#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.

#1790: Thor: Ragnarok Minimates

GLADIATOR THOR, HELA, BRUCE BANNER, & LOKI

MARVEL MINIMATES

Three Norse Gods and….Mark Ruffalo?  What could possibly go wrong?

The Thor movies have some slight trouble with getting proper toy representation.  The Minimates have done a fair bit of good, but in the case of both of the first two films, last minute cancellations of planned store exclusives resulted in incomplete cast lineups.  Fortunately, Ragnarok was a bit more fortunate.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released in a specialty-exclusive four-pack, released at the same time as the Walgreens and TRU-exclusive two-pack assortments.  Thor and Hela were included in two-pack form in both of those assortments, but Loki and Banner are both exclusive to this particular set.

GLADIATOR THOR

Ragnarok delivered a rather changed-up look for our hero Thor, who had something of an evolving appearance as the film progressed.  This figure represents him from around the film’s mid-point, after he’s arrived on Sakaar and been thrown into the arena as a gladiator.  It’s definitely his most distinctive look from the film, so it’s a sensible inclusion.  Thor has three sculpted add-on pieces to aid in his look.  The first is his helmet.  Thor’s helmet has been frequently overlooked by the film’s and while he doesn’t wear it for long in Ragnarok, it does at least get some focus that it hadn’t previously.  It’s an all-new piece here, and a pretty decent one at that.  The general design of it’s very close to the one seen in the film, and the detail work is pretty solid.  It perhaps sits a little high on his head, but only ever so slightly.  He’s also got a brand new shoulder piece, featuring his shoulderpads and the remaining half of his cape.  It sits well on the body, and doesn’t bulk up the neck too much, so that’s a definite plus.  Finally, he’s got a generic skirt piece, standing in for the bottom portion of his tunic.  Thor’s paintwork is a good recreation of his film design.  The detail lines are nice and sharp, and while the face isn’t the spitting image of Hemsworth, it’s as close as any of the prior attempts have been, and at least this one’s got a good fighting expression.  The tunic features some rather ornate detailing, as do his wrist guards, but I think the little bit of Sakaaran armor on his right leg is my favorite bit.  It’s just so vibrant and genuine.  Since it depicts Thor following Mjolnir’s destruction, this figure doesn’t include that piece.  It does, however, include the two swords he tries to replace his hammer with during his time as a gladiator, as well as a spare hairpiece for a sans-helmet look and a clear display stand.

HELA

After sparring off with one of the franchise’s most forgettable villains for his second installment, Thor was granted a far more intriguing foe in the form of Hela, goddess of death.  She’s still not the Enchantress, but I guess I’ll take it.  Hela is built using two sculpted add-on pieces, for her cape and her distinctive headdress.  Both pieces are unique to this particular figure, though I’m sure they could easily work for a comic book Hela, should DST be so inclined.  They’re both very well crafted additions, capturing the designs from the movie very nicely.  The headdress is sufficiently ornate, and the slight swoop at the bottom of the cape is definitely a nice touch.  Hela’s paint work is suitably bold and striking, even a bit moreso than her onscreen design.  The slightly metallic nature of the green adds even more to the appearance, and I appreciate that the green detailing goes all the way around the legs and pelvis piece.  For accesroes, Hela’s packed with an extra head and hair, depicting her unmasked appearance from her more vulnerable portions of the movie, as well as the usual clear display stand.

BRUCE BANNER

While the two-packs were host to his jade goliath alter-ego, this set gives us a completely un-transformed Bruce Banner.  This is the second such figure we’ve gotten of the Mark Ruffalo version of the character, following his TRU-exclusive release from Age of Ultron.  Banner uses two add-on pieces, for his hair and his jacket.  Both of them are re-used.  The hair is, appropriately, the old Zombie Hulk piece that was used for quite a few Hulks.  It’s a pretty decent match for Ruffalo’s look, especially his slightly shorter hair from Ragnarok.  His jacket is the Ghostbusters World of the Psychic Peter Venkman piece, which has similarly seen a number of uses.  It’s just a basic blazer, so it works well for the look they’re going for.  Bruce’s paint work is perhaps not the most thrilling work in the whole set, but it’s reasonable work never the less.  The face capture’s Ruffalo’s likeness pretty well, and while the shirt lacks the Duran Duran cover from the movie (which I’m certain is a licensing thing), it does at the very least include some wrinkles and folds, so that it’s not just a blank grey block.  Bruce includes a second head, with an angry expression and green pupils.  It’s not the first such piece we’ve seen with a Banner figure, but it’s a welcome addition all the same.  He also includes the usual clear display stand.

LOKI

Loki, particularly Tom Hiddleston’s version of the character, is no stranger to the world of Minimates.  He’s managed to get at least one ‘mate for each of the movies he’s been featured in (well, barring Infinity War).  Ragnarok proved even more generous in this regarding, giving us not one, not two, but three versions of the character.  The one seen here is based on his look from the movie’s final climactic battle.  It’s a look patterned somewhat after his “Agent of Asgard” look from the comics, which is certainly one of his cooler looks.  Loki makes use of three sculpted add-on pieces, for his hair/crown, his cape, and his belt piece.  The hairpiece is unique to this figure, and does a respectable job of capturing the design from the movie.  The crown in particular is quite sharply detailed.  The cape, which is shared with one of the other two Lokis from the movie, is one of my favorite capes, in part because of its rather straight forward nature.  His paint is perhaps the figure’s one real flaw.  For the most part, it’s not bad.  Like Hela, the color scheme is rather striking, and the details on the costume are quite sharp.  In addition, the face is my favorite of the Hiddleston Lokis we’ve gotten to date; that smile is fantastic.  The real trouble is with the hairpiece, where the application is rather sloppy, and in what appears to be an across the board error, his ears have been painted the same gold as his headpiece, rather than the proper peach-tone.  Loki is the lightest packed in this set, featuring only a clear display stand.  I wouldn’t have minded his knives or an extra hair piece or something, but the other three help keep the sting down a little bit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set from the best Minimate retailer around, Luke’s Toy Store, a few months back.  I actually had fallen behind a bit on releases, so this was part of a catch-up I was doing at the time.  It’s a pretty strong set. Gladiator Thor is one of the coolest versions of the character we’ve gotten in the MCU, and this ‘mate does a great job of translating that.  Hela’s an important character in the context of the movie, and a brand-new character in the context of the line as a whole, plus she’s got a pretty killer look.  Though he’s just a basic civilian, Banner’s a very well-executed ‘mate, and another winning figure in this already quite strong set.  This Loki is really the star Loki figure from the movie, and issues with the paint aside, he’s a pretty darn solid addition to the line-up.

#1759: Thor & Lady Sif

THOR & LADY SIF

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Though very successful, and overall very good at creating a sense of consistency throughout its films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not without its missteps.  Incredible Hulk is the result of inheriting an initially unrelated production late in the game, but I still like it.  Iron Man 2 is a slightly bungled attempt at doing the whole wider universe thing in a solo film, but once again, I still quit like it.  So, let’s talk about my least favorite MCU entry by some measure, Thor: The Dark World.  Boy did I want to like it.  And it’s not a *bad* movie.  In fact, there are some truly fantastic sequences in it.  The trouble is, they all seem to be immediately followed or preceded by a rather terrible sequence that just sucks all the joy right out of you.  Through coincidence, The Dark World is also the least merchandised of the MCU films.  While the first Thor got a rather comprehensive 3 3/4 line, plus a Legends scale Thor, and Ragnarok at the very least got its most prominent players as Legends, The Dark World only got a very small handful of 3 3/4 inch figures from Hasbro, and no Legends at all.  At least that last bit’s getting amended now, with Thor and Lady Sif!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Lady Sif are entry 5 in the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  It follows the lead of the Captain America and Crossbones pack, with one brand-new figure, and one slightly tweaked.

THOR

Thor fills the slot for “slightly tweaked.”  Of course, that’s far less of an issue for this figure than it was for Cap, since the Amazon-exclusive figure this Thor’s based on was actually a pretty solid offering from the start.  This figure’s purpose is more to offer a slightly tweaked costume design. Like the figure he is built from, this guy stands 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  While it’s a little odd to be getting a figure at this point in the line that lacks the usual style of neck articulation, thanks to the hair, it’s not like he’s missing anything.  This figure uses most of the same pieces as his AoU counterpart, but gets a new set of chain-mailed arms to differentiate him ever so slightly.  Differentiating him even a little bit more is the paint work.  Aside from the obvious changes to the arms, they’ve also slightly changed the shade of the metal bits on the front of his costume, so that they now match the gold-er hue from The Dark World.  Of course, the biggest change by far is on the head, since this figure makes use of the fancy new face printing technique.  This does sort of have one downside, which is now that I’ve seen this head with a much better paint job, I now know for certain that it’s the sculpt and not the paint that had a slightly off Hemsworth likeness.  Well, at least he looks more like a real person, right?  Thor is, as usual, packed with his hammer Mjolnir, which remains a very well sculpted piece.

LADY SIF

And, of course, Sif is the brand-new component here.  Though she never got a super huge part, Jaime Alexander’s Lady Sif was one of my very favorite parts of the first two Thor films (in fact, the scenes with her and the Warriors Three are the real saving grace of The Dark World for me), so the fact that she hadn’t yet gotten the Legends treatment was quite sad indeed.  Sif is seen here in her slightly tweaked Dark World armor (which was also used for her appearance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), which I will admit is a slightly better design than her look from the first movie.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s got an all-new sculpt, and it’s a very strong offering.  The head has a pretty much spot-on likeness of Alexander, and the hair manages to not be incredibly limiting for the neck joint, which is certainly a plus.  The body is possibly a touch skinny for Sif’s fully armored appearance, but it’s not terribly far off, and the detail work is definitely impressive.  The use of separate pieces for her shoulder plates works out well, allowing for slightly better mobility, greater depth to the sculpt, and a much cleaner transition from skin to armor.  Sif’s paint work is all quite clean, and replicates her color scheme from the movie very well.  Like Thor, she uses the face printing technique, which really pays off here, and further highlights the sculpt’s likeness of the actress.  They’ve even gotten the small beauty spot on her right cheek; an easy to miss detail, but one that sells the likeness that much more.  Sif is packed with her shield, a single version of her sword, and two other swords that can be connected into a staff, just like in the movie.  Not a bad assortment at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the other three of these, I got this pair from Super Awesome Fiancee, who picked them up for me from work.  I wasn’t initially sold on getting the second Thor figure, since I had the Amazon one and all, but he’s definitely a solid figure, and I don’t mind getting the slight variation.  Sif is a truly amazing figure, and I’m glad to have finally been able to add her to the collection.  The only downside is that now I really want the Warriors Three to go with her…

#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!