#3341: Age of Apocalypse Nemesis & Age of Apocalypse Morph



2010 marked the 15th anniversary of the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline, and since 15 is not nearly as cool an anniversary as 25, there wasn’t a *ton* done for it.  There was a little, though, and that included two boxed sets in Diamond’s Marvel Minimates line, which covered eight of the story’s bigger players.  DST followed up on those two sets early the following year with a couple more characters packed in a pair of two-packs.  Some of the story’s real breakout characters got their coverage there, which was the case for today’s focus pair, Nemesis and Morph!


Age of Apocalypse Nemesis and Age of Apocalypse Morph (as they are both decidedly billed on the packaging) were released in the 10th TRU-exclusive assortment of Marvel Minimates.  Though a slightly odd pairing at first glance, they aren’t the weirdest pair, given that Morph does masquerade as Nemesis briefly during the original crossover, and they are part of the same portion of the crossover.  That said, they, more than anyone, are a pair the spares set-up.  I’m not complaining, though.


“Nemesis was sent to destroy as many of Magneto’s young students as he could while the X-Men where off fighting Apocalypse’s Horsemen. He was defeated in battle by the Scarlet Witch, although he was able to destroy her. He left before the X-Men returned and was embraced by Apocalypse as his newest Horseman.”

As with all toy versions of the character, Apocalypse’s son uses his pre-body destruction moniker of “Nemesis,” due to an overall desire not to trivialize the real world event with which he shares his other name.  It’s kind of a heavy subject matter for a line of little block figures, so I can definitely dig that.  This marked the character’s one and only time in Minimates form, which certainly makes sense.  Counting his original Toy Biz figure and his Hasbro Legends release, that places him at three figures.  Not a bad spread.  This one remains his most recent.  The figure is just shy of 3 inches tall and has 11 actual working points of articulation (his neck and ankle joints being rendered static by the construction of the figure).  He’s still using the core ‘mate body, with add-ons for his helmet/chest, hands, thighs, and boots.  The thighs and boots were shared with the Hulkbuster, while the chest and hands were new.  The chest was re-used down the line for the Mandroid, but the hands would remain unique to this one.  The general look is pretty far removed from the ‘mate aesthetic, but it does at the very least look the part for Nemesis.  His paint work is mostly rather simple, with the vast majority of the figure just being molded in translucent yellow.  His head and torso get his signature red skeleton remains, which looks pretty sweet, and he also gets a little bit of red on his left hand, presumably meant to simulate his energy effect.  Nemesis was packed with no accessories.


“Morph joined Rogue’s team of X-Men in Chicago to evacuate as many humans as possible and stop Nemesis. Sneaking into the Inifinite processing plant, Morph and the rest of the X-Men managed to rescue some prisoners and destroy the plant, saving lives.”

Quite possibly my favorite piece of the whole AoA crossover is its distinctive take on Morph, who I actually first encountered because of his old Toy Biz figure.  I’ve had a love for the character’s design since, and he was at the top of my list for the ‘mates.  This guy uses the standard base body, with add-ons for his cape and boots.  The cape is re-used from the AoA Magneto, which makes sense, since they had the same style of cape in the crossover and all.  The boots are the standard Marvel-style flared boots, which I never liked quite as much as the DC ones, but are still more more than serviceable.  The rest of the work is handled via paint, which the figure handles respectably well.  The face showcases the best work, capturing Morph’s more carefree attitude.  The base body also details his costume pretty well.  The yellow on the knees is a little thin, and the edges of the gloves are a little sloppy, but it otherwise works okay.  Like Nemesis, Morph is without accessories.


My interest in AoA is just so-so, but my interest in Morph and Blink from the Exiles time is pretty high, and Morph in particular was a real draw for me.  I snagged this set, plus the Blink and Sabretooth, and the Thor, Captain America, and First Class tie-ins all at the same time, while on a road trip with my family, back when these were all new.  Morph is my favorite of the AoA subset, and just a fun little figure in general.  Nemesis is decent, though I admittedly have less ties to the character.

#3336: Marvel Villains Box Set



After Iron Man hit in 2008, everything Marvel got a bit of a rebirth as Marvel prepared for what would become the MCU.  This included a lot of their licensed products.  Over in the Minimates corner, it was exactly the bump they needed, and in many ways the line effectively started anew, with a focus on circling back around to some of the heaviest hitters, as they aimed to sell to a new audience.  In 2009, to aid with this, they produced a pair of boxed sets, one heroes, and one villains, which served to update the big guns, all in a nice, concise package.  I’m taking a look at the villains today!


The Marvel Villains Box Set, subtitled “Bring on the Bad Guys”, was a specialty release boxed set for Marvel Minimates, hitting in the spring of 2009.  It overlapped with the second TRU-exclusive assortment; three of the villains included here were re-packed with a hero from the other pack.  Green Goblin was packed with Spider-Man, Magneto with Wolverine, and Hulk with Dr. Doom (hey, they had to pair them off with *someone*).  Red Skull was exclusive to the release, as was his opposite number Captain America from the heroes pack.


The Green Goblin is perhaps Spider-Man’s most deadly, dangerous and unpredictable foe. Deemed rehabilitated after time in a mental institution, Norman Osborn pretended to leave his life of crime behind him and became head of the Thunderbolts with an army of super-powered villains under his control.”

Absent from the line since its second series, the classic Green Goblin returned with this set.  It marked his third overall ‘mate, but only his second classic one, since the middle one was the Ultimate version.  This figure’s bio is a rather time-specific one, referencing his place with the Thunderbolts, something closely linked to Civil War and Dark Reign, and not really all that important to him being Green Goblin.  Yeah, it was an odd time.  The figure uses the standard Minimate base, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Green Goblin makes use of four add-on pieces for his hat/ears, satchel, and gloves.  The hat and satchel were re-used from his original Series 2 figure, while the flared gloves came from the Series 5 Captain America.  The set-up is a little more on the basic side, but it works.  They never really did top the hat, and while the satchel’s a little blocky, it’s certainly not bad.  The gloves were a nice bit of flair, but the one downside was that they meant he didn’t get a pumpkin bomb, which was a shame.  The paint work on this release was far more detailed than the original, with a more intense expression, a more subdued palette, and a downright insane level of detailing on the scales.  They would rein things back in just a little bit for later releases; this one definitely felt just a little bit overdetailed.


One of the most powerful mutants to ever live, Magneto’s powers first manifested in the weeks leading up to World War II and allowed him to survive the events that followed. Able to manipulate electromagnetic fields, he vowed to prevent mutantkind from sharing his family’s fate.”

At this point, Magneto was technically getting his third Minimate, but seeing as the Dark Tide release was just a change to the face of the original exclusive one, this Magneto was effectively only the second outing for the character, which does seem a little surprising all things considered.  Structurally, he was the same as the first version.  Not a bad call, really, since his helmet and cape add-ons were rather nice pieces, and not really out of date at this point.  There’s a very definite vibe of not fixing what isn’t broken there.  The new paint was again a lot more detailed.  In Magneto’s case, it doesn’t go quite as overboard, which works more in his favor.  Apart from his stubble being perhaps a little heavy handed, he works pretty well.  Magneto was packed with an alternate hair piece and an energy effect to go on his hand.


Victor Von Doom rules the nation of Latveria with an iron-clad fist as he pursues his goals of ruling the world and finally exacting revenge from the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards. Created using both his scientific and mystical talents, Dr. Doom’s arsenal contains some of the most destructive weapons ever invented.”

Doom was also on his third ‘mate, by virtue of the original release having gotten a variant.  Like Magneto, it feels like that doesn’t really count, though.  This marked the first true update, however, and that’s what’s most important, I feel.  This figure uses the same cloak and skirt pieces as the first release, but adds a pair of gloved hands (which are the FF gloves, amusingly enough) and affixes a holster to his skirt.  Both of the re-used Doom pieces were nice enough on the original, but by the time of this one felt a little bit out of place and stiff.  The gloves at least bulked up the arms a bit, but he’s generally the figure in this set that feels the most outmoded in the sculpting department.  His paint work was alright; admittedly, the paint on the original wasn’t bad, especially when it came to the armored parts.  This one does a bit better on the tunic, so there’s that.  I’m not a huge fan of the face on this one, especially given how oddly slanted the eye holes on the mask wound up being.  Doom was packed with a gun (re-used from the BSG line) and a chalice (borrowed from Loki).


Born in the fires of Nazi Germany, Johann Schmidt was personally trained by Hitler and served as the evil tyrant’s right-hand man – instilling fear and hatred as the Red Skull! Kept in suspended animation for decades, a re-awakened Red Skull now fights against Captain America for control of the world’s destiny.”

The real selling point of the set was this guy, since he was not only an exclusive, but also the first version of Red Skull.  Another Skull, this time more modern, followed in the main line later that same year, but this one was definitely first.  He depicts Skull in his classic green jumpsuit, which is my favorite look for the character.  It’s one that’s not really in need of any extra parts, so this guy’s all vanilla.  The paint work carries him well, though.  The face is an absolutely perfect rendition of the Skull, crazed look in his eye and a mad cackle clearly being let out.  It remains to this day my favorite face for a ‘mate version of Red Skull.  The jumpsuit is more basic, but that’s expected.  The important details are there, and it looks decent overall.  Red Skull was packed with a small pistol.  Sadly, the budget for a Cosmic Cube just wouldn’t be there for a few more years.


I got this pack brand-new, day of release, from Cosmic Comix back in the day.  I recall being pretty excited for this set at the time of its release.  I didn’t have the original Magneto or Doom, so I was excited by the updates, and Green Goblin seemed pretty cool too.  It was really Red Skull that most excited me, since he was all-new.  It’s a set that is very dialed into its specific era of the line, but it’s also still a pretty fun set all these years later.

#3331: Captain America’s Hulkbuster & Baron Zemo



“You get a Hulkbuster!  You get a Hulkbuster!  Everybody gets a Hulkbuster!” — Tony Stark, Avengers Assemble Season 3, paraphrased.

Look, it’s not super crazy for cartoons to be direct lead-ins to toys and stuff.  Heck, the Avengers cartoons have technically been doing it since the very beginning, since that’s United They Stand‘s whole reason for existence.  After Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was completely without toys to sell, we got Avengers Assemble, which flipped that there script.  In particular, there were a lot of Minimates, thanks to Walgreens having a whole exclusive sub-line for the animated shows.  It gave them a spot for those goofy toy-driven variants, like the aforementioned Season 3 plot of everyone getting a Hulkbuster.  And there sat DST, with all that Hulkbuster tooling, so they jumped on a few of them.  Today, I’m looking at Captain America’s Hulkbuster, alongside a non-Hulkbuster-y Baron Zemo!


Captain America’s Hulkbuster and Baron Zemo were released in the seventh Walgreens-exclusive assortment of Marvel Minimates.  They were one of the two sets in the line-up based on Avengers Assemble, with the other two being based on the relaunched Spider-Man cartoon.


“The Hulkbuster Armor is designed to take on the Hulk if he loses control. Captain America’s Hulkbuster features a larger version of his shield.”

Captain America’s Hulbuster marked our third Hulkbuster in the Walgreens sub-line, after the standard Iron Man and the Hulk-Hulkbuster.  It was also the sixth overall Hulkbuster, counting the two comics releases and the one movie variant.  It was the third animated Cap as well, though this one was decidedly more variant-y than the other two.  The figure starts with the standard ‘mate body, but with all the bulking up, he’s closer to 3 inches tall than the usual 2 1/4 and he has a little bit more restricting when it comes to the standard 14 points of articulation.  In order to sustain his bulked-up look, Cap’s Hulkbuster gets 10 add-on pieces, for the torso/helmet, bicep covers, hands, thigh covers, boots, and a torso extender.  All of these parts are re-used from the Series 63 AoU Hulkbuster, who served as the basis for all of the animated ‘busters.  It’s a decent selection of parts, with quite a bit of detailing.  Not incredibly posable, but still pretty cool.  The paint work translates this figure into something more Captain America-themed, so he’s the usual red, white, and blue.  The application is notably on the sloppier side, but it’s not *awful*, and the colors are at least pretty nice.  Under the helmet, we get a Captain America head, printed straight onto the head block, rather than using a separate sculpted helmet piece.  It’s more compact, but still looks pretty decent.  Cap’s Hulkbuster is packed with an upgraded shield for him to hold, as well as a clear display stand.


“The son of the Hydra founder Heinrich Zemo, the elderly Helmut Zemo is rejuvenated when he takes his father’s super-soldier serum.”

Helmut Zemo has been a little bit on the scarce side as far as Minimates go.  He didn’t join the line until Series 50, and since that, he’s only gotten two more releases.  This one was his second ‘mate, released 5 years after his first.  He’s based on the animation design, which is itself very closely patterned on his re-design circa the Brubaker era of the comics.  He’s light on the add-ons, with one for his “crown” and one for his belt.  Both were re-used, the crown from the Series 50 release, and the belt from countless others, since it’s just a basic piece.  His paint work is carrying most of the weight here, and it does pretty well.  He does somewhat exhibit that more washed out palette that the animation designs tended to lean towards for their ‘mates.  It works out alright for Zemo, specifically, though, and the line work in particular is pretty sharp on this one.  Zemo is packed with a sword and a clear display stand.


I honestly don’t recall exactly when I grabbed these two.  They’d been out for a while, I know that much.  I think I probably grabbed them after a bunch of times of not finding anything new at my local Walgreens.  I like a good Cap variant, and this one’s not a bad one.  The Hulkbuster mold got a little overplayed, but the color scheme is at least pretty unique.  Zemo is a solid release for the character, and not quite as animation-specific, allowing him to do a little bit more.  Both of them are pretty fun, though perhaps easily overlooked.

#3326: Iron Man



In the second year of Marvel Minimates, after a focus on Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Daredevil in the first year, Diamond expanded the line’s horizons a bit in the second year.  The Avengers, a notable omission from the first year, got their first taste of the line, with Captain America leading the charge in Series 5.  Iron Man wasn’t far behind, with his ‘mate debut hitting just a few short months later in the next assortment.  And I’m taking a look at that figure today!


Iron Man was released in Series 6 of Marvel Minimates, in a pack alongside the Danny Ketch version of Ghost Rider.  This one was the standard release, and there was also a stealth variant that swapped out for this version.  This same figure was also packed with the standard Dr. Doom for the Walmart and Target Group A selection, as well as in a TRU four pack with Silver Surfer, Gamma Hulk, and Wolverine, and the big TRU 10-pack that debuted Mr Fantastic at the end of the year.  There was also a very slightly modified version packed in with the Ultimate Avengers 2 DVD for certain releases.  The figure was built on the long-footed Minimate base body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Iron Man made use of two add-on pieces for his helmet and belt, as well as a unique left hand for his replusor blast.  All of the pieces were new for this release, though they were all shared with the variant from his debut series.  The belt and the hand would also become standard pieces, and the helmet was used once more for the Civil War set before being retired.  The parts are all quite nicely handled.  They show the line’s progression towards a little more detailing in the sculpts, while still remaining rather on the simple side.  The paint work is quite impressive, and to date holds up one of the best Iron Man paint schemes from the line.  They manage to make the armor look shiny, while still making use of flat colors.  It maintains his look from the page, which I think really works.  It also means that he avoids the issue of how the metallic paints held up over time, which was a persistent issue for the later Iron Men.  Under the helmet, there’s a fully detailed face for Tony.  Again he showcases the line moving towards extra detailing. Also, he’s got a full goatee, which doesn’t feel quite right for this particular era of armor, but it could be worse.  To showcase the unmasked head, Iron Man was packed with an extra hairpiece.


I was very excited by the prospect of the Avengers being added to the line, so Iron Man was my most wanted out of Series 6.  I bought him and Ghost Rider both brand new from my local comic shop, Cosmic Comix.  I wasn’t quite as good about keeping all the parts to my Minimates at the time, so I wound up losing most of their parts.  I was able to piece Iron Man back together with a few spare parts I picked up second hand over the years, so he’s back to his original glory.  He’s quite a nice ‘mate.  I don’t really know that any of the 81 variants that followed ever really topped him.

#3301: Insulated Spider-Man & Electro



In 2009, we were between cinematic versions of Spider-Man, so all of his toy tie-ins were sticking closely to the comics for their inspiration.  This was especially true of Marvel Minimates, who had three dedicated assortments just for comic Spidey, as well as working him into some of the mixed assortments.  Wedged in the middle of the themed set-ups was today’s set, a variant of Spider-Man and one of his classic foes, Electro!


Insulated Spider-Man and Electro were initially released in the fourth TRU-exclusive assortment of Marvel Minimates, before getting a follow-up release in Series 30 of the main line.  The set from this review was the specialty release, but the two sets were effectively identical apart from packaging.


“This alternate costume was created by Spider-Man to counter the devastating electricity powers of the super-villain Electro. By utilizing non-conductive materials and building on his original ‘rubber air mattress’ design, he defeated Electro with ease.”

Introduced in 1997’s Amazing Spider-Man #425, Spider-Man’s Electro Proof Insulated Suit was crafted to battle Electro’s increased powers of the ’90s.  It had graced toy form before during Toy Biz’s run with the license, but with this it had a Minimate.  Different!  The figure was based on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  His only add-on is a full face-mask piece.  They were standard for Spidey for a brief span of time, but this assortment actually dropped that; the only reason this particular figure got the piece was for the extra padded design.  Everything else is handled with paint.  There’s quite a lot going on, but it does a great job of capturing the design of the costume as seen in the comics.  Under the bulked up mask is a standard Spidey mask.  It’s unfortunately saddled with the peg hole in the head, but otherwise it was really great, and the red was designed to be an exact match for the standard Spidey from Series 24 of the main line, allowing a replacement of his bulked up mask piece from the original release.  Spider-Man was without any extras for this release.


“Given super-human powers by a freak electrical accident, Max Dillon was transformed from an average electric company lineman into the super-villain known as Electro! Able to absorb and manipulate near-limitless amounts of electricity, Electro can only be defeated by shorting out or overloading his powers.”

This marked Electro’s introduction to this line.  While there were another four variants of the character to follow, but this is to date the only one based upon his classic design.  He got three add-on pieces for this release, for his mask and his two glove cuffs.  All three were all-new pieces.  The mask was a little bit deep at the front, but was otherwise a good piece.  The cuffs take what would become the standard approach for the flared gloves, and add the electric effects to the ends.  His paint work is respectable enough; the colors are nice and bold, and the line work is quite detailed.  There’s a ton of work on the face, which would perhaps be overboard on another character, but actually kind of works for Max.  Electro was packed with two electricity effects pieces, shared with Series 29’s Storm.


I bought this set new from my go-to place for Minimates at the time, Cosmic Comix.  I remember being pretty happy about getting an Electro, and the Insulated Spider-Man was certainly a cool design.  The figures both suffer from a little bit of production issues cropping up, but they’re both pretty good overall, and neither found themself with any real replacement.

#3296: WWII Wolverine & Hydra Agent



In 2009, we weren’t yet into the actual MCU proper, so we had to make due with our only Marvel movie of the year being X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Dark times, I know.  There was, of course, a proper tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates for the movie, but the line also had a fair number of Wolverine-themed comics-based ‘mates.  There was a largely Wolverine-themed assortment in its entirety, but then they also worked him into the mixed assortments as well.  For Series 29, there were two sets, focussing on old and new.  Today, I’m looking at the old.


WWII Wolverine and the Hydra Agent were the variant set for Series 29 of Marvel Minimates.  The Hydra Agent was the shared army builder between the two sets, with WWII Wolverine swapping in for the X-Force Wolverine from the standard set.


“Before he joined the X-Men as Wolverine, Canadian soldier James Howlett served alongside Captain America, Bucky and others during World War II – something Wolverine himself only discovered after the memories of his past were restored.”

Wolverine’s past, specifically his service during the second World War, has been a subject that’s been rattling around the Marvel universe since early in his comics career.  With Origins‘ renewal of interest in the era, this made for a sensible choice of design for this assortment in 2009.  The figure is based on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He makes use of four add-on pieces, for his helmet, jacket, and sleeve cuffs.  He also gets a set of tweaked hands featuring his pre-Adamantium bone claws.  The helmet came from the DC Minimates Sgt Rock, the jacket from Platoon‘s Sgt Barnes, the sleeves from BttF‘s Marty McFly, and the hands from the “Wolverine Through the Ages” Weapon X.  Aside from the helmet not having any trace of Logan’s hair, making him look kind of bald with it removed, the parts do their job pretty well, so that’s actually pretty cool.  The paint work on this guy is pretty drab, but that’s expected.  It’s not a bad look at all, and there’s actually some really nice detail work going into some of it.  The head was consistent with the other comics Logan ‘mates at the time, and he’s even got a fully detailed shirt on the torso block under the jacket.  I also really dig the “X” on the helmet; it’s a fun touch.  Wolverine was packed with an alternate hairpiece (one of the Origins tie-in ones), a spare set of standard hands, and a Thompson machine gun (also re-used from Sgt Rock).


“The loyal minions of super-villains such as the Red Skull and Baron von Strucker, HYDRA Agents are bent on world domination through terrorist attacks and dangerous experimental technologies.”

The Hydra Agent marked the line’s fourth go at the army builder concept for the re-pack figure.  He’s a pretty classic one, and one that was at the top of everyone’s lists when the concept was first discussed.  It was kind of a big deal, really.  How’d it go?  Umm…about that… So, right out of the box, he’s got six add-on pieces.  All of them are re-use, with the standard full-face mask piece, the DC-style flared gloves, Emil Blonski‘s torso cap, the skirt from BSG’s Laura Roslin, and Assault Punisher’s holster.  They were clearly trying to get the most out of re-used parts here, and it largely works.  The real issue’s with the torso piece, which just doesn’t quite feel like it fits the usual style of Hydra Agents.  The paint is where the mixed bag really comes into play here.  Series 29 and 30 mark DST really trying to go more in-depth on the line-work for Minimates, so there was a lot more smaller detailing and creative shading, and things just generally looking more scratchy and sketchy.  The face on the full face mask for this figure is kind of a victim of that; there’s just really way too much detailing going on, and it gets kind of distracting.  There was a push on these figures to add alternate looks, and that certainly helped this one a little bit; removing the mask, gloves, and torso cap reveals a slightly more classic Hydra Agent, which is generally an improvement.  Unfortunately, due to a mix-up at the factory, this guy wound up getting a head with a peg-hole at the top, which can become just a touch distracting.  Also, I’ve never been much of a fan of the figure’s coloring.  They went for two shades of green, rather than the usual yellow and green, and the two shades are much closer than I’d like.  Throw in that both shades are rather on the dull side, and the whole thing becomes rather muddy looking.  In addition to all the removable add-on pieces, the Hydra Agent also got a pistol, an assault rifle, and Blonski’s night vision goggles, but in a matching green.


I was actually pretty excited about this set when it was announced.  Sgt Rock was one of those unexpected favorites of mine from the DC line, and I liked being able to expand his set-up just a bit with this version of Wolverine.  I’d also really been wanting Hydra Agents for a while.  When I finally got the set, I was admittedly underwhelmed.  Wolverine’s certainly not a bad variant, but he’s also not really meant to be the selling point.  The Hydra Agent showed a lot of promise, but ultimately has a lot of little issues that add-up to him not being so great.  Thankfully, there was a later variant that improved on him, but until then, this was all we had.

#3291: Tactical Wolverine & Marvel Now Magneto



For the last few years of Fox’s hold on the X-Men film rights, Disney actively discouraged licensees from doing any direct tie-ins with Fox’s movie releases.  So, while we got tie-in assortments for both X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine from Minimates, the last of the solo Wolverine films, Logan, went without.  To tie-in with the general themes, however, there was still a comics-based Wolverine assortment in the main line, as well as a corresponding TRU-exclusive.  Today, I’m looking at the TRU-exclusive.


Tactical Wolverine and Marvel Now Magneto were released in the 23rd TRU-exclusive assortment of Marvel Minimates, alongside two shared sets from Series 72 of the main specialty line.


“A verteran of many wars, the slow-aging Logan has acquired a great many human combat skills to complement his natural animal instincts.”

As the 65th version of Wolverine to grace the line, Tactical Wolverine definitely comes from a place of “what more can we do to make different versions of this one guy?”  The answer, as it turns out, is add a headband and a vest.  Very exciting stuff, really.  The figure is based on the standard post-c3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s got add-ons for his hair and vest, plus the adjusted hands and feet with the claws and signature boots.  The hair is the same piece unmasked hair piece that had been in use for a few years at this point, and the hands and feet were the same set-up.  The vest appears to be a unique part.  It’s alright.  Kinda soft on the details, but not the worst.  The paint work on this guy gives him his brown costume, and it’s actually pretty crisp and clean.  I definitely dig the extra stubble on his face; it looks really cool.  For accessories, he’s packed with a mask piece, so that you can convert him to a proper Brown Costume Wolverine, as well as a clear display stand.


“Max Eisenhardt has been both friend and foe to the X-Men over the years. His magnetic powers make him one of the most powerful mutants on Earth.”

Ah, yes, Marvel Now.  Or, I guess Marvel Then at this point, since none of it stuck.  Well, except for Magneto going monochromatic, I guess.  Yay.  Glad that stuck.  Big fan of that.  There were a few different versions of his costume in play.  This one’s sleeveless and black.  He’s got add-ons for his helmet, cape, belt and wrist cuffs.  The belt and cuffs appear to be new, while the cape is a re-use from the Avengers Vs X-Men Scarlet Witch and the helmet is from the Series 50 Onslaught.  The parts are all pretty respectable matches for the source material, so that’s cool.  His paint, monochromatic though it may be, is pretty crisp and clean, and just quite nice looking.  His head gets full face detailing, as well as ears, since Magneto was bald at the time he had this look.  He’s still got the hole in his head, of course, but, you know, there it is.  Magneto’s packed with both a flight stand and a clear display stand.  The flight stand is a bit too small, so his foot doesn’t actually securely stay put, which makes balancing him a real…well, balancing act, I suppose.


None of these sets really appealed to me at the time of their release, largely due to me not having a whole lot of money to throw at Minimates.  I got these for the same reason I got most of the Minimates of the same era: TRU was going out of business and they were cheap.  Both figures are pretty nice, all things considered, but they’re also both non-essential looks, which makes this set as a whole kind of extraneous.  Still, they’re not bad.

#3286: Nebula & Drax



“Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos! The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.”

On December 20 of 2017, I noted in the intro to my Minimates Taserface and Mantis review that I hadn’t picked up the Toys R Us-exclusive Nebula and Drax two-pack. Well, the times they are a-changin…in the spring of 2018…when I actually bought this set.  And…then I took quite a few years to actually review it.  And I’m probably making it worse by drawing attention to it here.  But, you know what, I’m just going for it.


Nebula and Drax were the TRU-exclusive pack in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates, hitting about two months before the film’s release in 2017.  This pair rounded out the titular team from the film.


For the first movie, Nebula was exclusive to the specialty assortment, while this time around flipped the script and moved her over to TRU.  Still exclusive, but differently so, I suppose.  This release places her in her updated outfit she gets from the Ravagers mid-way through the film.  It’s not crazy different, but it’s got sleeves, and it’s a little redder.  The figure is based on the standard post-C3 Minimate body, so she’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Like her first release, Nebula is a vanilla ‘mate with no add-ons.  It makes sense, since she’s pretty svelte, and has no notable things that would require anything extra on the standard body.  Nebula’s paint is where the main work is going on.  The detail work is pretty solid; she gets things toned down a bit compared to the previous version, but it’s still impressive, as is the base color work.  Nebula is packed with a blaster pistol and a clear display stand.


Drax’s look is the least changed of the main characters in the second Guardians, which makes this release seem pretty unneeded at first glance.  However, this one was largely used to correct an issue with the last release, which bulked him up with a bulky chest piece, generally seen as not the greatest choice for the character.  This one’s only sculpted add-on is a generic pelvis cap piece, which gives him a little more bulk without going too overboard.  Beyond the change of sculpt there are also some changes in terms of paint.  The upper half of the figure is fairly similar to the first movie version, but just a touch crisper on the details.  He also gets the blue Nova uniform pants, rather than the all-black ones, which feature a fair bit more detailing than the all-black ones from the first film.  Drax is packed with his two knives and a clear display stand.


While I got the whole Specialty assortment for this movie within a few months after their release, I held off on this one, for a few reasons.  Firstly, I hadn’t gone out and actually tried to find them, and moreover, I was content with the prior versions.  But, with TRU going out of business in 2018, I had another chance at them, for a much better deal.  Nebula I can take or leave; the first one is still a favorite of mine, so this one’s just different to be different.  Drax is actually an improvement, and I quite like the changes they’ve made here.

#3256: Sakaar Loki & Heimdall



“In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!”

For movies prior to Thor: Ragnarok, Diamond Select’s Minimates line-ups typically relied on a mix of a couple of different retailers carrying two-pack assortments, but beginning with Ragnarok, the specialty assortment was replaced by a boxed set, augmented by exclusive two-packs at both TRU and Walgreens.  For Ragnarok, Walgreens took two exclusive packs, while TRU took one, which is the one I’ll be looking at today.  Let’s have a look at Sakaar Loki and Heimdall!


Sakaar Loki and Heimdall are, as noted in the intro, the one proper TRU-exclusive set for the Marvel Minimates tie-ins for Ragnarok.  Interestingly enough, this was the second time the two characters had been packed together in the line, as they were also paired for the Dark World tie-in assortment as well.


Surprisingly enough, Loki was actually the character with the most ‘mates for Ragnarok, edging out even his brother Thor, and netting one variant for each of the three release venues for the movie’s tie-ins.  This one is based on what he wears for the bulk of the movie, while running around on Sakaar.  It’s not quite as true to the character as his final battle attire, but it’s still pretty decent.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 minimate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Loki’s got three sculpted add-on pieces, for his hair, belt, and cape.  The belt and cape were shared with the boxed set Loki, while the hair was a new piece shared with the civilian Loki released on the Walgreens side of this assortment.  I find the hair to be a little bit bulky for Loki in Ragnarok, but it’s generally not bad, and the cape is still one of my favorites.  Loki’s paint work is a little cleaner than his boxed set equivalent, with no major issues with slop or bleed over.  He’s also a little more colorful, which is true to the Sakaar design.  I’m not as big on the facial expression for this one, which is rather bland, and feels like it has too many lines for Hiddleston.  Loki’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is rather on the light side.


Heimdall’s only prior coverage in the line was his Dark World release, which actually wasn’t bad, and is also his fully armored attire, which was distinctly different from his on the run look from Ragnarok.  Heimdall gets two sculpted add-ons, for his hair and for his cloak/coat.  The hair is an alright piece, though it certainly feels rather too kempt for Heimdall’s look in Ragnarok.  Where Loki’s piece seemed too bulky and long, this one feels too tame and short.  The chest piece is also…it’s just not great.  Making the whole thing one piece means that the right arm is effectively trapped in place, and the legs and waist are also pretty restricted, and on top of that, the neck can’t really do much either, so he’s just generally not really posable.  And, to add insult to injury, the piece is just flat out not accurate to the character’s look, like at all.  It’s got him wearing some sort of heavy coat and multiple layers, when in the movie he’s got a sleeveless shirt and a simple pair of pants on under the cloak.  I’m not sure if this was based on early concept art or what, but it’s just not really right, and the figure would have really been better off if this piece had just been the cloak, rather than the whole thing.  The paint work doubles down on the inaccuracy of the sculpted pieces, resulting in a kind of dull look for the figure.  Heimdall is packed with his sword, as well as a clear display stand.


There was a whole slew of 2017 releases for Minimates that I had to skip on when they dropped, and almost the entirety of the Ragnarok line-up was on that list, this set included.  This one was snagged from TRU during the beginnings of their clearing out of their products in 2018.  Loki’s okay, but not as definitive as the boxed set version.  Heimdall is rough, I’m not gonna lie.  He’s not accurate, and he’s not a particularly fun figure either.  This set’s generally kind of weak.

#3251: Gladiator Hulk & Valkyrie



“In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!”

In order to really maximize the depth of characters covered, Thor: Ragnarok‘s Minimates line-up split itself amongst a number of venues.  There was a core boxed set at specialty, and then the rest went to TRU and Walgreens.  In order to properly spread the heavy hitters around, Valkyrie and Hulk, who were both absent from the main boxed set, found themselves distributed in two-pack form.  I’m taking a look at that particular two-pack today!


Gladiator Hulk and Valkyrie were one of the two carry-over packs for the Thor: Ragnarok tie-in line up of Marvel Minimates.  While the other carry-over pack, Thor and Hela, was also available as part of the boxed set, Hulk and Valkyrie were available only in the store-exclusive line-ups.


Ragnarok‘s role for Hulk partially adapts his “Planet Hulk” storyline from the comics, which includes his time as a gladiator on Sakaar, a rather distinctive look for the character.  That was, of course, the look that served as the basis for all the tie-in merch, which certainly made a lot of sense.  The figure is using the standard ‘mate body, so he’s technically starting out at 2 1/4 inches tall with 14 points of articulation.  That being said, the extra parts on this guy wind up removing the ankle movement, while also granting him an extra half inch of height.  Hulk has 11 sculpted add-on pieces, for his helmet, chest cap, upper arms, hands, thighs, feet, and torso extender.  The upper arms, thighs, and torso extender are all re-used from previous bulked up releases, while the rest of the parts are all-new to this particular figure.  The sculpting is generally pretty good, and certainly consistent with other bulked up figures.  He’s definitely falling more into that realm of a little bit over sculpted and busy for my personal taste on Minimates, but he’s not awful.  The paint work on the figure is about what you’d expect.  With as much sculpting as there is, most of the paint is base coverage, with limited detail line work.  What detail line work is there, however, is pretty sharp, and I especially like the white markings on the skin.  Gladiator Hulk is packed with an alternate hairpiece (a re-use of the Zombie Hulk piece), his hammer an axe from the arena fight, and a clear display stand.


Making her debut in the MCU side of the line, and getting her first Minimate since 2007’s Defenders boxed set, Valkyrie was certainly a welcome addition in this set.  She’s based on her early in the film look, which is consistent with the design choices for most of the others from the line, barring only the alternate Loki from the boxed set.  Valkyrie makes use of three add-on pieces for her hair, cape, and belt/skirt.  All three pieces were new for this release, and they do a respectable job of capturing the design of the character from the movie, and translating that into ‘mate form.  The paint work on the figure does most of the heavy lifting here.  There’s a fair bit of small detail work, especially on the costume’s darker sections, which get a lot of highlights detailing.  The face does seem a tad generic for Tessa Thompson, especially the expression, but it’s not terrible, I suppose.  Valkyrie is packed with her sword Dragonfang (a new sculpt for this release) as well as two knives, and a clear display stand.


I slept on a lot of the 2017 minimates, so I didn’t actually wind up getting this one until TRU started clearing stuff out in 2018.  I picked up a lot of Minimates that way.  I may have been part of the problem, I suppose.  Gladiator Hulk is a strong take on a unique design.  Even removed from the movie, he’s still got some validity to him.  Valkyrie is a character that’s far too scarce in Minimates, so it’s nice that the movie at least got her one more.  She’s a little more basic, but there’s nothing wrong with that.