#2904: X-Force Cannonball & Shatterstar

X-FORCE CANNONBALL & SHATTERSTAR

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates have always paid very close attention to ‘90s Marvel, specifically the X-Men side of things. In 2010, we even got a small subset of Liefeld-inspired X-Force Minimates, which included Liefeld-favorite Cannonball and Liefeld-creation Shatterstar!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cannonball and Shatterstar were released in the ninth TRU-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates, which hit at the tail end of 2010.

X-FORCE CANNONBALL

Not Cannonball’s first or last time as a Minimate, this particular take on the former New Mutant gives us his first Liefeld design, which, despite my usual distaste for things Liefeld, is actually one of the better takes on Cannonball.  Cannonball is built with four add-on pieces, for his hair/goggles, coat, and gloves. The gloves are just standard flared gloves (DC flared gloves, though; not Captain America flared gloves), but do their job well enough. The hair piece and jacket are both new, and do a reasonable job of capturing Sam’s in-book appearance. The hair could perhaps stand to be a little sharper in terms of detailing, but the coat definitely turned out well.  The paint on Cannonball is reasonable overall, but some of the application is rather sloppy. The boots on my figure are particularly messy. This assortment falls during the stretch of time where the plastic quality on Minimates took a bit of a dive. They aren’t hit by the worst of it, but you can sort of see the difference in the coloring of the skin-tone on the head, and how the paint takes to the plastic (detail lines here are generally a bit duller).  In terms of accessories, Cannonball’s only got one, but it’s a good one. He’s got a blast effect piece that plugs into the bottom of his torso in place of his legs, depicting how he is usually drawn when using his powers.

X-FORCE SHATTERSTAR

This figure marked Shatterstar’s debut as a Minimate, appropriately in his debut costume from the pages of New Mutants #99. Shatterstar is a character with a history of truly hideous costumes. This one is hardly an exception.  Shatterstar has add-on pieces for his hair/headgear, shoulderpad/scarf, belt, and gloves. The gloves are the same ones used on Cannonball, but beyond that, all of the other add-ons were new to Shatterstar.  They’re decent enough recreations of his gear from the comics, goofy as they may be. Shatterstar also has the poofy sleeved upper arms that first showed up on the Series 29 90s Storm. I’ve never been overly fond of these pieces, given how far they stick out from the chest block. Just the standard arms might have worked better, especially on a figure that’s already as bulked up as this one.  Shatterstar’s paint is rather similar to Cannonball’s. There’s some serious slop on the changeover from white to black on the legs. He’s also plagued by the same issues of plastic quality. The skintone’s a sickly color, and the white has always been a little bit yellowed. Just an overall messy piece of work.  Shatterstar is packed with a pair of his signature twin-bladed swords. They’re decent enough on their own merits (apart from some slight warping from the packaging), but the choice of hands for him means he has some serious trouble properly holding them. Getting them into his hands can take some serious effort.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pack marked a rather easy to acquire purchase for me back when they were new, surprisingly.  I wound up finding them on a last minute stop at TRU during the holiday season, when I wasn’t actually expecting to find anything.  Cannonball is an overall decent rendition of the character, slightly held back by a few quality issues.  Shatterstar is a flawed figure, in both design and execution. Had the execution been there, I think he still would have been fine, but he had the misfortune of being released during one of the roughest periods of quality control, so he ends up really middle of the road. Not awful, but not so great either.

 

#2897: War Machine & Maya Hansen

WAR MACHINE & MAYA HANSEN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Now listen up, here’s the story, about a little guy who..isn’t content to not review a War Machine this week.  So, yeah, I’m pulling out an MCU set, going back to Iron Man 3 for a look at War Machine and pack-mate Maya Hansen!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pack was part of Series 49 of Marvel Minimates, the specialty component of the Iron Man 3-tie-in ‘mates.  It’s one of the two sets contained there in which was completely exclusive (although War Machine didn’t really feel all that exclusive after the three nearly identical releases that followed).

WAR MACHINE

The actual War Machine armor doesn’t appear in Iron Man 3 proper, but it did figure prominently into the merchandising, and has a somewhat minor role in AoU. It’s just the same as his Iron Patriot armor, but done up in his more traditional War Machine colors.  Structurally, this figure’s the same as the Iron Patriot ‘mate. He’s got add-ons for the helmet, torso piece, waist, upper arms, boots, and gloves. I thought the armor looked just a bit pudgy on that figure, and I still feel that’s the case here, but it’s not horrible at all.  I think it’s really the helmet that throws it off.  His paint is pretty decently handled.  I do quite like the Air Force linsignias from the gloves, and his facial likeness works pretty well for Cheadle.   War Machine includes the usual clear display stand.

MAYA HANSEN

Maya was a moderately prominent character in the comics, especially at the time of the Extremis arc, so she was a sensible choice for the movie.  Of course, she doesn’t really do a whole lot in the movie, but as Extremis’ creator, I think she earned her spot here.  She has three add-on pieces, one for her hair, one for her skirt, and one for her purse.  All three parts are re-used, but they work for her look, so its sensible.  They’re well-sculpted, and the hair in particular is one I quite like, so I’m always down for seeing it crop back up.  Maya’s paintwork is solid work.  It’s clean, and she’s actually rather colorful for a civilian.  The funky pattern on her skirt certainly helps things.  Her likeness is actually a pretty surprising match for Rebecca Hall, especially given how simple it is, but it turned out quite well.  Like Rhodey, Maya’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but I’m not sure what else she could have been given.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with most Minimates of this vintage, I picked these up the day they were released from my local comic book store, Cosmic Comix.  I recall getting the whole set on a run to the store in the middle of a day of classes, and then carrying them all around in my bag while wandering around campus that day, opening them up one set at a time as I had the chance.  War Machine is a sensible case for parts re-use, and is a pretty solid figure.  Of course, he’s a little harder to like in light of the three almost identical releases we’ve gotten since, but that’s hardly this figure’s fault.  Maya’s far from the most thrilling figure in the set, but she’s also not the most boring, so she exists in a nice middle ground.  Ultimately, this set’s probably the least spectacular of those included in the line-up, but it’s not a bad one.

 

#2895: Marvel’s Katy

MARVEL’S KATY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Katy, Shang-Chi’s oldest friend, is free-spirited and fiercely loyal.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hit theatres two weeks ago today, after a few delays, as with all of the Marvel slate right now.  The tie-ins all hit back in the spring, closer to the film’s original release date, but, hey, at least they hit in the same year.  For the Legends side of things, there were four figures in the main assortment, with one additional one as an exclusive off on its own.  Said exclusive is Katy…sorry, *Marvel’s* Katy, Shang-Chi’s best friend, portrayed in the film by Awkwafina.  Katy serves as the film’s everyman, experiencing the weirdness in much the same way as the audience.  She also serves as a nice subversion of the usual Hollywood trope that all Asians know kung-fu, since she’s the one character in the main cast without any real fighting experience.  She’s also just pretty entertaining, so I’m all about it.  Anyway, here’s her figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Katy is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends release, meant to coincide with the main tie-ins contained in the Mr. Hyde Series.  She started showing up at Targets right around the same time as the main assortment, and actually seemed to show up in pretty decent numbers, at least from my experience.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  The articulation on Katy is notably restricted by both the skirt and her longer hair, as well as the general design of the sleeves.  In general, she’s just not a super agile figure.  Of course, she’s not a super agile character either, so I suppose it sort of works out.  This figure presents Katy in her attire from the film’s climactic battle sequence.  It’s a get-up that’s not quite in line with what she wears for most of the film’s run time, but it’s also not just basic civilian attire, and it means she matches up with Shang-Chi and Xialing’s figures, since they’re also in the final battle attire.  Generally, it makes a lot of sense, and I totally see Hasbro’s angle here.  It’s a decent sculpt.  Maybe not as optimized for posability as it could be, but the likeness on the head’s probably the best of the four from the movie, and the detail work on the outfit’s texturing is really strong.  The paint work on Katy is pretty decent.  It’s mostly pretty basic, but there’s some rather impressive detailing on the collar and belt, matching the floral pattern from the movie.  Katy is packed with a bow, a quiver, a separate arrow, plus two combined arrows meant for filling the quiver, plus, best of all, Morris, the crew’s little animal guide to the supernatural spirit world.  There’s probably one other character who might have made more sense to pack with Morris, but that character was far less likely to get a figure, so Katy’s not a bad second choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with the other Shang-Chi figures, not knowing much about the characters when the toys actually hit made Katy sort of a weird sell.  Since she was an exclusive, and as such didn’t just fall into my lap the way the others did, I wasn’t quite as quick to pick her up.  That said, Target wound up putting her on a rather deep clearance rather quickly, which meant she was under $7, and there’s not really any Legends I’d pass at that price.  She didn’t do much for me prior to the film, but after the fact, I was very glad I picked her up.  She’s a decent enough piece, and fits nicely with the rest of the movie figures.

#2894: Melina Vostokoff & Red Guardian

MELINA VOSTOKOFF & RED GUARDIAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After decades of service, Melina Vostokoff distanced herself from the Red Room. But when Natasha Romanoff returns, Melina and Red Guardian must decide where their allegiance lies.”

After a year of delays, Black Widow finally got its release this past July.  It’s still not been entirely smooth sailing, but it did at least clear the slate to let the other movies get released.  The tie-in component for the movie was, unfortunately, too far along when the pandemic hit in 2020 to hold it back, so they shipped to stores more than a year before release, resulting in them being essentially gone by the time the movie actually hit.  Hasbro did at least hold off one piece of merch until after the film’s release, a two-pack of Melina Vostokoff and Alexei Shostakov (aka the Red Guardian), Natasha’s surrogate parents from the film.  I’m taking a look at that pack today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Melina and Red Guardian are a standalone two-pack Marvel Legends release, designed to tie-in with the movie.  If prior offerings are anything to go by, they were probably meant to be the home media tie-in, hitting some time last fall, but they were able to be pushed back.  Whatever the case, they started hitting retail within the last month or so, and seem to be generally sticking to the specialty channels at the moment.

MELINA VOSTOKOFF

Known in the comics as Iron Maiden, Melina Vostokoff is actually an antagonist of Natasha, and, much like Red Guardian, classically more of a contemporary in terms of age and experience.  For the film, she is given a maternal role, and refitted into a far less antagonistic character, which generally works out pretty well.  Melina was the one major character absent from the tie-in wave of figures last year, so her inclusion here is somewhat expected and very much justified.  In terms of design, she’s been given her all-white suit from the film’s climax, which allows her to match up with the rest of the crew, certainly making it a good choice.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Melina shares most of her parts with the two Widow figures from last year.  Given that she’s explicitly wearing the same gear as Natasha in the final sequence, as well as the fact that the builds between the actresses aren’t too far removed, it’s a sensible choice of re-use.  It’s aided by the fact that the body was a solid piece the first time around, and the second time around, so the third time makes sense too.  She gets an all-new head sculpt, which sports a rather solid likeness of Rachel Weisz, and meshes well with the pre-existing parts.  The torso is also modified slightly, as sort of a merging of the two prior pieces.  She keeps the basic detailing of the deluxe Widow, but gets the back pack from the single release.  Lastly, she ditches the Widow stingers, in the name of screen accuracy, since Melina doesn’t have them.  Her paint work is overall fairly decent.  The head uses the face printing, which turned out well.  The rest of the body relies fairly heavily on molded colors, but it works well.  There are some slight change-ups from the deluxe Widow’s color scheme.  Generally, it seems to make her more accurate, though I do miss the extra painted detail on the belt buckle.  Melina is packed with three sets of hands (in fists, loose grip, and tight grip), dual Markovs, two batons, and a grappling hook.  The hands and guns are shared with deluxe Widow, and the batons come from the single release (albeit with better paint this time), while the grappling hook appears to be an all-new piece.  Not a bad set-up, all things considered.

RED GUARDIAN

Red Guardian was included in the standard tie-in line-up last year, but his figure was notably not as screen accurate as the others, making a second go at him a worthy venture.  He’s seen here in his fully kitted out gear from the movie (something he didn’t have all of the last time around).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  He’s still a little bit on the small side, but at this point, I can be a little more forgiving, since I already dealt with that last year.  From the neck down, he’s the same as the Red Guardian from the main assortment.  The body was the best part of the earlier release, and wasn’t too terribly out of whack, so it’s re-use makes sense here.  To top it off, he gets an all-new head sculpt, this time sporting the helmet that was so notably absent from the first figure.  It’s a very nice piece, and works well with the body.  It designed to work like the more recent MCU Caps, where the helmet and face are separate parts, to aid in giving it proper depth.  Guardian’s new head also gives him the proper, fuller beard that he had in the movie, further aiding in the likeness’s effectiveness.  Red Guardian’s paint work has also been tweaked a bit from the prior version.  He’s got more silver this time around, as well as some extra detailing in a few spots on the costume.  Additionally, the light grey is now closer to white, which is more in line with how it looks in the movie.  In general, it does feel like a sharper appearance, and one that matches the movie just a bit better.  Red Guardian is packed with an alternate unmasked head, which, like the masked one, has a better likeness of Alexi’s disheveled appearance.  He also gets a set of alternate hands without the gloves, plus a miniature Red Guardian action figure like the one used in the movie’s prison break scene, and the same shield as last time, albeit in a darker color scheme this time around.  It’s not a bad selection, and I’m really glad the alternate head is there.  The shield’s kind of extraneous, since he doesn’t actually have it in the movie, and now we have two of them, but far be it from me to complain about extra stuff, especially when it doesn’t feel like anything important got cut.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was glad to finally get to see Black Widow after such a long wait, and I enjoyed it as a fairly by the numbers action film.  It didn’t break any molds, it didn’t change the world, but it was a good time.  Natasha’s family were definitely my favorite part of the movie, so I was eager to get the full line-up.  Melina makes a good addition to the team we already have, and Red Guardian fixes the figure we already got in such a way that prior version is kind of unneeded at this point, I guess.  Definitely a very fun two-pack.

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

#2893: Quicksilver

QUICKSILVER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Quicksilver’s ultra-high-speed capabilities are a major asset to the Avengers in the fight against Ultron.”

While the first Avengers film hit during a period of time when Marvel Legends were dead, so they had to rely on an exclusive run to get the team out in 6-inch scale (and they didn’t even get out the whole team, anyway).  By the time of its sequel, Age of UltronLegends was finally getting its footing back, but still wasn’t quite strong enough to support the entire extended line-up of the team as seen in the film.  Three members of the team wound up at mass retail, with an Amazon-exclusive boxed set to fill out the rest of the original core six.  That left the three new additions to the team, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Quicksilver, out of the line-up.  Scarlet Witch and Vision were both able to get toy coverage out of their later appearances, but that didn’t work out quite so well for poor Pietro, who, you know, died in Age of Ultron and all.  We went through two special anniversary lines with no love for Pietro, but a third one would have just been ridiculous, I suppose, so here he is, after six whole years, finally in Legends form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver is part of the 10 piece “Infinity Saga” sub-set of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  He’s one of the five standard sized single release figures, and one of four of those to be an actual wide release (because of course we can’t release a Captain America that’s not a Walmart exclusive, right?).  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The range of motion on the joints is all pretty solid, especially on that neck joint.  I do wish the knee joints broke up the sculpt a little bit less when posed, but it’s far from the worst we’ve seen.  I also do dig the full transition to pinless joints here on the elbows and knees.  Quicksilver has an all-new sculpt based on his attire from the film’s final battle, which is a sensible choice, since that’s his most distinctive look, and the one that matches with most of the rest of the team (we still don’t have an AoU Scarlet Witch, so he doesn’t match her at all, of course).  The sculpt is an impressive piece of work.  The head doesn’t quite have a perfect likeness of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but it’s certainly got a resemblance.  Likewise, the body seems like it might be perhaps a slight bit too small for his build in the film, but it’s again not too far off, and there’s some really amazing texture work going on in the clothing.  Quicksilver’s paint work is pretty basic stuff for the most part.  The head gets the best work, with the face printing to give him a lifelike quality, and some solid accenting on the hair, for his proper eurotrash dye-job appearance.  The rest of the work is rather on the basic side, but it works for what it is.  Quicksilver is packed with two sets of hands, in fists and an open gesture, plus the head, torso, and arm of an Ultron drone.  It sure would be nice to get a full Ultron drone one of these days, but this is certainly a start, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Quicksilver, specifically the Age of Ultron version of the character, was one of Jess’s favorite Marvel characters.  She really, really liked him, and she was really upset when he died.  I think I may still have the marks from her hitting in the theater, in fact.  She was also really upset that he didn’t get the same toy love as the other characters.  This figure was shown off just a few weeks before she died, and she was very excited.  It had been my plan to get her one of her own when they were released, but that didn’t happen.  It’s a shame that she just missed him.  I think she would have been very happy with the end result.  I myself am pretty happy with him, and with the extra meaning he brings along with him.

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

#2890: Havok & Emma Frost

HAVOK & EMMA FROST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Summers and Frost are usually two things that don’t mix.  That is, unless we’re talking X-Men, in which case, those two things seem to mix a lot.  Unless, of course, we’re talking about X-Men: First Class, where it’s Alex Summers, not Scott, and therefore no real reason for the two to interact, so they actually never do, and therefore they again don’t mix.  Well, that is, unless you’re talking about the tie-in Minimates.  Which I am.  Yay?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Havok and Emma Frost were part of the TRU-exclusive First Class tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates, and are by far the most oddball pairing of the line-up, since, as noted, the two characters never actually meet.  Still, here we are.

HAVOK

Since Scott Summers had been used for the first three X-Men flicks, and was therefore unavailable to be a founding member of the team for the prequel, his brother Alex, better known as Havok, was chosen in his stead, netting himself his second Minimate in the process.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Alex uses add-on pieces for his hair and belt.  The belt is the same piece used for Xavier and Magneto, as well as countless other figures.  It’s basic and it gets the job done.  The hair’s another story.  It’s re-used from Ultimate Iron Man, and it’s not really much of a match for Havok, who was sporting a much more high-and-tight hair style in the film. That said, if you look at some of the concept art from the film, Havok is seen with something much closer to this style. Ultimately, you can swap it out with one of the many MCU Captain America hair pieces, which results in a more accurate appearance.  Havok’s paintwork is about on par with the previously reviewed Xavier figure.  It’s still quite strong, though I’m not sure his likeness is quite as spot-on.  On the plus side, the control-thingy on his chest is still pretty darn cool.  Havok included no accessories.  An effects piece might have been nice, but it was a re-use wave, so no luck there.

EMMA FROST

Since Emma Frost had been used for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and was therefore unavailable for a prequel, Fox decided to say “ah, screw it” and just use her again, but played by a totally different actress and written as an almost entirely different character, with absolutely no explanations.  Sure, let’s go with it.  Emma’s one lone add-on piece is her hair.  It was *technically* new, by virtue of Emma hitting shelves shortly before Peggy Carter, the character it was sculpted for.  It’s still a re-use in essence, though.  It works reasonably well for Emma, and matches up decently with how she looked on-screen.  The paintwork on Emma is reasonably well handled.  Like Havok, I’m not sure the likeness is really there, but it’s not like it looks un-like her.  They’ve opted for Emma’s leather jumpsuited look from early scenes on Shaw’s submarine.  While perhaps not her most distinctive look from the film, I suppose it’s not the most awful choice ever.  On the plus side, this choice of costume also makes it very easy to convert her into a comics-accurate version of Agent 13.  So she’s got that going for her.  Just like Havok, Emma’s got no accessories.  Given how little exposed skin she has, it might have been nice to at the very least get a diamond-form head and hands for her, since there’s no new tooling needed.  As it stands, quite light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As mentioned previously, I snagged this whole assortment on a family road trip, just before seeing the movie.  I’m a big Havok fan, so I certainly wanted at least him.  While this Havok isn’t quite as strong a ‘mate as either Xavier or Magneto, with one quick fix, he actually turns out pretty alright.  Not a bad addition to the line-up.  Emma’s a perfectly serviceable Minimate, but suffers from not being terribly distinctive.  Overall, an okay set, that’s really the most middle of the pack.

#2883: Maria Hill & Chitauri Foot Soldier

MARIA HILL & CHITAURI FOOT SOLDIER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“And that, kids, is how I met your Aunt Robin”

Wait, are the How I Met Your Mother jokes not in vogue anymore?  My apologies, my calendar’s still back in 2012!  Well, I certainly can’t wait for this up and coming Avengers movie!  Maria Hill’s sure to steal the show.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Maria Hill and the Chitauri Foot Soldier were released in Series 45 of Marvel Minimates, which was a whole assortment dedicated to the Avengers movie.  This was the “variant” set for the specialty line-up, packed at one per case.  Despite being the variant, the set isn’t denoted as such, likely due to a general confusion about which set was going to be the variant until the last minute.  It was one of the two sets exclusive to the specialty line-up.

MARIA HILL

Compared to the rest of the characters in The Avengers, Maria is a rather recent addition to the mythos, first appearing during Bendis’ New Avengers run.  She’s had rather heightened visibility since very early on in her career, so her inclusion as a part of SHIELD in the movie was fairly natural.  The figure is built on the basic post-C3 Minimate body, so she stands 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Maria makes use of three add-on pieces, for her hair, belt, and holster.  All three were new pieces to this figure, well-sculpted to match her appearance from the film.  The holster would see immediate re-use on the TRU-exclusive Nick Fury and Black Widow, and has subsequently seen reuse on a large number of figures later in the line.  It’s a very versatile piece, and certainly an improvement over the much bulkier pieces we saw on prior figures.  The paint work on Maria is a little simpler than some of the other figures from this same assortment.  It’s in line with her more basic design, though.  Her face sports a respectable likeness of Cobie Smulders, at least for the style.  I also quite like the detailing on her SHIELD logos and on the tops of her boots.  Maria is packed with a pistol (re-used from Blackhawk) and a clear display stand.

CHITAURI FOOT SOLDIER

There was much mystery surrounding the Chitauri prior to the film’s release.  All initial solicitations simply listed the figures as “REDACTED,” which led to all sorts of rampant speculation, and spoiler-filled theories.  In the end, they were just the Chitauri, an Ultimate-universe-knockoff of the Skrulls, chosen because the Skrulls were caught up in all sorts of legal troubles.  Ironically, here in 2021, we’re three years past seeing the MCU-debut of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel, and looking towards seeing them show up in their own story for Secret Invasion.  This standard Chitauri Foot Soldier was constructed using five add-on pieces.  The helmet and torso cap were both new to this figure, and have since then remained unique to him as well.  By virtue of the smaller window of lead time necessary for Minimates, these pieces end up being perhaps the most accurate versions of the Chitauri design available.  They’re perhaps a little restricting to movement, but otherwise pretty good additions.  He also makes use of the torso extender piece, as well as the dreaded “duck feet.”  The feet, admittedly, look a little better on an inhuman design such as this.  That being said, it’s a shame we couldn’t get a set of more movie accurate feet, and even perhaps a unique set of hands as well.  The Foot Soldier’s paintwork is a decent offering. Not as detail oriented or precise as most Minimate offerings, but fairly clean and colorful, and definitely a good match for the movie’s design.  This guy was packed with a long blaster rifle.  It’s not the arm-mounted piece that we saw most of them carrying in the film (a variation of that was included with the General), but it’s accurate, and well sculpted.  Oddly, there was only one display stand in this pack, so Hill and the Footsoldier will forever be made to fight for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up when it was new, from my local comic book store Cosmic Comix, in eager anticipation of the movie’s release.  Though perhaps not this assortments most colorful or exciting release, Maria was a new character release at the time, and is a solid “civilian” addition to the line-up.  I didn’t think much of the Foot Soldier, or the Chitauri in general, at the time of its release.  However, this is a pretty solid offering, and it holds up decently 9 years later.

#2877: Captain America – Avengers Assemble Edition

CAPTAIN AMERICA — AVENGERS ASSEMBLE EDITION

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line began as something that was mostly focused on Japanese properties, and while they aren’t totally out of the picture by any stretch of the imagination, they certainly have added a lot more western properties to the line-up.  In particular, figures based on the MCU have become quite common place.  They’ve done quite an Endgame line-up, and now their circling back with a selection of figures based on the first Avengers, under the heading “Avengers Assemble.”  I am, somewhat predictably, looking at the Captain America from the set, because that’s what I do these days.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is one of the four Avengers Assemble Edition figures added to the S.H. Figuarts line-up this year.  Cap started showing up domestically in early July, which is a convenient time for Cap figures.  He’s based on Cap, specifically in the first Avengers movie, though it does allow you to use him as both an Endgame flashback Cap and a Homecoming educational videos Cap, if you so choose.  That said, there was a release specifically patterned on the Endgame appearances of the costume last year.  This one sort of tailors him more to his actual Avengers appearances.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s similar to the Endgame Cap scale-wise, which also means he’s on the taller side for Figuarts, meaning he’s also not too terribly far off from Legends scaling.  Still a touch small, but you could fudge it if really pressed.  He follows the usual Figuarts articulation scheme, so that gives him an impressive range of motion.  That being said, he shows some of the improvements we’ve been seeing more recently on Figuarts with how the articulation is implemented, so he’s a slightly more solid figure, with a little more heft to him.  I definitely like that.  Cap’s sculpt is largely shared with the Endgame version of this costume from last year, which is sensible, since they’d want to get some mileage out of this mold if possible.  It’s a pretty impressive piece of work.  It’s very clean and sleek, and definitely makes a slightly iffy design work nicely in three dimensions.  There’s the usual level of stylization to him, so that he fits in with the rest of the line.  I was happy with how well they got his build down, since the Hasbro version of this costume was a little bit scrawny.  This version certainly more lives up to the “America’s Ass” monicker.  The only thing I’m not really big on is the belt, which has a little trouble sitting properly.  It tends to hover a little higher than it should.  Cap’s standard head sculpt has the helmet and a more neutral expression, which is a strong set-up.  The helmet’s details match well with the films (again, something Hasbro tended to struggle with) and the Evans likeness is pretty strong.  The paint work on Cap is quite nice.  It’s got the basic color scheme down nicely, and reminds me how much I like the brighter colors of this costume.  They also added some accenting on the outfit, so as to give him a little more wear, since he’s supposed to work for the final battle from the movie.  When it comes to the accessories, Cap is pretty nicely covered.  He gets three alternate heads: masked and angry, and two unmasked.  The unmasked are the same sculpt, but one is clean, and the other is dirty.  He also has the two necks to match masked vs unmasked heads, as well as two different collars one with the hood and one without.  Also included are two shields, again clean and dirty.  They get fully folded down straps, plus one for the upper arm, two alternate hands for each side holding the lower strap, and one strap with the additional hook for doing the one handed hold on the shields.  There are a total of 14 hands included, which covers the fists he comes wearing, the pair with the straps, the pair with the tab for use with the strap with the hook, two open gesture, two gripping, two relaxed, one pointing with the index finger, and one pointing with index and middle finger.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have the dislike for this design that some people do.  That said, it’s toy coverage wasn’t great.  The Legends versions were definitely not at the line’s height, and I was disappointed by the Endgame re-release in particular, since I’d been hoping for an all-new sculpt.  Alas, that wasn’t the case, so I was still in the market for a good small-scale version of the costume.  When this one came in at All Time, it was a pretty easy sell for me.  He’s a really strong figure, and easily the best version of this costume on the market.  He definitely feels worth the value.

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.

#2875: Synch

SYNCH

GENERATION X (TOY BIZ)

One of the primary appeals of ToyFare‘s exclusive mail away offers, for the 5-inch Marvel stuff, at least, was the ability to fill in some teams and line-ups that were just missing one stray character here or there, or at least give them at least a touch more depth to their numbers.  There were a lot of short-lived lines from Toy Biz in the ’90s, so they had plenty of loose ends to worry about.  Case in point: Generation X.  The X-spin-off team had their own line, which ran two series, and left the central team without a number of its core members.  While it was still rather lacking at the end of the day, they did get at least one extra core member via the mail-away set-up, and gave current main X-Men team member Everett Thomas, aka Synch, his very first (and to date, only) figure in the process.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Synch was offered up in ToyFare Magazine #9, first becoming available for order in May of 1998, and shipping out later that year.  After nine Marvel exclusives, they had a Witchblade figure for issue #8, and then came back to Marvel with this guy.  He was then the last Marvel exclusive for six months, when Havok picked up the baton.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The Generation X figures were at a weird spot for Toy Biz, articulation wise, as they decided to eliminate the elbow and knee joints on all of the figures for some reason.  Synch did at least get extra shoulder movement, by virtue of making use of Banshee’s body from the main line.  Toy Biz apparently felt Banshee always needed the extra movement, and Synch got that on a technicality.  Or, perhaps he just copied it from Banshee using his powers.  That’s a pretty solid explanation, right?  In addition to using all of Banshee’s parts below the neck, Synch also got the head from the Space Riders version of Professor X.  It’s not quite the face I envision Synch having, but it was a bald head that actually had ears, which made it a better fit than the Silver Surfer head, I suppose.  It’s honestly not the worst choice.  The rest of the work is handled with the paint.  It does an okay job for the most part, but for some reason the belt buckle is way larger than the actual sculpted piece, which makes it look really strange.  That said, they did actually try on this one, and he even got some extra accenting on the yellow parts of his costume.  It’s a bit heavy handed in some spots, but the effort’s at least nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually kinda liked Generation X back in the day, and I really liked my figures of Jubilee, Chamber, and Skin from the toyline.  I didn’t have a Synch growing up, though, mostly because he just wasn’t a figure I ever saw turn up anywhere.  I know he’s not generally regarded as being a very good one, but I’ve never much looked into that.  Whatever the case, my first real chance to get one came quite recently, when he got traded into All Time, which made him an easy pick-up for me.  He’s not a bad figure.  Maybe not great, but he gets the job done.  It’s a shame that they didn’t ever get M or Husk out, leaving the team incomplete, even with this guy included.  Of course, with him just being added to the main X-team, maybe this won’t be the only Synch figure for too much longer.  Fingers crossed.

#2868: Multiple Man

MULTIPLE MAN

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

The ‘90s X-spin-off teams that weren’t X-Force all had to sort of find their footing within the already established lines that Toy Biz was putting out, which meant that some of them were fewer and further between.  The line up to Peter David’s X-Factor run was definitely a slow build, as they sort of trickled out of the main X-Men line.  The likes of Strong Guy, Havok, and Polaris all found spots, but Jaime Maddrox was, I guess, a step too far for the main line at the time.  Good thing we had the exclusives game to rely on, huh?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Multiple Man was the mail away offer in ToyFare Magazine #4, offered up in December of 1997, and shipping out in early 1998.  Though ostensibly part of the X-Men line still running from Toy Biz at the time, his box had no such branding, or any branding at all.  It was just an all-white shipper, with him bagged up inside.  They hadn’t gotten very fancy yet at this point.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He got extra joints at the ankles!  Good for him, I suppose.  Multiple Man was built on the body of Octo-Spider-Man, which was one of Toy Biz’s favorites to repaint.  It’s a pretty decent slender build body, and it fits usual depictions of the character, so it works well for him.  His head is re-used from Silver Surfer, and, apart from being perhaps a little devoid of character, it works perfectly alright for his full cowled look.  It does have a slightly weird fit on the body, but generally it works okay.  The rest of the magic is done with paint.  Much like the Polaris figure, Multiple Man’s paint work gives him a weird amalgam of his various costume designs over the years.  It was blue and yellow to match the rest of X-Factor, and it also had the x-symbol on the head, but the overall detailing on the main suit more matches up with his original costume design.  Ultimately, this is a case where I think the amalgamated approach may really work better, since it just feels like a classic Multiple Man.  It’s sort of a greatest hits set-up.  He’s unfortunately missing out on his usual overcoat of the era; surely a cloth one wouldn’t have messed up their margins too badly?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was exactly a year behind on getting a Multiple Man new, so I had to wait a few years.  He still wound up as one of my earlier additions when I started actually get them.  I remember seeing him in the same glass case that held the Wonder Man I was always looking at, but my first one actually came out of a $5 bin of loose figures, which was a real steal at the time.  I also picked up a second one, quite recently, when it got traded into All Time, because it really never hurts to have more Multiple Men.  He’s a simple figure, but I really liked him when I got him, and he’s a surprisingly effective figure.