#1533: Daredevil

DAREDEVIL

LEGENDARY MARVEL SUPER HEROES (DST)

For my second day of post-Christmas reviews, I get to look back on things I’ve forgotten.  Namely, the line today’s figure came from, Legendary Marvel Super Heroes.  The line is Diamond Select Toys’ continuation of the Mego-stylings seen in the World’s Greatest Super Heroes toy line of the 1970s, launched back in 2015.  I looked that the first two figures, Spider-Man and Captain America, back when they were new, and I was quite supportive of the line, and very much looking forward to its future offerings.  And then…I sort of forgot about it.  I feel a bit bad about that.  I blame Hasbro releasing 3 million Marvel Legends that I have to buy every year.  It takes up a lot of my time.  Anyway, today, I’m finally returning to Legendary Marvel Super Heroes, with a look at a character who never got a proper Mego back in the day, Daredevil!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil was the sixth figure in DST’s Legendary Marvel Super Heroes, released in mid-2016, between Deadpool and Punisher.  As with the rest of the figures in this line, he was built on the same standard body, which a slight re-fitting of Mego’s Type II body, with minor adjustments by Paul “Dr. Mego” Clarke.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Like the other figures in this line, Daredevil is essentially three figures in one, with only the base body shared between the three.  If you have any standard Mego bodies lying around, or even prior figures from this line, you can display all three looks as separate figures.  For the purposes of my review, I’ve supplied two extras from my own collection.

The first of the three included looks is DD’s “vintage” design.  This is the one that’s meant to come as close to a legit Mego figure as possible.  The difference between DD and the last two I looked at is that, as a character with no actual vintage counterpart, DST and crew have had to come up with a figure that mimics the stylings of the old figures, a task at which they’ve very much succeeded.  By far the best part of this look is the head sculpt, which captures the classic DD design perfectly, while also preserving that Mego charm.  By modern standards, he looks a bit dated, but that’s sort of the idea, now isn’t it?  This is a head that will look completely at home next to the likes of Cap and Spidey.  The paint on the head is fairly simple, but it’s bold and the application is very clean, which looks pretty fantastic.  DD has a red bodysuit, which has been tailored to match the classic Mego one piece suits.  It’s got some pleather cuffs for the gloves, which feels appropriately vintage.  My only real complaint here is about the logo, which is very hard to see.  A higher contrast would have looked nicer, I think.  There’s a separate pair of red shorts overtop, which are definitely goofy, but also totally true to the ’70s version of the character.  As far as molded pieces go, he’s got a fairly standard set of red boots, as well as belt with a pleather holder for his billy club.  Said billy club is molded in bright red and can be popped apart at the middle.  He also includes an extra right hand with a more formed grip.  It’s nice to have the option, but it sort of doesn’t feel right to me, since it goes against the vintage Mego look where they all had the same hands.

The second costumed look for both Cap and Spidey was an updated version of the classic costume, but for DD they’ve opted to go for a totally different look, since just another version of the red costume might be a little bit drab.  So, instead, he gets a slightly modernized take on his original yellow costume.  As an unabashed fan of the Yellow Daredevil design, I’m definitely happy this costume made it into the set.  Where both Cap and Spidey got an all-new masked head for their second costume, DD’s is the same head, just painted in the appropriate colors.  The sculpt is strong enough that I don’t mind, and in fact I think it’d just be frustrating if they gave us a different head sculpt here, since the two would then never match.  This costume also gets the same belt and holster as the first one, just in a darker brown this time.  The actual costume is far more involved.  There’s a yellow body suit, which is slightly tighter to the body and also includes more of a collar to better hide the underlying body at the neck.  There’s an additional pleather unitard that goes overtop, which is also tightly tailored to the body, and features a much more obvious insignia.  He gets a set of far more detailed boots, modeled after those worn by a boxer (fitting, given his background) as well as new hands in fists.  He also gets the gripping right hand, as well as a billy club in brown.

The last look in the set is Daredevil’s alter-ego, Matt Murdock.  He gets an unmasked head sculpt, which looks to use the same starting point as the masked heads.  It’s okay, but I’m not sure it works quite as well as just the basic masked head.  It’s got some very clean paintwork, so that’s nice.  Matt’s seen here wearing a suit, which was patterned off the classic Mego suits seen on Clark Kent and the like.  It’s rather baggy and more than a little goofy, but it fits the style and, if nothing else, it’s easy to get on the body.  He also includes a set of sunglasses (which stay on much better than the glasses included in the Spider-Man set), as well as standard flesh tone hands, an extra gripping right hand, his briefcase, and his cane.

Also included in this set is a booklet detailing the process of getting this figure made, as well as giving a detailed account of DD’s history in both toys and comics.  It was certainly an entertaining read, just like the other two I’ve gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Daredevil was given to me by my parents as a Christmas gift this year.  He’s a figure I kept meaning to get, but I just kept getting side-tracked.  When playing with my Dad’s Mego collection as a kid, Daredevil’s absence definitely bugged me, so getting this figure definitely feels nice.  The standard look is definitely my favorite of the three, but I like them all.  Given his uniqueness, I think this set offers a bit more value than the last two I looked at, but I’m still a little bit frustrated that only one body is included, especially since one of my spares broke while I was shooting the photos for this set.  Nevertheless, this is a fun set for sure, and essential for any Mego fan’s collection.

#0542: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL RETRO FIGURES (DIAMOND SELECT TOYS)

CapRetro1

So, today, you were probably expecting to read a review of that Marvel Legends Hobgoblin I’ve been building for the last week. Well, dear reader, you’re just going to have to test your patience on that one, because I’m going to be doing a bit of a theme for the next two weeks.  Aren’t I just the worst?

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you might be unaware that a little movie called Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to be released (in the US, anyway) on May 1st. That means that there are 14 days until it’s released. So, I’ll be counting down by doing a review of a figure of each of the film’s main characters each day between now and then.  Let’s kick things off with “The First Avenger” Captain America.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapRetro10Captain America is the second figure in Diamond Select Toys’ Marvel Retro Figures line, which is DST’s new line of figures based on the old Mego figures from the 70s. Cap follows Spider-Man and will be followed by Wolverine and Thor later this year. The figure is built on the line’s standard body, which is a re-fit Mego Type II body, with a few improvements by Paul “Dr. Mego” Clarke. Said body (with the addition of a head) stands roughly 8 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation. As I noted in my review of the Spider-Man figure, this version of the body has a sturdier construction than the original Mego bodies, and is even a little sturdier than DST’s previous Star Trek and Planet of the Apes retro lines. Just like Spider-Man, Captain America is essentially three figures in one. There are three complete sets, each consisting of a head, a costume, and accessories, and one body for them all to share. For the purposes of this review, I have provided two spare bodies of my own, but the actual set only has the one.

CapRetro9First of the three looks is Cap’s “vintage” look, which is the one that comes pre-built on the included body. He’s a recreation of the original Captain America Mego. The vintage Cap is widely remembered for the changes to his costume and his overall goofy look. This figure remains true to that. He uses the same head sculpt as the original figure. Purely looking at the sculpt of the head, it’s actually not bad. It’s a teeny bit dated, but it’s generally a fairly generic hero head. What really makes the head goofy looking is the paint, which has also been recreated here. Overall, it’s a pretty good match for the original Cap head. Some of the line work, particularly on the “shadow” of the mask, is a little fuzzy at the edges. Also, the already goofy eyes are made a little goofier by the fact that the pupils are just a tiny bit misplaced. It looks a little bit like he’s glancing to his right. The figure’s body suit is tailored to match the original, and they’ve done a pretty great job of that. It sits very nicely, and the colors of the cloth are all well-matched. The star emblem presents a bit of a problem. The original figure had a decal, which, over time, fell off of just about every single figure. On this one, it’s been replaced by a piece of thick pleather-like material. It’s an understandable change, but rather than properly affix it to the costume, it’s held on in the center with a rather simple threading. The end result is a) a fairly noticeable dot in the center of the logo and b) a logo which sticks up at the sides and doesn’t stay straight. Surely there had to be a better solution than that to get the logo to stay in place. The other essential piece of the costume is the boots. The original was notable for not having the proper buccaneer-style boots of Cap’s comic look, and that’s replicated here. The original Mego Cap boots, like all Mego boots, were molded in a thin, stiff plastic. Here, they’re done in a rubberier material, making them both sturdier and easier to get on and off the figure. This version of the figure includes the same one accessory as his vintage counterpart: his shield. The actual piece is a pretty straight re-cast of the original shield, but the decal is noticeably not as smoothly applied as the vintage one, which is too bad.

CapRetro4Second up is the updated take on the classic Cap design. Like Spider-Man, this figure is meant to be what a Mego Cap might look like with modern toy making technology at its disposal. To start with, the figure gets a brand-new head sculpt. This one offers a more… idealized take on Cap’s head. Where Spidey’s head felt like an evolution of the original head, this one feels more like a start from scratch. Many of the same elements are there, but placement seems better. The eyes aren’t buggy, the jaw is a little more chiseled, and the facial feature in general are a little bit more evenly place on the head, so he doesn’t have such a huge forehead going on. He also has a lot more detailing, especially on the actual mask which sports some seams along the top and a more defined set of eyeholes. The head is a little bit on the large side, and this is emphasized by the fact that the neck is perhaps a touch too long. It’s not terrible, but it is noticeable in light of Spider-Man, who had a more accurately proportioned head and neck. The paintwork on the head is pretty great. The colors are well chosen and everything is bold and mostly clean. The tailoring on the figure’s costume is tighter than the vintage one, and is actually a little too tight in a few areas. CapRetro5Once the costume is fully in place, it looks pretty good, but it’s a real pain getting it to that point. The material chosen for the costume is quite nice; the blues match very well with the mask and I like the scaled pattern on his upper half quite a bit. Also, the option to have him with or without the shorts is nice, though, once again, those can be a bit difficult to get on. The star is the same as the one on vintage costume, which is disappointing, but at the very least it’s consistent. This version of Cap fixes the vintage one’s issue with the boots, supplying a pair of the proper cuffed boots, grabbed, I believe, from the Mego version of Will Scarlett. They’re pretty straight forward and pretty much perfect for the character, so they’re a great choice. Cap includes three sets of sculpted hands, each sculpted with the proper gloved look for the character, and cast in a red that matches the cloth potion of the gloves. There is a pair of fists, a pair for saluting, and a pair in an open pose for shield throwing and such. Speaking of shield throwing, Cap also includes a brand-new version of his mighty shield. The rings and star are sculpted and then painted, rather than just being a sticker, resulting in a very nice final product. The figure also includes Cap’s original, pointed shield, done in a similar fashion to the round one.

CapRetro3Last up is Cap’s “alter ego,” Private Steve Rogers, wearing his WW2 Army uniform. The figure features a head sculpt built from the same base sculpt as the updated Captain America head, meaning they match up appropriately. According to the included booklet, this head was sculpted first and then reverse engineered into a Cap head. Truth be told, I do think this might be the stronger of the two heads. The Cap head certainly isn’t bad, but this one really feels like it gets the Mego aesthetic down and it captures the “classic” Steve Rogers look pretty much perfectly. It helps that it’s topped off with the cleanest paintwork of the three included heads; there’s pretty much not a drop out of line on this one. Steve’s outfit is made up of a shirt, pants, belt, tie, boots, and boot covers (EDIT: As an astute reader reminded me, the outfit also includes an extra set of regular flesh tone hands.  They’re identical to the ones that come on the body, so I’m not certain what their purpose is, but they’re there). Getting Steve’s uniform properly assembled is certainly quite a task, and it took me a good 15 minutes to do so, but he stays together pretty well once CapRetro7assembled. The uniform is well-tailored and the shirt in particular has plenty of layers to it. One thing I did notice is that on my figure the boot covers had two different lengths of elastic at the bottom, which is minor, but slightly annoying. The boots are very nicely sculpted, with lots of nice little details, and they go on fairly easily. Steve’s only accessory (unless you opt to give him the pointed shield) is his helmet, which sits very nicely on his head.

Like the Spider-Man set, this set also includes a booklet with a few articles about Mego and the creation of the set. It’s a pretty fun read, so there’s certainly some value to it.

The packaging is similar to that of the first. However, there were a few changes for the better. First of all, the reproduction of the original box isn’t glued in place this time, which is much appreciated. Additionally, the extra costumes are place on mock bodies instead of being clipped in place, which avoids the small holes the Spider-Man costumes suffered. Unfortunately, the extra pieces are still blister packaged in place, so they can’t be removed without tearing up the backing.

CapRetro2

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up playing with my dad’s old Mego figures, I had one particular figure who was my favorite above the rest. That figure was Captain America. Sure, he was goofy, and inaccurate, but he was just so much fun. I would sit there at my grandparents’ house, watching my VHS copies of the 60s cartoon, holding that figure the whole time. When this line was announced and Cap was shown, there was no doubt that I was buying this figure.

Most of the time, when I get a figure, my initial reaction to the figure is rather indicative of my final opinion of said figure. In the case of Captain America, my initial reaction, especially to the updated version of the figure, was one of disappointment. I love the old Cap figure, and this one seemed to fall short of what I wanted. But then, I played around with him a bit, and I took the pictures for the review. And somewhere between taking the pictures and writing this review, I fell in love with this figure. I don’t know quite how it happened, but it did.

The set isn’t without its drawbacks. For the price they’re asking, some work could still be done on making the packaging a little bit more collector friendly and on making sure the costumes fit the figures as best they can. All that said, an admirable job was done on this figure, and I’m extremely happy to have gotten him.

CapRetro8

 

*Incidentally, I had originally intended to review a completely different Cap figure today. However, this guy arrived, and I didn’t want to push him back to after the Age of Ultron prep stuff, so I bumped that one. The rest of the AoU-themed stuff will be older figures from my pre-existing collection.

#0500: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL RETRO FIGURES (DIAMOND SELECT TOYS)

SpiderManRetrob1

Holy crap, it’s been 500 whole reviews. I really wasn’t sure I’d get this far. I had originally planned to do another high-end figure review (Mech-Test Tony Stark, for those who are curious) but I decided to do something else for a couple of reasons. It’s an item that I realized deserved the deluxe treatment and in doing some background research for the review, I discovered that there were almost no reviews of this figure, which I felt wasn’t fair to the figure or the company that produced it.

While Mego may not have been the first company to produced licensed figures, they were definitely one of the most influential. They ruled the toy aisle for most of the 70s and they were not only the one of the first prominent example of Marvel Comics-based figures, but they were also responsible for bringing a fair number of people into the Marvel fanbase and revolutionizing the action figure industry as a whole.

There has been quite a resurgence of Mego style toys in the last few years, but one property has been noticeably absent. Due mostly to contract issues with Hasbro, Marvel was out of the running for the Mego style. However, Diamond, who had helped kick off the resurgence of the style with their Star Trek Retro Figures, found a way around that. By releasing the figures in larger deluxe sets at a higher price point, they can technically classify them as “collectibles” and not be in direct competition with Hasbro. So, each figure comes packed as a recreation of their original Mego figure, with two full sets of alternate pieces, allowing two full additional figures to be built by just supplying a basic Mego body. The first figure to be released is one of Marvel’s top characters, Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SpiderManRetrob12Spider-Man is the first figure in Diamond’s new Marvel Retro Figures line. He will be followed by Captain America, due out later this month, as well as Wolverine and Thor later this year. The figure uses the standard Mego-style body (re-tooled with a few improvements by Paul “Dr. Mego” Clarke), meaning he’s about 8 inches tall and features 16 points of articulation. This is body is essentially the same as Mego’s Type II body, which was their go-to body for the vast majority of their basic male figures. The Mego body is really helped set the standard of what was expected from an action figure body, so it’s a very strong starting point for a figure. It’s also worth noting that this new version is a lot sturdier than the original Mego bodies, and even a little sturdier than the ones Diamond used for their Star Trek and Planet of the Apes Retro lines. It’s always nice to see a company actively working to improve these kinds of parts of a product.

SpidermanRetrob11This figure is a little different from the figures I often review for this site, in that there are three possible looks, which are effectively three separate figures. So, let’s start off with the basic, original Mego-style Spider-Man, which is how the figure is assembled in the packaging. As a recreation of the original, he makes use of the original Mego head. Mego’s Spider-Man sculpt was certainly one of their most distinctive pieces. By today’s standards, some of the details, especially the etched in weblines, are a little on the soft side, however, for the time, it’s truly a remarkable sculpt. It has a lot of character to it, and I do believe that it’s one of the few Spider-Man sculpts to actually note the presence of a nose under the mask, which is a very nice touch. The head has been painted to pretty much match the original. The edges of the black outline around the eyes are a little fuzzy in some spots, but the overall look is quite nice. This version features a one-piece costume, with all the proper details silkscreened on. The costume replicates the original “circle logo” Mego figure, which had a rather distinctive circle cut out of the webs around the spider emblem. Mego ultimately replaced this with a more comic-accurate version, but this one is often remembered for its more unique look. The costume has a bit of a shine to it, which isn’t quite accurate to the original, but actually looks rather sharp.

SpiderManRetrob4The next “figure” included is the updated version of the basic Spider-Man. Essentially, this one is what a Spider-Man Mego would look like given all the advancements in toy making technology. This one gets an all-new head sculpt, which offers a more conventional take on Spidey’s noggin. The eyes are wider, the weblines are finer, and the head has a more… head-like shape. It’s also a little smaller, to keep it more proportional with the body. This head really feels like a genuine evolution of the Mego head. It’s definitely different, but it has a lot of the same charm. Plus, that nose is still there, which really sells the whole thing for me. The paint also feels like the next step after the Mego version. The colors are the same, but this time around, a black wash has been applied to give the weblines their proper color. The black around the eyes also seems a little sharper on this head, which is great to see. The costume on this one is expectedly more elaborate than the previous one. The tailoring is just a bit tighter to the body, and the stitching has been brought more in line with the outlines of the costume. The reds and blues are more defiantly separate on this one. He also has the classic underarm web-wings, which are done with a very nice netted material and manage to SpidermanRetrob7actually look pretty respectable. That can’t really be said for most attempts at replicating them. The weblines on the red portions of the costume are finer, though they are oddly a little lighter, as well, which doesn’t seem to have been the intent. They end up being more of a brown than a true black. It’s a minor nit with an otherwise very nice costume. While the original Spidey had printed on boots, this one has a pair of sculpted boots, done in a manner that matches the head sculpt. They’re well sculpted, and certainly a little tighter fitting than most Mego boots. Admittedly, I still find myself partial to the printed boots, but that’s more of a personal preference. The sculpted boots still work quite well. This Spidey includes three sets of specially sculpted hands, each done with a web pattern that matches the head and boots. There are a pair in the classic web-shooting pose, a pair of fists, and a pair that are open in a pose perfect for wall-crawling. All of the hands are fantastically sculpted, and the web-shooting hands in particular are a great version of a piece long missing from the Mego Spider-Man. In addition to the hands, Spidey also includes a pair of web-shooters and a camera belt.  Neither are essential pieces, however, both make for some entertainment value.

SpiderManRetrob3The third, and final, “figure” is a version of Spider-Man’s alter ago Peter Parker. Right off the bat, there’s one minor issue with Peter, and it’s not really an issue with the Peter pieces, but rather the Spider-Man body. The body is molded in red plastic. This is clearly meant to make the two Spider-Man costumes more convincing, but it leaves Pete without a proper body. His clothes will mostly cover the body, but the few flashes of red are rather noticeable. For the purposes of the review, my Parker is assembled on a spare body I got from Dr. Mego a few years ago. The figure has what appears to be an all-new head sculpt. The original Peter just made use of the Shazam head, which obviously couldn’t be done here. This head does appear to have at least taken the facial features of the original as an influence, so the sculpt holds on to some of the original’s style. One of the things that really stands out about this sculpt is the hair, which features some really great fine detailing, often lacking from genuine Megos. This head has easily the most complex of the three paintjobs, and ends looking quite nice. All of the paint work is clean, with pretty much no bleed over. There’s a tiny bit of slop where some brow paint ended up on his ear, but other than that, things are pretty good. Peter’s outfit is also probably the most complex. It’s made up of five pieces in total: shirt, pants, vest, and shoes. The shirt and pants are decently tailored, and pretty much just look like Mego clothes (apart from the use of Velcro). The SpiderManRetrob8vest is also nicely tailored, however, it’s a real pain to get on over the shirt. While the separate pieces are nice, it seems like a shirt/vest combo might have been more practical here. The shoes are well sculpted and well painted. They go on with ease, which is always a plus. They do look a little large, but that’s just something that goes hand in hand with removable shoes. Peter also includes a pair of the standard Mego hands in the proper flesh-tone, as well as a pair of glasses, a camera, and a copy of the Daily Bugle. The glasses are good in theory, however, they don’t stay on very well, and they look super goofy to boot. The camera is definitely a nice piece, and really helps make the figure. It would be cool if it had a strap, but it’s still great as is. The Bugle is just a single sheet of paper; it’s more there for the appearance than anything else, but it’s a cool touch nonetheless.

In addition, the set also includes a booklet with a few articles from various Mego experts, which was an entertaining read.

SpiderManRetrob2Also, I don’t talk about packaging much, but there are a few things to note here. First of all, this is a really attractively packaged set. I’m not one for keeping things in the packaging, but if I were, I’d certainly be pleased with this. Sadly, the packaging really can’t be salvaged once the figure is opened. The extra pieces are blister packaged, so they have to be torn off the backing. Also, the replica Retro packaging is really cool. However, for some reason, some sort of adhesive was used to hold it in place. I managed to get mine out without damaging it too badly, but it was a lot of work. Given the obvious effort that went into it, I can’t imagine that the adhesive was intentional.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Most of my experience with Megos was playing with my dad’s old figures when I was younger. However, Spider-Man was actually one of the few that my dad bought for me, so that particular figure definitely has a soft spot for me. As such, I was eager to get this updated version.

This set was picked up from Luke’s Toy Store, who I generally deal with for my Minimates purchases. The store decided to give the Retro Figures a try with this one. Sadly, it sounds as if I may have been the only person to buy the set from him, which is a real shame. I think a lot of people are turned off by the price of these sets. Admittedly, they are on the expensive side. However, you’re essentially getting three figures, which brings the per figure cost down quite a bit. About the only thing I would say in regards to the price is that it would be nice if Diamond included at least one extra body, or if they provided an easy location to order extra bodies at a reasonable price. I had a few extras I’d gotten from Dr. Mego a while back, but the average consumer won’t know where to find such things.

All in all, this is actually a really fun set. It offers both the chance to re-buy an old favorite, and the chance to get a loving update on that figure. And for me personally, it provided me with the chance to take a Mego out of its box for the first time ever, which was a really cool experience. I intend to buy every figure this line offers, and I would urge anyone who was a fan of Megos to do the same.

SpiderManRetrob13