WWII WOLVERINE & HYDRA AGENT
In 2009, we weren’t yet into the actual MCU proper, so we had to make due with our only Marvel movie of the year being X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Dark times, I know. There was, of course, a proper tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates for the movie, but the line also had a fair number of Wolverine-themed comics-based ‘mates. There was a largely Wolverine-themed assortment in its entirety, but then they also worked him into the mixed assortments as well. For Series 29, there were two sets, focussing on old and new. Today, I’m looking at the old.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
WWII Wolverine and the Hydra Agent were the variant set for Series 29 of Marvel Minimates. The Hydra Agent was the shared army builder between the two sets, with WWII Wolverine swapping in for the X-Force Wolverine from the standard set.
“Before he joined the X-Men as Wolverine, Canadian soldier James Howlett served alongside Captain America, Bucky and others during World War II – something Wolverine himself only discovered after the memories of his past were restored.”
Wolverine’s past, specifically his service during the second World War, has been a subject that’s been rattling around the Marvel universe since early in his comics career. With Origins‘ renewal of interest in the era, this made for a sensible choice of design for this assortment in 2009. The figure is based on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. He makes use of four add-on pieces, for his helmet, jacket, and sleeve cuffs. He also gets a set of tweaked hands featuring his pre-Adamantium bone claws. The helmet came from the DC Minimates Sgt Rock, the jacket from Platoon‘s Sgt Barnes, the sleeves from BttF‘s Marty McFly, and the hands from the “Wolverine Through the Ages” Weapon X. Aside from the helmet not having any trace of Logan’s hair, making him look kind of bald with it removed, the parts do their job pretty well, so that’s actually pretty cool. The paint work on this guy is pretty drab, but that’s expected. It’s not a bad look at all, and there’s actually some really nice detail work going into some of it. The head was consistent with the other comics Logan ‘mates at the time, and he’s even got a fully detailed shirt on the torso block under the jacket. I also really dig the “X” on the helmet; it’s a fun touch. Wolverine was packed with an alternate hairpiece (one of the Origins tie-in ones), a spare set of standard hands, and a Thompson machine gun (also re-used from Sgt Rock).
“The loyal minions of super-villains such as the Red Skull and Baron von Strucker, HYDRA Agents are bent on world domination through terrorist attacks and dangerous experimental technologies.”
The Hydra Agent marked the line’s fourth go at the army builder concept for the re-pack figure. He’s a pretty classic one, and one that was at the top of everyone’s lists when the concept was first discussed. It was kind of a big deal, really. How’d it go? Umm…about that… So, right out of the box, he’s got six add-on pieces. All of them are re-use, with the standard full-face mask piece, the DC-style flared gloves, Emil Blonski‘s torso cap, the skirt from BSG’s Laura Roslin, and Assault Punisher’s holster. They were clearly trying to get the most out of re-used parts here, and it largely works. The real issue’s with the torso piece, which just doesn’t quite feel like it fits the usual style of Hydra Agents. The paint is where the mixed bag really comes into play here. Series 29 and 30 mark DST really trying to go more in-depth on the line-work for Minimates, so there was a lot more smaller detailing and creative shading, and things just generally looking more scratchy and sketchy. The face on the full face mask for this figure is kind of a victim of that; there’s just really way too much detailing going on, and it gets kind of distracting. There was a push on these figures to add alternate looks, and that certainly helped this one a little bit; removing the mask, gloves, and torso cap reveals a slightly more classic Hydra Agent, which is generally an improvement. Unfortunately, due to a mix-up at the factory, this guy wound up getting a head with a peg-hole at the top, which can become just a touch distracting. Also, I’ve never been much of a fan of the figure’s coloring. They went for two shades of green, rather than the usual yellow and green, and the two shades are much closer than I’d like. Throw in that both shades are rather on the dull side, and the whole thing becomes rather muddy looking. In addition to all the removable add-on pieces, the Hydra Agent also got a pistol, an assault rifle, and Blonski’s night vision goggles, but in a matching green.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was actually pretty excited about this set when it was announced. Sgt Rock was one of those unexpected favorites of mine from the DC line, and I liked being able to expand his set-up just a bit with this version of Wolverine. I’d also really been wanting Hydra Agents for a while. When I finally got the set, I was admittedly underwhelmed. Wolverine’s certainly not a bad variant, but he’s also not really meant to be the selling point. The Hydra Agent showed a lot of promise, but ultimately has a lot of little issues that add-up to him not being so great. Thankfully, there was a later variant that improved on him, but until then, this was all we had.