#1847: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A metallic-skinned humanoid from the planet Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer gets his name from his shimmering appearance and iconic hovering surfboard.”

Introduced during the legendary “Galactus Trilogy” that ran through issues 48, 49, and 50 of the original Fantastic Four run, Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer, took on something of a life of his own, as quite a popular hero in his own right.  He found himself teamed with Dr. Strange, Namor, and the Hulk to form the surprisingly under-known Defenders (no relation to the Netflix series of the same name), and proved a pivotal figure in quite a number of Marvel’s great big cosmic epics.  Nevertheless, he’s still inescapably linked to the team whose book spawned him.  In fact, it’s extraordinarily rare that the FF makes a toy appearance without this guy in tow, and their latest, much heralded return to Marvel Legends was no exception, though we sure did have quite a wait to get him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Surfer is the ninth Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure, and the fifth in their Fantastic Four sub-line that’s been running since early 2017.  He was originally supposed to start showing up at Walgreens this past spring/early this summer, but they seem to have run into a few issues with distribution over the last year, meaning he’s really just started showing up in substantial numbers within the last month, almost in tandem with the Thing figure that was supposed to be his follow-up.  Though Surfer was an early addition to Legends during both Toy Biz and Hasbro’s tenures, we haven’t seen a new one since 2007, and that one was somewhat middling, even when it was new.  His absence has certainly been felt as we’ve added more cosmic figures to the line.  This figure stands a little under 6 1/4 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation. He’s built on the Sunfire/2099 base-body, and I’m of two minds about this.  While the general build and the presence of those very nice butterfly joints at the shoulders make for a figure that’s impressive internally, the use of the 2099 body also means that Norrin’s a little smaller than I generally think of him being when compared to the rest of the line.  As it is now, he’s a smidge shorter than the Human Torch (who was on the Bucky Cap body), which just seems wrong.  Of course, that could be more connected to my increasing frustration with the choice of the Bucky Cap body for Johnny…I’ll get past it.  The simple fact of the matter is that this is really the best body Hasbro had on hand for the Surfer right now, and I certainly don’t hate it.  I’m just mildly perplexed, that’s all.  Surfer gets a new headsculpt, and aims to really set right the problem that both prior Legends Surfers had: tiny heads.  This one is certainly much more properly sized for the body it’s been placed on, and captures his usual stoic expression quite nicely.  The paint is pretty what you expect from Silver Surfer: a lot of silver.  Just a standard metallic silver, though; no fancy chroming or anything, though I imagine that wouldn’t hold up too well with all of the articulation.  It’s just a straight silver, with no accents or anything, which, after seeing how the Toy Biz figure turned out, was probably for the best.  Silver Surfer is packed with a healthy assortment of extras.  He’s got three sets of hands in fists, flat-handed, and open gesture poses, adding a much appreciated variety of character to the figure.  He also includes his titular surf board, which is a decent piece.  It goes back to the foot-peg method of connecting, which may not be as fancy as the magnets from the Toy Biz one, but I think it ultimately looks a bit better in the end.  Lastly, he includes a pair of energy effects pieces.  They’re the same swirly ones we’ve seen a number of times over, but this time they’re clear yellow and all sparkly.  Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a few near misses on finding this guy, which was more than a little frustrating.  Fortunately, I was able to find him without much trouble (in fact, I was even able to score a second one for my dad).  He’s not without his little quirks, but by-and-large, he’s a solid offering, and certainly the best Legends version of the character to date.

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#1727: Cosmic Silver Surfer & Swordsman

COSMIC SILVER SURFER & SWORDSMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates is home to some off the wall choices in terms of characters, and especially pairings. The early Toys R Us-exclusive series were home to some of the most truly strange character pairings for the exclusive two-packs.  Most of them tried to keep at least some sort of common thread between the characters included, but today’s set, Silver Surfer and Swordsman is perhaps one of the weirdest.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released in the fifth series of TRU-exclusive Marvel Minimates.  They were both designed to fit with, at the time, current boxed sets, those sets being Infinity Gauntlet and Thunderbolts, respectively.

COSMIC SILVER SURFER

Despite his status as a fairly major player on the cosmic side of Marvel, this is the second of only three Silver Surfer Minimates.  His low number of releases is undoubtedly due to his largely unchanged look over the years.  Sure, he’s had some minor stylistic tweaks, but only so much of that can be conveyed through a 2-inch block figure form.  As such, Surfer’s debut ‘mate went unchallenged for a good five years (and, depending on who you talk to, he’s still the best version of the character).  In 2009, however, there were a lot of new fans coming into Minimates, so it seemed about the right time for a new version, so we got this guy.  Silver Surfer is, and always shall be, a vanilla ‘mate.  There’s really no other way to properly do this guy.  It’s worth noting, however, that the Minimate body has had some subtle changes over the years.  In 2009, the necks got kind of short for a while, which throws off the design more than you might think.  It makes Surfer look a little more powerhouse-y than usual. The paint is, of course, the key element here.  The original Surfer ‘mate was more on the simplistic side of things, as was the style of the line at time.  By the time this guy was released, Minimates were far more detailed.  This guy gets a much more intensive paint job, which looks to be heavily influenced by Jim Starlin’s take on the character from Infinity Gauntlet.  Given the release of a whole Infinity Gauntlet boxed set the month prior to this figure hitting TRU, it was a solid stylistic choice for DST.  With that said, I can’t help but feel the figure ends up looking rather busy with all those lines and everything going on.  The head and limbs aren’t so bad (in fact, I think the face on this Surfer is my favorite of the three), but the torso is just too much.  He looks like he has a second face down there. Since he had no actual add-ons, Silver Surfer instead gets a bunch of accessories.  Obviously, he gets his board, which had been tweaked from the original release to add a peg for him to be attached, as well as a peg hole on the opposite side, thus allowing for the attachment of the included flight stand.  He also included a pair of hand blast effects and electricity effects, both molded in a very pleasing translucent purple.

SWORDSMAN

Marvel has had five different characters who bore the name “Swordsman” (and that’s not getting into alternate universes).  The one depicted here is Andreas von Strucker, originally one half of the Fenris Twins, Baron Von Strucker’s two children.  Following the death of his sister Andrea, he took up the Swordsman title.  He was never a particularly noteworthy character, but had the good fortune of being part of Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts team, which got a full line-up of Minimates.  He was just along for the ride, I suppose.  It probably helps that he has a pretty solid design. Swordsman featured sculpted add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt.  The gloves are re-used from Captain America, but the helmet and belt were new pieces.  Everything was well sculpted and sits well on the ‘mate body.  I quite like the helmet in particular; they’ve done a very good job of translating it to the Minimate form.  The belt is more basic fare, but is notable in it’s inclusion of a spot to keep his sword stashed.  As with Silver Surfer, his head sits a little low on the neck, but this is less noticeable with the addition of the helmet. Swordsman’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff overall.  The shade of purple they’ve chosen actually looks quite nice, and even photographs well (a rarity when it comes to purples), and the detailing on the chain mail is quite impressive.  Under the mask, we get Andreas von Strucker’s ugly mug, and I do mean ugly.  Though he’s got a peg hole in his head, there are painted on ears, meaning this is supposed to be Andreas after he shaved his head, though if you want to throw in your own hairpiece, the option’s there. For accessories, all Swordsman gets is a single sword, borrowed from the Defenders set’s Valkyrie.  It’s a decent enough, but I do feel the extra hairpiece would have been a nice extra bit of value.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set’s announcement frustrated me a bit.  I was excited by both figures included, but up to that point, none of the TRU-exclusives had been particularly easy to get a hold of.  Fortunately, I didn’t have much trouble with these two.Though not perfect, this Silver Surfer was much appreciated at the time of his release.  If I’m honest, I don’t truly believe any of the three Surfers is better than the others; they all present a slightly different take on the character.  If a more modern Surfer is what you’re looking for, then this one’s the one you’re after.  Despite this not being a version of Swordsman I have any particular attachment to, I really like this ‘mate.  He’s quite well put together, and it’s a design that just works well in this style.  Now, one of these days I’d really like a proper Jacques Duquesne Swordsman, but that’s a whole other thing.

#1559: Transforming Thing & Herald Silver Surfer

TRANSFORMING THING & HERALD SILVER SURFER

MARVEL MINIMATES

After quite a bit of time of having to start every Fantastic Four-based review with a woeful intro about how the team has fallen out of focus, it’s kind of nice to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  In case you aren’t up to date on the comics world, the Fantastic Four, or half of them anyway, are finally making their grand resurgence at Marvel, thanks to the recently launched revival of Marvel Two-In-One.  The book served as a showcase for FF member Ben Grimm in the ‘70s and ‘80s, pairing him off with other heroes from Marvel’s rather impressive stable of characters.  The re-launch once again focuses on Ben, but also brings in fellow FFer Johnny Storm, and is hopefully serving as a prelude to a full-fledged Fantastic Four relaunch.  Anyway, in honor of Ben’s return to comic-star-dom, how about looking at one of his figures?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in the 15th Toys R Us-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.  The set was pulling double duty, with Ben meant to go with Series 48 of the main line (which was an all FF-themed assortment), and the Surfer augmenting the TRU-exclusive “Heralds of Galactus” set.

TRANSFORMING THING

“Pilot Ben Grimm first turned into the Thing after being bathed in cosmic radiation, and his skin was transformed into orange rock. He has since reverted to human form several times, but rarely for very long.”

This was the Thing’s twelfth (and, to date, last) time as a Minimate.  This one’s based on his John Byrne designed Negative Zone costume.  Ben actually had a few different costume variants under Byrne, and I think Minimates have covered them all.  This is the one that sticks the closest to the classic design, just being the usual shorts.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has either 14 or 12 points of articulation, depending on which way you have him configured.  Just how to handled Ben’s bulky build on the Minimate frame has been the source of much experimenting on DST’s part.  This one is a lot like the recent Hulks and such, being a standard ‘mate body, with a rather extensive selection of add-on pieces.  He’s got a head piece, chest cap, upper arm and leg covers, a pelvis cap, and unique hands and feet.  The head piece goes all the way back to the very first Thing ‘mate from Series 5, and most of the other pieces come from the first really bulked up Thing from Series 37.  The only new pieces here are the hands.  The last two Thing hands hadn’t really fit well with the new bulked up pieces, so these newer parts looked much better.  The bulked up look for Thing has always seemed maybe a touch too large for me, but I don’t think it looks horrible, and there’s no denying that there’s some really great detail work going on.  In terms of paint, Ben’s rather on the simple side…at first glance.  The detailing on the face is really good, of course, and I particularly like that they went with a calm expression.  One can only have so many screaming Ben Grimms.  The shade of orange used is one of my favorites, but it’s bright enough that he looks a little weird without any other sort of detailing on the rocks.  Some sort of black outline would have been cool.  As it stands, he still looks fine, but his face stands out quite a bit.  Under all of the add-on pieces, there’s actually a fully detailed second figure!  Yes, with the help of a spare head/hair, pelvis, hands, and feet, you can transform Ben back into his old human self.  The detailing on this underlying figure is pretty great, and it’s awesome that we got this option.

HERALD SILVER SURFER

The Surfer hasn’t been quite so lucky with ‘mates as Ben, with this one only being his third (and, again, his last to date).  I suppose it’s hard to do too much new with a guy whose design has remained essentially identical for 50 years.  From a sculpting standpoint, there’s not much to say about this guy.  He’s just the standard body, as he should be.  Painted details are really where it’s at, and Diamond has done a pretty awesome job of conveying the Surfer’s cosmic shininess.  The first Surfer was more abstract, and the second perhaps a bit too heavy on the details.  This one went for a Goldilocks approach to detailing and gave us a Surfer whose detail paint was just right.  I also appreciate the slightly more intense expression on this guy, since the last two went more stoic.  The Surfer was packed with his signature surfboard, as well as two energy effects for his hands, a portal effect to plug onto the back of his board, and a flight stand.  It all adds up to easily the most exciting looking of the three Silver Surfer ‘mates.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Series 48 before these guys showed up, and that was one of my favorite assortments of Marvel Minimates pretty much ever.  So, I knew I was tracking this set down to complete my team.  At the time, I wasn’t particularly keen about getting another variant of the Surfer, but he was sort of along for the ride.  When I finally tracked this set down, I ended up loving it just as much as the Series 48 guys, and both figures included are hands down my definitive versions of the characters.

#1215: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

surferml1

Didn’t I just review a Toy Biz Marvel Legends figure?  Man, usually I’m better about spacing this sorts of things out.  Ah well.  Well, the last review looked at a figure from towards the end of Toy Biz’s run; today’s review jumps back a bit, looking at the line’s second year.  So, without further ado, here’s Silver Surfer!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

surferml2Silver Surfer was released in Series 5 of Marvel Legends, which hit stores starting in November of 2003.  Series 5 is easily one of my favorite series from TB’s run with the line, and in a lot of ways showcased the line’s true potential.  It was also the last series where just about every figure was easily obtained, and thus the last series I have un-compromised memories about.  Anyway, this figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Surfer exhibits one of the earliest attempts at using a buck system for Legends.  He was built on the body initially designed for the second Spider-Man Classics Daredevil figure.  I always thought the body was too beefy for DD, but it’s not a bad choice for the Surfer.  It’s a sculpt that, like so many of the TB Legends, hasn’t aged super well.  The shoulders are a bit large, and the legs are somewhat gangly, but the general appearance isn’t awful.  My figure suffers from a minor assembly error: his left forearm is actually a right forearm, just flipped around, meaning the musculature doesn’t quite line up the right way.  Nothing major, but a slight annoyance.  The head sculpt on Surfer is fairly decent.  It’s stylistically consistent with the body, and presents a pretty reasonable version of the Surfer’s noggin.  It’s a little more alien than he tends to be depicted, and certainly on the cartoony side, but a fun sculpt nonetheless.  The Surfer exhibits some of the finer paintwork from TB’s Legends.  It may not seem like much at first glance, but there’s a really nice quality to the silver paint chosen; it’s much more vibrant and lively than the silvers you tend to see on production pieces.  There’s also the slightest hint of blue, airbrushed over the figure, which really helps connect him with the comics version of the Surfer, who was often highlighted with blue.  Over the years, various Silver Surfer figures have handled his titular surfboard all sorts of different ways.  This is probably one of the more interesting ones.  There’s a magnet in each foot, and the core section of the board is metal.  In theory, this allows you to affix him to the board while also leaving it without any visible footpegs when he’s not standing on it.  Of course, since molding the whole board in metal would be cost prohibitive, they had to sort of split the difference, and give the board a plastic frame, which doesn’t quite mesh with the metal section, and sort of messes up the whole seamlessness of the board.  Still, fun gimmick, though.  There was also an included chunk of space rock with an articulated arm attached, allowing for the board to be posed as if it were flying.  Perhaps the oddest accessory included with Surfer (and maybe even one of the oddest accessories of all time) is the Howard the Duck figure.  As far as I know, Howard and the Surfer have never met, so why they chose to pair these two up is anyone’s guess.  Nevertheless, it’s a proper action figure of its own, with four whole points of articulation, and an incredibly well-detailed sculpt that looks like it jumped straight out of a classic ‘70s Howard comic appearance. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s Disney’s fault.  No, not because they own Marvel.  They didn’t yet when this figure was released.  Anyway, I got this figure while visiting Disney World back in 2003.  Series 5 had just started hitting stores, and my family went to the nearby Walmart to pick up a few things.  My dad and I walked back to the toy aisle (as we do), and they had a Nick Fury and two Silver Surfers.  I wanted one of the Surfers, but my dad convinced me to wait.  Later that week, we needed to stop by again for batteries I think.  My dad went in on his own, and when he got back to the car, he was carrying this guy.  Turns out, he walked back to the toy aisle to check if they still had these, and when he got there they were all gone.  When he turned to walk back to the registers, he happened to look down and spotted this one lone Silver Surfer on the ground.  This figure’s not perfect, but he’s one of the better Surfer figures out there, even 13 years after his release.

#0970: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

SilverSurferMSH1

Though they were best known for their 15 year run with the Marvel license, Toy Biz’s first work of note was actual doing toys based on Marvel’s Distinguished Competition. Toy Biz’s DC action figures were little more than knock-offs of Kenner’s Super Powers line. When Toy Biz was granted the Marvel license, their initial offerings were rather similar to what they had done for DC. They offered a rather broadly ranging line, covering the major corners of the Marvel Universe (barring the X-Men, who got their own line). Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of that line’s versions of the Silver Surfer!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SilverSurferMSH2Silver Surfer was released in the third series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. That’s actually a pretty low articulation count for a Toy Biz figure, and it’s even a bit low for this particular line. This figure is mostly the same sculpt as his Series 1 counterpart. The only difference between the two is the lack of neck articulation. It’s an odd choice, and it definitely limits what can be done with the figure, but I’d guess it had something to do with the vac metalizing. The sculpt isn’t terrible, but it’s not particularly great either. He’s similar in style to the Toy Biz Green Lantern, in that his proportions feel rather off, and the level of detail is very low. Also, his head is just very oddly shaped. It’s definitely too small, and the face (which is very ill-defined) sits too high. In fact, the head in general sits too high on the neck, and the whole construction there just looks weird. As far as paint goes, this particular Surfer doesn’t really have any, he’s just vac metalized. Later Surfer’s would at least get detailing on the eyes, but that’s not the case with this guy. Just the straight up and down silver for him. Silver Surfer originally included his surfboard, done up to match him. Unlike other versions of the board, this one was really thick, and it had wheels on the bottom. So, he’s not actually the Silver Surfer, he’s the Silver Skateboarder. Radical.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Surfer is the eighth of the 15 figures that I picked up from a vendor at this past Balticon. I…I’m not really sure how I feel about him. I mean, the chrome look is certainly cool, but the actual figure’s kind of a bit lame. Toy Biz definitely improved in leaps and bounds over the years, but this guy’s a disappointment even compared to the figures from the same line. I hate to be this down on a figure, but this guy, well, he’s not great.

#0062: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER                   

MARVEL SELECT

Previously, I’ve taken a look at a few odd figures from DC Direct, a company that produced DC Comics figures meant to be sold directly through comic book shops.  This allowed them to do story specific looks and some of the more obscure characters.  With that company’s success, Marvel wanted to get in on some of the action, so they licensed Diamond Select Toys to do a line of “specialty” figures of their characters.  It took a while, and some of the early figures weren’t so great, but their line, Marvel Select, has started to pick up some decent coverage, and put out some very nice figures.  They just recently put out a Silver Surfer figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As I said above, Silver Surfer was just released.  Marvel Select doesn’t use the typical “series” structure that many other lines use, instead releasing the figures one at a time.  Surfer’s not exactly a character with a huge variety of looks, having just the one, but this figure appears to be based on Surfer’s more classic 70s-80s look.  He stands roughly 7 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.  Surfer’s sculpt is simplistic, but that’s not a bad thing in his case.  That’s also not to say there’s no detail work.  In particular, I like that they went the extra mile to put wrinkles on the waist, denoting the shorts that the Surfer was typically shown wearing until the 90s or so.  The head has a great look of calmness that characterizes the Surfer very well.  If I have one complaint about the sculpt, it’s that the abs are perhaps a bit too defined to match the rest of the figure’s aesthetic.  Surfer comes armed with a fair number of accessories.  He’s got his trusty Surf Board, a spare set of hands, to hand-blast pieces, the Infinity Gauntlet, and a display stand made to look like the Surfer is hovering over a rocky surface.  The board is well done, with nice clean line work.  It suffers from the common problem of figures of the Surfer in that it has to have foot pegs to hold him in place.  The hands are only minor variation, he’s got the flatter hands for basic “surfing” poses, and a pair where the fingers are slightly curled to allow the energy blasts to fit properly.   The Infinity Gauntlet is a cool add-in.  You have to remove the Surfer’s hand to put it on, and it doesn’t have a peg or anything, so it just kind of has to be wedged on just right.  It looks cool, though I don’t know of a time when the Surfer actually had it in his possession.  The stand is interesting.  It has a blue swooshing effect that the board slides into, but it also has foot prints and a foot peg to allow the Surfer to stand directly on the rocky surface.  It’s nice in theory, but there’s no way to remove the swoosh effect, leaving it looking a bit odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was picked up from my favorite online store, Luke’s Toy Store, during their Black Friday sale.  I had been wanting the figure, but wasn’t sure about paying full price.  Luke’s had it for $16, which was good enough for me.  I’m a moderate fan of the Surfer, and I’m glad to see a decent figure of him.  It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than a lot of his recent figures!

#0016: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOYBIZ)

Time for another Fantastic Four review it seems.  Today we’re looking at a sometimes foe, but usually friend of the team, Silver Surfer.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The figure in question is the first herald of Galactus, Norin Radd, aka the Silver Surfer.  Good old Nor here has 11 points of articulation and stands 5 inches tall.  At one point in time, he was a bit shinier, but my figure has long since dulled.  The figure’s sculpt is solid.  I think it would be difficult to mess up a bald, naked guy, but I’d probably be wrong.  He’s got a nice assortment of articulation, though I’m not really sure what’s going on with his right arm.  Is he supposed to be doing something specific ?  Because all I see is some kind of record scratching move.  Maybe this is actually a figure of often forgotten 90s sensation DJ Sizzle Surfer-izzle and I just wasn’t aware…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a moderate silver surfer fan as a kid, but I actually rarely used this figure as the Surfer.  He was a nice, generic figure, good for a million things.  His joints are practically worn out from all the play time this guy got!