#1869: Wasp

WASP

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Despite being a character for whom “constantly changing look” is a defining trait, poor Janet Van Dyne’s figures all seem to gravitate between the same two costumes.  Either she’s in first appearance mode, or she’s wearing the dreaded black and gold number.  There’s no in-betweens.  Well, not until now, at least!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp is the fourth figure from the second series of the Marvel Legends Vintage sub-line.  Like yesterday’s Vision figure, she switches things up and gives us a predominately new offering.  Rather than one of the two Wasp costumes we have oh-so-many of already, this figure instead gives us one of Jan’s Perez-designed costumes from his run during the late ‘90s/early ‘00s.  It’s not just some random choice on Hasbro’s part, either, because this is the exact same costume that was supposed to serve as one of the two variants for Toy Biz’s first Legends Wasp back in the day.  It never went to full production, leaving a very small handful of samples out there, and thereby making it one of the rarest Legends pieces (alongside the admittedly less-demanded silver shirted Luke Cage).  So this figure’s more than a decade in the making.  All I can say is “finally!”  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 33 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure’s sculpt is the same as the prior figure.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Wasp’s head is a different one, though it’s not a new one.  It’s actually a rather clever re-use, borrowed from the Sasquatch Series’ Domino figure.  Since her head was done up with a very unique paint scheme, it looks quite a bit different here, and matches up well with Jan’s style at the time of this costume to boot.  Wasp’s paintwork is clean and bold, which are my favorite things in a Legends paint job.  The white is slightly pearlescent, which gives it a nice, polished look, and I definitely this new color scheme for the wings.  Far more appealing than the ones on the last figure, that’s for sure.  Wasp is packed with a miniature version of her husband Hank in his Ant-Man form.  It’s a piece we’ve seen a good number of times before, but it continues to be a solid inclusion, and makes a lot of sense here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ever since being let-down by Toy Biz’s standard release Wasp, I’ve been waiting for this look, never to have it arrive.  She and Ant-Man ended up being the first of these figures we actually saw, and I knew immediately that I’d definitely be tracking her down.  She popped up at the same time as Vision, which certainly made me happy, as I was able to get my two top wants in one fell swoop.  I was content with the last Wasp figure from Hasbro, but hoped for more.  I’m happy to finally be able to replace that black and gold monstrosity, let me tell you.  Now, is it too much to ask for her asymmetrical, jazzercise-looking white and blue number from the ‘80s? 

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#1670: Wasp

WASP

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Hope van Dyne gears up signature stingers and high tech wings as the buzz worthy hero, Wasp.”

Wasp has perhaps been one of the MCU’s most prominent missing heroes.  She was attached to the pre-MCU version of the Ant-Man movie, and then even appeared in initial drafts of 2012’s Avengers (before Iron Man 2 introduced Black Widow, who would take her place in the roster).  There were even numerous rumors of her playing a larger part in Ant-Man, but Janet Van Dyne was ultimately relegated to a brief cameo via flashback.  It was super cool, but not quite what some fans were hoping for.  Fortunately, the film’s stinger (no pun intended) hinted at Janet’s daughter Hope taking on the role, and this year’s sequel is taking that to heart, even elevating her to a full-fledged deuteragonist.  Perfect time for her to get some action figure love!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp is the last single-packed figure in the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  She completes the two-figure Ant-Man & The Wasp subset started by Ant-Man, obviously.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 31 points of articulation (those wings help pull her ahead of her partner).  Wasp is based on her design from the movie, of course.  It’s not quite the design we were shown in the first film’s stinger, but it’s not terribly far removed either.  It incorporates a lot of elements of the black and gold outfit that Jan wore for a while in the comics, but mixes things up by throwing in some reds and blues to keep her a little more visually interesting (and, I’d imagine, to also further distance her from Yellow Jacket’s design from the last film).  It also adds a helmet, similar to the one Scott’s sporting as Ant-Man.  All-in-all, it’s actually a pretty solid design, which nicely distills Wasp’s many designs over the years into one striking look.  The figure’s sculpt is all-new, of course, and is about on par with yesterday’s Ant-Man figure.  Actually, I’ll take that back.  This sculpt does one better on that one by including translucent plastic for the lenses of her mask and including her eyes beneath.  That’s an awesome touch, and it makes me wish even more that Ant-Man had also included it.  The paintwork on Wasp is pretty solid stuff.  The application is all nice and clean, something I know never to take for granted with a Hasbro figure.  All of the colors are pretty bold, and the reds and golds stand out well from the dark blue that makes up the base body.  The eyes beneath the mask are likewise clean, and well defined. I also really dig the translucent plastic on the wings.  Wasp includes an extra unmasked head, which sports a fantastic likeness of Evangeline Lily, as well as two sets of hands in both fists and flat-handed configurations, and a spare back-pack without the wings deployed.  It all adds up to a figure that gives you quite a few display options, thus making up for the fact that she doesn’t have as many figures as her co-star.  Wasp is also packed with the last piece of Cull Obsidian, his head.  That’s important, I’d say!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This incarnation of Wasp has no prior figures, so she has nothing to live up to in terms of direct comparison, but after the awesome Ant-Man figure from this same assortment, she definitely had a bar set to clear.  Fortunately, she buzzed right over it.  Ant-Man’s pretty awesome, but there were a few small flaws with that figure that this one corrects.  What’s more, it’s just really cool to finally have an MCU Wasp figure!

Wasp 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!

#0920: Whirlwind

WHIRLWIND – FORCES OF EVIL

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

Whirlwind1

The Marvel universe has a lot of pretty amazing super villains, but for me, the best sub-set of villains they have are the laughably terrible ones. The ones that keep showing up, getting their butts kicked, and generally being ineffective. The likes of Shocker, Stiltman, Batroc the Leaper, and even today’s focus character Whirlwind. He initially started his career as the Human Top, which isn’t as cool a name as Whirlwind, but is probably more fitting for the character. There’s actually one thing that sets Whirlwind apart from the other lame villains: he’s actually the got an arch-nemesis. Yep, ol’ spinhead here is the arch enemy of the Wasp (also her chauffeur, but that’s a whole other story). I mean, he still kinda sucks, but that’s part of the charm. Amazingly enough, Whirlwind has a whole three action figures in his tenure as a villain, the latest of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Whirlwind2Whirlwind is another figure from the third series of Captain America Marvel Legends(why he’s in a Captain America-themed series instead of getting a slot in last year’s Ant-Man Marvel Legends is anyone’s guess. Maybe Wasp finally got that restraining order). He’s been dubbed “Forces of Evil,” which is a name he shares with the Serpent Society’s Cottonmouth. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Whirlwind is presented in his classic costume, after he’d added the chainmail (before that he’d just been shirtless, which was weird). He uses the slightly larger male body, introduced with Grim Reaper. To aid in making him more “Whirlwind-y” he has a new head, torso, and forearms. The head is actually two pieces: face and helmet. This results in a figure with the proper level of depth to his eye and mouth slits, which looks pretty neat. The actual helmet does a very nice job of capturing Whirlwind’s comic look. The torso also does a decent job of handling Whirlwind’s weird chest armor, and the forearms feature actual spinning blades, which is a nice touch. It’s a bit of a shame that he doesn’t have any chainmail detailing, but that would have meant giving him a 100% new sculpt, which seems like a bit much to ask for whirlwind3Whirlwind. Whirlwind’s paintwork isn’t particularly complex, but what’s there is fairly clean. I especially like how well the eyes turned out. Also, the choice of a metallic finish takes what could have been a slightly bland figure and gives him some pop. Whirlwind’s only accessory is his Build-A-Figure piece, which is the left arm of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

On my search for the other three figures I wanted from this series, I saw quite a few Whirlwinds, and passed several times. It’s not that I don’t like the character, nor is it that I wasn’t excited for the figure, I guess I was just prioritizing the others. After finding the other three, I broke down and got Whirlwind. I’m glad I did. He’s a very well-put-together figure. He sticks to the established formula of a few new parts on a base body, but he’s the sort of character that really lends himself to such a concept.

#0678: Avengers #1 Boxed Set

HANK PYM, GOLDEN ARMOR IRON MAN, INCREDIBLE HULK, & WASP

MARVEL MINIMATES

AvengersFA1

The Avengers may be a hot commodity now, but about ten years ago, they were mostly unknown to the public at large. This meant that they were somewhat absent from the whole merchandising thing. When Marvel Minimates was launched, the Avengers were few and far between, with only a few of the mainstays showing up here and there. Fortunately, things started turning around, right around the release of the first Iron Man. With the announcement of the Avengers Initiative in that film’s stinger, people seemed to be on board for merchandise based around Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. DST met demand by offering a boxed set based on the team’s first appearance in Avengers #1.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hank Pym, Iron Man, Hulk, and Wasp were released as a boxed set in the fall of 2008, based around the first appearance of the team. Thor, the other founding member, was noticeably absent from the pack. He wouldn’t see another Minimate for another year, and his classic design wouldn’t be seen again for another year after that, which proved a bit frustrating for fans just getting into things with this set. This set also has the notoriety of being the final boxed set to be packed in a window-less box.

HANK PYM

AvengersFA3Henry Pym, man of many names, made his Minimate debut with this set. He had the option of being displayed as Ant-Man or Giant-Man, giving fans two of his identities in one fell swoop. Since this was an Avengers #1 boxed set, let’s consider Ant-Man the main look. The figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation. He used the basic Minimate body, with an add-on for his helmet. The helmet was new to this figure, and was also used on the recent Best of Series 3 Ant-Man. It’s a very well sculpted piece, and it manages to capture the comic design of the helmet without looking too goofy. The paint on Hank is nice and bold; the colors are bright, and the line work is pretty clean. The face AvengersFA6under the helmet looks maybe a bit too chiseled for Hank, but it’s not bad. Hank included a separate mask, torso cover, and waist cover to transform him into Giant-Man, as well as a spare hairpiece to allow him to be unmasked. The Giant-Man parts are alright, but not great. They bulk him up a lot, but don’t add any height, so he looks rather off. It’s clear they were trying their best, but he just doesn’t quite work right. The hair is perfectly fine; it’s a re-use from the classic Battlestar Galactica Starbuck, which seems odd for Hank stylistically, but it doesn’t look too bad once it’s in place.

GOLDEN ARMOR IRON MAN

AvengersFA7Iron Man was at the top of his game in 2008, so seeing him turn up in this set was pretty much a guarantee. This was his eighth Minimate that year alone! He presented here in his second armor, which was really just a repainted version of the Mark 1. It’s the armor he was wearing for the first two issues of Avengers, and it’s also a pretty memorable look for the guy. He was built on the usual body, with 5 add-ons: helmet, torso, skirt, and bracelets. The helmet and bracelets were both generic pieces, used on numerous figures around the same time. The torso and skirt pieces were re-used from the AFX exclusive First Appearance IM, released a few years before. That’s a pretty sensible re-use, since they were supposed to be the same armor in-universe. The IM-specific parts are nicely crafted. They don’t have tons of sculpted detail, but the look from the comics is captured well. Paint on this figure is kind of a mixed bag, mostly due to the fact that, in its current state, it really doesn’t represent how it AvengersFA2looked out of the box. The gold paint seems to have not adhered very well to the plastic, resulting in a rather chipped and tarnished looking figure, which is a bit of a disappointment. Subsequent gold-based figures have remedied the issue, but this one is left looking somewhat lackluster. On the plus side, the detail lines are all very well handled, especially on the underlying torso and face, which you don’t even see in the main set-up. Iron Man is packed with a spare hairpiece, for unmasked display, a hammer attachment for his hand, and a spare set of flesh-toned arms so that you can display Tony in re-charge mode.

INCREDIBLE HULK

AvengersFA5He may not have been quite as successful as Iron Man, but Hulk was pretty big in 2008 as well, making him another heavy hitter in this particular set. Hulk is presented here in his purple shorted look, which was rather short(heh!)-lived in the comics, but was the look Hulk had in the two issues this set is based upon. So, it’s an interesting enough variant of the character. The figure has a unique head sculpt, as well as add-ons for the torso, waist, and the infamous “duck feet.” The torso and waist pieces were both re-used from Series 20’s Abomination, and are both rather basic pieces. The head was only ever used on this figure, most likely due to the negative reaction it garnered from fans. It seems to try to capture the more Frankenstein’s Monster-inspired head of the early Kirby Hulk, but it comes out looking a bit lumpy. And then there’s the “duck feet.” They were one of Diamond’s first attempts at adding extra height to figures, and they built up a rather infamous reputation in the Minimate community, due to their general goofiness and lack of adherence to the usual Minimate style. Fortunately, Hulk included a spare set of regular feet, so no one was stuck with the weird ones. Hulk’s paint is decent enough. I think this might actually be my favorite shade of green for Hulk, and I do really like the Kirby inspired line work.

WASP

AvengersFA4Wasp was another character that debuted in this set, though, unlike Hank Pym, she’s yet to actually get a follow up. Which is kind of a shame, since she’s had a boat-load of different costumes over the years. She’s presented here in her original costume, which has gotten a fair number of figures over the years. The figure makes use of 7 add-on pieces, used for her headgear, vest, gloves, skirt, and wings. The parts are a little on the bulky side, especially for Wasp, but they balance each other out pretty well, I guess. The skirt is a lot boxier than later pieces would be, which makes the whole figure look rather stiff. The wings are probably the best part of the sculpt, and they actually do a decent job of replicating the comic look. The paint on Wasp was pretty decent from a design standpoint. The line work is all pretty well laid out,AvengersFA8 and everything. The real issue is in assembly. The figure was clearly assembled before fully drying, so several pieces, the wings in particular, were stuck, almost to the point of breaking. Wasp made out pretty well on the accessories front, including a spare hairpiece, a set of normal hands, an alternate mask, and an extra wing mount so that she can be displayed without the bulky vest piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I actually ended getting a couple of this set when it was released, without even trying. I got one from my friend Lance, and then won another in a contest, and then eventually picked up a few more from Record and Tape Traders at super marked down prices. The set itself is pretty decent, if maybe a bit out of date when compared to more current stuff. Ant-Man and Wasp were definitely the stars here, and they both still hold up pretty decently.

#0629: Marvel’s Wasp

“MARVEL’S” WASP

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

WaspML1

Wasp. It’s Wasp. That’s who I’m looking at today. That’s some intro, right? Yeah, I really couldn’t come up with anything. Awkward, right? Oh well. Anyway, here’s my review of this new Wasp figure! Enjoy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF
WaspML2Wasp is figure number two from Hasbro’s Ant-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Series. This is Wasp’s second foray into the Marvel Legends line, though it’s her third figure (or fourth, depending on whether you believe in the mythical Blue Wasp), thanks to variants. Her last figure was way back in the last series of ToyBiz’s run on the line, 8 years ago. Plus, that wasn’t a very good figure, so it’s about time she got another shot. Wasp’s one of those characters who’s had tons of different looks over the years, so there’s quite a few good ones to choose from. Hasbro has chosen her black and gold outfit…which is the same one the ToyBiz figure was wearing. It’s not that it’s a bad design, but it’s a look we’ve gotten several times before, and it’s not exactly the most thrilling look. Oh well, nothing that can be done now. The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 33 points of articulation, counting the wings. Wasp’s sculpt is based on the mid-sized female body we’ve seen for Storm, Hellcat, and Scarlet Witch. It’s a reasonable sculpt, with nice proportions, and I’m glad to see she’s been given non-heeled feet, which is always a plus. I wish the neck wasn’t quite so skinny, but it’s serviceable. The figure got an all-new head sculpt to top the body off. It’s a pretty good sculpt; the eyes seem just a tad too far apart, but not horribly so. The hair is a separate part from the head, which is odd, given how short it is, but it looks good and gives some nice dimension. The upper torso’s also been tweaked a bit to add sockets for the wings. They’re pretty sturdy, but the sockets are a little obtrusive. The wings themselves are quite well done, and the level of maneuverability is really great. The paintwork on Wasp is okay; not fantastic, but not bad. There’s a fair amount of slop, especially on the edges of the gold detailing, but some areas, like the face are actually pretty clean. Wasp’s only accessory is the torso of this series’ Build-A-Figure, Ultron.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, like Ant-Man, I found Wasp at my local Toys R Us a few weeks back. I think the Marvel Universe figure might still be my favorite Wasp to date, but this one’s a pretty good one. She’s definitely a huge improvement to the ToyBiz version from all those years ago, and that’s a good thing.

WaspML3

#0196: Marvel’s Wasp

MARVEL’S WASP

AVENGERS INFINITE

Wasp
Because I’m a fan of doing things in trios (this is based on no evidence. Don’t try and check that one), I’ve got one more Avengers review. This time around, it’s Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp, with whom even the more marginal Avengers fans are probably familiar. She’s the long-time significant other of Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man/Giant Man/ Goliath/ Yellow Jacket, and she’s a founding member of the Avengers.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp was part of the first series of Avengers Infinite, Hasbro’s replacement for the Marvel Universe line. Jan’s had quite a few different looks over the years, and they’ve gone with her black and gold look that she had for most of the 00s. She’s a little under 3 ¾ inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. Wasp is built on Hasbro’s most recent attempt at a base female body, I believe first introduced with Scarlet Witch. It’s an okay body, and it’s certainly an improvement on the initial offering, which we saw on Kitty Pryde. The arms a bit too short, and the legs are too long, but it’s an improvement, and Wasp2progress is progress, I suppose. She has a new head and add-on wings. These prices look nice, and the head is one of the nice female head sculpts that Hasbro has offered. It’s nice to see a female head with more than the usual blank stare we seem to always get. The paint is alright. It’s not quite as off-putting as the paint on Grim Reaper, but there are a few spots of slop. Wasp includes a smaller version of herself, which is a sculpt reused from one of the Secret Wars 2-packs from the MU line. It’s been repainted in a costume that matches the main figure’s look. It’s a fair accessory, and it’s nice that she got one at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the previous two reviews, Wasp was purchased from Amazon. Currently, she’s the short-packed figure, which means she’s a little bit more expensive. I paid a little bit more than usual for her, but this is honestly the best figure of the character available. Not that she had much competition…

#0006: Avengers First Appearance Boxed Set

ANT-MAN, WASP, HULK, IRON MAN, THOR, & GIANT-MAN

TOY BIZ AVENGERS FIRST APPEARANCE BOXED SET

Now a days, pretty much every one knows who the avengers are, but back in the mid 90s, they were  kind of obscure outside of the comic collecting community.  So, sets like the one I’m reviewing today were kind of a big deal.  I’ll be taking a different approach to these, and reviewing the whole set all in one shot.

ANT-MAN

THE FIGURE ITSELF

First up is Ant-Man, the first of the two Hank Pym figures included in this set.  He’s a good deal smaller than all of the other figures in the set, but that’s to be expected.  He’s got 7 points of articulation, which is good for the scale.  The most impressive part, I feel is the removable helmet, which is astounding on a figure this size.  And it looks great to boot!

WASP

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next is Hank’s girlfriend, then wife, then ex-wife, then it got really complicated, Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp!  The Wasp is depicted in her original uniform, as is appropriate for an Avengers #1 set.  It’s not my favorite look of hers, but it’s not bad.  The figure shows the look off pretty well.  Wasp is about the same height as Ant-Man and has pretty much the same articulation, though his works better.  It would have been nice to get a regular sized Jan as well, but this one worked fine.

HULK

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next is the jade giant, the Incredible Hulk.  Hulk is in his shown here wearing his Avenging shorts (I mean, that has to be their purpose, right?  Because we only ever see him wearing them with the Avengers).  Hulk is well sculpted, but the paint leaves a little bit to be desired.  Or more specifically the choice of plastic color.  They went with this sickly looking pale green, which doesn’t befit Dr Banner at all.  He looks like he needs a little sun.  Overall, a fine figure.

IRON MAN

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Onto the armored Avenger, Iron Man.  He’s depicted in his second suit of armor, the same as his original, but gold plated.  To emulate the coloring properly, Toybiz offered two versions of the set.  One came with a Vac Metalized shiny, gold chromey paint job, and the other came with a dull, brozish style of coloring.  My original was the dull version, but when his helmet got stepped on and crushed, I upgraded to the shiny one, found loose at a toy show.  Oh, and that helmet I mentioned?  Yeah, it was removable, which was definitely this figure’s coolest feature! Just look at Tony’s handsome mug!

THOR

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Oh boy.  This Thor.  Man this Thor.  This was not a good Thor.  Though, amazingly, it was the only Thor figure I owned until late into the Marvel Legends line.  But it’s not a very good figure.  The Chrome helmet and chest-circle-thingies (technical term!) are cool, and the basic body’s okay.  But then you look at that face.  Oh, man that face.  It’s bad.  And to top it all off, he has this weird poofy cloth cape, which pretty much never looked right.  I’m fairly certain this figure is the reason why I didn’t like Thor until the movie came out in 2011.

GIANT MAN

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lastly, we have what I consider to be the best figure in the set:  Giant Man!  He’s the second version of Hank Pym we’re looking at in this set, and he’s actually not quite accurate, what with Hank not being Giant Man until Avengers # 2, but man this is a cool figure, so I’m willing to overlook it.  The coolest thing about this figure, I feel, is the size.  He had some serious scale on his side.  Plus he’s just about a picture perfect representation of Hank in this costume.  The paint is sharp, the sculpt is good.  This figure’s got some serious win on his side!  He once had a set of antenna, but they fell of after a few months of play.  But at least they both fell off, preserving the symmetry.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These figures are pretty important to me, because they represent a first for me:  waiting for a figure to be released.  In the early days of the internet, I remember seeing the control art for these guys on Raving Toy Maniac.  I was absolutely thrilled.  I printed it out, and made paper figures to hold me over.

I finally saw these figures on an end-of-the-school-year shopping trip with my Nanna.  They were on an end cap and I eagerly picked them up and informed her that I didn’t need to look at anything else.  I was done.  She didn’t really get it.  Who were these characters?  Didn’t I want a Spider-Man, or a Batman instead?  Nope.  I wanted my Avengers and that’s what I got.  And man was it a great day!