#1750: Agent Phil Coulson

AGENT PHIL COULSON

AVENGERS (HOT TOYS)

So, about this monumental reviews business, you know, where I do the “deluxe” reviews of the high-end stuff?  When I started them, I was doing them every 50 reviews, which was far too frequent, so I bumped that up to every 100.  Well, right around the night before I had to write #1500, I decided 100 had gotten to be too frequent as well.  And so, as I noted in review #1600, I’m now doing them every 250.  Isn’t that nice?  For me it is.  Alright, let’s get back into the swing of things!

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Wow, it’s been another 250 reviews?  Who could have forseen this coming?  Well, at this point, me, because I know I’m not stopping any time soon.  In honor of another 250 under my belt, let’s have a look at another one of my high-end Hot Toys figures, shall we?  Slowly but surely, I’m making my way through the crown jewel of said Hot Toys collection: namely, my Avengers figures.  Today, I continue that, taking a look at one of my personal favorites, Agent Phil Coulson!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Coulson was released as part of Hot Toys’ main Movie Masterpiece Series, where he was figure 189.  While most of the Avengers figures stuck together in their numbering, Coulson was a later solicitation, so he’s smack dab between Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises and the Scar Predator from Alien vs Predator.  What an assortment.  Coulson is meant to be based on his appearance in Avengers specifically, but he can just as easily work for his appearances in Iron ManThor, or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., making him quite a versatile figure.  The figure stands 11 3/4 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

Really, the key piece to a figure like this, is the head sculpt, since without it, he’s just a generic suit.  Fortunately, Coulson got one of the best head sculpts to come out of the Avengers sub-set of figures.  There’s absolutely no denying who this guy is meant to be; he’s the spitting image of Clark Gregg.  But, of course, it’s not just about the likeness; it’s also about how lifelike the figure looks.  Some of the other Avengers figures were a little lighter on the texturing and the like, but fortunately that’s not the case with Coulson, who really does look like he stepped right after the movie.  His paintwork is up to the usual Hot Toys standard, which only furthers the lifelike nature of the sculpt.

Coulson’s sporting his standard-issue government agent black suit, with a dress shirt and a tie to go with it.  While not the most spectacularly tailored suit Hot Toys ever put out, it’s certainly a marked improvement over the likes of the Two-Face figure from just a few years prior.  I think my biggest complaint isn’t the suit itself, but actually the tie, which is a little bit on the short side, resulting in a somewhat goofy look.  In addition, his suit doesn’t have any buttons for closing it, so there’s no option to hide the shortness of the tie, at least not in any sort fixed fashion.  Still, that’s a rather minor issue.  On the opposite end of things, there are his shoes.  They’re fully sculpted feet, as is the usual Hot Toys fashion, and they’re just really, really nice looking.  Finally, there are the little touches that bring the whole thing together, which includes his Level 7 access badge and his wrist watch, both of which are quite a bit of fun.

Coulson’s accessories are a fun selection of movie specific extras.  He includes:

  • 5 hands
  • sunglasses
  • earpiece
  • cellphone
  • walkie talkie
  • handgun
  • Destroyer gun
  • filefolder
  • Captain America trading cards
  • Display stand

He has a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of gripped hands, and a hand specifically designed for holding either the file folder or the trading cards.

The sunglasses sit well on the face, in a decent enough fashion that you might not realize they were a separate piece at first glance.  I also appreciate that they’re actually semi-transparent, as they should be.  Similarly, the earpiece fits snugly into the right ear, and looks like it belongs there.  The cellphone and walkie talkie give him another two communication options, if that’s what you’re looking for.

The handgun’s a pretty nice piece as well.  It’s got a moving slide and a removable clip, which makes it fun to mess with.

The prize piece is definitely the Destroyer gun, Coulson’s signature weapon from his final moments in Avengers.  It’s well-scaled, a solid recreation of the design from the movie, and it even lights up! …or at least it did.  In the 5 years since I got it, the batteries in mine seem to have gone up.  Oh well.

The file folder and cards are both paper goods.  The folder is a little bit of a let down, since there’s noting inside of it, and it doesn’t open like a real folder, but it’s still a nice little bonus.  The cards are definitely a lot of fun, and I’m glad they weren’t over looked.

Lastly, there’s the display stand.  It’s just a basic oval stand, with the Avengers logo and Coulson’s name printed on the placard.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Coulson was the figure I was most excited for from this whole subset.  It was the strong hinting at his release from Hot Toys that actually got me on-board for the whole Avengers set-up, since it was, at the time, the only way to get a Coulson figure to go with the rest of the team.  Though he’s just a fairly average guy, the figure’s definitely one of Hot Toys’ stronger efforts, and it’s the cool accessories that give him that extra edge.

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#1187: Mandroid & Blizzard

MANDROID & BLIZZARD — DONNIE GILL

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Today, I’m making my way into the final five of the 2016 post-Christmas reviews, and wrapping up the last of my Marvel Minimates Series 69 reviews in one fell swoop.  I’ll be taking a look at the series’ resident army builder (boy has it been a little while since we’ve gotten one of these guys, especially a comic-based one) the Mandroid, as well as Iron Man baddie Blizzard!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

There are two Mandroid/Blizzard sets in Series 69.  The one seen here has the more heavily packed Donnie Gill version of Blizzard, but there’s also a variant set featuring Donnie’s predecessor Gregor Shapanka, which is packed one-per-case.

MANDROID

mandroidblizzard2The Mandroid is a ‘mate that’s been a long time coming.  It was first shown off as one of the potential choices during the big Series 50 fan-poll back in 2012, but was beaten by the Nova Corpsman.  We’ve actually seen a good chunk of the losing characters from that poll in the last five years, but the Mandroid is the first of the losing army builders to make it plastic form (I’m still pulling for classic Multiple Man), so good for it!  The figure stands about 3 inches tall when fully armored up, and sports 11 of the 14 usual points of articulation.  The Mandroid depicted here is more or less the classic version of the armor.  It’s a little bit more kibble-y than usual, but the armor tended to vary from appearance to appearance, so this sort of aims to capture the essential elements.  Amazingly enough, the Mandroid has been constructed entirely out of re-used pieces.  He’s got the helmet/chest of Nemesis, the hands of Iron Monger, and the upper arms, upper legs and feet of the Age of Ultron Hulkbuster.  Despite the pieces being from a span of  nine years, the actually mesh together pretty well and make for a pretty solid take on the Mandroid armor.  In terms of paint, the Mandroid is a whole lot of gold.  It’s a nicer gold than some of the earlier ‘mates to use the color, and hopefully this one won’t wear off like some of those.  Also, there’s actually more than one gold present here, which keeps things from getting too boring.  Remove the armor, and there’s a fully detailed figure underneath, showcasing the SHIELD Agent piloting the suit. But it’s not just any SHIELD Agent!  DST Rep Zach Oat confirmed at NYCC that this is none other than Agent Phil Coulson, making his third appearance as a ‘mate.  We had yet to receive a comic version of Phil, so it’s cool that they threw him in there.  The Mandroid is packed with an extra gun hand (taken from Alpha Flight’s Box), plus and extra hair piece, flesh colored hands, and grey feet to turn him into Coulson.  He also gets the usual clear display stand, but the coolest extra by far (for me, anyway) is the coffee mug with the SHIELD logo on it.  This was first shown on Jasper Sitwell’s control art, but ultimately cut.  It’s great to see DST finally got it out!

BLIZZARD

mandroidblizzard3You know how I said it’s been a while since we’d gotten a proper comic army builder?  Well, it’s been way longer since we got any Iron Man foes.  The last comic Iron Man villains we got were back in Series 36, almost 7 years ago.  Fortunately, Blizzard’s one of his cooler looking (heh) foes, and makes up for some of the lost time.  Here’s hoping more foes will follow!  Blizzard is a classic vanilla ‘mate, which makes sense, since his costume’s never really been anything but a basic spandex suit.  As such, this figure is really carried by the paint.  Fortunately, the paintwork is pretty solid.  The white and blue contrast nicely with each other, and the detail lines are all pretty sharply defined.  Sometimes, there’s a bit of bleed through under light colored paints, but not on Blizzard, showing that they actually took the time to apply the proper number of coats!  Yay for learning!  Blizzard includes a number of ice effect pieces, including an ice blast and ice sled (both borrowed from Series 59’s Iceman), as well as an ice fist (one of the Thing’s fists, remolded in clear plastic; it works surprisingly well).  The ice fist I got is a right hand, but DST actually produced both right and left and packed in one at random, so if you get two Blizzards and are particularly lucky, you can give him some ice-y boxing gloves!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the last two days of sets, this pair was a Christmas present from my parents.  I didn’t think much of this set when the series was initially announced (I was a bit distracted by the other sets), but I’ve always kinda liked Blizzard, and the Mandroid is an essential piece of any SHIELD display.  Both of these ‘mates could have been rather dull, but the execution makes them both really fun to play with, and the accessories really give them both that extra punch.

#0524: Agents of SHIELD

AGENT COULSON, NICK FURY, & MARIA HILL

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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After a few years of treading water and treating the line as second best, Hasbro has really turned things around with Marvel Legends. It seems the 6 inch scale is here to stay, and the 3 ¾ inch scale is on its way out (for Marvel, anyway). One of the things that helped Hasbro to build a successful line is partnering with big retail stores to offer exclusive figures, allowing them to up the number of characters released in a given year. So, let’s have a look at their latest exclusive set, the Agents of SHIELD set!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This three-pack, consisting of Agent Coulson, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill, was released exclusively through Toys R Us (and eBay!) just in the last few weeks. Though the set is named “Agents of SHIELD” it’s not really based on the show (although all three characters present here have been on the show). All three of these figures present the characters as they were seen in 2012’s Avengers. So, these guys might be just a little late to the party, but we’ll let them slide.

AGENT COULSON

AgentsofShield2Yes, his first name is very definitely Agent. Coulson is really the main draw of this set, for a few reasons. First off, there’s that whole “Son of Coul,” most popular character in the MCU thing he’s got going for him. I don’t think anyone would have guessed that was going to happen to the bit part guy from the first Iron Man movie, but holy crap did it ever. The second, more toy-geek centric thing is that Coulson is also the first character to make use of Hasbro’s new suit body, which lots of people are excited about. Anyway, the figure is about 6 inches tall and he’s got 30 points of articulation. That’s a lot of articulation for a guy in a suit, but, aside from his elbows being a touch low, it works out really well. Coulson’s sculpt is all-new from head to toe. The suit body is definitely a strong sculpt. With something like a suit, finding a good balance between movement and sculpt can be tricky, but Hasbro’s done admirably here. The articulation all flows with the sculpt, and the sculpt maintains a great level of detail. The suit has all the proper fold, creases and even the stitching you’d expect from the real deal. He’s even got a proper crease at the front of his legs; Coulson does not let his pants go un-ironed! The hands feature a great level of detail, and work well with the included accessory, so that’s great too. Coulson has two head sculpts included: with or without sunglasses. He comes wearing the “without” head, which has a pretty decent likeness of Clark Gregg. It’s just a tiny bit off, but how much of that is sculpt and how much is paint is hard to tell. The “with” head is the same as the “without,” but with the addition of the sunglasses. The head ends up being the stronger of the two, and the likeness looks pretty much spot-on. As far as paintwork goes, Coulson ends up being mostly straightforward; the suit is molded in black, the shirt is molded in white, and the hands and head are molded in flesh-tone. The paint is mostly on the face and tie. The tie is pretty nicely done, with nice, clean, straight lines. The sunglass-ed head is pretty decent, but the one without has some slightly wonky eyes and eyebrows. Coulson comes packed with the extra head and, best of all, the Destroyer gun, which fits perfectly in the figure’s hands.

NICK FURY

AgentsofShield4Fury here is kind of the requisite “re-issue” of the set, sort of filling the same slot as Cap in the Avengers set. We’ve essentially seen this figure twice before, although there are a few small differences here and there. The figure is just a little taller (though not as much taller as he should be) than Coulson and features 31 points of articulation. Fury makes use of Hasbro’s trench coat body, which was originally sculpted for the Ultimate Nick Fury several years ago. It’s an okay looking body, but the poseability isn’t really up to par, especially when compared to newer offerings. A basic standing pose is fairly attainable, but the biggest issue is easily the shoulders, which can’t get any closer to his sides than about a 45 degree angle. Fury specifically makes use of the Red Skull version of this particular body, which had newly tooled hands and lower legs. The new pieces end up being rather detrimental to Fury. The feet were designed to shorten the body, robbing him of the appropriate height, and the hands have been designed to fit the more meglomaniacal Skull. In particular, his left hand, which was sculpted to hold the Cosmic Cube, makes little sense for Fury. Topping it all off is the head sculpt, which appears to be the same piece used on the version of the character from the Walmart-exclusive First Avenger line. It’s a decent piece, with a good likeness of Samuel L Jackson, so that’s good. The figure’s paint is fairly basic, but good nonetheless. He’s mostly just molded in black plastic, with a few small silver and shiny black details here and there to keep things interesting. The head does have a slightly crazy eye thing going on, but it’s not as bad as some Hasbro figures. Fury includes two small handguns, deco-ed to look like the “night-night” guns from Agents of SHIELD.

MARIA HILL

AgentsofShield5The other new piece of this set is Maria Hill. Hill’s comic incarnation got a figure a few years back, but this is the first time Hasbro’s tackled the MCU version. Hill is just shy of 6 inches tall and she sports 26 points of articulation. Like Fury, Hill seems a little on the short side, due to parts re-use. Hill’s sculpt makes use of the legs and upper arms from last year’s Black Widow figure, along with an all-new head, torso, lower arms, and hands. I really liked the Widow figure, but I think that was a “whole is better than the sum of the parts” situation. The individual parts don’t hold up quite as well, and the legs in particular just don’t work quite as well here. The new pieces are okay, but not fantastic. The torso is probably the best. It’s nicely proportioned and decently textured. The head is okay, but it’s too large, and it has some very strange proportions when viewed from any angle but head-on. The likeness isn’t too bad, but it feels more like a caricature of Colby Smolders than a proper likeness. The hands end up being the worst piece of the sculpt. The right’s not bad, but the left is in a fist for some reason, and it’s not even a well-sculpted fist at that. The paintwork on Hill is probably the best of the lot. There’s actually a fair bit of detail and layering. The logos on the shoulders are nice an sharp, and the head manages to avoid any of the wonky eye issues. Hill includes no accessories, which is really annoying. Fury has two guns, so you can give her one of those if you want, but there really should have been enough of those to go around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Well, feel free to take a guess as to where I acquired this Toys R Us exclusive set. Okay, I didn’t actually get this at a physical TRU location, I ordered it online. And I even had a pleasant experience. Shocking, isn’t it? I, like most people, bought this set for Coulson. For that purpose, the set lives up to expectations. Coulson is the star attraction here. He’s got the best pieces, the best likeness, and the best accessories. Fury ends up being the set’s weakest link, mostly due to the choice of body, and Hill falls somewhere in between the two, but probably closer to Fury than Coulson. All in all, it’s a decent set, and I can’t really ask for much more from Hasbro.

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#0215: Agent Coulson, Frost Giant, & Jane Foster

AGENT COULSON, FROST GIANT, & JANE FOSTER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Coulson&FrostGiantJaneFoster&FrostGiant

I have to be honest, I’m totally running out of ways to start the Minimates reviews. I mean, how many ways can I say “this is my favorite line, there’s a lot of them, yes I’m reviewing them again,” without it getting boring. Not too many I suppose. Sorry if these intros get a bit repetitive. Anyway, I’m looking at another set of Marvel Minimates. This time around, it’s everyone’s favorite SHIELD Agent, Phil Coulson, Thor’s astrophysicist girlfriend, Jane Foster, and a generic Frost Giant. Yay!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These figures were released as part of series 39 of the Marvel Minimates line. The wave was based on 2011’s Thor film. Coulson was the regular release, with Jane Foster as the one per case variant, with each packed with the Frost Giant.

AGENT COULSON

Coulson played a key role in the first Thor, so his inclusion here makes sense. This figure depicts him back before we know him as Phil. His first name was Agent! The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, so he has 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall. He features sculpted hair and jacket add-ons. Both of these pieces are re-use, but they work, so no complaints there. The paint work is pretty basic, with detailing only on his face, torso and pelvis. All of it is applied nice and cleanly, although the jacket is molded in a slightly different color than the rest of his body, which is quite distracting. Coulson included a handgun, and a megaphone, both of which he can easily hold. I think the megaphone in particular is quite cool.

FROST GIANT

The Frost Giants provided some neat generic foes for Thor to face off against in his first screen adventure, and the Minimates provided them for about the same purpose. Sadly, they aren’t really all that giant, being built on the standard Minimate body, with no real extensions. The Frost Giant seems to be an amalgamation of several of the Frost Giants we see over the course of the movie, which works pretty well. The figure features four sculpted add-ons: Helmet, two wrist guards, and a bulked up torso piece with a built in shoulder pad and belt/loincloth thing. All of these are new to the figure, and they look pretty nice. The Frost Giant features some pretty cool painted detail work, with lots of scarring and a really nasty, angry face. They’ve also added a white frosting to all of his armor, giving him the proper icy look. It’s a great touch. The Frost Giant included no accessories, which is a shame, but I suppose he does have a decent selection of sculpted parts to make up for it.

JANE FOSTER

Jane Foster is a very pivotal character in the film, being a large part of Thor’s character development and all. That being the case, I was a bit surprised that Diamond chose to release her as the one per case variant instead of Coulson, who was comparatively more minor. Coulson’s probably the more popular character now, but at the time it was a bit…odd. Oh well. Jane had a few looks in the movie, but I believe this one’s meant to be based on her look when Thor first appears at the beginning. Jane is built on the standard Minimate body, and features hair and lower jacket add-ons. I know the waist piece is a re-use, but I do believe this was the first use of this particular hair. They’re both perfectly fine pieces, if not the most exciting. The paint work on Jane is passable, though there are a few fuzzy lines, especially around her boots. Her feet also fall off a lot. Jane included no accessories, which was a bit of a let-down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the whole set of Series 39 from my local comicbook store (Cosmic Comix, for those of you in the Catonsville area!). I recall really being excited for them at the time. I have to say, they don’t really hold up that well, which is kind of a first for Minimates. Coulson and Jane aren’t the most exciting figures, and most notably, they seem to be made of lower quality plastic than the typical Minimate release. I actually do kind of like the Frost Giant, and these are the only available versions of Coulson and Jane, but I can’t help but feel a bit “meh” about these figures.