#1284: Sandman

SANDMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

And here we are again, with another Build-A-Figure Build-A-Figure-d.  Nice.

Meet Flint Marko, aka Sandman.  He’s one of Spider-Man’s oldest foes, debuting in Amazing Spider-Man #4.  He’s also a recurring member of the Frightful Four (though there seems to be some sort of a time share thing going on between him and Hydro-Man), and he was even a reserve member of the Avengers at one point.  He also shares his name with two DC Comics characters, with which he shares absolutely no relation.  Fun.  Let’s have a look at his figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sandman is the Build-A-Figure for the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  I know, what a shock.  He’s the sixth Spider-themed Build-A-Figure since the line’s rebranding back in 2014.  This is actually Flint’s second time as a Legends Build-A-Figure under Hasbro’s run.  Of course, the last one was movie-based and also was a horrible abomination.  Prior to that, Sandman was one of the best entries in Toy Biz’s Spider-Man Classics, but like so many of TB’s later releases, most actual fans never saw that one at retail.  The new figure was definitely warranted.  There was a pre-paint version of this figure in last summer’s SDCC-exclusive The Raft set, which had him in a sandier color scheme, but this one returns him to his classic colors.  The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Sandman is built on the same body as Absorbing Man, which is itself based on the Terrax body.  The body was a bit large for Absorbing Man, and it still feels slightly large for Sandman, but you can write that off as him making himself larger, I suppose.  It’s not like he’s never done that before.  Aside from the size thing, the other main issue I have with this body is the hip articulation, which is not only weird looking, but also a bit of a pain to pose.  Those issues aside, the base body certainly isn’t terrible.  Sandman gets a new set of arms, as well as two new head sculpts.  The arms are partially sandy, showcasing Flints powers.  I really like the sculpts on these, and I appreciate all the extra detail, like the way his hands look like they’re being effected by gravity and have some sand pouring off of them.  It’s not just the sandy parts that are cool, though; they’ve also added some slight wrinkles to the upper arms, so that he actually looks like he’s wearing a shirt.  I wish it extended to the torso, but it’s nice nonetheless.  The heads provide us with normal and “battle-damaged” versions of Flint.  The normal is okay; it gets his goofy hair down and has lots of nice detail work.  I don’t know that it’s quite my ideal version of the character; something about the face feels off.  It’s too wide, I think.  I like the second head a lot more.  It’s got a much more intense expression, and has been sculpted to look like he’s just taken a good punch to the face from a certain wall-crawler.  The details match up well with the arms, and unlike Absorbing Man, there aren’t any issues with the change from head to torso being super jarring.  The paint on Sandman is decent enough.  He get’s his classic color schemes, and they even manage to make the transitions from sand to normal colors pretty believable.  The battle-damaged head pulls ahead again in this category, largely due to the goofy pupils and spotty application on the teeth of the normal head.  In addition to the second head, Sandman also gets a spare set of hands, in block and spikes ball formations.  They swap out pretty easily.  I know there was demand for a set of normal arms to be included, but I actually prefer the alternate hands, if I’m honest.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Building Sandman sure took a while, didn’t it?  I think this may be the longest I’ve taken to finish one of these guys since…gosh, I don’t even know when.  Before the Mandroid Series, for sure.  To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure I was gonna complete this guy.  I mean, I like Sandman, and all.  I’ve just always been really bummed that I never got the Toy Biz figure, and no version since has ever been anything but a pale imitation.  But, then I got the whole series but Green Goblin, and I couldn’t stand to have him just sitting there headless, so I was compelled to buy him.  I’m still not sure he’s a replacement for the TB figure, but he’s pretty fun in his own right.  I’m happy I decided to finish him.  Now I want a Hydro Man, but NOT on this same body.

#0744: Spider-Man – Stealth Suit & Sandman

SPIDER-MAN – STEALTH SUIT & SANDMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Sandman&Spidey1

After 63 series of Minimates based on Marvel characters from both the comics and the live action movies, DST has decided to mix things up a bit, introducing figures based on the current crop of Marvel cartoons. Generally speaking, that means a fair amount of repeats of the “heavy hitter” characters, but it also gives us a chance at some slightly more obscure characters and looks we might otherwise not get, which is always a plus. So, let’s take a look at my first set from this new breed of ‘mates, Spider-Man in his Stealth Suit and Sandman!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released as part of the 20th Toys R Us Exclusive series of the main Marvel Minimates line. All the sets in this particular series are based on the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, and that includes these two.

SPIDER-MAN – STEALTH SUIT

Sandman&Spidey3Here’s the required Spider-Man. Oh boy. As noted in the name, this figure gives us Spidey in his SHIELD-issued stealth suit from the cartoon. Essentially, it’s just a clear Spider-Man Minimate. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. He uses the standard Minimate body, with no add-on pieces, which is pretty much par for the course with Spidey. My figure has a slight misshaping on the front of the head, which is a little bit noticeable, but not the worst thing ever. The paintwork on the figure is pretty straight-forward. He’s molded in clear plastic. All the detail lines are done in white, and the logo and eyes are done in grey. The line work is nice and clean, and matches up nicely with the standard Spidey from this wave. Spider-Man was packed with a strand of web, an extra torso showing his costume de-cloaking (which is a pretty fun piece) and a clear display stand.

SANDMAN

Sandman&Spidey2Sandman is definitely the main draw of this set. It’s not the first time we’ve gotten Flint Marko in Minimate form (we’ve actually had five before this one), but it’s the first time we’ve gotten him in something other than the striped shirt. The costume he’s wearing here is, obviously, his design from Ultimate Spider-Man, but it’s also a pretty close match for Flint’s Jack Kirby-designed costume from his time with the Frightful Four. This is actually the first time this design’s ever made it into toy-form, so that’s pretty sweet! Sandman has three add-on pieces for his collar, shoulder pads, and belt, as well as non-standard pieces for his arms and feet. The shoulder pads were last used on Series 60’s Avalanche, the belt is a fairly standard issue piece, the arms are the same as those on the last three Sandmen, and the feet were used on the GotG Groot ‘mate. The collar appears to be a new piece, but I’m not 100% sure on that. The end result is a decent match for the show/comic design, and looks pretty sharp in general. Sandman’s paint application is pretty darn great. The design of the costume has been handled very sharply, with some great geometric work, and the texturing on the sand parts is well-handled. His face is a little more simplistic than some recent ‘mates, due to his animated origins, but he shouldn’t stick out too much from regular Marvel Minimates. Sandman includes a spare set of normal arms and hands and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hey, remember Force Friday? Where I went to Toys R Us at midnight in order to get the new Star Wars toys? Well, if there was one plus to that trip, it was that I found this set, so that’s cool. I never got into Ultimate Spider-Man, but I’m a sucker for classic Kirby designs, so I’m happy to have this version of Sandman, and thrilled that he’s so well-done to boot. Spidey’s not much more than package filler for me, but he’s not a bad ‘mate, and he’s certainly different from the Spider-Men we’ve gotten before.

#0353: Deadliest Foes of Spider-Man Minimates

CARNAGE, DOCTOR OCTOPUS, LIZARD & SANDMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

DeadliestFoes1

One of the greatest rogues galleries in comics is the Spider-Man rogues gallery. When you take into account that his main competition for that spot is Batman, a character that has been around for an extra 20 years, it’s a pretty impressive feat. With Minimates, getting Spider-Man’s rogues proved a bit tricky. Thanks to the multi-pack format, each spider-villain was bound to be packed with yet another variant of Spidey. However, Diamond has been getting more inventive with their sets, and just recently, they finally offered a set of Spider-Man villains with no Spider-Man included. Okay, it’s all figures with previous figures, but it’s the gesture that matters!

THE FIGURES TEMSELVES

This set was released in the title “Deadliest Foes of Spider-Man.” It was originally meant to be one of two exclusive sets carried by Action Figure Xpress, but they had to back out, leaving the sets in limbo. Minimate retailer Luke’s Toy Store stepped up and picked up this set as an exclusive to their store.

TENDRIL ATTACK CARNAGE

DeadliestFoes2Carnage is the most recent character in this set, though he’s still over 20 years old, so I guess he’s still a “classic.” Generally, he’s not as well-known as Venom, the other Symbiote villain, but Venom has gotten his fair share of Minimates recently. The original Carnage Minimate from way back in Series 2 is generally considered to be one of the best of the early Minimates, so he’s definitely a tough act to follow. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. Carnage has only ever had one basic look, so the figure unsurprisingly makes use of that look. He makes use of the basic Minimate body, with non-standard upper arms, a tendril add-on piece for the neck, a tendril hand, and an axe hand. The upper arms and neck piece were both previously seen on the “Venom: Through the Ages” Ann Weying. Since that figure was released, there’s been a campaign for those pieces to be used for Carnage, so it’s good to see that finally pan out. The hands are both brand-new, and they work pretty great for the character. I do kinda wish the tendril wasn’t quite as straight, but that’s a minor complaint. The big focus for Carnage is his paint. This was the strongest area of the very first Carnage, and I’m happy to say this one has surpassed him. The paint work on this figure is truly outstanding. Virtually every surface of the figure is covered in detail, which is not something you usually see on Minimates. Carnage includes an alternate Cletus Cassiday head (which re-uses the hair from Ghostbusters’ Janoz), an additional tendril hand, two claw hands, and a clear display stand.

ARM ATTACK DOCTOR OCTOPUS

DeadliestFoes3Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, is probably the best known of the villains in this set. He’s also kinda dead right now, but his stint as the Superior Spider-Man just ended, so he’s still on everyone’s mind. The last proper Doc Ock Minimate was in the “Friends and Foes of Spider-Man” set from a few years ago. However, that set was riddled with horrible quality control, so Ock was in dire need of an update. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 18 points of articulation, courtesy of the extra arms. The figure is based on Ock’s classic green and yellow spandex look he sported throughout the 70s and 80s, which is the same look seen on both of his previous Minimates. The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, with additional pieces for his hair, torso, and his mechanical arms. These are all new pieces, and they are all really great for the character. The paint on Doc Ock is pretty good, though it could be a little better. The actual detail work is really great. Ock’s face is spot on for the character, and all the colors and such look just right. Unfortunately, the application of the yellow paint is rather sloppy, which is fairly distracting. It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it is a little annoying. Doc Ock includes a spare set of lower arms which allow him to stand on them, and two display stands to facilitate this.

TRANSFORMING LIZARD

DeadliestFoes4Curt Connors, aka The Lizard, is probably one of Spider-Man’s more tragic foes. He only becomes The Lizard due to his desire to grow back his missing right arm, and The Lizard is a personality entirely separate from his own. Curt Connors was a minor character in two of the Sam Rami Spider-Man movies, and The Lizard served as the primary antagonist in the first Amazing Spider-Man, so the character is certainly well enough known. He’s had one comic Minimate before, back in Series 37. That one was based on his design from his earlier appearances, whereas this one is meant to be based on his appearances in the 80s and 90s. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall, and in his default set up, he has 12 points of articulation. The Lizard is built on the same Minimate base as the other two, but he features a different set of lower legs, as well as clawed hands, a lab coat, and a slip-over lizard head. The lower legs originally saw release on the Movie Lizard in Series 46, and the coat was originally used on the Series 37 Lizard. Near as I can tell, the head and hands are new. The reused pieces are sensible, though I’m not 100% sold on the lower legs. They seem a little off. The head is better than I thought it would be. Prototype pictures made it look far too large, but in person it looks about right. The paint work on the Lizard is pretty good overall. He doesn’t have any real issues with slop, but it would be nice if there was a little bit more detail on the head, especially on the teeth. The Lizard has the best accessories assortment in the set; he includes a hair piece (re-used from the “Captain America: Through the Ages” Armored Cap), a lab coat and an alternate half arm (both from the Amazing Spider-Man Doctor Connors), an extra hand, and spare legs, allowing him to be converted into a comic-styled Curt Connors. The parts are excellently chosen, and fully assembled he’s a spot-on Connors figure!

SHAPE-SHIFTER SANDMAN

DeadliestFoes5Sandman is an early Spider-Man villain, but he’s had a more varied history than most. After fighting Spider-Man a few times, he joined up with the Fantastic Four villains The Frightful Four for a little while and then he even joined the Avengers, before once again returning to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. Most notably, he was one of the villains in Spider-Man 3, which contributes a lot to his notoriety amongst the more casual fans. Sandman is no stranger to Minimates; he’s had two previous comic-styled Minimates and two Minimates based on his film appearance. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features either 14 or 4 points of articulation, depending on how you set him up. He’s overall based on the character’s classic design, though I’m not 100% sure when he had the short sleeves. Right out of the box, the figure only makes use of the standard Minimate head and torso, with non-standard arms, and a sand base in place of his legs, as well as a sculpted hairpiece. The arms and sand base both were previously seen on the Series 18 Sandman, and the hair was first used on the Thunderbolts set’s Norman Osborn. The sand pieces work great, but I’m not sold on the hair. I didn’t particularly care for it on Norman, and I think it’s even less fitting on Sandman. It’s just too bulky to look right, especially in the back. The paint on Sandman is really great. All the base work is nice and clean, and the details are all really sharp. The face has just the right look for Sandman, which is great. Sandman includes spare arms and a regular lower half, allowing for him to be displayed as Flint Marko, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s “Days of Future Past” set, I picked this set up from Luke’s Toy Store. Not that it should be a shock, what with it being a LTS exclusive and all. I’ve been pretty excited for this set pretty much since day one. It’s a really great set, and it fulfills several needed figures. Lizard is definitely my favorite, with Carnage not far behind. Were the QC on Ock a little better, I’d probably like him more, but as is, he’s a good update to an essential character. Sandman is the weakest in the set, mostly due to him being the only one with no new pieces and his look being a little off. Still, he’s not a bad figure, so I can’t complain. All in all, this is one of the best sets of Minimates put out this year, and that’s really saying something. So, if you’re a Spider-Man fan or a Minimate fan, or just a fan of good toys, head on over to Luke’s Toy Store and pick this set up. It’s worth it!

(Holy crap, that was a long review.  I guess I had a lot to say…)