#1490: Thor & Valkyrie

THOR & VALKYRIE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Armed with ancient weapons and legendary strength, these Asgardian warriors proudly defend the legacy of their realm.”

In terms of toy lines based on the MCU, Thor seems to draw the short straw.  Hasbro went all-in for his first film, and produced a rather expansive line.  Sadly, this one proved to be less than successful, which made retailers a little bit wary of backing him for later films.  Dark  World only got a very small assortment and Thor himself was only offered in an online-exclusive boxed set for Age of Ultron.  For Ragnarok, there’s a bit more coverage, but we still only got a small fraction of the main cast.  For instance, Valkyrie, one of the film’s main protagonists, was only available in a two-pack with a variant of Thor.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Valkyrie are a two-pack of figures from Hasbro’s currently running Marvel Legends.  Like the prior Star-Lord and Ego pack, these two aren’t exclusive to any one retailer.  Unlike that earlier set, these two actually hit in time for the movie, arriving on shelves about a week before the movie.

THOR

Thor gets quite a makeover in Ragnarok, and this figure replicates that new look.  I know a lot of people weren’t really big on the new short-haired look, but I didn’t mind it too much, and I certainly liked Thor’s new gladiator gear.  This figure makes use of a lot of the single-release Ragnarok Thor’s pieces.  Mostly, this one’s just got a new head to differentiate him.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The new head is obviously the star piece here.  It’s not a bad likeness of Hemsworth; definitely the best we’ve gotten so far from Hasbro, I’d say.  It looks good head-on, I think it’s just the profile that throws it off.  The body sculpt is pretty decent, but I noticed similar issues with the torso to what was going on with the Loki figure.  He just seems a touch flatter than he should be.  I also found the cape to be a little too detached and easy to fall off for my taste.  On the plus side, the figure’s paint is pretty top-notch.  The face is the best work, rendering a rather life-like take on Hemsworth.  The body gets the bold color palette down, and I quite like the red detailing that runs down his left side.  That’s a fun touch.  Thor doesn’t include his usual hammer (since it was destroyed and all), but he does get an extra set of open hands, a lightning effect piece, and, somewhat oddly, Heimdall’s sword.  Not sure why that last one came with Thor and not, say, a Heimdall figure, but there it is.

VALKYRIE

Thor’s great and all, but the real draw of this set is definitely it’s new character, Valkyrie.  I was quite a fan of Tessa Thompson’s take on the character, and I’m eager to see the character turn up in future films.  And I’m also excited to have her in figure form.  Valkyrie is seen here in her bounty hunter garb from the first chunk of the film.  It’s the look she spends the most time in, and is also pretty close to her current comics look, so it’s a good choice.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is completely unique to her, and it’s definitely a very nice one.  It’s certainly my favorite of the Ragnarok sculpts I’ve seen, that’s for sure.  The likeness on the head is a pretty solid match for Thompson, and she’s sporting a pretty balanced and realistic set of proportions.  The cape is permanently affixed, which I like more than the removable capes of Thor and Loki. I wish the knives strapped to her legs were actually removable, but at least they’re actually there.  In terms of paint, Valkyrie’s pretty decent, with clean application and solid color choices.  My only real complaint is the small bit of splatter on her forehead, which is a little bit distracting.  Valkyrie is packed with her valkyrie sword, as well as its scabbard, which doesn’t seem to actually have anywhere to go.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this set a few times before the movie’s release, always in rather large quantities.  After seeing the film, I came across it again at my local Target, but this time there were only two of them left.  Since I really enjoyed the film (and Valkyrie in particular), I figured I should probably grab them while I could.  Valkyrie is definitely the stronger of the two, but Thor’s still a solid figure in his own right.

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#1479: Skurge & Grandmaster

SKURGE & GRANDMASTER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Thor Ragnarok hit the big screen last week.  After being more than a little underwhelmed by Thor’s last solo cinematic adventure, I was definitely hoping this one would be a marked improvement.  Having seen it, I’d say it most definitely succeeded on that front.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was still very, very good.  There were a quite a few new characters introduced in the movie, and several of them were real standouts.  Two of my favorites are the two I’m covering today, Skurge and Grandmaster!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Surge and Grandmaster are one of the Walgreens-exclusive sets for the Thor Ragnarok tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.  They’re something of an odd pairing, truth be told, seeing as the two don’t ever once interact or even participate in the same segments of the plot line.  That said, I’m hardly going to complain, since I like both characters.

SKURGE

In the comics, Skurge was at first simply known as “The Executioner.”  He was the right-hand-man to the Enchantress, and a key piece of the original Masters of Evil.  Definitely an important player, so his inclusion in the film was definitely something I was very much looking forward to.  Throw in that he was played by Karl Urban, a personal favorite, and you’ve got a real winner.  His design in the film isn’t too far removed from his comics incarnation, which means this figure can pretty well serve as either version.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest cap and bracers.  The add-ons are new to Skurge, and are pretty decent overall.  The torso piece could probably be a little tighter to the body, but it looks decent enough.  His paintwork is decent enough.  It’s not super vibrant, but that’s true of the movie design, and it’s in keeping with what we’ve seen of the Asgardians in the MCU so far.  The details are all pretty crisp and clean, and his face looks passably like Karl Urban.  Accessories are easily this figure’s biggest failing.  He gets a clear display stand and nothing else.  Not his axe, not even his twin M-16s, which DST already had the molds for.  It’s more than a little disappointing.

GRANDMASTER

Grandmaster of the comics is one of the Marvel universe’s Elders, and he’s actually a little bit on the boring side.  In the movie, he’s Jeff Goldbloom, essentially playing himself.  That works out pretty well for…well, everybody.  He too is built on the standard base body, with a unique upper left arm (taken from the TMNT Foot Ninja), as well as add ons for his hair and jacket.  The pieces are decently handled, and look pretty sharp.  They translate the film design pretty well, which is pretty great.  His paint work is nice and colorful; the Grandmaster has one of the more vivid designs in the film, and that comes through here.  The likeness of Goldbloom is pretty spot-on as well, which is a definite plus.  Like Skurge, Grandmaster’s only accessory is his clear display stand, but that’s a bit less annoying in his case, since there’s not as much in the way of obvious extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this pair at the same time as the last two sets I reviewed.  By-and-large, I was holding off on the Ragnarok merch until after the film’s release, but these two in particular called to me.  As they ended up being two of my favorite parts of the movie, it’s safe to say I don’t regret my purchase.  Sure, it’s annoying that they don’t really have any accessories, but the ‘mates themselves are pretty solid.

#1389: Loki

LOKI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

““Forever a trickster, Loki’s allegiances are often unclear. However, one thing can be said for certain: Loki always looks out for Loki’s best interests.”

Summer’s on it’s way out.  So, move over summer blockbusters!  It’s time for…the fall blockbusters?  We’ve had Guardians Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Now it’s time for the next Marvel entry, Thor: Ragnarok!  After being slightly underwhelmed by The Dark World, I’m hoping that Ragnarok can deliver something a bit more enjoyable.  The Dark World had only an incredibly modest offering of toys, but Ragnarok is getting a little more coverage.  The first of the product is just starting to hit retail now.  Today, I’ll be looking at the trickster god Loki!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Loki is figure 2 in the Ragnarok assortment of Marvel Legends.  This is actually the first time Hiddleston Loki’s been given a proper retail release, since the Avengers was only available as a Walmart exclusive, and then was re-released as part of the European version of the Hulkbuster assortment.  This one is, obviously, based on his Ragnarok appearance, which seems to have been somewhat influenced by the Lady Loki design of all things, along with a touch of the “Agent of Asgard” look.  It’s not a bad look.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His sculpt is new to this figure.  It has its ups and its downs.  By far, the best part is the head sculpt, which has quite a nice likeness of Hiddleston as Loki, slight little sneering grin and all.  I also quite like the hands, which are a nice open gesture, thus adding a lot of character when you pose him.  I’m a bit iffy on the torso, which seems slightly oddly shaped and kind of rudimentary.  Compared to some of the other Legends of late, this feels like a bit of a step down.  I’m also not a fan of the floating skirt piece on the waist.  I feel like a fixed piece would look better, and be less annoying when posing the figure.  Lastly, I don’t care for how the cape attaches.  Maybe it’s just my figure, but I found it to be rather difficult to bet both clips properly seated on the shoulders, and even once they’re in place, it doesn’t take much to knock one or the other out of place.  It gets a little frustrating.  On the plus side of things, the paintwork on Loki is pretty strong.  The best work is definitely the face; this is my first experience with the “printing” technique that Hasbro’s started to use on the movie figures.  Photos online had me skeptical about the process, but it person it looks really good.  The rest of the paint is pretty straight forward stuff.  The colors seem to match the movie design, and the application is all pretty sharp.  Loki includes his “helmet”, which has been streamlined down to more of a headband with horns attached.  It’s a little bulky, but fits on his head pretty well. He also includes the left leg of the series’ Build-A-Figure, Gladiator Hulk.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy snuck up on me.  I barely even knew of his existence when I found him at one of my local Targets.  I was actually looking for the Homecoming figures, which I still haven’t had any luck finding, when I came across this guy.  I was pretty excited to find him (and I’ve already tracked down a duplicate for Super Awesome Girlfriend).  Ultimately, he’s a bit of a mixed bag.  The torso on this guy is really poorly designed, just all-around, which is a real surprise from Hasbro these days.  Still, the good does outweigh the bad on this guy, and the end result is an overall nice figure.  He’s not going to be figure of the year, but he’s far from terrible.