#2971: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Armed with Stormbreaker and Mjolnir, the son of Odin steps onto the battlefield to face Thanos one final time.”

Happy Thor’s Day, everyone!  Man, it’s been too long since I’ve gotten to use that one.  I blame my own poor forward planning when it comes to review schedules.  But I totally remembered this time, so a-ha!  Though Avengers Endgame got a lot of coverage in Marvel Legends, the nature of a good chunk of the designs either being downplayed for the Quantum Suits, or kept completely secret until the film’s release, like Thor here, meant that there were still a number of designs still left out in the cold.  Thor effectively has three main looks during the film.  His pre time-skip look, which we got with the Infinity War stuff, his post-time-skip “the Dude” look, which we got as a Build-A-Figure in 2019, and his final battle attire, which we’ve just gotten now!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is the last single-release standard figure for the Infinity Saga sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  He’s one of three items in the sub-line based on Endgame, which is the movie with the heaviest coverage here.  The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  After years of the MCU Thor’s being almost comedically larger than the rest of the figures, it seems they’ve begun to slightly down-size him, ever so slightly, for more proper scaling.  So, this Thor is actually a little smaller than prior versions, but that’s actually more accurate to Hemsworth’s relative height to everyone else.  In terms of articulation scheme, this figure more or less sticks to what the Infinity War versions of him had, albeit slightly more restricted by his added bulk.  He does get the pinless construction on his elbow and knee joints, however, which is pretty cool.  Thor’s sculpt is all-new; the arms look similar to the IW ones, but, as noted previously, they don’t have exposed pins on the elbows, so they’re new too.  It’s a pretty solid sculpt overall.  Since it’s being released two years after the film, it doesn’t have to worry about odd preliminary design details that got changed, meaning it matches up pretty well with the design seen in the finished movie.  The head sports a respectable likeness of Chris Hemsworth, which, much like the Bro Thor, I think is aided a bit by the more distinctive features of the more disheveled appearance.  I quite like the detailing on the braided beard, and they’ve done alright with capturing the more scraggly-looking hair.  The body gets the slightly heftier build down pretty good, and the texturing and small detail work on the outfit’s all rather nice.  The paint work on Thor is generally pretty basic.  Most of the outfit and such is just molded colors, with more of the intricate work on the head.  The head ends up doing the same thing that the three-pack Infinity War version did, going for a more “powered up” appearance.  While I’m not opposed to the general concept, or even how it turned out on the figure, it’s a little bit limiting of a choice for the only included head.  Maybe at least throw us an extra head with standard eyes?  Like I said, it does at least still look pretty cool, so I can’t entirely fault it.  Thor is packed with both of his hammers, done up in clear blue to somewhat match his powered-up look, as well as two sets of hands (gripping and open gesture), and two lightning effect pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was honestly a bit surprised when we got the full-on Bro Thor before this one back when the Endgame product was first hitting, and even more surprised by the complete and utter lack of this figure in any of the immediate follow-up.  I was at the very least expecting some sort of multi-pack with the big three in their final battle attire or something.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a single release on him, but I can’t say I was disappointed by the choice.  Thor’s a pretty solid figure.  He’s a bit late to the party, perhaps, but that means we only have to contend with just the one of him from the start.  It’s certainly nice to get another final battle figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2937: Surtur

SURTUR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Empowered by the Eternal Flame, the demon Surtur rises from the ashes to unleash his fury upon Asgard.”

As I discussed on Monday, Thor: Ragnarok is really the only one of the Thor films to truly get a proper spread of figures in Legends form.  In fact, it’s really got one of the better spreads of any of the Marvel films, since we’ve gotten the whole principle cast, as well a a couple of the notable supporting players.  Despite how thoroughly covered the film has been, Hasbro decided they just weren’t done yet, so we’ve got yet another figure to look at!  I suppose it’s really only fair that in your tie-in toys for a movie called Ragnarok, you include Surtur; he’s kind of important to that whole thing, really.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Surtur is a mass-release part of the Infinity Saga sub-set of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  He’s at his own price point, above even the usual deluxe price point.  Hasbro definitely seems to be using this line to explore some more flexible price points.  The figure stands just shy of 13 inches tall measured from the top of his horns, and he has 31 points of articulation.  Surtur’s a pretty sizable guy in the movie (he actually grows in size as his powers increase, so there’s some variation there), and the figure does what it can to replicate that.  He’s technically a few inches too short for even his smallest size in the movie.  That said, he’s way larger than any of the other figures from the set, so the effect still works out.  His articulation scheme is generally pretty good for a figure of this sizing, though it has some notable restricted spots.  The shoulders don’t have a ton of up and down, due to how they’re designed, which is definitely the biggest issue with the figure.  Slightly less of an issue, but still a bit of an issue, are the hips, which, at least on my figure, are a little sticky when it comes to posing.  They feel like they should have some sort of a drop hip set-up based on the way they move, but there’s not one there, which does give me some pause about the long term durability of the figure’s pelvis.  Otherwise, it’s decent set-up, and he’s even got the pinless elbow and knee set-up.  Surtur’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s a pretty solid matchup to how he was depicted in the film.  There’s quite a bit of sculpted texture work going on, which gives him that appropriate molten skin appearance that the film gave him.  The head sculpt opts for an angry, shouty sort of expression for him.  It’s perhaps a little more limiting in terms of what sorts of poses he can go into, since it doesn’t really fit the lounging about version of the character seen earlier in the film, but we don’t have throne or anything for him anyway, so it makes him a better end of the movie Surtur, I guess.  It helps that it’s quite a nice sculpt.  It’s very dynamic, and looks more unique compared to other, more neutral expressions.  Surtur is molded in a translucent orange plastic, in order to aid in that molten appearance.  The shade of orange shifts a bit on the actual flame parts, going from more of a red to a yellowish hue, as they get nearer the edges, which looks fairly convincingly like actual flame.  There are large patches of darker paint, not actually dry brushed, but designed to simulate such an effect.  It works pretty well.  Surtur is packed with two sets of hands (gripping and a open gesture/fist combo), as well as his sword, which is almost as tall as he is.  Getting a picture of him holding it was no small feat, let me tell you.  I suppose it would have been nice to also get maybe his crown, separate from his head, as it’s seen in the film, but since we don’t even have a proper opening scene Thor, its applications might be a bit limited.  The sword and hands are pretty useful directly to this figure, at least.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s hard to say I’ve been heavily campaigning for anything more from Ragnarok, since it did get a good selection of figures and all.  Moreover, I figured Surtur’s size would be his undoing anyway, since even scaled down he’s a hard sell.  This guy being shown off earlier this year was a bit of a surprise to be sure, but certainly a pleasant one.  The figure has some issues, especially when it comes to the articulation, however the sheer size and detailing on him is enough to make him a worthwhile purchase.  And hey, here’s another Ragnarok figure!

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2834: Civilian Thor & Asguardian Guard

CIVILIAN THOR & ASGARDIAN GUARD

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first Thor movie’s two Toys R Us-exclusive two-packs are a rather polarized ordeal.  The first included two fan favorite characters, Lady Sif and Volstagg, who had exciting designs and had never received Minimates before.  Today, however, I look at the second set, which includes a civilian variant of the main character and an unnamed guard.  It’s a well-meaning set, no doubt, but perhaps doesn’t possess the same flair present in the other pairing.  Perhaps DST’s attention to the little details can salvage it!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As noted above, these two are one of two TRU-exclusive packs of Marvel Minimates designed to coincide with the release of the first Thor film.  Only half of the set’s truly exclusive, though, since the Guard was actually a straight re-release of the single-packed Asgardian Guard from the army builder case, but as an army builder, the double-packing does make some sense.

CIVILIAN THOR

One of two Thors in this assortment, this figure represents Thor as he looks on Earth, which is a pretty decent chunk of the film’s run-time.  It’s not an overly unique get-up, being just a t-shirt and jeans, but that *is* what he looked like in the film.  He’s built on the base ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  The figure gets one sculpted add-on, for his hair.  Surprisingly, this is NOT the same piece used on the single-packed Thor.  It’s very similar, but has some more length at the bottom, since there’s no cape to contend with.  As with a few other lines from around this time, there are a few notable things going on with the plastic used for the Thor ‘mates.  Firstly, the necks were shorter, and the feet a little shallower, which makes them look a little more top-heavy.  Fortunately, with Thor, that’s not so big a deal.  The other issue is one of quality of plastic.  For whatever reason, the plastic quality was much lower on the these guys, making them feel rather waxy, and making the overall detailing of the sculpted parts a little softer.  It’s not quite as impactful on the sculpt, but it does impact the paint.  Said paint is decent enough in application, but the plastic is more absorbent than usual, which renders the detail lines much duller than we’ve come to expect.  It’s especially notable on the torso, where it’s hard to see there’s any detailing at all.  The colors of the plastic, particularly the peach-tone of his skin, are also much drearier, making him look almost a little sickly.  He’s not hit quite as badly by this as other ‘mates from the same time, but it’s still noticeable when you place him with other MCU ‘mates.  The thing that saves this figure from being mediocre is the accessories. He comes with Mjolnir (the same one included with the standard Thor and *almost* every MCU Thor since), and even cooler, he also comes with a mound of stone that’s molded to fit around the head of the hammer, just like it’s seen in the film.  Definitely a very fun extra.

ASGARDIAN GUARD

Asgardian Guard is a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?  As the Asgardian Guard guards Asgard–I’m getting distracted.  The Guard has four add-on pieces, for his helmet, breastplate/cape, and wrist guards.  All four pieces were new to this particular ‘mate, and seem to be a decent match for the source material.  The breastplate/cape combo tends to look a little bulky, but with that sizable helmet, it ends up evening out pretty well.  The detailing on all the sculpted bits is quite sharp, and doesn’t seem to be quite as negatively impacted by the lower grade plastic as some of the others in the assortment.  The Guard’s paint is slightly more exciting than Thor’s, but has its own assortment of issues.  There’s a lot of slop on the cape, especially around the collar.  It’s bade enough on mine that I don’t actually know where the paint was *supposed* to go.  The gold on the back of the cape is a little better at staying where it’s meant to, but the actual application is rather thin and inconsistent.  The tampo work is a little better, with the armor detailing on the legs in particular looking quite sharp.  Unfortunately, the lower grade plastic strikes again on the flesh-toned bits, causing that same waxy appearance and washed out face print we saw on Thor.  In addition, my figure has some sort of mis-print or flaw in the plastic that leaves a dark streak down the center of his face.  For accessories, the Guard includes a sword and a staff, which aids in his army building capabilities, since you can arm him however you like.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall exactly when I got this set, but I know I got it new.  It’s not terribly exciting.  Civilian Thor, taken purely on the quality of just the figure, seems like a little bit of a waste, especially when there are prominent characters who are still unreleased (poor Fandrall and Hogun).  That said, the hammer and stone base do at least offer a cool diorama, proving that there’s more to him than you might initially think.  The Asgardian Guard is a figure that was great in theory, but marred a bit by the execution.  He’s still far from awful, but he could have been a lot better.  DST really tried, but their factory let them down.

#2594: Thunderstrike

THUNDERSTRIKE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Kevin Masterson follows in the noble footsteps of his idol Thor—because the world still needs heroes.”

After Walt Simonson’s run on Thor cemented the concept of someone other than the God of Thunder himself (or Don Blake, his usual alter ego) being able to wield the power of Mjolnir, passing the hammer onto other wielders became a recurring feature.  Not terribly long after Simonson’s run ended, Eric Masterson was introduced as a supporting player in Thor.  He was then promoted from supporting player to alter ego for Thor, then just to being Thor proper for a time, and then eventually was given his own, separate identity as Thunderstrike.  Eric’s story ultimately ended with his demise, and eventually his hammer was passed onto his son, Kevin, who took up the identity for himself.  Thunderstrike’s an intriguing alternate to Thor, and makes for a good figure to fill that “Thor” slot in an assortment, which is just what he’s doing here.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thunderstrike is the fourth figure in the Joe Fixit Series of Marvel Legends, and also the final of the comics-based figures in the assortment.  This marks Thunderstrike’s first time getting the Legends treatment, although Hasbro’s done him before in their 3.75″ line.  In stark contrast to the name attached to the bio, this Thunderstrike is very definitely Eric’s version of the character, not his son Kevin.  Clearly somebody didn’t double check the wiki there.  It’s perfectly alright, however, because Eric is certainly the more logical choice for inclusion, given he’s the one everyone thinks of when they hear the name.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Thunderstrike makes use of a surprising amount of new parts.  At first glance I’d expected him to be fairly heavy on the re-use, but on the final product the only re-used parts are the arms (which are from the 80th Thor), and the vest (which is from Rage, a parts share that existed in the smaller line as well).  Everything else is new.  It crafts a pretty spot-on recreation of the character’s design from the comics, for what that’s worth.  It’s…not the greatest design, but it’s certainly very indicative of the time it hails from, so I guess there’s that.  The ball joint for the mid torso certainly works out well, and looks better aesthetically as well.  The head’s got a rather dynamic flair to it, with a quite intense facial expression.  It’s different, and I do like the change up, but it’s also a touch limiting when it comes to posing him.  At least it’s pretty well suited to the character.  Thunderstrike’s paint work is pretty basic stuff.  The application’s clean, but the brown sections could certainly use some sort of accenting.  As it stands, some of the details get a little bit lost.  Thunderstrike is packed with his hammer of the same name, as well as two different left hands (the same two included with Thor), and the head to Joe Fixit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Thunderstrike is a character that’s kind always been just outside of my area of interest.  I’ve got nothing against him, but I’ve also got no real attachment to him (hence why I never grabbed his smaller figure, even after seeing it on clearance all over the place).  His inclusion in this set was kind of a middling moment for me, but I can’t say it’s a waste of a space or anything.  He’s at the very least a pretty solid figure, and another rather classic character for the line-up.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2393: Secret Strike Loki

SECRET STRIKE LOKI

THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER (HASBRO)

“Loki prefers to test his wits against his enemies.  Coercion and mischief are his tools for victory.”

If nothing else, this dearth of things to review right now does give me an excuse to dust off my old randomized list of old things to review, which I haven’t made nearly enough use of in recent years.  Gosh, remember when I would reference that thing on the regular?  What strange times are upon us.  Well, the randomized list has pulled a figure from 2011’s Thor film for me today.  So, without further ado, let’s take a look at Secret Strike Loki!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Secret Strike Loki was part of the first series of Hasbro’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger line, which was designed to tie-in with the film.  He was the standard Loki for the line, based on the character’s slightly more dressed down appearance from earlier in the film, specifically the younger Asgardians’ trek into the realm of the Frost Giants.  It’s a more unique look compared to the others, plus it was the one from early promotional work, so I guess it worked alright, even if it did lack that awesome helmet.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  As I mentioned when I reviewed Axe Attack Thor, this line was one of the last movie lines from Hasbro before they started cutting articulation, so this guy actually has quite a bit.  Perhaps too much, maybe; his legs can be a little bit of a fiddly mess with all the joints, and keeping him balanced can be a little tricky.  It’s not terrible, though.  Loki’s sculpt started off as a unique affair, but had gotten a full repaint by the end of the line (dubbed “Sorcerer’s Fury”) and had also been scavenged for parts by his hard to find, fully armored varian.  This sculpt is a pretty decent one, truth be told.  The likeness on the head isn’t a perfect match for Hiddleston or anything, but I’d say it’s at least as good as the Hemsworth likeness on the Thor figures from this same line.  Loki’s slight frame does seem a little bit exaggerated by this figure, as well, but it adds to the general styling of the line, and means he can slot in alright with the comic-based stuff Hasbro was producing at the same time.  The paint on Loki is generally pretty decent, matching up with what we see in the film.  There’s one pretty glaring issue, though.  For some reason, they decided to mold his neck joint in the green that makes up his torso, rather than matching it to the fleshtone of his head.  Seems like a pretty silly choice to me, and it means that he looks pretty off from a lot of poses.  Loki includes two unique small blades, as well as the gimmicky “Secret Strike” thing, which starts out as a ridiculously large sword, and then splits off into two tonfa-style things.  Yeah, I don’t get it either.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this Loki and a standard Thor the first time I saw them at retail, which was prior to seeing the movie.  I was pretty excited for it, and wanted at least the pair of them.  Little did I know that they would be all I would see at retail for, like, the next three years or so?  Man, these guys sure were persistent.  Loki’s really not a bad little figure, though, and I still do like him, even if he’s not my preferred look for the character.

#2296: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The Thor abides.  Sorry, was that too goofy?  I couldn’t use my usual “Happy Thor’s Day” gag for this one, so I was trying something else out.  I won’t let it happen again.

In a film with a lot of closely guarded secrets and spoilers, Thor’s transformation during Endgame’s five year time jump is arguably a fairly minor one, but it was nevertheless one of the most closely guarded elements of the film, with nary a hint of its existence present anywhere in the marketing.  We were led to believe that Thor would spend the three hour film continuing his Ragnarok look.  This made the depths of his depression and the toll it took on him all the more surprising when it occurred on-screen, in many ways far more properly capturing the feel of what it’s like in real life when someone you care about similarly deals with a serious case of clinical depression.  But, lest we get too serious here, it also let Chris Hemsworth continue to be a bit of a goofball.  It proved a pretty popular incarnation of the character with audiences, and there’s been some sizable demand for him in toy form.  Perfect time a Marvel Legend.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is the Build-A-Figure for the third Endgame-themed assortment of Marvel Legends from last year.  Officially, he’s just titled “Thor”, rather than the more commonly accepted “Bro Thor,” since it appears the second Pop is the first official use of that name.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  He’s sporting a brand-new sculpt, seeing as we haven’t gotten a chubby guy in sweats out of the line previously.  The figure represents Thor at his most Dude-liest, with pajama pants and bathrobe.  Not exactly what you would think of for adventuring garb, but it’s what Thor wears during the film’s big time heist nevertheless.  The sculpt does a solid job of capturing Thor’s dressed down appearance, with some really nice detailing on the various parts of his attire, such as fully detailed crocs, and some very effective layering on his sweats and robe.  He’s also got what’s probably the best Hemsworth likeness we’ve gotten so far; admittedly, there’s more character details to help sell the appearance this time around, with all the hair and the bushy beard.  It’s even further helped on the second included head, which also adds his sunglasses to the mix.  Whatever the case, it’s still my favorite Hemsworth Thor head we’ve gotten so far.  The paintwork on Thor is decently handled; for the most part, it’s just large swathes of color, but he does get the face printing, as well as the plaid pattern on the pants, which keeps things pretty interesting.  Though an accessory himself, Thor makes out alright on the extras front, with the previously mentioned extra head, a second left hand with the time gizmo Tony invented, and an all-new sculpt for Stormbreaker.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

He’s a Build-A-Figure, and I just spent a week reviewing the figures that built him, so where I got this figure seems pretty self-explantory.  When the first round of Endgame product was so Quantum Suit heavy, I was assuming our first LegendsThor would be an inaccurate team suit figure, like in other toy lines.  The complete lack of Thor in the first two assortments did give me hope that we’d see at least a proper final battle Thor.  Getting full-on Bro Thor was a pleasant surprise, and the final figure is the definite highlight of the assortment that builds him.  I’m now hopeful for that final battle look to round things out.

This assortment of Legends was certainly more singularly focused than some from last year, with all of the figures being movie-inspired, rather than our usual mix of figures.  Thor’s the definite star overall, with Iron Man being the standout of the singles.  Heimdall is certainly a welcome addition to the line, and a solid figure to boot, and even Valkyrie and Iron Patriot are valid re-dos of the characters.  Vision doesn’t offer much to people who already have the two-pack, but then not everyone does, so a re-issue is acceptable, if not incredibly exciting.  Cap is unfortunately a slightly out of date figure, and just not really the version of the character that should have been in this assortment.  As a whole, it’s a focused, if not incredibly exciting assortment.

#2293: Heimdall

HEIMDALL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Guardian of the Bifrost Bridge, Heimdall uses his all-seeing eyes to protect Asgard at all costs.”

Since the announcement of his casting caused some waves before 2011’s Thor, Idris Elba’s Heimdall has spent some time in the spotlight.  While his roles in Thor and The Dark World both were admittedly minor, and his parts in two of the three Avengers sequels were just cameos, he nevertheless got his due in Ragnarok, where he was finally promoted to a principle supporting player, and it finally felt like they made appropriate use of Idris Elba in the role…just before killing him off moments into Infinity War.  Hey, at least he finally got a Legends release.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Heimdall is another figure from the “Thor” Series of Marvel Legends.  Though this assortment is officially tying into Endgame, Heimdall is one of two figures in the assortment not to appear in the film (though Heimdall was in an early draft of the script, which would have seen his Dark World-era incarnation facing off against a stealth armored Iron Man who had been sent to retrieve the Aether), so his packaging is emblazoned with the Infinity War logo instead.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  After two films sporting some rather intensive golden armor, Heimdall ditched the armored look while on the run in Ragnarok, and kept that dressed down appearance into Infinity War.  That’s what this figure goes for, a sensible choice given that a) Ragnarok was Heimdall’s largest role, and b) Ragnarok is the Thor movie with the most action figure coverage.  The figure is sporting an all-new sculpt based on the look, and it’s rather impressive one at that.  The likeness on the head is a very solid Elba likeness, definitely one of the best ones in the line.  The hair is again a separate piece, and while it doesn’t mesh perfectly with the head, it looks alright.  The body is largely hidden right out of the box by a rather expansive plastic cape.  The cape’s a cool looking piece, with plenty of texturing, and even a  cleverly hidden spot to store the sword beneath the hood, but it’s a little restrictive when it comes to posing.  His entire right side is pretty much rendered motionless with it on, and his left shoulder is quite restricted as well.  Once it’s removed (which will require popping off the head), you find a very impressively detailed and quite articulated figure.  Unlike last year’s Skurge, he doesn’t appear to have been a held-over sculpt, because he doesn’t have some of the slight proportional oddities of the other Ragnarok figures.  Additionally, he’s got two very small details, a cut on his arm and one on his abdomen, which are specific to the opening scenes of Infinity War.  With the cape on, they’re both easily missed, but it’s a cool tiny little touch, and I really dig it.  Heimdall’s paint work is pretty much all browns.  Not the most exciting color scheme, but it’s accurate.  I wish his eyes were a little brighter, but otherwise the paint’s pretty solid.  He’s packed with his sword, which we’ve bafflingly gotten two times prior despite this being our first 6 inch Heimdall figure.  At least he finally gets to use it.  He also comes with one of the legs of Thor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Heimdall’s one of those characters I’ve always wanted a figure of, even when he was more minor in the films.  Not getting him for Ragnarok was a definite bummer.  I’m glad that Hasbro’s been so committed to going back and filling in old casts, especially for that film.  Heimdall’s a very strong figure, and probably my second favorite in this assortment.

Heimdall came from my sponsors at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2178: First Appearance Thor & Balder

FIRST APPEARANCE THOR & BALDER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Jack Kirby was a major piece of comics history, especially when it comes to Marvel.  However, his actual work hasn’t quite so much been touched by the world of action figures.  There’s something about his dynamic style that doesn’t always lend itself to toys.  Fortunately, Minimates are in a position to offer a more artist-specific figure, as is the case with today’s entry, First Appearance Thor and Balder the Brave!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Balder were released in the twelfth TRU-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates, which was meant to compliment the Thor/Cap-themed Series 42 of the main line.  This set was the Thor component and Cap/Crossbones made up the Cap component.

FIRST APPEARANCE THOR

Series 42 offered up a couple of Thor variants, but the closest we would get to a classic Thor update would be this guy, inspired by his Jack Kirby-penciled first appearance in Journey into Mystery #83.  There were some minor details that changed between Thor’s initial appearance and those that followed, allowing for this figure to have a few more unique things going about it.  Built on the standard body, the figure is 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Thor has seven add-on pieces, used for his hair/helmet, cape/shoulder pads, wrist bands, belt, and boots.  Like all of the “classic” Thors before him, he uses the Stargirl wrist bands, which are a solid fit for the character.  He also re-uses a standard nondescript belt piece, since the details on his early belt were just different enough that he couldn’t use the already existing belt.  His last bit of re-use is the cape, which is shared with the Eric Masterson Thor from Series 42.  It’s a good Thor cape.  His helmet and boots are new additions.  The boots are the best Thor boots to date, which is why they’ve remained the go-to Classic Thor boots since this figure’s release.  The helmet, or rather the hair beneath it, is a far more unique piece, capturing the distinctive whisp of hair that brushes out from under the helmet at the left side of his forehead.  That’s a very Kirby trait, and it really sells what this figure is meant to replicate.  More so than the sculpted parts, the paint is really key to selling the Kirby vibe on this figure.  They really got it down, from the distinctive Kirby yell on the face, to that signature shading style on the torso.  There are some minor complaints to be had, of course, like the torso detailing being slightly too high, and I know not everyone was in favor of the flat grey helmet, but by-and-large, this is a very snappy looking paint scheme.  Thor is packed with his hammer Mjolnir, which is a distinctly different shape than previous versions, following after its look in JiM #83.  The head is narrower, and the handle is longer.  As with the hair, it may not be standard issue, but it’s a nice attention to detail.  It’s even got the “whosoever holds this…” on the side.  Also included is Mjolnir’s alternate cane form.  Yeah, it’s just a glorified stick, and not super useful without a corresponding Donald Blake, but it’s a cool little extra nevertheless.

BALDER THE BRAVE

Prior to his film in 2011, Thor’s coverage in the world of Minimates included himself and Loki, twice over.  The movie and the increased exposure it granted got us a handful of other supporting players, including his *other* brother, Balder the Brave, a character whom has had exactly one action figure ever.  Like his brother Thor, this version of Balder is clearly based on Jack Kirby’s version, though he has been toned down ever so slightly so as to better fit in with the other Thor supporting players.  Balder has seven add-on pieces, for his helmet, cape, glove cuffs, boots, and skirt.  The helmet is a new piece, and its slightly smaller side denotes its Kirby influence.  While I’m kind of partial to the ridiculously large helmet from the Simonson-era, there’s no denying that this is a well-sculpted piece in its own right.  The rest of the pieces are all re-used.  He gets Superman’s cape, Invaders Captain America’s boots, Cap TTA’s gloves, and a classic BSG skirt.  It’s a well-chosen selection of pieces, and makes for quite an accurate looking Balder.  Balder’s paintwork is pretty solid work as well.  As noted above, he tones down the Kirby-styling a little bit, but it’s still definitely there, especially on the face.  Overall, he’s got an attractive color scheme, though perhaps one that’s not quite as exciting as Thor’s.  Included with Balder is his magical sword.  Don’t tell him, but it’s actually the same standard sword we’ve been seeing since Valkyrie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time of this set’s release, there were a few options for a classic Thor, but prior versions had always seemed to be lacking something.  The First Appearance look may be little more appearance-specific than others, but swap out the hammer for a more standard issue one and you’ve got a really solid take on the main God of Thunder.  And, while he may lack some of Thor’s flair, but Balder is undoubtedly a well-put together figure, and an essential piece of any proper Thor collection.  If he was only going to get one ‘mate, this one’s a pretty decent one to get.

#2172: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Back in the early days of Marvel Legends, Thor figures weren’t the most common things to crop up.  He did manage to get two figures over the course of the Toy Biz days, but the early run of Hasbro only added one more, due to him being dead for a while at the time.  Since the return of Legends, his figures have been more of the modern persuasion; our last classic Thor was 12 years ago.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s paying tribute to a lot of classic designs, courtesy of their celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary, and Thor got in on some of that classic love.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is one of the two widely released single-packed “80 Years of Marvel” Legends figures, shipped in solid cases of himself.  As noted above, this Thor is the classic version of the character, and is designed to match up with the Walmart-Exclusive Cap from earlier this year, being loosely patterned on Alex Ross’s illustrations of the main trio of Avengers.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Thor is sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s a sculpt that, more than anything Hasbro has done in this line, feels like it’s specifically designed to replace the Toy Biz Giant Man Series Thor, which was the pinnacle of Toy Biz Thors.  It makes sense, I suppose, since for most collectors, that’s the figure this one’s going to be directly competing with anyway, given just how long it’s been since our last classic Thor.  Whatever the case, this sculpt is very, very nice.  It’s clean, and bold, and captures the appropriate aesthetic of the classic comics design, while still managing to work in some smaller details on the costume to help sell it as an actual cloth costume, and not just something that’s painted on.  In particular, I really like the seam running down the center of his tunic, as well as the wrinkles in his tights on his legs.  Those add some nice realism to the figure.  Unlike every comic Thor since the ROML release, this one doesn’t feel oversized when compared to his compatriots.  He’s still got some bulk on him, but he’s not inhuman in scale.  Thor’s got a sculpted cape, which Hasbro’s gone with a dynamic flow for.  It continues the pleasant trend of Hasbro turning in some really solid capes; it’s got enough pose to it to be fun with action poses, but not enough to look too weird when he’s just standing at attention.  It’s also not too overly heavy, so he can stand alright on his own.  Thor’s paintwork is very similar in styling to the Cap figure, as you might well expect.  Application is clean and crisp, and all of the important details are covered, but it’s worth noting that the colors are ever so slightly subdued when compared to other “classic” figures.  It’s certainly not a bad look, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hasbro had a more classically hued re-release in mind somewhere down the line.  Thor is packed with Mjolnir, which like its user is an all-new, far less ridiculously sized sculpt.  The length of the handle surprised me at first, because I’ve become accustomed to the longer handles we’ve been getting, but this actually works pretty well, and I love how “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” looks on the face of it. In addition to the hammer, Thor also has two different left hands, one in a fist and one in open gesture.  It’s definitely a lighter selection than I’d expected based on the other two he pairs with and his higher price point, but I suppose it’s the sizing that’s supposed to make up for that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As beautiful as he was, I never found the old Walmart Thor, nor was I much of a fan of the version that preceded it.  My Legends Thor was the armored one from the Blob Series, until he was replaced by the Marvel Now variant a few years ago.  I liked that figure a lot, but he wasn’t a classic Thor, and my Avengers have been skewing more and more classic all the time.  This figure finally makes classic Thor readily available again, and I have to say, he’s a very nicely rendered version.  Definitely the nicest Legends Thor out there, possibly just the best Thor figure you can get.  I do wish he wasn’t so light on accessories, but that’s the only thing I can hold against him.

I picked up Thor from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1897: Thor

THOR

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

“It is occasionally intolerable to be forced to live and work alongside humans with their short lifespan and petty troubles — but Thor has grown to have a deep affection for the people of Earth.  In the Avengers, he is gratified to have found a group of peers.  These are warriors with whom a man can be proud to serve. Thor is glad to fight alongside mighty creatures like the Hulk and noble men such as Captain America.”

Happy Thor’s Day everyone!  Despite some pretty intense audience support, Thor frequently seems to be the hardest sell of the main Avengers when it comes to toys.  Neither of his headlined toyline’s have done particularly well at retail.  But, by virtue of being a rather important member of the team, he does still warrant his token spot, which is a good thing for all of those fans, myself included, who would hate to see him left off the roster.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is another figure from the six-figure Walmart-exclusive larger-scale line of Avengers figures, which hit shelves not too long after the movie in 2012.  For the line based on Thor’s own solo film, Walmart had also offered up a 6-inch figure, which featured a brand-new sculpt, but also featured Thor’s helmet, which he wore for less that five minutes of the first film’s screen time, permanently attached to the head.  Not exactly the most indicative of the MCU take on the character.  This figure is really just a quick fix to that one; he’s exactly the same, but with a new head.  He stands 7 inches tall (this is the figure that would start the trend of MCU Thors being rather on the tall side) and he has 27 points of articulation.  The sculpt is a decent enough piece of work, though it shows its age a bit more than the Cap figure from yesterday, likely because the majority of it is a year older, and Hasbro was improving rapidly at this point.  It’s mostly the articulation that shows the age, especially the hips, which are difficult enough to pose that he’ll essentially just be standing.  The detail work on the sculpt is all pretty sharp, and mostly pretty accurate to the films.  His proportions are idealized slightly, but not terribly unbalanced.  The head, as the new piece, was the main focus. The head and hair are separate pieces, and the head is sporting one of Hasbro’s best Hemsworth likenesses.  The hair, which is decidedly based on the first Thor, rather than Avengers, isn’t quite up to the same snuff as the face.  It’s decent, but feels just a bit…full?  I’m not 100% sure how to describe it, but it’s certainly a bit off.  Thor’s paintwork is pretty solid work.  Application is clean, the palette is a good match for the movie, and he isn’t missing any notable details.  Accent work is minimal, but the sculpt does the heavy lifting here.  Thor is packed with Mjolnir, as well as a stackable display base patterned on the Heroscape tiles.  My figure only has the hammer, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Thor at the same time as Cap.  It was actually Cap that I’d noticed first, with Thor being the follow up.  This really wasn’t a figure I had much want for at the time of his release, and I’ve tended to prefer some of Thor’s later looks in the movies.  But, with the Mark VII already in my collection, and Cap soon to be, I was hardly going to just pass this guy up.  He’s not perfect, and he certainly shows the learning process Hasbro was going through at the time, but he still sports the best Hemsworth likeness Hasbro’s produced to date.

Like yesterday’s Captain America, Thor came from my friends over at All Time Toys.  He’s one of many 6-inch Marvel figures in their back catalog of figures, which can be viewed at both their website and their eBay store.