicely sculpted, and the helmet is on a hinge, so it can swing up to reveal the Hulkbuster&Hulk4underlying smaller IM helmet. On the flip side, the thigh pieces are probably the weakest parts. They’re decently detailed, but they just kind of float around on the thighs. Hulkbuster’s paintwork is pretty great overall. The outer armor has pretty straightforward work. It’s a little messy around some of the edges, but looks pretty good overall. Under the armor, the arms and legs are solid silver and gold, respectively. The torso and head, however, are fully detailed, incredibly well I might add, depicting the Mark 43 under the Hulkbuster armor. The Mark 43 ‘mate was a touch on the bulky side, so the slightly sleeker pieces offered here are much appreciated. Hulkbuster Iron Man’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but the large quantity of new parts on the actual figure more than make for that.

RAMPAGING HULK

Hulkbuster&Hulk2Hey, remember the Hulk Minimate I looked at yesterday? Yeah, this one is really similar to that one. However, instead of just being a basic, run of the mill Hulk from the movie, this one is specifically based on the scene where Scarlet Witch messes with Banner’s head and causes him to transform into a more unsettled Hulk. He then does the rampaging bit, necessitating the use of the Hulkbuster armor. So, it’s a pretty good choice to go alongside the Hulkbuster Minimate, I suppose. He uses the same parts loadout as the regular version, which is at the very least consistent. These parts worked well there, and they work well here. The paint is where the differences occur. The basic detail lines and such are mostly the same, though the face has been tweaked to make him a little more rampage-y. Rather than the simple teeth-baring grimace of the regular Hulk, this guy’s got a full-on screaming look. The other main change is the color scheme. Hulk is noticeably much paler than his usual self. In fact, he was originally supposed to be grey Hulk during the rampage sequence, but it was changed at the last minute. It appears this figure is based on the original scheme, though perhaps with more of green tinge than an all-out Grey Hulk would have. He’s also got red around his eyes, indicating the Witch’s influence over him, which a subtle but nice touch. For some reason, his pants are also a different shade. I don’t think they were different in the movie, so it seems like an odd choice on DST’s part. Rampaging Hulk matches his regular-colored counterpart in the accessories department, only including a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the more balanced Hulk and Klaue set, this one feels much more weighted to one of the two figures. Hulkbuster Iron Man is this set’s clear star. He’s fantastically sculpted, and his paint is pretty great too. Add in the new, streamlined torso and head for the Mark 43, and he comes out a serious winner. Rampaging Hulk is well done from a technical standpoint, but a bit drab and unexciting. Being in the same series as the regular version doesn’t do him a whole lot of favors. He’s also hindered by the decision to negate the change in his coloring for the final film. I feel like this look would have been better served as an extra head for the main Hulk, so as to free up a slot for someone else from the movie.

#0723: Hulk & Ulysses Klaue

HULK & ULYSSES KLAUE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hulk&Klaue1

So, when you’re doing a line that revolves around packing figures in even numbers, you will inevitably run into a bit of a “pair the spares” sort of moment, where you have an even number of characters, but there are just two that have next to nothing to do with each other. Yesterday’s Vision and Hydra Soldier certainly pushed the boundaries, but hey, Vision’s an Avenger, he’s bound to fight Hydra sometime, right? Today’s pair, Hulk and Klaue have absolutely no scenes together. In fact, Banner is very pointedly left back at the Quinjet when the rest of the team goes in to deal with Klaue. I’m not even sure the two have ever met in the comics. Their connection here is “was in Age of Ultron.” Which is more than some pairings, I suppose.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are from Series 63 of Marvel Minimates, which is the second series to be based on this summer’s Age of Ultron.

HULK

Hulk&Klaue2Hulk is certainly no stranger to Minimates. Heck, this is the fourth version just of the MCU version of the character. This one gets the more dignified stretchy pants from AoU, which is a nice step up from the torn up pants he’s been stuck with in every movie before this. Nice of someone to buy him some stretchy pants! Hulk is a big guy, and as such, he gets all the “big guy” parts in DST’s catalogue: torso cover, bulked up upper arms and legs, a waist piece, larger hands and feet, and a torso extender. They’re just as good here as they have been on all the other figures to use these parts. He also has another piece for his hair. It’s the same piece that was used on both Zombie Hulk and Defenders Hulk, as well as a few others, and it’s a pretty good piece for Hulk. Hulk’s paint is quite well handled. The detail lines are nice and sharp and sum up his look from the movie very well, and his colors seem like a pretty good match. Accessories-wise, Hulk is rather light, featuring just a clear display stand.

ULYSSES KLAUE

Hulk&Klaue3The Marvel villain Klaw has gotten a handful of figures in the last few years, but this is the first time we’ve gotten a figure of his pre-sound-monster form, Ulysses Klaue. I do believe this is the first time we’ve gotten a figure of Andy Serkis the actual person, as well. Pretty nifty, right? Klaue makes use of three add-on pieces, for his hair, belt, and wrist band. The hair is a re-use of Pvt. Lerner from Platoon, which, while not a perfect match, is close enough to work. The armband is one of Street Fighter vs Tekken’s Heihachi’s. Again, not a perfect match, but close enough to work. The belt looks to be a new piece, and it’s quite nicely done, with some nice texturing and such. Klaue’s paintwork is, simply put, Hulk&Klaue4fantastic. Easily some of the best Minimate paint I’ve seen in some time. Everything is really clean, the detail lines are nice and sharp, and there’s plenty of cool detail work, especially on the tattoos. The likeness is pretty spot-on to Serkis, which is quite impressive. Klaue is packed with a knife, a handgun, and a clear display stand. The gun and knife have a little difficulty staying in their appropriate spots on the belt, but they’re both pretty cool additions.

THE ME HALF IF THE EQUATION

These two were another purchase from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix. Unlike yesterday’s set, where the clear star was Vision, I feel like this set is much more balanced. Hulk is a great improvement to his first Avengers figure, and he nicely rounds out the AoU Avengers line-up. Klaue is a surprisingly enjoyable figure. On the surface, he’s just a drab civilian, but there’s actually a lot of cool little details that make this guy a real stand-out.

 

#0716: Age of Ultron Boxed Set

THOR, BLACK WIDOW, BRUCE BANNER, & HAWKEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

AoUML1

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.

AoUML6