#3296: 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.


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.


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.

#2830: Red Skull



“Emerging from the ashes of World War II, Johann Schmidt rose to become one of Captain America’s greatest enemies, the Red Skull.”

Hey, remember how I was reviewing a whole set of Marvel Legends and I just wrapped it up?  Well, I’m just gonna jump head long into another one, because why not.  In an effort of sort of segueing, at least as much as one needs to segue between two sets of Marvel Legends, let’s jump from a Captain America to a Red Skull.  When it comes to toys, Red Skull is a great example of how quantity does not make up for quality.  He’s had quite a number of figures over the years, but they always feel lacking in some way.  His history with Marvel Legends has been particularly bad, with his very first figure being one of Toy Biz’s very worst, and even his more recent offerings being rather lackluster as a general rule.  Hasbro hasn’t truly done a basic Red Skull since 2014, so the fact that he was chosen for their new all-villains series does carry a bit of weight.  Will this finally be the one that doesn’t suck?  Let’s find out!


Red Skull is figure 6 (I know, I’m starting at the end, as opposed to going in order like I’ve tended to recently; don’t judge me, I do what I want) in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends, which is, as noted, an all-villains set, the first under Hasbro’s tenure, and 15 years removed from Toy Biz’s.  Red Skull has had a number of different looks over the years, and his figures have likewise been all over the place.  I myself have always been particularly partial to the green jumpsuit look that Kirby tended to draw him in, so I was pretty happy to see Hasbro hone in on that particular look for this release, especially given its relative rarity in toy form.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  While other Red Skulls have tended to get stuck on re-used bodies, and therefore had to make do and compromise, this Red Skull is sporting an all-new sculpt (albeit one that’s also shared with one other figure in this assortment).  Generally, it’s pretty basic, since it’s just a jumpsuit and all, but it captures the look pretty well, with the looser fit being showcased in the various wrinkles and the like.  The build is appropriately stocky, and the articulation works well for the character.  He’s also got the new pinless look for the elbows and knees, which continues to be nice to see crop up.  Red Skull has two different head sculpts included this time around.  Right out of the box, he’s got a more modern style one that appears to just be a scaled down version of the Red Onslaught piece.  It’s more traditionally skull-like in a text book sense, which certainly has its appeal.  The second sculpt, and the one that’s definitely my favorite of the two, is one more based on Skull’s more expressive look in the Kirby style.  It’s got a lot of smaller details worked in, and just feels perfect for this particular version of the character.  In terms of paint, this figure is generally pretty basic.  The reds are very bright and eye-catching, which I like, while the rest of it’s a little more drab, as it should be.  Everything’s pretty cleanly applied, which is certainly a plus.  In addition to getting the previously mentioned extra head, Red Skull gets a quite impressive selection of accessories, including 3 sets of hands (fists, gripping, and open gesture), the Cosmic Cube, and the Nerf Vortex Proton-based gun originally included with Maverick.  I like that they’re starting this body out with a bunch of different hands, and the gun and cube make for a good variety in terms of posing and display.  Also included is the head to the Build-A-Figure Xemnu.


The lack of good Red Skull figures in my collection is something I’ve been trying to fix for a while, pretty much since back in the Toy Biz days.  The Legends figures always feel lacking, and I’ve never been totally content.  I have the Mezco figure, which I do quite like, but he’s not a true Legend and thus doesn’t quite fit in with them.  Plus, he’s not the jumpsuit version, and that’s my favorite.  I had very high hopes for this release, and I have to say, they were very well placed.  This figure is very definitely the best Legends Skull out there, and my favorite Red Skull figure to date.  It will be a hard task to upstage this one.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1975: Arnim Zola & Hydra Supreme



A clandestine ally of Hydra, Supreme Leader Captain America reveals his true allegiances and joins forces with Arnim Zola to bring Hydra to a position of dominant world power.”

Hey, you know what I just haven’t reviewed enough of recently?  Marvel Legends.  They’re just so scarce around these parts.  Oh, no, wait, they’re the other thing.  Abundant.  Very abundant.  Well, they’re about to get moreso, because, hey, more Marvel Legends.  Today, I’m swinging on over to the Hydra side of things, with a look at head scientist Arnim Zola, alongside the Cosmic-Cube-altered Hydra Supreme version of Captain America.


Arnim and Hydra Supreme were released back in January as the “Hail Hydra” set, the latest Marvel Legends two-pack.  It’s technically an EE-exclusive, but can also be gotten through a number of other retailers, since EE does wholesale and all.  The two figures are both inspired by 2017’s Secret Empire event.


A fairly classic Cap villain, Arnim is a fairly prominent fixture, both in the comics and the movies.  He’s also not a stranger to Legends, having been a Build-A-Figure shortly after the Return of Marvel Legends line began.  This release is largely a re-release of that one, with a few minor tweaks.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  The sculpt is largely a re-use of the Build-A-Figure, but he gets a new head (resembling his slightly more streamlined appearance from recent years), as well as swapping out his puffy-sleeved arms for Colossus’ more conventionally armored ones, all resulting in an ever so slightly more modernized take on Zola.  While some of the articulation is a little stiffer than more modern releases, he’s still pretty suitably posable, certainly posable enough for a character like Arnim.  The paintwork is another change between the two Arnims.  Where the first one went for a bolder, brighter, more comics-inspired palette, this one again angles more for a modern take, with a darker, metallic appearance.  Even the face is more modern, with a more intense, cackling expression.  Admittedly, I think I prefer the color scheme and face of the prior figure, but this one’s certainly not bad.  Arnim is packed with a small device of some sort, as well as the more boxy head from the original release.


The Hydra Supreme is like the standard Hydra, but with tomatoes and sour cream.  At least, it is when you play by Taco Bell rules.  Specific Hydra rules may be *slightly* different.  But I like to hope that the indoctrination of Steve Rogers included adding extra toppings to him.  And maybe giving him a nice Baja Blast, as well.  This figure depicts the Cosmic-Cube-ified Steve Rogers from the very end of Secret Empire, when he’s given up the heroic patriot charade entirely.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  At first glance, he appears to be be an all-new sculpt, but he actually has a sizeable amount of re-use.  His arms and lower legs are from Taskmaster, and his hands are from the Bleeding Edge armor Iron Man.  That leaves the head, torso, and upper legs as new pieces.  The end result is quite a cohesive looking figure, who is also quite accurate to the source material.  Since he’s drawn from Bucky Cap-based pieces, he’s perhaps a little smaller than Steve should be, but, admittedly, it doesn’t seem too far removed from how he was depicted in the comics.  Maybe being evil is a good weight loss program. His colors are decidedly on the Hydra end of the spectrum, as they were in the book.  It’s certainly a different look for the character.  Hydra Supreme is packed with a unique shield, based on his design from the comics.


I hadn’t gotten back into Legends yet when Zola was a BaF, so I never did get him built.  I was happy to see him offered up again here, since he’s a pretty important piece of the mythos.  Arnim’s a decent figure in his own right, but the surprise hit for me is definitely the Hydra Supreme, who’s just a really fun figure.  I’m hoping we might get to see him recolored as a Civil Warrior down the line.

#1858: Gabe Jones & Hydra Flame Trooper



When it came time to do the Minimates for The First Avenger, the film’s titular character was featured in most of the sets, but he did get to take a break for a few packs.  This includes today’s focus pack, which is perhaps the most obscure pairing of the bunch, Howling Commando Gabe Jones and the Hydra Flame Trooper.


Gabe and the Hydra Flame Trooper were one of the two Toys R Us-exclusive pairings for The First Avenger, alongside Golden Age Cap & Dum Dum Dugan.


Gabe is perhaps a less distinctive member of the Howling Commandos than Dum Dum, but he’s an important one nonetheless, and one that’s stuck around for quite a while.  He also has the notoriety of being Marvel’s first African American hero, albeit not quite one of the “super” variety.  The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Gabe is constructed using two add-on pieces.  The first is his helmet, which is shared with Frontline Captain America.  It’s a decent, standard-issue piece, so it works well enough.  His second add-on piece is his vest, a unique piece to this particular figure.  It’s definitely another solid piece, and it has some pretty excellent detail work, especially on the bandolier.  Like others in this particular set, there’s a holster attached; I still like them better as separate pieces, but it doesn’t look terrible.  The paintwork on Gabe is pretty standard stuff.  The application is all pretty cleanly handled.  He’s a little bit drab, but that’s just his design.  His face is sporting a pretty decent likeness of Derek Luke, but, as with Dugan, the likeness isn’t that far removed from Gabe’s comic incarnation, should you want to swap this head onto one of the comic book agent bodies.  Gabe is packed with a rather large machine gun, just like the one he was carrying around in the film.  He can hold it surprisingly well, given that it’s a two-hander.  He also includes a standard issue side-arm, which is the same as the one included with Cap and Bucky.


The Hydra Flame Trooper, like the basic Hydra Agents packed with Peggy and Howard, was first offered up as part of the single-packed army builders case, before being offered up a second time here.  It’s actually a pretty sensible way of filling in the line-up, since I doubt anyone’s really going to complain about a duplicate here.  The figure uses four add-on pieces for the mask/goggles, chest cap, and flamethrowers.  The mask is the same one used on the basic Agents, which is good for consistency’s sake.  The chest cap and flamethrowers are big and bulky, and a little bit restricting, but that was the case in the movie as well, so it’s not really a complaint here.  Lastly, the figure swaps out the upper legs for a pair of more detailed ones, used from the Hammerdrones.  The Flame Trooper’s paintwork is pretty straightforward stuff, really.  It’s black, with thin white detialing.  It actually looks quite good, and makes for rather a striking figure. The Flame Trooper included no accessories, but given all of the sculpted extras, I suppose that’s excusable.


I grabbed these two from a TRU on a road trip with my my family back in 2011.  Gabe isn’t the star figure in this assortment, but he’s exactly the sort of figure you like to see come out of movie assortments.  A fun second-tier character who wouldn’t otherwise get a figure.  The Hydra Flame trooper is another fun addition to the Hydra army, based on one of the cooler designs from the movie.

#1707: Agents of Hydra



“Driven by rage, these advanced Hydra super soldiers are prone to clash with anyone in their paths.”

Back when the newest incarnation of Marvel Legends was first launched, Hasbro was still figuring some things out.  The Captain America-themed Mandroid Series still had some troubles with distribution, and some…interesting choices in case packouts.  The assortment was split into two waves.  For the first wave, the Agents of Hydra swap figure’s packout was split evenly between Red Skull and the basic Hydra Agent.  Both moved pretty quickly, but there was definitely more demand for the army buildable Hydra Agent.  When the second wave hit, Hasbro decided to repack…Red Skull?  And then the Hydra Agent never resurfaced, so finding one was a mean feat.  Last year, having started to learn from their earlier woes, Hasbro did a re-release of the Agent, alongside a new Hydra Enforcer figure, in an exclusive two-pack.


The Agents of Hydra two-pack was a Toys R Us-exclusive offering under the greater Marvel Legends banner.  It *was* a TRU-exclusive, emphasis on “was.”  It was supposed to be released last summer, but apart from being on their website for exactly one afternoon, it never really showed up.  And then, it sort of did, in the wake of all of the closing stuff.  Now it’s made its way to Entertainment Earth, who have been grabbing all of the former exclusives.


The basic Hydra Agent is, for all intents and purposes, a straight re-issue of the Mandroid Series release.  He’s a more modern interpretation of the Hydra troopers, in the vein of Bob, Agent of Hydra.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s build on the Bucky Cap body and he has add-ons for his harness and belt.  Both pieces are unique to this figure and his predecessor.  They’re well sculpted, and well fitted to the body.  He’s also got a unique head, which is a good recreation of the Hydra Agent’s usual design.  His paintwork is a point of marked improvement over the last release.  Not only is the application a lot cleaner across the board, but he also gets a few more details, particularly the Hydra emblem on his shoulders.  Also an improvement are his accessories.  The last Hydra Agent included two rather goofy sci-fi-y rifles.  This one instead gets two less goofy rifles, which look a lot better.  He also gets a vest to swap out for the harness and and two extra heads.  The first head is Taskmaster’s alt-head, recolored to match the Hydra soldier scheme, which is nice and imposing.  The second is the same one included with the Nick Fury figure from the Giant-Man Series.  It all makes for a nice selection of options on this figure, which is especially nice for army building.


The Hydra Enforcer is a newer concept, and seems to be the figure that’s actually being referred to in the bio on the back of the box.  Despite being a new concept, the figure is just as much re-use as his pack-mate.  He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The figure is built on the Hyperion body, specifically the Nuke variant of the body, with the pants and combat boots.  He also gets Nuke’s vest and belt, as well as the head of Captain Britain, which works surprisingly well with the Hydra theme.  The design presented by these piece complements the basic agent pretty well, and he seems to fit the overall Hydra aesthetic nicely.  His paintwork is pretty similar to the standard agent, and the application is all pretty clean.  The Enforcer is packed with a large rifle (re-used from the AIM Agent), a missile launcher (re-used from Drax), a knife, and two extra heads.  The first head is Nuke’s, matching the other pieces on the figure.  It’s been re-decoed with a pretty intensive scar.  The second head is re-used from Radioactive Man, done up with a sort of a Jason Statham look.  Both are pretty fun, and far more specific designs than any of the basic heads, which I guess makes sense, since you’d assume the Enforcers are a more unique bunch.


Having missed out on the original Hydra Agent release, I was definitely on board for this set.  Of course, I couldn’t find it anywhere, so that all meant for nothing.  Then I was going through my local TRU during it’s liquidation process, and there was just a stack of this set.  Yay for me, right?  It’s a solid offering, very definitely.  It’s only real drawback is that it’s a little difficult to army build if you don’t want a bunch of Enforcers.  Still, a very fun set, and I’m glad it’s finally making its way out to the people who want it.

#1699: Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, & Hydra Agent



The civilians in superhero stories are very important to the mythos, but sadly, as rather average looking people, they don’t exactly lend themselves to lots of toys, no matter their prominence in the stories they hail from.  Fortunately, there are lines like Minimates, which are able to take advantage of their slightly different distribution methods to get us characters we might not otherwise see.  Take, for instance, today’s focuses, Howard Stark and Peggy Carter!


Howard, Peggy, and the Hydra Agent made up the specialty-exclusive component of the First Avenger-themed ‘mates, released in Series 40 of the main Marvel Minimates line.  Howard was the heavier packed of the two, with Peggy being his one-per-case “variant.”  In light of the movie and Peggy’s later importance moving forward, this was, and still is, an odd sort of case pack-out, but I guess they really wanted to make sure everyone had a chance at a young Howard.


The young Howard Stark presented in The First Avenger is clearly influenced by another famous Howard, aeronautics pioneer Howard Hughes.  Director Joe Johnson had experience with Hughes, having used him in the film adaptation of The Rocketeer, so I guess he was just going with what he was comfortable with.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Howard has two add-on pieces, for his hair and his suit jacket.  Both are re-used, from the Universal Monsters line, in fact.  The hair is from Creature From the Black Lagoon’s Dr. Reed, and the jacket is from The Wolfman’s Laurence Talbot.  Given the similar time-period of all of the films in question, the re-use is pretty sensible.  Additionally, it’s nice to see the pieces made from slightly higher grade plastic, as it allows the details to show through a lot better.  His paintwork is somewhat on the drab side, being mostly greasy and the like.  The face has a reasonable likeness of Dominic Cooper, though he’s more of a generic Howard sort of look.  I might have liked a more expressive face, but this works well enough.  Howard is packed with a hat (re-used from The Spirit line), which can be swapped out for the hair.


It seems crazy to me that this is the only Peggy Carter action figure out there.  It’s also true of Howard, of course, but he’s more of a supporting player.  You’d expect Peggy to get a little more respect, wouldn’t you?  Though, I suppose it’s fitting that a character like Peggy wouldn’t be getting the respect she deserved.  At least she got this.  She’s got two add-on pieces, one for her hair, and one for her skirt.  Both are re-used, though the hair was originally meant for Peggy, but ended up going on the First Class Emma Frost first.  It works well enough for the look they’re going for.  The skirt piece is the same one used on Gwen Stacy, and it’s a standard piece that is still in use now.  It all replicates her uniformed look from the movie nicely (though, if we’re being picky, I personally would have preferred her Hydra base-storming gear from the end of the movie; oh well).  Her paintwork is a little more detailed than Howard’s, since she’s not relying on sculpting for the torso detailing.  The detail work is nice and sharp, and her face even has a decent likeness of Haley Atwell, though it’s once again a little void of expression.  Peggy is packed with a Thompson machine gun, first seen with another WW2 hero, Sgt Rock.  It’s a little tricky to hold, but it’s a nice piece.


Also offered in the army builder singles case, the basic Hydra Agent was easily one of the most sensible MCU army builders to grace the ‘mate line.  There’s a whole ton of these guys running around getting plowed through by Cap and the Howling Commandos, so getting a minimum of two to start with here was great.  The figures are add-on heavy, with pieces for their masks, straps/skirts, and glove cuffs.  Apart from the glove cuffs (which are, appropriately, re-used from Captain America), the other pieces were new to these guys.  Or, at least, they were new to this general assortment, since the parts are shared with the other variations of Hydra agent.  The pieces match up well with the film design, and the detail work is pretty clean.  The paintwork is pretty decent, and features more detailing than you might notice at first glance.  Perhaps the coolest part is what’s under the mask piece; since there were a few different Hydra masks seen in the movie, this one has the bulked up look, as well as a more streamlined design beneath it.  It adds an extra element of customization to them, which makes the army building all the more fun.  The Hydra Agents were both packed with a rifle, which has remained exclusive to the First Avengers offerings.


I picked both of these sets up new from Cosmic Comix.  These were actually the sets I was most excited for at the time, and while they are perhaps not the most thrilling designs, I still really like them all.  The execution is definitely there.  And where else are you going to get Howard Stark and Peggy Carter action figures?  No where!

#0149: Winter Soldier – Agent of SHIELD & Hydra Elite



Okay, so I may have lied about “new Minimates” reviews being done for a while.  Yeah, I was kinda at Toys R Us, and found the one set of figures from TRU wave 18 that I hadn’t found yet.  So, I’m reviewing those today.  It should be a quick review, as I already reviewed one, and the other is only a slight tweak on a figure I already looked at.


Winter Soldier and the Hydra Elite were released as part of the 18th Toys R Us exclusive wave of Marvel Minimates.


So, after being turned into a Russian-Assassin, Bucky got better, and became an Agent of SHIELD.  So, he got a haircut and stuck a new bumper sticker on his robot arm.  Now he’s a hero!  Yay!  He’s pretty much the same figure as the last Winter Soldier I looked at.  The difference is that he’s got a different hairpiece, his uniform is a brighter blue, and instead of having a red star on the robot arm, he’s got a white star in a blue circle.  Everything, including the accessories and the detail lines is the same.  I can’t blame Diamond for taking advantage of the near identical looks.  They’re close enough to share parts, but just different enough to require separate figures, and there was demand for both versions.  I still prefer the other version a bit more, though I may swap the robot arms.


This figure is exactly the same as the Wave 54 Hydra Elite.  Exactly the same.  No minor differences or anything.  However, it is an army builder, so I doubt anyone will complain about it being more plentiful.  I certainly was glad to get another one.


So, this isn’t the most thrilling set if you’ve already got wave 54, but it’s a decent accent.  Plus, I got it for $3.98, so I’m pretty much just buying it to get another Hydra Elite.  Now I have 4!

#0133: Baron Strucker, Viper, & Hydra Elite




I’ll be wrapping up my reviews of the most recent wave of Marvel Minimates today.  This wave is based around Captain America.  I’ll be looking at a few of his recurring foes today, all of whom are members of the deadly Hydra organization.


These figures were released as part of the 54th wave of the Marvel Minimates line.  Baron Strucker was the more widely packed figure, with Madame Hydra as the one per case variant and both of them packed with one of the Hydra Elite.


First up, it’s the leader of the organization, Baron Strucker.  Not to be confused with Baron Smucker, the tyrannical leader of that company that makes jam.  Though I’m sure Strucker does love him some jam…  Anyway, Strucker is depicted in his Hydra uniform(s).  He’s built on the basic Minimate body, so he features 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  He’s fairly light on the sculpting, featuring only a set of shoulder pads, which were reused from Rictor.  The paint detailing is quite nice, especially Strucker’s face, which is appropriately old and surly.  I also like the simulated transparency of the monocle.  Stucker is well accessorized with a coat that can be swapped out with the shoulder pads, his trusty demon’s claw, a sword, a pistol of some sort, and a clear display stand.  I quite like the coat and the demon’s claw, as they allow me to set up the Strucker that I’m more familiar with.


Next, it’s Strucker’s second in command, Viper…er Madame Hydra…no wait, um…hmmm.  Yeah, I can’t make up my mind.  That’s okay, though, neither could Diamond, since she’s listed as Madame Hydra on some of the boxes and as Viper on the others.  I prefer Madame Hydra because it avoids any connotations to the lackluster interpretation of the character in the recent Wolverine movie.  Madame Hydra has only really had one look, and that’s the one they went with here, so that works out.  She’s on the standard body, and has all the usual stuff associated.  She features 4 sculpted add-ons: hair, belt, and dual leg holsters.  The belt is a new piece I believe. The hair is a reuse from one of the figures in the Femme Fatales set, Dawn I think.  The holsters are from the Avengers movie line, and were most recently used on the comic version of Maria Hill, second in command of SHIELD, which is kind of a neat touch, I think.  The paint is a bit of a mixed bag on this figure.  All of the detail lines are nice and sharp, and I particularly like the face, which even features a scarred eye behind the peek-a-boo hair, but the transitions on the gloves and boots are incredibly sloppy.  Not enough to ruin the figure, but enough to be very annoying.  Madame Hydra includes two handguns, a bullwhip, and a clear display stand.


Lastly, this wave’s army builders, the Hydra Elite!  Or they could just be basic Hydra dudes.  That works too.  This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Hydra army builder, but it’s been a while since the last one, and that one wasn’t as good as it could be, even then.  So, I’m glad to see Diamond revisiting these guys.  They’re built on the standard body, so they’ve got the usual articulation and height and such.  They feature 5 sculpted pieces: mask, ruffled shirt arms, a cape, and a belt/skirt combo.  I believe the belt and the Mask are new pieces, and the cape and upper arms are pieces that have been used lots of times before.  The paint on these is quite nice, and what is really cool is the completely different Hydra mask underneath of the sculpted one.  The first Hydra Agent had this piece, but it didn’t work quite as well.  The colors are also brighter and bolder than the previous Hydra Agent, which looks much better.  One thing that does bug me is that the gloves and boots aren’t all the same length from piece to piece, which can look a bit odd.  The Hydra Elite include a small handgun, a sword, a larger gun, and a clear display stand.


These are probably my two favorite sets in this wave.  I’ve been hoping for a redo of the Hydra agents for a while now, and these guys really do that nicely.  I’ll need to track down a few more of them because I want a serious squad of these guys.  Strucker and Madame Hydra are nice additions too, and really allow for a proper parallel set up with SHIELD and HYDRA, which is super cool!