#1756: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Obsessed with the power of the Tesseract, Johann Schmidt teams up with Dr. Arnim Zola to create a super-charged arms force that will change the fate of World War II…and the world.

Hydra leader Johann Schmidt creates Tesseract-powered weapons to destroy American cities, but doesn’t anticipate interference from newly-dubbed hero, Captain America.  In their first meeting, Schmidt removes his mask to reveal crimson skin, a signature that has earned him the name ‘Red Skull.'”

The MCU has run through an interesting period when it comes to tie-in toys.  Iron Man kicked things off with some Legends-esqe figures, which were a decent hit with the fanbase.  By the time of IM2, Hasbro was in the midst of their push for 3 3/4 inch figures, so it, and all of the movies up to Captain America: Winter Soldier would be in that smaller scale, with only a few choice offerings at the larger scale.  The recent shift has been completely to the Legends scale, but thanks to the rapid pace at which the MCU films hit, there are more than a few prominent characters missing from the line-up.  In honor of the MCU’s tenth anniversary, Hasbro’s put together a special sub-line of Marvel Legends, devoted to celebrating those prior films.  I’m kicking things off today with a look at one of the most prominent missing villains, the Red Skull!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull is entry 2 in the Marvel Legends — Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of figures.  He’s one of the three standard single-packed figures in the line-up, alongside the Mark VII Iron Man and Ronan the Accuser.  This figure gives us Red Skull in his more basic Hydra uniform, as he’s seen inside the Hydra base during several sequences of the film (there’s also a long-coated variant, which was offered at SDCC this year). Perhaps not his coolest look, but there’s a good reason for this choice.  He stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s sporting a brand-new sculpt, which is a pretty solid recreation of Skull’s look from the movie.  The head has a teeth-gritting expression, which is always a nice throw-back to the Skull’s earlier comics design.  Thanks to it being released 7 years after the fact, it’s also able to be far more accurate to the film’s Skull face than it would have at the time of the movie, so hey, bonus!  The body captures his uniform pretty well, though the articulation is perhaps not as worked into the sculpt as I might like. It’s especially noticeable at the mid torso joint; I feel an ab-crunch might have worked a little better there.  That said, it’s hardly the worst implementation of articulation I’ve seen.  He’s still got decent mobility, and the sculpt isn’t too terribly broken because of it.  The paintwork on this guy is pretty usual fare for an MCU release.  It’s pretty cleanly applied, and matches well to the movie.  The head actually gets some pretty subtle accent work all throughout, so that it’s not just a big chunk of bright red plastic with some eyes.  Speaking of eyes, the ones on this figure are using the printed technique, which doesn’t have quite the same impact here that it does on more human looking figures, but it does still make at least some difference.  Remember up at the top, when I said there was a good reason for this figure’s costume choice?  Well, the accessories are where that comes into play.  Skull doesn’t get anything character specific, but he does get three extra heads, a tactical harness, a Hydra gun, and an extra hand, allowing him to be turned into a few different configurations of the Hydra Soldier.  Sure, the uniforms aren’t quite an exact match, but they’re close enough to work in a pinch, and it’s really the thought that counts.  As an added bonus, if you’ve got any of the Black Series FO Officer bodies laying around, with a tiny bit of modification, they work pretty well for quickly building an army.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Skull was purchased for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee.  She got a few of the Marvel Studios sets in at her work, and was kind enough to grab them for me.  First Avenger was my favorite of the Phase 1 films, so I was always rather saddened that it seemed to draw the short straw when it came to toys.  I’m glad that Hasbro’s been able to go back and retroactively amend that.  Red Skull isn’t a perfect figure, but I’d say he’s a fair bit better than he would have been had he been released at the time of the movie.  The added Hydra Soldiers pieces are just icing on the cake.  Now I’m resisting the urge to buy multiples…

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#1716: Captain America & Red Skull

CAPTAIN AMERICA & RED SKULL

MARVEL MINIMATES

By 2011, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in the full swing of things.  Over in the Minimates corner, DST had pretty much gotten things down to the exact science that they’d use for the better part of a decade.  For Captain America: The First Avenger, we got a great set of ‘mates covering most of the film’s cast. Today, I look at the central most set, pairing our main hero Cap up against his main foe, the Red Skull!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Skull were the flagship pack in Series 40 of Marvel Minimates, as well as one of the two shared packs present in the TRU accompanying assortment.  Both are presented in their main looks from The First Avenger, which seems rather sensible.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

After haphazardly throwing together his rescue mission outfit to lead the Hydra-held POWs back to base, Steve Rogers turns to Howard Stark to help him design something more official.  Cap’s main look has shifted quite a bit since the first film, but this design is certainly one that has influenced (most) of the others.  It’s also a fairly reasonable real-word equivalent of his Golden Age costume, albeit with some adjustments for practicality.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  To achieve his rather bulked-up appearance, Cap makes use of uniquely sculpted upper-arms and gloves, as well as add-ons for his helmet, belt/suspenders, and his holster.  Everything was new to this figure, and has thus-far remained unique.  It’s a pretty good combo of pieces, all sharply defined, and pretty close to the film’s design.  If I have one complaint, it’s that his lack of sculpted boots to match ends up making his legs look kind of scrawny and under-scaled.  Some bulked up boots would have definitely helped.  The paint on Cap is pretty top notch stuff for the most part.  The palette captures the film’s sephia-toned aesthetic pretty nicely, and the details on the stitching and such of the costume is really great looking.  The base paint application could stand to be a little cleaner, and there were some real troubles with finding a helmet with a properly centered A on the forehead, but those issues are more on the minor side.  The face under the helmet is clearly the same guy from the Frontline figure, just with a calmer expression.  There’s definitely some shades of an Evans likeness there, though I think later Caps would get that down a bit better.  Cap is packed with his mighty shield, an extra hairpiece for an unmasked look, and a handgun.   A little less than Frontline Cap got, but this guy did get more unique sculpted pieces, so it evens out.

RED SKULL

Spoilers: Red Skull is in this review!  And other things as well, but I won’t touch on that here.  For Cap’s first outing, the movies went with the obvious choice of villain, the Red Skull.  Perhaps Cap’s most memorable foe, in part thanks to that frightening visage, and in part due to him being the perfect antithesis of everything Cap stands for.  The Skull had a few looks in the movie, but this figure went for his leather long coat, which is perhaps his coolest of the bunch. The figure has one add-on piece, used for his long coat.  It’s a little bulky, and essentially renders his legs motionless. That said, it’s pretty well sculpted, with sharp details that capture the jacket’s design from the movie very well. The paintwork on the Skull is pretty solid.  His face captures the movie’s take on his distinctive look, going for an appropriately angry expression.  The arms and hands also get an easy to miss bit of red detailing on both shoulders and his gloves, which are certainly a nice touch. Red Skull includes two accessories.  The first is a rather simple German pistol, and the second is the face of Johan Schmidtt, which is a slip cover mask that pulls down over the mask.  While it would probably look better just as a separate head, there’s something way more fun about being able to dramatically remove it just like in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set from Cosmic Comix, back when it was new.  They hit before the movie, so I didn’t know for sure what I was getting into, but with Cap and Red Skull, it’s pretty straightforward.  I remember being quite impressed with them at the time, especially in light of the lower quality of the Thor offerings.  The standard TFA Cap was a fun offering for the time, but perhaps one that’s been slightly outpaced by more recent offerings.   There was something of a learning curve on this guy.  Red Skull isn’t a real stand out or anything, but this one has the benefit of being one of only two ‘mates of the MCU incarnation available, and the Schmidtt face is actually pretty darn cool.  Overall, still a fun set, but you might be better off with newer versions of the characters.

#0743: Falcon as Captain America & Red Onslaught

FALCON as CAPTAIN AMERICA & RED ONSLAUGHT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Falcap&Redons1

Change is an interesting thing in comics. While big sweeping changes to the established rules are a near constant, it is, at its heart, a very status quo based medium. No matter how great the change, things will always even out in enough time. In the last decade Marvel and DC have both become very entrenched in doing their best to convince everyone that this change will be the one that sticks, before inevitably resetting everything back to where it was. Ultimately, Bruce Wayne will always be Batman again, Tony Stark will always be Iron Man again, Bruce Banner will always be the Hulk again, and Steve Rogers will always be Captain America again. But, it’s certainly okay to let others who take up those identities have their time to shine, especially if they’re a good fit, such as Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, as the newest Captain America. I’ll be looking at the first official figure of him in the role today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Red Onslaught were released as part of Series 62 of Marvel Minimates. The whole series was based around the Axis cross-over event from last year. Yay.

FALCON as CAPTAIN AMERICA

Falcap&RedOns6Steve Rogers may have tons of Minimates under his belt, but this is only the third time Sam Wilson has made into ‘mate form. Here’s to lots more! As Captain America, Sam’s only actually had one look, so that’s the one DST’s gone with here. It’s actually a good merging of the Captain America and Falcon looks, and a pretty strong design all around, so I can’t really complain. Cap is built on the usual Minimate body, so he’s about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. He’s got 5 add-on pieces, used for his hair/goggles, harness, wings, and belt. These are all new pieces to this figure. They’re decently sculpted and accurate to the source material. The left wing has a peg to attach the shield, which is nice, but without an extra piece, it means that he’s permanently left with that pesky peg. Paint wise, Cap’s kind of a mix of good and bad. The colors are nice and bold, and the detail work is pretty sharp for the most part. However, the base color work is all over the place. Literally. He’s got a lot of slop and bleed over, especially on the mask piece. The overall figure looks alright, but that slop sure is annoying. Cap is packed with a spare hairpiece, his mighty shield, a pair of wristbands for a sans wings look, an extra wristband for use with the shield, a flight stand, and a clear display stand. That’s actually a pretty great assortment.

RED ONSLAUGHT

Falcap&RedOns3Red Onslaught. Oh, Red Onslaught. Let’s combine one of the most menacing Marvel villains with a literal walking Mega-Event. Brilliant. But hey, sales is sales. Plus, it means DST gets to reuse all those fancy parts they sculpted for the Series 50 Onslaught, so that’s a win for them. The figure makes use of 11 sculpted add-ons, all reused from the aforementioned Series 50 version. The parts are nicely sculpted, sharp looking, and they do a good job of bulking him up. Paint is where this guy really deviates from the series 50 counterpart. Where the 50 version was done up in metallic colors, this one is all flat colors, which make for a sufficiently different look. He’s also got the expected Red Skull detailing for the head, which is easily the best Red Skull we’ve gotten so far. The paintwork on the armor is good, but the real Falcap&RedOns4cool part here is what’s under the armor. He’s got a fully detailed Red Skull look underneath, which is certainly a cool touch. To aid with the alternate look, the figure has a black trench coat and a pair of black hands and feet, as well as an extra head and helmet to complete the Onslaught look, a cosmic cube holding hand, a bandaged stump (for Skull’s Uncanny Avengers look), and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I had no interest in Axis or any of its fallout, and as such wasn’t super excited by the prospect of a whole series of ‘mates based on the story. That said, I really like Falcon and the concept of him taking over Cap’s role is cool. The design translates very well to ‘mate form, even with its paint flaws. I was not initially enamored by having to buy Red Onslaught, but the extra Red Skull parts make the figure really worthwhile, especially since it’s the best ‘mate of the character so far. This is a really fantastic set, and I’m glad to have picked it up.

#0223: Red Skull – Agents of Hydra

RED SKULL – AGENTS OF HYDRA

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

RedSkull

Nazis. I hate these guys.

Today, It’s another figure from Hasbro’s most recent round of Marvel Legends. This one once again draws from the comics side of things, presenting us with another take on Captain America’s #1 foe, the Red Skull. Let’s get to the review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull, or “Agents of Hydra” as he is officially called, was released in the first series of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Marvel Legends Infinite Series. Like Zemo, he was released again in the second series. He is shares the “Agents of Hydra” title with an actual Hydra Agent. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and features 31 points of articulation. He seems to be based on the Skull’s appearance from the Mid-90s, during Mark Waid’s run in the Heroes Return era. He’s based on Hasbro’s Trench-coat buck. This is my first run in with the body, and I have to say I’m not impressed, especially when it’s compared to the other body’s used in this series. From a sculpt stand point, it’s not the worst. It has some decent textures, and it looks okay just standing there. However, the articulation is awkward at best, especially the legs and shoulders, which seem impossible to get into a natural position. The trench coat is an add-on piece, and they’ve also stuck a shoulder holster under it. I think the figure actually looks a bit better without the holster piece on. One thing I do really like is his head, which is a really great sculpt, with lots of character. The paint work is actually pretty clean on this figure, though that might be due to his more simplistic paint scheme. The Skull includes a red pistol, some strange laser gun thing, a Cosmic Cube, and the left arm of the Mandroid. The pistol can fit snuggly in either of the Skull’s holsters, with the laser thing can fit in neither, leaving him with an empty one. The Cube is really cool, even if it is just a clear blue plastic cube. It’s the little things, you know?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Skull was amongst the Series Two set I received from Big Bad Toystore. Like Zemo, I had initially planned on getting his swap figure, the Hydra Agent, instead of him. But, he was in the set, so here he is. My opinion hasn’t drastically changed for the Skull like it did with Zemo, but he’s an alright figure. I don’t regret owning him. If you get him into an okay standing pose, he looks fairly intimidating, and he is the best available version of Cap’s arch enemy.

#0131: Captain America & Red Skull

FIGHTING CHANCE CAPTAIN AMERICA & ROBOT RED SKULL

MARVEL MINIMATES

Cap&RoboSkull

Continuing the theme started two days ago, I’ll be looking at another set from my recently received shipment of Minimates.  Today marks my first of three reviews from the most recent wave of Marvel Minimates.  With increasing regularity, waves will follow a set theme, and this wave continues the trend.  All the figures in this wave are based around Captain America, likely to somewhat tie-in with the upcoming movie.  This review focuses on variants of Cap and his arch nemesis the Red Skull.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of the 54th wave of the Marvel Minimates line.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

FightingChanceCap

First up, the lead hero of this wave, Captain America.  He’s billed as “Fighting Chance Captain America,” and according to the back of the box, this figure depicts Cap from a storyline where the effects of the super-soldier formula began to wear off, which served as an excuse to give him padding and pouches.  Because the ‘90s, that’s why!  Cap is built on the usual Minimate body, so he features 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  He features 9 sculpted add-ons: Mask, shoulder/chest padding, glove cuffs (with straps!), a leg holster, a matching leg-thingy for ammo, and his trademarked boots!  The mask is a reuse from the WW2 Cap released in the Captain America Through the Ages set, but everything else appears to be a new sculpt.  This includes the boots, which have been reworked to fit a bit better.  Everything else looks appropriately detailed, and very “pouch-y”.  The paint is quite good.  Cap’s face is covered in lines, which seems right for the art style, and the torso is fully detailed under the armor, in spite of the fact that the armor can’t easily be removed.  There are a few fuzzy lines, notably on the sleeves, but overall, everything looks okay.  Cap includes an alternate hairpiece, which was reused from The Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes, a handgun, his mighty shield, and a clear display stand.

RED SKULL

RobotSkull

Next, the arch enemy of Captain America, the Red Skull!  …Sort of.  This is “Robot Red Skull”, who supposedly represents the Red Skull after he transfers his mind into one of Arnim Zola’s robot bodies, following the death of the Russian general he was inhabiting before.  Okay, so that happened.  I think that was actually during the Ed Brubaker run on the series, so it was probably much better than it sounds.  Robo-Skull is built on the typical body, so he’s got the usual stats.  Robo-Skull is one of the less sculpt-heavy figures in this wave, but he still features a brand new head, plus shoulder pads, and a skirt.  Go ahead, insult the skirt.  I dare you.  The head looks nice, and seems to be accurate to what they were going for.  The rest of the figure relies on painted details, which look very nice.  The face on the torso in particular is very cool looking!  Robo-Skull includes a Red Skull mask that fits over the robo-head, a hand holding the Cosmic Cube (you call it a Tesseract and I will hurt you), and a clear display stand.  The Cosmic Cube in particular excites me, because it’s a piece that’s been sorely missing for far too long!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were part of the large shipment of Minimates I ordered from my favorite Minimates retailer, Luke’s Toy Store.  I really only got these two because I was buying a whole set of wave 54, but they aren’t too shabby.  The Cosmic Cube is practically worth the price I paid alone!