#1193: A.I.M. Soldier

A.I.M. SOLDIER

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Back when Toy Biz was still handling Marvel toys, they were prone to showing off figures that would never see the light of day (and they frequently showed them after these decisions were made, because apparently someone working there just loooooved rubbing salt in wounds).  For the 13th series of Marvel Legends, dubbed “Bring on the Bad Guys,” they initially planned to pack each villain with one of the Marvel universe’s many faceless henchmen, but they were eventually cut and replaced with the Onslaught Build-A-Figure.  Seven henchmen were shown: a Skull, a Brood, a Hand Ninja, a Hellfire Club Guard, a Doom Bot, a Hydra Agent, and an A.I.M. Soldier.  The Scrull and Brood eventually were released as part of DST’s Marvel Select line, and Hasbro would release their own versions of the Hydra Agent and Hand Ninja.  When it came time to make an A.I.M. Soldier, Hasbro has switched to the smaller-scale Marvel Universe line; he was a cool figure and all, but it just wasn’t the same.  Eight years after Series 13’s release, the A.I.M. Soldier finally made his way into Marvel Legends.  That’s the figure I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

aim2The A.I.M. Soldier was released in the first series of the Captain America: The Winter Solider Marvel Legends Infinite Series.  The official title is “Soldiers of A.I.M.” which he shared with Baron Zemo (who I reviewed back when he was new).  It certainly fits him better than it did Zemo.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  At the time of his release, the A.I.M. Soldier was an all-new sculpt, but most of the body was re-used for last year’s Ghost Rider. He has a different head, obviously, depicting the signature “beekeeper’s mask,” as well as different forearms, and a unique belt.  The overall appearance is that of the classic A.I.M. design.  There are some slight discrepancies on the front of the chest and the specifics of the gloves, due to this body being preemptively designed to work for the comic version of Star-Lord released just a few months after this figure.  The discrepancies aren’t anything incredibly distracting, and there have been enough slight variations to the A.I.M. design that it doesn’t immediately jump out as being “wrong.”  Plus, it’s just an A.I.M. Soldier.  How important is it for them to be spot on?  The figure also gets an add-on piece for his bandolier, which gives him some nice extra details (and also covers up some of those inaccuracies on the torso).  In terms of paint, the A.I.M. Soldier is decent enough.  He manages use lots of yellow without looking totally ridiculous (he’s still ridiculous, but not totally ridiculous), and most of the application is pretty clean.  There’s a slight matching issue with the yellow at the bottom of the belt piece, but that’s really it.  The A.I.M. Soldier included two blasters, one large and one small, as well as right arm of the Mandroid (the same piece included with Zemo).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Mandroid Series was back when Hasbro was  still working out some of their distribution issues, and also still learning some hard lessons about case-packouts.  While I got all of the necessary pieces for the Mandroid, I never had any luck finding the two swap figures.  While I was out for my birthday last year, I found this guy at 2nd Chance Toyz.  He was loose, but I already had the BAF piece, so no big deal there.  I’m glad to finally have him, and I feel he was worth the wait.  Now, I’ll take my Hellfire Club Guard whenever you’re ready, Hasbro.

#0226: Mandroid

MANDROID

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

Mandroid

I think I’ve probably said all I can about the awesomeness that is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If you still haven’t seen it or don’t agree, there’s probably no helping you at this point. You’re just doing it wrong. If you’ve been following the site, you know I just picked up Hasbro’s most recent set of Marvel Legends, meant to coincide with the film. I’ve been pretty happy with them so far, and I was definitely for the line’s Build-A-Figure, based on the Mandroid. Quick sum up on the Mandroid: it’s battle armor worn by certain SHIELD Agents in big battles with super-humans. It’s super cool. Let’s see how the figure fairs, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mandroid was released as the Build-A-Figure for the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series line, with pieces packed with six (technically eight, with the swap figures) figures over the course of two series of the line. The figure stands about 7 inches tall and features 28 points of articulation (29 if you count the mounted gun). The Mandroid seems to be loosely based on the classic Mandroid design, with a movie-style flair added to it. It’s a strong enough design, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it in the more proper gold color scheme somewhere down the line. The figure makes use of the Iron Man 3 Marvel Legends Iron Monger Build-A-Figure’s legs and lower torso, as well as slightly tweaked versions of that figure’s arms, all coupled with a brand new head and upper torso. The re-use all works well for the design, and seems to fit pretty seamlessly with the new parts. The newer pieces look pretty spot on to the classic Mandroid design. As seems to be a running theme with this series, the figure’s sculpt is let down a bit by the paint application. The figure is mostly molded in the appropriate silver, so there are no issues with those parts, but the black paint shows a few areas of bleed over, and the yellow paint is just plain messy. The visor on the head has serious amounts of bleed over on the outlying areas. The left arm gets it the worst, with the yellow bits barely even lining up with the sculpted lines they’re meant to follow, plus a general inconsistent coating, and random blotches of yellow in incorrect places all over the arm to boot! Fortunately, the yellow is a rather minor part of the figure, and most of the offending areas aren’t oft seen, but the visor is utterly inexcusable. The sculpt of the figure is impressive enough that I’m willing to overlook the paint, but the figure could have been so much more impressive if they had been a bit more careful.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’ve been following my previous reviews of the CA:TWSMLIS line, then you pretty much know how I acquired this figure. It’s not terribly exciting, but it did lead to me picking up some figures I wouldn’t have otherwise in order to get Mandroid pieces. So, was it worth it? Well, there are some serious issues with the figure’s paint, which really let me down, but overall, I’d have to say yes, the figure was worth the extra purchases. The Mandroid is a cool design, regardless of the issues the figure faces, and the excess figures were overall acceptable. Honestly, this is probably the happiest I’ve been with a full set of figures in a fair bit of time!

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#0225: Captain America – Now!

CAPTAIN AMERICA – NOW!

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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In my Spider-Girl review, I discussed the different reasons for buying figures. My decision to purchase the figure of today’s review is firmly planted in the “completing a Build-A-Figure” camp. I wouldn’t want my poor Mandroid figure to forever be headless, now would I? Getting that piece also meant getting this figure. In all fairness, I’ve bought worse figures for sillier reasons. Anyway, the figure is the somewhat demanding sounding Captain America – Now! Let’s see how this one turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cap was released as part of the first series of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series, and is also going to be seeing a re-release in the second set of revision cases for series two. Cap stands a bit over 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. As the title indicates, Cap is based on his appearance from Marvel’s recent Marvel Now! initiative. I don’t think it has the lasting power of the classic design, but it’s not a bad design, and it is the character’s current look, so it’s nice to see it released. Cap features an all new sculpt, and it’s a pretty good one. He’s got some great texture work, and I quite like the hexagonal pattern on the torso and upper arms. For some reason, the sculpt on the face seems a bit off for Cap. I think that the chin might be a bit too short and the mouth might be a touch too big. The paint work is okay overall, but there are a few spots of noticeable slop, plus a fair bit of inconsistent application on the red stripes on his lower torso. It’s not too distracting, but it is quite noticeable with minor inspection.  Cap seems to be a bit light in the accessories department, especially compared to the rest of the line. He’s limited to his shield, which is reused from Ultimate Cap from the previous Marvel Legends line, and the Mandroid’s head, which happens to be the smallest of the Mandroid pieces as well. It leaves the figure feeling a bit light, but I suppose the figure itself does seem to have a bit more heft than the others.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Cap was not amongst the figures I recently received from Big Bad Toystore. However, when I realized that I’d have all of the Mandroid pieces save the head, I figured I’d go ahead and pick him up. I ended up getting him from Amazon, at a slightly marked up price. Seems the figure’s become a bit more desirable since Series two was released. He’s not a bad figure, but he’s not my Cap. At best, he’s an amusing variant. Which isn’t the worst thing, truth be told. He’s a solid addition to a great line.

#0224: Winter Soldier

WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITY SERIES

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Let’s see, so far in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series reviews, I’ve discussed the quality of the film, the quality of the toys, the stupid decisions regarding the pack outs, oh yes, and Nazis, of course. This review ends up getting the short end of the stick, I’m afraid. Well, it’s a review of the film’s title bad guy. If you didn’t know by this point, he’s… SPOILERS

 

…actually Captain America’s best friend, Bucky Barnes, saved from near death and brain washed to become the ultimate assassin. Fun times.  So, let’s take a look at his figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Winter Soldier is part of the second series of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series. The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and he features 30 points of articulation. He is, of course, based on the character’s appearance in TWS, but is specifically from the middle-ish area of the movie, after he loses the coat he sports in early scenes and before he loses the mask and eye-liner. The figure gets a brand new sculpt, and it’s an impressive one at that. I thought the 3 ¾ inch version’s sculpt was pretty good, and this one just adds even more detail, and a fair bit of extra articulation. The wrist, ankle and abdominal articulation really gives the figure a whole new dimension. If I had one complaint, it would be that the robot arm doesn’t look quite as good with the smaller one, due to the double jointed elbow. However, the added movement is important, so I’m willing to let it slide. The paint work on WS is probably the cleanest I’ve seen on the line so far, which is a comforting thing to see. However, once again, I don’t like the robo-arm quite as much. They’ve given it a dark wash that makes it look rather scummy. It does bring out the details, but the Soldier’s arm was consistently clean and shiny in the movie, so it looks off. Not terrible, mind you, just slightly off. The downfall of this figure, is the accessories. They’re all fine in theory, just not really in execution. First off, there’s the Mandroid leg. That’s pretty straight forward, with no issues. I’ll be looking at that in two days, along with the rest of the Mandroid. Then, there’s the alternate head. Here’s where the trouble begins. Sculpturally, it’s not a bad depiction of Bucky, sans mask. The paint is what messes it up. First, the eye shadow goes waaay to far down his face. It pretty much covers the entirety of his face, for Pete’s sake! Then, they gave him these really thin, drawn on eyebrows, which are set way to high up. He looks very surprised, I must say. With a proper paint job, this head would actually be pretty good. I’ve included a quick photoshop job to demonstrate this. As it is, it’s just…eughhh. Lastly, and leastly, there’s the gun. Well, I say gun. It’s more of a strange red fish thing that happens to have a handle. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, but it’s certainly not anything he carried in the movie. Is there a reason he can’t have a real gun? Zemo and Red Skull have real guns. Why must Bucky be stuck with this monstrosity? He can’t even hold it like a real gun! I suppose it’s not as bad as Widow’s total lack of guns, but I don’t think it’s much better.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bucky is the last piece of my series two set I received from Big Bad Toystore. I knew even before I saw the movie I was going to want this guy, so I’m happy to finally have him. The wonky gun thing is a bit of a bummer, but I swapped in the larger rifle from one of my Star Wars: The Black Series Stormtroopers, and that seems to work a bit better. Sure, it’s still not right, but at least it’s based on a real gun, and it’s not a bright color. The alt head is also a bit of a disappointment, but I always intended to display the masked one anyway, so I’m not really bugged by that. Truth be told, Winter Soldier is probably my favorite figure from this line up. He’s a heck of a lot of fun!

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#0223: Red Skull – Agents of Hydra

RED SKULL – AGENTS OF HYDRA

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

RedSkull

Nazis. I hate these guys.

Today, It’s another figure from Hasbro’s most recent round of Marvel Legends. This one once again draws from the comics side of things, presenting us with another take on Captain America’s #1 foe, the Red Skull. Let’s get to the review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull, or “Agents of Hydra” as he is officially called, was released in the first series of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series. Like Zemo, he was released again in the second series. He is shares the “Agents of Hydra” title with an actual Hydra Agent. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and features 31 points of articulation. He seems to be based on the Skull’s appearance from the Mid-90s, during Mark Waid’s run in the Heroes Return era. He’s based on Hasbro’s Trench-coat buck. This is my first run in with the body, and I have to say I’m not impressed, especially when it’s compared to the other body’s used in this series. From a sculpt stand point, it’s not the worst. It has some decent textures, and it looks okay just standing there. However, the articulation is awkward at best, especially the legs and shoulders, which seem impossible to get into a natural position. The trench coat is an add-on piece, and they’ve also stuck a shoulder holster under it. I think the figure actually looks a bit better without the holster piece on. One thing I do really like is his head, which is a really great sculpt, with lots of character. The paint work is actually pretty clean on this figure, though that might be due to his more simplistic paint scheme. The Skull includes a red pistol, some strange laser gun thing, a Cosmic Cube, and the left arm of the Mandroid. The pistol can fit snuggly in either of the Skull’s holsters, with the laser thing can fit in neither, leaving him with an empty one. The Cube is really cool, even if it is just a clear blue plastic cube. It’s the little things, you know?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Skull was amongst the Series Two set I received from Big Bad Toystore. Like Zemo, I had initially planned on getting his swap figure, the Hydra Agent, instead of him. But, he was in the set, so here he is. My opinion hasn’t drastically changed for the Skull like it did with Zemo, but he’s an alright figure. I don’t regret owning him. If you get him into an okay standing pose, he looks fairly intimidating, and he is the best available version of Cap’s arch enemy.

#0222: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Toy companies have long insisted that female action figures don’t sell as well as male action figures. So, their response to fan demand is usually one of two things: they shortpack the figure, making it impossible to find, or they put no effort into the figure, making it a monstrosity nobody wants. Or they do both (case in point: Marvel Legends Scarlet Witch. Eughhh…). These actions lead to female figures not selling as well, which leads to companies saying they don’t sell well, which leads to shortpacking and poor figures. Which leads to, you guessed it, bad sales. It’s one of those self-fulfilling prophecy things.

Anyway, this mentality lead to Black Widow being the only team member absent from Hasbro’s 6-inch scale Avengers line, meant to tie-in with the 2012 movie. It was really annoying, but Hasbro said they’d make it up to us. When the Captain America: The Winter Soldier figures were announced, they informed us that Widow would be including two heads, so she could be displayed from either movie. How could it go wrong? Well, Hasbro decided to pack Widow one per-case. For a ratio, there are eight figures in a case, and three of them are Captain America. To make matters worse, Widow included the most essential piece to the line’s Mandroid Build-A-Figure. Fortunately, Hasbro seems to be learning, and has announced that they will be sending out revision cases with Cap, Widow, and Winter Soldier all evenly packed. Maybe their starting to get it…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow was released in the second series of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series. The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. She’s actually a bit too tall, which is the reverse of the problem that most female figures suffer from. It doesn’t ruin the figure, but she’s almost as tall as Cap, and there’s a difference of almost a foot between Scarlet Johansen and Chris Evans in real life. The figure appears to have a brand new sculpt, and it’s a very nice sculpt at that. I’m not sure if I like the body sculpt quite as much as Hasbro’s Spider-Girl sculpt, but it’s a very close second. Like that figure, she has very nice, mostly realistic proportions. Her stance is perhaps a bit too wide, but other than that, everything looks pretty good. The basic TWS head is a great sculpt, and it looks pretty much spot on to what Ms. Johansen looked like in the movie. The long hair is a little bit restricting to the neck articulation, but that’s understandable given the style. It certainly isn’t as bad as it could have been. In the paint department, Black Widow lucks out compared to the previous two figures I’ve looked at. There’s still a bit of bleed over in a few spots, but she seems to have less of the fuzzy lines and slop of the other two. She includes an extra Avengers-styled head, an extra set of trigger finger hands, and the Mandroid torso. The head is a nice touch, given Widow’s absence from the 6-inch Avengers line and the closeness of the costumes. It looks like the same face with new hair, and it looks pretty good, though the hair might be sitting a smidge too high on her forehead.Widow also includes two pistols…sculpted into their holsters. Remember how I said she had trigger fingers? Yeah, she has nothing to hold in them. It’s seriously disappointing and mars an otherwise great figure.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Widow was part of my set of Series Two figures from Big Bad Toystore. She is the primary reason I bought the set, as I wasn’t going to fork over almost $60 for just her. She definitely lives up to the hype she’s gotten. It’s a great representation of Widow. She’s a great action figure in general. This is the second Hasbro female I’ve given that assessment is the last week. They’re definitely on to something here! However, the figure is hurt by the lack of firearms. I ended up finding a suitable handgun in my spare parts bin, but not everyone has a spare parts bin.

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#0221: Baron Zemo – Soldier of A.I.M.

BARON ZEMO – SOLDIERS OF A.I.M.

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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If you’d told me a few years ago that two of my favorite lines of toys (Star Wars: The Black Series and Marvel Legends Infinite Series) would be coming from Hasbro, I’d have laughed in your face. I’ve never hated Hasbro or anything, and I’ve been pretty happy with their work on Marvel Universe, but they’ve never been known for anything downright outstanding. In the past year, they’ve really stepped it up in terms of sculpts, articulation, accessories, and general quality of figures. Sure, they’ve had a few missteps (re-packing Han in the third series of SWB instead of an extra Stormtrooper; making Black Widow, the Hydra Agent, and the A.I.M. Soldier one per case), but they do seem to be learning, and they actually are trying to make up for some of their failures. That’s down right admirable, especially after years of dealing with Mattel…

Today, I’ll be reviewing Baron Zemo from their recent Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series. Unlike yesterday’s Cap, he’s based on a comic design, and if you’d like to know more about him, head over to the Backstories section!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baron Zemo, or “Soldiers of A.I.M.” as he’s officially named, is part of the first series of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series and is also in the first revision case featuring series two. He is a swap figure with the A.I.M. Soldier, hence the name. The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and sports 32 points of articulation. He’s based on Zemo’s more recent appearances. It’s honestly not far off from his classic design, sans the fur-lined boots and shoulders. The figure is built on Hasbro’s medium male buck, with flared boots and gloves. He also gets a new head and add-ons for his shoulder holsters and his belt/loincloth. The head is a perfect representation of Zemo’s look in the comics, and the body and add-ons look great too. I quite like the “Z”s embroidered on his holsters. They’re a nice touch. Like STRIKE Suit Captain America, the figure’s sculpt is let down a bit by some rocky paint apps. The forearms have been molded in yellow and painted purple, and not only did they miss some of the spots closer to the gloves, the paint also seems to be a bit too thin, allowing the yellow plastic to bleed through. The edge of the mask also has some pretty fuzzy lines, the whites of the eyes aren’t quite in line with the sculpt, and his crown piece isn’t totally painted. None of these are major issues, but they are annoying, and they detract from an otherwise great figure. Zemo includes a pistol, a sword, and the right arm of the Mandroid. I’ll be taking a look at the Mandroid after everyone else is reviewed, which leaves the gun and sword. The sword sadly suffers from similar bleed through issues to the forearms, but it fits well in his hand, and can also be slipped through the loop on his belt. The pistol is a nice piece, which has some great painted details. Sadly, he’ll be forced to always hold it, because both of his holsters have permanently sculpted guns. Drat it!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Zemo was part of the set of Series two figures I received from Big Bad Toystore. I wasn’t sure I was going to get him at first, as I wanted the A.I.M. Soldier a bit more. However, he was in the set, and I figured why not? I’m glad that was my attitude on the figure. Paint issues aside, he’s a great figure, and a very welcome addition to anyone’s Captain America shelf.

#0220: Captain America – S.T.R.I.K.E. Suit

CAPTAIN AMERICA – STRIKE SUIT

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITY SERIES

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It’s still early into the summer movie season, but I think it’s going to be hard to topple Captain America: The Winter Soldier from its spot at the top of my list. The movie really resonated with me, and unsurprisingly, I wanted all my favorite characters from it in action figure form. I already picked up and reviewed three of the smaller scale figures, and the Minimates are still a little ways out, but the ones I was really interested in getting were Hasbro’s 6-inch scale versions, released as part of their latest incarnation of Marvel Legends. I finally managed to get a set, and today I’ll be starting my reviews off with the main man himself, Captain America! Foes who oppose the shield, you’d best prepare to yield!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cap was released as part of the second series of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinity Series. Man, is that a long name! He’s presented here in his S.T.R.I.K.E Team suit from The Winter Soldier. That suit is in turn based on Cap’s Commander Rodgers from the time he was Director of SHIELD for a while in the comics. The figure stands a bit over 6 inches tall and sports 32 points of articulation. The figure features an all new sculpt, and it’s a really good one at that. The body has excellent proportions, and the uniform has a great variety of textures, just the real thing. The main head sculpt (the helmeted one) is a very nice piece of work. The face isn’t spot on to Chris Evans, but it’s a decent attempt, and the helmet looks pretty much spot-on to the one featured in the movie. The figure also sports an add-on belt piece, which aids in giving the figure a bit more dimension. The paint work doesn’t quite live up to the sculpt. There are a few noticeable spots of bleed over, though there doesn’t seem to be any outright slop. There are still some nice touches, such as the American flag and “ROGERS” name tag on his left shoulder, and the SHIELD logo on his right shoulder. These could have easily been overlooked, but their inclusion really adds to the figure. Cap is quite well accessorized, with an extra unmasked head, saluting and pointing hands, his mighty shield, and the right leg to this line’s Build-A-Figure, the Mandroid. The extra head is nice, though it looks even less like Evans than the main sculpt. The extra hands add a bit of extra character, and I especially love the pointing finger. It’s got a lot of possible uses. I’ll be covering the Mandroid after the rest of the reviews are done, which just leaves the shield. It’s a well sculpted piece, but it does seem a bit large for Cap. Not too much, but still noticeable. Also, they’ve gone with the all blue look, which I suppose goes with the costume, but given that it’s only in one scene of the movie, it would have been nice to get a regularly colored version.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I received Cap and the rest of Series 2 from Big Bad Toystore just the other day. I’ve had the set pre-ordered for a while in order to insure I got all three of the movie related figures. Cap is a really good figure, and one of the best Captain America figures that Hasbro has produced. I’d love to see this level of detail applied to a more classic Cap design. Still, I loved this design in the movie, and I’m glad to have a top-notch figure of it in my collection.