#1250: Baron Zemo

BARON ZEMO

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

Earlier this month, I took a look at Baron Helmut Zemo, who’s one of my favorite Captain America villains. Well, he’s my favorite Cap villain that’s not a crazy leaping Frenchman…or a robot with face for a torso…look, he’s nearer the top of the list than he is the bottom, alright?  Anyway, I looked at Helmut, but he wasn’t the first Baron Zemo to face off against Cap.  No, that would be his dad, Baron Heinrich Zemo, who, amongst other things, founded the Masters of Evil.  Heinrich hasn’t been quite as prevalent to the toy world as his son, but he’s gotten a few entries.  He was actually the only Baron Zemo to be released during Toy Biz’s lengthy tenure producing Marvel figures, and was even one of the last figures they produced.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baron Zemo was released in Series 14 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, which was also commonly known as the “Mojo Series” after its Build-A-Figure.  It was the penultimate series of the line, and ended up being rushed into production so that Toy Biz could get it out before passing the license off to Hasbro.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  As with so many of Toy Biz’s Legends figures, there was a definite priority placed on the articulation over the integrity of the sculpt on this guy.  For some, that was less of an issue, but on this guy?  Oh boy, it’s pretty bad.  Now, admittedly, there were some production things that made some problems crop up that weren’t on the initial prototype (mostly the neck), but this guy was always going to look sort of…weird.  His shape is vaguely human, I guess.  The hands and feet were definitely too large, the neck too long, the waist both too high and too thin, and the limbs too skinny.  His clothes are both uncomfortably clingy and oddly loose, in a way that he would have to have them sewn on him that way.  It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  I mean, if you take some of the pieces individually, there’s some good stuff there.  The head is pretty good, and captures his comics design pretty well.  The boots are also pretty nice, especially the fur lining.  The holster’s okay, but the gun’s non removable, which is always very frustrating.  Other than that, though, it’s pretty goofy.  Did no one stand back, look at this guy, and go “that looks nothing like a human?”  Because I did that.  On top of the very questionable sculpt, there were also some major quality control issues on this series in particular.  Most of the figures, Zemo included, were saddled with incredibly rubbery joints.  It makes getting him to stand quite difficult, and leaves him always looking the slightest bit deflated.  The paintwork on this guy is probably his strongest aspect.  It’s still not perfect; the gold pieces in particular are a real mess, and the washes can be rather hit and miss.  However, it’s still pretty passable.  Zemo included the head and upper torso of Mojo, as well as a weird staff thing.  The staff is kind of goofy; there’s a hole in the handle and a corresponding peg in his right hand, but he never holds it in a particularly convincing way.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got most of Series 14 for as Christmas presents in 2006, and Zemo was amongst them.  I was happy to have him at the time (Legends was my absolute favorite line to collect at that point), but even when he was new, I knew he was less than stellar in execution.  This is definitely a figure I’d like to see Hasbro tackle at some point, especially since I liked their Helmut figure so much.

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#1213: Falcon

FALCON

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

falconml1

I’ve been a Falcon fan for quite some time, and while that’s really easy nowadays when you can walk into just about any store and have your pick of *multiple* Sam Wilson figures, that was hardly the case a decade ago.  That being said, even as a minor character, Sam’s actually been pretty lucky when it comes to action figures, finding his way into the relatively compressed line-ups of Mego’s World’s Greatest Superheroes and Mattel’s Marvel Superheroes: Secret Wars, as well as getting five different figures during Toy Biz’s tenure with the Marvel license.  Today, I’ll be looking at Toy Biz’s last stab at the character, courtesy of Marvel Legends!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

falconml2Falcon was released in Series 14 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, which was their penultimate series for the line.  There were two versions of Falcon available: classic and modern.  The one seen here is the more common classic version, based on Falcon’s second costume.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and has 40 points of articulation.  Falcon was built on the body from the first ML Iron Fist, which is an interesting choice to say the least.  While the Iron Fist body looked great in the prototype stage, it suffered from some real issues on the final figure, and a lot of that was passed on to Falcon.  The biggest issue is the shoulders, which jut way too far out.  Also, the under the shoulder joint fails to go all the way into the torso, leaving his arms forever slightly out to the side.  He looks like his arms are connected to his torso by a weird tube thing.  In addition to the arms, the exposed portion of the torso looks more like a grill rack than an actual person’s pecs, which makes Falcon look rather frightening.  Beyond that?  I guess the rest of the sculpt is decent enough.  The body was a lot less gangly than a lot of the TB Legends so that’s good, and the legs are actually not badly done (well, apart from those crazy nonexistent muscles).  In addition to the Iron Fist pieces, Falcon got a new head, forearms, hands, and feet, as well as slightly tweaked upper arms and shins.  The head’s always been one of my favorites from this era of Legends; it just really seems to capture the character well, and just has a nice heroic quality about it in general.  The hands are probably some of the most convincing hands TB ever put on one of their Legends, but also serve to showcase just how stupid the finger articulation was most of the time; what good does that joint do the figure?  The forearms and biceps have the wings attached.  The segmentation of the design allows for much more natural posing than was exhibited in the MU Falcon, and the wings are quite nicely detailed, with each feather being carefully defined and textured.  In terms of paint, Falcon is about what you’d expect from a TB-era Legends figure; lots of washes and airbrushing that vernally looked much better on the prototype than on the mass produced figure.  For some reason, all of the joint pins have been done in bright red plastic.  In the case of the elbows and gloves, this means there’s paint somewhat sloppily thrown over them to cover this up, but for the discs in the shoulders and the neck, this means a bright red stripe running across his skin.  Also, this figure seems to be exhibiting an issue similar to the Young Avengers Patriot figure where the pieces molded in white are slowly soaking up the color from the much darker joint pins, which is a slightly disturbing thing to see.  Both versions of Falcon were also plagued by a mix-up in the assemble process, causing the paint on the pelvises to actually correspond with the other version of the figure.  Amusingly, a similar issue showed up on the prototypes, only it was the forearms/hands that were mixed up that time.  Falcon included his trusty bird sidekick Redwing, who can be plugged into Sam’s back, as well as the lower torso of Series 14’s BaF Mojo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 14 is one of the few series of Legends where I wanted every figure in the line-up, and Falcon here was no exception.  While I actually got most of this particular series for Christmas the year they were released, I didn’t get Falcon as a gift.  I ended up getting him from Cosmic Comix, who were getting a pretty steady stream of Legends at that point.  The figure hasn’t aged very well at all, but I was very happy with him back in the day.  I’d love to see Hasbro redo this guy at some point.

#0075: Luke Cage

LUKE CAGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

Today, it’s my second look at the early 2000s juggernaut, Marvel Legends.  I’ve mentioned in the past my issues with this line’s tendency to draw out the worst in the collector market, but the figure’s themselves weren’t always bad.  I’ll be looking at one of the figure’s from towards the end of Toy Biz’s run with the line: Luke Cage, sometimes known as Power Man.  Sweet Christmas!

Luke Cage was a character created in the 70s to somewhat tie-in to the trend of “blaxplotation” movies.  Marvel wanted to try and appeal to that market, so they created Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.  He starred in his own series for a while, that was very 70s.  When his own series started to suffer, he was rolled in with fellow 70s character Iron Fist.  It was here that the two characters found their audience, and it’s how they’re often remembered.  When the 70s passed, Cage fell into obscurity, but he came into a bit of a revival in the last few years, and is set to appear in his own Netflix-original miniseries in 2015.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Cage was released as part of the 14th Series of ToyBiz’s Marvel Legends line.  He’s a little bit over 6 inches tall, and he has 35 points of articulation.  The figure depicts Luke in his original yellow and black look.  It’s incredibly dated, but given that the character seems to just where normal clothes these days, this is the most interesting look the character’s had.  Luke’s sculpt isn’t too bad.  The body sculpt is one of the better ones that the line had to offer.  It doesn’t have some of the stranger proportions that plagued the line, although his super articulation does make some parts of the sculpt look a little…off.  The head looks fine, if a bit on the angry side.  Most of the figure is molded in the proper color, but there’s some nice accent work done to bring out the sculpt’s details.  Cage included a piece of Series 14’s Build-A-Figure Mojo, and a copy of his first appearance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my last review of a Marvel Legends figure, I lamented how difficult it was to get a hold of the figures.  Well, but the last two series or so of the line, this was less the case, so I had no real issues getting Luke here.