#1668: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

When the state of the universe is thrown into chaos, Thor sets out to protect Earth and beyond.”

You can’t honestly be that surprised, can you?  I’m looking at the latest set of Infinity War-themed Marvel Legends and it’s a Thursday.  *Of course* I’m looking at the newest Thor figure!  What choice do I have?  None.  I had no choice at all.  Sorry, Tony, it was the only way.  Wait, wrong moment…uhhh, let’s just look at this here Thor figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is the second of two Infinity War-themed single releases from the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  This is the second IW-based Thor Legends release, following the one from the three-pack with Rocket and Groot.  That one was the early film look, while this one’s his design from the film’s climax.  It’s more in line with the same basic design he’s been sporting from the beginning, but with the shorter hair, of course.  As a major focal point of the film, and the only major character to truly have multiple distinctive designs, a second figure for Thor makes a lot of sense.  As with his triple-packed compatriot, this Thor figure stands 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  The two figures share a fair number of pieces (fitting, since it’s the same base design of the same guy from the same film), with the hands and lower half being identical, and the upper body being ever so slightly tweaked to allow for the cape.  The head is similar to the last one, but missing the eye-patch, of course.  I thought it might be the same sculpt that was used for the Ragnarok figure, but there’s actually a sculpted scar over the eye, so it’s at least slightly changed.  He also gets new arms, featuring his sleeves of armor, as well as the previously mentioned cape.  The new pieces match well with the film design, as well as the pre-existing parts, and make for a rather solid looking figure.  The paintwork is overall very strong work, and an improvement over the three-pack.  He lacks any of the electric effects that plagued that figure (which is a bit ironic, since they’d actually make far more sense here than on that figure), and instead gets a lot more texture work, especially on the boots, which look nice and weathered.  My only complaint has to do with the head. It’s still well-crafted, but something about it is just very un-Hemsworth.  I don’t really know who it looks like, but it’s not Chris. Thor is packed with his new weapon Stormbreaker, the main selling point of this guy.  It’s incredibly well-detailed, and even features a removable lightning effect. I know it wouldn’t be strictly movie accurate, but I wish they’d included a non-powered up eye-patch Head here too, since we didn’t get one.  Instead, we just get another piece, specifically the left arm, of Cull Obsidian.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really sold on this guy initially.  I definitely liked the three-pack variant better, and this guy felt a little extraneous.  Upon getting him in hand, I’m sort of torn. He’s a lot better than I’d expected, and fixes some of the other figure’s flaws, but I just don’t like that head quite as much.  Fortunately, they’re easily swapped, allowing me my perfect Thor.

Thor was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

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#1666: Malekith

MALEKITH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, Malekith the Accursed uses dark magic to bring vengeful destruction to  the universe.”

Oh hey, look, it’s—*snore*….Wuzzat?  Oh, must have dozed off for a second there. Sorry, this happens when I have to talk about *yawn* Malekith.  He’s sort of a walking snoozefest.  Okay, that’s not entirely fair.  He’s a walking snoozefest in The Dark World.  This here isn’t movie Malekith, it’s comic Malekith, who is at least slightly more interesting, even if he is just sort of Loki-lite.  At the very least, his design is far more exciting, and thereby more ripe for translation into an action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Malekith is the second of the two comics-based figures in the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  This figure is actually just a slight tweak on the Malekith included in the SDCC 2017-exclusive Thor set.  The ease of creating this figure is probably what got him the slot, since this is otherwise a pretty new-tooling-heavy assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Malekith’s build on the Reaper body, which seems appropriate, given the overall larger stature of most of the Thor-themed characters.  He uses the bracer-sporting forearms first introduced on Namor, which follow Malekith’s comics design pretty well.  He’s also got a brand-new head, plus add-ons for his collar/shoulder pads, his skirt, and his belt.  The head’s actually a pretty nice piece.  The main head and the hair are separate pieces, allowing for some more depth, and there’s a great mad grin on his face, which feels right for the character.  The hair’s a bit restrictive, but otherwise looks pretty nice.  The new add-on pieces fit pretty well on the body, and help to differentiate him from all the others on this same base body.  The collar is a little floaty, but the hair helps to keep it in place most of the time.  The pleated nature of the skirt means that hip movement is thankfully left mostly un-hindered, which is a plus with designs like this.  Malekith’s main change from the SDCC release is paint.  The SDCC release was a darker, black and red combo, based on more recent appearances, whereas this figure opts for his classic more predominately red design.  The differences between the two are incredibly minor, just like last year’s Enchantress.  It’ll mostly come down to personal preference.  Malekith is packed with a big blade, which his hooked at one end, and serrated down one side.  It’s doing a lot of damage is what I’m getting at here.  He also includes the arm of the Build-A-Figure Cull Obsidian.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I mostly just got Malekith because I wanted to complete Cull Obsidian, so I didn’t have any real expectations of him.  I’m actually pretty happy with him in the end.  Sure, he’s not gonna wow me like Black Knight, but I chalk that up to not really being that much of a fan of the character.

Malekith was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

#1661: Thor, Rocket, & Teen Groot

THOR, ROCKET, & GROOT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When a blaster-toting raccoon, a teenage tree, and a Asgardian god get together, the journey is sure to be out of this world.”

You thought I’d slip, didn’t you?  You thought I’d forget about my new favorite running gag!  That I’d review a Thor figure on a day other that Thursday!  Well….I actually almost did.  Yep, had this one queued up for tomorrow.  Like an idiot.  It’s okay, I got better.  It’s been a week since I wrapped up my first round of Infinity War-themed Legends reviews.  Now I’m coming back to it for another multi-pack.  This one’s got the aforementioned Thor, as well as one-third of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket and Groot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor, Rocket, and Groot are another displaced Toys R Us-exclusive.  They were meant to be the follow-up to Vision and Scarlet Witch, and were only confirmed to exist just before TRU announced they were going under.  It’s not known how many of them actually made it to TRU, but it’s certainly less than Vision and Scarlet Witch.  As with the other displaced exclusives, it’ll be available over the summer via Entertainment Earth.

THOR

After taking a bit of a back seat for Age of Ultron, Thor’s right back in the forefront for Infinity War.  Of the many characters included in the film, he’s the first to have a variant confirmed.  This one uses his early-in-the-film appearance, picking up from the end of Ragnarok.  If you haven’t seen that film, his eye-patch-wearing head’s going to be a bit of a spoiler.  It’s a major selling point for this set, though, being the only version of the character available right now with the eye patch.  He’s also sans cape, which is a first for the MCU Thor figures.  I like it.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  At first glance, I’d kind of expected this figure to make use of a lot of Gladiator Thor’s pieces, but there doesn’t actually appear to be anything shared between them.  I think that’s ultimately for the best, as I felt there were some minor issues with the last one.  This one has a really solid, hefty construction, and his posablity is actually really great given how bulky he is.  The head looks to be about the same as the un-helmeted Ragnarok sculpt, but with the eyepatch, of course.  It’s a pretty decent likeness of Hemsworth, so I can’t complain.  What I can complain about?  The paint.  It’s perhaps the only thing I don’t like about this figure.  I mean, the basics are fine.  The detailing on the hair works.  But, what I really don’t like is the lightning effects.  The details on the torso in particular look rather cheesy.  I don’t hate the effects on the eye; if it were an extra head, I’d probably find it really cool.  As the only eye-patched Thor head out there?  It’s a little annoying.  Like the Ragnarok two-pack release, he’s packed with Heimdall’s sword.  He still doesn’t use it in this movie, and I still want an actual Heimdall, but it’s better than nothing.

ROCKET

Any Rocket figure is going to have the rather difficult task of surpassing the Mantis Series release.  Hasbro has acknowledged this fact, and pretty much just given us a straight re-release of that figure.  There are some minor paint differences between the two, with the accents being a darker grey this time.  He also only gets the calm head, but he does still get both of his blasters (sadly lacking the cool painted details) as well as his brand-new gun that’s been packed with all of the Infinity War Rockets.

GROOT

I’d say Groot’s the biggest draw of this set, since we’ve not yet gotten this version of the character in Legends form (though we did get a surprisingly good version of him from the basic Infinity War line).  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Articulation is the main differentiating thing between the two teen Groot figures, with this one being not only far more posable, but also having the articulation better worked into the overall sculpt.  This figure also gets a little more detailing, especially on the smaller details, such as the little twig growing from the top of his head.  His head seems to be a little more accurate to Groot’s Infinity War design than the basic figure (in the basic figure’s defense, he seems to have been based on our brief glimpse of Teen Groot from Guardians Vol. 2), with a rounder face, and an even poutier expression.  He’s not a perfect recreation of Teen Groot; I think his chin’s a bit too pronounced; but he’s still pretty close.  The paint is kind of sparse on this figure, which is a little surprising given the accent work that the basic figure got.  The browns are just left flat, which is a little disappointing.  On the plus side, there’s some slight green representing vegetation, which keeps him from being too monotonous, and his eyes are nice and sharp as well.  Groot includes his gamepad…or *a* gamepad, because I don’t think this is the one he had in the movie.  It’s still a nice touch, though, and I’m glad he got *something*

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found this set at one of the two slowly dying Toys R Us’s near me.  I thought Vision and Scarlet Witch were just a stroke of luck, but this set popped up about a week after.  Honestly, it’s a set I was uncertain about when it was first shown off, since there’s not a *ton* of new stuff here.  Rocket’s essentially identical.  If you missed his first release, it’s great that there’s a second opportunity, but if you didn’t, he’s extraneous.  I quite like Thor, like to a surprising level, but he’s got a few flaws, and if you aren’t big on lots of variants of the same character, he too can feel a bit extraneous, especially with the fully equipped version from the Cull Obsidian assortment on its way.  A lot of this set’s selling power is resting on Groot.  He’s a good figure, but I can’t say he’s enough of an improvement on the basic series figure to warrant 5 times the price to get him.  Of course, I got my set for 20%, since I got it from TRU, but I can see it being a tricky sell at full retail.  I’m certainly happy I have it, but not everyone’s as willing to drop tons of money on toys as I am!

#1633: Thor

THOR

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Okay, you had to know which Infinity War figure I was reviewing today.  You just had to.  Because it’s Thursday, aka Thor’s Day.  When a guy’s got the day named after him, he’s kind of a lock for the subject of the review.  If you’re thinking to yourself, “hasn’t Ethan already done this gag?,” the answer is yes, I very definitely have.  I very definitely will again.  It’s probably a safe assumption that I’ll do this with every Thor figure I remember to do this with going forward (so, probably about a 50/50 split; I’m forgetful).  Anyway, here’s my latest Thor!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is another figure from Series 1 of the basic Avengers: Infinity War line.  Thor’s design has not changed drastically since we last saw him in Ragnarok.  Well, actually, a little before we last saw him in Ragnarok, truth be told.  He’s got both of his eyes again.  As of yet, all of the trailers and the like have shown him still sporting the eyepatch.  It’s still possible it will be healed during the film.  Of course, Hemsworth wasn’t actually wearing the eyepatch on-set for Ragnarok, and I don’t believe he was for Infinity War either.  It’s always possible licensees were seeing unfinished shots from the film, in order to preserve Ragnarok’s twist, and now we just have a bunch of inaccurate Thor figures.  I guess we won’t know until we see the movie.  Anyway, the figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Like yesterday’s Star-Lord, his sculpt has some definite similarities to last year’s Legends release.  Understandable, since they’re adapting similar looks.  The Hemsworth likeness is halfway decent.  It’s not amazing, but it’s hardly like it’s impossible to figure out who it is.  The body, particularly the proportions, feel a bit more cartoony and exaggerated than the others I’ve looked at from the line.  I think that’s largely the arms, which have almost a Popeye sort of feel about them.  It’s not like it looks bad or anything, just slightly different from the previously established style.  The rest of the body is fairly well detailed, and his costume is quite well-defined.  The paint on this figure is passable, but definitely more on the basic side.  Where Cap’s hair went too brown, I think Thor’s goes too yellow, adding more to that whole cartoony thing.  Also, his eyes seem a bit off.  Or maybe it’s his eyebrows.  Either way, he ends up looking like he just remembered he didn’t put the trash out to the road last night.  That’s not how I tend to think of Thor looking.  Thor is packed with his new weapon, Stormbreaker, which is actually pretty cool, and has some pretty awesome electricity effects going on.  Also, like the other figures in the set, Thor’s got an infinity stone, specifically the Space Stone.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Thor seems to be a rarer figure in the first Infinity War assortment, as he’s the one I’ve seen the least.  When I found most of the others, he wasn’t there, so I ended up getting him alongside Widow the new day.  I wasn’t even sure I was going to get him, but I sort of wanted all of the stones.  He’s not a bad figure.  Perhaps a little bland in terms of design (having the eyepatch probably would have helped), but he’s still cool.

#1573: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor, & Grim Reaper

IRON MAN, HAWKEYE, THOR, & GRIM REAPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye are just three of the Heroes who make up the super-team known as the Avengers. Together, they can neutralize any threat, even the manipulations of the evil Grim Reaper!”

I just mentioned Minimates passingly in yesterday’s Palz review, so I suppose it’s fitting that today I give them a whole focus of their own.  Because, as we all know, Minimates neeeever show up in my review schedule, right?  …Anyway, getting back to the Minimates, Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009 left a little bit of uncertainty about the future of Marvel Minimates and whether DST would be allowed to continue as a licensee.  Disney assuaged fears by turning around a couple of Disney Store exclusives, sort of out of nowhere one day.  I’m looking at one of those exclusives today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was released in May of 2012 as one of two Disney Store-exclusive boxed sets meant to tie-in with the release of the first Avengers movie (I already took a look at the other one here).  Iron Man and Thor are both the same figures as their Marvel Minimates Series 44 counterparts, while Hawkeye and Grim Reaper were exclusive to this set.

IRON MAN

The mid ‘90s marked a bit of a resurgence for Tony Stark as Iron Man (albeit nowhere near as big as the one he got in ’08), with fan favorite Kurt Busiek handling the character both in his solo book and in the pages of the re-launched Avengers title.  This figure represents the design he was wearing at that time, and it’s a favorite of mine. The figure is 2 1/2 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his helmet, breast plate/shoulder pads, gloves, belt, and boots.  All of these were new to this figure, and they all are pretty fantastic.  There’s a ton of sculpted detail on each piece, but he maintains the ‘mate aesthetic very well.  As far as paint goes, this Iron Man is generally pretty solid, but is definitely an example of DST’s learning curve with metallic paints.  While the reds are really great looking, the gold is still that very dark, very dull shade they were using for a while, and it’s also worth noting that it’s a paint that doesn’t hold up to time.  It’s not as bad as the Avengers #1 set’s version of Tony, but it’s pretty frustrating.  Even more frustrating is DST’s decision to package Tony’s helmet on him.  For most Iron Man ‘mates (at least leading up to this), the helmet would be packed off to the side.  The reason for this is simple: if the paint hasn’t fully dried when the figure is packaged and you stick the helmet on there, it’s likely not coming off.  That’s what happened with my figure.  Seriously, six years I’ve owned this guy, and I’ve yet to get that helmet off him.  It’s a little sad.  Guess it’s a good thing I like the fully armored look.  Iron Man was packed with a rocket trail flying stand, done in a nice pale blue.

HAWKEYE

Before this figure, there had been only one other standard Clint Barton Hawkeye (reviewed here), four years prior.  That figure had some notable issues, and really looked out of place with all of the other advancements going on.  So, he was due for an update, and the extra notoriety given to him by the first Avengers movie granted him that chance.  Plus, as a pivotal player in Busiek’s Avengers re-launch, his inclusion alongside the otherwise very clearly Heroes Return-branded ‘mates in this set and Series 44 made a lot of sense.  I’ve actually looked at a lot of this figure before, via the Best Of Marvel Minimates Series 3 release, which took it’s add-ons from this guy.  I liked the pieces there, and I liked them here first.  The only real difference between the two is paint.  And paint’s kind of what breaks this figure for me.  It’s not terrible.  It’s actually pretty decent, even.  That being said, if the Series 20 Hawkeye was too subdued, this one went too far the other way, making him way too bright.  It’s the blue in particular that throws him off.  It should definitely be a deeper tone (which the later release definitely fixed).  Another thing I’ve never much liked about this figure is his facial expression. I’m glad they got the face to line up correctly (since the first Hawkeye did not), but the angry, gritted teeth look just doesn’t feel right for Barton.  Hawkeye included his bow, three pointed arrows, two sonic arrows, and a hairpiece for his unmasked look.  The arrows were nice, and can even be placed in his quiver.  The bow, which was a new sculpt, was okay at the time, but was definitely on the small side, and a little hard for him to hold properly.

THOR

Though he was the most glaring omission from the line for its first 15 series, by the time of this Thor’s release, we were kind of suffering from a glut of Thors, with this one being the ninth Thor in the space of a year.  Like Iron Man, this Thor was definitely patterned on the Heroes Return look, which is really just the classic design plus a beard.  Thor was built using add-ons for his helmet/hair, cape, wrist bands, belt, and boots.  The wrist bands were from the very first Thor in Series 16, the cape and boots came from the TRU-exclusive First Appearance Thor from 2011, and the belt was just a generic piece.  The helmet was new, though you’d be forgiven for not realizing.  Overall, a solid set of parts, though the cape does make it a little hard to keep him standing.  The rest of the look is achieved via paint.  I think it’s pretty good overall, though there’s some slight slop here and there, especially noticeable on the helmet and the cape.  He used the same gold paint as Iron Man, which isn’t super, but there’s less of it on Thor.  Thor included his hammer Mjonir, in both standard AND spinning configurations.  I quite like the spinning version.  He also had an extra head sans-beard, which, despite using the exact same facial features as the bearded head, ends up looking a bit too mean for Thor.  There’s also a spare hairpiece for a look without the helmet, I suppose to offer people who only knew the movie Thor a more familiar look.  Lastly, he included a clear display stand to help him stay standing with the spinning Mjolnir.  It’s important to note that these still weren’t a standard inclusion yet.

GRIM REAPER

Last up, the set’s one new character, Grim Reaper!  Reaper has been a long-recurring Avengers villain, and he was revived during the Busiek/Perez run, so he’s a perfect fit…well, apart from the total lack of Vision or Wonder Man in the set, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.  They went with the classic Reaper design (classic, not original, because no body really wants the technicolor dreamcoat monstrosity that was his first costume), which is sensible enough.  I’m still partial to his re-animated look from the ‘80s, but this works too.  The figure makes use of add-ons for his mask, cape, and scythe attachment.  The mask and scythe were new to this figure (and remain unique to this figure six years later), and were fantastic renditions of his look from the comics.  The cape is the standard cape from the DC Minimates Series 1 Superman.  It’s not a perfect fit (since Reaper’s really supposed to have the collar), but it’s close enough that it works.  In terms of paint, Reaper is certainly subdued, but very well-rendered.  The colors are suitably dark, but there’s still plenty of room for detailing.  I love the dynamic shading on the bodysuit and mask.  I also really love that crazed expression they gave him.  Reaper included no accessories, but I don’t really know what you’d give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set at the same time as its companion set, ordering them both from Disney’s online store (since none of my local Disney Stores ever carried Minimates).  Reaper’s always been a favorite of mine, so his inclusion definitely excited me, but I was also pretty happy to get another Hawkeye.  While Hawkeye didn’t end up being quit what I wanted, I was still pretty happy with the other three in this set.  In fact, this was my preferred of the two Disney sets.

#1490: Thor & Valkyrie

THOR & VALKYRIE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Armed with ancient weapons and legendary strength, these Asgardian warriors proudly defend the legacy of their realm.”

In terms of toy lines based on the MCU, Thor seems to draw the short straw.  Hasbro went all-in for his first film, and produced a rather expansive line.  Sadly, this one proved to be less than successful, which made retailers a little bit wary of backing him for later films.  Dark  World only got a very small assortment and Thor himself was only offered in an online-exclusive boxed set for Age of Ultron.  For Ragnarok, there’s a bit more coverage, but we still only got a small fraction of the main cast.  For instance, Valkyrie, one of the film’s main protagonists, was only available in a two-pack with a variant of Thor.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Valkyrie are a two-pack of figures from Hasbro’s currently running Marvel Legends.  Like the prior Star-Lord and Ego pack, these two aren’t exclusive to any one retailer.  Unlike that earlier set, these two actually hit in time for the movie, arriving on shelves about a week before the movie.

THOR

Thor gets quite a makeover in Ragnarok, and this figure replicates that new look.  I know a lot of people weren’t really big on the new short-haired look, but I didn’t mind it too much, and I certainly liked Thor’s new gladiator gear.  This figure makes use of a lot of the single-release Ragnarok Thor’s pieces.  Mostly, this one’s just got a new head to differentiate him.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The new head is obviously the star piece here.  It’s not a bad likeness of Hemsworth; definitely the best we’ve gotten so far from Hasbro, I’d say.  It looks good head-on, I think it’s just the profile that throws it off.  The body sculpt is pretty decent, but I noticed similar issues with the torso to what was going on with the Loki figure.  He just seems a touch flatter than he should be.  I also found the cape to be a little too detached and easy to fall off for my taste.  On the plus side, the figure’s paint is pretty top-notch.  The face is the best work, rendering a rather life-like take on Hemsworth.  The body gets the bold color palette down, and I quite like the red detailing that runs down his left side.  That’s a fun touch.  Thor doesn’t include his usual hammer (since it was destroyed and all), but he does get an extra set of open hands, a lightning effect piece, and, somewhat oddly, Heimdall’s sword.  Not sure why that last one came with Thor and not, say, a Heimdall figure, but there it is.

VALKYRIE

Thor’s great and all, but the real draw of this set is definitely it’s new character, Valkyrie.  I was quite a fan of Tessa Thompson’s take on the character, and I’m eager to see the character turn up in future films.  And I’m also excited to have her in figure form.  Valkyrie is seen here in her bounty hunter garb from the first chunk of the film.  It’s the look she spends the most time in, and is also pretty close to her current comics look, so it’s a good choice.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is completely unique to her, and it’s definitely a very nice one.  It’s certainly my favorite of the Ragnarok sculpts I’ve seen, that’s for sure.  The likeness on the head is a pretty solid match for Thompson, and she’s sporting a pretty balanced and realistic set of proportions.  The cape is permanently affixed, which I like more than the removable capes of Thor and Loki. I wish the knives strapped to her legs were actually removable, but at least they’re actually there.  In terms of paint, Valkyrie’s pretty decent, with clean application and solid color choices.  My only real complaint is the small bit of splatter on her forehead, which is a little bit distracting.  Valkyrie is packed with her valkyrie sword, as well as its scabbard, which doesn’t seem to actually have anywhere to go.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this set a few times before the movie’s release, always in rather large quantities.  After seeing the film, I came across it again at my local Target, but this time there were only two of them left.  Since I really enjoyed the film (and Valkyrie in particular), I figured I should probably grab them while I could.  Valkyrie is definitely the stronger of the two, but Thor’s still a solid figure in his own right.

#1479: Skurge & Grandmaster

SKURGE & GRANDMASTER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Thor Ragnarok hit the big screen last week.  After being more than a little underwhelmed by Thor’s last solo cinematic adventure, I was definitely hoping this one would be a marked improvement.  Having seen it, I’d say it most definitely succeeded on that front.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was still very, very good.  There were a quite a few new characters introduced in the movie, and several of them were real standouts.  Two of my favorites are the two I’m covering today, Skurge and Grandmaster!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Surge and Grandmaster are one of the Walgreens-exclusive sets for the Thor Ragnarok tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.  They’re something of an odd pairing, truth be told, seeing as the two don’t ever once interact or even participate in the same segments of the plot line.  That said, I’m hardly going to complain, since I like both characters.

SKURGE

In the comics, Skurge was at first simply known as “The Executioner.”  He was the right-hand-man to the Enchantress, and a key piece of the original Masters of Evil.  Definitely an important player, so his inclusion in the film was definitely something I was very much looking forward to.  Throw in that he was played by Karl Urban, a personal favorite, and you’ve got a real winner.  His design in the film isn’t too far removed from his comics incarnation, which means this figure can pretty well serve as either version.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest cap and bracers.  The add-ons are new to Skurge, and are pretty decent overall.  The torso piece could probably be a little tighter to the body, but it looks decent enough.  His paintwork is decent enough.  It’s not super vibrant, but that’s true of the movie design, and it’s in keeping with what we’ve seen of the Asgardians in the MCU so far.  The details are all pretty crisp and clean, and his face looks passably like Karl Urban.  Accessories are easily this figure’s biggest failing.  He gets a clear display stand and nothing else.  Not his axe, not even his twin M-16s, which DST already had the molds for.  It’s more than a little disappointing.

GRANDMASTER

Grandmaster of the comics is one of the Marvel universe’s Elders, and he’s actually a little bit on the boring side.  In the movie, he’s Jeff Goldbloom, essentially playing himself.  That works out pretty well for…well, everybody.  He too is built on the standard base body, with a unique upper left arm (taken from the TMNT Foot Ninja), as well as add ons for his hair and jacket.  The pieces are decently handled, and look pretty sharp.  They translate the film design pretty well, which is pretty great.  His paint work is nice and colorful; the Grandmaster has one of the more vivid designs in the film, and that comes through here.  The likeness of Goldbloom is pretty spot-on as well, which is a definite plus.  Like Skurge, Grandmaster’s only accessory is his clear display stand, but that’s a bit less annoying in his case, since there’s not as much in the way of obvious extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this pair at the same time as the last two sets I reviewed.  By-and-large, I was holding off on the Ragnarok merch until after the film’s release, but these two in particular called to me.  As they ended up being two of my favorite parts of the movie, it’s safe to say I don’t regret my purchase.  Sure, it’s annoying that they don’t really have any accessories, but the ‘mates themselves are pretty solid.

#1430: Thor

THOR

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Thor, the legendary Norse God of Thunder, is the most powerful Marvel Super Hero. With his amazing hammer, Mjolnir, Thor can fly, smash through any obstacle and create and control the mightiest storms – even tornadoes and hurricanes. Though Thor’s home is Asgard, where all the Norse gods live, Thor spends most of his time on Earth with his friends Iron Man and Captain America helping them fight the forces of evil and injustice that threaten the world.”

Happy Thorsday everyone!  …She already did this bit earlier, didn’t she?  *sigh* This is what I get for letting other people write for the site.  Well, there goes my intro.  Anyway, I’m also looking at a Thor figure today, but I’m looking at the original, Odinson variety of Thor.  This one hails from the ‘90s, which was actually a pretty barren time for Thor figures, believe it or not.  There were only three figures of him in the space of the decade, and today I look at the first of those three.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line, alongside fellow Avenger and previous subject of review Iron Man.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  He’s ostensibly based on Thor’s classic design, though he’s a bit removed from how he usually looks.  See how he doesn’t have a cape?  There’s no missing piece there; he just never had a cape.  They left it out, for whatever reason.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Maybe they were actually basing him on Thor from Adventures in Babysitting?  I mean, he doesn’t look *unlike* Vincent D’Onofrio.  Maybe I’m onto something here.  Thor’s sculpt was unique to him, and follows the style seen with the likes of Cap, Iron Man, and Silver Surfer.  There’s a definite Super Powers sort of aesthetic, albeit a slightly dumbed down version.  It’s not quite as strong a sculpt as Series 1’s Captain America (which is probably my favorite in the line), but it’s certainly an improvement over the really goofy Iron Man sculpt.  Still, he’s kind of oddly proportioned, and the hair just sort of looks weird suddenly stopping the way it does.  Thor’s paintwork follows the sculpt in its strange lack of cohesion to his usual design.  Instead of the usual black for the tunic, this guy’s got the same blue used on his pants.  It makes for a slightly less bold look, and means he looks a little blander than usual.  It probably that doesn’t help that the little chest circles are light blue instead of silver, and the helmet is just a straight white.  The paint definitely seams a bit lax on this guy.  Thor was originally packed with his hammer Mjolnir, which mine is missing.  He also has a hammer swinging action feature built into his right arm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Marvel Super Heroes Series 2 was pretty much entirely gone from retail when I started collecting, so I went quite a while without a Thor (all I had was the rather lackluster Marvel Masterpiece boxed set version).  I ended up getting this guy over the summer, via Yesterday’s Fun.  He’s okay, I guess.  Not anything amazing, but he fits well enough with the rest of the set of Marvel Super Heroes Avengers.

Guest Review #0047: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS

Heyo and happy Thorsday, everyone! Heh, get it (You can’t see me, but I’m wiggling my eyebrows)? Of course you do, and if not that’s fine too. Quick fact: Thursday was originally called Thorsday after the Norse god Thor. Another fun fact: Wednesday was originally called Wodenesday, after Woden/Odin, and Friday is in honor of Frigg or Freyja. Alternatively, Wednesday was also the day of Mercury, and the Roman’s tried masking Odin and Mercury together. Anyways, wow sorry for the detour and on with the show!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

So this beautiful female warrior is the new Thor from the currently running comic series The Mighty Thor. She’s not Miss Thor or Lady Thor just Thor, the name given to her by the previous Thor who now calls himself Odinson. This Thor is one of a few in the new Thor Marvel Legends series, which also includes Thor: Ragnarok versions of Thor (male) and Loki with the build-a-figure being gladiator Hulk.

Thor stands at about 6 inches tall, and no I’m not going to crack out a measuring tape to give an exact measurement because I don’t really care for that. All I care about is that she looks cool, which she does, so sue me. She has 29 points of articulation and is built on the Moon Stone body, but she has unique head, cape, chest, left forearm, skirt, shins, and ankle thingies.

Thor’s head is pretty cool and I like what they’ve done with it. Her face and helmet aren’t super detailed, which is fine because there’s not much detail to them in the comic since she’s trying to hide her identity. The helmet could’ve had a little more detail then some paint and suggestions of markings, but honestly it doesn’t take away from the figure’s overall look. Her hair is molded such that she can wear her cape and still have some movement, unlike other female figures I’ve seen that are limited by their long hair. The cape is neat but also kind of annoying because it has a hard time staying on sometimes, since the peg bent slightly and has to go into her back. Overall, the cape is neat in simplicity, with tons of wrinkles and some texturing to make it look like cloth. In the comic I think the cape is a bit longer, if not ridiculously long but I completely understand that that is hard to accomplish with a posable figure that’s supposed to stand on its own. Her arms are a little skinny for me, I think they should be a little bit bigger but I understand that Hasbro probably wanted to save money by reusing an older body. Her left forearm is unique because it has a special bracer that’s a part of the costume. The bracer is pretty cool and I really enjoy it. It’s all smooth and shiny with suggested layers and little markings that show where the arm bands connect to the metal, and then arm bands of tiny little buckles and actual suggestions of straps, loops, and holes for adjusting. I know, crazy to spend so much time looking at a forearm but it’s so detailed that I get carried away. Next is her chest piece which looks like a typical chest plate with some Nordic symbol that’s too small to discern. Like the arm brace, it’s shiny and has some texture that gives the appearance of thick metal, but it’s a slightly different color than the brace. My favorite part about her costume was the skirt and this figure does not disappoint me there. The skirt is not fixed to the figure, though I doubt it can be easily removed, and it is designed to help give her legs a more powerful look and also appear to be in motion, due to wind or something. It’s a simple piece but I really like it because it’s practical. The outside of the plastic is a bit rough like think cloth, the belt has little raised circles which are very common in leather belts, and the front flap’s border is a little raised to give it an embroidered look. Most of her legs are painted blank, assuming that she’s wearing leggings, and her shins are covered in cloth wrap that matches the skirt. The detailing in the wrapping is kinda cool because it does look like random shin wrappings; they’re not even symmetrical which makes it look a bit more authentic. Lastly, her boots…shoes are okay. There’s really nothing special there other than the tops are moveable, but there’s not much detailing to them.

Overall, the paint seems to be pretty well done.  I do believe that the design on her torso, under the chest plate, is printed onto the figure because the lines and details are too precise to be paint, but it’s not super obvious because the skirt covers it most of the time. There are a few places where the paint doesn’t quite fill in properly, but it’s not super noticeable. Then there are other places where the paint goes over the lines, but again it’s either well-hidden or so minor that as long as you’re not looking at it with a microscope you won’t notice. I will say that it’s weird that there are two different shades of metal grey used on the figure, her chest, helmet, and shoes are a darker grey than her arm brace and metal bits on her belt. Her only accessory is her hammer, Myeuh-muh (Mjölnir), which is pretty cool. There’re little etchings in the molding that simulate the knot designs on the hammer, and there’s groves in the handle too. You can also have her hold it by the strap or the handle.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So I wanted to read more Marvel comics other than the ones Ethan was suggesting, even though they were good, I wanted to find something for myself. I was pushed toward the current Thor series after one of the publicity blunders Marvel faced earlier in the year. After doing more research into what happened and who said what, I realized that the whole thing was blown out of proportion and that the company wasn’t trying to be this bad guy people were crying over. So I decided that I would definitely start reading more Marvel comics, starting with one of their more popular series The Mighty Thor with the new female Thor and I fell in love instantly. When Ethan found out what figures were in this line, he immediately told me that female Thor would be included and I proceeded to make inhuman noises for about five minutes then begged him to keep a look out for her. After a few weeks of searching he found her in the bottom of a random cart in Walmart full of older Marvel Legends in an aisle completely away from the toy section. I’ve been happy with her ever since! She’s an awesome figure based on a cool character design from a comic that I’m enjoying way too much. Also she looks fantastic on my bookshelf!

#1389: Loki

LOKI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

““Forever a trickster, Loki’s allegiances are often unclear. However, one thing can be said for certain: Loki always looks out for Loki’s best interests.”

Summer’s on it’s way out.  So, move over summer blockbusters!  It’s time for…the fall blockbusters?  We’ve had Guardians Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Now it’s time for the next Marvel entry, Thor: Ragnarok!  After being slightly underwhelmed by The Dark World, I’m hoping that Ragnarok can deliver something a bit more enjoyable.  The Dark World had only an incredibly modest offering of toys, but Ragnarok is getting a little more coverage.  The first of the product is just starting to hit retail now.  Today, I’ll be looking at the trickster god Loki!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Loki is figure 2 in the Ragnarok assortment of Marvel Legends.  This is actually the first time Hiddleston Loki’s been given a proper retail release, since the Avengers was only available as a Walmart exclusive, and then was re-released as part of the European version of the Hulkbuster assortment.  This one is, obviously, based on his Ragnarok appearance, which seems to have been somewhat influenced by the Lady Loki design of all things, along with a touch of the “Agent of Asgard” look.  It’s not a bad look.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His sculpt is new to this figure.  It has its ups and its downs.  By far, the best part is the head sculpt, which has quite a nice likeness of Hiddleston as Loki, slight little sneering grin and all.  I also quite like the hands, which are a nice open gesture, thus adding a lot of character when you pose him.  I’m a bit iffy on the torso, which seems slightly oddly shaped and kind of rudimentary.  Compared to some of the other Legends of late, this feels like a bit of a step down.  I’m also not a fan of the floating skirt piece on the waist.  I feel like a fixed piece would look better, and be less annoying when posing the figure.  Lastly, I don’t care for how the cape attaches.  Maybe it’s just my figure, but I found it to be rather difficult to bet both clips properly seated on the shoulders, and even once they’re in place, it doesn’t take much to knock one or the other out of place.  It gets a little frustrating.  On the plus side of things, the paintwork on Loki is pretty strong.  The best work is definitely the face; this is my first experience with the “printing” technique that Hasbro’s started to use on the movie figures.  Photos online had me skeptical about the process, but it person it looks really good.  The rest of the paint is pretty straight forward stuff.  The colors seem to match the movie design, and the application is all pretty sharp.  Loki includes his “helmet”, which has been streamlined down to more of a headband with horns attached.  It’s a little bulky, but fits on his head pretty well. He also includes the left leg of the series’ Build-A-Figure, Gladiator Hulk.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy snuck up on me.  I barely even knew of his existence when I found him at one of my local Targets.  I was actually looking for the Homecoming figures, which I still haven’t had any luck finding, when I came across this guy.  I was pretty excited to find him (and I’ve already tracked down a duplicate for Super Awesome Girlfriend).  Ultimately, he’s a bit of a mixed bag.  The torso on this guy is really poorly designed, just all-around, which is a real surprise from Hasbro these days.  Still, the good does outweigh the bad on this guy, and the end result is an overall nice figure.  He’s not going to be figure of the year, but he’s far from terrible.