#1964: Nick Fury

NICK FURY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

In the years following the Cold War, Nick Fury wrestles with his sense of purpose within SHIELD.  When Nick crosses paths with Captain Marvel, they become Earth’s only hope of stopping a Skull invasion.”

Digital de-aging for movies sure has come a long way in the last few years.  It feels like just yesterday that it turned out really odd and rubbery versions of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen for the opening scene of the equally odd and rubbery X-Men 3, but now it’s advanced enough that we can have a major character de-aged for the whole runtime of a film, as is the case for Samuel L Jackson in the upcoming Captain Marvel.  And he doesn’t even look half bad!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nick Fury is first officially numbered figure in the Kree Sentry Series of Marvel Legends (since the basic Captain Marvel didn’t include a BaF piece), and is based upon his ’90s-era appearance from the film.  It would appear that SHIELD’s standard of dress hasn’t changed all that much since the ’90s, as he’s wearing the same Men in Black get-up we’ve been seeing since Iron Man.  Of course, that’s kind of a new look for Fury, who tends to aim more for the trench coats and the like.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation. Despite how things may look at first glance, Fury is *not* just a new head on the Coulson body.  He makes use of some parts from it, to be sure, but the torso and legs are definitely new.  Similar to the originals, but new nevertheless.  They actually work a lot better with the pre-existing parts, and result in a figure with much better overall proportions.  Were it not for the loosened tie, I’d say I’d expect this body to be the new standard, though pulling back the jacket also reveals a shoulder holster that would make that a little difficult as well.  The holster’s definitely a fun touch, though, and even makes me a little sad that there isn’t a spare set of arms without the jacket sleeves.  Still, it’s cool that they through that little touch in there.  There’s also a new head, which sports the best Jackson likeness we’ve gotten from Hasbro’s Fury figures, which is kind of funny given it’s non-standard nature.  The paintwork on Fury is okay, apart from one notable exception, that being the collar-line of his shirt.  The paint mask is way too high, so the white bleeds onto his actual neck, which looks weird.  Other than that, he’s okay, I guess, though not terribly exciting perhaps.  Fury is packed with a fairly standard handgun, as well as Carol’s cat Goose in a possibly spoilerific-state, and the right arm of the Kree Sentry.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, this is a figure I was a little bit dreading when it was first shown off, since it looked like he was just going to be on that same suited body we keep getting.  Upon getting him in hand and realizing he was mostly new, I was a lot happier with this guy.  The weird paint mask thing is still a little annoying, and it’s a shame he couldn’t have come with a ’90s Coulson head to go on the old boxed set figure, but I ended up liking this guy quite a bit.

Nick was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#0752: Age of Ultron Minimates Boxed Set

FINAL FORM ULTRON, IRON LEGION 01, TONY STARK, MARK 45, & NICK FURY

MARVEL MINIMATES

AoUMatesBox1

So, Series 61 and 63 of Marvel Minimates, plus the two TRU exclusive sets and the blind bagged figures, did a pretty reasonable job of getting us just about every important character from Age of Ultron. We got the whole Avengers team, plus several Ultrons, a few Iron Legion drones, two minor villains, and the Hulkbuster. However, DST felt that wasn’t quite enough, so we’ve gotten an extra, special five figure (that’s a whole extra figure!) boxed set to fill a few holes in the collection.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at Final Form Ultron, Iron Legion 01, Tony Stark, Iron Man Mark 45, and Nick Fury!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was one of the SDCC-exclusive sets offered by DST this year. The sets were then available at various retailers following the show.

FINAL FORM ULTRON

AoUMatesBox3Ultron looks a little….I don’t want to say puffy…  Yeah, so this is Ultron in his Vibranium infused body from the film’s big climactic battle, which is ever so slightly different from his main look for the rest of the movie. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Ultron uses the base Minimate body, with non-standard pieces for the head, hands, and feet, as well as add-ons for the shoulders and torso extension. All of these pieces are re-used from prior figures; the head is from Ultron Prime, the hands originated on DC Minimates’ Cheetah, the feet are from Nightcrawler, and the add-ons are pieces we’ve seen on numerous prior ‘mates. It’s definitely a hodge-podge of pieces, but the end result actually looks pretty sleek. Also, he amends the issue of size that plagued Ultron Prime; he’s not huge, but he’s certainly got a level of imposing-ness to him. The paintwork on this figure is superb. The silver is nice and cleanly applied, the detail lines are nice and sharp, and he does a pretty great job of replicating the film design. Everything looks really great, and he’s even got a full set of detail lines on the normal arms under the bulked up shoulders. Ultron includes a spare set of normal hands and feet painted silver, for those that don’t want the more unique pieces, as well as a clear display stand.

IRON LEGION 01

AoUMatesBox6Okay, so if there’s one thing this set might have been okay without, it’s another Iron Legion drone. The blind bags ran into a bit of an issue by seriously over-packing drones 02 and 04, which kind of got us all down on the drones in general. That said, there are actually supposed to be five of these guys, and we only had two (three if you count the Ultron Mk 1 as drone 03), so I guess getting another of them isn’t the worst thing. Of course, if I were choosing one more, I’d probably go with 05, since you could include the scepter the drone steals, but DST went with 01. I guess having 01, 02, 03, and 04 is better than having 02, 03, 04, and 05. This figure is virtually identical to the other two drones we got (reviewed here). He’s a vanilla ‘mate, with a fair amount of painted details. Obviously, he’s got “01” in place of the preceding “02” and “04,” and he’s also got grey accents as opposed to the blue and black, respectively, of the other two.

TONY STARK

AoUMatesBox2Hey, it wouldn’t be the Avengers without another Tony Stark, right? The “trying to lift the hammer” sequence from AoU was definitely one of the more popular scenes from the movie, so it’s not a huge surprise to see Tony in his look from that scene. Tony has 5 sculpted add-on pieces for his hair, vest, tie, and rolled up sleeves. These are all pieces we’ve seen numerous times before, and they do a good job of capturing his look from the scene. His paint is pretty simple, with mostly base color work. The facial likeness somewhat resembles RDJ, though I don’t think it’s as good as some of DST’s other versions of the guy. It’s also a little bit too high set. Tony includes one of his Iron Man gauntlets (taken from the Mark 43), which is kind of key to the scene, as well as a spare set of arms and a jacket piece, and a clear display stand. It would have been cool to include Mjolnir here, but I can’t say this guy’s lacking for extras.

MARK 45

AoUMatesBox5We got the Mark 43, we got the Hulkbuster, and we got a basic Tony. What’s left? The Mark 45, Tony’s armor from the last fight scene. It’s only a little bit different from the Mark 43, but it’s still its own armor, and it continues the trend of each model streamlining the basic design just a bit more. Structurally, he’s just a basic ‘mate, with the helmet from the Mark 42/43. It’s not 100% accurate, but at this scale, it’s close enough. The paint is the important part here, and it’s handled quite nicely. The red and gold are distinctly different from each other, and they’re both nice and bright. The details of the suit are rendered pretty nicely on the body, and look pretty accurate to the source material. Under the helmet, there’s another Tony face, which is much angrier looking than the regular Tony. It looks even less like RDJ, but I much prefer a different expression that looks less like the actor than the same expression over and over again. The figure includes the same hairpiece included with the other Tony, as well as a flight stand, and a clear display stand.

NICK FURY

AoUMatesBox7At last! A character who wasn’t released in any of the other AoU assortments! Fury was originally slated to be one of the figures in the blind bagged assortment before being pulled from the lineup, so it’s not a huge shock to see him turn up here. The figure depicts Fury in his somewhat more distinct look from his earlier appearances in the film. He gets two add-on pieces for his hat and coat. The hat comes from the Amazing Spider-Man Vigilante Spider-Man, and the coat is from Punisher War-Zone’s Frank Castle. These parts match up pretty closely with the look from the film, and their well-sculpted in general, so that’s good. Fury’s paint is fairly simple. He’s got a fairly drab color scheme, with a bit of detailing for the belt, shirt, and face. The face doesn’t really look much like SLJ, but he’s a decent looking Fury. Also, I really like that the eye patch’s strap goes all the way around the head, even under the hat, though it’s a little frustrating that the head has a peg hole at the top for the hat. Fury includes a spare head with the eye patch removed, a handgun, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I didn’t go to SDCC, I picked this set after the fact, courtesy of Luke’s Toy Store. This set doesn’t cover a whole lot of new ground, but it’s still a solid addition. Ultron is a significant improvement to Ultron Prime, Fury and Stark are both valid variants, and the Mark 45 and the Legion drone are decent enough. The final AoU line-up is pretty impressive!

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#0699: Jules & Vincent

JULES & VINCENT

PULP FICTION MINIMATES

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I’ve previously mentioned here how I am not much of a fan of Pulp Fiction. In the last couple of years, I’ve familiarized myself with most of Quentin Tarantino’s film catalogue, and I’ve enjoyed a few of them quite a bit. However, I just can’t bring myself to Pulp Fiction enough to even make it all the way through the movie. I’ve tried several times, but I just can’t do it. That said, it got Minimates, so I couldn’t completely ignore it, right? Today, I’ll be looking at two of the film’s most definitive characters, Jules & Vincent.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jules & Vincent were released as a two-pack in the Pulp Fiction Minimates line. In fact, they’re the only two-pack in the line so far, as the rest have all been four-packs. Given that these two are such a distinctive pair, however, it makes perfect sense to offer their main looks by themselves.

JULES

JulesVince3Jules is one of the legendary Samuel L Jackson’s earlier film roles, and it helped to make him as well-known as he is today. He’s also one of the few parts of the movie I could actually stand, so that’s definitely a plus. He’s shown here in his distinctive black suit/black tie look that he sports for the majority of his time in the film. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and he has the standard 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, with add-on pieces for his hair, jacket, and tie, as well as unique hand pieces. The hair is the same piece we saw on the Casual Jules ‘mate I reviewed earlier, though it first appeared here. It’s a good sculpt and it captures the character’s look pretty well. The jacket and tie are both pieces we’ve seen lots of times before; they’re good pieces, so there’s no need to change things up now. The hands are new, and they’re by far the coolest part of the figure (but also slightly annoying. We’ll get to that in a sec.) They’re sculpted holding his “refreshing beverage” and “tasty burger” from the movie. The pieces are stylized just a bit to fit the ‘mate aesthetic, but it’s clear what they’re supposed to be. They’re exceptionally fun pieces, and I hope we see them again. Paint on Jules is pretty decent, though not super intricate or anything. The face is slightly different from the Casual Jules, but still has a great SLJ likeness. The paint on the drink and burger is just a touch sloppy, but pretty good overall. Jules is packed with a handgun, a wallet, and a clear display stand. Remember when I said the hands were slightly annoying? Here’s where that comes in. Even though he’s got accessories he’s clearly meant to be able to hold, he doesn’t actually include a set of normal hands. To DST’s credit, a set of hands for him was included in the following boxed set and you could also have them sent to you by contacting CS, I just haven’t done either of those things.

VINCENT

JulesVince2Vincent Vega is one of the film’s main characters, played by John Travolta, whose career was re-ignited courtesy of Pulp Fiction. Here’s the thing: I don’t really care for John Travolta. Guy rubs me the wrong way. That’s probably a big piece of my dislike of the movie, to be honest. Anyway, here he is. Like Jules, he’s in his definitive suit and tie look. From the neck down, he’s essentially the same as Jules, apart from having normal hands. He makes use of the basic jacket and tie, which are still good pieces. He’s got his own hairpiece, which does a pretty good job of capturing Vince’s slicked back look from the film.  Vince’s paint is pretty straight forward, with the body being pretty simple black and white. The details on the face are nicely handled, and they present an excellent likeness of Travolta, so there’s no mistaking who this is supposed to be. Vince includes a handgun (Same as Jules’), a briefcase, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, if I don’t like Pulp Fiction, why do I keep getting Pulp Fiction Minimates? Well, this one wasn’t really a conscious effort. For their 6th anniversary, Luke’s Toy Store had a special sale, which included grab bags. I picked up a few of them, and this pair was in one (I also got a second, loose Vince in another). Not exactly something I would have picked up on my own, but it’s not a bad set, and I did end up getting them for less than retail. Jules is legitimately a pretty cool ‘mate, and Vince is at the very least well made.

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#0498: Casual Jules

CASUAL JULES

PULP FICTION

I’ve mentioned that I didn’t get around to seeing the Kill Bill films until rather recently. In part, this had to do with the fact that, when Volume 2 was released in 2004, I was only 12 years old. However, a major player in why I didn’t seek them out in the years after the release is that when I was about 17, I had seen Tarantino’s other big film Pulp Fiction. Or at least the first hour or so of it, before I was so turned off by what was happening that I had to turn it off. A lot of people really like Pulp Fiction, but I just couldn’t get into it. So, when it was announced that Diamond Select Toys had picked up the license to do Minimates from the movie, I figured they would be one of those rare Minimate properties that I would just skip. But, as has clearly been established on this site, I am weak. Also, no matter what my opinion of the film, Samuel L Jackson is a bad-a ss M*****-F*****, so passing completely on the all of the Minimates of his character, Jules, seems unrealistic. So, let’s have a look at one of those.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jules was released as part of a four-pack of figures titled “Diner Showdown.” The set is based on the Diner scenes that bookend the film, and it’s exclusive to Hastings, a store which doesn’t actually have any locations near me. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall, with 14 points of articulation. He’s based on Jules’s appearance in the diner scenes, where he’s wearing the clothes he received from Jimmy Dimmick, after his got a little messy. It’s certainly not the look every one associates with the character, but it’s a fun little variant, and it’s certainly goofy. Jules is built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his hair and the bottom of his shirt. Both pieces are re-use. The hair was previously used on the last Jules. It’s a very good replication of the hair he has in the movie, and it’s well-sculpted and nicely detailed. The lower portion of the shirt is done with a rather standard belt piece that we’ve seen a number of times before. Essentially, it just lengthens the torso block, which is the effect they were going for. The figure’s real shining point is his paint work, which is excellent, aside from one small nit. The issue is that Jules’s t-shirt should actually have a design on it, but it doesn’t. Presumably, the design on the shirt is a pre-existing design, which would require a separate license, which seems a bit excessive for a one-off figure. Aside from that, the figure features some very clean base paint work, as well as some truly great detail line work. The SLJ likeness is truly spot-on, not just for the actor, but also for the character. The design on his shorts is also really well done, and certainly helps to make the figure a particularly unique one. Jules includes a handgun and a briefcase. He also had a coffee mug, but I got mine loose, so he didn’t have that piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I fully intended not to get into the Pulp Fiction line. I really did. But, then I totally had to go and try to do something nice. See, the Kraang, from the recently launched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates line is something of a rarity, especially for people without a K-Mart nearby. So, when I came across a Kraang in a somewhat remote K-Mart nearly a month after most sources dried up, I picked it up, with the intent of helping someone on the Minimate Multiverse out. The guy I ended up trading with was quite eager to get a hold of the Kraang, but after a few back-and-forths via PM, we were having difficulty finding something he could trade to me in return. Finally, I just asked what he had extras of, and he said that he’d bought a bunch of Diner sets for the coffee mug pieces. So, I figured, what the heck and traded the Kraang for a Jules, sans coffee mug. Even though I hadn’t intended to get the figure, he’s actually a pretty well done ‘mate. Sure, he’s not the best ever made, but he’s of solid quality, and I got to help someone else get something they’d been looking for. And that’s what really makes it worth it.